Fur trade labelled as ‘barbaric,’ ‘cruel,’ ‘utterly illogical,’ ‘outmoded’ and ‘inhumane’

Humane Society International / United Kingdom


Theodora Iona /PETA UK CEOs and Directors from five of the UK’s largest animal protection organisations,  Humane Society International/UK, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (UK), FOUR PAWS UK, Open Cages and the RSPCA, gathered with campaigners in geometric fox masks at the gates of No 10 Downing street to submit 1 million #FurFreeBritain petition signatures to the Prime Minister, calling for the UK to ban the sale of cruel animal fur.

LONDON—In Parliament’s first fur debate since leaving the European Union, MPs from across the political spectrum have called on the government to ban the sale and import of real animal fur in Britain. All 18 of the MPs who spoke did so in favour of a ban during yesterday’s Westminster Hall debate, referring to the trade as ‘barbaric’, ‘cruel’, ‘utterly illogical’, ‘outmoded’ and ‘inhumane’. The debate was held after a 1 million signature petition was recently delivered to the Prime Minister by the #FurFreeBritain campaign, led by Humane Society International/UK. HSI/UK thanked MPs for their compassionate contributions and urged the government to “consign fur cruelty to the history books.”

Claire Bass, executive director of Humane Society International/UK, says: “Every MP who spoke at this debate reflected the views of their constituents by supporting a ban on fur imports and sales, and calling for Britain to end its bloody business with the international fur trade. DEFRA Parliamentary Under Secretary Rebecca Pow, and Environment Secretary George Eustice can have been left in no doubt that there is overwhelming political as well as public support for a UK fur ban. If we are a nation of animal lovers, Britain cannot remain complicit in the appalling suffering of millions of fur-bearing animals caged or trapped overseas, all for frivolous fur fashion. We urge Government to consign fur cruelty to the history books by introducing legislation to ban the import and sale of real animal fur as soon as possible.”

Download the Full Debate

Since banning fur farming more than two decades ago in 2000, Britain has imported more than £800 million worth of fur from countries including Finland, China, France and Poland, where tormented animals such as foxes and mink suffer for their entire lives in barren battery cages, measuring around one square metre. Coyote, beaver and other animals are also trapped and killed in the wild using cruel traps that are also banned in the UK.

Notable quotes from MPs at the debate include:

  • Conservative MP Christian Wakeford who called for the debate, said: “It’s now time that we end the double-standard of having a ban on fur farming, whilst importing the same cruelty from overseas. The fur industry would appear to me to be an industry that is outmoded and out of touch with modern values and principles of the humane treatment of animals, and I implore my Parliamentary colleagues to join me in condemning it to the history books as we have done for so many other cruel and archaic treatments of animals. Following the call for evidence on the fur trade held by the Government over the summer; given the strong public and Parliamentary support for this measure; and noting the Government’s commitment and ambition to be a world leader on animal welfare standards – I ask the Minister to use her response to today’s debate to reassure me and everyone in this room today that legislative action to end the UK’s involvement in the global fur trade will be imminently forthcoming. It’s not just the popular thing to do; it’s the right thing to do.” 
  • Tracey Crouch MP, from the British Conservative Party, said: “There is huge cross-party support on this issue, reflecting public opinion, and there’s really only one outcome from this which is that we should ban fur sales, full stop.”
  • Dr Lisa Cameron MP for the Scottish National Party said: “It’s not just the humane thing to do, but there’s also a public health interest in making sure this happens.
  • Conservative MP Jason McCartney said: “When we set the standard some twenty years ago by banning fur farming here in the UK, other countries followed our lead, so if we can set the example here, we will not only help animal welfare by what we do as a country, other countries will follow, so let’s take the lead.”
  • British Conservative MP Sir Roger Gale said: “There is, in this day and age, absolutely no justification whatsoever for using real fur because there are so many synthetic alternatives that are good and available…  It’s completely anomalous that we should ban fur farming in the United Kingdom and then allow the product to be imported from other countries. It’s got to stop, it can stop now. The Government has a good track record on animal welfare legislation, I urge my friend the right honourable Minister to make sure this is added to that portfolio. Let’s stop it now.”
  • Scottish National Party MP Steve Bonnar said: “Fur farming has been rightly banned in the UK since 2003, yet we continue to import tens of millions of pounds of animal fur each year. If it is too cruel an industry to have on our shores, than how can we justify importing fur that is farmed using the same inhumane methods, which are illegal in the UK? All have managed to do is outsource our animal cruelty overseas.” He added “Dangerous viruses thrive when animals are kept in filthy, crowded conditions. By allowing the sale of fur in Britain, we are inadvertently supporting a reservoir of deadly viruses.”
  • Taiwo Owatemi, Labour MP for Coventry North West, said: “The government has shown some willingness and stated it wants to drive up animal welfare standards in the United Kingdom. Well, banning the fur trade in its entirety, including fur imports, would be a bold step towards reaching these aims. We need actions, not just warm words from the government. In doing so we will have the overwhelming support of the animal loving British public.

Responding on behalf of the government, DEFRA Parliamentary Under Secretary of State Rebecca Pow MP noted that it was clear from the interventions at the debate that there was “great strength of feeling on this topic” and that “animal welfare is an absolute priority of this government”. However, she went on to state that she was “not in a position to introduce any next steps on the fur trade today” but that “we are building a strong evidence base on which to inform any future policy, noting information from a range of sources, including industry associated with the fur trade and notable retailers who have recently gone fur-free…” Pow also cited the “incredible 30,000 responses” the government received to the recent Call for Evidence which she said demonstrated “the strong feeling in this area.”

To date the #FurFreeBritain campaign has enjoyed much cross-party political support. Last year Tracey Crouch MP tabled an Early Day Motion (EDM267) which received the support of 140 MPs and current Early Day Motion (EDM193), tabled in June 2021, already has 103 signatures.

This month, more than 100 MPs and Peers from various parties wrote to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Rt Hon George Eustice MP, calling on the UK Government to ban the import and sale of animal fur.

There is also significant public support for ending the double standard of UK fur imports and sales. DEFRA’s recent Call for Evidence on the UK fur trade received over 30,000 responses, and more than 1 million petition signatures have been delivered to the Prime Minister in support of #FurFreeBritain. Public opinion polls consistently show widespread backing for a UK fur sales ban; a Yonder opinion poll published in May 2021 found that 72% of Brits support a ban on the import and sale of all animal fur, replicating exactly the same majority support demonstrated by a YouGov opinion poll in 2020 which also revealed Brits’ scathing view of fur as ‘unethical,’ ‘outdated, ‘cruel’ and ‘out of touch.’

Earlier this year Israel became the first country in the world to ban the sale of fur, and in the United States the city of Ann Arbor in Michigan joined Los Angeles, San Francisco, Berkeley and West Hollywood in California, and the towns of Weston and Wellesley in Massachusetts, in also banning fur sales. California became the first US state to ban fur sales in 2019.

Fur Facts:

  • More than 100 million animals are killed for their fur every year worldwide including mink, fox, raccoon dog, chinchilla and coyote—that’s equal to three animals dying every second, just for their fur. Rabbits are also killed for their fur, likely to be in the hundreds of millions.
  • Fur comes with a hefty environmental price tag. Whilst all materials have some eco-footprint, when compared to other textiles, fur takes a significant toll in terms of the C02emissions associated with keeping and feeding tens of thousands of carnivorous animals on a farm, the manure runoff into lakes and rivers, and the cocktail of toxic and carcinogenic chemicals such as chromium and formaldehyde used to preserve the fur and skin to stop it from rotting.
  • An increasing number of fashion designers and retailers are dropping fur cruelty. In the last few years alone Canada Goose, Oscar de la Renta, Valentino, Gucci, Burberry, Neiman Marcus, Chanel, Prada and other high-profile brands have announced fur-free policies. In addition, major online fashion retail platforms Net-A-Porter and Farfetch have adopted fur-free policies.
  • Fur farming is not only cruel to animals, it also presents risks to public health. A June letter signed by over 60 veterinarians and virologists highlighted outbreaks of SARS-CoV-2 on hundreds of mink fur farms across a dozen countries, and the potential for such farms to act as reservoirs for the virus. It also notes the potential for fur farms to create future zoonotic diseases, stating: “The intensive breeding conditions typical on fur farms—animals unnaturally crowded together, poor hygiene, stress, injuries and low genetic diversity—are ideal for the creation and spread of novel pathogens.” Signatories to the letter support “a permanent global end to the breeding, keeping and killing of animals for the purposes of fur production, and the sale of fur.”

Download Photos/Video from the #FurFreeBritain Campaign

Download Photos/Video from the HSI Chinese Fur Farm Investigation

ENDS

Media contact: Leozette Roode: Lroode@hsi.org; + 27 71 360 1104

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

Humane Society International / Europe


JVisentin/istock

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ENDS

Press contacts:

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

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

Humane Society International / Europe


Offroad and HSI

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Download Images 

ENDS

Media Contacts:

Humane Society International / Europe


Add your name to stand against this gruesome industry

Humane Society International


V.Food

HO CHI MINH CITY—One of the largest egg suppliers and processing companies in South Viet Nam, Vinh Thanh Dat (V.Food), has joined the global cage-free movement by launching their first certified cage-free egg brand in the country. The project is freeing thousands of hens from cages in the first year and will expand in the years to come, with the assistance of Humane Society International (HSI), a global organization working to protect all animals.

As an industry pioneer, V.Food has observed the cage-free movement increasing around the globe. The company management team has a vision to differentiate from the most common industrial way of producing eggs in Viet Nam, where nearly 77 million hens are confined in small, crowded, wire cages every year.

With this project, and as of today, V.Food has become the first producer and processing company to earn the Certified Humane label in Viet Nam, meeting dozens of requirements for the health, nutrition and management of cage-free hens under the Humane Farm Animal Care (HFAC) standards. Consumers will be able to find V.Food’s Cage-free Eggs brand in the largest supermarkets in Ho Chi Minh City soon. These eggs are packaged in paper boxes, differentiating them from other single-use plastic egg boxes already in the market, a further sign of V.Food commitment to corporate social responsibility, and to the community and environment.

The two single-floor, cage-free barns in Dong Nai province, about 100km north of Ho Chi Minh City, house 6,000 hens total, and can bring around 1,5 million cage-free eggs to the market annually. In these barns, hens are free to express their natural behavior, i.e., dust-bathing in rice husk bedding and resting on elevated perches.

We hope this new brand of certified cage-free eggs will be supported by consumers even though the pricing is higher at the beginning compared to eggs from caged hens that are already in the market. With consumers’ support, the number of hens freed from cages will increase as Viet Nam’s egg production catches up with the regional cage-free trend.” said Mr. Truong Chi Thien, V.Food founder and general director.

Hang Le, farm animal welfare manager, HSI in Viet Nam states: “We are delighted that producers and processing companies are beginning to address the welfare of hens by moving toward cage-free egg production in Vietnam. HSI applauds V.Food’s movement. We are committed to providing support and to ensuring that these and other pioneers have all of the tools and resources they need to make the cage-free future for laying hens a reality. Consumers play a key role in the effort to improve the lives of farm animals, and HSI urges those consumers who purchase eggs, to choose cage-free. This small change means a world of difference to each of those hens.”

HSI’s approach is science based and collaborative. The Farm Animal Welfare department works with companies and producers to support a transition from intensive cage confinement to cage-free housing systems instead. HSI offers a wide range of technical support to producers and egg processing companies such as V.Food,  including peer-to-peer learning, farm visits, study tours and annual technical workshops.

V.Food joins other egg production companies in Southeast Asia as part of the cage-free movement, including Charoen Pokphand Foods, Betagro of Thailand, San Miguel Corporation and Bounty Fresh of the Philippines. This transition will meet the growing demand for cage-free eggs from the global food and hospitality industry. A growing number of food and hospitality companies has adopted cage-free egg procurement policies as part of their corporate social responsibility goals.

Reference in this release to any specific commercial product or service, or the use of any brand, trade, firm or corporation name is for the information of the public, and does not constitute or imply endorsement by Humane Society International or its affiliates of the product or service, or its producer or provider.

ENDS

Media contacts:

  • Humane Society International: Phuong Tham: phuongth@hsi.org
  • V.Food: Truong Chi Cuong: cuongtc@vinhthanhdat.com.vn

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

Humane Society International / Europe


The HSUS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Humane Society International / Global


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Humane Society International / Global


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HSI’s star-studded film Save Ralph propels bill to victory

Humane Society International / Mexico


HSI

MEXICO CITY—Mexico’s Senate today gave its final and unanimous support to a federal bill to ban animal testing for cosmetics, making it the first country in North America and the 41st country globally to do so. The new law also bans the manufacture, import and marketing of cosmetics tested on animals elsewhere in the world.  Humane Society International/Mexico and ONG Te Protejo whose multi-year #BeCrueltyFree Mexico campaign championed the bill, welcomed the ban jointly stating, “We are thrilled to see Mexico become the first country in North America to outlaw cosmetic animal testing, and commend our bill sponsor Senator Ricardo Monreal, and all congressmen and women for voting to end cosmetic animal testing in Mexico.”

Antón Aguilar, executive director of Humane Society International/Mexico, said: “We thank the Mexican Government for showing leadership on this important issue, and we will continue to work with them to implement the commitments and enforce a robust ban. This is a monumental step forward for animals, consumers and science in Mexico, and this ground-breaking legislation leads the way for the Americas to become the next cruelty-free beauty market, and brings us one bunny-leap closer to a global ban.”

Legislative momentum in Mexico was strongly influenced by HSI’s stop-motion animated film Save Ralph, the heartbreaking story of a rabbit “tester,” who was brought to life by a star-studded multinational and multilingual cast. The HSI film went viral worldwide, with more than 150 million social media views, over 730 million tags on TikTok, and generating more than 1.3 million petition signatures in Mexico.

Actress and advocate Rosario Dawson, who voiced Bonnie in the Spanish version of the Save Ralph film, added: “I was delighted to lend my voice to Humane Society International’s campaign to abolish animal testing for cosmetics, and could not be more proud to see the impact of #SaveRalph in leading Mexico to become the first country in North America to go cosmetics cruelty-free.”

The bill is also embraced by Lush, Unilever, P&G, L’Oréal, Avon and others in the beauty industry, who are working with HSI globally through the Animal-Free Safety Assessment (AFSA) toward policy alignment, and training measures to support smaller companies and government authorities in transitioning from animal testing to state-of-the-art non-animal methods, which are readily available and better at assuring human safety than the animal tests they replace.

With the addition of Mexico, animal testing for cosmetics is officially already banned in 41 countries, as well as 10 states in Brazil and seven in the United States. Three other U.S. states—New Jersey, Rhode Island and New York—are currently considering similar bills, and federal bills are pending reintroduction in both the U.S. and Canada.

ENDS

Media Contacts:

Humane Society International / South Korea


Bliznetsov/iStock.com

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA—The National Assembly and Humane Society International/Korea have organized a biomedical research multi-stakeholder forum called Alternatives to Animal Testing with Scientific Approaches.

Co-hosting the event are the chair of National Assembly’s Health and Welfare Committee Minseok Kim, National Assembly members In-soon Nam and Hyun-young Shin, and the National Assembly Animal Welfare Forum. The forum is sponsored by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety and the Osong Medical Innovation Foundation.

Prior to the forum discussion, the skin irritation test that was recently accepted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development will be showcased. This new method was developed using the model KeraSkinTM, funded by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety’s Korea Center for the Validation of Alternative Methods. Kyung-Min Lim at Ehwa Womans University and the company Biosolution led this project. Now that the method is recognized as an international standard, it can be used for regulatory testing on cosmetics, industrial chemicals or biomedical devices.

Alternatives to Animal Testing with Scientific Approaches will be attended by representatives from Biosolution, BioToxtech, Korea Institute of Chemical Technology, Ministry of Food and Drug Safety, Nexel, Humane Society International/Korea and Bundang Seoul National University Hospital. Participants will share opinions on the current challenges, barriers in promoting alternatives to animal testing and what should change to move towards non-animal approaches.

In South Korea, while there are alternatives available, animal testing is still frequently used as the first option in research and toxicology. This is due to the lack of awareness and dissemination of new methods and has resulted in the widespread notion that alternatives are expensive or non-existent. This unfortunately discourages companies from proactively using newer, non-animal testing methods.

Committee Chair Minseok Kim said: “Animal testing replacement is relatively a new subject for health research in South Korea. However, as the technology advances and the general public is increasingly aware of animal welfare concerns, Korea is in a very good position to lead the health research and development that can mimic human responses rather than relying on animal models. I look forward to hearing from industries how we, lawmakers, can support the effort.”

Assembly member Nam said: “While there are research efforts to replace animal testing, we need a system where these research results can be disseminated, and industries are encouraged to practice them. Today’s dialogue is to understand the perspectives from relevant stakeholders in support of the bill, Act on the Promotion of Development, Dissemination and Use of Alternatives to Animal Testing Methods, also known as the PAAM Act. Feedback from industries is valuable to continue inclusive dialogue in advancing the current research and development based on humane approaches.”

Borami Seo, interim executive director and senior policy manager for HSI/Korea, said: “HSI/Korea has been pointing out the problems surrounding the absence of strategic development and dissemination plans in Korea. While Korea is renowned for its advanced technology, conventional animal testing approaches continue to be preferred despite growing concerns about their scientific and ethical limitations. We hope to see more stakeholders come together and join the conversation for the protection of humans and animals while embracing emerging technologies that can better predict human biology.”

Forum details:

Date: September 2

Location: Biosolution head office, Seoul, South Korea

Chairperson: Borami Seo, Humane Society International/Korea

Agenda:

  • Welcome speech
  • National Assembly In-soon Nam
  • Presentation: OECD validated 3D reconstructed human skin model showcase
  • Panel discussion: Views on challenges and solutions to support alternative approaches to animal testing

Moderator:

Kyungmin Lim, College of Pharmacy, Ehwa Womans University

Panelists:

  • Choongseong Han, NEXEL
  • Jung seon Lee, Biosolution
  • Cheol-Beom Park, BioToxtech
  • Sejoong Kim, Bundang Seoul University Hospital, 3D Motive project
  • Myung Ae Bae, Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology
  • Ja-young Jung, Ministry of Food and Drug Safety
  • Borami Seo, Humane Society International/Korea

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