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

Humane Society International / Global


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CITES members increased or provided new protection for:

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

Hippo parts images available for download:


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

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

Humane Society International

Chau Doan/AP Images for HSI

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dog meat facts:

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

Download video and photos of the dog slaughterhouse closure operation.


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

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

Humane Society International / Global

HSI team at COP27. HSI.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Humane Society International / United Kingdom

Call to support the Hunting Trophies (Import Prohibition) Bill at its second reading on 25th November

Humane Society International / Global

Dogs in a cage just before being rescued from a slaughterhouse in Viet Nam
Chau Doan/AP Images for HSI

A cruel and dangerous trade

An estimated five million dogs and one million cats are trafficked and slaughtered every year in Viet Nam to supply meat for human consumption. This trade involves immense animal cruelty and criminal activity, with the majority of animals stolen from the streets and even from people’s homes.

The animals are tightly packed into small cages, loaded onto trucks and transported on arduous journeys, sometimes lasting several days. Throughout the journey, they are denied food, water or rest, and many die from suffocation, dehydration or heatstroke before reaching their final destination—a restaurant, market or slaughterhouse.

Not only is the trade immensely cruel, it also poses a significant risk to public health and safety, particularly with regards to the trade’s role in facilitating the transmission of the deadly rabies virus that still kills approximately 70 people each year in Viet Nam. The majority of human rabies cases in Viet Nam are linked to dog bites, with a significant number directly linked to the slaughter, butchering and even consumption of dogs. With vast numbers of dogs of unknown disease or vaccination status being trafficked across the country, the dog meat trade directly jeopardizes anti-rabies efforts and puts at risk the health and life of everyone connected with the trade.

Our work

Humane Society International works throughout Viet Nam to tackle the dog meat trade, calling for the strengthening of laws and regulation to prohibit the dog meat trade on grounds of animal welfare and public health and safety.

Our goal is a nationwide ban on the cruel trade in, and slaughtering of, dogs, and their consumption. We are committed to raising the profile of the issue to both the government and public by highlighting the illegality involved in the trade as well as the significant risk the trade poses to public health and safety.

By raising awareness of the dangers of the trade as well as of the unimaginable cruelty endured by millions of dogs each year, we can change public perceptions and harness the voices of the ever-growing pet-owning and loving society in Viet Nam to influence policy makers in favor of reform, while also ending the demand, and, therefore, the supply, of dogs.

We are committed to working with the authorities to launch programs to encourage responsible pet guardianship, increase rabies vaccination coverage, promote compassion to all companion animals and support the enforcement of existing laws that are routinely flouted by traders and disrupt their illegal operations.

In addition, after many years of successfully running our Models for Change program in South Korea, we’re excited to have launched this program in Viet Nam in 2022. We are working directly with traders and industry workers who are seeking to leave the cruel trade behind them and transition to alternative livelihoods. As well as rescuing dogs where we can, we hope our program will inspire other traders to follow, while also helping to raise vital public and political awareness of—and opposition towards—the trade, and serve as a blueprint for authorities to follow.

Humane Society International / South Korea

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

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

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

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

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

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

As these dogs start new lives, Humane Society International will continue to campaign for an end to the dog meat industry. Since 2015, HSI/Korea’s Models for Change program has helped dog farmers in South Korea transition to new, more humane and profitable livelihoods such as chili plant and parsley growing or water truck delivery. HSI/Korea has permanently closed 17 dog meat farms and rescued more than 2,500 dogs who find adoptive homes in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, with a small number rehomed in South Korea.

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

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

54% of Koreans in their 20s who ate dog meat, did so reluctantly under pressure from fathers and senior work colleagues

Humane Society International / South Korea

Jean Chung/For HSI

SEOUL, South Korea—More than half of South Koreans in their 20s who have consumed dog meat in the past year, felt social pressure to do so from influential seniors such as their father or senior colleagues at work, a new survey finds. While the majority of respondents in this age group did not consume dog meat, of those who did, 54% reported that they ate dog meat under pressure, rising to 57.4% in urban areas. Despite this, the survey found that nationwide refusal to eat dog meat is very high, with 85% of people saying they have never eaten it or will not do so in future and 56% supporting a ban.

Animal protection group Humane Society International/Korea which commissioned market research experts Nielson Korea to conduct the survey of 1,500 people from urban and rural areas, says young Koreans instinctively feel that eating dogs is wrong and they should feel empowered to say no in social situations. HSI/Korea says that pressure to eat dog meat from family or work seniors, means that more people—particularly in urban areas—are eating dog meat than actually want to, and the percentage of dog meat eaters would be considerably lower if more people felt free to exercise their individual choice.

Sangkyung Lee, Humane Society International/ Korea’s dog meat campaign manager, said: “Although it is clear that the vast majority of South Koreans don’t and won’t eat dog meat, it is nonetheless concerning that so many young Koreans feel pressured to eat it even though they don’t want to. The data shows that people in their 20s are more supportive of a dog meat ban than other age groups, and are more concerned about animal suffering and the lack of hygiene. Despite those concerns, more than half of respondents in this age group who did eat dog meat in the past year, say they felt pressured to do so. Pressuring people to eat dog meat needs to become socially unacceptable, and young Koreans like myself need to feel empowered to say no and stick to our principles. It’s ironic that while an individual’s right to choose is the top reason put forward by those who oppose a dog meat ban, our survey suggests that if social pressure were removed, even more people would exercise that choice by not eating dog meat at all.”

The main findings of the survey are that:

  • 6% nationwide say they have not or will not consume dog meat in the future.
  • 6% of Koreans in their 20s who ate dog meat in the past year, did so despite not wanting to.
  • 2% nationwide were first introduced to dog meat by their father and 22% by their office senior.
  • 7% nationwide say they are concerned about the welfare of dogs raised for meat.
  • 1% nationwide believe dog meat is not safe and hygienic to consume.
  • 56% nationwide support a dog meat ban.
  • 1% of respondents nationwide who oppose a dog meat ban do so because they believe it should be an individual’s choice.

Earlier this month (Oct 7) at the National Assembly, Democratic Party Assembly member Jeoung-ae Han expressed her frustration that the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety isn’t doing enough to tackle the illegal and unhygienic dog meat industry. Han said: “According to the Food Sanitation Act, dog meat is not considered food therefore it is clear that dog meat trade is illegal. The current law states that the Ministry can crack down on dog slaughter, and dog meat processing, distribution and cooking because it is illegal. However, the Ministry does not do its work.” She went on to say, “it is threatening people’s health to turn a blind eye to unhygienically processed dog meat.”

A government taskforce was announced in November last year and established in December, to evaluate options for a dog meat ban. Despite surveys showing that the majority of Koreans would support a ban, the task force has twice delayed publishing its conclusions and has now been silent since June this year. HSI/Korea says the time for delay is over and urges President Yoon to help South Korea end the dog meat era forever.

JungAh Chae, executive director of HSI/Korea says: “The taskforce was originally set up because it was recognized that the time is right to ban dog meat. However, almost a year later, the taskforce has still not advanced any recommendations for how to implement a dog meat ban despite that outcome clearly being favoured by most Koreans. President Yoon is a dog owner himself, including of a rescued Jindo, a breed we typically find suffering on dog meat farms. We urge him to help make all Jindos just as lucky by ending South Korea’s dog meat era once and for all. By doing so we would join with others across Asia such as Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and Thailand in consigning dog meat to the history books.”

Since 2015, HSI/Korea’s Models for Change program has helped dog farmers in South Korea transition to new, more humane and profitable livelihoods such as chili plant and parsley growing or water truck delivery. HSI/Korea has permanently closed 17 dog meat farms and rescued more than 2,500 dogs who find adoptive homes in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, with a small number rehomed in South Korea.

Download photos and video of an HSI/Korea dog meat farm rescue.


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

Notes: The survey of 1,500 people from urban and rural areas was conducted online in August 2022 with a margin of error of +-2.53%.

Humane Society International / Global

Phase out the captivity of elephants and protect wildlife from roadside zoos in Canada

“Country delegates are justifiably angry and frustrated by the disruptive and disrespectful behaviour of pro-whaling nations at this IWC.” - Humane Society International

Humane Society International / Europe

Minke whale

POROTOŽ, Slovenia—On the final day of the International Whaling Commission meeting in Slovenia, pro-conservation countries including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, India and Mexico united in calling for an urgent review of voting rules to prevent pro-whaling countries holding votes to ransom with their non-attendance, thereby breaking the quorum required for votes to take place.

At yesterday’s meeting, Antigua and Barbuda, Cambodia, Iceland, Kiribati, Laos, Morocco and St. Lucia amongst others, failed to be present in the room to prevent a vote on the creation of a South Atlantic Whale Sanctuary. Negotiations earlier in the week had suggested that a sufficient number of countries had intended to vote in favour of the sanctuary had it gone ahead. A summary of country views expressed today can be found below.

Rebecca Regnery, senior director for wildlife at Humane Society International, said from the meeting: “Country delegates are justifiably angry and frustrated by the disruptive and disrespectful behavior of pro-whaling nations at this IWC. The world’s only international whale protection organisation is being held ransom by a handful of countries that merely need to step outside of the room in order to stand in the way of progress. Clearly a shake-up of IWC rules is needed. The need to protect whales is far too urgent for these kind of games. Delegates from Latin American countries, including Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay that proposed the sanctuary are palpably furious here at IWC at the use of such undemocratic tactics and vow to continue fighting for the whales. Although the sanctuary was not approved, we remain hopeful because efforts to undermine the ban on commercial whaling were unsuccessful and a resolution to address the issue of plastics in the oceans was adopted by consensus.”

The Buenos Aires Group countries from Latin America called for the IWC to take a firmer stance to stop what is “an offense to our countries.” They said the IWC was “being held hostage with its hands tied,” and that “kicking the can down the road is what pro-whaling countries do every time they disagree with something they don’t want.” The Buenos Aires Group noted that the proposal most likely would have been adopted if country delegates had not left the room and stressed that it remains committed to the conservation of whales and the marine environment and pursuit of a sanctuary to protect whales in the South Atlantic Ocean.

Australia expressed its deep disappointment and said that events “directly undermined the good faith governance of the IWC” and that the “poor behaviour” was exploiting the uncertainty in the Rules of Procedure. Australia called on the IWC to ensure that this undermining cannot happen again, and to agree a new ROP on this as an order of first business at the next IWC in Peru in 2024 to ensure that proper governance can be maintained. In addition to Australia, support for the Sanctuary proposal was also expressed on the floor by India and the United Kingdom amongst others.

In spite of multiple attempts—some blatant and some subtle—to undermine the moratorium on commercial whaling, it remained intact at the end of this meeting. The adoption by consensus of the Marine Plastics Resolution to provide IWC support for international negotiations on a global plastics treaty, and the endorsement of the whale welfare tool to assess the condition of whales who are stranded or otherwise suffering, are further proof that the IWC continues to focus on conservation of whales rather than returning to its whaling roots.

HSI’s whale experts at the IWC meeting are available for interviews.


Media contact: Wendy Higgins, Director of International Media: whiggins@hsi.org

Frasers Group—including House of Fraser, FLANNELS and Sports Direct—announces commitment to stop purchasing fur

Humane Society International / United Kingdom

Jillian Cooper/iStock.com 

LONDON­—Frasers Group, owner of House of Fraser department stores, as well as luxury retail chain Flannels and retail brands including Sports Direct, has announced it has immediately informed its suppliers it will stop purchasing fur products, a move that will take effect on shop shelves this coming season (Autumn/Winter 2023). The commitment was announced by Frasers Group Chief Executive Michael Murray at the company’s annual general meeting on 19 October, and follows discussions with animal protection organisation Humane Society International/UK.

Announcing what it describes as its “long-term commitment” away from fur, the Group will work with HSI/UK to phase out as soon as possible its existing inventory of garments containing fur. It also pledged further updates on progress towards a date from which consumers can be assured Frasers Group’s stores will be free of fur. Frasers Group has over 1,500 stores globally, including fashion retailers such as FLANNELS, House of Fraser, Sports Direct, Cruise and 18 Montrose.

Humane Society International/UK, which worked with Frasers Group bosses to announce the policy, attended the meeting to hear the announcement to shareholders. Claire Bass, HSI/UK’s executive director, said: “We are pleased to have been able to work alongside Frasers Group and applaud it for taking the important decision to stop purchasing fur. By making this commitment to a fur-free future, Frasers Group are showing that it is a company in tune with the vast majority of the British public who believe that animals should not suffer in the name of fashion. Frasers Group’s decision is another critical milestone in the fur-free revolution underway in the UK, and brings us another big step closer to a Fur Free Britain. We look forward to continuing to work with the company to set an end date for its inventory phase out period, to enable consumers to be confident of when Frasers Group will be fully fur-free.” 

Frasers Group is the latest in a long line of luxury retailers and international designers that have turned their backs on fur in recent years, including Farfetch, Net-a-Porter, Canada Goose, Burberry, Chanel, Gucci and Prada. The announcement signifies the accelerating decline of the fur trade and adds further pressure to the few remaining fashion brands that continue to sell fur to follow suit.

Answering a question put by Bass at the meeting, Murray commented: “Frasers Group is committed to a future without fur. The Group’s intention is to stop purchasing fur products from its partners starting with orders for the coming season. The business will be issuing letters to all of its suppliers requesting no fur products are supplied to the Group.”

Group Board Chair David Daly thanked HSI/UK at the meeting for its support in helping the company reach this decision.

Humane Society International/UK works to end the fur trade globally and leads the #FurFreeBritain campaign for a UK fur imports and sales ban. National opinion polling carried out in April 2022 revealed that 77% of Britons think the government should ban the import of products, such as fur, where production methods are banned in the UK. More than one million signatures have so far been amassed for the #FurFreeBritain petition calling on the UK to ban the sale of cruel animal fur.

Fur facts:

  • More than 100 million animals are killed for their fur every year worldwide. The vast majority (around 95%) spend their entire lives confined in small, barren cages unable to act out their most basic behaviours such as running, digging and, in the case of mink, swimming.
  • Fur farming has been banned in the UK since 2003, however almost £1 billion of fur has been imported into the country since then, from countries including China, Finland and Poland.
  • The UK was the first country in the world to ban fur farming and 18 other European countries have now followed suit, including Ireland, France, Italy and most recently in September 2022, Latvia.

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Media contact: Sally Ivens: sivens@hsi.org

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