Captive-bred lion hunts for sale against convention rules; potential violations of state law; hundreds of hunts targeting rhinos, leopards, elephants; practices that violate hunting ethics; custom products made from skin and claws

Humane Society International / Europe


BRUSSELS—A shocking undercover investigation released by the Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International exposed the hypocrisy that the trophy hunting industry uses to promote the killing of imperiled species. The Safari Club International convention in Nashville, Tennessee Feb. 22 through 25, hosted over 850 exhibitors from more than 140 countries peddling trophy hunts and products made from animal skins and claws. The event brought in about $6 million in revenue for SCI to further its lobbying efforts to roll back laws and regulations that protect vulnerable species from trophy hunting, including the US Endangered Species Act protections.

Trophy hunts were offered in at least 65 countries with the majority in South Africa, Canada, Namibia, Zimbabwe and New Zealand. Almost 100 outfitters offered elephant hunts, at least 115 offered leopard hunts, 98 offered lion and giraffe hunts, 89 offered hippo hunts, and 39 offered rhino hunts. On exhibitors’ websites, critically endangered animals, like the forest elephant and the black rhino, were also available to hunt, as well as captive animals such as scimitar oryx, a species classified as extinct in the wild and bred almost exclusively for trophy hunting.

The investigation revealed hunting trips sold from $2,500 to $143,000 with menus so hunters could “add-on” animals in addition to their primary targets. Most African carnivore hunts were advertised to include baiting—a practice that uses carcasses of other animals, like impala and zebras, or other items to lure the target species, which violates fair chase ethics and causes conservation issues by drawing out animals from protected areas into hunting zones.

Among the most revealing investigation findings is a recorded conversation with an exhibitor who encouraged the investigator to schedule a white rhino hunt before it is too late as the species is on the brink of extinction. They stated: “The one that’s gonna be closed down the soonest to import to the United States because of the numbers going down is the rhino… and if you want something Africa[n], you have to get the rhino as soon as possible.”

Outfitters were also vocal about “bending the rules” and broke policies to make a sale. One vendor violated the convention’s own policy against promoting captive lion hunts—a cruel, senseless practice condemned by the South African and U.S. governments and many others. He told the investigator, “You can hunt…captive bred lions in South Africa, cause this way you’re not impacting the wild lions…but they…catch their own animals; they’re as wild as can be.” Another told the HSUS/HSI investigator, “…we’ve got hunters that really can’t walk at all…we do bend our own rules a little and we shoot them from the truck…we don’t have a problem with it.” Hunting from a vehicle is illegal in many places because it violates fair chase ethics and invites numerous safety hazards.

Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, said: “Despite the public’s growing disdain for trophy hunting, Safari Club International’s convention celebrates the senseless killing of animals, putting their deaths up for sale around the world, all to be turned into nothing more than trinkets and stuffed trophies. Make no mistake: This is an industry that threatens our most imperiled and ecologically important wildlife. As one of the world’s largest consumers of hunting trophies of imperiled species, the United States government has the responsibility to end hunting trophy imports.”

Dr Joanna Swabe, senior director of public affairs for Humane Society International/Europe, said: “What our colleagues saw and heard at the US convention are not isolated incidents—similar things have also been reported to happen at European hunting fairs. Regrettably, the EU is the second largest importer of trophies from internationally protected species. The European Commission needs to take immediate action to ban hunting trophy imports in line with a precautionary approach to species’ protection. Recent public opinion polls and our various submissions to Commission stakeholder consultations highlight not only the urgent welfare, conservation and biological need for action on hunting trophy imports, but also the general public’s desire to see an end to this egotistical exploitation of endangered and threatened wild animals.”

Jeff Flocken, president of Humane Society International, said: “Iconic species like elephants, rhinos and leopards play critical roles in their respective ecosystems, with many other species dependent on the delicate balance they provide. Sadly, these same animals are also highly coveted by trophy hunters. And as they often target the largest individuals of a species, they weaken the gene pool and can even cause collapses of small populations. In the midst of this biodiversity crisis in which over one million species face extinction, the global community must strive to protect wild animals by eschewing cruel practices like trophy hunting.”

Podcast interview with the undercover investigator

Photos/video for download

Investigation report


Additional information:

  • The EU is the second-largest importer of animal trophies in the world, according to HSI/Europe’s report Trophy Hunting by the Numbers. Between 2016 and 2018, the EU was the largest importer of lion trophies globally. Trophies from at least 15,000 internationally protected mammals from 73 CITES-listed species were legally imported to the EU between 2014 and 2018, with a nearly 40% increase in trophy imports to the EU during this period.
  • As outlined in a recent report calling for a revision of the trophy hunting regime in the European Union, there is a long history of a lack of proper regulation and oversight when it comes to trade in hunting trophies. 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, significant animal welfare concerns and a lack of transparency in data and policy and management decisions. A comprehensive ban on the import of hunting trophies of regulated species is a necessary precautionary approach to protect imperiled species.


Media contact: Adeline Fischer, senior communications manager for HSI/Europe:; +49 17631063219

43 countries have stopped animal testing for cosmetics and more bans on the way

Humane Society International / Europe


EUROPE—This Saturday marks the 10th anniversary of the European Union’s ban on cosmetic animal testing and trade, and the climax of a decade-long campaign by Humane Society International, its affiliates and partners to extend the cruelty-free cosmetics model across the globe. Humane Society International and other non-governmental organizations, together with a growing number of forward-looking beauty brands, have been instrumental in securing more than two dozen national and state animal testing or sales restrictions. Now, they are calling on countries around the globe to follow suit.

Aviva Vetter, senior manager of Humane Society International’s global cosmetics campaign, said: “We are immensely proud of how far the beauty sector has evolved since launching our #BeCrueltyFree campaign, and the life-saving impact it has had for untold numbers of animals in countries that outlawed animal testing for cosmetics, or that have moved away from such testing being mandatory. Our aim is to build on this progress by securing similar national measures in additional key markets, including Canada, Brazil, Chile, South Africa and Southeast Asia, over the coming year. It’s time to consign cosmetics testing on animals to oblivion once and for all.”

Since its 2012 launch, Humane Society International’s global campaign has produced a wave of national bans or restrictions on animal testing for cosmetics—from India, South Korea, Taiwan, New Zealand, Australia, Guatemala, Mexico, and just this past week, Brazil. China, long the only country to expressly require animal testing for cosmetic products as a condition of sale or import, has gradually relaxed its requirements since 2014. With 43 national bans currently in force an end to this needless and cruel practice is finally in sight.

The most iconic feature of HSI’s campaign is its charismatic spokesbunny Ralph, who became a worldwide sensation in 2021 following release of the stop-motion film Save Ralph. This docu-style film shines a poignant light on the plight of animals in testing labs through a creative collaboration between HSI, Hollywood filmmakers and animators, and a star-studded, multilingual voice cast featuring Oscar-winner Taika Waititi, Ricky Gervais, Zac Efron, Olivia Munn, Tricia Helfer, Pom Klementieff Denis Villeneuve, George Lopez Rosario Dawson, Wilmer Valderrama, ,Rodrigo Santoro , Diem My Vu and H’Hen-Nie, who brought Ralph and his friends to life in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Vietnamese. The film’s viral popularity led to more than 825 million #SaveRalph tags and homages on TikTok, more than 150 million film views on social platforms, and inspired more than 5 million people to take action to help by signing HSI petitions. Save Ralph has gone on to win numerous prestigious awards, including the Cannes Lions Grand Prix for Good award  and two Webby awards.

Leadership by European lawmakers, NGOs and other stakeholders in pioneering a cruelty-free innovation model for the cosmetics sector inspired not only Humane Society International’s transformative global campaign, but the creation of a new generation of scientific tools for making safety decisions without animal testing—a true win for everyone.


  • Humane Society International launched its global #BeCrueltyFree campaign in 2012 in partnership with the Humane Society of the United States, Humane Society Legislative Fund and Lush Cosmetics.
  • Since 2019, other industry leaders have teamed up with Humane Society International through the Animal-Free Safety Assessment Collaboration to advance cosmetics animal testing bans in key global beauty markets, including Unilever, Procter & Gamble, Avon Products Inc., L’Oréal and Johnson & Johnson.
  • These and other Animal-Free Safety Assessment Collaboration members have also developed a state-of-the-art Master Class in Animal-Free Cosmetic Safety Assessment to build confidence, capacity and global use of non-animal science in safety decision-making.
  • Humane Society International would like to express its heartfelt thanks to all our #SaveRalph collaborators, including writer/director/editor Spencer Susser; producers Jeff Vespa and Lisa Arianna; puppet-makers and set designer Andy Gent and the team at arch Film and Arch Model Studios; lead animator Tobias Fouracre, DP Tristan Oliver, and our incredible voice cast of Taika Waititi, Ricky Gervais, Zac Efron, Olivia Munn, Pom Klementieff, Tricia Helfer, Denis Villeneuve, George Lopez, Rosario Dawson, Wilmer Valderrama, Denis Villeneuve, Rodrigo Santoro, Diem My Vu and H’Hen-Nie, who donated their time and talent to bring Ralph and his friends to life in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Vietnamese.


Media contact: Emily Ehrhorn: 202-779-1814;

Humane Society International / Europe

Fox on a fur farm
Oikeutta eläimille

BRUSSELS—An official EU-wide petition, called the Fur Free Europe European Citizens’ Initiative, has closed more than two months ahead of the deadline for signatures after exceeding the number of signers required for the European Commission to respond. More than 1.7 million EU citizens signed the petition calling for an EU-wide ban on cruel fur farming and trade. Following its commitments under the EU Farm to Fork Strategy, the European Commission is currently drafting legislative proposals to update and expand the scope of EU animal welfare legislation. Campaigners argue this is the perfect opportunity to include a ban on the fur trade across the European Union.

Launched on 18 May last year with a target of 1 million signatures within 12 months, the ECI has collected enough signatures in less than 10 months for campaigners to be confident it will exceed the target after signatures are officially validated. More than 80 animal protection organisations from across Europe, including Humane Society International/Europe and other members of the Fur Free Alliance, called on EU citizens to take part if they agree that fur farming is cruel and unnecessary.

Dr Joanna Swabe, HSI/Europe’s senior director of public affairs, says: “EU citizens have made their voice heard loud and clear, they want a full EU-wide ban on cruel fur farming and fur imports. Fur farming is inherently inhumane, so we warn the Commission that any proposal for animal welfare standards for species, such as mink and fox, would be completely unacceptable. More than 1.7 million signatures have been collected in less than 10 months, so now it’s time for the Commission to take decisive action and consign this cruel trade to the annals of history. Confining animals to a miserable life in a cage just for frivolous fur fashion is a practice that belongs to the past. The fur industry has no future in the European Union.”

The complex behavioural needs of wild species, such as American mink, fox, chinchilla and raccoon dog, cannot be met on fur factory farms, and eye and ear infections, deformed feet, repetitive pacing indicative of mental decline, and cannibalism have all been documented on fur farms in Europe. In addition to animal cruelty, fur farming is damaging to the environment due, for example, to the use of toxic chemicals to dress, dye and preserve fur. Fur farms also pose a risk to European biodiversity. American mink is an invasive alien species that has been implicated in the decline of native species, such as the European mink and water vole, and has had a significant impact on breeding success of native birds and on domestic fowl.

Fur farming also poses a serious public health risk. Since April 2020 there have been hundreds of outbreaks of COVID-19 on mink fur farms across Europe, and in October 2022 a fur farm in Spain with 52,000 mink reported an outbreak of avian flu that had likely spread between the animals.

To date, 19 countries across Europe, including Member States the Netherlands, Belgium, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, Italy, France, Luxembourg, Estonia, Latvia, Malta, Ireland and Austria, have banned the practice of fur farming. Fur farming continues to be allowed in Finland, Poland, Greece, Lithuania, Spain, Romania, Sweden, Denmark and Bulgaria. However, figures show the industry is in decline: in 2014, approximately 43.6 million animals were killed for fur in European countries, a number that had fallen to 30.7 million by 2019 and, as of 2021, has declined further to 12 million animals. More than 1,500 retailers, including Gucci, Adidas, H&M and Zara, have committed to a fur-free future and have joined the Fur Free Retailer scheme.

The next phase of the ECI process is the validation of the signatures by Member States, which will take three months, after which the European Commission must take the ECI into consideration and deliver a response within six months.

Download photos and video of a Finnish fur farm taken in Nov 2021


Media contact:  Yavor Gechev, HSI/Europe communications director:

#BeCrueltyFree campaign applauds largest beauty market in South America for restricting cosmetics animal testing

Humane Society International / Global


Brasilia, BRAZIL—A partial ban on animal testing for cosmetics in Brazil was introduced by the National Council for the Control of Animal Experimentation via regulatory restriction No. 58, of Feb. 24, 2023, published today in the Union Official Journal. The restriction prohibits animal testing for cosmetic ingredients with “known effects” and obligates the use of alternative methods for “unknown ingredients.”

Humane Society International government affairs specialist in Brazil, Antoniana Ottoni, said: “We are thrilled to see our efforts come to fruition after a decade of campaigning resulting in state bans and federal progress. This new Brazilian norm is a welcome next step in the right direction and something for which we have long advocated. However, a domestic testing ban on its own will not prevent the import and sale of newly animal-tested cosmetics from other countries. This will put our personal care industry at a competitive disadvantage, and fall short of the cruelty-free beauty sector that Brazilian consumers have made clear that they want. For this reason, our work to secure a federal law must continue, and we look forward to working with the Chamber of Deputies to build on this positive momentum to see a federal law in place this year.”

As an extension of the Ministry of Science and Technology, CONCEA does not have the legal jurisdiction to include certain important issues in its resolutions, including a restriction on marketing cosmetics that rely on new animal data. As such, the new CONCEA normative should be seen as a partial solution only, and one that requires the support of lawmakers to augment.

At the end of last year, language for a federal bill was agreed to by Humane Society International and The Brazilian Association of Personal Hygiene, Perfumery and Cosmetics Industry, and through a cooperative effort, it cleared the Federal Senate. Today, PL 3062/2022 is in urgent status and stands ready for approval by the Chamber of Deputies, and contains all the essential provisions to complement the CONCEA normative and guarantee an end to cosmetic animal testing in Brazil.

Humane Society International has led a decade-long global effort to outlaw animal testing for cosmetics and has played a pivotal role in securing national bans in India, Norway, Switzerland, South Korea, Australia and Mexico. #BeCrueltyFree Brazil, led by Humane Society International and Te Protejo, was instrumental in attaining state-level bans in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais, Amazonas, Pará, Santa Catarina, Paraná, Pernambuco, Espírito Santo, Acre, Paraíba and the Federal Distict.


Media Contact: Antoniana Ottoni:; +5561981403636

Animal welfare scientists also call for limits on the growth rate for meat chickens

Humane Society International / Europe

David Paul Morris for HSUS

BRUSSELS—Yesterday, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) published its Scientific Opinions on the welfare of laying hens and ‘broiler’ chickens raised for meat production. These publications provide additional scientific underpinning to the European Commission’s existing plans to revise the EU animal welfare legislation and deliver a legislative proposal to end caged confinement for animals farmed for food. The Commission committed to the latter following the successful European Citizens’ Initiative to End the Cage Age, which garnered nearly 1.4 million validated signatures.

Humane Society International/Europe has warmly welcomed EFSA’s Scientific Opinions. Dr Joanna Swabe, senior director of public affairs for Humane Society International/Europe, said:

“We are far from surprised by EFSA’s findings. The science has never been clearer. Laying hens have complex behavioural needs, which simply cannot be met in the confines of a wire cage. Animal protection organisations and animal welfare scientists have long argued that birds need space to move with plenty of friable litter for comfort, elevated perching space for all birds and a variety of environmental enrichments to keep them stimulated. The findings are black and white, and clarify for the poultry industry why the European Commission plans to eliminate the use of enriched cages. Despite the fact that more than half of EU egg production is already cage-free, there remains an intractable segment of the industry intent on carrying on with business as usual. This is especially frustrating given that commercially viable, cage-free systems are successful around the world, on every scale from the smallest family farm to large-scale facilities producing high egg volumes for corporate buyers.”

A second EFSA Opinion also addressed  the welfare of chickens raised for meat production. Swabe notes:

“Likewise, EFSA’s findings confirm that significant change is needed in the broiler chicken industry too. Conventional production methods are responsible for an array of serious animal welfare problems, including crowded, barren living conditions, painful procedures, such as beak trimming, de-toeing and de-clawing and comb dubbing, and physical and physiological problems associated with rapid growth. It is morally repugnant that we continue to breed chickens to grow so rapidly that they suffer debilitating leg disorders, and their hearts and lungs are disproportionate in size. This must change. We therefore welcome EFSA’s recommendation for a halt to further genetic selection for rapid growth and the limiting of the growth rate of broilers to a maximum of 50 g/day.”

The Commission is due to deliver its proposals to revise and expand the scope of existing EU animal welfare legislation at the end of the third quarter of 2023. Once this package of legislative proposals has been adopted, both the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament will consider and amend the Commission’s proposals under the Ordinary Legislative Procedure.

It is anticipated that there will be considerable resistance from the animal agriculture industry, as well as some Member States, to these plans to significantly improve the welfare conditions of farmed animals with attempts to weaken the plans and/or delay the phase-out of various practices. The current cost-of-living crisis and the ongoing war in Ukraine have already been used as a pretext to frustrate the Commission’s plans to green the agricultural sector.

Background information:

  • The EFSA Scientific Opinions are here: laying hens and here broilers.
  • In 2020, the European Commission committed to revising and expanding the scope of the existing animal welfare legislation in its EU Farm to Fork Strategy, which is a key element of the European Green Deal.
  • Following the success of the European Citizens’ Initiative to End the Cage Age, the European Commission made an explicit commitment to ending the caged confinement of animals farmed for food.
  • EFSA’s Panel on Animal Health and Welfare has received mandates from the European Commission in the context of the Farm to Fork Strategy to produce Scientific Opinions on the welfare of (i) animals during transport, (ii) calves, (iii) laying hens, (iv) broilers, (v) pigs, (vi) ducks, geese and quail, and (vii) dairy cows. Opinions on pig welfare and animal transport have already been delivered.
  • There are more than 375 million laying hens in the European Union. Nearly 45% of these birds are still confined to enriched battery cages.
  • Two Member States, namely Austria and Luxembourg, have eliminated caged confinement for laying hens entirely, while others, such as Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden, now have fewer than 10% of their hens in enriched cages as consumers, retailers and lawmakers have recognised the need to better protect animal welfare.
  • Some Member States, such as Bulgaria, Estonia, Cyprus, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia and Spain, lag far behind with between 60 and 99 percent of laying hens still being kept in enriched cages.

Media contacts: Cassie Bodin-Duval, media relations coordinator, : +32 (0) 469 149 469

Humane Society International / Europe

BRUSSELS—Signed, sealed, and delivered! The “Save Cruelty Free Cosmetics – Commit to a Europe Without Animal Testing” European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) has smashed the requirement of gathering 1 million validated signatures, reaching over 1.2 million statements of support from European citizens.

The European Commission must now meet with campaigners and address citizens’ concerns. As over 10 million animals suffer in experiments in the EU every year and new non-animal technologies are being developed faster than ever before, the time for change is now.

“The days of forcing cosmetics ingredients down the throats of defenceless animals, intentionally infecting them with debilitating diseases, or drilling holes into their skulls must end—a radical rethink at the EU level is needed to support the transition,” says Sabrina Engel, chair of the ECI’s organising committee, PETA Germany.

“This European Citizens’ Initiative powerfully backs up the demand of the European Parliament to phase out animal testing for good. With the voice of the citizens added to the chorus, the Commission cannot ignore the loud calls to accelerate the transition to non-animal science,” says Tilly Metz, MEP, Greens–European Free Alliance.

“With the threat that the chemicals strategy poses to animals in laboratories, this ECI could not be timelier. From today, no additional animal tests should be requested to fill information gaps about chemicals. We need to move to safer and more humane safety assessments of chemicals,” says Sirpa Pietikäinen, MEP, European People’s Party.

“The message from citizens has never been clearer or more aligned with the voices of scientists, industry, NGOs and politicians. Everyone understands that a plan to phase out animal experiments is a win-win situation for humans, other animals, and the environment. Now, the Commission should listen to citizens and finally make it happen,” says Anja Hazekamp, MEP, the Left.

“European citizens have been asking for cruelty-free cosmetics for a long time. This European citizens’ initiative is another reminder to the Commission that EU citizens will not stand by while loopholes in legislation are not closed to end all animal tests on cosmetics,” says Niels Fuglsang, Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats.

The ECI’s three critical asks call for robust implementation of the EU ban on animal testing for cosmetics ingredients, a full transition to non-animal methods for chemical safety tests and committing to a plan to phase out all experiments on animals.

The ECI was launched in August 2021 by Cruelty Free Europe, Eurogroup for Animals, the European Coalition to End Animal Experiments, Humane Society International/Europe, and PETA, with the support of global beauty and personal-care companies The Body Shop and Dove. It has since been actively promoted by companies such as Lush and a coalition of groups and campaigners from every corner of Europe. Hundreds of celebrities also supported the campaign, including Sir Paul McCartney, Ricky Gervais, Finnish heavy metal band Lordi, Italian singer Red Canzian, French journalist Hugo Clément and actor Evanna Lynch.

No other ECI has ever received this level of support across so many different countries. To be successful, an ECI has to collect at least 1 million validated signatures and has to meet a minimum target across at least seven different EU countries. This ECI passed the minimum target in 22 different countries, demonstrating pan-European support for ending animal testing.

Note to Editors:

  • The Save Cruelty Free Cosmetics European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) has brought together a network of NGOs and multinational companies across Europe. This is the first time in history that this number of European organisations has come together to help animals in laboratories.
  • Following submission and internal checks by the Commission, the number of validated signatures per country will be updated and shown here.
  • After receiving the validated signatures, Commission representatives will meet with ECI organisers so they can explain in detail the issues raised in their initiative. The initiative will also receive a public hearing in the European Parliament before the Commission formally responds.
  • For more information on European Citizens’ Initiatives, see the ECI Factsheet on the European Parliament website.


Media contacts:

Over 80 exhibitors to sell trophy hunting trips to kill precious wildlife at Jagd & Hund

Humane Society International / Europe

Jagd & Hund trophy hunting convention in Dortmund Germany January 2020, HSI.

BRUSSELS—From 24 to 29 January, Europe’s largest hunting fair will take place in Dortmund, Germany. Over 80 national and international exhibitors from Canada, Argentina, Namibia, South Africa, Germany, Spain, Poland and others, will attend Jagd & Hund 2023, offering trophy hunting trips, that cost between a few hundred and tens of thousands of euros, around the world to kill elephants, big cats, rhinos, polar bears and numerous other iconic species. In a joint letter with 30 organizations, Humane Society International/Europe called on Mayor Thomas Westphal and the Dortmund City Council to stop the selling of trophy hunting trips in the Westfalenhallen, the location for the fair.  

For years, Humane Society International has been raising the alarm over the impacts that hunting fairs offering trophy hunts like Jagd & Hund have on wildlife product demand, animal welfare and biological diversity. Between 2014 and 2020, trophies of 5,409 animals of internationally protected species were imported into Germany, including 194 leopards, 208 brown bears, 166 hippos 229 elephants, 138 lions, nine polar bears and two black rhinos. Many of these animals were killed because of the hunts sold at hunting fairs such as the Jagd & Hund. It is time for industry and governments—from city councils up through national and international offices—to end their support of trophy hunting. 

Sylvie Kremerskothen Gleason, country director of HSI/Europe in Germany, says: “It is not acceptable that in 2023 trophy hunting outfitters are still legally selling trips to shoot protected species for fun and games at a fair in Germany. For years we have been urging the responsible authorities in Dortmund to exclude these offers – but they keep silent and in doing so, support this gruesome industry that adds an additional danger to the survival of species that are already struggling to survive. It is long overdue that a stand is taken against trophy hunting of imperiled species.”  

Dr. Jane Goodall DBE, founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and UN peace ambassador, is also appealing to those responsible: “The fact that hunting trophies of rare and endangered species are still legal is absolutely shocking! Please stop the sale of organized trophy hunting trips in the context of the ‘Jagd & Hund’ fair in Dortmund. Support thereby the animal and species protection!”  

The Wildlife Animal Protection Forum South Africa—a coalition of non-governmental organizations in South Africa, which is a significant range state for many hunted species—also spoke out against the hunting fair and wrote an open letter to the Mayor of Dortmund. The letter was signed by more than 90 supportive organisations mainly from South Africa, including members of forum and of the Pro Elephant Network and was endorsed by world renowned wildlife conservationists, wildlife veterinarians, international dignitaries, politicians and environmental lawyers.  

Trophy hunting is a form of entertainment rooted in wealth and pageantry that results in both severe cases of animal harm and far reaching damaging biological and ecological impacts. Yet, more than 120,000 animals are killed in Africa each year by big game hunters. The EU is the second largest importer of hunting trophies from internationally protected species, behind the United States.  Germany is by far the greatest importer within the EU.  

HSI/Europe is particularly concerned about the trophy hunting industry’s promotion of inhumane killing methods advertised at the Jagd & Hund fair and has already identified multiple travel offers for hunts being sold at the fair that promote hunting methods banned in Germany because of their inhumane nature, such as bow hunting. It also appears that many vendors are already in violation of exhibition regulations for the fair which clearly state that the marketing of “shooting opportunities” is forbidden for bred animals as well as for animals who are kept in closed areas—called canned or captive hunting. However,  vendors were identified that advertise canned hunting trips for sale  ahead of the fair. 

Trophy hunting undermines international efforts to protect imperiled species, drives global demand for animal parts and products, and calls into question ethics around sport hunting as a form of sustainable use, as highlighted in a letter sent to the German Government by the IUCN Ethics Specialist Group calling for an end to German imports of hunting trophies from regulated species. In the 2020 election campaign, Mayor Westphal promised, if he took office, to set up an ethics committee to objectively examine the issue of trophy hunting and the corresponding marketing at the fair. To date, this ethics commission has not been appointed.  

Trophy hunts allowed at fair despite overwhelming public opposition:

Despite overwhelming public opposition to trophy hunting—including from the majority of Germans—Dortmund’s government and exhibition centers have continued to facilitate the slaughter of thousands of animals by allowing these fairs to continue year after year.  Opinion polls show that the vast majority of EU citizens (over 80%) oppose trophy hunting and want to end trophy imports. In South Africa, one of the most popular destinations for German hunting tourists, 68% of the respondents across all social backgrounds reject trophy hunting.  

Many governments and industry leaders are already taking action to end their involvement in the trophy hunting industry. Some of the world’s largest travel providers, including, TripAdvisor and Expedia Group, called on the South African government to end trophy hunting and focus on a wildlife-friendly future. There are also more than 170 NGOs from around the world calling for an end to trophy hunting, and the European Parliament recently positioned itself in favor of an EU-wide ban on the import of hunting trophies. The Netherlands, Finland and France already ban the import of hunting trophies of certain species. The UK, Belgium, Italy, Spain and Poland are also discussing this. In addition, Germany withdrew from the International Hunting Council CIC at the turn of the year. The Westfallenhallen should take note that in Italy, the IEG Italian Exhibition Group SpA recently cancelled their country’s largest hunting fair, highlighting its conflict with the company’s ecological values. 


Media contact: Adeline Fischer, senior communications manager for HSI/Europe:; +49 17631063219


Humane Society International / Europe

Kateryna Kukota

BUCHAREST, Romania—The Romanian Senate has voted in favour of a draft bill to ban chinchilla and mink fur farming, following an investigation by Humane Society International/Europe that exposed shocking suffering on the country’s fur farms.

Andreea Roseti, Romania country director for HSI/Europe, welcomed the vote, saying: “The broad cross-party support for this bill in the Senate strongly signals the willingness of the Romanian Parliament to put an end to the cruel practice of breeding and killing animals for fur.

HSI/Europe welcomes the quick legislative path of this bill, and hopes that when it comes to the Chamber of Deputies in the next few months, the decision-making chamber will act decisively so that Romania can become the 20th European country to ban fur farming. The European continent can be considered a trailblazer in ending the suffering of animals for fur fashion, a practice that is being rejected by consumers, designers, retailers and policymakers across the world.”

The bill was initiated in October this year, after which it was presented in the Standing Bureau of the Chamber of Deputies on 7 Nov. and submitted and recorded in the Senate on the same day.

Chinchillas and minks are the only species of fur-bearing animals who are intensively bred on fur factory farms in Romania. If successful, the ban would therefore mark the end of fur farming in the country. In September this year, HSI/Europe revealed the results of its investigation at several of Romania’s chinchilla fur farms, documenting serious animal welfare concerns, including animals confined in small, wire-mesh cages, with females forced into a cycle of almost perpetual breeding, with total disregard for the natural behaviour of the species.

The vote in Romania comes while there is also growing support across Europe for an EU-wide ban on fur farming and imports. The “Fur-Free Europe” European Citizens’ Initiative, launched in May and supported by more than 70 organisations, has already collected more than 1.1 million signatures of EU citizens.


Media Contact:

  • Romania: Andreea Roseti, country director HSI/Europe in Romania: ; 0741-188-934
  • United Kingdom: Wendy Higgins, director of international media:


Minister Francesco Lollobrigida urged to resolve the fate of thousands of minks left in legal limbo

Humane Society International / Europe

Kristo Murrimaa, Oikeutta Elaimille

GALEATA, Italy—The World Organisation for Animal Health has announced Italy’s third outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 on a mink fur farm, located in the municipality of Galeata (FC). The farm has been closed since Italy’s national fur farming ban came into force on 1 January this year, with 1,523 minks remaining caged on the premises.

Italy’s permanent fur farming ban was approved in December 2021 as an amendment to the Budget Law 2022, and according to Italian production data, it prevented the exploitation of at least 60,000 mink per year. A ministerial decree that has been due to be issued since 31 January, should have seen the remaining closed fur farms cleared of mink, including rehoming as many animals as possible in suitable sanctuaries. However, the decree titled “Criteria and procedures for the payment of compensation to the owners of mink, fox, raccoon dog, chinchilla and any other kind of animal breeding farms for the purpose of obtaining fur, as well as the discipline of transfers and possession of these animals” has not yet been issued despite being created by the Minister of Agriculture and in agreement with the Ministers of Health and Ecological Transition. Animal protection groups Essere Animali, Humane Society international/Europe and LAV appeal to the Minister of Agriculture and Food Safety Francesco Lollobrigida. Fur farming and trade throughout the European Union must be banned, a claim supported by the European Citizens’ Initiative #FurFreeEurope.UPDATE Dec. 7, 2022: The European Commission confirmed that the remaining 1,522 mink on the farm were “culled and destroyed”.

“Since January, we have been waiting for the inter-ministerial decree to start emptying the last five fur farms where more than 5,000 minksare still housed and crammed into tiny cages and now risk being killed. It is clear that the inaction of the competent ministries is continuing to pose a risk to public health and continues to ignore the most basic principles of animal welfare. We ask the Minister of Agriculture, Francesco Lollobrigida, to intervene urgently to implement the provisions of the 2022 Budget Law and thus allow the transfer of at least some of the mink still locked up in the cages of intensive fur farms,” state Essere Animali, Humane Society international/Europe and LAV.

In Italy, two outbreaks of coronavirus have already occurred in mink farms: the first in August 2020 in Capralba (Cremona) and the second in January 2021 in Villa del Conte (Padua). In November this year, as part of the compulsory diagnostic screening aimed at intercepting the possible introduction of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus in mink farms as ordered by former Health Minister Roberto Speranza in December 2020, two minks were found to be positive for coronavirus infection in a third farm, in Galeata (FC). The screening consisted of 60 swabs every 15 days on each farm. On 24 November, the World Organisation for Animal Health reported that the animals were swabbed (real-time PCR) for clinical signs compatible with infection. Although one mink is reported to have died, it is not clear whether the remaining animals on the farm have been culled or whether more have since died from the infection.

The farm in question is located in the municipality of Galeata (FC) and, together with the other farms in Ravenna—fraction of San Marco (640 mink), Capergnanica (Cremona, 1,180 mink), Calvagese della Rivera (Brescia, 1,800 mink), and Castel di Sangro (L’Aquila, 18 mink) —it is one of the last facilities in Italy where thousands of breeding mink are still locked up in cages.

These animals would ordinarily have been used to start a new production cycle in 2021. However, the temporary fur farming ban ordered by the then Minister of Health as an anti-Covid measure in recognition of fur farms as potential reservoirs of the coronavirus, and the subsequent permanent ban on farming animals for fur has left the animals in a sort of limbo for more than 10 months. They could not be killed for commercial fur trade purposes nor for public health needs in the absence of a confirmed coronavirus infection, but could not be released into the wild, since they are non-native predators and potential reservoirs of the pandemic virus.

According to the provisions of the law, the Minister of Agriculture should have regulated by decree the system of compensation for mink farmers and the possible transfer of animals to facilities managed directly or in collaboration with animal welfare associations. If the decree had been adopted in time on 31 January, at least some of the mink present on the mink farms that were being decommissioned would probably have been able to be relocated to other facilities such as sanctuaries. This would have helped reduce the population density and, consequently, the concentration of animals particularly susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus infection.

This grave delay in managing over 5,000 minks remaining on now closed fur farms, is a significant animal welfare problem. These minks have been confined in the same cages of just a few square centimetres for at least two years but possibly as much as three to four years, because they qualify as “breeding” animals. In addition, it also puts public health at risk. The human-mink-human spillover chain has been well documented since the first cases were reported in the Netherlands in May 2020.

Essere Animali, Humane Society international/Europe and LAV conclude: “To avoid the risk of new coronavirus outbreaks on European mink farms and to spare the lives of millions of animals exploited solely for the value of their fur, we urge those who have not yet done so to sign the European Citizens’ Initiative petition ‘Fur Free Europe,’ which calls on the European Commission to ban fur farming and trade EU-wide. By May 2023 we have to reach one million signatures throughout the EU. To date, more than 600,000 EU citizens have already given their consent.”


Facts on coronavirus outbreaks in Italian mink farms:

  • The first outbreak occurred at Capralba (Cremona).With more than 26,000 mink, the Capralba farm was the largest mink farm in Italy. In August 2020, a mink worker tested positive for coronavirus. Diagnostic tests followed on the animals (but not a diagnostic screening in all the farms which was the most reasonable option) revealing a number of animals testing positive for coronavirus. All mink were then slaughtered in December 2020, after further confirmation of infection with serological tests.
  • The second outbreak occurred at Villa del Conte (Padua). In the absence of compulsory screening (despite the outbreak detected in August in Capralba) all Italian mink farms were able to complete their production cycle and commercialize the minks’ fur. In 2020, Villa del Conte breeding was also able to obtain fur from over 10,000 minks present at the time and put them on the commercial circuit. Only in January 2021, with the start of compulsory screening, did it become apparent that those furs had been obtained from coronavirus-positive animals and were potentially a further vector for the spread of the virus. The approximately 3,000 “breeding” minks who remained on the farm after 2021 and tested positive, including in serological tests, were slaughtered on Dec. 14, 2021.
  • The third outbreak occurred at Galeata (FC). The outbreak was suspected on Nov. 9, 2022, with tests conducted on Nov. 14, 2022. The tests identified two coronavirus cases. The European Commission confirmed that the remaining 1,522 mink on the farm were “culled and destroyed”.
  • Further mink mismanagement occurred at Castel di Sangro (AQ) in August 2021, with the death of mink due to food poisoning. Exactly 1,035 minks died a sudden and extremely painful death due to food poisoning. According to investigations conducted by the health authorities, the animals were fed damaged or contaminated chicken meat. Less than 20 minks remained on the farm.

Media contact: Martina Pluda, HSI in Italy’s country director:; 3714120885

Updated on Dec. 13, 2022

HSI/Europe delivers 48,226 signatures calling for EU action against hunting trophy imports

Humane Society International / Europe

Hélène Terlinden, BOLDT

BRUSSELS—Yesterday, Humane Society International/Europe handed a petition signed by nearly 50,000 citizens from all over the world to the European Parliament’s Committee on Petitions, urging the EU to take action against the trade in hunting trophies. The petition offers concrete interim policy recommendations to strengthen existing EU rules regarding the import and export of hunting trophies.

Iconic species like lions, rhinos and elephants are killed for their parts and shipped to and from the EU, earning the EU the sad title of the second-largest importer of animal trophies in the world. It makes the European Parliament well placed to address the repeated failure of the EU to properly implement existing regulatory protections.

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

“We greatly appreciated the chance to be able to use our speaking time in the Committee on Petitions to counter the European Commission’s contentious and hackneyed claims—in response to our petition—that ‘well-regulated’ trophy hunting has benefits for both wildlife conservation and the livelihoods of local communities. It is unfortunate that they have swallowed the Kool-Aid predictably served up by apologists for trophy hunting, rather than evaluating the mounting evidence that killing threatened and endangered species for sport is harmful to species’ conservation and can actually contribute to increasing wealth inequalities, rather than benefiting all members of local communities. We are disappointed that even the recently adopted revised EU Action Plan on Wildlife Trafficking also listed ‘well-managed trophy hunting’ as a form of sustainable form of income. We strongly contest this characterisation.”

While critical of this attitude, HSI/Europe still welcomes the recent commitment in the revised EU Action Plan on Wildlife Trafficking to apply greater scrutiny to imports of hunting trophies and be more transparent about decision-making concerning country-species combinations. The action plan also states that the Commission will consider extending the EU legal requirement for hunting trophies to be accompanied by import permits for more species. Such import permits provide the EU with important oversight over the imports’ compliance with regional and international laws that aim to protect species from overexploitation through trade. At present, the EU requirement for an import permit for hunting trophies only applies to species in Annex A of the EU Wildlife Trade Regulation and six additional species listed in Annex B: the African elephant, common hippopotamus, African lion, southern white rhinoceros, polar bear and Argali sheep.

While HSI/Europe welcomes this change as an interim step, the ultimate goal for the EU is to work quickly to restrict all hunting trophy imports of regulated species. It is a vital step to curb the demand for imperilled species’ parts and products, as well as for protecting animals like giraffes, polar bears and cougars from the compounding, extensive consequences of this cruel practice.

Last month, in its Resolution on the EU’s strategic objectives for the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species COP19, the European Parliament urged the Commission and the Member States to “take immediate effective action in the framework of its commitments outlined in the EU biodiversity strategy to ban the import of hunting trophies derived from CITES-listed species.”

HSI/Europe’s petition to the European Parliament—as well as recent public opinion polls and our various submissions to Commission stakeholder consultations—highlights not only the urgent welfare, conservation and biological needs for these additional trade protections, but also the general public’s desire for the EU government to take immediate action to ban hunting trophy imports in line with a precautionary approach to species protection.


  • Petition No 0976/2021 on the necessity for EU action with regard to trophy hunting was submitted to the European Parliament in September 2021.
  • The EU is the second-largest importer of animal trophies in the world, according to HSI/Europe’s report Trophy Hunting by the Numbers. Between 2016 and 2018, the EU was the largest importer of lion trophies globally. Trophies from at least 15,000 internationally protected mammals from 73 CITES-listed species were legally imported to the EU between 2014 and 2018, with a nearly 40% increase in trophy imports to the EU during this period.
  • Legally obtained hunting trophies of the species listed under Annex A and six species under Annex B of the EU Wildlife Trade Regulation 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.
  • As outlined in a recent report calling for a revision of the trophy hunting regime in the European Union, there is a long history of a lack of proper regulation and oversight when it comes to trade in hunting trophies. 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, significant animal welfare concerns and a lack of transparency in data and policy and management decisions. A comprehensive ban on the import of hunting trophies of regulated species is a necessary precautionary approach to protect imperilled species.
  • Various studies have found 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 and should instead focus on more ethical, sustainable and lucrative industry alternatives to trophy hunting.


Media contact: Adeline Fischer, communications senior manager: ; +49 17631063219

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