Humane Society International / India


Farm animal protection is an unexplored sector, and is seldom seen as a long-term career option. The insufficient interest and support from premier public and private institutions has created a vast talent pool gap. What is often overlooked is that the maximum suffering of and impact on animals and people is centred around farm animal issues. While it lies at the intersection of environment protection, climate change mitigation, nutrition, food and water security, public health, livelihoods and labour welfare, it continues to work in silos.

The primary objective of the Farm Animal Protection Leadership Programme is to serve as a framework to strengthen the Indian farm animal protection movement and bring together its allies for a sustainable future.

Vision: Our vision is to create united, talented and skilled leaders who will transform India in its endeavour to create a compassionate and sustainable future.

Mission: Our mission is to enable farm animal protection through values-aligned leadership in the sector.

Participants will be able to:

  • Learn from the foremost global leadership and farm animal protection experts
  • Network with the brightest peers in the farm animal movement
  • Build coalitions with allied movements
  • Explore purpose-driven high-impact career opportunities

Deadlines and how to apply

Opening of applications: 1 February 2021
Closing of applications: 21 February 2021
Announcement of final list of selected participants: 20 March 2021
Commencement of programme: 9 April 2021
Duration of programme: 6 months + internship/project

To apply: Please download and fill out THIS FORM!!!!!!!!. All application forms must be sent by 11:59 pm, 21 February 2021 to farmanimalleadership@hsi.org

Frequently asked questions

Read our frequently asked questions, or contact us at farmanimalleadership@hsi.org if you don’t see the answer you need.

Faculty

Faculty member, a little about that person

Faculty member, a little about that person

Faculty member, a little about that person

Programme partners

People for Animals
Global Food Partners
RTLWorks
Animal Legal Defense Fund
Nutritionfacts.org
GFI
Fish Welfare Initiative
Mercy for Animals
SLYCAN Trust
Transfarmation
National Institute of Advanced Studies
Faunalytics
Impact by Design
Sentient Media
OPP
Pramiti Philanthropy
RMJ & Associates
QUEST Alliance
Animal Advocacy Careers

Humane Society International


Shutterstock

Chile is in the running to become the second South American country to prohibit animal testing for cosmetics following introduction of a federal bill in late December which, if passed, would prohibit new animal testing of both finished cosmetics and their ingredients, and severely restrict the import or sale of beauty products developed with reliance on new animal testing carried out anywhere in the world. Bill 13.966-11 was introduced by Deputy Vlado Mirosevic in close cooperation with HSI and our Chilean partner Te Protejo, with bipartisan support of government and opposition parliamentarians, as well as from several leaders in the beauty sector and cruelty-free domestic brands.

“We commend Deputy Vlado Mirosevic for his leadership in introducing a bill that will close the door on cruel cosmetics in Chile,” said Aviva Vetter, HSI cosmetics program manager for research & toxicology. “This bill brings us one step closer to ending animal suffering in the global beauty industry.”

Through the Animal-Free Safety Assessment (AFSA) Collaboration coordinated by HSI, leading brands are able to work behind the scenes with HSI and our partners to agree bill language, which can expedite movement of bills through the political process. The next step for the Chilean bill is review by the Health Commission in the Chamber of Deputies.

Since the launch of the 2017 Chilean branch of HSI’s global campaign to end cosmetic animal testing, HSI and Te Protejo have worked in close cooperation with decision makers to bring the country in line with the global cruelty-free trend. A 2019 public opinion poll by Inside Research on behalf of HSI and Te Protejo found that 74% of Chileans agree that testing cosmetics on animals is not worth the animals’ pain and suffering, and to date more than 100,000 Chileans have signed our petition supporting a ban.

Humane Society International / Europe


Grettel Delgadillo for HSI

BRUSSELS —Animal protection campaigners have called for the urgent closure of gaping loopholes in EU wildlife trade regulations that fail to prevent the trafficking of protected wild species.

At Stolen Wildlife, an online conference, Humane Society International/Europe and Pro Wildlife launched a report underlining the urgent need to criminalise the import and sale of illegally sourced wildlife. Additionally, John E. Scalon, former CITES[1] Secretary General and chair of the Global Initiative to End Wildlife Crime, advocated for a new protocol on the illicit trafficking of wildlife under the UN Convention Against Transnational Organised Crime (UNTOC). This would make the illicit trafficking in protected species a serious crime and create obligations for UN Members, including the EU, to take action.

In its recently adopted EU Biodiversity Strategy, the European Commission committed to revising the EU Action Plan against Wildlife Trafficking in 2021. However, loopholes mean that legal EU trade in wild species effectively rubberstamps wildlife trafficking.

Dr Sandra Altherr, founder of Pro Wildlife, noted:

“Our Stolen Wildlife report reveals that there is a substantial and systematic wildlife trafficking in species that are protected by national law, though not yet internationally protected by CITES. EU citizens are heavily involved in such smuggling activities. Once those animals have been successfully smuggled out of their country of origin, traffickers and their clients do not face any legal consequences, while their profits are often very high. The exotic pet trade in Europe is driving biodiversity loss and threatening the survival of species in other parts of the globe. The EU must act to close the legal loophole that permits this.”

Dr Joanna Swabe, senior director of public affairs for Humane Society International/Europe, added:

“Make no mistake, we are in the midst of a wildlife smuggling crisis. From fascinating glass frogs from Costa Rica or highly threatened lizards from Sri Lanka, a myriad of species are being illegally shipped to Europe to supply the exotic pet trade. The presently legal EU trade in species taken in violation of the laws of other nations is tantamount to rubberstamping wildlife trafficking. Indeed, it speaks volumes that the former Secretary General of CITES believes that the current legal framework for combating wildlife crime and regulating the international wildlife trade is inadequate. In its programme, the current Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the EU cited combating the trafficking of protected species as one of its priorities. We therefore urge both the Council and the European Parliament to exert pressure on the Commission to take decisive legislative action to end all wildlife trafficking.”

The organization, MEPs for Wildlife host of the event, Martin Hojsík, Slovakian Member of the European Parliament for the Renew Group, noted:

“The EU Biodiversity Strategy—and the revision of the EU Action Plan against Wildlife Trafficking—should be seized as a golden opportunity to close the loopholes in the existing EU wildlife trade regulations. Reptiles and amphibians, which are the main victims of the exotic pet trade, are not necessarily the most charismatic of animals, like elephants, tigers and rhinos. However, they play a vital role in local ecosystems and deserve our protection. This is a chance to halt biodiversity decline in other parts of the globe, even when species are not protected from trade by CITES. It is also our chance to show that we have learnt our lesson from Coronavirus outbreak by eliminating the possibility of emergence and spread of zoonotic diseases and preventing new pandemics.  If the Commission is truly serious about taking action on biodiversity and illegal wildlife trade, it should put its money where its mouth is and deliver a proposal to close this insidious legal loophole.”

Facts:

  • In May 2020, the European Commission adopted its EU Biodiversity Strategy as part of the broader European Green Deal. This Strategy included a commitment to revise the EU Action Plan against Wildlife Trafficking in 2021.
  • The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) does not cover all illegal wildlife trade. Many threatened species are protected from exploitation in their home countries but are not protected from being traded, either through domestic legislation or by CITES, and such domestic protections are often poorly enforced. In addition, many demand-focused countries have no protections for non-native species. As a result, wildlife traffickers are able to easily smuggle these animals into legal (or illegal) international trade flows, and once out of their countries of origin, little can be done to stop the trade in these species.
  • HSI/Europe and Pro Wildlife call for the EU to adopt supplementary legislation prohibiting the importation, transhipment, purchase and sale of wildlife taken illegally in the country of origin. In the United States, the law providing law enforcement with the authority to prosecute cases of illegally taken wildlife, which sets a precedent for these kind of legislative measures is known as the Lacey Act, 16 U.S.C. §§ 3371-3378.

Watch a recording of the conference.

ENDS

Media Contact: Wendy Higgins: whiggins@hsi.org

[1] CITES = Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora

The COVID-19 Animal Response Program has delivered over 75,000 kg of pet food to those most in need

Humane Society International / Canada


Brown rat
HSI/Canada

MONTREAL & TORONTO – As COVID-19 continues to directly impact peoples’ lives, Humane Society International/Canada and Friends of HSI have teamed up with over 40 community groups, charities and foundations including: the Eric S. Margolis Family Foundation, PetSmart Charities of Canada, the Salvation Army, Fred Victor, Toronto Community Housing, Chiots Nordiques and the Emmanuelle Gattuso Foundation to provide emergency help to companion animals in Canada through our innovative COVID-19 Animal Response program launched in April.

The program provides critical assistance to those who are in urgent need of help caring for their animals as a result of the pandemic, both in Montreal and Toronto as well as in remote First Nations communities. Over the coming three months, support from the Canadian Red Cross and the Government of Canada will allow this program to expand in Ontario.

Rebecca Aldworth, executive director of HSI/Canada, stated: “This has been a challenging and difficult year for both people and the animals who depend on them. Our Animal Response team has been working tirelessly to help people who are struggling to provide for their animals and who have nowhere else to look for help. We have witnessed firsthand, through our presence in the community and by meeting animal caregivers from all walks of life, how devasting the impacts of this crisis have been on people and their companion animals. Animals hold a special place in the lives of people, and we are so grateful to be able to help keep dogs and cats with their families throughout this pandemic.”

HSI/Canada and Friends of HSI’s COVID-19 Animal Response program is currently the only emergency program for animals operating nationally and has provided the following services to date:

  • Provisions of over 75,000 kgs of companion animal food to individuals in need (those contending with reduced mobility, quarantine or lost income) through mobile pet food banks and dozens of central distribution sites in the GTA and the Greater Montreal area. HSI/Canada is working in partnership with food banks and community service organizations such as Salvation Army, Fred Victor, Mission Bon Accueil, Toronto Community Housing and many other incredible community groups to help provide these much needed resources during the pandemic.
  • Distribution of over 16,000 kgs of pet food to impacted First Nations communities that are even more severely isolated by lockdowns and quarantine, in partnership with Chiots Nordiques.
  • Emergency sheltering of dozens of animals to assist partner shelters with increasing demands as well as hospitalized individuals.
  • Transport and fostering of animals in need of urgent veterinary services.

John Tory, mayor of the City of Toronto, said through a letter to FHSI: “Thank you, again, for your generosity and for stepping up to help in the City’s efforts to fight COVID-19. Your generosity will help ensure that our city comes back from this emergency stronger than ever.”

Members of the Toronto – GTA public impacted by COVID-19 and in need of urgent assistance in caring for their companion animals are encouraged to reach out by email at: onresponse@hsicanada.ca.

While individuals with companion animals impacted by the pandemic in the Greater Montreal area could contact: qcresponse@hsicanada.ca.

Media Contacts

Toronto: Elana Trainoff, community liaison, COVID-19 Animal Response program, Toronto: etrainoff@hsi.org or 647-285-3575.

Montréal: Ewa Demianowicz, senior campaign manager, HSI/Canada: edemianowicz@hsi.org or 514-575-3499.

South Korea could become a world leader in non-animal research, says HSI/Korea

Humane Society International / South Korea


sidsnapper/iStock.com

SEOUL— South Korea is well-positioned to become a world leader in non-animal research technologies, with its consideration of a new legislative bill that would require regulatory and research funding ministries to promote the development and use of methods that replace animal research.

The proposed Act on the Promotion of Development, Dissemination and Use of Alternatives to Animal Testing Methods, led by National Assembly member Ms. In-soon Nam and 15 other politicians, and championed by animal protection leader Humane Society International/Korea, would prioritize human-mimetic technologies to modernize and improve human health research and product safety testing.

HSI began advocating for this legislation in 2018 in response to a lack of coordinated effort by governments and stakeholders to proactively promote and use alternative methods. In addition, 2019 government statistics revealed a shocking rise in the number of animals subjected to experiments. A total of 3,712,380 animals were used in South Korea in 2019, with an alarming 187% increase in animal use for testing insecticides and a 115% increase in the number of animals used to test industrial chemicals. Internationally recognised non-animal methods are not well promoted by government or embraced by industry in South Korea, with many laboratories simply ignoring them. The slow adoption of superior testing methods is further complicated by the lack of channels to communicate, collaborate and coordinate efforts towards state-of-the-art human-based technologies.

The bill’s sponsor, Assembly member Nam, said: “As a member of the health and welfare committee, I believe that this bill marks a much-needed initiative in our society to finally move away from relying on old models that use animals and collectively move forward to provide better research approaches based on human biology, which will advance public health as well as animal welfare.”

Nam’s proposed legislation promotes human-focused science and technology and defines ‘alternatives to animal testing methods’ as prioritizing full animal replacements. It also establishes a committee to set procedures for collaboration with other central authorities to develop, disseminate and use non-animal methods.

The proposed law is also likely to be popular with South Korean citizens. A recent opinion poll by Realmeter and commissioned by HSI/Korea shows that 80% of Koreans want to see their tax money spent on supporting advanced non-animal approaches such as human organ-mimics and tests using human-derived cells instead of experiments on mice, monkeys and dogs.

HSI championed the idea of draft legislation in collaboration with the lawyers’ group, PNR, and held a series of consultations with stakeholders. In 2019, at a first public forum in South Korea, cross-ministerial officials discussed the legislation at the National Assembly. Since then, HSI has participated in a project with the Korea Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods (KoCVAM), led by the Korea Legislation Research Institute, to provide policy research to support alternatives to animal testing consistent with the draft legislation. In 2020, HSI and Ms. Nam hosted a second forum to discuss the bill.

HSI/Korea’s senior policy manager, Borami Seo said: “If passed, this bill will provide the legal framework needed to situate South Korea at the forefront of developing superior non-animal methods to better understand and treat human disease faster and more effectively. Despite exciting scientific innovations spearheaded by South Korean companies, such as the development of a human cornea model to replace animal testing, and human organ-mimetic models to develop next-generation 3-D cell technology for drug development, Korea’s regulatory framework is still biased towards the old ways of animal testing, which isn’t benefiting animal welfare or human health. That has to change and this historic bill will lead the way.”

ENDS

Media contact: Borami Seo, HSI/Korea: bseo@hsi.org

Dobbies share decision to stop selling lethal or inhumane rodent control products.

Humane Society International / United Kingdom


Brown rat
Colin Varndell/Alamy

LONDON–A secret shopper investigation by animal protection organisation Humane Society International/UK has found that some of Britain’s biggest DIY stores and home and garden centres, including B&Q, Homebase, Wilko, Wickes and The Range, are promoting inhumane and dangerous poison ‘pest control’ products to customers dealing with mice and rats, rather than prioritising effective non-lethal deterrents. HSI/UK’s researcher found that staff in 27 out of the 30 stores visited advised the use of lethal poisons, predominantly anticoagulant rodenticides which the Health and Safety Executive describes as ‘markedly inhumane’, as well as posing a health and safety risks to humans, pets and other wildlife. Some staff also provided misleading information on the extent to which the animals would suffer, such as ‘it just goes to sleep, probably’.

Stores selling the highest proportion of poisons in their ‘pest control’ ranges were Wickes (83% of mouse control products) and Dobbies (68% of rat control products). Such heavy emphasis on the sale of inhumane poisons conflicts with public opinion; a new YouGov poll, commissioned by HSI/UK, reveals that when asked to choose from a list of Do-It-Yourself products to control rats and mice in their home or garden, the British public’s top choice were no-kill deterrent and repellent products (43%), followed by non-lethal exclusion products to prevent animals from entering their property (38%). By contrast only a quarter (25%) stated that their preferred choice would be a poison.”

Several stores have responded positively to the report, with retailers like Wickes deciding to introduce humane options into their pest control product range and Notcutts retraining their staff to advise customers on safe and humane methods of managing rodent problems. Dobbies told HSI/UK that it had already decided to remove all lethal or inhumane products from sale, prior to receiving the report.

According to the Health and Safety Executive’s UK Authorised Rodenticide Product Database, anticoagulant poisons make up 93% of all rodenticide products authorised in the UK for sale to non-professionals. They kill animals by causing internal and/or external bleeding in the gut, tissues, body cavities, joints and the skull. After ingesting anticoagulant poison, animals can suffer severe abdominal and muscle pain, weakness, lameness and breathing difficulties for up to 48 hours prior to death. After ingesting a lethal dose, rats typically take between three and nine days to die, and animals ingesting a lower dose can endure this suffering for even longer.

Despite this disturbing level of suffering, HSI/UK’s investigation found that for all the stores visited, lethal products on sale far outweighed non-lethal options, and a worrying number of staff incorrectly advised the customer that anticoagulant poison would cause little or no animal suffering. Staff at Dobbies in Bury St Edmund suggested it would cause “just a stomach ache” while the retailer’s Royston staff advised the mouse “goes to sleep, probably.” At Wilko in Fulham, London the secret shopper was told, “I don’t know what it does to them exactly… I think it would just shut down their nervous system first so that they are not in pain, and then kill them gradually.”

Claire Bass, executive director of Humane Society International/UK, said “Despite rodent poisons causing immense animal suffering, our secret shopping reveals that the nation’s biggest DIY and garden stores are stacked high with these products, and they are too-often recommended by staff without any mention of the dangers. Brits want safe, effective and humane ways of dealing with unwanted rodent visitors, but the default advice is typically to immediately resort to lethal poisons, and often with woefully misleading information about animal suffering. As well as being inhumane, poisons are not a sustainable solution because unless the root cause of rodent visitors is addressed, such as easy access to food and shelter, others will simply return once the poison is taken away. We are encouraged by those stores that have signalled intent to review their product ranges, and retrain staff to stop recommending shoppers reach for poisons as the first defence, instead prioritising humane and effective deterrent strategies and products. We’re also urging the Health and Safety Executive to bring in tighter controls to tackle the casual and excessive availability of dangerous poisons for DIY rodent control.”

*Note: The secret store visits occurred before pandemic lockdowns were implemented and were in full compliance with the UK restrictions in place at the time of the visits.

Summary of investigation findings:

  • Around one in every three mouse control products offered at the stores visited was a poison.
  • At Wickes, as much as 83% of DIY mouse control products offered were lethal poison.
  • At least two in every five rat control products offered at the stores were poisons.
  • At Dobbies Garden Centres, over 68% of all DIY rat control products consisted of poisons.
  • At Wickes 100%, and at Wilko and Dobbies over 90% of all DIY rat and mouse control products stocked were designed to kill the animal.
  • Notcutts performed best in providing effective and humane advice on how to deal with unwanted wildlife, whereas B&Q and Wilko ranked lowest.
  • Staff at several stores openly admitted to a lack of knowledge on how to use the products and what course of action to take.

Highly toxic poisons can also present a risk to the health and safety of children, pets and other wildlife. Every year in the UK, wild species including foxes, badgers, shrews, barn owls, buzzards, kestrels and red kites, suffer and die after coming into contact with a rodenticide or eating poisoned rodents. In fact, to avoid the risk of accidental and secondary poisoning, professional rodent exterminators are advised to use rodenticides only as a last resort when other methods have failed. Yet staff at 18 of the 30 stores recommended using poisons as the primary course of treatment. Of the 27 stores where staff recommended a poison, 25 failed to advise that a bait station (a protective box to prevent other animals or children accessing the poison) must be used.

HSI contacted all stores investigated to provide them with the findings. In response to HSI/UK’s report, Notcutts said, “We have re-briefed all our colleagues on the sale of rodent control products reminding them to advise customers to first seek to prevent rodents entering the area by blocking entry points, removing the food source or using sonic repellents.  The range of products available would then be discussed with the humane non-lethal products recommended including the catch, trap and release options that we have available, with the bait block stations as the last resort.” Dobbies, the UK’s largest garden centre, shared its decision to no longer sell any lethal or inhumane products. Graeme Jenkins CEO of Dobbies said, “Prior to receiving the report we made the decision to remove lethal or inhumane products from our stores and website. These products have been delisted and we will not bring in any new stock.”

David Ramsden MBE, Head of Conservation at the Barn Owl Trust said: “This new report represents a truly shocking and damning indictment of a system whereby leading UK retailers can legally sell highly toxic poisons to untrained people for uncontrolled use. It points to serious flaws, not only in the advice given to purchasers of rodent control products, but also the inadequacy of regulations imposed by our Health and Safety Executive which is supposed to be the UKs ‘Competent Authority’ on wildlife-killing chemicals. Unfortunately, even the industry-wide ‘Stewardship Regime’ has so-far failed to reduce the widespread contamination of our precious wildlife. A staggering 87% of wild Barn Owls in the UK contain rat poison.”

HSI advocates for an ethical approach to wildlife management, addressing the root cause of problems through human behaviour change, and ensuring that wildlife control measures are humane, with lethal interventions used only as a last resort to protect public health and safety. HSI’s report has been sent to the Health and Safety Executive calling on it to prohibit the use of anticoagulant poisons by untrained members of the public, and impose stricter requirements for amateur ‘pest control’ product suppliers.

Read the report on the danger of DIY pest control

ENDS

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

Rescuers said some dogs were so skinny they feared their bones might break when they held them

Humane Society International / South Korea


Nara Kim/HSI Closure of dog meat and puppy mill farm in South Korea, led by Korean group LIFE with assistance from HSI/Korea Dec 2020.

LONDON—Around 100 dogs in a shocking state of neglect have been rescued from an illegal dog farm in Gimpo, South Korea. Local Korean animal group, LIFE, with assistance from Humane Society International/Korea and regional officials, found poodles, Jindos, Yorkshire terriers, Chihuahuas, Shih Tzus, Pomeranians, Spitz, Schnauzers and more caged in deplorable conditions on a junk yard farm where they had been bred and sold for both the pet trade and the dog meat trade.

Many of the dogs were suffering from severe malnutrition as well as painful skin diseases due to living in their own faeces. Many were found huddled next to the lifeless bodies of their dead cage mates who had apparently starved to death, while others appeared to have resorted to cannibalism simply to survive, their bowls left empty by the farmer who said he wasn’t making enough profit to feed them. More dead dogs were found stored in a disused freezer on the property.

Korean group, LIFE, negotiated with the farmer to permanently close his farm. The land will be redeveloped by the authorities now that the illegal dog farm has been shut down. Humane Society International/Korea, which has closed down 17 dog meat farms in the country, provided assistance to LIFE on the rescue day and is also helping them by providing shelter and emergency veterinary care for 40 of the dogs. The remaining dogs are being cared for by LIFE.

In-Seob Sim, president of LIFE, says: “This is a really shocking example of a common problem here in South Korea, where dogs are bred in the worst conditions to maximize profits. It’s time for South Korean society to impose controls on the breeding of dogs for sale. If we don’t find a solution, this kind of animal suffering will continue. Koreans who are upset to see the terrible suffering of these dogs, need to realise that it is society’s demand for pet shop puppies and dog meat that drives this kind of cruelty. If we can change our behaviour, we can change the fate of these dogs.”

The farmer had been illegally squatting on government land for more than 10 years, and even applied for compensation when the Gimpo city government announced the land was being seized for redevelopment. In the hope of getting more compensation, the farmer bred more dogs even though he couldn’t afford to feed them. Gyeonggi province officials are now investigating the farmer with a view to bringing animal cruelty and other charges.

Nara Kim, HSI/Korea’s campaign manager, says “When I first visited the dog farm, it was too shocking to take in what I was seeing. I have rescued thousands of dogs from many dog meat farms in South Korea, but this place was like hell. Many of the dogs were just skin and bones, and it was hard to find any ‘normal’ looking dogs because their bodies were so ravaged by starvation and skin disease. I was so afraid their fragile bones might break when I lifted them out of their cages, so I was just really slow and gentle. Hardly any of them had the energy to struggle anyway. We got there just in time for some, I don’t think they could have survived another day. I’m so happy that LIFE asked us to be a part of this rescue, it was such a relief to get these dogs out of that horrible place.”

Once the dogs in HSI/Korea’s care are well enough to travel, they will be flown to North America to look for forever families. LIFE is grateful to the Seoul Veterinary Medical Association, Gyeonggi Veterinary Medical Association, Petdoc Korea, Harim Pet food and the ESAC Training Centre for their generous support for this rescue.

Download photos and video of this rescue.

ENDS

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

HSI/UK advises Brits to be fake faux fur detectives this Christmas, questioning items described as cruelty-free and vegan

Humane Society International / United Kingdom


HSI Fluffy slippers sold as faux fur on eBay but purchased and lab tested by HSI/UK in Dec 2020 to prove it is in fact made with real fur.

LONDON—Online retailers are still misleading British consumers into buying real fur wrongly advertised as faux fur, an investigation by Humane Society International/UK has found. HSI/UK found fake faux fur on sale at popular shopping sites including Amazon, eBay, Romwe and Shein, misleadingly marketed as faux fur but which laboratory tests and HSI experts confirmed as real fur.  COVID-19 restrictions mean that more people are choosing to shop online, but this means they can’t touch or properly scrutinise items before buying, and are entirely reliant on retailer descriptions. HSI/UK, which leads the #FurFreeBritain campaign for a UK fur sales ban, warns shoppers to be extra vigilant when purchasing items that look like fur, even when they are marketed as “cruelty-free and vegan”.

Most Brits don’t want to buy or wear real fur. A YouGov opinion poll commissioned by HSI/UK shows that 93% of the British public reject wearing real animal fur, and the words people most closely associate with a fashion brand selling fur are ‘unethical’, ‘outdated’, ‘cruel’ and ‘out of touch’. Despite this, for the sixth consecutive year HSI/UK secret shoppers have exposed real fur being sold as faux fur at trusted retailers.

For example, laboratory tests confirmed that a £13.99 beanie hat purchased from Amazon UK with a “man-made faux fur” pom was real fur; eBay sold a pair of £16.99 “faux fur fluffy sliders” that also turned out to be real fur; fashion site Romwe marketed a real mink fur bag charm for £2.50 as “100% faux fur” and an £88 “faux fur hooded coat” made with real fur, most likely fox or raccoon dog. Shein, one of the world’s largest e-fashion stores targeting Generation Z shoppers, was found selling a £2.49 “faux fur” keychain that laboratory tests confirmed was real mink fur, as well as Christmas “faux fur” pom earrings for £2.49 and a flamingo motif sweatshirt with “faux fur” detail for £10.99, both of which were real fur.

Other online retailers misleading customers were Just Your Outfit selling a £15 diamante “faux fur pom” hat that was even labelled as real fur when it arrived in the post; Danielli selling £10 “faux fur trimmed” gloves that were actually real fur, most likely rabbit; and Boho Styles selling sliders marketed as “made of voluminous vegan faux fur & 100% cruelty free” which laboratory tests confirmed were in fact real fox fur.

Claire Bass, executive director of Humane Society International/UK, says: “Fur is cruel which is why most Brits don’t want to buy it. So it’s really concerning that yet again we’ve found popular online shopping websites selling an alarming number of products described as faux fur which have turned out to be trimmed with real fur from fox, mink, raccoon dog and rabbit. We’ve exposed this problem for years and in 2018 a Parliamentary inquiry was held to hold companies to account; we’ve even had the Advertising Standards Authority and Trading Standards issue warnings to companies. Even so, our latest findings show that the ‘fake faux fur’ scandal continues, meaning would-be ethical shoppers can’t shop online with confidence that they can avoid inadvertently buying real fur.

 “Several well-known retailers are repeat offenders on this issue, so it’s especially disappointing that they haven’t cleaned up their act. Clearly a greater deterrent is needed to stop British consumers being missold cruel fur. Fur farming is rightly banned in the UK, but for as long as animal fur from overseas is allowed to be sold here, we remain complicit in the suffering, creating a minefield for shoppers who wholeheartedly reject that cruelty. We urge the government to bring forward plans to implement a fur sales ban in the UK so that British consumers can trust that their ethical purchasing decisions are not in vain.”

Unsuspecting e-shoppers are particularly vulnerable to misleading marketing when items are described as “faux fur” or synthetic material such as acrylic, and come with relatively cheap price tags. While many consumers wrongly assume a cheap price tag indicates faux fur, the tragic truth is that conditions on fur farms are so poor with animals often having to endure appalling deprivation, that real animal fur can be produced as cheaply as, or even more cheaply than, faux fur.

Retailers have a responsibility, under the 2008 Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations, not to mislead their customers in the sale of animal/fake fur. However, despite HSI/UK instigating numerous complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority  and Trading Standards, it appears that the penalties are too weak to act as a deterrent to stop some retailers misleading shoppers into buying a product that most would actively avoid. HSI/UK believes the only way to prevent real fur sneaking into British closets, is for the UK government to implement a ban on the sale of fur. Closing British borders to the cruel and unnecessary fur trade would significantly reduce the risk of real fur being sold as fake, and appropriate penalties to enforce the law would emphasise to retailers the importance of verifying that overseas suppliers provide them only with faux fur.

Fur Facts:

  • HSI/UK has been exposing the sale of fake faux fur for many years. Retailers previously implicated include: eBay, T.K. Maxx, Boohoo, Amazon, Romwe, Not On The High Street, House of Fraser, Missguided, ASOS and Forever 21. We have worked successfully with numerous retailers to assist them in training their retail and supply chain staff to ensure that no-fur policies are adhered to.
  • An estimated 60 million mink are farmed for their fur in 24 countries around the world, with the top three production countries China (20.6million mink), Denmark (17.6million mink) and Poland (5 million mink) in 2018.
  • 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, 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 end fur farming.
  • 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. In 2020, legislators in Hawaii and Rhode Island introduced fur sales ban proposals, as have cities in Minnesota and Massachusetts.

 ENDS

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

Aguascalientes is one of the states with the highest rates of animal cruelty cases in Mexico

Humane Society International / Mexico


AGUASCALIENTES, Mexico—In order to enhance enforcement capacities to address animal cruelty, Humane Society International/Mexico and the State Environmental Attorney of Aguascalientes (PROESPA), held the second Aguascalientes Animal Protection Forum. The forum included presentations about rescuing animals, ways to approach and coexist with wildlife in cities, and humane education. The forum took place every Wednesday from November 18 to December 9. Aguascalientes is one of the states with the highest rates of animal cruelty cases in Mexico and reportedly used to be home to an international dogfighting tournament.

Felipe Marquez, animal cruelty program manager at HSI/Mexico, says: “HSI and PROESPA continue to enhance the knowledge and abilities of officials involved in animal cruelty response. Hosting the forum virtually due to COVID-19 restrictions actually allowed us to reach more people than normal from different states and even different countries, who were able to hear our wildlife, animal rescue and shelter expert speakers from Costa Rica, Colombia and Mexico.”   

In Aguascalientes, PROESPA rescued more than 130 animals in 2019. HSI has joined PROESPA and local organizations in rescues of dozens of animals coming from cases of severe cruelty and neglect.

The forum’s expert speakers highlighted the urgency of addressing animal cruelty to reduce social violence, particularly since the pandemic has heightened domestic abuse. There is a strong link between animal cruelty and other types of violence.

PROESPA animal cruelty inspectors, state justice attorney Aguascalientes officials, police officers from the Animal Brigade of Mexico City and local animal protection organizations from various states attended the event.

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Media contacts:

  • Magaly Garibay, HSI/Mexico, Mexico City: mgaribay@idee.agency; 553-876-2199
  • Felipe Marquez, HSI/Mexico, Aguascalientes: fmarquez@hsi.org; 449-152-7317

Provincial and federal action is needed now to phase out cruel fur farming and protect Canadians from potentially devastating disease outbreaks

Humane Society International / Canada


Mark Hicken, Alamy Stock photo

MONTREAL—In the wake of a COVID-19 outbreak among workers and animals at a factory fur farm in BC’s Fraser Valley, Humane Society International/Canada is once again calling on provincial and federal governments to end fur farming in Canada. Of those holding an opinion, 78% of Canadians support a national ban on fur farming (Insights West, 2020). Yet in stark contrast to Canadian opinion, a 2020 CBC News analysis revealed that more than $100 million in federal and provincial funds have been allocated to the mink farming industry since 2014 alone.

Eight workers and at least five minks at the BC factory fur farm have contracted SARS-CoV-2. In other major mink producing nations, including Denmark, significant outbreaks of COVID-19—and alarming mutations of the virus, as well as transmissions to people—have been well documented in factory mink farms. These outbreaks have led to the decision to slaughter more than 15 million minks in horrific ways, along with the quarantining of hundreds of thousands of people. Clearly, the millions of minks that are intensively confined in Canadian factory fur farms are highly susceptible to contracting, mutating and transmitting SARS-CoV-2, which can result in outbreaks in human populations and undermine medical progress.

Kelly Butler, wildlife campaign manager for HSI/Canada, stated, “Factory fur farms cannot begin to meet the most basic of needs of the wild animals they imprison and kill for fashion and they create a strong opportunity for transmission and mutation of zoonotic diseases including COVID-19. It is unconscionable that our federal and provincial governments continue to allow and subsidize this cruel industry and put the health and safety of Canadians at risk simply to serve the whims of the fashion industry.”

Multiple investigations of Canadian fur farms in recent years have exposed the horrific conditions on factory fur farms. In one of these, the chief scientific officer to the BC SPCA discussed her 2014 observations at a BC fur farm, stating, “70,000 mink squirmed in cages the size of two shoe boxes as heaps of their own excrement mounted on the floor beneath them. Many were missing limbs, digits and ears, and one animal—mysteriously paralyzed—had to be euthanized on site.”

Nearly two million animals are slaughtered on fur farms in Canada annually. Fur farming has already been banned in 12 countries, and is effectively banned or being phased out in many others.

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Media Contact: Michael Bernard, HSI/Canada, deputy director: 613.371.5170; mbernard@hsi.org