Humane Society International/Korea says taskforce is vital to “close this miserable chapter in South Korea’s history”

Humane Society International / South Korea


Jean Chung for HSI Dogs are shown locked in a cage at a dog meat farm in Hongseong, South Korea. The operation is part of HSI’s efforts to fight the dog meat trade throughout Asia.

SEOUL—The South Korean government taskforce deliberating a ban on the country’s dog meat industry has announced a delay of two months in publishing its recommendations. Humane Society International/Korea, which has rescued more than 2,500 dogs from South Korea’s dog meat industry, says opinion polls show public support for ending the industry, with nearly 84% of South Koreans not eating dog, and almost 60% favoring a ban.

Lola Webber, Humane Society International’s End Dog Meat campaign director, says: “With more than one million dogs a year needlessly suffering for a meat that hardly anyone eats, and with so many dog farmers struggling to make a living in light of dwindling consumer demand, we hope that the taskforce will deliver a bold plan to close this miserable chapter in South Korea’s history. As a candidate, President-elect Yoon Seok-yeol pledged support for ending dog meat provided there is social consensus, and opinion polls show we’ve reached a tipping point in public opinion, so we hope to see that momentum for change reflected when the taskforce makes its recommendations.”

The taskforce was established last year to assess social consensus after President Moon Jae-in suggested the time is right to consider a ban. President-elect Yoon has three cats and four dogs, including Tori the rescued Jindo, a breed typically found on dog meat farms.

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. Most of the farmers involved experience mounting societal, family and financial pressure to get out of farming dogs. With growing concern for animal welfare, and over six million pet dogs now living in Korean homes, demand for dog meat has dwindled. 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.

Dog meat facts:

  • Although most people in South Korea don’t eat dog, the belief that dog meat soup will cool the body and build stamina during the hot summer, particularly during Bok Nal season across July and August, still holds with some, especially the older generation.
  • Most dogs slaughtered for meat in South Korea are killed by electrocution although some are also hanged.
  • Dog meat is banned (with varying degrees of enforcement) in Hong Kong, Taiwan, the Philippines, India, Thailand and Singapore, as well as the cities of Shenzhen and Zhuhai in mainland China and Siem Reap province in Cambodia. In Indonesia, 14 cities, regions or regencies have banned dog meat: Karanganyar, Sukohrajo, Salatiga city, Malang, Semarang city, Semarang Regency, Blora Regency, Brebes Regency, Purbalingga Regency, Magelang city, Jepara, Blitar city, Mojokerto city and Mojokerto Regency. Despite these growing bans, an estimated 30 million dogs a year are still killed for meat across Asia.

Download photos/video of HSI/Korea’s dog meat farm closure program in action.

ENDS

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

Humane Society International / Global


Ralph wins webby
HSI

WASHINGTON, DC—Save Ralph, the star-studded anti-animal testing film by Humane Society International that became a viral sensation last year, has been named best Public Service & Activism (Branded) video in the 26th Annual Webby Awards in both juried and people’s voice categories. The stop-motion animated short film was produced in several languages with the help of an A-list international voice cast to support Humane Society International’s campaign to ban cosmetic testing on animals worldwide.

“We are thrilled that Save Ralph has received two Webby Awards. This prestigious recognition is an honor and a testament to Ralph’s powerful message regarding the cruel reality of animal testing. We are very grateful to The Webby Awards for this high-profile opportunity to keep the issue in the global spotlight,” said Donna Gadomski, HSI senior director of external affairs and Save Ralph executive producer.

The film features HSI’s spokesbunny Ralph, as he goes through his daily routine as a “tester” in a lab—using the story of one bunny to shine a light on the plight of countless rabbits and other animals suffering in laboratories around the world, engaging citizens to become part of the solution. The English-language film features a star-studded cast including Oscar winner Taika Waititi as Ralph, along with Ricky Gervais, Zac Efron, Olivia Munn, Pom Klementieff and Tricia Helfer. #SaveRalph was also produced in French, Portuguese, Spanish and Vietnamese, and subtitled in multiple other languages, to support HSI’s efforts to reach the hearts and minds of consumers and lawmakers in Canada, Brazil, Chile, Europe, Mexico, Southeast Asia, South Korea and beyond. The film was written and directed by Spencer Susser and produced by Jeff Vespa and the Arch Model studio of puppet-maker supreme Andy Gent.

“Save Ralph has set the standard for innovation and creativity on the Internet,” said Claire Graves, executive director of The Webby Awards. “This award is a testament to the skill, ingenuity, and vision of its creators.”

“#SaveRalph has had a tremendous impact on Humane Society International’s efforts to promote a future without animal testing,” said Troy Seidle, HSI vice president of research and toxicology and Save Ralph executive producer. “This film has motivated millions of people around the world to support legal reforms in their countries, propelling Mexico to become the first North American country to ban cosmetic testing on animals, and helping advance our efforts in multiple major economies. We’re excited that the Webby recognition may help continue this momentum.”

As a Webby winner, #SaveRalph will be honored in a star-studded show at Cipriani Wall Street on Monday, May 16. Winners will have an opportunity to deliver one of The Webby Awards’ famous 5-Word Speeches. Past 5-Word Speeches include Steve Wilhite’s “It’s Pronounced “Jif” not ‘Gif’; NASA’s “Houston We Have A Webby”, and Solange’s “I Got Five On It.”

ENDS

Media contact: Cassie Bodin-Duval, international coordinator in media relations: cbodinduval@hsi.org

Naturalist Chris Packham joins Humane Society International/UK in celebrating ban

Humane Society International / United Kingdom


CreativeNature_nl/iStock.com

LONDON—The public’s use of glue traps to catch mice and rats will be banned across England after a government-backed Private Members Bill received unanimous support during its third and final reading today in the House of Lords. The ban has been welcomed by animal charity Humane Society International/UK, which led the “Unstuck” campaign to end the public use of the “inhumane, indiscriminate and indefensible” glue boards, which immobilise the small mammals in strong adhesive in which they can suffocate, rip off skin and fur and break their limbs in desperate efforts to escape.

Despite their potential to cause prolonged and extreme animal suffering, glue traps are currently widely sold to the public in DIY and corner shops, as well as online, for as little as 99p. The traps also pose a serious risk to other species, with numerous reports each year of animals—including protected and endangered species like hedgehogs, wild birds and bats, and even pet cats—being caught and suffering often fatal injuries.

The legislation contains a limited exemption for so-called “pest” control operatives to apply to the Secretary of State for a licence to use a glue trap, which may be granted where there is “no other satisfactory solution” and where the action is required for “the purpose of preserving public health or safety”. The exemption mirrors that of the 2015 glue trap ban in New Zealand, where glue trap licences have fallen year on year since the ban’s introduction, with no approvals for use in 2021.

Claire Bass, executive director of Humane Society International/UK, said: “Glue traps are crude devices that cause horrific suffering to millions of animals. It is absolutely right that their public use will be banned, and we hope this will precipitate their removal from sale by retailers since it will be illegal for their customers to use them. It is immoral to subject small, sentient wildlife to being immobilised on these sticky boards, only to suffocate in the glue, die slowly of their injuries, or be ineptly killed by unprepared members of the public who resort to drowning or throwing them in the rubbish while still alive. The licensing regime for glue trap use by the ‘pest’ control industry will need to be strictly managed to ensure that these cruel products are no longer casually used with impunity.”

Once the Bill receives Royal Assent, the new law will make it an offence in England for a member of the public or any “pest” controller without a licence to set a glue trap to either deliberately or accidentally catch a rodent, with a fine and/or up to 51 weeks in prison. Discovering a glue trap but failing, without reasonable excuse, to ensure it is disabled will also constitute an offence.

Naturalist and campaigner Chris Packham, who supported HSI/UK’s Unstuck campaign, joined the charity in welcoming the ban, saying: “When wildlife, like mice and rats, are successful at living alongside humans, we label them ‘pests’ or ‘vermin’ and seem to think that’s a green light to completely disregard their welfare. Glue traps are a prime example of this. That attitude has to change. I commend HSI/UK on their Unstuck campaign victory and I’m delighted that cruel and unnecessary glue traps will now be taken out of public use, prompting a more compassionate and also effective approach to dealing with unwanted wildlife. This law is great news for mice and rats, but also for the many unintended victims who get stuck in the glue, such as delicate birds, grass snakes, frogs and hedgehogs.”

Conservative MP Jane Stevenson, who sponsored the Bill, said: “I am absolutely thrilled that my Glue Traps Bill has passed its Third Reading, meaning it will soon receive Royal Assent and become law. The banning of the use of glue traps by the general public is another step forward in the strengthening of animal welfare legislation in England, and I want to thank everyone involved in making this happen. The use of glue traps is cruel and barbaric, and has often led to animals not intended to be caught in these traps dying in the most inhumane way. Together with ministers at Defra and organisations such as HSI/UK, the RSPCA and others, I am pleased to have made a positive difference.”

HSI/UK advocates an ethical approach to wildlife management, addressing the root cause of problems through human behaviour change strategies and wildlife control and mitigation measures that are humane, with lethal interventions used only as a last resort to protect public health and safety. As well as being inhumane, killing animals like mice and rats typically does not offer a permanent solution to the problems their presence might cause, whereas measures such as removing food sources and blocking up access holes are effective in addressing such situations.

The ban will come into effect in England two years after receiving Royal Assent. In Scotland, the government made a commitment in January this year to ban glue traps following a review by the Scottish Animal Welfare Commission, and the Welsh government has also been seeking stakeholder views on a possible ban.

ENDS 

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

Humane Society International / Europe


Vets for Ukrainian Pets will cover the cost of veterinary care for the pets of refugees. Charlotte Brocker for HSI

Ukrainian refugees who have fled the war with their pets can access free veterinary treatment in countries across Europe thanks to Vets for Ukrainian Pets. Download leaflet.

Vets for Ukrainian Pets will cover the cost of veterinary care of dogs, cats, horses or other pet animals, where care is considered necessary by a professional veterinarian.

 

What kind of veterinary care is covered by Vets for Ukrainian Pets?

  • Certification/licensing requirements—legalisation of a pet in a European country where these costs are not already being funded by national authorities. This may include rabies vaccination, rabies serology, parasite treatment, microchip implantation/registration and official documentation.
  • Standard preventive care—core vaccinations and parasite treatments to ensure the overall health of the animal.
  • Medication (up to four months’ supply)—medicines previously prescribed by a veterinarian or needed to treat a newly identified condition. This includes previously prescribed medications that did not accompany the pet during evacuation, or for which supplies have been depleted.
  • Acute care—treatment for acute conditions where the prognosis following treatment is good, such as wounds, ear inflammation or alleviation of pain.

What veterinary clinics participate in this scheme?
All licenced clinics and practicing veterinarians throughout Europe are eligible to participate. Please ask at the nearest veterinary clinic.

What if I have more than one pet requiring care?
The plan covers costs for up to five pets or horses. If you have more than five pets in need of veterinary care, please discuss this with the clinic.

Do I have to pay at the clinic and then ask for reimbursement?
No, the veterinary care is free. We will reimburse the clinic up to €250 for each animal.

What if the plan cannot cover the care my pet needs?
We encourage veterinarians to provide discounted or free-of-charge care where other funding or charity contributions are insufficient to cover the full cost.

How long will the Vets for Ukrainian Pets plan be available?
The plan will be running until 21 May 2022. If you need veterinary care for your pet or horse beyond that date, please contact Humane Society International at VetsUkrainePets@hsi.org.

Where can I find more information on Vets for Ukrainian Pets?
Please visit our website: apply.vetsforukraine.com/how-it-works/.

Vets for Ukrainian Pets is fully funded by Humane Society International, with the generous support of Mars, Incorporated, in collaboration with the Federation of Veterinarians in Europe and the Federation of European Companion Animal Veterinary Associations.



Humane Society International / Global


Vets for Ukrainian Pets покриє витрати на ветеринарне обслуговування домашніх тварин біженців. Charlotte Brocker для HSI

Українські біженці, які втекли від війни зі своїми домашніми улюбленцями, можуть отримати безкоштовну ветеринарну допомогу у країнах Європи завдяки “Ветеринари для українських тварин”. Скачати листівку.

“Ветеринари для українських тварин” покриють вартість ветеринарної допомоги для собак, котів, коней або інших тварин, для яких така допомога буде необхідною на думку професійних ветеринарів.

 

Яка саме ветеринарна допомога покривається “Ветеринарами для українських тварин”?

  • Вимоги сертифікації/ліцензування – легалізація тварини у європейській країні, де такі витрати не покриваються органами державної влади. Це може включати в себе вакцинацію від сказу, серологію на сказ, лікування від паразитів, імплантацію/реєстрацію мікрочіпа та офіційну документацію.
  • Стандартну профілактичну допомогу — базові вакцинації та лікування від паразитів, щоб забезпечити загальне здоров’я тварини.
  • Ліки (запас на період до чотирьох місяців)—ліки, що були попередньо прописані ветеринаром, або необхідні для лікування ново виявленої хвороби. Це включає в себе попередньо виписані ліки, які не супроводжували тварину під час евакуації, або запаси яких скінчились.
  • Ургентна допомога — лікування ургентних станів, при яких прогноз наступного лікування є хорошим, таких як рани, запалення вух або полегшення болю.

Які ветеринарні клініки беруть участь у цій схемі?

Всі ліцензовані клініки та практикуючі ветеринари по всій Європі можуть брати участь. Будь ласка, запитайте у найближчій ветеринарній клініці.

Що, якщо я маю більше одного домашнього улюбленця, що потребує допомоги?

План покриває витрати на допомогу до п’яти домашніх улюбленців або коней. Якщо у вас є більше п’яти тварин, що потребують ветеринарної допомоги, будь ласка, обговоріть це з клінікою.

Чи потрібно мені платити у клініці, а потім просити відшкодування?

Ні, ветеринарна допомога безкоштовна. Ми відшкодуємо клініці до 250 євро за кожну тварину.

Що робити, якщо план не зможе покрити витрати на допомогу, якої потребує моя тварина?

Ми заохочуємо ветеринарів надавати допомогу зі знижкою або безкоштовно в тих випадках, коли інші джерела фінансування або благодійні внески не є достатніми для покриття повної вартості.

Як довго буде достуним план “Ветеринари для українських тварин”?

План діятиме до 21 травня 2022 року. Якщо ви потребуватимете ветеринарної допомоги для вашого улюбленця або коня після цієї дати, будь ласка, зв’яжіться з Міжнародним Гуманним Товариством за адресою: VetsUkrainePets@hsi.org.

Де мені знайти більше інформації про “Ветеринари для українських тварин”?

Будь ласка, відвідайте наш сайт: apply.vetsforukraine.com/how-it-works/.

Ветеринари для українських тварин” повністю фінансується Міжнародним Гуманним Товариством, за щедрої підтримки  Корпорації “Марс”у співпраці з Федерацією Ветеринарів Європи та Федерацією Європейських Асоціацій Ветеринарії для Тварин-Компаньйонів.




Fans can vote online to help Save Ralph win internet’s top honor

Humane Society International


HSI

WASHINGTON, DC—Humane Society International announced today that Save Ralph has been nominated for best Public Service & Activism video in the 26th Annual Webby Awards. Hailed as the “Internet’s highest honor” by The New York Times, The Webby Awards, presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, is the leading international awards organization honoring excellence on the Internet.

Save Ralph is a stop-motion animation short film produced in several languages by Humane Society International (HSI) in support of its global campaign to end cosmetic testing on animals. Written and directed by Spencer Susser and produced by Jeff Vespa in partnership with HSI and the Arch Model studio of puppet maker Andy Gent, the film features HSI’s campaign spokesbunny Ralph, as he goes through his daily routine as a “tester” in a lab. HSI’s #SaveRalph campaign tackles the disturbing issue of animal testing in an original and unexpected way—using the story of one bunny to shine a light on the plight of countless rabbits and other animals suffering in laboratories around the world, engaging viewers to help ban animal testing for cosmetics. The English-language film features a star-studded cast including Oscar winner Taika Waititi as Ralph, along with Ricky Gervais, Zac Efron, Olivia Munn, Pom Klementieff and Tricia Helfer. Save Ralph was also produced in French, Portuguese, Spanish and Vietnamese, and subtitled in multiple other languages, to support HSI’s efforts to reach hearts and minds of consumers and lawmakers in Canada, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Southeast Asia and beyond.

“Nominees like Save Ralph are setting the standard for innovation and creativity on the Internet,” said Claire Graves, president of The Webby Awards. “It is an incredible achievement to be selected among the best from the 13,500 entries we received this year.”

“We are absolutely thrilled that Save Ralph is being recognized by the Webby Awards. This nomination provides a fantastic opportunity for Ralph to continue shining a global spotlight on the cruelty of cosmetic testing on animals to a new audience and the need to ban this practice around the world,” said Donna Gadomski, Save Ralph executive producer and HSI senior director of external affairs.

“Save Ralph has had a tremendous impact on Humane Society International’s efforts to end cosmetic testing on animals globally since its premiere last April,” said Troy Seidle, Save Ralph executive producer and HSI vice president of research and toxicology. “This film has motivated millions of people around the world to sign HSI’s petition to outlaw this cruel and obsolete practice, propelling Mexico to become the first North American country to ban cosmetic testing on animals, and is helping advance our legislative efforts in several other countries. We’re excited that the Webby recognition may help continue this momentum.”

As a nominee, Save Ralph is also eligible to win a Webby People’s Voice Award, which is voted online by fans across the globe. From now until April 21st, Save Ralph fans can cast their votes at Webby Awards People’s Voice .

Winners will be announced on Tuesday, April 26, 2022, and honored in a star-studded show at Cipriani Wall Street. Winners will have an opportunity to deliver one of The Webby Awards’ famous 5-Word Speeches. Past 5-Word Speeches include: Steve Wilhite’s “It’s Pronounced “Jif” not ‘Gif’; NASA’s “Houston We Have A Webby”; and Solange’s “I Got Five On It.”

ENDS

Media contact: Cassie Bodin-Duval, international coordinator in media relations: cbodinduval@hsi.org

Humane Society International / Indonesia


Ekky Bogor/AP Images for HSI

CENTRAL JAVA, Indonesia—A dog trafficker in Indonesia involved in the supply and slaughter of dogs for human consumption has been found guilty of breaking the law and sentenced to a record 17 months in jail. Despite a national government declaration that dogs are not considered food in Indonesia, this is only the country’s second conviction of a dog trafficker. Campaigners from the Dog Meat Free Indonesia coalition, which includes Humane Society International, hope it signals a new determination by the authorities to crack down on the cruel and dangerous trade 

The conviction of Guruh Tri Susilo follows a police interception last year of a truck carrying more than 50 terrified dogs as they arrived at a makeshift slaughterhouse in Sukoharjo. The owner of the slaughterhouse is awaiting trial, with a sentence reading expected at the end of April. The dogs had been trafficked from West Java on a grueling 365-mile journey, for which Guruh was found guilty of breaking Law 18 of 2009 chapter 89 regarding animal health and husbandry. The trade within which Guruh worked saw pet and roaming dogs stolen from the streets in West Java to meet demand in dog meat eating hotspots in Central Java. One such hotspot is the city of Solo where DMFI investigations in 2019 revealed that 13,700 dogs are slaughtered for meat each month. 

Campaigners from DMFI, who attended the police interception at the slaughterhouse and took all surviving dogs into their care, welcomed the conviction for sending the strongest signal yet to dog traders across Indonesia that the dog meat business is illegal and will be punished. DMFI has been campaigning for years for a nationwide ban on the dangerous and illegal trade, slaughter and sale of dogs for human consumption.  

Karin Franken, co-founder of Jakarta Animal Aid Network and national DMFI coordinator, said: “The DMFI applauds the authorities for bringing this case against Guruh to send a message to others operating in this illegal trade that they will be found and punished. However, for the law to truly act as a deterrent, we need longer jail times and for that we need a clear, unambiguous and strong nationwide ban on the dog meat trade so that prosecutors and judges can take the strongest possible action. We have raised these concerns with the Ministry of Agriculture and called for the revision of these laws so that people convicted of cases of animal cruelty like this one get the punishment they deserve to reflect the enormous suffering and harm as a result of their actions.” 

Nationwide opinion polls conducted by Nielsen and commissioned by DMFI show that only a small minority of Indonesians (4.5%) ever consume dog meat, and 93% of all Indonesians support a ban. Despite this, over one million dogs are still illegally stolen, trafficked, slaughtered and sold for human consumption every year across Indonesia. Without a nationwide ban, the relevant laws and regulations that can be applied have weak penalties, and enforcement is rare, which enables the traders to continue to operate. DMFI campaigners warn that without stronger action at the local and national level, this cruel, profit-driven trade will continue to jeopardise not only the country’s international reputation, but also the health and safety of the entire country. 

Lola Webber, director of campaigns to end dog meat for Humane Society International, a DMFI member group, said: “Seventeen months in an Indonesian jail is quite rightly going to be an unpleasant experience and it’s a groundbreaking sentence for such a crime in Indonesia. However, it pales into insignificance compared to the horrific brutality meted out to the thousands of dogs who will have died as a result of this trafficker’s actions. Neither does it reflect the enormous public health threat posed by the mass trafficking of dogs of unknown disease and vaccination status, undermining attempts to control rabies which is endemic across most of the country. We know that rabies-positive dogs are being brought into urban centres for this trade, and with so many dogs snatched from one area and trafficked to another hundreds of miles away, those agencies working hard to create vital herd immunity to rabies in local dog populations are fighting a losing battle. Only eight provinces in Indonesia hold rabies-free status, so without immediate and strong action, it is only a matter of time before more provinces face this deadly disease.” 

 In recognition of the grave risks to animal welfare and public health and safety, an ever-growing number of cities and regencies in Central Java have taken the matter into their own hands passing local regulations explicitly prohibiting the dog meat trade throughout their jurisdictions, including Sukoharjo and the Central Javan provincial capital of Semarang. Campaigners hope that this case will shine a light on the dog meat trade and encourage central, provincial, regency and city leaders to take stronger action,  

Dog meat trade facts: 

  • There are widely publicised reports directly linking the dog meat trade to rabies transmission in many parts of Asia where the dog meat trade operates, including Indonesia. Scientific reports have documented rabies-positive dogs being sold and slaughtered in markets in Indonesia, as well as in restaurants and slaughterhouses in China and Viet Nam.   
  • Dog theft for the meat trade is a serious problem in Indonesia. Dog Meat Free Indonesia has interviewed many residents who have described their terrifying ordeal with armed traders stealing their pets at night. Despite the obvious law-breaking, thefts are rarely taken seriously by law enforcement, so the thieves often go unpunished. 
  • Across Asia, opposition to the dog and cat meat trades is increasing, with an ever-growing number of countries and territories (Taiwan, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Thailand and two major cities in mainland China) banning the trade in and slaughter, sale and consumption of dogs. In September 2021, South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in suggested it could be time to consider a dog meat ban, and a government-initiated task force is currently considering the issue. President Elect Yoon Suk-yeol has also stated he would not oppose a dog meat ban provided there is social consensus.  
  • The Dog Meat Free Indonesia campaign comprises Humane Society International, Animals Asia, FOUR PAWS, Animal Friends Jogja and Jakarta Animal Aid Network. Their campaign has received support from global and Indonesian superstars including a letter to President Joko Widodo in 2018 calling for action to end the country’s dog and cat meat trades signed by Simon Cowell, Sophia Latjuba, Yeslin Wang, Nadia Mulya, Lawrence Enzela, Cameron Diaz, Chelsea Islan, Ellen DeGeneres and Pierce Brosnan. 

Download Photos and Videos of the Police Interception 

ENDS 

Media Contacts: 

  • Lola Webber, Humane Society International’s End Dog Meat campaign director and Dog Meat Free Indonesia international coordinator: +6281337408768; Lwebber@hsi.org  
  • Karin Franken, national coordinator Dog Meat Free Indonesia Coalition: +6282122487794; jaan_adopt@yahoo.com

Alesha Dixon and Joanna Lumley join 50 animal protection organisations in celebrating new law recognising animals have feelings, and a new Committee to protect their welfare.

Humane Society International / United Kingdom


Guy Harrop/Alamy

LONDON—Animal protection organisations and celebrities are today celebrating the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill passing its final hurdle in the House of Lords. Once the Bill receives Royal Assent, the new law will be known as the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Act 2022.

The passage of the Bill is welcomed by the Better Deal for Animals, an alliance of 50 of the UK’s leading animal organisations, including the RSPCA, Humane Society International/UK, Compassion in World Farming, FOUR PAWS UK and Wildlife and Countryside Link, which was formed in 2019 to campaign for reinstating the recognition of animal sentience in UK law. Animal sentience was the only piece of EU legislation that was not transposed when the UK formally left the EU on 1st January 2021.

Alesha Dixon, whose petition secured over 100,000 signatures in the campaign for a sentience Bill back in 2019, said: “Animals enrich and improve our lives in so many ways, so it is only right that we give them our full respect in law. From the smallest mouse to the largest whale, our decisions can have a huge impact on the welfare of animals, and I’m thrilled that this new law will now mean all government departments will have to show how they’re giving animals the consideration and protection they deserve.”

Joanna Lumley, who signed a letter with 21 other celebrities urging government to put animal sentience into law, said “Anyone lucky enough to share their life with an animal knows what rich emotional lives they can lead, and how much our actions can affect their wellbeing, for better or worse. I am delighted that this new law will mean that sentient animals, including beautiful sea creatures like lobsters and octopus, will be treated with greater respect and care.”

The new law will see the formation of an Animal Sentience Committee which will have the freedom to scrutinise the extent to which any government policy has taken animals’ welfare needs into account, and is empowered to publish reports on its findings. The Minister with responsibility for that policy area then has a duty to lay before Parliament a written response to the Committee’s reports within three months.

Claire Bass, executive director of Humane Society International/UK said: “It’s exactly 200 years since the UK’s first animal welfare law, so the Sentience Act is a fantastic anniversary gift to animals. This legislation has enormous public support, and we’re delighted and relieved to see it complete its journey through Parliament. We look forward to the new Animal Sentience Committee being able to shine an expert spotlight on opportunities for the government to improve the welfare of all animals.”

Chris Sherwood, Chief Executive of the RSPCA said: “The Sentience Bill becoming law is an important milestone in ensuring animals have strong legal protections and are recognised as sentient beings who have emotions and feelings. We are pleased that the new Animal Sentience Committee will be able to influence public policy to improve the lives of animals and create a kinder and more compassionate society.”

Welcoming the law, campaigners stressed that the new Animal Sentience Committee would have a huge scope of policies it could scrutinise, and will need to prioritise its limited resources carefully.

James West, Senior Policy Manager at  Compassion in World Farming, said: “We welcome the final passage of the Bill that will once again enshrine animal sentience in UK law. However, the Animal Sentience Committee still has a big job to do! It’s critical that they prioritise those policies that have the potential to cause the greatest suffering to the largest number of animals, including of course, the millions of animals facing welfare problems on Britain’s farms.”

Sonul Badiani-Hamment, FOUR PAWS UK Country Director, said: “Today is a victory for animals as they are finally granted the recognition and protection they deserve in UK law. The British public are proud to call themselves a nation of animal lovers and have strong expectations of the UK Government to deliver on their commitments in the Action Plan for Animal Welfare. In passing this Bill the government has taken one huge step forwards towards truly being considered a global leader for animal welfare.”

Richard Benwell,  Wildlife and Countryside Link CEO, said: “It’s great to see MPs come together from all parties to recognise the sentience of animals. This consensus reflects clear public opinion—animals are sentient and should be treated as such. This applies to companion animals, farm animals and wild animals. The same consensus must hold to ensure that the advice of the new Animal Sentience Committee is followed by Government, so that future policy reduces suffering and enhances the welfare of animals.”

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Media contact

Claire Bass, executive director, Humane Society International/UK: cbass@hsi.org

Pups starving and dehydrated, some already dead on “truck from hell”

Humane Society International


Vshine

Dalian, CHINA—Chinese animal activists worked through the night with local police in the eastern Chinese province of Anhui to intercept a truck packed with 260 puppies and 22 adult dogs in such appalling conditions that one activist called it a “truck from hell.” The driver of the truck had taken the dogs—all destined to be sold for the meat or pet trade—on a gruelling 1,000 mile journey from Guizhou to Huainan before it was spotted on the highway by local activists. One activist called Teng, an anti-dog meat trade campaign volunteer for Humane Society International and its Chinese partner group, Vshine, quickly responded by alerting the police and coordinating local activists for a rescue effort.  

When Teng reported the suspected illegal transport of live animals, the local police immediately despatched law enforcement officers to intercept the truck, forcing it to pull over on the side of the road. Teng reported that when the truck driver couldn’t provide the required documents to legally transport live animals across provincial borders, the dogs were confiscated into government custody where the activists were allowed to provide emergency care. The adult dogs had been due to be sold to a slaughterhouse for human consumption, while the puppies were intended to be sold as pets, although many were so sick by the time they were rescued they likely would also have ended up at the slaughterhouse.  

Sadly, conditions were so dire that 12 of the puppies had died by the time the truck was intercepted, and a further 18 died soon after from parvovirus and distemper, both highly contagious diseases that cause severe illness and possible death in dogs. Many of the surviving puppies are suffering from dehydration, starvation and skin disease. One puppy in particular was covered in a painful skin condition leading to hair loss. He was in such a pitiful state, he immediately captured Teng’s heart and he offered to adopt him if he survived. The puppy—who he named Apple—was given emergency veterinary treatment but despite best efforts, he sadly passed away.  

Teng said: “My heart sank when I spotted the truck on the highway that night. I knew it was going to be bad because there were so many dogs crammed inside, but I hadn’t expected there to be so many tiny puppies. They were all crying for our attention, covered in their own urine and faeces, and in really bad shape. It was disgusting what they endured, like a truck from hell for those poor dogs. I noticed little Apple right away because he had lost so much fur, and my heart just melted. I wanted to do everything I could to make it up to him so that he could forget his horrible ordeal, but his suffering had just been too much. I dread to think what would have happened to them all, and I’m so sad for all the ones like Apple who didn’t make it.  We are grateful to the Huainan police who acted so swiftly to help save these dogs. We couldn’t have done it without them.” 

The remaining dogs are now safe, receiving veterinary care, nutritious food, water and rest at nearby shelters. Once their quarantine period is over, they will be transported to Vshine’s shelter, which is funded by Humane Society International. The rescue comes just three months ahead of the mass slaughter of dogs and cats in Yulin, and is a timely reminder that suffering and death at the hands of the dog meat traders is the fate of millions of animals across China every year.   

Dr Peter Li, HSI’s China policy specialist said: “This sad story is all too common in China, where hundreds of thousands of dogs and cats every month endure appalling suffering like this in order to make profit for the meat and pet trades. Chinese animal activists regularly alert police when trucks are identified, and in this case the Huainan police were exemplary in how they responded. It is my hope that more law enforcement agencies in China can act in the interests of public safety, public health and animal welfare like the Huainan police. The condition of these dogs was so terrible that it’s likely many more would have died before they reached their intended destination, and sickly puppies would probably have been sold for meat just like the adult dogs. Thank goodness for the Chinese animal activists and police who saved so many lives, and we are proud that that funding HSI provides can make such a difference to animals like this in such desperate circumstances.”  

Facts about China’s dog meat trade: 

  • Most people in China don’t eat dogs, in fact dog meat is only eaten infrequently by a small percentage of the Chinese population. A 2016 survey found that more than half of Chinese citizens (51.7%) think the dog meat trade should be completely banned, and the majority (69.5%) have never eaten dog meat. (Poll conducted by Chinese polling company Horizon, and commissioned by Chinese group China Animal Welfare Association in collaboration with Humane Society International and Avaaz).
  • Even in Yulin (where the so-called dog meat “festival” takes place in June every year), a 2017 survey conducted by Chinese state-registered charities and assisted by research staff from the Yulin Municipal Government, shows that most people (72%) don’t regularly eat dog despite efforts by dog meat traders to promote it.  
  •  In 2020, China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs made an official statement that dogs are companion animals and not “livestock” for eating, and two major cities in mainland China—Shenzhen and Zhuhai—banned the consumption of dog and cat meat.   

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

Vets for Ukrainian Pets launched by Humane Society International and veterinary associations in 38 European countries

Humane Society International / Europe


Beata Zawrzel/HSUS Kelly Donithan of Humane Society International is checking the condition of a cat named Luntik, which fled from Ukraine with its owners, who are now staying at a shelter at the reception point in Lubycza Krolewska, while the ongoing Russian attacks on Ukraine, on 23, March.

BRUSSELS—Ukrainian refugees who have fled the war with their pets in tow will now be able to access free veterinary treatment in 38 European countries, thanks to an unprecedented program called Vets for Ukrainian Pets. Launched by animal charity Humane Society International and partners, Vets for Ukrainian Pets will cover the treatment costs of dogs, cats, horses or other pet animals, up to 250 Euros per animal, for acute care and medication, rabies and other vaccinations as well as microchipping and medical examination required for safe passage through the EU.

Vets for Ukrainian Pets is being fully funded by HSI, with the generous support of Mars, Incorporated, in collaboration with Federation of Veterinarians in Europe and the Federation of European Companion Animal Veterinary Associations. Reimbursements for participating veterinarians will be available wherever the FECAVA has members, including in the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Romania and Poland, as well as Ukraine.

Ruud Tombrock, executive director of HSI/Europe, says: “In Europe’s biggest refugee crisis since WWII, millions of Ukrainians have had to take the decision to leave their country and flee the war. Along with a few possessions, many are also taking their pet animals, who they cherish as family members. The trauma of war as well as the stress of the evacuation journey, can make animals vulnerable to a variety of illnesses and so HSI’s Vets for Ukrainian Pets program aims to eliminate barriers to accessing veterinary care for the pets of refugees. It will provide a much-needed safety net for those families fleeing with their beloved pets so that at no point they feel compelled to leave their pets behind due to concerns about being able to care for them.”

Just days after Russia invaded Ukraine, the European Commission recommended that member states ease requirements for the entry of pets from Ukraine. At least 13 EU member states have since temporarily lifted or modified their import restrictions on companion animals, including rabies requirements. However, there is no standardized policy across the EU regarding the entry of pets from Ukraine. While vaccination and microchipping of animals is being provided at some border crossings, not all animals receive such services and therefore fail to meet the national requirements for entry.

Rens van Dobbenburgh, president of the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe, says: “We are grateful to start this joint project together with our sister organisation FECAVA and with the much-appreciated support of Humane Society International. Through this joint project, we will offer a strong, free pet healthcare response to ensure that those arriving with their beloved pets, many that are vulnerable, receive the care and treatment they need. This is about emergency care, long-term treatment for chronic conditions as well as routine health checks.”

Danny Holmes, FECAVA President Elect says: “We are delighted to partner with Humane Society International and FVE to offer support to refugees’ pets in Europe fleeing the war in Ukraine. It is a testament to the dedication of the veterinary and animal welfare organisations to create such a far-reaching scheme in such a short time.”

Vets for Ukrainian Pets will run until 21 May 2022 and is open for all licensed veterinary clinics to apply throughout Europe, whether owned privately or as part of a corporate group. Those clinics wishing to join the program can apply at apply.vetsforukraine.com/. HSI hopes that Vets for Ukrainian Pets will become a vital part of the collective efforts of European veterinarians to provide assistance to refugees from Ukraine, and urges all practicing vets, whenever possible, to find ways in which to help, by providing discounted or free of charge care where other funding or charity contributions are insufficient to cover the full cost.

Additional information

Vets for Ukrainian Pets will cover the following costs for companion animals and equines of Ukrainian refugees, up to 250 Euros per animal, with a limit of five animals per vet:

  • Certification/Licensing Requirements—Any costs associated with legalisation of a pet in a European country where these costs are not being funded by national authorities. This may include rabies vaccination, rabies serology, parasite treatment, microchip implantation/registration and official documentation.
  • Standard Preventive Care—The costs of core vaccinations and parasite treatments to ensure the overall health of the animal, particularly when infectious disease transmission is a concern.
  • Medication (up to four months’ supply)—The costs of any medication previously prescribed by a veterinary surgeon or to treat a newly identified condition which is considered necessary. This may include animals with chronic conditions whose families may not have been able to bring medication when they evacuated or whose supplies have been depleted.
  • Acute Care—Treatment for acute conditions where the prognosis following treatment is good. Examples might include treatment of wounds, ear inflammation or alleviation of pain.

Every registered practicing veterinarian in Europe can apply to become part of the programme and can make up to five claims for refunding the cost of treatment for pet animals of Ukrainian refugees by using the website apply.vetsforukraine.com/. In exceptional cases, where a veterinarian has to provide care for a larger number of animals, they should contact HSI at VetsUkrainePets@hsi.org

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