Humane Society International / Global

Andrei Tchernov/iStockphoto

SEOUL—The annual statistics on laboratory animal use for 2020 revealed disappointing trends with regards to animal testing in South Korea. According to the Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency, 4,141,433 animals were used for testing in 2020, up 11.5% compared to the previous year (3,712,380 in 2019). This figure is a 43.8% increase compared to five years ago, when 2,878,907 animals were subjected to testing.

Meanwhile, this week, the Ministry of Justice proposed an amendment to the Civil Law, adding a new clause on the legal status of animals stipulating that animals are not objects. While Humane Society International/Korea welcomes this proposal, the latest animal testing statistics illustrate how much there is still to do at a government level to reduce the use of animals in experiments through effective replacement and reduction policies.

The greatest share of animal experiments were conducted under the regulatory testing category, recording 1,795,709 animals used. In addition, 299,344 animals were used for efficacy testing. This is a 900% increase compared to 2019 when 29,876 animals were used. For industrial chemical testing, there was a 43% decrease in 2020, recording 29,810 animals. HSI/Korea actively defended amendments to prioritize alternative methods in the Korea chemical registration law, K-REACH, which came into effect in 2019.

While Korea is embracing technological advances in every aspect of society, when it comes to research and testing, outdated approaches using animals are favored despite the rapid emergence of innovative, non-animal approaches, including internationally validated methods for regulatory testing. In recent years, human mimetic models like organ-on-a-chip, organoids and computer-based approaches such as in silico have proven to be successful alternatives to animal models and have received attention from global pharmaceutical industries and regulators. These technologies have the potential to improve safety and efficacy assessments and reduce the failure rates of candidate drugs at the clinical stage.

However, running against these global trends, in 2020 the Ministry of Education secured 150 billion Korean Won to build new animal testing centers at nine national universities across South Korea. HSI/Korea has called for this funding to be redirected toward creation of alternative method infrastructures instead. The Ministry of Education denied HSI/Korea’s proposal.

According to the Ministry of Science, Information and Communications Technology’s response to the enquiry on the 2021 budget information for animal experiments and alternatives, 28.6% of the ministry’s budget is dedicated to funding and supplying animal models. This budget enquiry was requested by Member of National Assembly, Ik-pyo Hong, at the Science, Information and Communications Technology Committee. Only 1.36% of the budget was allocated for the development of state-of-the-art human-based technology instead of animal models.

Assembly member Ik-pyo Hong said: “The 2020 statistics show how little attention has been paid to advance research technologies without involving animal suffering. The objective of developing methods that emulate human physiology, is to find more accurate and effective ways for treating human diseases and conditions. In addition, it is our responsibility as a society to adopt more compassionate approaches for animals. I believe we can do more to support this modern science and move away from animal testing. Ultimately, it is better for humans and animals.”

Borami Seo, senior policy manager for HSI/Korea said: “While public interest in animal protection gathers unstoppable momentum, over 10,000 animals died every day in 2020 in Korean laboratories. The science community and central ministries need to move away from the outdated and unscientific notion that more animal experiments are better. We need to bring public and private stakeholders together around a consensus strategy to develop, disseminate and apply non-animal, cutting-edge technologies.”

Last December, Assembly member In-soon Nam introduced a new bill entitled ‘Act on the Promotion of Development, Dissemination and Use of Alternatives to Animal Testing Methods.’ It aims to bring central government ministries, research and testing stakeholders together for strategic planning to advance scientific research without animal testing. The bill is currently awaiting its review at the National Assembly’s Health and Welfare Committee.

Read the official 2020 lab animal statistics in Korean


Media Contact: Borami Seo:

Humane Society International / Global

Speak out now to save elephants

Canadians urged to speak up for elephants in public consultation

Humane Society International / Canada


MONTREAL—Seventeen renowned Canadian artists and scientists have signed an open letter calling on the Canadian government to take urgent action to prohibit elephant ivory trade. In the past century, the African elephant population, which is currently listed as critically endangered/endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, has declined by 96%, with leading scientists warning the population could be lost altogether within the next few decades in the absence of global intervention to disincentivize poachers.

On July 23, 2021, The Canadian government launched a public consultation to hear feedback on proposed measures to restrict or end elephant ivory trade.

Robert Bateman, renowned Canadian artist and conservationist, stated: “The survival of African elephants hinges on the actions of the global community, and progressive nations like Canada have a responsibility to act accordingly. I am joining countless Canadians in calling on the Canadian government to act now and ban elephant ivory trade. I commend the government for launching a public consultation and encourage all concerned Canadians to take this critically important opportunity to speak up.”

Michael Bernard, deputy director of Humane Society International/Canada, stated: “Canada is at a crossroads and the actions we take now to protect African elephants will be remembered for generations to come. In keeping with its commitments to preserve global biodiversity and end human-induced extinctions, the Canadian government has launched a crucial public consultation. We urge all Canadians to participate and make clear that only a robust national ban on elephant ivory trade can truly help us end the senseless killing of African elephants.”

Tessa Vanderkop, vice president of Elephanatics, stated: “Tens of thousands of African elephants are killed every year to fill the global demand for elephant ivory. The world community is taking action, and more than 620,000 people have signed a petition calling on the Canadian government to ban elephant ivory trade as a matter of urgency. We encourage all Canadians to take part in the consultation and make their voices heard for African elephants.”

The full list of notable Canadians who have signed onto the open letter urging the government to take action and ban elephant ivory trade includes: Bif Naked, musician; Bryan Adams, O.C., musician; Cristina Mittermeier, photographer, biologist; Edward Burtynsky, photographer; Georges Laraque, commentator, former athlete; Dr. Harvey Locke, conservationist; Jennifer Baichwal, filmmaker; Professor John Bemrose, Victoria College, University of Toronto; Dr. John England, O.C., F.R.S.C., professor emeritus, earth and atmospheric sciences; Dr. Martin Sharpe – earth scientist; Nicholas de Pencier, filmmaker; Paul Nicklen, photojournalist, marine biologist; Dr. Peter Abrams, F.R.S.C., professor emeritus, ecology & evolutionary biology; Robert Bateman, C.M., O.B.C., artist; Shelton Dupreez, filmmaker; Tzeporah Berman, environmental activist; and William Shatner, O.C., actor.

More information regarding the consultation and how to participate can be found here.

Quick Facts:

  • Studies indicate between 25,000 and 50,000 African elephants have been poached annually in recent decades, and even the lowest estimate exceeds the elephant birth rate, thereby posing a direct threat to these populations.
  • In March of 2021, the International Union for Conservation of Nature updated the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and declared the African forest elephant to be Critically Endangered and the African savanna elephant to be Endangered.
  • In 2016, delegates to the 17th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)agreed in a resolution recommending that, “all Parties and non-Parties in whose jurisdiction there is a legal domestic market for ivory that is contributing to poaching or illegal trade, take all necessary legislative, regulatory and enforcement measures to close their domestic markets for commercial trade in raw and worked ivory as a matter of urgency.” Repeated government seizures of elephant ivory in Canada are irrefutable evidence of illegal ivory trade in this nation and likely represent a fraction of existing illegal trade.
  • The African Elephant Coalition, comprised of 32 African nations (including 29 elephant range states) states, “any supply of ivory, including that within otherwise legal domestic markets, inherently increases the risk to elephant populations and local communities, due to the opportunity it creates for the laundering of illegal ivory under the guise of legality.”
  • Canada’s top trading partners, including the United States, China and the United Kingdom have closed their elephant ivory markets in response to declining elephant populations.
  • In addition to elephant ivory trade, Canada allows the import of elephant tusks and parts from trophy hunts. Approximately 300 African elephant tusks—representing 150 elephants—were legally imported into Canada from 2010-2018.
  • 94% of Canadians support an elephant ivory trade ban (Insights West, 2020) and a public petition calling for a Canadian ban on elephant ivory trade has amassed over 600,000 signatures.


Media Contact: Michael Bernard: 613-371-5170;

Humane Society International / Mexico

Cage-free hens
Michelle Riley/The HSUS

MEXICO CITY—Café Toscano, a cafeteria restaurant with four locations in Mexico (Roma, Condesa, Lomas and Polanco) has committed to exclusively obtaining eggs from cage-free hens throughout its supply chain during the year 2021.

With this announcement, Café Toscano will make a positive impact on the lives of around 18,000 hens annually and joins the growing list of more than 200 companies around the world, including Bimbo, Barilla, and McDonald’s, that have pledged to include only cage-free eggs in their supply chains.

For her part, Alejandra Toscano, owner of Café Toscano, said: “Our commitment to consumers has led us to choose high-quality products and that includes high standards of animal welfare. We will undoubtedly continue to advance on this issue, for the integral well-being of people and animals.”

Arianna Torres, from the Humane Society International in Mexico, said: “We congratulate Café Toscano restaurant for adopting this important commitment to improve the welfare of farm animals by providing these sentient beings with enough room to spread their wings.”

More and more companies are adopting responsible consumption policies, and HSI will continue working with Café Toscano and other companies to enhance the welfare of farm animals in their supply chains.

This commitment improves the lives of tens of thousands of laying hens in Mexico. The country’s conventional industrial egg production systems often confine chickens in tiny cages made of wire, so small that the birds cannot even fully stretch their wings. Common sense and science agree that restricting the freedom of animals for virtually their entire lives causes significant deprivation and frustration.


Media Contact: Arianna Torres:

Humane Society International / Japan

Minke whale
Alamy Minke whale

LONDON—Ahead of the Tokyo Summer Games starting this week, promoted by the Japanese government as the “greenest games ever”, animal protection groups have written to Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga to say that Japan can’t win gold for the environment until it stops the cruel and unsustainable practice of commercial whaling.

In a letter to Japan’s Prime Minister, Olympics Minister Tamayo Marukawa and Ambassador to the UK, Hajime Hayashi, the Humane Society International/UK, Whale and Dolphin Conservation, ORCA, Environmental Investigation Agency, Four Paws, Animal Welfare Institute and Cetacean Society International commend Japan for its environmental achievements for the Games such as plastic waste podiums and recycled metal medals but say that slaughtering whales not only causes immense animal suffering, it also kills some of our planet’s most important environmental guardians.

The letter explains that whales not only circulate nutrients that encourage the growth of carbon dioxide-absorbing phytoplankton by feeding in deep water and defecating at the surface, but their immense bodies also safely lock away tons of the greenhouse gas for hundreds of years when they die and their bodies sink to the sea bed.

The letter reads: “We are at a pivotal moment in our global efforts to avert catastrophic climate breakdown, and high-profile, international events like the Olympics provide a vital platform to promote environmental protection. However, as Olympic hosts, Japan’s commitments on planetary protection need to extend beyond the National Stadium, beyond plastic waste podiums, recycled metal medals and sustainable athletic apparel… Whales play a key role in capturing and storing harmful carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that is the main contributor to climate change. One way they do this is when they feed at depth and then defecate nearer the water surface, they provide vital nutrients to the plant plankton, or phytoplankton, which grow in the sunlit upper waters. Globally, phytoplankton absorbs up to 35% of all anthropogenic carbon dioxide produced. Whales also store tons of carbon in their bodies, and so when they die their carcasses sink to the seabed safely locking away 33 tons of CO2 on average for hundreds of years.”

Claire Bass, executive director of Humane Society International/UK which initiated the letter, says: “This week the Japanese government will be proudly launching the Summer Games in Tokyo and celebrating its green credentials. But looking beyond the podiums made of recycled mobile phones, we find a nation flying in the face of world opinion in its grim persistence to maintain cruel and outdated commercial whaling. These ocean leviathans play a vital role in maintaining healthy oceans and climate, and instead of blasting them with exploding harpoons Japan should join the nations united in efforts to safeguard their populations and habitats.”

The International Whaling Commission’s moratorium on commercial whaling, agreed in 1982, has helped great whale populations increase, likely saving several species from extinction. Yet many whale populations remain low or endangered—and all whales face the huge threats of fishing-related deaths, ship collisions, climate change, and chemical, litter and noise pollution.  Since 1987, Japan killed more than 15,000 whales under the ‘special permit’ guise of scientific research which it used as a loophole to kill whales for profit. The legitimacy of Japan’s use of the ‘scientific whaling clause’ was rejected in the International Court of Justice in 2014. In June 2019, Japan formally left the IWC and continued to kill whales without any pretence of science but openly as commercial whaling. Although it has ceased whaling in the Southern Ocean, it continues whaling in the North Pacific. There remains an international ban on commercial whaling which applies to both the high seas and countries’ territorial waters. By walking away from the IWC and continuing to kill whales, Japan is defying international law.

The groups’ letter concludes: “Scientists estimate that in the years before industrial whaling began, baleen whale populations sank up to 1.9 million tonnes of carbon per year to the ocean bed. It has been suggested that this is equivalent to removing up to 410,000 cars from our roads each year. By contrast, killing and processing whales releases carbon back into the atmosphere… We urge the Japanese government to take this opportunity to consign whale killing to the history books and demonstrate a commitment to cetacean and planetary protection.

Read the Letter


Media Contact: Leozette Roode:


The status of the three species of whale killed by Japan in the North Pacific is a complex issue. The minke whale species found here (which is different to the minke species in the Southern Ocean), has a complex population structure and there has long been concerns about the vulnerability of the population known as the J-stock. The different populations cannot be told apart at sea. The sei whales is an endangered species. Sei whales in the North Pacific were heavily exploited by commercial whaling after the larger fin and blue whales were depleted. Whilst the Bryde’s whale is not regarded as endangered, its taxonomy is not yet settled; an inshore and an offshore form are widely recognized but other populations may also exist.

Humane Society International

danchooalex/ Chicken on a farm resting

SANTIAGO DE CHILE—Cencosud, the largest multinational retail company in Chile, has announced it will sell exclusively cage-free eggs in its own brand by 2025 and all eggs at two of its major chains by 2028.

Cencosud operates in Chile under several supermarket brands, including Jumbo, Spid 35 and Santa Isabel. All of these brands are covered by the policy, which will be fully implemented by 2025 for their own brand eggs. By 2028 the policy will apply to all eggs at the Jumbo and Spid 35 stores and 50% of the egg offerings at Santa Isabel chain. The company also operates in Argentina, Brasil, Colombia and Peru, and has an office in China.

This commitment comes after many years of dialogue with Humane Society International and internal discussion. HSI will continue to work with the company in Chile during the implementation of this policy, and in the countries where they operate, to help them expand and adopt a 100% cage-free egg commitment globally.

Daniela Sanchez, HSI corporate policy manager for HSI Farm Animals in Chile, said: “We are proud that Cencosud Chile has taken this step, adopting a cage-free egg commitment, and we look forward to working with the company and its egg suppliers on the implementation of this policy. I believe that together with relieving thousands of egg-laying hens from the cruel confinement of cages, Cencosud is sending a clear message to the egg industry and related stakeholders that in Latin America the future of egg production is cage-free.”

Egg-laying hens in Chile are typically confined for their whole lives in wire cages so small that they cannot even fully stretch their wings. Cage-free production systems offer hens a higher level of welfare, allowing the birds to express their natural behavior, including ground scratching and pecking, laying their eggs in nests, perching and fully spreading their wings. HSI works together with the food industry in Chile and worldwide to help ensure a successful transition to these higher animal welfare production systems, through a variety of educational events, farm tours, technical workshops and by facilitating the exchange of best practices.

Cencosud joins the other three largest supermarket companies that have fully committed to selling exclusively cage-free eggs in Latin America: Carrefour, Costco and GPA. From one end of the supply chain to the other, companies in Chile and the entire region are improving the lives of farm animals by committing to cage-free egg production.


Media Contact: Daniela Sanchez:; +56 9 62181089

Animal charity Humane Society International/UK urges Government to end nation’s love affair with meat, and to start by cutting back on House of Commons’ meaty-menus

Humane Society International / United Kingdom

nata_vkusidey via Vegan burger

LONDON—The much-anticipated release of Part 2 of the National Food Strategy (NFS), which recommends Brits cut back on meat by 30% over the next ten years, contains ‘bold, visionary and urgent’ recommendations that Government must act upon, says Humane Society International/UK.   The landmark report, commissioned by Government and led by Henry Dimbleby, has taken a comprehensive stance on the future of the UK’s food system, to help improve public health, combat climate change and restore biodiversity.

Warmly welcoming the report, HSI/UK applauds the NFS for acknowledging the detrimental role animal agriculture plays in damaging our health, and the health of our planet, and contributing to the suffering on millions of animals worldwide through the sale of intensively farmed animals to produce meat. The report comes just four months ahead of the UK hosting the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, where world leaders will discuss vital climate change mitigation strategies. HSI/UK urges the UK Government to seize this opportunity to show essential global leadership on transforming food systems to protect people, the planet and animals.

Claire Bass, executive director for Humane Society International/UK, responds to the report, saying: “The recommendations in the Food Strategy report are based on comprehensive science and it is imperative that the UK Government listens and acts decisively to wean the nation off the vast quantities of meat that are harming our health, our environment and causing immense suffering to billions of animals. Through HSI’s plant-based culinary chef trainings, working with huge multinational food service companies and university kitchens, we know that many businesses are already committed to increasing their meat-free and dairy-free options to meet growing consumer demand and reduce their climate impacts. If we are serious about avoiding climate catastrophe, we need politicians to own a meat reduction goal and strategy as a legitimate and essential component of tackling climate change, restoring biodiversity and ending the cruelty caused by factory farms. As UNFCCC COP26 hosts, this year is the UK’s moment to lead the way with a blueprint for a healthy, fair and sustainable food system for us all.”

There has never been a more fitting time for the launch of the report, as the UK eases out of its final stages of lockdown and looks toward restoring public health after the pandemic, in addition to hosting the world largest climate change conference in November this year. Reducing meat and dairy production and consumption is one of the most effective actions we can take to avoid catastrophic climate change. Animal agriculture, which breeds, raises and slaughters more than 88 billion animals worldwide per year, is responsible for a minimum of 14.5% of human induced greenhouse gas emissions globally—on par with all global transportation combined. Plant-centered diets also have many health benefits—studies show that people who eat fewer animal products have lower rates of a range of health issues including obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and cancer. Poor diet currently contributes to an estimated 64,000 deaths every year in England.

Anticipating a negative reaction from some quarters about the prospect of reduced meat diets, HSI/UK responds that the transition away from meat-heavy meals is already well under way, with plant-based food options one of the biggest growth areas for supermarkets in recent years. The shift is also happening in the food service industry; HSI’s global Forward Food programme works with universities, food service providers and the largest caterers around the world to inspire and enable them to add more plants on plates. Since HSI/UK launched the program in 2016, Forward Food has been working together with universities across the country including Cambridge, Oxford, St. Andrews, Winchester, Portsmouth, London School of Economics and Political Science, City University, University of London, Swansea, Harper Adams, Central Lancashire, Oxford Brookes and Sheffield. Major British foodservice professionals such as Sodexo UK, Compass Group and Baxterstorey have also participated in the programme, and are setting ambitious meat reduction targets of their own.

The NFS report recommends ‘strengthening government procurement rules, to ensure that taxpayer money is spent on healthy and sustainable food,’ and HSI urges the House of Commons to be the first to lead by example in response to the NSF report, by overhauling its meat-heavy menus. A 2021 report by HSI/UK, shows that the overall procurement within House of Commons’ catering produces a carbon footprint of 376 tonnes CO2 equivalent per month, of which 72% is attributed to animal-based products such as meat, fish, eggs and dairy.  The report also revealed that by cutting meat and dairy on the menus by 50% and replacing them with plant-based alternatives, House of Commons Catering could save 115 tonnes of CO2-e per month, reducing its overall food GHG emissions by almost a third (31%).

Not only are plant-based products better for our health and the environment, but evidence shows it is becoming a good business decision too. By increasing the amount of climate-friendly food on offer, institutions noticed a sales spike of 41-79%. Plant-based food is going mainstream, with more and more supermarkets, restaurants and delivery food providers experiencing an increase in public demand for food that is better for our health, the planet and animals. The time is right to set the British blueprint for a sustainable food system.


Media Contact: Leozette Roode:; +27 71 360 1104

Remembering our beloved friend Joseph Thomas on World Chimpanzee Day

Humane Society International

Richard Ssuna, HSI Fanta and her baby, pictured here, are two of the more than 60 chimpanzees living the peaceful retirement they deserve at Humane Society International’s Second Chance Chimpanzee Refuge Liberia. In March 2015, the Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International stepped in to take over the care of this former biomedical research colony used in invasive medical experiments by a US based organization. Prior to this, the chimpanzees were left on six estuary islands without funding or infrastructure in place for their long-term care. The HSUS and HSI have since made significant improvements to the care of the chimpanzees, including daily feedings and strengthened birth control measures, as they continue to work to create a high-quality sanctuary for the chimps.

LIBERIA—Animal protection charity Humane Society International, and its sanctuary Second Chance Chimpanzee Refuge Liberia, are celebrating World Chimpanzee Day with a moving tribute to colleague Joseph Thomas who died in January this year after more than 40 years of dedicated care for over 60 retired chimpanzees in Liberia who were formerly used in invasive biomedical research. SCCRL and HSI are now embarking on an exciting new phase of sanctuary development with architectural and construction plans to build a veterinary clinic and new facilities on the chimpanzees’ island homes.

Joseph first met the chimps in 1979 when he began work at the research facility where they were being used in experiments. When civil war broke out in Liberia, and then years later Ebola devastated the country, Joseph and other local workers stayed behind at the facility and risked their own lives to care for the chimps. In the mid-2000s Joseph helped to relocate the chimpanzees to six estuary islands in the Farmington and Little Bassa rivers in western-central Liberia as research on them was being phased out. In 2015, when the research company’s funding for the animals came to an end, it was Joseph who signaled an international plea for help while he did his best to gather local resources to continue feeding the chimpanzees. His plea reached the attention of Humane Society International who stepped in to provide initial emergency funding to save the chimps. HSI has since committed to their lifetime care.

Dr. Richard Ssuna, veterinarian for Second Chance at Humane Society International, says: “These chimpanzees cannot fend for themselves because originally they were taken from the wild as babies or bred in captivity, and the islands do not have sufficient natural food sources. If Joseph and his team had not stayed behind during the civil war to feed them with whatever fruits and vegetables they could source in local markets, these animals would have starved to death. Joseph had a remarkable bond with the chimps, he knew every single one of them by name and personality. They trusted him enormously, and throughout all the years of conflict and turmoil they endured, Joseph was their one constant. His passing leaves a huge hole in our hearts and in our team, but we are determined to make Joseph proud and continue his amazing legacy.”

HSI’s team of 30 staff in Liberia provide around the clock care for the chimpanzees including preparing and feeding a nutritious diet twice a day, providing security around the chimps’ island homes, and administering high quality veterinary care and birth control programs.

HSI is now also embarking on an exciting new phase of sanctuary development, with architectural and construction plans to build a veterinary clinic and new facilities on the chimpanzees’ island homes. HSI’s new infrastructure project has now been granted the government permission it needs to go ahead, marking a new chapter for the sanctuary and the major, multi-year undertaking of temporarily relocating the chimps while construction takes place on the islands.

Amanda Gray, Second Chance program manager at Humane Society International, says: “Second Chance provides a near wild existence in mangrove forests where the chimps can roam freely, live together in social groups, and even make treetop nests at night. Some chimps like Samantha, Jiminy Cricket and Brutus are more than 40 years old, so they’ve been through a lot. But they’ve all been transformed from the malnourished, desperate chimps we first met to healthy, happy, thriving animals. We are committed to providing them with lifelong care, which could be another 60 years, so our project to build new facilities on the islands will ensure they get the best of care into the future.”

The legacy of Joseph Thomas’s love for the chimpanzees also lives on in HSI’s community education work in Liberia. HSI runs humane education programs in 25 communities and 12 schools to promote kindness and respect for animals and the environment. HSI’s Dr. Ssuna also provides regular free veterinary care and vaccinations for community dogs and cats, and the charity funds community initiatives such as repairing the local road, providing sanitation equipment to help COVID-19 prevention, as well as recruiting staff and procuring food locally for the sanctuary.

​Gray concludes: “We are deeply indebted to Joseph for his tireless commitment to the chimpanzees for over 41 years and for the sacrifices he made to ensure their safety. It is truly because of his heroic dedication and devotion that the chimps in our care are alive today. The chimpanzees and his fellow teammates at Second Chance were like family to Joseph, and he was family to us.”

Please visit to learn more about the chimpanzees and to support our work to help them and to help animals around the world.

Download Photos and Video of Joseph Thomas and the Chimpanzees

Watch the Tribute to Joseph Thomas

Learn More About Second Chance Chimpanzee Refuge Liberia


Media contact: Wendy Higgins:

Humane Society International

Cage-free hens
Michelle Riley/The HSUS

BANGKOK—Cage-free egg sourcing is becoming a sustainability priority for the Southeast Asian hospitality sector. To better understand how sustainability procurement managers are responding, and to support and accelerate further progress, Humane Society International convened a virtual workshop of these leaders on June 23. HSI, one of the world’s largest animal protection organizations, has worked closely with companies and producers across the region to promote cage-free policies and their implementation.

The hospitality sector is unique in several ways: its clientele is global, the service provided is intensely personal – a home away from home; and the customer’s overall impression of the experience can be influenced, positively or negatively, by the smallest of details. These are some of the reasons HSI believes animal welfare has become a priority corporate social responsibility issue for the hospitality industry in Asia.

Attendees from 10 countries representing 15 hotel chains heard how three different types of companies—a small luxury brand (Peninsula), the largest global brand (Accor) and a long-established brand (Hilton) approach the transition to higher animal welfare procurement. Among key strategies identified were the importance of obtaining animal welfare expertise to help educate and align internal teams, the value of internal training for procurement staff, and the usefulness of external certification standards in defining cage-free sourcing requirements and qualifying suppliers.

The Thai egg producer Akara Groups showcased their new cage-free egg facilities that provide laying hens space to move, dustbathe, nest and forage. Akara joins four other (large-scale/commercial) producers in Thailand in responding to the growing demand for cage-free eggs. Certified Humane, one of the leading certification programs now active in Southeast Asia (Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam), discussed how certification can help provide both producers and companies greater clarity on the conditions that should be addressed in cage-free production.

David Crestani, senior manager, Supply Management for Hilton emphasized: “…. early engagement with producers is important, as it signals a commitment to transition towards a cage-free supply, and encourages improvement of existing practices. We also work with hotel teams to effect gradual change through their menu offerings, in anticipation of the future increase of cage-free egg supply.”

Hotel industry panelists agreed that there is an opportunity to work with other industries to drive cage-free adoption, similar to their experience in eliminating single use plastics. To encourage franchisee adoption of cage-free policies, hotel chains can collaborate with animal welfare groups like HSI to support producer engagement. Andrew Cameron, senior category manager at Accor, commented that: “We understand that the best approach to fulfil cage-free egg commitments is to think holistically and work collaboratively with all invested parties, both internally and externally. Engineering menus are only one piece of the puzzle, and it is with the support of the broader industry, producers, policy-makers and NGOs that we can secure systemic change in how eggs are perceived and purchased globally”.

Participants welcomed the opportunity to learn more about how cage-free production is related to the growing trend in sustainable procurement. Samir Wildemann, Fusion’s vice president of Operations, shared that: “Cage-free is one of the top sustainability policies of Fusion Hotel Group. More and more travelers across the region have raised this issue when traveling. Speakers from this webinar shared step-by-step actions for implementation; as well as the challenges, lessons learned and strategies which I think are very valuable to a new member of the cage-free egg movement, like us.”

Matthew Johnson, HSI’s corporate engagement manager for Southeast Asia, said: “We are very pleased with the positive feedback we received from this webinar and look forward to continuing to foster open dialogue and collaboration among various stakeholders in Asia. We want to ensure that egg producers and hospitality industry in Asia have the tools and resources necessary to successfully meet consumer demand for higher welfare products and ensure a cage-free future for laying hens.”

Egg-laying hens in Asia are typically confined for their whole lives in wire cages so small that they cannot even fully stretch their wings. Cage-free production systems generally offer hens higher levels of welfare, allowing the birds to express more of their natural behaviors, including moving around, laying eggs in nests, perching and fully spreading their wings.


Media Contact: Matthew Johnson:

Humane Society International / South Korea

Gyul Han/ Weber Shandwick Boknal Chobok plant based dishes

SEOUL—As Boknal – the three hottest days of the year according to the lunar calendar—begins in South Korea, Humane Society International/Korea and vegan chef Ahn Baek-Rin have joined forces to encourage consumers to swap dog meat soup, or “bosintang”,  for delicious plant-based recipes instead. The recipes offer a fresh, plant-based take on Boknal eating, incorporating many of the ingredients traditionally found in bosintang, often eaten to beat the heat, to help citizens stay cool during the hot summer months but without contributing to the suffering of dogs reared in barren cages on dog meat farms.

Although opinion polls show that the majority of Koreans (84%) neither consume dog meat nor intend to in the future, even if they have done so in the past, of those Koreans who do eat dog meat, the majority (70%) consume it over Boknal. Some Koreans believe dog meat soup can help relieve the effects of the sweltering summer heat and humidity and revive stamina. Between 1 and 2 million dogs are still bred annually across the country in unsanitary and inhumane conditions in thousands of dog farms, most of whom will be slaughtered for the summer Boknal.

HSI/Korea’s My Healthy Diet campaign is promoting three plant-based recipes to be published on HSI/Korea’s social media platforms on Chobok (start of summer), Jungbok (mid-summer), and Malbok (the end of summer). The dishes have been devised by vegan chefs Ahn Baek-Rin and two other chefs to be revealed during Boknal, using fresh seasonal vegetables. Unlike bosintang, the plant-based recipes don’t require hours of boiling and cooking, so are quick and easy to make, a time saving advantage that will appeal to busy home cooks.

Nara Kim, HSI/Korea’s dog meat campaign manager, says, “Although most South Koreans don’t eat dog meat, it still remains popular for some Koreans over the summer months, when the vast majority of dogs farmed for meat will be slaughtered. It’s a sad fact that millions of dogs are suffering miserable lives on dog meat farms largely to produce soup for Boknal. So our message is simple, by swapping bosintang for one of our delicious plant-based soups, we can keep cool and eat healthy while saving our canine friends at the same time. I have been to many dog meat farms, and I believe that if consumers saw the unsanitary and inhumane conditions that I see, they would not wish to eat bosintang anymore. We all strive to eat healthier these days, and so our easy recipes are ideal to help us beat the heat and spend a refreshing summer. If we all make compassionate food choices for Boknal, we can achieve an end to the dog meat industry.”

Chef Ahn Baek-Rin, who developed the first recipe for Chobok on 11th July, currently manages Millennial Dining restaurant in Seoul, preparing vegetarian dishes using diverse, organic and local ingredients to deliver rich tastes and flavours. Her Chobok recipe called “Self-care soup” combines a broth made with boshin soup sauce, vegetables and cashews, with shiitake, pine and lion’s mane mushrooms, and a sauce made with Korean chilli paste, sesame oil, soya sauce and paprika.

Chef Ahn says, “On this coming Chobok, HSI/Korea and I will introduce a new dish called ‘Self-care Soup’ that not only takes care of our health, but of our planet and the animals as well. It will be a mutually-beneficial dish, and it will be a perfect solution for Boknal, as it is full of essential vitamins and nutrients from seasonal vegetables. They provide a great way to boost our nutrient intake and ensure we eat enough vegetables. The ‘My Healthy Diet’ campaign is a fresh new take on Boknal eating, perfect for those who originally ate dog meat for Boknal because this recipe is carefully designed so that anyone can take care of their health with quality food.”

As well as protecting animal welfare, eating plant-based for Boknal also has human health benefits. Laboratory tests have found that an alarming amount of dog meat can contain harmful bacteria such as E. coli as well as antibiotics used to combat sickness in dogs due to the low welfare conditions on farms. With the link between low welfare animal breeding and the spread of zoonotic diseases such as bird flu and SARS, swapping dog meat for plant-based alternatives is a sound choice for public health, too.

Humane Society International/Korea, which has worked co-operatively with farmers to close down 17 dog meat farms in South Korea, is campaigning for legislation in the country to end the dog meat trade. The organization helps dog meat farmers transition to more humane and profitable businesses. A recent opinion poll commissioned by HSI/Korea and conducted by Nielsen shows growing support for a ban on the dog meat trade, with almost 60% supporting a legislative ban on the trade, compared to just 34.7% in 2017.

Download images of the Chobok vegan dish

Download images of HSI/Korea’s dog meat farm rescues


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