Nonprofit organizations provide veterinary care and food in Panzos, Alta Verapaz

Humane Society International / Latin America


ESAP 

PANZOS, Guatemala—More than 430 families living in poverty in the municipality of Panzos, Alta Verapaz received veterinary care and food for their domestic and farm animals following the devastation ofHurricanes Eta and Iota at the end of 2020.

With support from Humane Society International/ Latin America, members of the Guatemalan foundation EquinosSanos para el Pueblo provided animals with basic veterinary care, including internal and external deworming, and distributed vitamins. The work focused on the hardest hit communities, located 268 kilometers from Guatemala City.

The efforts helped 5,717 animals, including poultry, pigs and dogs. In a previous visit carried out at the end of 2020, the foundation helped9,162 animals.

“In the first visit in December 2020, after the hurricanes hit, ESAP found a large number of sick and malnourished animalsin a severely impacted region in Guatemala. Many of these animals survived because of the commitment of the community to the wellbeing of their animals combined with the food and veterinary care that we were able to help provide,”said Mauricio Mota, Guatemala country director for HSI.

“On the second visit, we found that the health of the animals improved. In the case of pets,  we observed a decrease in their external parasite load and an increase in their energy level, especially for the dogs,”Mota added.

Mota notes that this is an example of how animal care after natural disasters is essential for the recovery and well-being of affected families. The surviving animals received help, leading to the economic and social recovery of their owners, who in many cases suffered serious losses due to floods.

“At HSI, we hope to continue to work with our allies in Guatemala in emergency situations,” said Mota.

ENDS

Media contact:Mauricio Mota; +502 32438475, mmota@hsi.org

Humane Society International


HSI

SÃO PAULO—Cencosud, the fourth largest supermarket chain in Brazil, has announced it will sell exclusively cage-free eggs at its over 200 stores throughout eight states in the country. Cenconsud operates under different brands—GBarbosa, Bretas, Prezunic, Perini and Mercantil Rodrigues—and all of them are covered by the policy, which will be fully implemented by 2025 for their own brand eggs, and by 2028 for all eggs. The company also operates in Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Peru, and has an office in China.

This commitment comes after many years of working with Humane Society International and other animal protection organizations. HSI will continue to work with the company in Brazil during the implementation of this policy, and in the countries where they operate, to help them adopt a 100% global cage-free egg commitment.

Maria Fernanda Martin, corporate policy and program manager for HSI Farm Animals in Brazil, said: “We applaud Cencosud for adopting a full 100% cage-free egg commitment, and we look forward to continuing to work with the company and its egg suppliers on the implementation of this policy. This move will relieve thousands of egg-laying hens from a life of extreme confinement, and sends a clear message to the egg industry that the future of egg production is cage-free.”

Egg-laying hens in Brazil are typically confined for their whole lives in wire cages so small that they cannot even fully stretch their wings. Cage-free production systems typically offer hens higher levels of welfare, allowing the birds to express more of 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 Brazil and worldwide to help ensure a successful transition to these higher animal welfare production systems, through farm tours, technical workshops on cage-free systems and the exchange of best practices.

Cencosud joins the other three largest supermarket companies in Brazil that have fully committed to selling exclusively cage-free eggs in the country: Carrefour, Walmart (Grupo Big) and GPA. From one end of the supply chain to the other, companies in Brazil and in the region are committing to cage-free.

ENDS

Media contact: Maria Fernanda Martin: mfmartin@hsi.org; +55 (11) 9 5770 9922

Humane Society International / India


On the occasion of World Spay Day, 23 Feb. 2021, Humane Society International/India conducted free camps for sterilisation and vaccination at its Animal Birth Control Centres located in Vadodara, Dehradun and Lucknow. The camp focused on engaging community members who care for the street dogs in their areas and promoting animal birth control as an efficient remedy to manage dog population. During this camp, over 234 dogs were sterilised and 283 were vaccinated against the rabies virus.

HSI/India facilitated the camp with highly experienced veterinarians and animal welfare officers trained to use the latest humane equipment and methods.

Keren Nazareth, director of companion animals and engagement for HSI/India, said, “There are many kind and compassionate people who care for the free-roaming dogs on their streets in Vadodara, Dehradun and Lucknow. What better day than World Spay Day to help them get their community dogs sterilized and vaccinated to ensure the dog population is efficiently maintained in their respective areas. The management of the dog population will also assist in reducing instances of human-dog conflict. We encourage the people of Vadodara to come forward and bring more street dogs to our facilities for sterilization and vaccinations through the year.”

HSI/India has been implementing a mass sterilization and anti-rabies vaccination project in Dehradun and Nainital (Uttarakhand), Vadodara (Gujarat) and Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh).Since its work began in 2013 in India, it has sterilized and vaccinated over 150,000 dogs across many cities of India.

ENDS

Media Contact: Uma Biswas: +91-8758807223; ubiswas@hsi.org

Humane Society International urges Italy to permanently ban fur farming to protect people and animals

Humane Society International / Europe


Jo-Anne McArthur/We Animals

ROME—The Italian government has announced last night it will extend suspension of mink fur farming until 31 December 2021. The decision comes in the wake of the SARS-CoV-2 virus having been found on two mink farms so far in Italy. Italy has six fur farms with approximately 60,000 mink, 26,000 of whom were culled following the previous ordinance published in November last year by Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza. Eleven countries in total (including nine EU member states) have now officially identified COVID-19 positive animals on mink farms: Denmark (290 farms), Netherlands (69 farms), Greece (23 farms), United States (16 farms), Sweden (13 farms), Spain (3 farms), Lithuania (2 farms), Canada (2 farms), Italy (2 farms), France (1 farm), Poland (1 farm).

Humane Society International, which campaigns globally for an end to the fur trade, welcomes the news but urges the Italian government to end the cruelty and public health risks by permanently ending fur farming. In December last year, HSI published a white paper highlighting the link between fur farming, poor animal welfare and infectious zoonotic disease.

Humane Society International’s director for Italy Martina Pluda, said: “While we applaud the Italian government for extending its temporary suspension of mink fur farming, to truly address the unacceptable risk of COVID-19 that fur farming represents, we urge it to permanently shut down this cruel and dangerous industry. Confining thousands of animals in small wire cages for fur production not only causes terrible suffering, but for as long as this exploitation is tolerated, and these wild species are crowded together in close proximity in low-welfare conditions, the potential for reservoirs of animal to human pathogens will persist.

Extending the temporary suspension is an important step, but if the government allows mink farming to start up again in 2022 in Italy, it will be placing the commercial interests of frivolous fur fashion ahead of the health of the public, and turning a blind eye to the suffering of thousands of animals.”

Earlier this month the European Food Safety Agency reported that all mink farms should be considered at risk for COVID-19 outbreaks. In January 2021, a Risk Assessment published jointly by the World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and World Organisation for Animal Health recognised Europe as a high-risk region in relation to the introduction and spread of SARS-CoV-2 within fur farms, in addition to the spill-over from fur farms to humans, and the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from fur farms to susceptible wildlife populations. More specifically, it rated the risk factors and likelihood of introduction and spread of SARS-CoV-2 within fur farms in Italy as “likely”.

Fur Facts:

  • On 27th October last year, it became publicly known that in August 2020 SARS-CoV-2 had been detected on a mink farm in Lombardy. This information only came to light after the submission of an information request by campaign organization LAV to the competent authorities. The OIE was only notified on 30th October.
  • On 2nd February 2021 a further five positive tests were confirmed on a mink farm in the Veneto region. Furthermore, serology tests were performed on a sample of 60 mink, 90% of which showed antibodies, confirming that almost all animals on the farm had come into contact with the virus.
  • An estimated 53 million mink are farmed for their fur in more than 20 countries around the world. The top three mink farming countries in Europe in 2018 were Denmark (17.6 million mink), Poland (5 million mink) and the Netherlands (4.5million mink). In August 2020 the Dutch government agreed to fast-track the permanent closure of its fur farms from a previous deadline of 2024 to January 2021 to prevent long term COVID-19 virus reservoirs forming on affected farms. Denmark killed all its mink in 2020 and has ended the keeping, import and export of mink until 31 December 2021; Sweden has suspended mink breeding and the movement of live mink until 31 December 2021; and mink fur farming has reportedly been halted in Belgium.
  • China farmed 11.6 million mink for fur in 2019, a sharp decrease from 20.6 million mink in 2018.
  • Fur farming has been banned in the UK since 2003. Over the past two decades, 21 countries have either voted to ban fur farming, prohibited the farming of particular species, or have introduced stricter regulations that have effectively curtailed the practice. These include numerous European nations such as Austria, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Macedonia, the Netherlands, Norway, Luxembourg, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia. Most recently the government in Hungary declared a ban on the farming of animals including mink and foxes, France committed to a phase out mink farms by 2025, and the Irish government made a commitment to bring forward legislation in 2021.
  • Bulgaria, Estonia, Lithuania, Montenegro, Poland and Ukraine are also presently considering bans on fur farming and in Finland the majority party of the coalition government recently announced its support for a ban on fur farms.

ENDS

Media contacts:

International experts to discuss ‘3D Tissue Chip and Micro-physiological Systems: from development to regulatory adaptation’

Humane Society International / South Korea


Andrei Tchernov/iStockphoto 

SEOUL—Cutting-edge advances in 3D organ-chip technologies will be discussed at an online symposium hosted by Humane Society International/Korea and 3D-MOTIVE project group. Titled ‘3D Tissue Chip and Micro-physiological Systems: from development to regulatory adaptation’, the virtual R&D and business strategy symposium takes place on 5 March.

The symposium will explore current scientific and research funding initiatives to advance non-animal predictive models for medical research and testing using human organ-chip micro-physiological systems. It will also explore the vision for strategic cooperation from developers to end-users to implement and utilise advanced human-based technologies instead of animals for pre-clinical testing.

Professor of nephrology at Seoul National University Hospital, Sejoong Kim, who leads the 3D-MOTIVE project, said “There is an increasing interest in developing new drug development platforms using multi-organ tissue chips. To get these newly developed methods approved by regulatory authorities to replace animal testing, close collaboration with related stakeholders is important. This symposium will provide the opportunity to share international efforts and to discuss strategic plans for Korea.”

Borami Seo, HSI/Korea’s interim executive director and senior policy manager for research and toxicology, said “For effective approaches for new drug discovery, science is increasingly moving away from animal models and applying human-relevant technologies. In December 2020, we saw the introduction of a relevant legislative proposal, the Act on the Promotion of Development, Dissemination and Use of Alternatives to Animal Testing Methods. If passed, this measure will provide a legal framework to support collaborative efforts across central authorities and provide support for long-term funding shifts toward non-animal approaches. I hope that our symposium will accelerate much-needed discussion on regulatory acceptance of cutting-edge technologies to replace animal testing methods”.

Agenda:

  • Chair by Sejoong Kim and Young-Jae Cho, professor at Seoul National University Hospital
    • Organ-Chip technology and regulatory progress
  • Dr Kyung Jin Jang, VP of Technology Implementation and Field Science, Emulate, US
    • Micro-physiological systems—from scientific models towards industry adoption and regulatory acceptance of qualified assays
  • Prof Uwe Marx, CSO & Founder, TissUse, Germany
    • US interagency organ-on-a-chip (OOC) development program: from funding to qualification for regulatory acceptance
  • Dr Suzanne Fitzpatrick, FDA, U.S.
    • Global standardization process for tissue chip techniques
  • Dr Sun-Ju Ahn, Institute of Quantum Biophysics, Sungkunkwan University, Korea
    • Introduction to the Act on the Promotion of Development, Distribution and Use of Alternatives to Animal Testing Methods
  • Borami Seo, Interim Executive Director/Senior Policy Manager for HSI/Korea
    • Industry’s role for OOC development and regulatory applications
  • Dr Adrian Roth, Roche, Switzerland

Register for the online symposium and learn more.

ENDS

Media contact: Borami Seo: bseo@hsi.org

Britain's biggest celebrities and animal protection groups join forces to urge Prime Minister Boris Johnson to ban the sale of fur

Humane Society International / United Kingdom


LONDON—Prime Minister Boris Johnson has received a letter signed by 50 of Britain’s biggest stars, including Dame Judi Dench, Brian May CBE, Leona Lewis, Gary Lineker OBE, James Arthur, Thandie Newton OBE, Alesha Dixon, Ricky Gervais, Mollie King and Dame Twiggy Lawson, urging him to implement a UK ban on the sale of real animal fur. Animal protection organisation Humane Society International/UK which leads the #FurFreeBritain campaign in collaboration with other animal charities, is hopeful that a 2021 ban is possible now that the Brexit transition is completed.

Fur farming was banned in Britain almost two decades ago in 2003 as it was deemed too cruel. But since then Britain has imported more than £800 million worth of fur from countries including Finland, China, France and Poland, where animals experience severe suffering and distress on fur farms. This is a double standard that needs to end.

The letter which is also signed by Amanda Holden, Simon Pegg, Joanna Lumley OBE, Laura Whitmore, Natalie Imbruglia, Sir Mark Rylance, Imelda Staunton CBE, Deborah Meaden and Shirlie and Martin Kemp, reads: “As long as Britain allows the sale of cruel fur from overseas, we remain complicit in an industry that causes immense animal suffering, environmental harm, and also presents risks to human health through the spread of deadly viruses. It is not enough to say that we have banned fur cruelty from our own back yard, we must stop outsourcing that same cruelty from overseas

Read the letter in full here.

The following celebrities have added their names as signatories: Alesha Dixon, Amanda Holden, Amy Jackson, Anna Chancellor, Brian May CBE, Chris Packham CBE, Deborah Meaden, Evanna Lynch, Fearne Cotton, Gabrielle Aplin, Gaby Roslin, Gail Porter, Gary, Lineker OBE, Imelda Staunton CBE, James Arthur, Jasmine Harman, Jilly Cooper CBE, Joanna Lumley OBE, FRGS, Jon Richardson, Johnny Marr, Dame Judi Dench CH DBE FRSA, Laura Whitmore, Leona Lewis, Lily Cole, Lucy Watson, Sir Mark Rylance, Martin Kemp, Megan McCubbin, Mollie King, Natalie Imbruglia, Nicholas Hoult, Paul O’Grady MBE, Pete Wicks, Peter Egan, Rafferty Law, Ricky Gervais, Rula Lenska, Rumer, Sadie Frost, Scarlett, Moffatt, Shirlie Kemp, Sian Clifford, Simon Pegg, Sue Perkins, Thandie Newton OBE, Tiffany Watson, Tracy Edwards MBE, Dame Twiggy Lawson DBE, Victoria Summer and Will Poulter.

The stars have signed the open letter in support of the #FurFreeBritain campaign run by animal charities Humane Society International/UK, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (UK), FOUR PAWS UK, Open Cages, RSPCA, Animal Aid, Viva! And Brian May’s Save Me Trust.

Last autumn, Defra Minister Lord Goldsmith stated that “Fur farming has rightly been banned in this country for nearly 20 years and at the end of the transition period we will be able to properly consider steps to raise our standards still further. That is something the Government is very keen to do.” The campaign has also received cross party political support from 140 MPs who have signed Early Day Motion 267 against real fur imports.

Claire Bass, executive director of Humane Society International/UK, said: “Fur is cruel and unnecessary, and a fur sales ban would command support from the vast majority of the public, politicians, designers and retailers. This letter from some of the country’s top celebrities proudly backing a ban on fur cruelty sends a clear message to Boris Johnson that Britain must no longer be an accomplice in the suffering of millions of animals for frivolous fur fashion. When the selling stops, the suffering will too.

Singer and songwriter Alesha Dixon says, “Britain’s decision two decades ago to ban cruel fur farming, has been an inspiration to numerous other countries that have followed our compassionate lead. But for as long as we allow fur to be sold in UK shops from animals who have suffered overseas, the UK is still responsible for fur cruelty. So now it’s time for us to show world leadership once again by banning fur sales. Britain’s got compassion, and with a fur sales ban we have the power to stop animals suffering for fashion.”

Comedian, actor and director Ricky Gervais says, “Banning the sale of fur in the UK doesn’t even require debate, it’s a no brainer. Should the UK be selling fur from animals who have been anally electrocuted, gassed to death, beaten to death, and may even have had COVID-19? No it shouldn’t, let’s get the ban done.”

Elisa Allen, director, Peta UK says, “The overwhelming majority of British people oppose the fur trade, in which animals are gassed, electrocuted, and even skinned alive. We’re calling on the government to seize this opportunity to take a stand against needless cruelty and be a world leader by creating a fur-free Britain.”

Hannah Baker, FOUR PAWS UK head of communications, says, “The UK public has repeatedly spoken out about their detestation of the fur industry. Today with the added weight of over 50 celebrities we are once again calling for an end to this cruel trade in which animals unnecessarily suffer, all in the name of so-called fashion. The Government cannot continue to ignore the calls for us to finally put animal welfare first and embrace more compassion in fashion by becoming a fur-free Britain.”

Heidi Allen, RSPCA director of advocacy and policy, says, “As a compassionate nation of animal lovers, we know it isn’t enough to simply ban fur farming at home. If we want to continue leading the way, then we must also say “no” to any activity connected with this barbaric, cruel and inhumane use of animals. The RSPCA is therefore proud to add its name to this campaign to end the sale of fur in Britain. Not only is it the right thing to do, it would also demonstrate our global and moral leadership as we strive towards a world totally free of fur farming“.

The British public can support the campaign by signing the petition at www.furfreebritain.uk

 Fur Facts:

  • More than 100 million animals are killed for their fur every year worldwide including mink, fox, raccoon dog, chinchilla and rabbit – that’s equal to three animals dying every second, just for fur.
  • Fur farming has been banned across the UK since 2003, and has been banned and/or is in the process of being phased-out in Austria, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Czech Republic, Croatia, Macedonia, the Netherlands, Norway, Luxembourg, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia. Most recently the government in Hungary declared a ban on the farming of animals for fur including mink and foxes, France committed to phase out mink farms by 2025, and the Irish government made a commitment to bring forward legislation in 2021.
  • Bulgaria, Estonia, Lithuania, Montenegro, Poland and Ukraine are also presently considering bans on fur farming, and in Finland the majority party of the coalition government just announced its support for a ban on fur farms.
  • In the United States, California became the first US state to ban fur sales in 2019 following similar bans in cities including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Berkeley and West Hollywood. Legislators in Rhode Island, Oregon, Connecticut, Hawaii, New York and Massachusetts have introduced fur sales ban proposals. A bill introduced in Washington would ban the production of fur.
  • A 2020 YouGov opinion poll also revealed that 93% of the British population reject wearing real animal fur, and the majority (72%) support a ban on the sale of fur in the UK.
  • Mink on more than 400 mink fur farms across 11 countries have been found infected with COVID-19, leading to mass culls. The potential for zoonotic disease spread, and for mink fur farms in particular to act as reservoirs for coronaviruses, incubating pathogens transmissible to humans, is another compelling reason for governments around the world to call time on fur, by banning farming and sales.

 ENDS

 Media contact: Leozette Roode, HSI/UK Media and Campaigns Manager, e Lroode@hsi.org  t +27 713601104

Humane Society International / Europe


Jillian Cooper/iStock.com Wild mink

BRUSSELS—On the cusp of the mink breeding season, which is set to resume at the end of this month, the European Food Safety Agency has released a report finding that all mink farms should be considered at risk for COVID-19 outbreaks and must be strictly monitored. Following the release of this report, animal protection groups FOUR PAWS, Humane Society International/Europe, Eurogroup for Animals and Fur Free Alliance—and their member organisations—have issued a strong call urging the European Commission to instruct Member States to immediately suspend mink production.

“The only way to keep EU citizens safe is to immediately suspend mink production in the Member States where this cruel practice is still legal before the breeding season starts,” said Joh Vinding, Chair of the Fur Free Alliance. “If this does not happen, the current mink population will increase five-fold by May. Even though only the breeding animals are present right now, there have still been COVID-19 outbreaks on mink farms in Spain and Poland. If the mink population is allowed to grow and all the cages on the fur farms are filled, the risk of disease transmission will likely also increase. The past year has shown that, irrespective of all monitoring and biosecurity protocols taken, the SARS-CoV-2 virus can spread uncontrollably amongst mink populations. At the time of this global health crisis, such risks need to be eliminated entirely.”

The EFSA report notes that in regions with a high density of fur farms, the SARS-CoV-2 virus is likely to spread from one mink farm to the next. EFSA recommends that Member States not only implement passive, but also active monitoring systems. They advise that measures should include frequently testing all people who come into contact with mink, testing samples from dead or sick animals, testing of wild mustelids captured near fur farms and genetic sequencing analysis for tracing the origins of outbreaks and identifying possible viral mutations.

“Implementing such measures is extremely costly and will largely be financed by taxpayers’ money, despite the fact that the majority of EU citizens are opposed the practice of fur farming,” said Pierre Sultana, Director of Four Paws European Policy Office. “We know, for example, that just for one single farm, the Italian authorities spent a total of €50,000 between August and November 2020 to implement biosecurity measures. Regardless of the expense, one thing is patently clear: biosecurity and monitoring measures have their limitations and are not as effective as were originally believed. While they can help to detect outbreaks early on, they cannot entirely prevent mink from becoming infected. This is why we, as animal protection NGOs, have united in our call to immediately suspend all mink production in the EU.”

“The necessity of halting mink production has become even more urgent following the recent discovery of the  so-called ‘Cluster 5’ mutation of SARS-CoV-2 in German patients,” said Dr Joanna Swabe, Senior Director of public affairs for Humane Society International/Europe. “This dangerous mutation of the virus that originated in Danish mink was believed to have been eradicated after the mass culling of Denmark’s entire mink herd last year. However, these recent cases suggest that the authorities were not entirely successful in eradicating this dangerous viral mutation, which could potentially undermine the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines in humans. We applaud Sweden for already taking action to ban mink breeding in 2021. Reportedly Belgian fur farmers have also voluntarily taken a decision to suspend breeding due to the risks associated with COVID-19. It is vital that the remaining Member States that still permit fur production follow their example.”

“The demand to suspend mink production is supported by a statement signed by numerous scientists from the fields of virology, infectious diseases, clinical microbiology and veterinary medicine, which confirms the serious threat that fur farming poses to human health,” said Reineke Hameleers, Director of Eurogroup for Animals. “It calls for the immediate suspension of mink farming as an appropriate, precautionary and proportionate measure based on public health concerns. The experts behind this statement, as well as EFSA, point out that due to the confined living conditions of animals in fur farms, once the virus has been introduced, it is almost impossible to stop transmission. The high number of individuals living in close proximity also provide ideal conditions for virus mutations to occur, as seen in Denmark New variants may not respond to the vaccines that are currently available and could cause significant setbacks in Europe’s efforts to battle the virus.”

Notwithstanding our unwavering position that fur farming should be permanently banned across the EU due to unacceptable animal welfare outcomes and future potential public health risks, in the interim, we are calling on the European Commission to act immediately to suspend mink farming, the breeding of mink, and the import and export of live mink and their raw pelts, across the European Union.

ENDS

Media Contact: Wendy Higgins: 07989 972423; Whiggins@hsi.org

South African hunting outfitters top the exhibitor list at the Dallas Safari Club’s annual convention, where animals from large lion to little blue duikers are offered for hunting.

Humane Society International / South Africa


The HSUS Wolf head and skins at Dallas Safari Club Convention 2020.

CAPE TOWN—South Africa represents the biggest percentage of hunting outfitter exhibitors at the Dallas Safari Club (DSC) annual convention. The DSC, a Texas-based trophy hunting industry organisation, hosts the USA’s biggest industry hunting event, which is being held online this year.

Based on research conducted by both Humane Society International (HSI) and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), hunting outfitters at this event are collectively offering hunting trips to kill at least 319 types of mammals across 70 countries.

Of the 306  outfitter exhibitors, 104 offer hunts in South Africa—making South Africa top the list at 29% of all exhibitors, followed by Canada (16%) and the US (10%).

“As it is, South Africa is one of the world’s largest exporters of hunting trophies—hardly a record of which to be proud. Far more beneficial to conservation and the country’s economy on a sustainable basis is the promotion of wildlife watching—not killing sprees for a privileged few,” said HSI-Africa wildlife director, Audrey Delsink.

DSC gained prominent attention when it auctioned off hunts of a critically endangered black rhino in Namibia in 2014 and 2016.

“Given the recent revelation that rhino numbers have dropped so dramatically in the Kruger National Park—and with most rhinos in the country and the continent facing a similar poaching pandemic—it’s all the more disgraceful that rhinos have targets on their heads by  hunting outfitters,” added Delsink.

Conservation: lip service

Among the 153 international auction items at this year’s event, 75 African hunting packages make up the most. South Africa tops the list with 47, followed by Namibia (15), Mozambique (4), Zimbabwe (4), Cameroon (3) and Zambia (2). These include elephant hunts in Zimbabwe, Zambia and Namibia, a leopard hunt in Namibia and giraffe hunt in South Africa

According to HSI-Africa, the “trophy hunting industry generally pays lip service to conservation or uses the term to try to justify and legitimise its existence”.

For instance, the DSC regularly lobbies to weaken or challenge wildlife protection measures in the US. The organisation opposed a proposal to upgrade the conservation status of the African leopard from “Threatened” to “Endangered” in the US Endangered Species Act.

“For trophy hunters it’s about the thrill of the kill, bragging rights, killing competitions and awards for the number and variety of species that they’ve killed,” added Delsink.

For instance, DSC’s top trophy hunting award, for ‘Outstanding Hunting Achievement’, celebrates trophy hunters who have killed at least 106 animals. This year’s recipient qualified with his collection of 23 spiral horned animals of Africa, of which 21 are ‘record class’, and by completing the DSC African Grand Slam with 106 animals. Then there’s the ‘African Big Game Award’, which requires successful hunts of the African elephant, buffalo, lion, rhino and leopard.”

Canned hunts offered

South Africa’s captive lion breeding industry and its associated ‘canned’ lion hunts have already blemished the country’s conservation reputation.

While DSC and Safari Club International (SCI)—another large US-based hunting organisation—have both renounced captive-bred lion hunts, HSI/HSUS undercover investigations in 2019 and 2020 exposed several vendors who offered to broker captive-lion hunts. Some even bragged about breeding lions.  A number of them are among this year’s DSC exhibitors.

“At least 39 South African exhibitors are offering lion hunts in South Africa at this year’s DSC convention. Most, are likely to be captive-bred lions,” said Delsink.

The Big 5 – and the Tiny Ten

While the African Big Five (African elephants, lions, leopards, rhinos and Cape buffalos) are popular among trophy hunters, hunts of the Tiny Ten are also sought after by hunters and promoted by outfitters.

The Tiny Ten species include the Blue duiker, the smallest antelope species, which is approximately 30cms at shoulder height and weighs 4–5 kgs. Another mammal on that list is the dik-dik, which stands 30–40 cms at the shoulder and weighs 3–6kgs.

“It’s ironic that these animals are poached for the pot amidst disapproval, yet these gentle animals are purposefully killed by trophy hunters’ bows and bullets as collectors’ items,” said Delsink.

HSI has also highlighted that among the approximately 303 types of animals, many species are captive-bred to supply the trophy hunting industry.

The most controversial and unethical among them all is the captive breeding of lions, which are commercially exploited throughout their life cycles. Female lions are forced into an endless, exhaustive cycle of breeding. Their cubs, some as young as a few weeks, are used as photo props to dupe unwitting tourists into paying for ‘selfies’. As the cubs mature they are used for profit-driven ‘walk with lions’ experiences, before being sold to canned hunts. After the animals are shot by hunters and their trophies are exported, wildlife dealers make one last round of profits from the leftover skeletons and bones by exporting them to Asia to supplement the black market for tiger bones.

Genetic manipulation

In South Africa the intensive breeding of game species for hunting and other purposes is big business. “The country has a large trophy production industry, with some species intensively bred, managed and manipulated to produce higher numbers of bigger and better trophies, which has inherent risks,” said Delsink.

Numerous other popular trophy hunted species, such as buffalos, nyala and sable, are intensively bred to produce top trophy quality. Scientists have warned[1] that intensive and selective breeding of game species poses a number of significant risks to biodiversity at landscape, ecosystem and species levels as well as the wildlife economy of South Africa.

[1] Jeanetta Selier, Lizanne Nel, Ian Rushworth, Johan Kruger, Brent Coverdale, Craig Mulqueeny, and Andrew Blackmore. An assessment of the potential risks of the practice of intensive and selective breeding of game to biodiversity and the biodiversity economy in South Africa. August 2018.

ENDS

Media contact: Marisol Gutierrez, HSI-Africa media and communications manager: mgutierrez@hsi.org, +27 (0) 72 358 9531

Humane Society International / Canada


In 2019, Bill S-214, The Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Act, died on the order paper, which means that cosmetic animal testing is still legal in Canada. Help continue the fight!

Humane Society International / Canada


“Agricultural gag” bills would make it easy for Big Ag to hide the abuse that routinely happens on factory farms.