Humane Society International/Canada emergency shelters in Ontario and Quebec will provide urgent care and rehabilitation

Humane Society International / Canada


Jean Chung/HSI

TORONTO – As the government in South Korea considers a ban on the dog meat industry, more than 100 lucky dogs who were rescued from the country’s dog meat farms last year will arrive in Canada to continue their journey to find forever homes.  

Many of the dogs were saved from a dog farm on Jindo Island by Humane Society International in partnership with local group LIFE. They were found confined in small, dilapidated wire cages in horrendous conditions, many of them forced to witness the brutal slaughter of cage mates. Conditions on the farm were so bad that local authorities responding to neighbour complaints about dogs crying in terror closed down the farm for breaching the Animal Protection Act. In November last year, the South Korean government initiated a task force to consider a ban on farming dogs for consumption, prompted by a suggestion from President Moon Jae-in.   

All the dogs coming to Canada were being bred for human consumption and most are Jindos, South Korea’s national dog breed. Due to flight restrictions, they were unable to leave South Korea at the time of rescue and so were cared for by HSI’s partner shelter. Now free to fly, the Jindo Island rescues together with dogs HSI saved from other farms, will arrive in Ontario over the next week and a half to receive much needed medical and behavioural care at HSI/Canada’s temporary shelter in Cambridge. While many of the dogs will later be transferred to a separate shelter in the United States to start their new life, around 40 dogs will travel to HSI/Canada’s Montreal facility to begin their search for adoptive families and finally put their traumatic past behind them.  

Ewa Demianowicz, senior campaign manager for HSI/Canada, said: “We are so thrilled to once again help our colleagues in South Korea end the cruel dog meat trade by welcoming these dogs who have been rescued from horrible dog meat farms at our emergency shelters. HSI/Canada will provide veterinary and behavioural care for these dogs and then our partner organisations will help find loving adoptive families for around 40 of them, while others will travel on to the United States to be cared for by our colleagues there. These dogs have endured tremendous suffering and our team is thrilled to be bringing them to safety and helping them recover from their physical and psychological trauma.”

At the Jindo Island farm, HSI/Korea was horrified to discover a large pile of collars in the central killing area of the farm where countless dogs will have been killed by electrocution and butchered for dog meat while their terrified cage mates looked on. Humane Society International/Korea, which has closed down 17 other dog meat farms in the country and rescued almost 2,500 dogs, is campaigning for legislation in South Korea to end the dog meat industry.   

Among the dogs coming to Canada is gentle Kaya, whose cage on the Jindo Island farm was positioned very close to the slaughter area. Despite the traumatic scenes she must have witnessed, Kaya was eager for human affection during her rescue, and loves being fussed over. Kaya’s tail doesn’t stop wagging, she’s always so happy to see people. Also flying to Canada is sweet Moose who is very calm and enjoys treats; energetic Max who was likely an abandoned pet; Sony who was depressed and emaciated at rescue but is now gaining weight and confidence; and other sweet natured Jindos such as Lucie-loo and Jenny-joo. 

As these dogs start new lives, HSI’s team in Seoul will continue to campaign for an end to the dog meat industry and is looking forward to assisting the government’s task force in its deliberations. Since 2015, HSI’s Models for Change program has seen the NGO work in co-operation with many dog farmers eager to leave the controversial and dying industry, helping them transition to more profitable and humane trades. Opinion polls show that most Koreans (84%) don’t or won’t eat dog meat, and there is growing public support (almost 60%) for a ban. Despite this, an estimated 1 to 2 million dogs are still kept on thousands of farms across South Korea. 

Nara Kim, HSI/Korea’s dog meat campaign manager, said: “I hope very much that for these dogs flying to Canada, the dog meat industry will soon be just a distant memory. They have experienced the worst of humanity, but now they will know what love and compassion feels like. Here in South Korea we are at a crossroads, with the government giving serious consideration to ending this cruel industry. The many years of experience that HSI’s pioneering dog farm closure program has to offer will hopefully take us one step closer to a future where no dog farms exist and all dogs can live happy lives.”

HSI’s farm closures were conducted under COVID-19 health and safety restrictions. A veterinarian tests for the presence of the H3N2 virus (“canine influenza”) at the time the dogs receive their rabies, distemper, hepatitis, parvo virus, parainfluenza and Leptospira vaccines. The dogs are quarantined and health certified prior to transport overseas, in accordance with international export and import requirements. 

Download photos and video of this rescue.

ENDS

Media Contact: Ewa Demianowicz: 514-575-3499, edemianowicz@hsi.org 

Humane Society International in Italy hails ‘an historic victory’

Humane Society International / Europe


Jo-Anne McArthur/We Animals Media

ROME—The Budget Committee of the Italian Senate today voted to approve a modified version of an amendment to the budget law which will see the country’s 10 remaining mink fur farms closed within six months and a permanent ban on fur farming throughout Italy.  

The vote follows discussions with animal protection organisation Humane Society International/Europe which presented practical, strategic solutions to close and convert fur farms into alternative, humane and sustainable businesses in its recent report “Mink breeding in Italy: Mapping and future perspectives. Although the decision requires final approval by the Parliament, this is expected to go through, making Italy the 16th country in Europe to ban fur farming. Many Italian designers have already gone fur-free including Valentino, Armani, GUCCI, Prada and Versace. 

HSI/Europe’s fur farm conversion proposal, which sought an end to fur farming due to animal cruelty and public health risks from zoonotic diseases, was endorsed by Italian Member of Parliament the Hon. Michela Vittoria Brambilla, who launched the political action to implement the conversion strategy with existing public funds, and Sen. Loredana De Petris who formally submitted the amendment. 

Martina Pluda, director of Humane Society International in Italy, states: ”This is an historic victory for animal protection in Italy, and HSI/Europe is immensely proud that our fur farm conversion strategy has played a central role in dismantling this cruel and dangerous industry in our country. There are very clear economic, environmental, public health and of course animal welfare reasons to close and ban fur farms. Today’s vote recognizes that allowing the mass breeding of wild animals for frivolous fur fashion represents a risk to both animals and people that can’t be justified by the limited economic benefits it offers to a small minority of people involved in this cruel industry. With so many designers, retailers and consumers going fur-free, conversion of fur farms offers people a sustainable future that the fur trade simply cannot provide.” 

The approved amendment includes: 

  • An immediate ban on breeding of fur-bearing animals including mink, foxes, raccoon dogs and chinchillas, and the closure of all active fur farms in Italy by 30th June 2022; 
  • Compensation for farmers, covered by a fund from the Ministry of Agriculture for a total of 3 million euros in 2022.

Hon. Michela Vittoria Brambilla, president of the Parliamentary Intergroup for Animal Rights and of the Italian League for the Defense of Animals and the Environment commented on the vote: ”In thirty years of animal rights battle this is the best victory. Finally, a parliamentary vote sanctions the end of unspeakable suffering inflicted on animals only in the name of profit and vanity. Italy is the twentieth European country to introduce a ban or severe restriction on fur farming: better late than never. Now we await the final approval of the budget law, but the political will has been clearly expressed. A dream comes true that animal protection associations have cultivated for decades in our country. I want to thank all the colleagues of the Intergroup, in particular Vice-President De Petris, who presented the amendment and reported it to the committee, the parliamentarians who shared this choice and the Italian office of Humane Society International which has promoted the economic study whose results formed the ‘basis’ for formulating the proposal. It is a great achievement, which finally all those who love and respect animals rejoice!” 

Download Photos/Video of Mink Fur Farms (in Finland)  

ENDS 

Media contacts: 

Humane Society International / Europe


Simon Eeman/Alamy Stock photo

BRUSSELS—Today, the European Commission has published its long-awaited revision of the EU rules on ivory trade with a goal to end most forms of this trade in the EU. Humane Society International/Europe has campaigned for many years for the EU to tighten its ivory trade regime and close the loopholes which still allowed some trade in ivory. The new rules represent a significant improvement, but still do not go quite far enough.

Dr Joanna Swabe, senior director of public affairs for HSI/Europe, noted:

“While the amendments to Commission Regulation 856/2006 and to the guidance document published today are an important step toward closing the EU’s loopholes on ivory trade, they are not without a fundamental flaw. The trade restrictions on worked ivory are only partially addressed in the Commission Regulation with the remainder being dealt with in the guidance document. Likewise, the restrictions on raw ivory trade are currently only included in the guidance document and therefore are not legally binding on Member States. This could potentially undermine the EU’s efforts to meet its commitments to help protect elephants and global biodiversity. It is also problematic that the trade restrictions do not apply to the trade in ivory derived from other species. It would be advisable to extend the rules to those species to ease enforcement and reduce the risk of elephant ivory being disguised and laundered as other types of ivory.”

Despite the remaining loopholes, these revised rules will put the EU in a better position to advocate for similar measures in key international fora, such as in meetings of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Closing these loopholes would make the EU one of the world leaders on this issue and help prevent elephant population declines and the ongoing global biodiversity crisis.

Notes:

  • The European Commission has published its amendments to Commission Regulation 856/2006 and to the guidance document on the EU regime governing trade in ivory. This includes:
    • suspending imports of raw ivory to the EU;
    • suspending imports and re-export of worked ivory to the EU (with the exception of pre-1975 musical instruments, and antiques sold to museums);
    • suspending the intra-EU trade of raw ivory (except for the repair of pre-1975 musical instruments or pre-1947 antiques of high cultural, artistic or historical importance);
    • suspending the intra-EU trade of post-1947 worked ivory (with the exception of pre-1975 musical instruments);
    • requiring certificates for intra-EU trade in worked ivory antiques (pre-1947 worked ivory).
  • The following loopholes remain in the EU ivory trade regime:
    • The trade restrictions on worked ivory are only partially addressed in Commission Regulation 865/2006 (with the rest being in the guidance document), and those on raw ivory are currently only included in the guidance document and therefore are not legally binding on Member States. The Commission should introduce a time-bound monitoring system of the implementation of the ivory guidance by Member States and promptly amend it and the Regulation 865/2006 if required.
    • The allowance that antique ivory can be traded within the EU with a certificate is still too broad. A de minimis provision further restricting the issuance of certificates for antique ivory is needed to avoid a flood of applications for certificates that will likely overwhelm authorities, thus increasing the risk of ivory from poached elephants or otherwise obtained illegally being laundered through the system and sold as antique. We urge the Commission to consider applying the de minimis criteria applied by other jurisdictions, which restrict exemptions for antique worked items to those containing less than 5% of ivory by volume and less than 200g of ivory by weight.
    • Exceptions regarding pre-1975 musical instruments should only apply when the volume of ivory in the instrument is less than 20% of the total volume of the material of which the instrument is made.
    • The rules only apply to elephant ivory, which means that elephant ivory could be disguised and laundered as ivory from other species.

ENDS

Media Contact: Dr Joanna Swabe, senior director of public affairs at Humane Society International/Europe: jswabe@hsi.org

Announcement made in collaboration with the Humane Society of the United States, Humane Society International and Creatives for Change

Humane Society International / Europe


Kristo Muurimaa/Oikeutta Elaimille

PARIS —ELLE magazine is proud to announce that it has committed to ending the promotion of animal fur in its pages and online. 

The commitment follows dialogue between ELLE brand owner, Lagardère Group, the Humane Society of the United States, Humane Society International and Creatives4Change. The announcement was made today at Business of Fashion’s 2021 VOICES event in London. 

ELLE created a charter to disallow editorial content that promotes animal fur on its pages, websites and social media. This includes no animal fur in editorials, press images, runway and street style images. The charter, which in alignment with the Fur Free Alliance’s definition of fur, also no longer allows the depiction of animal fur in any advertisements in its pages and online 

All ELLE editions around the world signed it, which includes publications in Arabia (English and Arabic editions), Argentina, Australia, Belgium (Flemish and French editions), Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada (English and French editions), China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Italy, Ivory Coast, Japan, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, UK, Ukraine, USA and Vietnam 

For 13 of those editions, the charter is already effective, for 20, it will be effective as of Jan. 1, 2022, and for the remaining editions, it will be effective as of Jan. 1, 2023. 

The ELLE network that will be impacted by this announcement includes: 

  • 45 editions worldwide 
  • 21 million readers per month 
  • 6.6 million copies sold per month 
  • 175 million total reach 
  • 46 websites, 100 million unique visitors, 400 million pages viewed and multiple mobile/tablet apps 
  • A website devoted to the international network: www.elleinternational.com 

According to Constance Benqué, CEO Lagardère News and CEO ELLE International“Societal engagement has always been one of the key pillars of the ELLE brand. The world has changed and the end of the use of fur is aligned with the course of History. We hope that, with this commitment, ELLE will open the path for other media to disallow fur promotion, all around the globe, and promote a fur-free future.” 

According to Valéria Bessolo LLopiz, SVP and international director of ELLE: “For many years, ELLE has been engaged towards environment, sustainability and ecology through regular features or special green issues. The presence of animal fur in our pages and on our digital media is no longer in line with our values, nor our readers’. It is time for ELLE to make a statement on this matter, a statement that reflects our attention to the critical issues of protecting and caring for the environment and animals, rejecting animal cruelty. It is also an opportunity for ELLE to increase awareness for animal welfare, bolster the demand for sustainable and innovative alternatives, and foster a more humane fashion industry.” 

Alexi Lubomirski, fashion photographer and founder of Creatives for Change, says: “Since its inception, ELLE magazine has always been a leading light in fashion, synonymous with a freshness, unencumbered by the weight of tradition and formality. Because of this strength, ELLE was said to ‘not so much reflect fashion as decree it.’ It is this creative power to inspire, that allows ELLE to make broad steps in shaping the hearts and minds of its readers for a more evolved and aware future for all.” 

PJ Smith, director of fashion policy for the HSUS and HSI, adds: “We celebrate ELLE for taking a stand against the cruel fur trade and look forward to other fashion magazines following their lead. This announcement will ignite positive change throughout the entire fashion industry and has the potential to save countless animals from a life of suffering and a cruel death. ELLE’s leadership will also drive innovation for more sustainable and humane alternatives.”  

ENDS 

Media Contacts: 

  • Humane Society International: Wendy Higgins, whiggins@hsi.org 
  • Lagardère Group: Morgane Rohée, mrohee@lagarderenews.com 

Animal protection and conservation NGOs, policy makers, IWC commissioners gather for launch event with messages of support also from Dame Judi Dench, Leona Lewis, Chris Packham and Tracy Edwards MBE

Humane Society International / United Kingdom


Minke whales
Adrian Baddele/istock

LONDON–Dr Jane Goodall DBE, UN Messenger of Peace, joined with many of the world’s leading animal protection and conservation organisations, to urge the 88 member countries of the International Whaling Commission to adopt a new 50-Year Vision to save whales, dolphins and porpoises from extinction in the face of increasing ocean threats. are Many species are facing an increased threat of extinction because of fisheries bycatch; chemical, plastic and noise pollution; marine debris; ship strikes; habitat loss; the urgent climate crisis as well as continued direct persecution from commercial killing and dolphin drive hunts.

The coalition of NGOs, including the Animal Welfare Institute, Humane Society International, Born Free Foundation, OceanCare, IFAW and Environmental Investigation Agency, launched the 50-Year Vision at a virtual event, to mark the 75th anniversary of the International Whaling Commission (IWC). Originally established in 1946 to conserve whales in order to maximise hunting quotas, the IWC has since evolved to address myriad anthropogenic threats that pose an immediate danger for many populations of cetaceans. Of the 90 species, 12 subspecies and 28 subpopulations of cetaceans that have been identified and assessed to date, 22 are listed as ‘Critically Endangered’, 22 as ‘Endangered’ and 16 as ‘Vulnerable’. Without globally co-ordinated conservation actions, many species and populations will go extinct within our lifetimes, the NGOs warn.

Giving the keynote speech, Dr Jane Goodall DBE said: “Some 80% of the world’s oxygen comes from the ocean. Our seas, along with our forests, are literally the lungs of our planet. Tragically, the vast marine habitat is increasingly threatened by our human actions. We are polluting it with toxic substances, large areas become acidified, the water is warming, commercial fishing has endangered many species, and its biggest and so loved residents – whales, dolphins and porpoises – are suffering. 

Unbelievably, despite a 40 year ban, many still suffer the cruelty of commercial whaling. Then around 300,000 cetaceans die when they’re accidentally captured in fishing gear. They drown.  A number of species and some populations are now facing extinction. There are solutions, but our governments must prioritise them and also recognise and support the International Whaling Commission as the organisation to coordinate these global priorities.” 

The 50-Year Vision (supported by more than 50 NGOs worldwide) calls on the IWC and its 88 member countries to ensure that conservation urgency is at the centre of global efforts to save cetacean species from decline. It warns that the degradation of the oceans has accelerated rapidly in recent years, with ocean temperatures warming up to 40% faster on average than the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change previously estimated, and more than 150 million tonnes of plastics have accumulated in the oceans since the 1950s. Ocean acidification has also increased by 26% since pre-industrial times, global maritime traffic has vastly increased, as have ambient noise levels from shipping, seismic surveys, exploration and military activities. An estimated 300,000 cetaceans are killed annually as bycatch in fisheries. These challenges are compounded by the loss of critical habitat to climate change.

A host of celebrities supported the 50-Year Vision at its launch event, with video messages from naturalist and campaigner Chris Packham, actress Dame Judi Dench, Singer Leona Lewis and world-renowned sailor Tracy Edwards MBE. Download the celebrity videos here.

The NGOs believe the IWC’s 75th anniversary provides the perfect opportunity ahead of its 68th meeting in October 2022 to define a clear 50-year Vision that goes beyond managing whaling and establishes the IWC at the centre of global efforts to conserve all cetaceans.

The 50-Year Vision outlines that, looking forward, the IWC’s priorities must be focused on conservation, and recommends specifically that the IWC:

Maintain the ban on commercial whaling which is not a viable industry in the 21st century. Demand for whale meat has fallen to unprecedented levels in the remaining nations conducting commercial whaling, and the industry is now dependent on significant government subsidies. The very nature of cetaceans – long lived, slow breeding, depleted and vulnerable to growing environmental threats – means that commercial whaling is inherently ill-suited to meeting the Sustainable Development Goals such as providing food security, and ensuring sustainable consumption and production patterns.

Manage Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling. The IWC’s most important whaling management responsibility is the regulation of Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling (ASW). It is vital that the IWC maintain a clear distinction between ASW and commercial and special permit whaling, to ensure the integrity of the moratorium and meet the genuine nutritional, cultural and subsistence needs of indigenous peoples

Ensure whale watching is effectively managed. Whale watching is an industry worth more than US$2 billion, enjoyed by over 13 million people in 119 countries each year. However, as the success of whale watching continues to grow, the IWC must ensure it is conducted responsibly and is biologically sustainable.

Implement IWC Sanctuaries as Effective Marine Protected Areas. The IWC took the visionary step of designating two massive protected areas at a time (1979 and 1994) when marine reserves were a relatively new concept. Today, there are more than 900 marine protected areas providing habitat for cetaceans globally but not all have conservation goals or management plans to mitigate threats to cetaceans.

Consolidate the IWC’s welfare mandate. The IWC is uniquely positioned to ensure that the pain and suffering of cetaceans in both hunting and non-hunting situations is understood and minimised. It is already building a global response to entanglement but must expand its work and its collaboration with other organisations to better understand, measure and address other non-hunting welfare threats to cetaceans.

Increase collaboration, skills-sharing and capacity building in member governments, on ocean conservation, global biodiversity, sustainable development goals, harmonised research and mitigation efforts, to reverse the trifecta of the climate, pollution and biodiversity crises.

Ensure that decision-making reflects that the ecological contributions of cetaceans are a public good. Cetaceans make vital ecological contributions to the health and productivity of the oceans, including enhancing fish populations by increasing primary productivity, sequestering carbon, and promoting biodiversity. The IWC’s growing expertise in this area will enable it to leverage funding for cetacean conservation from new sources, including international institutions that fund climate mitigation and other conservation efforts.

Kitty Block, CEO of Humane Society International says: “As the health of the world’s oceans dramatically declines, cetaceans are in trouble, and that’s a tragedy not just because they are magnificent and sentient animals but because they also play a vital ecological role. Our 50-Year Vision offers a vital strategic plan for the IWC to help save whales, dolphins and porpoises in these most perilous of times.” 

ENDS 

Download photos of cetaceans here.

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

Background on the IWC 

Almost three million great whales were killed in commercial whaling operations in the 20th century. As whale populations declined but competition for the remaining whales increased, the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW), which established the International Whaling Commission (IWC), was agreed in 1946 to conserve whale populations and regulate the whaling industry. Since then, the IWC has been the primary international organisation for the management and conservation of whales and is recognised in international law as such.

In 1982, the IWC made the visionary decision to ban commercial whaling worldwide, preventing the extinction of several populations and species. Almost 40 years later, despite recovery in some whale populations, many are nowhere near their pre-exploitation levels. Maintaining the ban on commercial whaling remains critical to ensuring that whales have the best chance of survival and recovery in what is now an increasingly degraded and rapidly changing marine environment.

HSI/Korea has saved almost 2,500 dogs from South Korean dog meat farms

Humane Society International / South Korea


Jean Chung/HSI

SEOUL—The South Korean government has announced its plan to set up a task force to consider a ban on the eating of dog meat. The joint announcement by government ministries comes after President Moon Jae-in suggested the time is right to consider a ban. The task force will include officials, civilian experts and stakeholder representatives, who will make recommendations on next steps to take and ways to end dog meat consumption. The discussions are expected to continue until April 2022.   

The news is welcomed by Seoul-based animal protection organisation Humane Society International/Korea as a crucial step, but the organisation hopes for decisive action to end both the suffering of animals and the struggles of dog farmers. Since 2015, HSI/Korea has rescued almost 2,500 dogs from South Korean dog meat farms and permanently closed 17 dog farms in co-operation with farmers eager to exit the controversial and dying industry.  

Nara Kim, Humane Society International/Korea’s End Dog Meat campaign manager, says: 

“As someone who has visited many dog meat farms and witnessed first-hand the squalor, deprivation, and physical and mental trauma endured by the dogs, I dream of the day when this cruel industry will be consigned to South Korea’s history books. I really hope that this taskforce is a crucial step towards that goal, and HSI/Korea stands ready to contribute our expertise in dog meat farm closures and dog welfare. With more than a million dogs every year enduring excruciating suffering and brutal deaths and with many dog farmers struggling to make a living due to dwindling consumer demand, this taskforce must deliver a bold outcome that brings relief to all. Of course the dog meat association will oppose it, that’s to be expected, but the truth is that the market for dog meat is now so small, most dog farmers know there is no future in it and so it would be far better to launch a government-supported phase out. HSI/Korea has helped many farmers leave the dog meat industry behind them and switch to more sustainable and humane livelihoods. It’s better for them and of course better for the dogs who will no longer be born into a life of suffering.”  

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

Facts:  

  • HSI/Korea helps farmers transition to new, more humane and profitable livelihoods such as chili plant growing or water truck delivery. Most of the farmers with whom HSI/Korea has worked 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.  
  • A 2020 opinion poll commissioned by HSI/Korea and conducted by Nielsen shows growing support for a ban on the dog meat trade, with nearly 84% of South Koreans saying they don’t or won’t eat dog, and almost 60% supporting a legislative ban on the trade.  
  • Although most people in South Korea don’t eat dog, the belief that dog meat soup will cool the body during the hot summer and build stamina still holds with some, particularly the older generation.  
  • In South Korea up to 1.5 million dogs a year are raised on thousands of farms across the country. Many of them are sold to butchers for Bok Nal season across July and August, to be killed by electrocution and sold for soup.  
  • Dog meat is banned in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand and Singapore, as well as the cities of Shenzhen and Zhuhai in mainland China, and Siem Reap province in Cambodia. An estimated 30 million dogs a year are still killed for meat in other parts of Asia.  

ENDS 

Media contact:  

Dog Meat Free Indonesia campaigners applaud authorities cracking down on those trafficking thousands of dogs for meat every month

Humane Society International


Yoma Times Suryadi/AP Images for HSI Police rescued 53 dogs from the illegal dog meat trade in Kartasura, Sukoharjo, Central Java, Indonesia

CENTRAL JAVA, Indonesia—A man suspected of being a dog meat trader on the Indonesian island of Java has been arrested, and a delivery truck packed with 53 dogs intercepted, as part of the country’s first ever large-scale police raid on an illegal dog meat slaughterhouse. Police in Sukoharjo infiltrated a dog trafficking operation in Java in order to move in on the trader and dog butcher who has allegedly been at the centre of the dog meat trade spanning the island of Java for more than 20 years. He is suspected of coordinating shipments of hundreds of dogs for slaughter every month, and killing on average 30 dogs every day. Campaigners from the Dog Meat Free Indonesia coalition, which campaigns for a nationwide ban on the dog and cat meat trades, were at the scene to help rescue any dogs found alive. Watch the video.

The sting operation took place in the early hours of the morning on 24th November as the truck loaded with 53 terrified dogs arrived at the slaughterhouse. DMFI campaigners found the dogs tied up in hessian sacks, their mouths tightly bound with string and cable ties. Most of the dogs were emaciated, and less than one year of age, and one dog had sadly died on the gruelling journey. 

Lola Webber, from DMFI member group Humane Society International, was one of the first on the scene. She says: “My heart was pounding in my chest as we approached the truck, because I could hear the dogs’ pitiful whimpering and then saw them all tied up in sacks, their soft muzzles squeezed shut with wire. They were extremely traumatised and frightened. Many of them were still wearing collars, and were no doubt many miles from home, likely stolen pets grabbed from the streets. They will have endured the most horrific and terrifying journey, thrown in the back of a truck to be taken to this disgusting and filthy slaughterhouse where they would have been bludgeoned over the head and their throats cut. To think of the fear they must have endured is just devastating. We got there just in the nick of time because the killing usually happens in the early hours. We are immensely grateful to the authorities for taking action.  For those of us who have been campaigning for so long to end this cruel trade, it was a huge privilege to be able to rescue these animals.” 

This is only the second major dog meat trade bust by the police in Indonesia, marking what DMFI campaigners hope signals a turning point in their campaign to see the brutal and dangerous trade banned nationwide. Despite a national government pledge to crack down on the dog meat trade, it has been isolated regional governments and regencies that have so far taken the initiative to protect Indonesians from the trade. Regencies and cities such as Karanganyar, Salatiga and Sukoharjo have passed explicit bans in their jurisdictions, and DMFI hopes that another arrest and eventual prosecution will send a strong signal to other dog traders that their activities are illegal and will be punished. Last month a dog trader caught by Kulon Progo District Police was sentenced to 10 months in jail and a $USD10,000 fine (150 million IDR) after authorities intercepted his truck illegally transporting 78 dogs from West Java for slaughter and human consumption throughout Central Java..  

Mr. Tarjono Sapto Nugroho, head of crime investigation of Sukoharjo Police says: “We receive many complaints about illegal dog meat traders’ operations. People do not want this trade or slaughter in their communities. Dogs are friends, not food, and the trade is already illegal and is strictly prohibited by Islamic law. Dog meat consumption is considered culture by some, but cultures evolve and so must we. So we initiated this interception and confiscation to protect our communities and to support the Central Javan government’s efforts to eradicate the dog meat eating culture and trade.” 

The Dog Meat Free Indonesia coalition has conducted numerous investigations since 2016, exposing the brutal reality of the trade in dogs destined for human consumption. Every month, tens of thousands of these dogs are transported across Indonesia, often crossing provincial borders and in so doing, jeopardizing anti-rabies measures because of the dogs’ unknown disease status. Many dogs die during this horrific journey from heatstroke, dehydration or injuries inflicted during capture and transport.   

Karin Franken from Jakarta Animal Aid Network, who attended the raid, says: “As well as being unspeakably brutal, it’s easy to see how this trade is a public health danger too. Rabies is a grave concern in Indonesia, and Central Java is one of only eight provinces declared rabies-free, so the cities and regencies here such as Solo where thousands of dogs are slaughtered and sold in local restaurants every month, are jeopardising their rabies-free status and the health of the communities by allowing this trade to continue. This raid by the police force and a zero-tolerance approach by the authorities is absolutely vital to protect citizens from the public health risk posed by the dog meat trade. We now need other regencies and provinces across Indonesia to follow this lead and crack down on this dangerous and illegal trade.” 

The 53 dogs rescued from the slaughterhouse received emergency veterinary treatment from the DMFI team before travelling to DMFI’s temporary shelter where they will receive loving care to get them back to health. The chances of being able to reunite them with their families is likely to be slim, but DMFI will make local appeals. The plan is that some of the dogs will be adopted locally among Indonesia’s passionate dog-loving community, while others will be flown to Humane Society International’s temporary shelter in Canada from where the organisation hopes to find them forever homes.  

Opinion polls consistently show that the vast majority of Indonesians don’t eat dog, with a mere 4.5% of the population doing so, and 93% of Indonesians in support of a ban nationwide.  

Police confirmed at the scene that they anticipate the suspect will be prosecuted later this year for violating the Law of The Republic of Indonesia Number 41 Year 2014, Article 89, regarding Animal Husbandry and Animal Health, with penalties of at least two years and maximum  five years imprisonment, and/or a fine at least 150,000,000 Rupiah ($USD 10,500). The police have also pledged to further investigate others involved in illegal operations involving the trade and slaughtering of dogs throughout their jurisdiction. 

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, South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in suggested it could be time to consider a dog meat ban, and in November it was announced that his cabinet will meet to discuss this further. 
  • 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/Video 

ENDS 

Media Contacts: 

For further information and interview requests: 

  • In Indonesia: Lola Webber, Humane Society International’s End Dog Meat campaign director, and Dog Meat Free Indonesia international coordinator; Tel: +6281337408768 E-mail: Lwebber@hsi.orgKarin Franken, national coordinator Dog Meat Free Indonesia Coalition Tel: +628212287794 E-mail: jaan_adopt@yahoo.com 
  • In United KingdomWendy Higgins, Humane Society International, director of international media: whiggins@hsi.org   

Yves Salomon, Moncler & Max Mara sales staff filmed at Harrods’ fur salon provide misleading information about conditions on factory fur farms

Humane Society International / United Kingdom


Kristo Muurimaa/Oikeutta eläimille

LONDON—Sales staff representing global designers Yves Salomon, Moncler and Max Mara in the fur salon at London’s Harrods department store, provided misleading information about conditions for animals on fur farms to a secret shopper filming for animal protection charity Humane Society International/UK. Sales staff for the fashion companies—all wearing Harrods-branded name badges—made misleading claims about the deprived environment in which caged animals are kept, and the way they are killed, when questioned about farmed fox fur from Finland.

The sales rep for Yves Salomon falsely claimed that foxes on fur farms are not kept in cages, telling the undercover customer that they are kept in “their own private space” in “separate rooms” “exactly” like Battersea (Dogs and Cats Home). The customer was repeatedly told that foxes are not kept in a cage and even that “they have enough space to play and everything”. In truth, the animals are confined in small, barren, wire factory-farm style cages one-metre squared. These pitiful conditions were exposed this week in HSI’s undercover investigation at three Finnish fox fur farms that showed animals in cages barely longer than their body length, nose to tail. Many of the foxes also suffered with deformed feet and diseased eyes.

Another Yves Salomon sales rep at Harrods gave HSI/UK’s undercover shopper the false assurance that before the animals are killed “they put them down with an injection” so that “they are literally put to sleep” when in truth foxes (and raccoon dogs) are anally electrocuted without any anaesthetic. When our shopper expressed concern about some videos she had seen of animals suffering in the fur trade she was told ‘it’s only propaganda, madam’.

Moncler’s sales assistant made the astonishing implication that its Finnish fox fur was just a by-product, saying “we take our fur from animals who were already taken for other purposes, like for example meat or something else”, despite the breeding of foxes for human consumption being illegal in the EU.

Humane Society International/UK which leads the #FurFreeBritain campaign for a UK fur sales ban, and Finnish animal campaigners Oikeutta Eläimille, visited three fur farms in the Ostrobothnia region of Finland, a country that has exported more than £11million of fur to the UK since 2000 despite the same fur farm cruelty being banned in the UK. Photos and video can be downloaded here. Filming took place in October 2021.

Claire Bass, executive director of Humane Society International/UK, who visited the fur farms, said: “It’s hardly a surprise that staff in Harrods don’t want to describe the grim reality of life for animals on fur farms, because it would surely leave their customers horrified. The week before speaking to five Harrods’ sales assistants who all creatively cloaked the cruelty of the fur trade, I visited several supposedly ‘high welfare’ Finnish fur farms and come face to face with the abject misery and suffering of thousands of foxes locked up in barren metre-squared battery cages their whole lives. Before Christmas they will all have been killed by anal electrocution, and the luxury lies of fur trade PR spin will market their lifeless fur to consumers.

The claim that fur farms are ‘like Battersea’, a rescue home for pets, was a whole new level of delusion. Fur farms and Battersea are like night and day in animal welfare terms. A Harrods manager’s claims that their fur is ‘ethically and sustainably sourced’ bears no scrutiny whatsoever. There is nothing ethical about any fur farming, certified or otherwise. We urge Harrods to stop peddling lies and stop selling fur cruelty. And the sooner the UK government bans the import and sale of animal fur, the sooner we can stop bankrolling this brutal industry.”

Max Mara’s sales staff told the investigator that its fur is certified by the fur trade’s SAGA Furs** assurance scheme which, they claimed, means “those ones are not cruel, not made in a cruel way…. It means that the animals don’t suffer.” However, at two SAGA Furs certified fox fur farms visited by HSI/UK, foxes with infected eyes and missing ears were filmed in woefully cramped cages, each one empty but for a single piece of wood or bone which passes for “enrichment”.

Fox fur originating from Finland is used by brands including Fendi, Moncler, Yves Salomon, Woolrich, Herno and Max Mara, and is seen in stores including Harrods, Harvey Nichols and Flannels.

Finland is the biggest producer of fox fur in Europe and the second biggest in the world, exporting millions of pounds worth of fur around the world including to the UK. Since banning fur farming in 2000 on ethical grounds, the UK has imported more than £850million of fur from a range of countries including France, Italy, Poland, China and the United States. Through its #FurFreeBritain campaign, HSI/UK is urging the government to end this by banning UK fur imports and sales, a move supported by 72% of the British public. The government is currently considering a fur sales ban and recently held a public consultation which received 30,000 responses.

HSI/UK has written to Harrods.

Please sign and share HSI’s petition calling for a UK fur sales ban: www.hsi.org/FurFreeBritain

Facts: 

  • More than 100 million animals are killed for their fur every year worldwide: foxes, raccoon dogs, mink, chinchilla and rabbits on fur farms and coyotes, beavers and other animals trapped in the wild—that’s equivalent to three animals dying every second, just for their fur. Finland rears and kills between 1-2 million foxes every year.
  • Fur farming has been banned and/or is in the process of being phased out in 15 European countries including Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovakia, and the United Kingdom. The Republic of Ireland’s cabinet has approved legislation that would see fur farming banned from 2022; and legislation to ban mink farming is currently being debated by politicians in France. Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Spain and Ukraine are also considering proposals to ban fur farming.
  • HSI/UK’s #FurFreeBritain campaign for a UK fur sales ban is supported by NGOs including the RSPCA, PETA UK and Four Paws UK, as well as celebrities including Sir Paul McCartney, Stella McCartney, Dame Judi Dench, Ricky Gervais and Leona Lewis.
  • In 2021 Israel became the first country in the world to ban the sale of fur. Fur sales are also banned in the U.S. state of California, the cities of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Berkeley and West Hollywood, and the towns of Weston and Wellesley in Massachusetts and Ann Arbor in Michigan.
  • Global fashion designers and retailers who have dropped fur cruelty include Canada Goose, Oscar de la Renta, Valentino, Gucci, Burberry, Versace, Chanel and Prada.
  • A 2020 YouGov opinion poll reveals that 79% of Brits most closely associate fashion brands selling fur with negative words: ‘unethical’, ‘outdated’, ‘cruel’ and ‘out of touch’.
  • Fur comes with a hefty environmental price tag. All fabrics have an eco-footprint, but when compared to others, fur scores badly in terms of the C02 emissions associated with keeping and feeding tens of thousands of carnivorous animals on a farm, the manure runoff into lakes and rivers, and the cocktail of toxic chemicals such as chromium and formaldehyde used to stop the fur and skin from rotting.

Media contact: Wendy Higgins: whiggins@hsi.org

Notes

*Faces have been pixilated and voices altered to protect the sales staffs’ identity.
**SAGA is the fur trade’s certification scheme which claims SAGA certified farms have good animal health and welfare and provide safe and stimulating housing, as well as good farm hygiene and feed that fulfils nutritional needs in each production phase.
Reference in this article to any specific commercial product or service, or the use of any brand, trade, firm or corporation name is for the information of the public only.  Such reference does not constitute or imply endorsement by Humane Society International or any its affiliates of the product or service, or its producer or provider, and should not be construed or relied upon, under any circumstances, by implication or otherwise, as investment advice. The views and opinions of interviewees expressed in the article do not necessarily state or accurately reflect those of Humane Society International or any of its affiliates. Links and access by hypertext to other websites is provided as a convenience only and does not indicate or imply any endorsement with respect to any of the content on such website nor any of the views expressed thereon.

Humane Society International / Europe


HSI

EUROPE—Humane Society International/Europe is launching an online campaign in the week before Black Friday, 26 November, in Italy, Germany, Poland and Romania, reminding shoppers that fur clothing comes at the cost of extreme cruelty to animals. The organization is asking fashion lovers, designers, retailers and influencers to go fur-free since fashion shouldn’t come at the cost of animal life.

Black Friday, the popular shopping pinnacle, is also an occasion for animal welfare organizations and animal lovers worldwide to draw public attention to the plight of animals kept in farms only for their fur. The Fur-Free Friday movement, which started in the U.S. in the 1980s and went global in the first decade of the 21st century, is now one of the largest international days of action and brings together advocates in hundreds of locations around the world.

“Our Fur-Free Friday campaign aims to bring attention to our daily choices, since cruelty towards animals is often a direct consequence of the choices we make. Small cages, scandalous living conditions, and the cruel death of animals who feel pain, fear, frustration– all this is due to the fashion industry’s demand for animal fur. It’s time to change that. Don’t let this holiday shopping season be deadly for animals. Show designers and retailers you care about animals by leaving fur on the shelves and shopping with compassion instead,” says Pankaj KC, campaigns director for HSI/Europe.

Fur-Free Friday also coincides with the period of the year when the short and miserable lives of millions of animals kept on fur farms will end as they are skinned for their fur. Mink are usually killed by being placed in a mobile gas chamber, while foxes and raccoon dogs are usually killed by anal electrocution. The only animals who will be left alive on fur farms are those individuals who have been selected as breeding stock.

Worldwide, around 100 million animals, such as mink, foxes, raccoon dogs and chinchillas, are slaughtered each year for fashion. More than a third of these animals are bred and killed in farms around Europe. Although fur coats are going out of fashion in Europe, real fur trim is increasingly being used for hooded jackets, hat pompoms, gloves, shoes and other clothing and accessories. It’s estimated that as many as half of all animals raised for their fur are killed for fur trim.

Public discontent with the cruel practices in fur farms has prompted the governments of 15 European countries to impose a ban on farms where animals are kept only for their fur. The spread of COVID-19 and the discovered link between the virus and mink have also led to bans in countries where the industry is prevalent. Just last week the Senate in France approved a full ban on keeping wild animals in fur farms.

Finnish and SAGA-assured fox fur is used by global designers and retailers including Harrods and Fendi

Humane Society International / United Kingdom


Fox on a fur farm
HSI

LONDON—An undercover investigation by Humane Society International/UK and Finnish animal campaigners Oikeutta Eläimille reveals deplorable conditions and distressing animal suffering on fur farms in Finland, a country that has exported more than £11million of fur to the UK since 2000 despite the same fur farm cruelty being banned in the UK. Fox fur originating from Finland is used by brands including Fendi, Moncler, Yves Salomon, Woolrich, Herno and Max Mara, and is seen in stores including Harrods, Harvey Nichols and Flannels.

The fur trade claims that almost 100% of fox and raccoon dog fur farms in Finland, and 96% of mink fur farms, are certified by the fur trade’s SAGA Furs* assurance scheme promising “the highest level of animal welfare”. So, Humane Society International/UK, which leads the #FurFreeBritain campaign for a UK fur sales ban, took high-profile media veterinarian and animal welfare campaigner Dr Marc Abraham OBE to see for himself the grim reality for animals behind the fur trade’s glossy marketing. They visited three fur farms in the Ostrobothnia region of Finland, two of which are SAGA certified, and they found foxes in small, barren cages suffering with deformed feet, diseased eyes, missing ears and obesity.

Finland is the biggest producer of fox fur in Europe and the second biggest in the world, exporting millions of pounds worth of fur around the world including to the UK. Since banning fur farming in 2000 on ethical grounds, the UK has imported more than £850million of fur from a range of countries including France, Italy, Poland, China and the United States, with more than £11million worth of fur from Finland alone. Through its #FurFreeBritain campaign, HSI/UK is urging the government to end this by banning UK fur imports and sales, a move supported by 72% of the British public. The government is currently considering a fur sales ban and recently held a public consultation which received 30,000 responses.

Claire Bass, executive director of Humane Society International/UK, who visited the fur farms, said: “Fur trade buzzwords about welfare ring incredibly hollow when you are staring into the eyes of an animal tormented by a life of deprivation for a frivolous fashion item that nobody needs. Most fashion-forward designers have gone fur-free because of the indefensible cruelty. But to those designers who still use fur, and to the UK government that still allows British businesses to trade in fur, our message is clear – it’s time to stop being complicit in this cruelty. It’s a clear double standard that the UK is outsourcing to countries like Finland the very same fur farm cruelty we banned here two decades ago.”

Veterinarian Dr Marc Abraham OBE said: “As a vet and campaigner who has dedicated my life to animal welfare, it was not only truly depressing to seeing the appalling state of these foxes, but still worse to know that the UK is 100% complicit in this legal fur trade cruelty. What I witnessed first-hand was shameful from an animal welfare point of view, row upon row of pitiful animals imprisoned in tiny cages, barely larger than the length of their body from nose to tail. Many of the foxes we saw had painfully swollen eyes, deformed feet with overgrown claws from having to stand on the wire floor, as well as poor body condition and obesity, not to mention self-mutilation, the clear sign of psychological trauma they must suffer as wild animals without appropriate enrichment.

It must be mental torture being denied the freedom to run and exercise in their natural woodland environment that they can clearly view surrounding their cages, which their instincts are telling them to explore 24/7, but to which, tragically, they will never have access during their short lives. The UK government assured us that after Brexit it would consider what could be done in terms of a UK fur sales ban, and observing such high levels of animal suffering on those Finnish fur farms, leaves me in no doubt that right now is the time to make good on that promise.”

Two of the farms held obese “monster foxes” bred with huge pelts and rolls of fat folded over their body in order to increase the volume of fur that can be harvested. In 2017 the fur trade stated it would put an end to the breeding of oversized foxes, and yet this and previous investigations continue to expose their existence.

Kristo Muurimaa from Finnish animal protection group Oikeutta Eläimille, said: “I have visited more than a hundred fur farms across Finland and every single one is as horrific as the last. To have a respected and decorated veterinarian come to Finland to witness first-hand the animal suffering, is really important in exposing the truth about the fur industry.”

Facts: 

  • More than 100 million animals are killed for their fur every year worldwide, on fur farms and trapped in the wild—that’s equivalent to three animals dying every second, just for their fur. Finland rears and kills between 1-2 million foxes every year.
  • Fur farming is not only cruel to animals, it also presents risks to public health. Outbreaks of COVID-19 have been documented on 447 mink fur farms in 12 different countries in Europe and North America since April 2020. A June letter signed by over 60 veterinarians and virologists highlighted the potential for fur farms to act as reservoirs for the virus and the potential for fur farms to create future zoonotic diseases
  • The World Organisation for Animal Health’s (OIE) ad hoc Group on COVID-19 and Safe Trade in Animals and Animal Products has concluded that raw mink skins cannot be considered a safe commodity for international trade.
  • Fur farming has been banned and/or is in the process of being phased out in Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Northern Macedonia, Norway, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and the United Kingdom. The Republic of Ireland’s cabinet has approved legislation that would see fur farming banned effective from 2022; and legislation to ban mink farming is currently being debated by politicians in France, Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Spain and Ukraine.
  • Earlier this year Israel became the first country in the world to ban the sale of fur.
  • 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. The towns of Weston and Wellesley in Massachusetts and the city of Ann Arbor in Michigan have also recently banned fur sales, and more US cities and states are looking to follow suit.
  • An increasing number of fashion designers and retailers are dropping fur cruelty. In the last few years alone Canada Goose, Oscar de la Renta, Valentino, Gucci, Burberry, Versace, Chanel, Prada and other high-profile brands have announced fur-free policies. In addition, major online fashion retail platforms Net-A-Porter, Farfetch and MyTheresa have adopted fur-free policies.
  • Fur comes with a hefty environmental price tag. Whilst all materials have some eco-footprint, when compared to other textiles, fur takes a significant toll in terms of the C02 emissions associated with keeping and feeding tens of thousands of carnivorous animals on a farm, the manure runoff into lakes and rivers, and the cocktail of toxic and carcinogenic chemicals such as chromium and formaldehyde used to preserve the fur and skin to stop it from rotting.

Download Photos and Videos from the Fur Farm

Download a Video of Marc Abraham on the Fur Farm

Media Contact: Wendy Higgins: whiggins@hsi.org

*SAGA is a fur certification scheme which claims SAGA certified farms have good animal health and welfare and provide safe and stimulating housing. As well as good farm hygiene and feed that fulfils nutritional needs in each production phase.

Reference in this article to any specific commercial product or service, or the use of any brand, trade, firm or corporation name is for the information of the public only.  Such reference does not constitute or imply endorsement by Humane Society International or any its affiliates of the product or service, or its producer or provider, and should not be construed or relied upon, under any circumstances, by implication or otherwise, as investment advice. The views and opinions of interviewees expressed in the article do not necessarily state or accurately reflect those of Humane Society International or any of its affiliates. Links and access by hypertext to other websites is provided as a convenience only and does not indicate or imply any endorsement with respect to any of the content on such website nor any of the views expressed thereon.

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