Portraits include dogs adopted by actor Daniel Henney and Olympic medalist Gus Kenworthy

Humane Society International / United States


Jordan Strauss/AP Images for The HSUS and HSI

Celebrities including Daniel Henney, Monica Lewinsky and Joely Fisher joined Humane Society International and the Humane Society of the United States in Los Angeles for an exclusive debut of a stunning portrait collection by award-winning photographer Sophie Gamand, of dogs rescued by HSI from South Korea’s dog meat trade.

The launch of dog portraits—including Juliette, adopted by Wheel of Time actor Daniel Henney, and Birdie, adopted by Olympic medalist Gus Kenworthy—took place at a private cocktail party hosted at the Hollywood Hills residence of film producer James Costa. Guests enjoyed cocktails and plant-based hors d’oeuvres while enjoying an early peek at a specially curated gallery of Sophie’s captivating portraits.

The collaboration between global animal advocates Humane Society International and award-winning photographer Sophie Gamand—whose photo series Pit Bull Flower Power was instrumental in transforming the public image of pit bulls seeking adoption at U.S. shelters—evolved as part of HSI’s work in South Korea to end the brutal dog meat industry. It is estimated that more than one million dogs a year in South Korea are intensively bred for human consumption. Despite increasing Korean opposition to dog eating, unfounded negative perceptions persist of ‘dog meat dogs’ as soulless and vicious. HSI invited Sophie to help showcase the resilience, beauty and individuality of these dogs, rebranding them as the true survivors that they are, having been rescued by HSI to become part of loving families in the United States.

During this inspiring evening, guests were introduced to HSI’s Models for Change program in which the organization works cooperatively with dog meat farmers to help them close their farms and transition to more humane and sustainable livelihoods such as chili plant or parsley growing. They also heard from Sophie about her experience joining HSI on one of HSI’s dog meat farm rescue missions, and the emotional impact of seeing the dogs in such desperate circumstances.

The Dog Meat Survivors portrait collection will be available for public view at Hamilton-Selway Fine Art, 8678 Melrose Ave, West Hollywood, California. The ten-day exhibit opens on Thursday, June 2.

“From the moment the team at Humane Society International and I started discussing ideas for this series, I knew I wanted people to see these dogs for the resilient, strong, beautiful beings that they are. I created handmade collars for these survivors, because dog collars are a powerful symbol of love, commitment and care,” said Gamand.

“HSI’s campaign is focused on ending the dog meat industry in South Korea, the only country in the world that intensively farms dogs for consumption, and we’re making incredible progress. The real goal is to get a ban passed that will end this industry forever so that no more dogs have to suffer,” Jeff Flocken, president of Humane Society International.

Download Photos

ENDS

Media Contact: Madeline Bove: 213-248-1548; mbove@humanesociety.org

Humane Society International


Waldo Swiegers/AP Images for HSI

WASHINGTON—Trophy hunters have killed two of Botswana’s biggest elephants. They belonged to the few remaining “hundred-pounder” elephants—elephants with at least one tusk weighing 100 pounds—of which there are said to be fewer than 40 left in the whole of Africa. They were critically important for stability in the elephant community and essential for wildlife tourism.

The two male savanna elephants were in an unpopulated corner of northern Botswana. The largest of the two had tusks weighing around 100 pounds each—, almost 8 feet in length—and is estimated to have been in his early 50s. He was still in his prime at the time he was killed. Male elephants live an average of 65 years, and older bulls father most of the elephant calves who are born.

Botswana’s former president, Ian Khama, was reportedly outraged at the news as there are only a small number of the world-famous “big tuskers” left in the world.  Khama had banned the trophy hunting of elephants, but it became legal again in 2019 under his successor.

In response to the tragedies, Humane Society International released the following statements on this devastating news:

Teresa Telecky, vice president of HSI’s wildlife programs, said: “Killing such magnificent animals for amusement is a moral and ecological tragedy. These elephants were an important influence in their herds and to the future of younger males. Along with other big tuskers, they represented the promise and reality of exciting, educational and breathtaking wildlife viewing tourism as dynamic revenue sources for Botswana and other range nations. Trophy hunters must end their bogus, false claims that the money they pay for their so-called thrill to kill helps human communities. Their downright cruelty is not about helping anyone but about someone’s sick desire to hang a head in the living room.”

Audrey Delsink, Humane Society International/Africa wildlife director, said: “It is incomprehensible that two of the last great tuskers of Africa have been slaughtered as trophies for a fee. There is no replacing the intrinsic value that these extraordinary, majestic beings contributed to elephant society, genetics and natural history. Make no mistake – these once living icons were mowed down in the prime of his life, for the sake of a record book entry. These deaths are not only a travesty on a biological scale, but an indication that humankind’s moral compass is in serious need of realignment.”

Arthur Thomas, Humane Society International/UK public affairs manager, said: “That so few of these incredible elephants survive today is a mark of shame on humanity and that they continue to be killed legally for fun is outrageous. Someday soon the last great tusker will be killed, and future generations will judge those who failed to stop it. Until the UK Government acts on its commitment and bans the import of hunting trophies, we are complicit in this wanton destruction of the natural world.”

Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the States and CEO of Humane Society International, said in her blog: “It is these imposing tusks that make such elephants targets for trophy hunters, who favor rare animals with striking visual features and those who may be riskier to hunt because it makes killing them a bigger thrill with bigger bragging rights. How can we as a global community still allow the wanton slaughter of emotionally complex, intelligent and rare animals simply for the chance to boast about killing them?”

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Media contact:  Rodi Rosensweig, senior principal strategist in media relations:rrosensweig@humanesociety.org ; +1 202-809-8711.

Country’s leading animal protection charities urge prime minister: ‘Save the Animals Abroad Bill’

Humane Society International / United Kingdom


Kristo Muurimaa/Oikeutta Elaimille

LONDON—New U.K. national polling from the #DontBetrayAnimals campaign, backed by a group of 14 of the country’s leading animal protection charities including Humane Society International/UK, shows British voters want to see the government deliver on its promise to protect animals. Polling comes almost exactly a year since publication of the government’s Action Plan for Animal Welfare, and amid rumours No.10 is considering abandoning the Animals Abroad Bill, which includes fur and foie gras bans.

Almost three quarters (72%) of respondents want to see this government pass more laws designed to improve animal welfare and protect animals from cruelty, and over three quarters (77%) want to see the government ban the importation of animal products where the production methods are already banned in the UK, including fur. Fewer than one in 10 respondents disagree that such an import ban should be introduced.

The campaigners are calling on the government to respond to the public’s wishes and include the Animals Abroad Bill in the upcoming Queen’s Speech. The new seat-by-seat MRP analysis of the polling illustrates the political, as well as moral, imperative for doing so.

If the government fails to deliver on its commitments to animals, as set out in its May 2021 Action Plan for Animal Welfare, this will be at odds with voters’ interests, as illustrated by the poll highlights, which estimate:

  • Almost three quarters (73%) of voters in seats held by cabinet ministers want to see the government pass more laws to protect animals.
  • Support for banning fur and other cruel imports is even higher in cabinet members’ constituencies (79%) than the national average.
  • Passing laws to protect animals is a doorstep issue for supporters of every major political party – only Brexit Party voters registered less than majority support, although almost half (48%) still support more laws to improve animal welfare.
  • Crucially, almost three quarters (72%) of voters in 20 of Conservative seats identified as the most marginally held want to see the government pass more laws to protect animals.
  • Constituencies in the former Red Wall (constituencies which historically tend to support the Labour Party), also showed strong support for animal protection legislation, with seven in 10 (70%) voters supporting import bans on low welfare products such as fur.

The poll also revealed consistent support for animal protection across a range of voter demographics:

  • Support for the government to pass more laws to improve animal welfare is equally high amongst all household social grades (AB: 71%, C1:72%, C2:72%, DE:71%). Support for banning the importation of animal products like fur is highest amongst AB household respondents (79%), but not significantly lower amongst DE households (74%).
  • Only 8% of women and 12% of men disagreed with the idea that the government should ban the importation of animal products like fur.
  • Support for the government to pass more animal protection laws is marginally higher amongst rural respondents (73%) than urban respondents (72%). Likewise, rural support for banning low animal welfare product imports like fur is slightly higher (80%) than urban support (76%).

The MRP analysis of the results challenge the narrative that the wants and needs of city dwellers are drastically at odds with rural residents, with the constituency of North East Somerset (76%) almost equally aligned with Islington North (75%) when it comes to wanting to see the government pass more legislation to protect animals.

The constituency of North East Somerset was found in the poll to have the joint eighth highest level of support for a ban on the importation of cruel animal products such as fur (North East Somerset; 83%), exceeding that of Islington North (80%).

The government needs to act fast to deliver what the electorate wants—by including the Animals Abroad Bill in the upcoming Queen’s Speech and fulfilling promises to legislate to protect animals it made in both its manifesto and Action Plan for Animal Welfare, including banning live exports.

Claire Bass, executive director of Humane Society International/UK, said: “Our new poll leaves no doubt that we’re a nation of animal lovers, and that the British public expect the government to deliver more animal protection laws. In terms of showing it is in tune with public opinion, banning the importation of cruelly produced products, such as fur and foie gras, is an open goal for Number 10. We urge Boris Johnson to ensure that the forthcoming Queen’s Speech delivers on the Conservative’s 2019 manifesto promise to better protect animals, both at home and abroad.”

Jessica Terry, World Animal Protection UK external affairs manager, said: “The government has repeatedly promised to introduce the Animals Abroad Bill, however we are yet to see any action. Through this bill, the prime minister promised to end the horrors of trophy hunting and cruel animal entertainment and we will continue to speak up until this legislation is passed. All animals deserve happy and healthy lives.”

Sonul Badiani-Hamment, FOUR PAWS UK country director said: “It is clear from this new polling that there is overwhelming public support for greater protection for animals, across political divides. We are almost a year on from the Action Plan for Animal Welfare and have had nothing but empty promises from the government. We urge the prime minister to seize the opportunity of the Queen’s Speech to save the Animals Abroad Bill, and urgently bring forward bans on fur, foie gras and trophy hunting imports in the next parliamentary session. With this legislation, the UK Government has a unique chance to assert its global leadership in animal welfare, sending a clear message that animal cruelty will neither be tolerated nor imported.”

Emma Slawinski, RSPCA director of policy & communications, said: “The Queen’s Speech will be an acid test of the government’s true commitment to honouring the animal welfare pledges it has made to the public. Its foot-dragging over the Animals Abroad Bill has been shameful, particularly in light of the new research showing such huge public appetite for legislation to protect animals.

“Announcing a ban on foie gras and fur imports as part of the Animals Abroad Bill on May 10 would be a good start and an opportunity for the government to demonstrate that rather than outsourcing animal cruelty, it really is committed to a better deal for animals. It would also be a strong signal that the government intends to keep its word on other animal welfare legislation, such as the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill in the future.”

James West, senior policy manager at Compassion in World Farming, said: “Compassion in World Farming warmly welcomed the publication of the Action Plan for Animal Welfare, including proposals to ban live exports for slaughter and fattening and ending the import or sale of foie gras. Despite the encouraging words offered by the government, one year on we have seen little progress – the Kept Animals Bill has not been in parliament since November, and the foie gras ban is at risk of being completely dropped. This polling highlights the fact that people expect the government to now keep its promises and progress both the Kept Animals and Animals Abroad Bills with urgency in the next parliamentary session.”

ENDS

Media contact: Wendy Higgins, HSI director of international media: whiggins@hsi.org

Notes to editors

  • Groups backing the #DontBetrayAnimals campaign are: Animal Aid, Animal Equality UK, Born Free Foundation, Compassion in World Farming, FOUR PAWS UK, Humane Society International/UK, The Humane League UK, League Against Cruel Sports, LUSH, Naturewatch Foundation, PETA UK, RSPCA, Save The Asian Elephants, World Animal Protection UK.
  • The polling was run on the Focaldata platform. Data was collected from a nationally representative sample of 10,018 adults between 11th and 20th April 2022. Using the polling data, Focaldata completed a constituency-level analysis using MRP modelling.
  • Over three quarters (77%) of voters think UK Government should ban the importation of animal products, such as fur, where farming and production methods are banned in the UK, including:
    • 82% of women and 72% of men
    • 61% of 18 – 24 year olds, 73% of 25-36 year olds, 76% 35 – 44 year olds, 82% of 45 – 54 year olds, 82% 55 – 64 year olds, 81% of 65+ year olds
  • The MRP polling analysis estimates support amongst:
    • over three quarters (78%) of the 10, 15 and 20 most marginal Conservative-held seats
    • almost three quarters (74%) of Red Wall voters
    • over three quarters (79%) of voters in the Cabinet’s constituencies
  • Fifteen cabinet members with 80%+ support are: Dominic Raab, Liz Truss, Sajid Javid, Kwasi Kwarteng, Alok Sharma, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, Therese Coffey, Nadhim Zahawi, George Eustice, Brandon Lewis, Chris Heaton-Harris, Suella Braverman, Kit Malthouse, Michelle Donelan and Jacob Rees-Mogg.
  • Almost three quarters (72%) of voters would like to see the UK Government pass more laws designed to improve animal welfare and protect animals from cruelty, including:
    • 75% of women and 69% of men
    • 66% of 18 – 24 year olds, 75% of 25 – 34 year olds, 74% of 35 – 44 year olds, 74% of 45 – 55 year olds, 73% of 55 – 64 year olds, 69% of 65+ years old
  • The MRP polling analysis estimates support amongst:
    • Over three quarters (72%) of the 1-0,15 and 20 most marginal Conservative held seats
    • Almost three quarters (70%) of Red Wall voters
    • Almost three quarters (72%) of voters in the Cabinet’s constituencies

Humane Society International/Europe warns of pets being abandoned because some travel companies refuse their transport

Humane Society International / Europe


Giovanni Tesei Photography

BRUSSELS—Travel companies are urged by Humane Society International/Europe to provide safe, pet-friendly passage for Ukrainian refugees travelling with their animals, to avoid cats, dogs and others being abandoned at bus or airplane terminals due to being refused travel.

The animal protection charity’s teams in Poland and Romania were alerted that refugees attempting to travel further into the EU are faced with the impossible decision to leave their pets behind due to pet transport obstacles and restrictions. HSI/Europe has reached out to 75 leading European transport companies whose services are used by Ukrainian refugees, with an appeal to remove the barriers for a safe pet-friendly passage.

Ruud Tombrock, executive director of HSI/Europe, says: “With many European travel companies refusing to let Ukrainian refugees travel with their animals, we’re seeing a worrying number of cats and dogs being left behind at local shelters, charities and with relatives, or even released near airports or bus stations. This agonising dilemma unnecessarily adds to the stress that refugees are already enduring, because their companion animals are beloved members of their extended family. It also puts additional pressure on local charities and authorities, who have to find a solution for the animals coming from Ukraine. HSI/Europe has reached out to transport companies across Europe asking them to do everything within their power and resources to help Ukrainian refugees with pets gain access to planes and buses. Several leading companies have responded and are doing great work to make travel pet friendly. However, more transport companies must step in to ensure that no one fleeing Ukraine is needlessly separated from their companion animal.”

The appeal is addressed to freight forwarders, cargo handlers, shippers and other stakeholders in the transport industry in addition to bus and airline companies. HSI/Europe is urging them to:

  • Ease the procedures and restrictions for taking animals on board.
  • Inform and empower their staff to make safe pet-friendly decisions.
  • Reduce or waive the fees for transporting animals.
  • Increase the number of animals permitted on board and provide pet carriers to passengers who need them.

Airlines, bus and train companies that do not transport pets can also help by stating their policies and regulations clearly on their websites, and by providing free phone support in multiple languages.

A growing number of airline, bus and freight companies have already responded positively, showing that safe pet-friendly passage of Ukrainian refugees is possible. HSI is collaborating with LOT Polish Airlines to provide pet crates and pet transport for free for passengers holding Ukrainian nationality for LOT flights departing from Warsaw and Krakow between May 1-31, 2022. The free pet transport is for cats, dogs and ferrets travelling with the owner in the cabin, or in the baggage hold. The airline is also taking more pets on board. KLM and Bulgaria Air also offer free pet transport. The Polish bus company Szwagropol, and Europe’s largest long-distance bus service FlixBus—which also manages Eurolines in Romania, Italy, Spain and France—will allow pets on board and empowers staff to adapt procedures when safe to do so. Professional pet shippers IMG and Budapest Vet Cargo are providing free advice and support for obtaining the necessary travel documentation and vaccinations. Positive reactions are lacking from budget airlines.

More than 5.8 million Ukrainians have left their country since the start of the war, many bringing along their beloved companion animals. Authorities and nonprofit organizations in neighboring countries are facing huge pressure to care for the refugees and pets. The travel industry can facilitate by ensuring refugees and their pets can continue their journey to safety together.

ENDS

Reference in this press release to any specific commercial brand, trade, firm or corporation name is for the information of the public only, and does not constitute or imply endorsement by Humane Society International or any of its affiliates.

Media contact: Yavor Gechev, communications director for HSI/Europe: ygechev@hsi.org

 

Humane Society International / Europe


HSI

BERLIN—Humane Society International supports the announcement by Environment Minister Steffi Lemke to restrict the import of hunting trophies from protected animal species to Germany. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature Ethics Specialist Group recently called on the German government in a letter to end the practice of trophy hunting imports for ethical, ecological and legal reasons. This prompted 14 animal and species protection associations, including Humane Society International, to call again for a ban on the import of hunting trophies of protected species. Iconic wildlife expert and United Nations Messenger of Peace Jane Goodall also supported this call to action and spoke out against trophy hunting of protected species.

“The announcement by the German Environment Minister is an important signal also at the EU level for more animal and species protection,” said Ruud Tombrock, executive director of HSI/Europe. “The reaction of the hunting lobby to this paradigm shift is disappointing. It is significant that false myths that have been scientifically disproven are repeated by big game hunters.”

Prof. Klaus Bosselmann, chair emeritus of the Ethics Specialist Group of the IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law, who is one of the authors of the letter to  Minister Lemke, reacted to the minister’s statement and said: “Trophy hunting unnecessarily threatens the survival and genetic integrity of protected species in the midst of the current crisis of the sixth mass species extinction. It is overdue that Germany, as the largest importer of hunting trophies in the EU, takes action. We congratulate the Environment Minister Steffi Lemke on this important step for a sustainable and ethical protection of species.”

Sylvie Kremerskothen Gleason, HSI in Germany’s country director, said: “Trophy hunting of protected species is done by a small group who does not want to give up privileges from colonial times. The fact is that the local population does not significantly benefit from trophy hunting and most of the money from the multi-million dollar business goes into the pockets of the hunting organizers. It is now important that the minister continues down this new path guided by scientific facts and ethical considerations. The trophy hunters’ transparent vote-baiting exposes their real interests in trophy hunting which benefits neither the species, the environment nor the local population.”

In 2021 Humane Society International launched its global campaign against the import of hunting trophies of protected species. Several European countries have already committed to stop the import of hunting trophies: France and the Netherlands have had import restrictions on certain hunting trophies since 2015 and 2016; the United Kingdom has committed to one of the strongest trophy import bans in the world; and Belgium, Italy, Poland, Spain and other countries are currently considering concrete legislative initiatives and resolutions against such imports.

The position that the German Environment Ministry has taken is in line with a political movement to end this cruel practice of killing animals for the sake of a trophy that threatens the survival of many wild species.

Background information:

  • Humane Society International/Europe’s report “Trophy Hunting by the Numbers: The European Union’s role in global trophy hunting” reveals the extent of Germany’s involvement in the global trophy hunting industry. Between 2014 and 2020, more than 5,400 trophies of internationally protected animals were imported into Germany. EU-wide, Germany ranks first with these imports. Viewed globally, Germany is the second largest importer of hunting trophies of protected species behind the United States.
  • The Netherlands banned trophies of over 200 species in 2016.
  • France banned imports of lion trophies in 2015.
  • The United Kingdom has committed to one to one of the world’s strongest policies banning the import of hunting trophies of over 7,000 protected species.
  • In Belgium, Italy, Poland, Spain and other countries, there are currently concrete legislative initiatives and resolutions against corresponding imports.
  • According to a 2021 representative survey, an overwhelming majority of Germans (89%) oppose the import of hunting trophies.

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Press contact: Eva-Maria Heinen, communications and PR manager in Italy and Germany, Humane Society International/Europe: presse@hsi-europe.org;  +49 (0)160 94491788

 

Humane Society International/Korea says taskforce is vital to “close this miserable chapter in South Korea’s history”

Humane Society International / South Korea


Jean Chung for HSI Dogs are shown locked in a cage at a dog meat farm in Hongseong, South Korea. The operation is part of HSI’s efforts to fight the dog meat trade throughout Asia.

SEOUL—The South Korean government taskforce deliberating a ban on the country’s dog meat industry has announced a delay of two months in publishing its recommendations. Humane Society International/Korea, which has rescued more than 2,500 dogs from South Korea’s dog meat industry, says opinion polls show public support for ending the industry, with nearly 84% of South Koreans not eating dog, and almost 60% favoring a ban.

Lola Webber, Humane Society International’s End Dog Meat campaign director, says: “With more than one million dogs a year needlessly suffering for a meat that hardly anyone eats, and with so many dog farmers struggling to make a living in light of dwindling consumer demand, we hope that the taskforce will deliver a bold plan to close this miserable chapter in South Korea’s history. As a candidate, President-elect Yoon Seok-yeol pledged support for ending dog meat provided there is social consensus, and opinion polls show we’ve reached a tipping point in public opinion, so we hope to see that momentum for change reflected when the taskforce makes its recommendations.”

The taskforce was established last year to assess social consensus after President Moon Jae-in suggested the time is right to consider a ban. President-elect Yoon has three cats and four dogs, including Tori the rescued Jindo, a breed typically found on dog meat farms.

Since 2015, HSI/Korea’s Models for Change program has helped dog farmers in South Korea transition to new, more humane and profitable livelihoods such as chili plant and parsley growing or water truck delivery. Most of the farmers involved experience mounting societal, family and financial pressure to get out of farming dogs. With growing concern for animal welfare, and over six million pet dogs now living in Korean homes, demand for dog meat has dwindled. HSI/Korea has permanently closed 17 dog meat farms and rescued more than 2,500 dogs who find adoptive homes in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom with a small number rehomed in South Korea.

Dog meat facts:

  • Although most people in South Korea don’t eat dog, the belief that dog meat soup will cool the body and build stamina during the hot summer, particularly during Bok Nal season across July and August, still holds with some, especially the older generation.
  • Most dogs slaughtered for meat in South Korea are killed by electrocution although some are also hanged.
  • Dog meat is banned (with varying degrees of enforcement) in Hong Kong, Taiwan, the Philippines, India, Thailand and Singapore, as well as the cities of Shenzhen and Zhuhai in mainland China and Siem Reap province in Cambodia. In Indonesia, 14 cities, regions or regencies have banned dog meat: Karanganyar, Sukohrajo, Salatiga city, Malang, Semarang city, Semarang Regency, Blora Regency, Brebes Regency, Purbalingga Regency, Magelang city, Jepara, Blitar city, Mojokerto city and Mojokerto Regency. Despite these growing bans, an estimated 30 million dogs a year are still killed for meat across Asia.

Download photos/video of HSI/Korea’s dog meat farm closure program in action.

ENDS

Media contact: Wendy Higgins, director international media: whiggins@hsi.org

Humane Society International / Global


Ralph wins webby
HSI

WASHINGTON, DC—Save Ralph, the star-studded anti-animal testing film by Humane Society International that became a viral sensation last year, has been named best Public Service & Activism (Branded) video in the 26th Annual Webby Awards in both juried and people’s voice categories. The stop-motion animated short film was produced in several languages with the help of an A-list international voice cast to support Humane Society International’s campaign to ban cosmetic testing on animals worldwide.

“We are thrilled that Save Ralph has received two Webby Awards. This prestigious recognition is an honor and a testament to Ralph’s powerful message regarding the cruel reality of animal testing. We are very grateful to The Webby Awards for this high-profile opportunity to keep the issue in the global spotlight,” said Donna Gadomski, HSI senior director of external affairs and Save Ralph executive producer.

The film features HSI’s spokesbunny Ralph, as he goes through his daily routine as a “tester” in a lab—using the story of one bunny to shine a light on the plight of countless rabbits and other animals suffering in laboratories around the world, engaging citizens to become part of the solution. The English-language film features a star-studded cast including Oscar winner Taika Waititi as Ralph, along with Ricky Gervais, Zac Efron, Olivia Munn, Pom Klementieff and Tricia Helfer. #SaveRalph was also produced in French, Portuguese, Spanish and Vietnamese, and subtitled in multiple other languages, to support HSI’s efforts to reach the hearts and minds of consumers and lawmakers in Canada, Brazil, Chile, Europe, Mexico, Southeast Asia, South Korea and beyond. The film was written and directed by Spencer Susser and produced by Jeff Vespa and the Arch Model studio of puppet-maker supreme Andy Gent.

“Save Ralph has set the standard for innovation and creativity on the Internet,” said Claire Graves, executive director of The Webby Awards. “This award is a testament to the skill, ingenuity, and vision of its creators.”

“#SaveRalph has had a tremendous impact on Humane Society International’s efforts to promote a future without animal testing,” said Troy Seidle, HSI vice president of research and toxicology and Save Ralph executive producer. “This film has motivated millions of people around the world to support legal reforms in their countries, propelling Mexico to become the first North American country to ban cosmetic testing on animals, and helping advance our efforts in multiple major economies. We’re excited that the Webby recognition may help continue this momentum.”

As a Webby winner, #SaveRalph will be honored in a star-studded show at Cipriani Wall Street on Monday, May 16. Winners will have an opportunity to deliver one of The Webby Awards’ famous 5-Word Speeches. Past 5-Word Speeches include Steve Wilhite’s “It’s Pronounced “Jif” not ‘Gif’; NASA’s “Houston We Have A Webby”, and Solange’s “I Got Five On It.”

ENDS

Media contact: Cassie Bodin-Duval, international coordinator in media relations: cbodinduval@hsi.org

Naturalist Chris Packham joins Humane Society International/UK in celebrating ban

Humane Society International / United Kingdom


CreativeNature_nl/iStock.com

LONDON—The public’s use of glue traps to catch mice and rats will be banned across England after a government-backed Private Members Bill received unanimous support during its third and final reading today in the House of Lords. The ban has been welcomed by animal charity Humane Society International/UK, which led the “Unstuck” campaign to end the public use of the “inhumane, indiscriminate and indefensible” glue boards, which immobilise the small mammals in strong adhesive in which they can suffocate, rip off skin and fur and break their limbs in desperate efforts to escape.

Despite their potential to cause prolonged and extreme animal suffering, glue traps are currently widely sold to the public in DIY and corner shops, as well as online, for as little as 99p. The traps also pose a serious risk to other species, with numerous reports each year of animals—including protected and endangered species like hedgehogs, wild birds and bats, and even pet cats—being caught and suffering often fatal injuries.

The legislation contains a limited exemption for so-called “pest” control operatives to apply to the Secretary of State for a licence to use a glue trap, which may be granted where there is “no other satisfactory solution” and where the action is required for “the purpose of preserving public health or safety”. The exemption mirrors that of the 2015 glue trap ban in New Zealand, where glue trap licences have fallen year on year since the ban’s introduction, with no approvals for use in 2021.

Claire Bass, executive director of Humane Society International/UK, said: “Glue traps are crude devices that cause horrific suffering to millions of animals. It is absolutely right that their public use will be banned, and we hope this will precipitate their removal from sale by retailers since it will be illegal for their customers to use them. It is immoral to subject small, sentient wildlife to being immobilised on these sticky boards, only to suffocate in the glue, die slowly of their injuries, or be ineptly killed by unprepared members of the public who resort to drowning or throwing them in the rubbish while still alive. The licensing regime for glue trap use by the ‘pest’ control industry will need to be strictly managed to ensure that these cruel products are no longer casually used with impunity.”

Once the Bill receives Royal Assent, the new law will make it an offence in England for a member of the public or any “pest” controller without a licence to set a glue trap to either deliberately or accidentally catch a rodent, with a fine and/or up to 51 weeks in prison. Discovering a glue trap but failing, without reasonable excuse, to ensure it is disabled will also constitute an offence.

Naturalist and campaigner Chris Packham, who supported HSI/UK’s Unstuck campaign, joined the charity in welcoming the ban, saying: “When wildlife, like mice and rats, are successful at living alongside humans, we label them ‘pests’ or ‘vermin’ and seem to think that’s a green light to completely disregard their welfare. Glue traps are a prime example of this. That attitude has to change. I commend HSI/UK on their Unstuck campaign victory and I’m delighted that cruel and unnecessary glue traps will now be taken out of public use, prompting a more compassionate and also effective approach to dealing with unwanted wildlife. This law is great news for mice and rats, but also for the many unintended victims who get stuck in the glue, such as delicate birds, grass snakes, frogs and hedgehogs.”

Conservative MP Jane Stevenson, who sponsored the Bill, said: “I am absolutely thrilled that my Glue Traps Bill has passed its Third Reading, meaning it will soon receive Royal Assent and become law. The banning of the use of glue traps by the general public is another step forward in the strengthening of animal welfare legislation in England, and I want to thank everyone involved in making this happen. The use of glue traps is cruel and barbaric, and has often led to animals not intended to be caught in these traps dying in the most inhumane way. Together with ministers at Defra and organisations such as HSI/UK, the RSPCA and others, I am pleased to have made a positive difference.”

HSI/UK advocates an ethical approach to wildlife management, addressing the root cause of problems through human behaviour change strategies and wildlife control and mitigation measures that are humane, with lethal interventions used only as a last resort to protect public health and safety. As well as being inhumane, killing animals like mice and rats typically does not offer a permanent solution to the problems their presence might cause, whereas measures such as removing food sources and blocking up access holes are effective in addressing such situations.

The ban will come into effect in England two years after receiving Royal Assent. In Scotland, the government made a commitment in January this year to ban glue traps following a review by the Scottish Animal Welfare Commission, and the Welsh government has also been seeking stakeholder views on a possible ban.

ENDS 

Media contact: Wendy Higgins, director of international media: whiggins@hsi.org

Humane Society International / South Korea


Ralph and syringe
HSI

SEOUL—On this World Day for Animals in Laboratories, Humane Society International/Korea is releasing a Korean version of its stop-motion animated short film #SaveRalph to rally citizen and political support for the passage of a groundbreaking new law to advance animal-free approaches in science and product testing.

Act on the Promotion of Development, Dissemination and Use of Alternatives to Animal Testing (PAAM Act). The proposed law is the Act on the Promotion of Development, Dissemination and Use of Alternatives to Animal Testing Methods (PAAM Act) introduced by National Assembly member In-soon Nam, stipulates setting up a strategic legal system to prioritize the development and implementation of animal-free approaches  to support advancements in medicine and consumer safety without harming animals.

Featuring an international cast of A-list celebrities including Zac Efron and Taika Waititi, #SaveRalph shines a light on the suffering animals endure in laboratories and engages consumers and policymakers in HSI’s mission to promote science without suffering.

Korean government statistics reveal that 4.14 million animals were used for testing in 2020, yet according to a public opinion survey by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, 70.9% of respondents agreed to the need for an increased effort to replace animal testing in medical and scientific research. A similar survey by Realmeter on behalf of HSI/Korea found that 81.6% of Koreans agreed to the need for legislative support to develop and disseminate alternatives to animal testing.

HSI/Korea senior policy manager Borami Seo said: “Save Ralph is a wake-up call for the public and policymakers that animals are still suffering in the name of science, and we have a  responsibility to do better. Whether it’s testing to assess consumer safety or to study human disease, innovative technologies can simulate human biology more accurately than experiments on rodents, dogs or other animals. We are living in an era that celebrates innovation, and it’s time for Korean research and central ministries to commit to a future without animal testing.”

Additionally, from April 27-29, a #SaveRalph exhibition will be held at the National Assembly, co-organized by Assembly member In-soon Nam and HSI/Korea.

Watch Save Ralph with Korean subtitles and sign the petition online and at Lush Korea shops across Korea.

ENDS

Media contact: Borami Seo, senior policy manager in research and toxicology: bseo@hsi.org

 

Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment’s decision to allow issuing quotas to trophy hunt 10 leopard, 10 black rhinoceros and 150 African elephants is suspended by the court

Humane Society International / Africa


Simon Eeman/Alamy

CAPE TOWN—The High Court of the Western Cape has handed down judgment in the application for an interim interdict against the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment’s (DFFE) 2022 hunting and export quotas for leopard, black rhino and elephant. The application for relief was brought by animal protection organization Humane Society International/Africa and was first heard in Court on 18 March 2022. The judgment handed down on 21 April 2022 confirms that, on the face of it, the 2022 trophy hunting quotas, as issued by the DFFE’s Minister Barbara Creecy, may be arguably invalid and unlawful – which will be determined in Part B of the court case.

The court held that interim relief be granted on two bases:

  1. The DFFE was not permitted to defer the fixed trophy hunting quotas for the year 2021 onto the year 2022. The deferral was not authorized nor contemplated under respective regulations relating to the international trade of these species, and it also violated the common law principle of legitimate expectation and was thus capable of review under the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act (PAJA).
  2. The DFFE failed to comply with the consultative process prescribed by the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act 10 of 2004 (NEMBA) when making the quota decision in that the requisite public participation conditions were not met, the quota announcement was not published in the Government Gazette, and the Minister may not issue a quota for trophy hunting and export of elephant, black rhino or leopard without valid non-detriment findings.

The judgement also addresses the issues of irreparable harm and balance of convenience. The judgement asserts that if the relief is not granted, 170 animals will be killed during 2022, however, if the interdict is granted, those animals will be spared death pending the hearing of the review. If the review is found to be successful but the animals were killed, their populations may be irreversibly affected, the welfare of those individual animals will have been harmed and the rights claimed above will have been lost.

The only inconvenience to the Minister is that permits will not be issued, pending the hearing of the review. That does not mean that the financial considerations flowing therefrom are lost. If the review fails, the quota will still stand and can be implemented. “If the review is unsuccessful, the desire of the fortunate few who can afford to hunt protected animals exclusively for the purpose of transporting their trophies for display overseas will not have been lost, only delayed”, said Judge Gamble.

Tony Gerrans, executive director for Humane Society International/Africa, says: “Humane Society International welcomes the High Court’s ruling. The relief ordered provides us with the rightful opportunity to fully review the Minister’s Record of Decision in terms of which the quota allocations were determined. This data needs to be considered before such an impactful decision can be made. We are thankful that the High Court recognizes that the killing of our threatened, vulnerable and critically endangered wildlife cannot continue while this matter is heard.”

The interim relief granted means that: 1) the DFFE’s decision to allocate a hunting and export quota for elephant, black rhinoceros and leopard for the calendar year of 2022 is interdicted from being implemented or given effect to in any way; 2) the DFFE is interdicted from publishing in the Government Gazette or in any other way issuing a quota for the hunting and/or export of these species; and 3) the DFFE is interdicted from issuing any permit for the hunting and export of these species, until the matter is reviewed on the merits

Species and trophy hunting facts:

  • The leopard is listed as vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.
  • The African elephant is listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
  • The black rhino is listed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
  • study detailing South Africa’s role in the international trade in hunting trophies of mammal species listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) during the most recent five-year period for which data are available (2014-2018) demonstrated that:
    • South Africa is the second largest exporter of hunting trophies of CITES-listed mammal species globally, exporting 16% of the global total of hunting trophies; 4,204 on average per year.
    • South Africa is the biggest exporter of CITES-listed mammal species in Africa. South Africa exported 50% more trophies than Africa’s second largest exporter Namibia, and more than three times that of Africa’s third largest exporter, Zimbabwe.
    • Between 2014 and 2018 South Africa exported:
      • 574 African leopard trophies, or 115 per year on average. 98% of African leopard trophies exported from South Africa were wild source, while 2% were bred in captivity.
      • 1,337 African elephant trophies, or 268 per year on average, virtually all wild sourced. 47% of the total were exported to the United States.
      • 21 black rhino trophies, or five per year on average, all wild sourced.
    • About 83% of trophies exported from South Africa are captive-bred animals or non-native species, and native species with neither a national conservation management plan nor adequate data on their wild populations or the impact of trophy hunting on them. This data challenges the assertion that trophy hunting is critical to in situ conservation.
    • The top five species exported as trophies from South Africa are African lion (mostly captive), chacma baboon, southern lechwe (captive, non-native), caracal and vervet monkey. The most common captive-source species exported from South Africa between 2014 – 2018 was the African lion, comprising 58% of the total number of captive-source trophies exported.
    • Most (90%) trophies exported from South Africa originated in South Africa.
    • 68% of trophies exported from South Africa were from wild-sourced animals, while 32% were from captive animals –19% bred in captivity and 13% were born in captivity.
    • The top ten importing countries of South African wildlife trophies are:

 

Importing country  Percent of total 
United States 54%
Spain 5%
Russia 4%
Denmark 3%
Canada 3%
Mexico 2%
Germany 2%
Hungary 2%
Sweden 2%
France 2%
  • The 2022 Good Governance Africa report entitled “Trophy Hunting in South Africa: Is it worth it? An evaluation of South Africa’s policy decision to elevate trophy hunting as a key conservation tool” asserts that “the government’s apparent commitment to trophy hunting neither considers the opportunity costs associated with the practice nor its negative externalities”. It adds that whilst trophy hunting may generate some economic benefit, it is hardly enough to substantiate the overall harms that it does or to promote it as a conservation benefitting mechanism.

ENDS

Media contact: Leozette Roode, HSI/Africa media and communications specialist, LRoode@hsi.org,  +27 (0)71 360 1104

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