158 glass frog species and 95 species of sharks and guitarfishes receive new protection; international trade in hippo parts for commercial purposes will continue

Humane Society International / Global


The HSUS

PANAMA—The 19th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora—known as CITES—is concluding today. Delegates from the 184 member countries considered 42 proposals to increase or decrease protections for 3 species of wild animals during the past two weeks in Panama.

345 wild animal species will now have new or increased protection from international trade. Sharks, guitarfish rays, stingrays, glass frogs, lizards, turtles and birds are among the animals who benefitted from the meeting. The Parties also agreed to reduce by 610 the number of leopard hunting trophies and skins for personal use that can be exported from a list of African parties. At the request of Kenya, Malawi and Ethiopia, Ethiopia’s annual export quota for leopards was slashed from 500 to 20 and Kenya and Malawi were entirely removed from leopard export quota allocations. In addition, the participating nations refused to adopt dangerous proposals that would have opened international trade in horns of southern white rhino and African elephant ivory.

Of the greatest disappointments is the failure of the Parties to increase protection of hippos by ending the legal international trade in hippo parts, mainly their ivory teeth, for commercial purposes. The European Union, which cast its 27 votes against the proposal, ignored the pleas of hippo range nations for help and left open this avenue actively used by wildlife traffickers.

“Ninety-five species of sharks and guitarfishes received new protection on CITES Appendix II,” said Rebecca Regnery, senior director for wildlife at Humane Society International. “These species are threatened by the unsustainable and unregulated fisheries that supply the international trade in their meat and fins, which has driven extensive population declines. With Appendix II listing, CITES Parties can allow trade only if it is not detrimental to the survival of the species in the wild, giving these species help they need to recover from over-exploitation.”

“Glass frogs received new protection on CITES Appendix II,” said Grettel Delgadillo, deputy director for Humane Society International/Latin America. “Glass frogs will finally receive the protection they badly need, in face of the horrific, increasing and often illegal international pet trade. It was crucial that all 158 species of glass frogs were included in Appendix II since it is difficult to distinguish the species of glass frogs in trade. The listing will keep these highly sought-after and threatened frogs safe from the international wildlife trade.”

“At the request of Kenya, Malawi and Ethiopia, the parties agreed to significantly reduce, by 610 leopards per year, those countries’ quotas for exports of leopard hunting trophies and skins for personal use, eliminating Kenya and Malawi’s quotas altogether,” said Sarah Veatch, director of wildlife policy at Humane Society International. “This is significant because leopard populations have declined 30% over the last three generations in sub-Saharan Africa—contrary to consistent overestimations by many pro-hunting range countries—and we are missing adequate data to truly understand the extent of the leopard’s plight. Excessive trophy hunting quotas based on foreign hunting interests—not science—are adding dangerous pressure on leopards who are also threatened by habitat loss and other factors. While we applaud this step taken at CITES this week to protect these iconic animals, Parties still have more work to do in zeroing out leopard export quotas for all countries if we are to protect this beautiful species from disappearing.”

“We are severely disappointed that the parties did not adopt a proposal to halt the tragic, legal international trade in hippo ivory and other parts for commercial purposes,” said Sophie Nazeri, program coordinator of wildlife for Humane Society International. “The common hippopotamus is threatened by poaching for their ivory teeth which are laundered into the legal hippo ivory trade. Unfortunately, the parties, especially the European Union which cast its 27 votes against the proposal, ignored the pleas of hippo range states for help and have left open this dangerous, cruel avenue used by wildlife traffickers. Humane Society International will continue to fight for the protection of this incredible species.”

CITES members increased or provided new protection for:

  • 95 shark species, including 54 species of requiem sharks, the bonnethead shark, three species of hammerhead shark and 37 species of guitarfishes, traded internationally for their fins and meat.
  • Seven species of freshwater stingrays and the zebra pleco traded internationally in the aquarium fish trade.
  • 160 amphibian species including 158 species of glass frogs, the lemur leaf frog and the Laos warty newt, traded internationally as exotic pets.
  • 52 turtle species including the Amazon matamata turtle, the Orinoco matamata turtle, the alligator snapping turtle, common snapping turtle, five species of broad-headed map turtles, the red-crowned roof turtle, the Indochinese box turtle, nine species of neotropical wood turtles, the narrow-bridged musk turtle, 19 species of mud turtles, the Mexican musk turtle, the giant musk turtle, six other species of musk turtles, three species of American softshell turtles and Leith’s softshell turtle, traded internationally as exotic pets and for their meat and other body parts for human consumption.
  • Two bird species, the white-rumped shama and the straw-headed bulbul, traded internationally for the songbird trade.
  • Three species of sea cucumbers, traded internationally for human consumption.
  • 25 lizard species including the Chinese water dragon, the Jeypore hill gecko, the helmethead gecko, 21 species of horned lizards and the pygmy bluetongue lizard, traded internationally as exotic pets.

Hippo parts images available for download:

 ENDS

Media contact: Rodi Rosensweig: 202-809-8711 (U.S.); rrosensweig@humanesociety.org

HSI/Europe expresses concern about tactics to try to downgrade protections for large carnivores

Humane Society International / Europe


HSI

BRUSSELS—Following a concerted campaign by lobby interests seeking to decrease EU legal protections for large carnivores, the European Parliament has adopted a Resolution on the issue of the protection of livestock farming and large carnivores in Europe at its Plenary session in Strasbourg, proposing significant downgrade to the protection of the latter.

Dr Joanna Swabe, senior director of public affairs for Humane Society International/Europe, says.

“It is deeply depressing that the European Parliament has bowed to the pressure of the animal agriculture and hunting lobby and adopted a Resolution that calls for legal protections for large carnivores, like wolves and bears, to be downgraded. The slight recovery of large carnivore populations does not provide sufficient reason to downgrade legal protections for these species, especially when the EU Habitats Directive includes derogations for management control of species under exceptional circumstances.”

For many months a handful of MEPs, promoting agricultural and hunting interests, have been pushing to get wolves on the political agenda, leading to an internecine struggle between Parliamentary committees on the issue of competence. It has been a fight between those more concerned with protecting human economic interests and those who recognise the importance of preserving native biodiversity. MEPs from groups supporting a balanced joint Motion for a Resolution broke ranks and voted to weaken the text.

HSI/Europe points out that the European Commission has remained steadfast in its position with regard to upholding legal protections for large carnivores and not re-opening the EU Habitats Directive’s Annexes to allow more wolves and bears to be killed. Together with other animal and environmental protection NGOs, HSI/Europe has opposed a Parliamentary Resolution on the issue. Hundreds of wolves are already killed each year in the EU, using the existing exemptions in the Habitats Directive, indicating that there is already considerable flexibility in the implementation of EU legislation. The European Commission has been unequivocal in its position that the EU Habitats Directive is fit for purpose.

Swabe continues:

“The whole Resolution can be regarded as simply an attempt to mollify lobby interest and be seen to do something about wolves. We believe that rather than continually trying to milk this ram, MEPs would be better off accepting that people must learn to coexist with wolves and other large carnivores. They should be rigorously pursuing mitigation strategies to achieve greater coexistence with these animals, who play a vital role in increasing biodiversity, and implementing measures to promptly compensate farmers for their losses when predator attacks sadly do occur. Vilifying wolves and other large carnivores is not helpful; finding better ways to co-exist with them more peaceably is.”

While the current Commission under leadership of Ursula von der Leyen has been consistent in maintaining protections for large carnivores, a new Commission will be installed at the end of 2024. The question is whether a new leadership will maintain the same strong position on protecting biodiversity and the protection of native species, or bow to the pressure of the agricultural lobby.

Facts

  • Wolves are listed in the Annexes of the EU Habitats Directive as either a strictly protected or protected species, depending on the population in question. Hunting permits to kill them can only be granted under exceptional circumstances.
  • The Habitats Directive authorises Member States may use derogations to allow management control provided there is “no satisfactory alternative and the derogation is not harmful to the maintenance of the populations of the species concerned.” These exceptions are meant to stop “serious damage” to livestock and crops, protect the public’s health and safety or for research and education.
  • The Commission recently published a detailed Guidance Document to provide clarification to Member States on how this derogation can be applied.
  • The EU’s LIFE programme has already funded numerous projects to help effectively mitigate human-large carnivore conflicts.
  • State Aid provisions compensate farmers with 100% financial remuneration for losses suffered and costs incurred by predator attacks, but also offer 100% reimbursement for the mitigation measures implemented. The primary issue is that farmers are not always aware of their entitlement to such funds, and Member States are slow in compensating them for their losses.

ENDS

Media contact: Yavor Gechev, Humane Society International/Europe: ygechev@hsi.org; +359889468098

Animal protection charity announces new executive director, as current HSI/UK head Claire Bass steps into a newly created senior position

Humane Society International / United Kingdom


HSI

LONDON—Animal protection organisation Humane Society International/UK has today announced that it has appointed Nick Jones as its new executive director. The move will help HSI to develop and deliver even greater change for animals, both in the UK and around the world.

Jones has a wealth of expertise in charity management and strategic growth, having previously held several senior positions in UK nonprofits including Save the Children and, most recently, as managing director of fundraising, communications and policy at Action for Children. He is also an independent member of the Standards Committee of the Fundraising Regulator of England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

“Too many animals are subjected to cruelty and abuse and I’m inspired by HSI’s work to save lives and improve laws to protect animals,” said Jones. “I am very proud to be joining the HSI team and excited to be part of its mission to end animal suffering in the UK and across the world.”

Claire Bass, who has been executive director of Humane Society International/UK since she joined the organisation in 2014, is stepping into the newly created role of senior director of campaigns and public affairs. Throughout her tenure as executive director, Bass led the organisation to many important victories for animals. In her new position, Bass will continue to increase HSI/UK’s impact, securing more critical campaign successes and furthering legislative animal protection progress.

ENDS

Media contact: Sally Ivens, senior specialist in media and communications for HSI/UK: sivens@hsi.org; (+44) 7590 559299

Owner Mr Hiep works with Humane Society International in Viet Nam to exit the trade and save 18 remaining dogs for adoption

Humane Society International


Chau Doan/AP Images for HSI

HANOI, Viet Nam—The owner of a dog slaughterhouse and dog meat restaurant in Viet Nam, which killed thousands of dogs for human consumption over the past five years, has become the first in the country to take part in a new Models for Change program by animal protection group Humane Society International. The program helps people transition out of the cruel and dangerous dog meat trade.

Forty-year-old Mr Hiep of Thai Nguyen province—a dog meat hotspot—was eager to work with HSI’s team in Viet Nam to permanently close his dog meat business and stop slaughtering dogs, because he believes killing the animals brought his family bad luck. His business was responsible for killing an average of 10-15 dogs every day. HSI and officials from the Departments of Agriculture and of Animal Health were on site to help Mr Hiep close down his slaughter operation and rescue 18 dogs found alive at the property.

HSI’s Models for Change program is coming to Viet Nam after successfully operating in South Korea since 2015, where the HSI has closed down 17 dog meat farms so far, rescuing more than 2,500 dogs and helping dog farmers transition to more sustainable livelihoods such as chili or water parsley growing.

As well as tackling the tremendous animal cruelty associated with the capture, trafficking and slaughter of an estimated five million dogs a year for human consumption across Viet Nam, HSI’s Models for Change program will also provide workers with a way out of a trade that is known to facilitate the spread of the deadly rabies virus in Viet Nam. Rabies kills more than 70 people in Viet Nam each year, according to the World Health Organization, with most cases caused by dog bites, and several verified cases linked to dog slaughter and even dog meat consumption. Last month, authorities in Hanoi reported the death of a man who contracted rabies after slaughtering dogs for meat.

Phuong Tham, Humane Society International’s country director in Viet Nam, said: “We are very proud to bring our Models for Change program to Viet Nam. The dog meat trade is not only unbelievably cruel, but also poses a very grave risk to human health from the transmission of potentially lethal diseases like rabies. Mr Hiep is the first of what we hope will be many more people to leave this dangerous trade behind them, helping the government achieve its goal of eliminating human rabies deaths from dog interactions by 2030. We recognize that many people involved in the dog meat trade are keen to leave due to low profitability, societal and family shame as well as fears of bad karma. We hope our Vietnamese Models for Change program will become a key component of Viet Nam’s strategy to provide industry workers with alternative and economically viable livelihoods, whilst also supporting the government in its efforts to eliminate rabies.”

The 18 dogs rescued, some of whom had been locked up in cages for fattening to reach slaughter weight, were vaccinated against rabies and distemper, and moved to a nearby HSI-supported, temporary care and rehabilitation facility at the Thai Nguyen University of Agriculture and Forestry, to receive necessary medical care before being considered for local and international adoption. Mr Hiep plans to transform his business to sell agricultural services such as crop fertilizer, as well as groceries, green tea, beer and snacks to waiting customers.

Mr Hiep said: “I know in my heart that killing and eating dogs is wrong, and it was becoming harder and harder for me to do it. I am convinced that being part of this trade was bringing my family bad karma, so I am relieved to work with HSI in Viet Nam to end this chapter in my life and start afresh. The risk of spreading rabies through the dog meat trade is something we should all take very seriously, so I feel proud to be standing up for change in my community, and happy to know that the dogs who have been saved will be able to live new lives with families. It’s a good outcome for me, the dogs and my community.”

HSI conducted research in Thai Nguyen and Hanoi to establish that Viet Nam’s dog meat trade is largely supplied through snatching dogs from the streets or stealing pets from private homes. Traders frequently use poison bait such as meatballs laced with cyanide, and catch the dogs using painful taser guns and pincers. Pet theft and the arrest of pet thieves is frequently reported in the Vietnamese media, and devastated pet owners often buy back their beloved companions if they are fortunate enough to locate them after capture. Traders also go village to village by motorbike to purchase dogs from rural communities that occasionally sell “excess” dogs for extra income. Once there is a sufficient number of dogs to fill a truck, they are tightly packed into small cages and driven for hours or even days, many sustaining injuries as well as enduring exhaustion, dehydration, suffocation, heatstroke and even death before the truck reaches its final destination – a slaughterhouse, market or restaurant.

The link between rabies transmission and the dog meat trade has been well established by the World Health Organization, and the virus’s elimination is undermined by continued dog meat trade activities. Studies by the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology demonstrate that a significant percentage of patients in Viet Nam who become infected with the virus after contact with dogs, do so not due to a bite but after killing, butchering or eating dogs. The link between rabies and the dog meat trade is so well established that in 2018 and 2019, authorities in major cities such as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City urged citizens not to consume dog meat to reduce the risk of disease transmission.

Dr. Phan Thi Hong Phuc, dean of animal science and veterinary faculty at Thai Nguyen University of Agriculture and Forestry, said: “Rabies is endemic in Viet Nam, and the dog meat trade is a contributing factor to the spread of this virus to humans. So, we are very pleased to work with HSI in Viet Nam on Models For Change, a first-of-its kind program for our country demonstrating how dog meat trade workers can transition to better, safer livelihoods.”

Dog meat facts:

  • Viet Nam kills more dogs for meat than any other country in Southeast Asia.
  • While the sale and consumption of dog meat is not illegal in Viet Nam, the unregulated trans-provincial movement of dogs has been illegal since 2009, and pet theft was made a punishable offence in 2016. While several cities including Hanoi and Hoi An have pledged to end the trade, enforcement of laws is rare and trucks continue to openly transport hundreds of dogs at a time on national highways.
  • Unlike most other countries across Asia where the majority of citizens don’t eat dog meat, in Viet Nam dog meat —known as thịt chó— remains more popular, and is the go-to dish for special occasions. One recent study of dog meat consumption found that 11% of people in Hanoi and 1.5% of people in Ho Chi Minh City, regularly consume dog meat (at least once/month on average).
  • A belief by some consumers persists—despite no scientific evidence—that dog meat has medicinal properties and can increase male virility.
  • Dogs are usually killed with a knife to the jugular and heart, in full view of other dogs.
  • A 2016-2017 study of dog brain samples from Hanoi slaughterhouses commissioned by Asia Canine Protection Alliance (of which HSI is a member) in partnership with Viet Nam’s National Center for Veterinary Diagnosis showed that one in every 100 dogs had been infected with rabies, which is a high incidence rate.
  • Academic papers published in 2008 and 2011 are among those that establish the connection between the dog meat trade and rabies. Detailed references are available upon request.

Download video and photos of the dog slaughterhouse closure operation.

ENDS

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

As the UN climate convention ends, Humane Society International is encouraged by recognition of food system’s contribution to the climate crisis

Humane Society International / Global


HSI team at COP27. HSI.

SHARM EL SHEIKH, Egypt—Humane Society International is encouraged by the long overdue recognition among climate talk negotiators that food systems not only contribute to the ever-worsening climate crisis but can also serve as a key to mitigating it.

For the first time ever, this year’s climate talks held an official day dedicated to negotiations on food and agriculture. Under the banner of the Food4Climate pavilion, HSI co-organized and hosted three side events that brought together government delegates, policymakers, farmers, businesses, climate activists and community leaders to discuss how we can shift our food systems in a way that is better for animals, people and the planet.

Audiences heard about HSI’s successful work in Latin America, as an example of how government procurement and diet change is not only improving climate emissions, but also giving millions of schoolchildren access to healthy, sustainable and plant-rich food. This is a system that has been shown to work and can be scaled around the world to help countries increase their progress toward reaching climate goals.

However, despite the engagement by a record number of organizations bringing scalable mitigation strategies to the event, animal agriculture continued to remain the proverbial “cow in the room”. Official discussions around food systems sidestepped the critical issue of how we can lower emissions through reducing production and consumption of foods from industrial animal production, which is a leading driver of climate emissions that is on par with all transportation in the world combined. The menus at COP 27 themselves offered a range of resource-intensive animal-based foods.

In addition, when emissions from the livestock sector was discussed, there was increased focus on proposed solutions involving low-impact technical measures, such as feed additives, rather than more ambitious and impactful measures such as dietary shifts and global livestock number reductions. HSI is particularly concerned that the meat industry’s disinformation tactic to maintain the status quo by shifting the discussion away from meat and dairy reduction measures threatens the now barely alive 1.5°C target.

President and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States and CEO of Humane Society International, Kitty Block said: “Even after a productive conference, we cannot ignore that world leaders still failed to make and execute ambitious pledges that address one of the biggest anthropogenic greenhouse gas emitters in the world: animal agriculture. As a global community, we need clear policies and targets that shift farming toward plant-based food production. While it is clear the conversation has started, it is equally apparent the world still has a long way to go—and we are running out of time.”

Although COP27 may be over, the work to combat the impact of intensive animal farming on animals, people and the planet continues. Particularly in countries where the average consumption of animal products is above recommended intakes for planetary and human health, HSI will continue to engage with global leaders on this topic, advocating for policies that focus on shifting diets to more humane and healthier, plant-rich models; that support farmers in transitioning to more resilient, plant-based agriculture; and that foster and promote innovation and growth in the protein landscape.

Stephanie Maw, public affairs and campaigns officer for HSI/United Kingdom, attended the conference, and said: “While there were many conversations at COP27, particularly at the Food4Climate pavilion, about the urgent need for global food system reform, leader negotiations around this topic were disappointingly lacking in ambition. Through our programs around the world, HSI has shown that policies that support a more resilient, plant-centric global food system such as public procurement shifts towards plant-rich models can be achieved successfully and at scale. We leave this COP more determined than ever to inspire global leaders to include concrete measures and tools for supporting diet change in their national action plans and policies.”

Julie Janovsky, vice president of farm animal welfare at HSI said, “UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres correctly told delegates on Nov. 7 that the world was on the ‘highway to climate hell with our foot on the accelerator.’ If we are to achieve the Paris Agreement target of limiting global temperatures to a 1.5˚C increase from pre-industrial levels, we must move past the fantasy that low-impact solutions are merely a tap on the brakes. A global transformation of our food production system, as well as consumption habits, is imperative for human and planetary health. If we are truly serious about reducing our speed, we must stem the increase and ultimately reduce the number of animals globally raised, fed and slaughtered for consumption through a systemic transition to climate-friendly, plant-centric food production and diets.”

Thayana Oliveira, food policy manager at HSI in Brazil, said: “Through our programs together with Mercy for Animals Brazil, HSI is providing practical models of how amending procurement policies at scale can help meet sustainability goals—models that we will use in our continued advocacy for food systems transformation. In the city of Salvador, for example, more than 10 million meals are being transitioned to plant-based every year across the city’s municipal schools. Not only are we providing children with new nutritious, healthy options and saving hundreds of thousands of animals lives every year, but we are also achieving impactful benefits for the environment. Through this program, Salvador is saving an estimated 75,000 tons of CO2-equivalent emissions per year, which is the equivalent of approximately 357 million miles driven by car, to say nothing of the savings in water and land use.”

ENDS

Media contact: Madeline Bove, media relations specialist: mbove@humanesociety.org ; 213-248-1548

Dr. Khan and HSI/UK team up for new short documentary on why a UK hunting trophy import ban is crucial, ahead of key political debate

Humane Society International / United Kingdom


HSI

LONDON—Animal advocate and much-loved TV regular Dr. Amir Khan has joined with animal protection organisation Humane Society International/UK to front a short film exposing the cruelty of the trophy hunting industry. In the film, Khan explains why the UK’s proposed ban on hunting trophy imports—due to be debated by MPs in Parliament next Friday, 25 November—is a vital step towards protecting threatened and endangered species. Alongside Dr. Khan, some of Africa’s most prominent wildlife advocates also speak out in HSI/UK’s film, namely Josphat Ngonyo, executive director of the Africa Network for Animal Welfare, and Lenin Tinashe Chisaira, founder of Advocates4Earth, a Zimbabwe-based environmental organisation.

Around the world, tens of thousands of animals every year are killed by hunters who pay thousands of dollars purely to kill for their own pleasure, often taking photos alongside the dead bodies of the animals they’ve shot and then cutting off their body parts to bring home as souvenirs. In recent years, UK hunters have imported trophies from some of the world’s rarest species, including polar bears, rhinos, African elephants and leopards. A 2021 YouGov poll showed that the overwhelming majority— 82% —of the British public supports a ban on the import of hunting trophies, and the issue is set to be debated in the House of Commons on 25 November during the Second Reading of Henry Smith MP’s Hunting Trophies (Import Prohibition) Bill.

Arthur Thomas, public affairs manager at Humane Society International/UK, said: “Dr. Khan’s film with HSI/UK debunks the trophy hunting industry’s absurd claim that it means to protect the very animals it delights in killing, and shines a light on the corruption, greed and self-interest that really drive this cruel and archaic practice. Rather than aiding conservation, trophy hunting threatens endangered species; rather than alleviating poverty, it reinforces colonial power imbalances; and rather than protecting habitats, it cherry picks the most valuable species and leaves areas abandoned when they are no longer profitable. With Parliament about to debate this vital Bill, we hope that Dr. Khan’s film will help MPs see through the trophy hunting industry’s spin, and ensure that people who kill wild animals for kicks can no longer bring their grotesque souvenirs back to Britain.”

Since trophy hunting rose to prominence in the colonial era, there have been catastrophic declines in populations of some of the world’s most iconic species, including elephants, lions, rhinos and giraffes. Many of these species are under increasing pressure from human-induced mortalities, including from loss of habitat, climate breakdown, poaching and the illegal wildlife trade.

Dr. Amir Khan said: “Like the majority of the British public, I find the concept of trophy hunting—the killing of animals for fun, especially species which are rare or endangered—disgusting. Seeing images of hunters posing with an animal they have just killed makes my blood boil. We cannot continue to support an industry that profits from the death of rare animals and exploits the natural world for short-term gain. That’s why HSI/UK and I are calling on the UK Government to ban the import of hunting trophies and end its involvement in this outdated practice.”

Countless scientific studies over the years have evidenced that trophy hunting damages conservation efforts and fails to provide meaningful support to local communities living alongside the targeted animals, debunking claims often made by the industry in attempts to greenwash its unfavourable image.

Africa Network for Animal Welfare’s executive director, Josphat Ngonyo, is featured in the video, stating: “I personally come from a community that has lived in a conservation area. Communities have come out very strongly everywhere to say no, [trophy hunting] doesn’t help.”

Speaking about HSI/UK’s campaign to ban hunting trophies from being imported into the UK, Advocates4Earth founder Lenin Tinashe Chisaira is seen in the video saying: “As an environmentalist based in the Global South, I really urge the government not to support trophy hunting.”

Humane Society International/UK is sharing the video with MPs, and urging people to contact their MP to ask them to attend the debate on 25th and speak in strong support of the ban.

Watch the video.

ENDS

Media contact: Sally Ivens, senior specialist in media and communications for HSI/UK: sivens@hsi.org; (+44) 7590 559299

HSl/Europe welcomes the European Commission’s adoption of the revised EU Action Plan against Wildlife Trafficking

Humane Society International / Europe


HSI

BRUSSELS— The European Commission today adopted the revised EU Action Plan against Wildlife Trafficking, a few days before the 19th Conference of the Parties for CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) kicks off in Panama. The new Action Plan recognises the role played by the EU in wildlife trafficking as an important destination market and a transit hub for the unsustainable legal and illegal wildlife trade; the latter is believed to have generated at least EUR 4.7 million in 2019.

The revised EU Action Plan against Wildlife Trafficking includes many laudable commitments to prevent the scourge of wildlife trafficking and address its root causes, as well as to bolster the EU’s legal and policy framework, improve enforcement and strengthen global partnerships to combat the the illegal trade in source, consumer and transit countries. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the report notably includes a consideration of the risk of zoonotic disease transmission via the wildlife trade and the need to follow a “One Health” approach in its regulation.

Dr Joanna Swabe, senior director of public affairs at Humane Society International/Europe, says:

“It is fantastic to see that the European Commission is taking concrete policy action to address civil society’s concerns about the EU’s failures to comprehensively tackle both the legal and illegal trade in wildlife. We are delighted that the Action Plan includes a commitment to looking at the development of new tools to tackle the issue of ‘stolen wildlife.’ For many years, we have been calling on the Commission to close the loopholes in the existing legislation by criminalising the trade in illegally sourced wildlife for the exotic pet trade, which is decimating imperiled species, particularly reptiles and amphibians, such as glass frogs, in other parts of the globe.”

She adds: “We also welcome that the Commission intends to apply greater scrutiny to imports of hunting trophies and be more transparent about decision-making concerning country-species combinations for trophy imports. While a comprehensive ban on trophy hunting imports would certainly have been preferable, the very least that the EU can do is to ensure that import permits are required for all trophies from threatened and endangered species.”

The Commission is also seeking to strengthen the engagement of local communities in the management and conservation of wildlife to support the development of sustainable livelihoods in source countries. Regrettably, it misguidedly lists “well-managed trophy hunting” as a form of sustainable income.

Dr. Swabe clarifies: “The claim that trophy hunting is well-managed is highly contentious. There is a long history of a lack of proper regulation of oversight when it comes to trophy hunting. Even where trophy hunting is legal and follows management guidelines, there is evidence of population declines, indirect negative effects on populations, biologically unsustainable quotas, offtake of restricted individuals like breeding females and cubs, poor population estimates and monitoring, quotas assigned at the incorrect spatial scale, and a lack of transparency. The regulations are insufficient in ensuring populations are not negatively impacted. Studies also find that trophy hunting does not provide meaningful employment opportunities or revenues for the majority of community members, and can instead contribute to wealth inequalities. Community-based natural resource management approaches should not make the poor poorer and the rich richer.”

The EU is well-placed to demonstrate global leadership in the fight against wildlife trafficking by ensuring strict regulation of wildlife trade and their effective enforcement. The question is whether the EU will live up to this leadership role in the upcoming CITES meeting (which begins on November 15), given its failure thus far to support the hippo, glass frogs and other proposals.

FACTS:

  • HSI/Europe’s feedback on the roadmap for the revision of the action plan, which outlines HSI/Europe’s position on the import of hunting trophies and the need to close the loopholes in the EU Wildlife Trade Regulations, can be found here.
  • The EU is the second-largest importer of animal trophies in the world, according to HSI/Europe’s report. Since 2016, the EU is the largest importer of lion trophies globally. Trophies from at least 15,000 internationally protected mammals from 73 CITES-listed species have been legally imported to the EU during the period 2014-2018 and there has been an increase of nearly 40% of trophy imports during this period.
  • At present, the EU legal requirement for hunting trophies to be accompanied by import permits relates only to species in Annex A of the EU Wildlife Trade Regulation and six additional species listed in Annex B, namely the African elephant, common hippopotamus, African lion, southern white rhinoceros, polar bear and Argali sheep.
  • Legally obtained hunting trophies of the species covered by these rules can only be imported into the EU after a Member State has issued an import permit and verified that such imports have been legally acquired and will not be detrimental to the conservation of the species. There is no transparent process for the issuance of such permits and non-detriment findings. Hunting trophies of all other species are exempted from this rule.
  • With respect to the need to close the loopholes in the EU Wildlife Trade Regulations, the CITES does not cover all illegal wildlife trade. Many threatened species are protected from exploitation in their home countries but are not protected from being traded, either through domestic legislation or by CITES, and such domestic protections are often poorly enforced. In addition, many demand-focused countries have no protections for non-native species. As a result, wildlife traffickers are able to easily smuggle these animals into legal (or illegal) international trade flows, and once out of their countries of origin, little can be done to stop the trade in these species.
  • Many demand-focused countries have no protections for non-native species. As a result, wildlife traffickers can easily smuggle these animals into legal—or illegal—international trade flows, and once out of their countries of origin, little can be done to stop the trade in these species. HSI/Europe is urging the EU to adopt supplementary legislation prohibiting the importation, transshipment, purchase and sale of wildlife taken illegally in the country of origin.

ENDS

Media contact: Yavor Gechev, Humane Society International/Europe: ygechev@hsi.org; +359889468098

HSI/Africa’s Green Monday programme will help Capsicum introduce delicious, more humane, and environmentally friendly options to their curriculum

Humane Society International


Vegan market food
Subodh Agnihotri

CAPE TOWN, South Africa—In honour of World Vegan Month this November, Capsicum Culinary Studio has announced a collaboration with Humane Society International/Africa.

With growing numbers of South Africans reducing their consumption of meat, eggs and dairy and embracing a more plant-centric diet, HSI/Africa will help equip the school’s lecturers and students with the knowledge and skills in plant-based cooking to meet this growing demand. The new training initiative launched with a plant-based recipe development competition amongst the lecturers.

In the upcoming months, through its Green Monday South Africa programme, HSI/Africa will host a series of plant-based culinary sessions for Capsicum lecturers from all six campuses across the country. These will include the fundamentals of creating interesting, flavoursome plant-based meals tailored to different audiences, from everyday restaurant dishes to fine dining and events catering. The techniques learned will be passed on to third-year students as part of their curriculum starting in 2023.

The modules will not only include practical learnings but also offer coursework to support innovative recipe development, teachings on why eating more plant-based is important for the animal welfare, the environment and human health, and tips on how to successfully market plant-based options to increase uptake amongst consumers.

Some of the tasty dishes that will be introduced to the lecturers during the sessions include a Savoury Tofu Scramble, Vegan Butter Chicken, Chickpea Omelettes with Cashew Cream and a Thyme and Orange Sponge Cake. All of the dishes rely heavily on local ingredients and are less expensive and more sustainable than similar dishes using animal products.

Leozette Roode, meat reduction specialist for Humane Society International/Africa, said: “Chefs are at the forefront of a crucial food revolution and HSI/Africa wants to encourage South African chefs to embrace this change and feel confident in whipping up delicious and nutritious plant-based dishes. Putting plants on our plates can be ever as tasty, and also have a phenomenal impact on the climate, our health, and farmed animal welfare.

Most chefs have not yet explored the full potential of vegetables, indigenous grains, legumes and pulses, fruits, nuts, seeds and herbs that provide interesting ingredients for veggie meals without sacrificing taste, texture or pleasure. We are very proud to work with Capsicum Culinary Studio to teach their lecturers and students the know-how of plant-based cooking, and we are excited to see how they make use of this knowledge in the South African food industry once they graduate.”

Candice Adams, manager operations academic at Capsicum Culinary Studio, explained: “We realise that a plant-based culinary education is becoming more than a point under special diets in a curriculum. We are all responsible for equipping learners with relevant and applicable skills to become employable and capable of successful entrepreneurship. We are also responsible for empowering learners to think and investigate and to better prepare them to lead in this incredibly dynamic time in the world. It’s important that at culinary schools there are discussions about sustainability and the role we play in the culinary field; how we impact supply and the environment through our practices and the understanding of customer demands and culinary trends and the importance of lifelong learning and an endlessly inquisitive mind.

I believe that the plant-based diet phenomenon will continue to grow and evolve. We’ve seen a massive increase in this movement over the past decade, with rapid growth and adoption in the last five years. More people are implementing a flexitarian, vegetarian or vegan diet for various reasons, ranging from health reasons to ecological and sustainability reasons, religious and cultural reasons and ethical reasons. With so much happening in the research and development of plant-based alternatives and plant-centred nutrition, more people are open to experiencing plant-based food and starting to understand the reasons behind plant-based choices and its growing popularity.”

Many benefits come from a greener diet. Numerous studies indicate that a diet rich in plant-based foods can help improve our health, and that people who eat fewer animal products have lower rates of obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis and cancer. Our carbon footprint and water use are also greatly reduced on a plant-based diet, as farming animals requires significantly more water and produces a lot more greenhouse gases than farming vegetables and grains. Finally, replacing meat, milk and eggs also benefits farm animals, millions of whom spend their entire lives in cages or crates where they are unable to exercise, engage in their natural behaviours and often even turn around because of lack of space.

For more information on the Green Monday South Africa movement and programmes implemented in South Africa, visit greenmondayza.org. For plant-based recipes, visit greenmonday.co.za. For more information on the Capsicum Culinary Studio courses, visit capsicumcooking.com.

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Media Contacts:

Humane Society International / South Korea


WASHINGTON—This week, 34 dogs are arriving at Washington Dulles International Airport from South Korea where they were rescued from the dog meat industry by Humane Society International/Korea and its partners. Romeo, Nuri, Daisy, Phoenix, Brown Bear and the other dogs coming to the U.S. will be cared for at a care and rehabilitation center operated by HSI and the Humane Society of the United States. They will receive the love and comfort that the dog meat industry denied them, including beds, a nutritious diet, enrichment and veterinary care. Eventually they will be transferred to the HSUS’s shelter and rescue partners where they will be ready for adoption into loving homes.

Up to an estimated 1 million dogs a year are killed for meat in South Korea, intensively bred on farms where they are locked in barren, metal cages without water or proper food, living in squalid conditions, many suffering from malnutrition and painful skin and eye diseases. Most are brutally slaughtered at around one year of age, usually by electrocution.

Sangkyung Lee, dog meat campaigner for Humane Society International/Korea, said: “For these dogs flying to the United States, South Korea’s dog meat industry will soon be a distant memory. But hundreds of thousands of other dogs are still languishing in terrible conditions on dog meat farms for a meat that very few Koreans want to eat and most want banned. It’s now been one year since the South Korean government acknowledged the need for a dog meat task force, and we are still no closer to ending this cruel industry. The time for delay is over. We are urging relevant government ministries to proactively work towards ensuring the task force delivers a plan to end the suffering of all dogs living miserable lives on dog meat farms.”

Jeffrey Flocken, president of Humane Society International, said: “As a proud parent of a dog rescued in 2019 from the 15th farm Humane Society International helped transition out of dog meat industry, I know these dogs can become wonderful additions to a family. All these nearly three dozen dogs needed was the chance to be saved from the dog meat industry, and that was made possible by HSI’s fantastic teams and partners on-the-ground in South Korea and here in the United States.”

Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States and CEO of Humane Society International, said: “It is a testament to the professionalism and

effectiveness of our staff and animal advocate partners in South Korea that local authorities there are working more frequently with us to help coordinate care for dogs saved from the meat trade. As these rescued dogs arrive in the United States and move into our rehabilitation center, we look forward to the next chapter: preparing them to be adopted into loving homes where they can finally enjoy life as all dogs should.”

As these dogs start new lives, Humane Society International will continue to campaign for an end to the dog meat industry. 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. 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.

An opinion survey by Nielsen Korea published and commissioned by HSI/Korea in October this year, shows that 85% of Koreans say they have never eaten dog meat or will not do so in the future. In addition, 56% of people said they support a dog meat ban.

  • Download video/photos of HSI/Korea dog meat farm rescues here
  • Download video/photos of the departure of the dogs from South Korea here
  • Download video/photos of the U.S. arrival of the first group of dogs here 

Sodexo Canada has created the new, 100% plant-based eatery in collaboration with HSI/Canada’s Forward Food program, as part of Sodexo’s plant-based pledge

Humane Society International / Canada


MONTREAL—On this World Vegan Day, Sodexo Canada and Humane Society International/Canada are excited to announce another milestone in their national collaboration: the launch of Verde, a 100% plant-based dining concept. The first ever Verde location has just opened at Confederation College in Thunder Bay, Ontario, and is being operated by Sodexo Canada.  

“Our new Verde offer is a game changer in the food service industry where Sodexo Canada continues to commit itself to the well-being of its students and the planet through an innovative plant-based, plant-forward concept,” said Martin Lapointe, senior vice president of operations for Sodexo Campus. 

“We’re very excited for the opportunity to grow our relationship with HSI by opening the first Verde location in Canada,” said Kyle Mason, senior manager culinary development for Sodexo Canada. “The increased demand for plant-based food has been dramatic over the past few years and HSI has supported us through this exciting transition. The training sessions have not only provided our chefs with the skills to add more plant-based items on their menu, but they’ve also become a networking opportunity where our chefs can connect and collaborate on ways to further increase the number of plant-based items on their menu.” 

The introduction of Verde is part of Sodexo’s nationwide commitment to transition 20% of its protein purchases across Canada to plant-based by Dec. 31, 2024—a pledge made in conjunction with HSI/Canada’s Forward Food program last year. Forward Food works with leaders in the food service industry to make plant-based options more widely available, meeting consumer demand for more ethical, sustainable and nutritious food choices.  

“We are overjoyed to see Verde come to life, making it easier for students and staff at Confederation College to enjoy plant-based meals,” said Riana Topan, senior campaign manager for HSI/Canada’s Forward Food program. “Working with Sodexo’s leadership on this initiative has been a dream and we are so proud of their progress to date in making more compassionate and environmentally friendly meals a bigger part of their menus.”  

Sodexo and HSI/Canada began collaborating in 2018, and since that time they have co-hosted a series of plant-based training sessions for the food service management company’s culinary staff. A star participant in those trainings was Chef Leanne English, Sodexo’s national director of culinary experience for campus and the creative culinary mind behind Verde.  

The concept’s initial offerings include dishes such as an avocado sushi bowl, black bean and sweet potato burrito, plant-based meatball sub and cheesy tofu scrambled toast. Chef English’s launch menu makes use of a wide variety of ingredients, from staples like chickpeas and quinoa, to dairy-free cheeses and a dark chocolate spread made from scratch. 

Sodexo plans to open other Verde locations in the future, continuing to elevate the company’s plant-based menu options at their higher education, corporate services and energy and resource accounts in Canada. HSI/Canada and Sodexo Canada will also co-host their ninth culinary training session this month, and Sodexo Canada’s sustainability manager, Davide Del Brocco, will participate in a webinar hosted by HSI/Canada at the end of November. 

The collaboration between Sodexo and Humane Society International spans across the globe, including in Singapore, Europe, United Kingdom and the United States. HSI commends Sodexo’s corporate social responsibility strategies that help people eat healthier, lighten their footprint on the environment and deliver on improved animal welfare standards across the food service industry. 

ENDS

Media contacts:  

Stephanie Aubin, director of communications, Sodexo Canada, email: stephanie.aubin@sodexo.com 

Riana Topan, senior campaign manager, HSI/Canada, cell: 438-882-7231, email: rtopan@hsi.org. 

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