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December 4, 2014

Top Gains for HSI on the Global Stage in 2014

A Humane Nation--Wayne Pacelle's Blog

  • HSI’s three-year campaign in Viet Nam to save rhinos uses a variety of approaches to build awareness from the grassroots. Vanessa Mignon

The HSUS has long taken on the toughest fights. Our sister organization, Humane Society International — operating now in 20 nations — is doing the same, and winning major campaigns and advancing our ideals throughout the world. Here are our top 10 accomplishments on the international stage for 2014 — showing the way on animal testing, factory farming, the trade in wildlife, and much more.

Ending Animal Testing for Cosmetics in India

India joined the European Union and Israel in banning animal testing for cosmetics in its own labs, and closed its borders to newly animal-tested beauty products from abroad. This closes two key global market to cosmetics and cosmetic ingredients that have been tested on animals, representing 1.7 billion people.  Even China moved in the right direction in 2014, by revising its 20-year-old central cosmetics regulation to drop mandatory animal testing for most domestically manufactured cosmetic products.

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Global Movement Against Gestation Crates:

This was a huge year for the movement against gestation crates. Canada announced a phase-out of gestation crates, as did India, which shut down its only gestation crate facility for violating cruelty laws. BRF, Brazil’s largest pig producer, agreed in November to phase out the continual confinement of sows in gestation crates in both company-owned and contract farms. The Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAPA) signed formal agreements with the Brazilian Association of Pig Farmers (ABCS) and the European Union to support the transition to gestation-crate-free production systems in the country. Eurest, a leading food service provider in Mexico, and the Hyatt hotel chain in Mexico, both committed to eliminating gestation crates and battery cages from their pork and egg supply chains in the country by 2017.

Pushing WTO to Prohibit Trade in Seal Products

In May, the World Trade Organization, the international body that sets the rules of the road on global trade matters, upheld the European Union’s right to prohibit trade in the products of commercial seal hunts for public moral reasons based on animal welfare. Legal and political experts at HSI and The HSUS helped frame the legal arguments and provided video evidence during hearings to demonstrate the inherent cruelty of commercial sealing.  HSI drove passage of the 2009 regulation banning the imports, dealing a massive blow to the Canadian seal hunt.

Changing Animal Testing Regulations in Europe to Save Lives:

The European Union chemicals law, REACH, is being revised according to the following amendments brought forward by HSI: allowing exemptions for skin lethal dose tests, potentially sparing 15,000 or more rabbits or rats; replacing a wasteful animal test for reproductive toxicity, sparing up to 2.4 million rats; virtually eliminating rabbit eye and skin irritation testing through recognition of available alternatives, sparing approximately 21,000 rabbits; and paving the way for full replacement of mouse and guinea pig tests for skin allergy, potentially sparing as many as 218,000 animals.

International Court Calls for End to Japanese Whaling in the Southern Ocean:

Japan’s whaling activities in the Southern Ocean were dealt a huge blow in March when the International Court of Justice ruled that they are in breach of the International Convention on the Regulation of Whaling. At the International Whaling Commission meeting in Slovenia in September, nations voted resoundingly in favor of a resolution that scientific whaling must be held to a far higher standard of review and necessity. Japan has since been making efforts to resume whaling in the guise of “science” and “research” and recently advanced a new proposal.

Dramatically Reducing Rhino Horn Use in Vietnam:

We saw tremendous success in our rhino horn reduction campaign in Viet Nam, where HSI has been working hand-in-hand with the government. Rhino horn is used by people who believe it has medicinal properties. After one year, during which we partnered with women’s groups, children, university students, and scientists in Viet Nam to spread the campaign messages, demand for rhino horn was reduced by 38 percent. In the United States, we passed legislation in New Jersey and New York to restrict the trade in ivory and rhino horn, as a means of helping elephants and rhinos in their native countries.

Working to End the Dog Meat Trade in China:

Since August 2014, nearly 7,000 dogs from more than 25 transport trucks were rescued and put into the care of local Chinese animal welfare organizations. Of the surviving dogs, more than three-quarters were quickly adopted by local Chinese residents who were compelled by the sad and well-publicized seizures. HSI has assisted in capacity building and support of the organizations in China leading this effort, and has directly funded the care of the remaining dogs awaiting adoption in China.

Helping Street Dogs:

During the 2014 Sochi Olympics, our team helped put a spotlight on the plight of street dogs in Russia and around the world. HSI learned of the government-hired extermination of street dogs leading up to the Olympic Games, and immediately reached out to the Russian government to offer humane and effective animal control alternatives. As a direct result of HSI efforts, dog culling was stopped in Mauritius and Dakha (Bangladesh) and we are conducting cutting edge street dog programs in Bhutan, India, and the Philippines and have launched or supported humane street dog management projects in Panama, Bolivia, Chile, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, American Samoa, and Guam.

Ending Shark Finning Globally:

The Indian airline Jet Airways instituted a policy against the shipment of shark fins, joining a growing number of environmentally conscious airlines such as Emirates, Philippines Airlines, Korean Airlines, Asiana Airlines, Qantas, Air New Zealand, and Etihad Airways. China has seen a dramatic drop in shark-fin consumption with public awareness campaigns against the practice. The new CITES shark and ray listings took effect in September, and that means that the trade in those species including shark fins and manta ray gills will be strictly regulated on a global basis, thus significantly reducing the killing of a large portion of the millions of animals killed for this purpose. Hilton Worldwide announced it will stop serving shark fin dishes and stop accepting new orders for shark fins.

Working with International Banking Institutions to Adopt More Humane Policies in Europe:

We changed policies within international banking institutions, working towards an animal-friendly approach.  The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development incorporated animal welfare into its Social and Environmental Policy, requiring that “[c]lients involved in the farming, transport and slaughtering of animals for meat or by-products (e.g. milk, eggs, wool) will adopt and implement national regulatory requirements, relevant EU animal welfare standards and [Good International Practice], whichever is most stringent, in animal husbandry techniques.”

By no means is our work done in the United States – it is immensely challenging, and we fight on that field of battle every day. But we must address animal abuse and exploitation where it occurs, and that means operating on an international stage in our era of globalization. Your support for HSI is critical if we are to continue to make immense gains for animals throughout the world.

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