Humane Society International / Europe


Byrdyak/iStock.com

BRUSSELS—Last night the European Parliament adopted the “Farm to Fork Strategy” report during its Plenary session in Strasbourg. While the report could have been considerably stronger, it still made some valuable and progressive demands for advancing animal welfare, as well as addressing crucial environmental issues, such as tackling the density of EU farm animal populations and greenhouse gas emissions relating to imported animal feed and food. HSI/Europe warmly welcomes the Parliament’s backing for the revision of the existing EU animal welfare legislation and method of production labelling for animal products.

Dr Joanna Swabe, senior director of public affairs for Humane Society International/Europe said:

“Crucially, MEPs explicitly reiterated their support for an end for caged confinement of farm animals by 2027. When the Commission delivers its legislative proposals in 2023, we’ll certainly be reminding them that backing out on this is not what the 1.4 million EU citizens who signed the End the Cage Age European Citizens Initiative will accept.”

With regard to industrial animal production systems, the “Farm to Fork” report underlines that caged confinement increases animals’ susceptibility to infectious diseases and creates the conditions for the emergence and spread of zoonotic diseases. Leaked documents suggest that this was an inconvenient truth for the EU farm lobby, which had done their utmost to try to eliminate such language from the report.

HSI/Europe recognises that the Parliament’s “Farm to Fork” report is largely the outcome of negotiations and compromises between political groups with diametrically opposed positions on many of the issues covered by it and expressed its overall satisfaction with the outcome of the vote.

“Amongst other things, the adopted report acknowledges that our current food system, including animal and crop production, must be brought within planetary boundaries. It calls for an accelerated transformation away from intensive animal agricultural practices and emphasises that a population-wide shift in consumption patterns is needed to increase the consumption of plant-based foods and address the overconsumption of meat and ultra-processed products,” added Dr Swabe.

The current European food production system, which heavily features meat and dairy products, is largely unsustainable and is inextricably linked to climate change, biodiversity decline, environmental degradation and public health crises. In recognition of this, the European Commission last year delivered its ambitious “A Farm to Fork Strategy for a fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly food system.” The report on the strategy was adopted by the Committees on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety and on Agriculture and Rural Development last month. After the plenary vote from yesterday, the ball is now back in the court of the European Commission and Member States to ensure that the Parliament’s recommendations are translated into concrete policy action.

Additional information

Key animal protection and climate change language from the adopted report includes:

  • Calls for the Commission to deliver a legislative proposal to phase out the use of cages in EU animal farming, possibly by 2027. This reiterates the Parliament’s position expressed in its Resolution of 10th June 2021 on the European Citizens Initiative to End the Cage Age.
  • A demand for the Commission and Member States to implement and enforce relevant EU legislation, including the slaughter and animal transport legislation, underscoring the importance of starting infringement procedures against systemically non-compliant Member States and the need to close legislative gaps setting higher standards in legislation for animal welfare.
  • Stresses that it is essential for the EU to take into account third country compliance with animal welfare standards, particularly concerning imported products.
  • Underlines that our current animal production systems, which frequently involve the confinement of animals of a similar genotype in close proximity to one another, can increase their susceptibility to infectious disease, creating conditions for the emergence and spread of zoonotic diseases and calls for an accelerated transition away from these agricultural practices.
  • Recognises that the food system, including animal and crop production, must be brought within planetary boundaries, ensuring ambitious reductions in all greenhouse gas emissions by addressing livestock densities in the EU and embedded land use emissions from imported feed and food.
  • Stresses that agriculture and farming practices with significant negative impacts on climate, biodiversity, soil, water, air and on animal welfare should not receive EU climate funding, nor be incentivised or rewarded.
  • Underlines the need for method of production labelling on animal products (including processed ones) to be established, including animal welfare indicators, the place of birth, rearing and slaughter of the animal, to increase transparency and help consumer choice.
  • Highlights that a population-wide shift in consumption patterns is needed towards more healthy foods, diets and lifestyles, including increased consumption of sustainably and regionally produced plants and more plant-based foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and legumes, and to address the overconsumption of meat and ultra-processed products, which will also benefit the environment and animal welfare.
  • Considers that the further development and sustainable innovation in the field of plant protein production and alternative sources of protein in the EU is a way of effectively addressing many of the environmental and climate challenges, as well as preventing deforestation, biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation in countries outside the EU.
  • Stresses that production and market uptake of plant-based proteins should be better supported and calls for the Commission to deliver a proposal for harmonised requirements with regard to the labelling for vegetarian and fully plant-based foods.
  • Supports giving Member States more flexibility to differentiate in the VAT rates on food with different health and environmental impacts, enabling a zero VAT tax for fruits and vegetables, and a higher VAT rate on unhealthy food and food with a high environmental footprint.

ENDS

Media Contacts:

  • Dr Joanna Swabe, senior director of public affairs at Humane Society International/Europe: jswabe@hsi.org; +31651317004
  • Yavor Gechev, communications director at Humane Society International/Europe: ygechev@hsi.org; +359889468098

World leaders urged to end fur trade ticking time bomb

Humane Society International / Europe


G20 fur signatures handin
Martina Pluda/HSI

ROME—Ahead of the G20 meeting this month in Rome, a petition of almost 900,000 signatures gathered by the Fur Free Alliance urging world leaders to permanently end fur farming to prevent continued outbreaks of SARS-CoV-2 as well as protect against future zoonotic pandemics has been submitted. G20 leaders have also received a letter from the global coalition of animal NGOs, urging action. The petition and letters come in the wake of 446 outbreaks of SARS-CoV-2 on mink fur farms in the Netherlands, Denmark, Poland, Lithuania, Greece, Spain, Sweden, France, Italy, Latvia, the United States and Canada, with the most recent outbreak in Spain this week.

A growing number of experts express grave concerns about the human health risks of the fur trade. In its report last November, the European Centre for Disease Control warned that the evolution of the virus in mink could undermine the effectiveness of vaccines in humans, and that “continued transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in mink farms may eventually give rise to other variants of concern.” In June this year, 67 virologists, epidemiologists, infectious disease specialists, veterinarians and animal behaviourists from across the globe called for action to end fur farming, and the World Organisation for Animal Health’s ad hoc Group on COVID-19 and Safe Trade in Animals and Animal Products has concluded that raw mink skins cannot be considered a safe commodity for international trade.

Jeffrey Flocken, president of Humane Society International, says: “Governments cannot respond to the COVID-19 crisis on mink fur farms simply by monitoring outbreaks and allowing fur farmers to continue business as usual. The appalling conditions on fur farms make them a ticking time bomb for pandemic disease risk. Disease transmission experts warn that it is a matter of when, and not if, another deadly virus hits if we continue to keep animals in these unnatural and horrific conditions. Now, hundreds of thousands of global citizens are also urging G20 leaders to publicly acknowledge that fur farming must end.”

Fourteen countries including the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Hungary and Lithuania have already acted to ban fur farming, and the practice is currently suspended in Denmark, Italy and Sweden. However, many countries across Europe, China, Russia and North America continue to intensively rear tens of millions of fox, mink and raccoon dogs, all of which are species susceptible to coronaviruses. For the sake of fur fashion, these animals spend their entire lives confined to tiny, barren, wire cages that not only cause immense suffering, but also present a serious public-health risk. The cramped conditions, poor hygiene, stress, injuries, disease, minimal veterinary care and lack of genetic diversity all mean that fur farms create ideal conditions for viruses to be transmitted and to mutate, creating new strains.

Rare but concerning cases of animal-to-human disease transmission have been documented. Research in the Netherlands using whole genome sequencing revealed that at least 66 people working on mink fur farms became infected with SARS-CoV-2, and the preliminary report of an outbreak of SARS- CoV-2 in mink and mink farmers in Denmark, published in February 2021, researchers concluded that 19% of people identified as being connected to mink farms became infected, with approximately 4,000 human cases estimated to be infected with a mink variant.

Download Photos/Video of Undercover Investigation at a Chinese Fur Farm

Download Photos/Video of Undercover Investigation at a Finnish Fur Farm

Facts: 

  • Outbreaks of COVID-19 have been documented on 446 mink fur farms in 12 different countries in Europe and North America since April 2020, including Canada (three farms), Denmark (290 farms), France (one farm), Greece (25 farms), Italy (two farms), Latvia (one farm), Lithuania (four farms), Netherlands (69 farms), Poland (three farm), Spain (17 farms), Sweden (14 farms) and the United States (17 farms).
  • More than 100 million animals are killed for their fur every year worldwide, on fur farms and trapped in the wild—that’s equivalent to three animals dying every second, just for their fur.
  • Fur farming has been banned and/or is in the process of being phased-out in Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Northern Macedonia, Norway, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and the United Kingdom. France, the Republic of Ireland, Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Montenegro, Spain and Ukraine are also considering bans on fur farming.
  • Earlier this year Israel became the first country in the world to ban the sale of fur. In the United States, California became the first US state to ban fur sales in 2019 following similar bans in cities including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Berkeley and West Hollywood. The towns of Weston and Wellesley in Massachusetts and the city of Ann Arbor in Michigan have also recently banned fur sales, and more US cities and states are looking to follow suit.

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Media contact: Wendy Higgins: whiggins@hsi.org

Humane Society International / Europe


HSI Ralph, spokes-bunny for HSI’s global campaign to ban cosmetic testing on animals

In the face of mounting testing demands by European chemical authorities that could come at a devastating cost to animals in laboratories, viral sensation Ralph, spokes-bunny for Humane Society International, has arrived in Europe to rally citizens around a vision of #SafetyWithoutSuffering. Ralph gives voice to HSI’s position that chemical safety and animal welfare are not mutually exclusive, rather the two advance together by embracing modern non-animal tools that are better at modelling human physiology than 60- to 80-year-old tests on rabbits and rodents.

Save Ralphis an award-winning mockumentary that follows the daily routine of a “tester” named Ralph, using the story of one bunny to shine a light on the plight of all animals in toxicology laboratories. While Ralph is animated, the suffering that animals like him are enduring right now across Europe as a result of government-required chemical testing is all too real. In fact, the European Chemicals Agency is even requesting new animal tests for substances used only in cosmetics, in blatant disregard for the European Union’s longstanding ban on animal testing for cosmetics. Watch the video.

Troy Seidle, Humane Society International’s vice president for research and toxicology, says: “Ralph’s story is a sobering reminder that the fight to end animal testing is still far from over, and even in the EU, celebrated victories like the cosmetics animal testing ban are at risk of being undone by chemical regulators’ addiction to animal testing data. It’s also disheartening to see the European Green Deal used to greenwash proposals to expand animal testing requirements when it’s clear that state-of-the-art non-animal approaches are more likely to deliver real progress for people, animals and our planet.”

Ralph’s arrival comes on the heels of a nearly unanimous resolution by the European Parliament calling for an ambitious and comprehensive European Commission action plan to fully transition the EU away from animal use in testing, research and education. Such a plan is urgently needed to elevate the goal of replacing animal use and ensure it is applied consistently across a wide range of EU legal and funding instruments, including regulations governing chemicals, cosmetics and hazard labelling. Earlier this week, ECHA Director Bjorn Hansen stated before the Parliament that, “It’s a total win-win-win-win situation for all parties involved if we would be able to move away from animal tests. It would mean that we would be able to get results about the undesirable effects of chemicals much faster.”

Humane Society International invites EU citizens who are moved by Ralph’s story, and who wish to see the Green Deal implemented in a way that doesn’t harm millions of animals, to join its #SafetyWithoutSuffering campaign.

Fast facts:

  • The EU’s chemicals law “REACH” imposes a rigid checklist of testing requirements, many of which involve force-feeding or otherwise exposing rodents, fish or other animals to unrealistic doses of a chemical for periods of one week to two years, without any pain relief. Some of the required experiments consume between 1,300 and 2,600 animals per chemical tested.
  • A recent analysis found that 63 REACH-registered chemicals used only in cosmetics were subject to 104 new animal tests after the EU Cosmetic Regulation bans came into force. HSI estimates that these tests may have subjected upwards of 25,000 rabbits, mice, rats and other animals to a combination of eye and skin irritation, skin allergy, acute lethal poisoning, reproductive and developmental toxicity, and other tests. If the EU’s approach does not evolve, the number of animals who could be subject to new testing for the additional 3,206 REACH-registered chemicals with cosmetics and other uses could soar into the hundreds of thousands.
  • HSI’s “Save Ralph” film features an all-star international cast including Taika Waititi, Ricky Gervais, Zac Efron, Olivia Munn, Pom Klementieff, Tricia Helfer and others. Within weeks of its April 2021 launch, “Save Ralph” went viral worldwide, with more than 150 million social media views, over 740 million tags on TikTok, and nearly five million signatures on HSI petitions.

“Save Ralph” has been selected in more than one dozen film festivals in Europe and across the world, including four Oscar-qualifiers, and has received multiple accolades. “Save Ralph” was recently awarded best animated film at the Roma Creative Contest.

ENDS

Media Contact: Yavor Gechev: ygechev@hsi.org

Humane Society International / Europe


Convince the European Commission to turn political promises into meaningful change for animals.

Humane Society International / Europe


Elephant
Waldo Swiegers/AP Images for HSI

BRUSSELS (28 Sept. 2021)—The emergence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which is widely thought to have passed to humans from bats via intermediate species sold in wildlife markets, has highlighted the fact that the trade in wildlife—both legal and illegal—poses a significant threat to human health.

Today, MEPs for Wildlife, a cross-party European Parliament interest group, held an online event entitled Preventing the Next Pandemic: One Health, emerging infectious diseases and wildlife trade in partnership with the Wildlife Conservation Society, Humane Society International/Europe and the International Fund for Animal Welfare. The event, hosted by Belgian MEP Hilde Vautmans (Renew Europe), included expert panellists from the European Commission, World Health Organization and academia, and discussed the impact of wildlife trade and markets; links to biodiversity, climate, security and health; and how these threats should be addressed through an integrated One Health approach.

The majority of the panelists agreed that the main takeaway from this pandemic is that if no action is taken to restrict the international and domestic trade of wild animals, the question is not whether another pandemic will emerge, but when it will emerge.

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

“Wildlife around the globe is under intense pressure from human activity and over-exploitation. Illegal and unsustainable wildlife trade, poor governance and corruption have significant negative impacts on ecosystems and result in the loss of multiple wild species, affecting the integrity of whole ecosystems, contributing to climate change, and damaging local livelihoods, economic development and security. The coronavirus pandemic should be a wake-up call to humanity. COVID-19 is the latest in a long line of zoonotic diseases that have wreaked havoc with human health and society. The more we continue to exploit animals, destroy animals’ natural habitats and lose biodiversity, the greater the opportunities for emerging infectious diseases to spread to human populations.”

Arnaud Goessens, senior manager EU policy for the Wildlife Conservation Society, added:

“The current COVID-19 pandemic and other disease outbreaks of zoonotic origin such as SARS and Ebola have clearly demonstrated the critical need to apply a truly trans-sectoral One Health approach, as a matter of urgency. We believe that efforts must be focused on preventing pandemics of zoonotic origin at their source­—in other words, stopping them at the point of pathogen spillover from animals to humans, well before they can become local outbreaks, epidemics, or global pandemics. We have borne witness to the devastation caused to human communities by the current coronavirus pandemic. Concerted global action is needed to ensure that the next pandemic is stopped in its tracks.”

Ilaria Di Silvestre, head of EU policy & campaigns for IFAW’s EU office, noted:

“The link between emerging zoonotic diseases, the exploitation of wild animals and the human destruction of their natural habitats is beyond doubt. We must also not forget that the EU is active in the trade in wildlife, being both a destination market and a hub for the trade of wildlife in transit to other regions, particularly from Africa destined for Asia.  The EU Biodiversity Strategy makes an explicit connection between wildlife trade and the emergence of zoonotic diseases. To reduce the risks posed to human health—as well as to protect animal welfare—we strongly advocate maintaining wild animals in secure and intact habitats and minimizing wild animal-human interaction by severely limiting wild animal trade and use. The European Commission has a great opportunity to deliver on this through a robust revision of the existing EU Action Plan against Wildlife Trafficking.”

Calls to control the trade in wild animals for food and medicine have been issued even before the emergence of SARS nearly 20 years ago. It is now proven that pathogens associated with legally traded wildlife can jump species barriers and affect most vertebrates, accounting for new diseases in both domestic animals and humans. It is estimated that zoonoses, or diseases that originate from animals, account for nearly 60% of all known human pathogens, and for about three quarters of all emerging infectious diseases that affect humans. After the outbreak of COVID-19, a series of measures to curb the possibility for emergence of new zoonotic diseases have been proposed, which include ban on wildlife markets, adoption of a “one health” approach that considers human, animal, and environmental health as a single issue and stricter control of wildlife trade.

Background information

Speakers and panellists included:

  • Prof. Dr. Chris Walzer, executive director, Health Program, Wildlife Conservation Society
  • Jorge Rodriguez Romero, deputy head of unit, Multilateral Environmental Cooperation, DG Environment
  • Dr Francisco Javier Reviriego Gordejo, head of unit for animal health, DG SANTE
  • Dr. Anne-Lise Chaber, One Health expert, School of Animal and Veterinary Science, University of Adelaide
  • Cristina Romanelli, programme officer for biodiversity, Climate Change and Health, World Health Organization
  • Catherine Bearder, IFAW board member, former MEP and founding Chair of MEPs for Wildlife group

Watch a Recording of the Webinar

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Media contacts:

European Parliament votes in favour of EU plan to replace animal experiments with cutting-edge science

Humane Society International / Europe


JVisentin/istock

BRUSSELS—The European Parliament has adopted a resolution vote calling on the European Commission to establish an EU-wide Action Plan for the active phase out of the use of animals in experiments by defining milestones and targets to incentivise progress in the replacement of animals with non-animal human-relevant methods. Nearly 10 million animals are used in invasive experiments in EU laboratories every year, including monkeys, dogs, cats, rabbits, rats and mice, a huge number of animals that has remained relatively unchanged in the last decade. The vote has been welcomed by animal welfare groups; Humane Society International called the vote “an historic opportunity to take animal suffering out of EU the equation and shift the focus to modern, cutting-edge, human relevant research.”

Whilst acknowledging European-level initiatives to reduce and refine the use of animals, the Parliament recognised that an active, coordinated approach for the full replacement of animals has not been achieved. By requiring an EU-wide action plan with an ambitious timeline and list of milestones, the European Parliament is aiming to drive the active phase-out of animals used for all scientific purposes.

Eurogroup for Animals, Cruelty Free Europe, Humane Society International/Europe, the European Coalition to End Animal Experiments and PETA, representing over 100 organisations from 24 EU Member States, have campaigned for the passing of the resolution. The groups are now calling on the Commission to make it a priority.

Troy Seidle, Humane Society International’s vice president for research and toxicology, says: “This vote signals the need for systemic change in the EU’s approach to safety science and health research, with Parliament embracing an historic opportunity to take animal suffering out of the equation and shift the focus to modern, human relevant technologies. If our goal isn’t to cure cancer in mice or prevent birth defects in rabbits, we need to let go of the unfounded belief that these animals are miniature people and get serious about understanding and predicting human biology in the real world. Human organ-chips, stem cell models and next-generation computing allow us to do exactly that, and can deliver considerable benefits in the study of uniquely human diseases and the assessment of potential new medicines and chemical safety generally. Today with this historic vote, the EU Parliament is calling for pro-active and coherent policies to phase-out animal experiments, such as preferential funding for non-animal methods, training scientists in new technologies and key regulatory changes to chemicals legislation. We call on the Commission to embrace these proposals and recognise that an Action Plan to hasten our departure from animal-based science is in all our interests.”

Opinion polls show that ending animal experiments is a priority for EU citizens: nearly three quarters (72%) agree that the EU should set binding targets and deadlines to phase out testing on animals. This is being echoed by the achievements of the recently launched European Citizens’ Initiative Save Cruelty Free Cosmetics – Commit to a Europe without Animal Testing, which has already gathered more than 119,000 signatures in less than three weeks.

While the EU Parliament vote is not legally binding, it does now place significant political pressure on the European Commission to respond (usually within three months) and act. HSI/Europe urges the Commission to create the Action Plan requested by Parliament, and stands ready to assist the Commission in devising and implementing concrete proposals.

“The European Parliament understands that the time is right for this action plan, because of the work that scientists have been doing to better understand the limitations of animal studies and the potential of non-animal models. There are no excuses to perpetuate the current level of reliance on animal experiments. It is clear that an ambitious phase-out plan, with clear milestones and achievable objectives, is the next step needed to start reducing significantly the use of animals in science.” -Tilly Metz (Greens/EFA, LU) – Chairwoman of the Animals in Science Working Group of the Intergroup on the Welfare and Conservation of Animals.

“It is now in the hands of the European Commission to establish this EU-wide Action Plan, and we expect the Commission will make this a high-level priority – Because if the Commission is serious about its commitments to EU citizens, it needs to start now the dialogue with all parties to effectively coordinate funding, education and milestones to accelerate the transition to non-animal science.” -Jytte Guteland MEP (S&D, SE) Member of the Animals in Science Working Group of the Intergroup on the Welfare and Conservation of Animals.

“This action plan is a win-win situation for humans, other animals, and the environment and it is imperative that it is led from the top in the Commission – Animal testing is relevant to so many different areas of the Commission’s responsibilities and a coordinated approach to reducing and replacing is essential. Delivering safety and sustainability without animal testing will help deliver the goals of EU Green Deal which is led by Vice-President Frans Timmermans.” -Anja Hazekamp MEP (The Left, NL) – Chairwoman of the Intergroup on the Welfare and Conservation of Animals.

ENDS

Press contacts:

• Yavor Gechev, HSI/Europe communications director: ygechev@hsi.org
• Wendy Higgins, director of international media: whiggins@hsi.org

Humane Society International’s campaign targets the EU as the world’s second largest importer of hunting trophies including endangered species

Humane Society International / Europe


Offroad and HSI

BRUSSELS—With the European Union the world’s second largest importer of hunting trophies after the United States, animal protection group Humane Society International/Europe is stepping up its fight with a new hard-hitting campaign. Its striking #NotInMyWorld campaign images featuring a trophy hunted rhinoceros wrapped and delivered in brown parcel paper, will appear across social media this month, and on buses and billboards in selected European cities in October, exposing the shocking reality that thousands of internationally protected species are being shot for fun in foreign countries and imported into the EU as trophies. HSI/Europe research reveals that nearly 15,000 hunting trophies of 73 threatened and endangered species were imported into the EU between 2014 and 2018.

#NotInMyWorld calls on EU citizens and politicians to take action to stop the EU’s involvement in this grotesque and unsustainable killing. The campaign is running in tandem with a global petition to the European Parliament.

Among the iconic species being imported into the EU are the African elephant, African lion, rhinoceros, polar bear, lynx, walrus, captive bred tigers and the scimitar oryx, a species extinct in the wild. HSI/Europe says although the killing of imperiled wildlife by trophy hunters in countries far away may feel like a remote issue, for as long as EU countries allow the trophies to be imported, EU countries are complicit in this brutal hobby. HSI/Europe hopes its eye-catching campaign will help urge EU policy makers to ban the import and export of trophies from endangered and threatened species.

Adeline Fischer, HSI/Europe’s trophy hunting communications manager, says: “Trophy hunting has no place in modern society. The gratuitous killing of wild animals so that hunters can bring home macabre trophies of their body parts, such as elephant foot flower pots, giraffe neck floor lamps and polar bear rugs, not only shows a total lack of respect for these magnificent creatures, but also adversely impacts wild populations, exacerbates other pressures such as poaching and fails to deliver meaningful socio-economic benefits. EU citizens will be shocked to learn that the EU is the second biggest importer of hunting trophies in the world. Our campaign exposes the grim reality of the EU’s part in this cruelty. Animals are shot, stuffed, packed and delivered as trophies to Europe’s doorsteps, and citizens and politicians can and must stop it. It’s time for us all to say #NotInMyWorld.”

Although opinion polls reveal that 85% of EU citizens oppose trophy hunting of internationally protected species and 81% want to end trophy imports, many Europeans will be unaware that it is legally permitted for EU citizens to hunt threatened and endangered species in foreign countries and bring back home their stuffed body or body parts.

EU trophy import statistics for individual animals (2014-2018), include:

  • 3,119 Hartmann’s mountain zebra,
  • 1,751 chacma baboon,
  • 1,415 American black bear,
  • 1,056 brown bear,
  • 952 African elephant,
  • 889 African lion, of which 62 were captive-bred lions,
  • 839 African leopard,
  • 794 hippopotamus,
  • 480 caracal,
  • 415 red lechwe,
  • 297 cheetah—the EU is the largest importer of cheetah trophies in the world,
  • 65 polar bears,
  • Six trophies of critically endangered black rhinos.

Germany, Spain, Denmark, Austria, Sweden, France, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia are the top trophy importing EU Member States, with Namibia, South Africa, Canada, Russia, Argentina, Kyrgyzstan and the U.S. representing the top exporting countries to the EU. Spain, Poland, Hungary, Germany and the Czech Republic are the top importers of captive lion trophies from South Africa.

“The aim of the campaign is to raise awareness about how cruel trophy hunting is. The fact that people visit other countries to shoot endangered species for entertainment and a thrill, and that the resulting trophies can be imported here in Europe, is outrageous. We don’t want our world to be like that,” says Thomas Candussi, lead conceptualist at offroad communications, the Austrian marketing agency that developed the campaign.

Only a few European countries have taken limited action to curb hunting trophy imports. In 2015 France banned lion trophy imports and in 2016 the Netherlands banned trophy imports of over 200 species. Only a few European countries have taken limited action to curb hunting trophy imports. In 2015 France banned lion trophy imports and in 2016 the Netherlands banned trophy imports of over 200 species. In March this year the Finnish parliament presented a motion proposing a trophy import ban, and in May the UK Government recommitted to a ban on the import of hunting trophies from endangered species.

Germany is Europe’s top importing country. Sylvie Kremerskothen Gleason, Germany director for Humane Society International/Europe, says: “EU trophy hunters kill for kicks many thousands of wild animals around the globe, with Germany being the main destination for trophies in the EU. In addition to the cruelty, it is irresponsible to allow rich elites to shoot imperiled species for pure pleasure. Being able to have these gruesome body parts shot, stuffed, packed and shipped home for display is a major motivation for these hunters, so if more EU countries were to ban trophy imports, it would effectively help stop the killing. We urge Germany and all EU nations to protect wild species from being shot for fun overseas and flown to the EU for gruesome display, by introducing an import ban now.“

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Media Contacts:

Humane Society International / Europe


Add your name to stand against this gruesome industry

Despite farming lobby resistance, the Farm to Fork report makes valuable policy demands to advance animal welfare and tackling climate change, says HSl/Europe

Humane Society International / Europe


The HSUS

Brussels—MEPs have backed the revision of EU animal welfare legislation, an accelerated transition away from intensive animal agriculture, greater support for plant-based proteins and zero tax for climate-friendly foods with higher tax on climate-damaging foods like meat. The European Parliament’s Committees on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety and on Agriculture and Rural Development adopted their report on the European Commission’s Communication on A Farm to Fork Strategy for a fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly food system, which was a vital component of the EU’s flagship European Green Deal policy.

MEPs reiterated their support for an end to caged confinement of animals by 2027 and acknowledged that intensive animal agriculture practices increase animals’ susceptibility to infectious disease.

Dr Joanna Swabe, senior director of public affairs at Humane Society International/Europe, issued the following statement after the joint Committee vote:

“For the sake of the environment, biodiversity, animal welfare and human health, it is imperative that the EU takes action to transition to a more sustainable food system. We cannot continue with ‘business as usual’ propping up the current (over)production and consumption of meat and other animal products which is inextricably linked to climate change, animal suffering and public health crises. Despite thousands of animal ag-driven amendments attempting to thwart progress and cling to the status quo, a sufficient numbers of MEPs paid more attention to the scientific realities of the climate and biodiversity crisis. Although far from ground-breaking, and a clear product of political compromise, the report still makes some valuable and progressive policy demands for achieving a more sustainable and animal-friendly food system, and HSI/Europe urges MEPs not to further weaken or dilute the Farm to Fork report at Plenary.”

Key animal protection and climate change language adopted by the ENVI and AGRI committees include:

  • Calls for the Commission to deliver a legislative proposal to phase out the use of cages in EU animal farming, possibly by 2027. This reiterates the Parliament’s position expressed in its Resolution of 10th June 2021 on the European Citizens Initiative to End the Cage Age.
  • A demand for the Commission and Member States to implement and enforce relevant EU legislation, including the slaughter and animal transport legislation, underscoring the importance of starting infringement procedures against systemically non-compliant Member States and the need to close legislative gaps setting higher standards in legislation for animal welfare.
  • Stresses that it is essential for the EU to take into account third country compliance with animal welfare standards, particularly concerning imported products.
  • Underlines that our current animal production systems, which frequently involve the confinement of animals of a similar genotype in close proximity to one another, can increase their susceptibility to infectious disease, creating conditions for the emergence and spread of zoonotic diseases and calls for an accelerated transition away from these agricultural practices.
  • Recognises that the food system, including animal and crop production, must be brought within planetary boundaries, ensuring ambitious reductions in all greenhouse gas emissions by addressing livestock densities in the EU and embedded land use emissions from imported feed and food.
  • Stresses that agriculture and farming practices with significant negative impacts on climate, biodiversity, soil, water, air, and on animal welfare should not receive EU climate funding, nor be incentivised or rewarded.
  • Underlines the need for method of production labelling on animal products (including processed ones) to be established, including animal welfare indicators, the place of birth, rearing and slaughter of the animal, to increase transparency and help consumer choice.
  • Highlights that a population-wide shift in consumption patterns is needed towards more healthy foods, diets and lifestyles, including increased consumption of sustainably and regionally produced plants and plant-based foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and legumes, and to address the overconsumption of meat and ultra-processed products, which will also benefit the environment and animal welfare.
  • Considers that the further development and sustainable innovation in the field of plant protein production and alternative sources of protein in the EU is a way of effectively addressing many of the environmental and climate challenges, as well as preventing deforestation, biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation in countries outside the EU.
  • Stresses that production and market uptake of plant-based proteins should be better supported, and calls for the Commission to deliver a proposal for harmonised requirements with regard to the labelling for vegetarian and vegan foods.
  • Supports giving Member States more flexibility to differentiate in the VAT rates on food with different health and environmental impacts, enabling a zero VAT tax for fruits and vegetables, and a higher VAT rate on unhealthy food and food with a high environmental footprint.

The European Commission adopted its Communication A Farm to Fork Strategy for a fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly food system on 20th May 2020. This included inter alia a commitment to evaluating and revising the existing body of animal welfare legislation and recognised that moving to a more plant-based diet with less red and processed meat will reduce not only risks of life-threatening diseases, but also the environmental impact of the food system. Regrettably the Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety ceded to the strongly industry-driven Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development’s demands for joint competence for this file, leading to the appointment of two rapporteurs with diametrically opposed positions on many issues: Anja Hazekamp MEP (The Left/Party for the Animals, NL) for ENVI and Herbert Dorfmann MEP for AGRI (EPP/Südtiroler Volkspartei, IT). More than 2,000 amendments were tabled to this report. Lengthy political negotiations led the original 2,295 amendments to be condensed down to 48 compromise amendments.

Humane Society International / Europe


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Dove and The Body Shop have joined PETA, Cruelty Free Europe, Humane Society International/Europe, Eurogroup for Animals and the ECEAE (representing a total of 100 member organisations from 26 EU member states*) to urgently mobilise 1 million European citizens and save cruelty-free cosmetics in Europe, following threats to Europe’s longstanding ban on animal testing for cosmetics.

In 2004, after decades of campaigning by consumers, animal protection organisations and several companies, the European Union banned the testing of cosmetics products on animals. In 2009, it prohibited tests for cosmetics ingredients and, finally, in 2013 it prohibited the sale of cosmetics that had been tested on animals. The EU’s approach became the blueprint for regulatory change in countries around the world.

ECHA is proposing new animal testing on ingredients that are known to be safe.

Yet, recent test requirements from the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) effectively destroy the bans and threaten the additional progress the European Parliament has been boldy calling for since 2018 – a global ban on all animal testing for cosmetics by 2023.

ECHA is calling for new animal testing on ingredients that have been safely used by consumers and handled safely in factories for many years – even those solely used for cosmetics. If this goes ahead, millions more animals could be subjected to cruel tests when there are other ways to generate safety data.

The time to act is now.

The two beauty brands have come together with NGOs to galvanise consumers to take action to save Europe’s ban on animal testing by signing a European Citizens Initiative – a petition-like mechanism for EU Citizens to help shape the EU by calling on the European Commission to propose new laws.

Animal testing for cosmetics is not necessary to ensure safety thanks to modern, human-relevant, non-animal scientific methods, which safety scientists have been developing and using for decades.

Speaking with a united voice to end animal testing for beauty products, The Body Shop, Dove and animal protection organisations are calling on consumers to sign a European Citizens Initiative, demanding that the European Commission:

      1. Protect and strengthen the cosmetics animal testing ban

Initiate legislative change to achieve consumer, worker and environmental protection for all cosmetics ingredients without new tests with animals for any purpose at any time.

      2. Transform EU chemicals regulation

Ensure human health and the environment are protected by managing chemicals without the addition of new animal testing requirements.

      3. Modernise regulatory science in the EU

Commit, before the end of its current term of office, to a legislative proposal plotting a road map to phase out all animal testing in the EU.

Together, they aim to get to 1 million signatures in the fastest time ever for a European Citizens Initiative – sending a clear message that ECHA’s demands for new testing break with the policy of animal testing as a last resort, backed by the European Commission, and break the wishes of EU citizens.

But they can’t do it alone.

European citizens can sign the Initiative here and tell the Commission they won’t accept broken promises from Europe, or regulations that mean animals suffer and die for cosmetics.

Joint animal protection groups state: Polls show that three quarters of adults in EU member states agree that animal testing for cosmetic products and their ingredients is unacceptable in all circumstances, and 70% back a phase-out plan for all animal testing. It’s sad that once again we have to fight a battle that Europe’s citizens thought they had already won, but with a successful European Citizens Initiative, we can make decision-makers listen, protect the ground-breaking bans and secure concerted action to end the suffering of animals in EU laboratories for good**:

Dove has spent 15 years working to change the beauty industry for the better, starting with ‘Campaign for Real Beauty’ and launching the world’s biggest self-esteem programme.  As a proudly certified cruelty-free brand, Dove has supported global bans to permanently end animal testing everywhere in the world, working alongside lawmakers, animal protection organisations and like-minded companies to achieve this goal.

Firdaous El Honsali, Senior Director of Global Communications and Sustainability at Dove, says: “At Dove, we stand passionately against animal cruelty. We strongly believe that there is no role for animal testing for beauty products or their ingredients and have pioneered safe and humane alternatives to assess the safety of products and ingredients for many years. This commitment drives us to take urgent action to protect the ban against animal testing in the EU. Together with our partners, The Body Shop and leading animal protection groups, we urge both our peers in the beauty industry and the general public to lend their voice in the fight to end animal testing in the EU once and for all by signing this European Citizens Initiative.”

The Body Shop has been campaigning relentlessly against the practice of animal testing for cosmetics since 1989 – helping to lead the charge towards the current ban in Europe.

Christopher Davis, Global CSR and Activism Director, The Body Shop International, adds: “The Body Shop was the first global beauty brand to fight against animal testing in cosmetics and this commitment has been at the forefront of our activist campaigns for over three decades. Our work with our campaign partners Cruelty Free International led to the original European Union ban in 2013. Today, we are calling the EU – home to the world’s largest cosmetics market – to stick to the trailblazing promise they made. We are proud to collaborate with Dove and speak as one voice, along with all those working towards a global end to animal testing for cosmetics, in support of this European Citizen’s Initiative.”

EU timeline on animal testing

2004: EU implements a ban on animal testing for finished cosmetic products.

2009: A ban on animal testing for cosmetic ingredients and combinations of ingredients is introduced as well as a marketing ban for all human health effects with the exception of repeated-dose toxicity, reproductive toxicity and toxicokinetics.

2013: A complete marketing ban for cosmetics containing ingredients tested on animals strengthens the existing bans.

2018: European Parliament adopts a resolution calling for a global ban on animal testing – establishing Europe’s role as a world leader in the fight against animal cruelty.

2021: In recent years ECHA has called for tens of thousands of animals to be used in cosmetics ingredients tests

NOTES TO EDITORS

  • *Animal protection organisations behind the European Citizens Initiative:
    • People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and its affiliates in Germany, France and the Netherlands
    • Cruelty Free Europe
    • Humane Society International/Europe and its affiliates in Germany, Italy, Poland and Romania
    • Eurogroup for Animals
    • European Coalition to End Animal Experiments
  • **A European-wide survey among the public to gauge perceptions of animal testing in the EU.

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