The PAWS 2018 International Captive Wildlife Conference is taking place November 9-11 in Burbank, California. A very important theme of the conference is “Confronting Captivity”, which reflects a growing resistance to the exploitation of captive wild animals around the world. The problems of captivity abound with tourist elephant rides, orca whales in marine parks, and big cats in circuses.

One of the most notable speakers at this year’s conference is Sangita Iyer, founder of the non-profit organization Voice for Asian Elephants Society. Sangita is a native of India, and an award-winning journalist and wildlife documentary filmmaker. She is the director and producer of the globally acclaimed documentary Gods In Shackles, which was nominated at the United Nations and has garnered over a dozen international awards. Sangita has gained recognition throughout India for her courage in exposing the plight of captive elephants, who are continuously exploited for profit behind the veil of culture and religion.

Sangita’s groundbreaking documentary Gods In Shackles shines a light on India’s religious parades and festivals, and their continuous exploitation and abuse of the country’s elephants. Through her work with Voice for Asian Elephants Society, Sangita hopes to ignite change in the way that elephants are treated in her native India and throughout the world. You can view the trailer for Gods In Shackles here:

Voice for Asian Elephants Society are currently collaborating with another speaker at the conference, Steven Wise, who is the President of the Nonhuman Rights Project. They are working together for the rights of personhood for India’s elephants. The PAWS conference features nearly 50 other amazing speakers from 15 countries. You can hear directly from those who are leading the way in confronting the captivity of big cats, elephants, bears, and marine mammals. You will learn about the exploitation of wild animals in circuses, zoos and marine parks; as well as the rescue and care of these animals in sanctuaries.

The speakers at the conference are fighting these issues every day on the front lines. They are working for change through scientific research, ethics, law, conservation, and animal care, policy and welfare. PAWS has been presenting inspiring conferences since 1992, and this is the only U.S.-based conference of its kind. This year’s International Captive Wildlife Conference features speakers who are leaders in their fields. The hope is to promote action to improve the welfare of wild animals living in captivity throughout the world.

The International Captive Wildlife Conference happens just once every four years, and there’s still time to register for this year’s conference but registration closes October 31. You can attend one day, two days, or all three. Student discounts are available, and tasty plant-based lunch and snacks are included each day. The three-day event is taking place at the Pickwick Conference Center in Burbank, CA, and will run from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. For a full list of speakers and discussions — and to register — visit the conference website here.