“Are we on [the] side of the criminals? Or are we on the side of the animals? I know what side we’re all on and I’m sure you know what side you’re all on.”
David Beckham was simple and clear when announcing along with the Duke of Cambridge (the royal formerly known as Prince William) the new campaign #WhoseSideAreYouOn.
The two English icons announced on Monday that they are teaming up to stop illegal wildlife trade and bring attention to the criminal activities that are bringing African and Asian species close to extinction.
“It’s devastating. It really is devastating,” lamented Beckham of the illegal trade that’s estimated to be worth about £11.5 billion each year. “And we’re in a world where our generation, and the younger generation can really, really make a difference and we really need to do it now.”
Beckham and the Duke are hoping that people will do their part by taking to Twitter and other social media with the hashtag #WhoseSideAreYouOn to publicize the campaign and bring the issue of illegal poaching up for discussion.
“We wanted to find a way to show the world what was happening. Join us and help stop illegal poaching,” said the Duke after a video featuring the hardships of park rangers that have to risk their own lives to protect the ones of wild species.
In February, the Duke called an international conference with world leaders that all signed their names to the intent of protecting wildlife from illegal poaching, but that was just the beginning.
“That was our first step, but we knew we needed to do more to bring this trade into the open,” he explained. “The illegal wildlife trade thrives because it is hidden, often invisible, making it easy for criminals to build and expand.”
In addition to being good friends, Beckham and the Duke decided to join this effort as a team after realizing their combined influence was key to bring attention to the issue.
“Obviously I have quite a big following throughout Asia and especially in China and if it can shine a light on something as important as this then it’s job done,” explained Beckham, whose soccer stardom has made him an idol worldwide. “But obviously having The Duke, the future king of England involved in something like this – there’s nothing better.”
This is the second time the two have gotten together for a good cause. Last September Beckham and the Duke filmed two PSAs against illegal wildlife trade for WildAid.