December 28, 2012
HSI/Latin America: 2012 Accomplishments
2012 proved to be an important year for the HSI/Latin America office, allowing the restructuring of our programs and areas of work in order to be more in line with HSI/HSUS core issues. The year saw the consolidation of critical, longstanding initiatives, as well as the launch of new ones:
- Through funding obtained from the U.S. State Department, developed an interactive CD to train government officials in animal identification and handling of confiscated wildlife. In 2012, trained 58 people in three countries.
- Finalized a small rescue center in a border area of El Salvador created in conjunction with the Ministry of Environment.
- Developing infrastructure plans and specific management protocols for one rescue center and a temporary holding facility in Honduras, which should be finalized in 2013.
- Established a relationship with one cage-free egg producer interested in promoting the consumption of cage-free eggs.
- Helped two restaurants convert to a wholly cage-free policy and one to add cage-free options to the menu.
- Have reached out to at least 20 restaurants and hotels to request the inclusion of cage-free eggs into their menus.
- Sparked the interest of at least two supermarket chains, which are now initiating plans to promote cage-free eggs.
- Based on the good relationship and formal agreement HSI/Latin America signed with the Costa Rican Department of Animal Health, we provided input on legislation for regulating puppy mills.
- Joined other NGOs in promoting legislation entitled “Ethical treatment of animal overpopulation.”
HSI/Latin America has formed a partnership with the Costa Rican government to crack down on dogfighting and cockfighting, which although illegal is quite frequent in Costa Rica. Our anti-dogfighting campaign includes public outreach and training for law enforcement in handling evidence and dogs confiscated in a raid for use against breeders and fight promoters. HSI/Latin America is also providing the Costa Rican government and the dog rehabilitators with equipment and supplies for the care and rehabilitation of fighting dogs.
- More than 100 people have been trained thus far in animal handling techniques and evidence retrieval.
- Success rate of rehabilitating 80 percent of confiscated dogs in 2012.
- Working with the Costa Rican government on new legislation which would make the penalties for dogfighting more severe and require jail time for those caught in the act of fighting dogs.
- After the training, the Costa Rican government is initiating the process of being able to enter into homes (not only surrounding areas) to gather more intelligence information.
- A direct connection has been made to the importation of dogs from the United States, which makes the dog fighting rings an international issue.
- Attended the International Whaling Commission’s 64th meeting in Panama as part of the HSI contingent.
- Sponsored scientific participation at the IWC meeting in Panama, enabling more Latin American participation in the scientific committee (the first time ever that the Costa Rican government participated).
- Arranged (as part of coalition) whale and dolphin festivals in coastal towns in Costa Rica to raise awareness in local communities and discourage poaching.