Humane Society International


BRUSSELS—In the wake of COVID-19 outbreaks on mink farms throughout Europe—which have also laid bare the cruel conditions under which these animals are intensively confined—leading animal protection organisations today held an online conference to address the animal welfare and public health concerns associated with fur production. This event was organised in collaboration with the European Parliament’s Intergroup on the Welfare and Conservation of Animals. Watch a recording of the conference.

Hosted by MEPs Anja Hazekamp (GUE/NGL), Niels Fuglsang (S&D) and Anna Deparnay-Grunenberg (Greens/EFA), this timely event brought together politicians and policymakers with prominent experts on animal welfare, veterinary epidemiology, NGOs and even a former fur industry insider to consider the animal welfare and disease risk problems related to exploiting fur-bearing species, such as mink and foxes, for their pelts. Recent footage from fur farm investigations was also screened to illustrate the inherent welfare problems involved in fur production.

Dutch MEP, Animal Welfare Intergroup President and Vice-Chair of the Parliament’s Environment Committee, Anja Hazekamp said:

“Confining wild animals in small wire cages for the trivial purpose of fur production should be consigned to the past. The horrific footage from Polish and Finnish fur farms, which we have seen at today’s meeting, are far from unique. We saw exactly the same kind of images of animal suffering on fur farms in the Netherlands over a quarter of a century ago when the political debate on banning fur production began. In the past days, the very last mink on Dutch farms were gassed to death and the cages stand empty after the industry phase-out was brought forward to eliminate potential coronavirus reservoirs. Fur farming is now over in my country. I look forward to the day when we can end the suffering of all animals on fur farms and see a completely fur-free Europe”

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

“In the past months, the public has been confronted with the fact that fur farms are not only places of enormous animal suffering, but they can also act as virus factories. The living conditions on fur farms, which confine wild species at high densities and in close proximity, fail to satisfy the animals’ most basic welfare needs, leaving them highly stressed, which can lead to their immune systems being compromised. The outbreaks of the SARS-CoV-2 virus on fur farms have confronted us with the terrifying reality that fur factory farms create ideal conditions for diseases to propagate from one animal to another, and for viruses to mutate into forms potentially virulent to humans. We don’t need frivolous fur fashion. And we certainly don’t need these unnecessary reservoirs for coronaviruses. More than ever, it is time to make fur history.”

Reineke Hameleers, CEO, Eurogroup for Animals, noted:

“Given the urgency of the situation we believe it is high time for the Commission to show leadership and introduce measures to suspend fur farming across the EU. The potential risks of the SARS-CoV-2 virus further spreading and potentially mutating, pose serious threats across borders and require an EU approach. We trust that this proposal will be made at the forthcoming AgriFish Council meeting. In the longer term we believe the moment is ripe to phase out this sector once and for all. Several EU surveys have shown that the vast majority of EU citizens do not approve of fur farming and 11 EU countries have already banned or restricted this industry or are in the process of doing so. The pandemic has put the spotlight on the vulnerability of fur farming which end is long overdue.”

Facts:

  • Eight EU Member States have officially identified COVID-19 positive animals on mink farms: Denmark (289 farms), France (1 farm), Greece (12 farms), Italy (1 farm), Lithuania (1 farm), Netherlands (70 farms), Spain (1 farm), Sweden (13 farms).
  • Researchers at the Medical University of Gdansk also found eight COVID-19 positive mink on a fur farm in Poland.
  • SARS-CoV-2 virus has also been found in mink on 16 US fur farms and one Canadian mink farm.
  • Mink-to-human transmission was first identified in the Netherlands through whole genome sequencing and has also been found in Denmark. The emergence of a new mink variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus was detected in Denmark leading to fears that this COVID-19 mutation moving from mink to humans could jeopardise future vaccines. This variant had already been found in 12 people in northern Denmark.
  • On 4th November 2020, the findings of the State Serum Institute led to Danish government announcing the radical step of culling all mink on the remaining fur farms and a temporary ban on mink production in the country.
  • In 2013, the Netherlands adopted a ban on fur farming. The industry was due to be phased-out by 1st January 2024. However, the Dutch government forced an early shutdown of its mink industry due to continuing outbreaks of COVID-19 – despite the adoption of strict biosecurity measures and preventative culling of all affected mink herds – on its remaining fur farms.
  • The Irish Department of Agriculture recommended that farmed mink in Ireland should be culled and restocking prohibited on its remaining three fur farms. A ban on fur farming was already pending.
  • Fur farming has already been prohibited and/or is in the process of being phased-out in various EU Member States, such as Austria Czech Republic, Croatia, Slovenia, Slovakia, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Belgium.
  • Legislative proposals to ban fur farming are currently also under consideration, or have been announced, in 6 countries including Poland, Lithuania, France, Ireland, Bulgaria and Estonia.
  • In addition to these fur farming bans and industry phase-outs, Germany adopted stricter regulations, which have effectively eliminated the breeding of all animals for fur; Sweden similarly eliminated fox and chinchilla production in this way. Denmark has also prohibited and is phasing out the breeding of foxes on animal welfare grounds.
  • Hungary has also just announced a ban on mink, fox, ferret and coypu production as a precautionary measure due to animal welfare and COVID-19 concerns to prevent fur producers from moving their operations there.

Watch video of the conference.

Read the white paper on Fur Farming, COVID-19 and Zoonotic Disease Risks.

ENDS 

Media contact: Wendy Higgins: whiggins@hsi.org 

Humane Society International / Global


Condemnation of South Africa’s captive lion breeding industry and its associated spin-off industries has increased globally, with lion scientists, conservation bodies, international and national non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and SA’s leading tourism body presenting a joint pack of letters to the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries that all call for a ban

Humane Society International / South Africa


Olyjo/Alamy Stock Photo

CAPE TOWN—Representatives from two conservation and animal welfare organisations—Humane Society International-Africa and Blood Lions—backed by other NGOs, scientists and the Southern Africa Tourism Services Association (SATSA)—presented five separate letters to the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries today.

In their letter, 41 international and national animal welfare non-governmental organisations (NGOs) assert that “… the captive lion breeding industry lacks regulations, enforcement controls and standards. Industry-generated Norms and Standards are voluntary and are not enforceable. As a result, there are pending cruelty prosecutions of lion breeding facilities for contraventions of the Animals Protection Act 71 of 1962.”

Bred for slaughter

South Africa has 400+ facilities with approximately 10 000 – 12 000 lions in captivity for commercial use in cub petting, canned hunting and the lion bone trade. According to HSI-Africa, most lion trophies exported from South Africa are lions that originate from the country’s notorious captive lion breeding industry.

“These animals are bred with the intention of slaughter, one way or another, whether for their bones or as hunted trophies. In addition to the global opposition to trophy hunting, the cruelty of ‘canned hunting’ is making South Africa a pariah in conservation and animal welfare and protection communities,” said HSI-Africa wildlife director Audrey Delsink.

The NGO letter also raises a red flag relating to pandemics: “The current Covid-19 pandemic causing global chaos with its credible link to wildlife utilisation should be raising concerns about the zoonotic risks, including tuberculosis, associated with the unregulated, inadequately monitored intensive breeding, slaughter and utilisation of lions.”

A recent study by Blood Lions and World Animal Protection identified 63 pathogens recorded in both wild and captive lions, as well as 83 diseases and clinical symptoms associated with these pathogens. This includes pathogens that can be passed from lions to other animals and to humans.

HSI-Africa and Blood Lions are among the stakeholders that made comprehensive submissions on captive lion breeding to the Ministerial High-Level Panel that was appointed in November 2019 to review existing policies, legislation and practices relating to the management and handling, breeding, hunting and trade of elephant, lion, leopard and rhinoceros. Their recent presentations were marked by a unanimous call for an end to the captive lion breeding industry.

Read the NGOs’ full letter

No scientific evidence

The scientists’ letter—which represents many leading lion conservation and research organisations, as well as individuals with extensive experience, scientific knowledge and credibility in the field of lion biology, conservation and management—states that “Captive bred lions are not suitable for reintroduction [to the wild] or species restoration and would not be good candidates due to inbreeding and behavioral concerns.”

Dr Louse de Waal, Blood Lions campaign manager, agrees: “There is no published, peer-reviewed evidence to show that the commercial captive lion breeding industry provides direct conservation benefits to wild lions or provides a buffer to lions in the wild.”

The scientists also say that South Africa’s captive lion breeding industry has “created a legal channel for lion bone that formerly did not exist in Asia and are the main supplement for the illegal tiger bone trade to Southeast Asia. Bones from captive bred lions are illegally combined with tiger bones to continue fueling this trade.”

“More and more evidence is showing that the Asian demand for tiger and lion bones and other body parts is driving illegal killings of wild lions in South Africa and in neighbouring countries,” added Dr de Waal.

In support of the scientists’ letter asking for an end to captive lion breeding, an additional endorsement letter was also signed by 41 scientists. Signatories to that letter include the US Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) and Pan African Sanctuary Alliance (PASA).

Read the lion scientists’ full letter

Read the scientists’ endorsement letter

Impact on tourism

The Southern Africa Tourism Services Association (SATSA), joined by 115 national and international tourism organisations, requested Minister Barbara Creecy to:

  • Declare a zero CITES export quota for lion bones.
  • Declare a moratorium on lion breeding in captive breeding and tourism facilities.
  • No further permits to be issued for new facilities.
  • Bring an end to captive lion breeding and all its associated spin-off industries as Parliament directed in December 2018 through the implementation of the National Assembly Resolutions.

SATSA represents more than 1 300 inbound tourism products across southern Africa. “The voice against tourism experiences that include animal interactions has grown so loud that many tourism businesses are feeling the impact of these changes—irrespective of how ‘ethical’ their approach to animal interactions may be. The impact has also filtered through to how South Africa is being perceived as a tourism destination,” said the association.

Read the tourism full letter

Read the SATSA’s endorsement letter

Register for our ONLINE PRESS BRIEFING and Q&A with a panel of experts via Zoom at 11am (CAT), 8 December 2020.

  • Dr Paul Funston, Lion Programme Director, Panthera.
  • Keira Powers, Chair, Responsible Tourism Committee, Southern Africa Tourism Services Association (SATSA).
  • Dr Louise de Waal, Campaign Manager, Blood Lions.
  • Audrey Delsink, Wildlife Director, Humane Society International-Africa (HSI-Africa).
  • Dr Simon Morgan, co-founder and trustee, Wildlife ACT.
  • Zama Ncube, Community Conservation Manager, Wildlife ACT.

ENDS

Media contacts:

Download images from Blood Lions

TOKS restaurants celebrated for innovations in farm animal welfare

Humane Society International / Mexico


Congratulations to TOKS! HSI

Humane Society International will recognize TOKS, the fast-casual restaurant chain with over 130 locations throughout Mexico, with a Henry Spira Humane Corporate Progress Award for its adoption of policies that improve farm animal welfare. The Grupo Gigante-owned restaurant developed a network of suppliers from rural communities to fulfill its commitment to serve 100% cage-free eggs in all its restaurants.

On November 17, Humane Society International recognized TOKS’ leadership and discuss the potential lessons and insights to be learned for other companies during a Facebook live virtual event.

Arianna Torres, corporate relations manager for HSI, said: “We congratulate Toks for its corporate effort for the welfare of animals, communities and the environment. The work it has done to fulfill its commitment to serve only cage-free eggs in all its restaurants sets an important example for the food industry in Mexico and globally to improve the welfare of farm animals, providing a route others can follow.”

Vivian Argüelles, animal behavior and welfare specialist at HSI, said: “In Mexico, more than 95% of hens live their entire lives in cages so small that they cannot even walk or stretch their wings. In contrast, cage-free production systems offer birds space and resources for higher levels of physical and mental welfare, including the expression of natural behaviors, such as laying their eggs in a nest, perching, taking dust baths and foraging.”

Toks has been a leader in sustainable and responsible sourcing since its efforts in 2003 to support indigenous communities through initiatives involving the consumption of honey, coffee, jam and now eggs. In 2016, Toks made a commitment to include cage-free eggs in its supply chain, with the goal to achieve full implementation by 2022. HSI forged a strong partnership with Toks, providing ongoing guidance, helping to identify potential suppliers and contributing important technical support.

Gustavo Perez, Toks’ sustainability director, said: “Companies must be co-responsible in building a more sustainable and responsible world, seeking social, animal and environmental wellbeing both in our operations and in the value chain. At Grupo Restaurantero Gigante we partner with the Heifer International organization for the supply of cage-free chicken eggs from indigenous groups in the country, benefiting both women producers and contributing to animal welfare. In 2016 we made a commitment with the guidance and support of HSI Mexico to supplying 100% cage-free chicken eggs by 2022, and we will be moving in that direction, while continuing to address the current economic situation.”
Toks realized early in its transition to cage-free eggs that local communities had the potential to become important partners. Toks’s project empowers women entrepreneurs, helping to strengthen the economy of their communities, while ensuring Toks has a sustainable supply of cage-free eggs.

“I invite all business actors to join responsible initiatives that make them agents of change in favor of the living beings that inhabit this planet,” added Gustavo Perez.

The Henry Spira Awards recognize significant corporate animal welfare commitments in the memory of Henry Spira (1927-1998), a legendary Belgian-American humane advocate who specialized in constructive engagement with corporations committed to an animal welfare mandate as part of their corporate social responsibility missions. He is considered one of the most effective animal advocates of the 20th century.

HSI/Mexico media contact: Laura Bravo, laura@labcomunicacion.com.mx

Humane Society International / United Kingdom


A is for Accountable: The McCartney A to Z Manifesto: Spring 2021 Collection is a guiding alphabet of the values and vision of iconic British designer Stella McCartney. A is for accountable—personified by the Adrienne coat, made from repurposed #FurFreeFur, and an original piece by American artist Rashid Johnson titled ‘Accountability’. Humane Society International and the Humane Society of the United States are proud to work alongside Stella McCartney to strive for a fur free future, and we are delighted to profile the first letter of the A to Z Manifesto that so encapsulates our shared values.

A statement from Stella McCartney:

“A is for Accountablesomething Humane Society International, the HSUS and Stella McCartney have very much in common, and that we both strive towards in our day-to-day work. Being accountable in this day and age is so important, and is one of the goals of the McCartney A to Z Manifesto. It is a guiding alphabet of who we are and who we hope to be, and I hope that our commitment to the values and vision contained in it will not only keep my team accountable but also have a positive impact on the fashion industry as a whole. I am so proud to have worked closely with HSI and the HSUS for many years now, and hugely admire and support their ongoing commitment and endless campaign work towards helping to prohibit the sales of fur in the fashion industry, and therefore preventing the death of millions of innocent animals.

“At Stella McCartney, we have never used leather, feathers, fur or exotic skins in our collections and we do not believe that animals should die for the sake of fashion. It is incredible to see that over the past few years countless brands, designers, leading department stores and even states and countries have woken up to the unequivocal cruelty of the fur industry and have subsequently stopped using fur in their collections, in their stores or allowing fur to be manufactured in certain areas.

“Fur has no place in any compassionate society and today its use is unnecessary and inexcusable. Plainly, fur is immoral, cruel and barbaric.

“In addition to the overwhelming ethical reasons for banning the sale of fur, evidence and research proves that fur is completely unsustainable. The fur industry is quick in trying to defend this, by saying fur is natural and therefore sustainable but of course this is false and completely misleading. There are certainly environmental implications where faux fur is concerned, however it is now produced so well that there is no reason to wear real fur. We have been working very hard at Stella McCartney to innovate sustainable solutions like KOBA® Fur Free Furthe next generation of faux fur and the first commercially available faux fur using only bio-based ingredients, reducing energy use by up to 30 percent and greenhouse gas emissions by up to 63 percent compared to conventional synthetics.

“I urge everyone reading this to spread the word, be accountable and hold brands accountable, not only when it comes to fur, but to protecting Mother Earth. We saw during our global moment of pause that nature can heal, which should give us hope for the futureour actions can make a difference, and the time to act is now. It has never been more important.”

Take Action: Act now to ban fur sales around the globe, starting with a #FurFreeBritain, at hsi.org/furfreebritain.

HSI calls for permanent closure of ‘virus factory’ fur farms

Humane Society International


Mark Hicken/Alamy A male mink at a fur farm. 

LONDON—Kopenhagen Fur, the world’s largest fur auction house, will close its doors within the next two to three years in what could signal the beginning of the end for the global fur trade. Much of the world’s fur is traded via a handful of auction houses. Founded in 1930, Kopenhagen Fur acts as a broker for pelts produced in Denmark and around the world, including fox, chinchilla and karakul. Just hours before the announcement, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) published its new report Rapid Risk Assessment: Detection of new SARS-CoV-2 variants related to mink, highlighting concerns that the evolution of the virus in mink has potential implications for COVID-19 diagnosis, treatment and vaccine development, and could undermine the effectiveness of future vaccines in humans.

Dr Joanna Swabe, senior director of public affairs for Humane Society International/Europe said “The ECDC risk report and the announcement by Kopenhagen Fur that it will cease trading could very well signal the beginning of the end of the worldwide fur trade. Fur farms are not only the cause of immense and unnecessary animal suffering, but they are also ticking time bombs for deadly diseases, potential virus factories capable of churning out mutations of COVID-19 and even undermining medical progress towards reliable treatments. This report should be a serious wake-up call for mink farming countries that are not yet systematically testing mink, to take urgent action.

Set against a backdrop of public rejection of fur as unethical and outdated, fur farming nations can no longer justify allowing an industry that both threatens human health and costs tax-payers billions to manage biosecurity risks and provide farmers compensation following culls. We cannot simply wait for the next pandemic to emerge. Governments must end the cruel and risky fur trade for good and focus instead on supporting fur farmers asthey move to humane, safe and economically viable livelihoods. There was never going to be a happy ending for the 60 million mink exploited for fur annually, but stopping breeding them altogether would be the best way to prevent animals suffering in the future for the fickle whims of fashion.” 

The Kopenhagen Fur auction house is a cooperative company owned by 1,500 Danish fur farmers. The disappearance of this globally important fur broker is likely to have a knock-on effect for producers in other European countries and beyond. The sale of 24.8 million mink skins were brokered through Kopenhagen Fur 2018-2019. During this time, the UK imported around £131,523 and £181,765 worth of fur from Denmark respectively—far less compared to over £ 200,000 worth of fur imported from Denmark in previous years.

We have witnessed a significant drop in pelt prices and have seen stockpiles of fur skins going unsold at auctions, sending the fur industry into a global downward spiral. We expect an even further decrease in the demand for frivolous fur as COVID-19 affects factory fur farms around the world, forcing governments to shut down operations and farmers to find new avenues of income.” said Dr. Swabe.

The ECDC report cites the need for ongoing investigations to assess whether the new ‘cluster 5’ variant, created by mink on farms, alters the risk of reinfection, or could cause reduced vaccine efficacy or reduced benefits from blood plasma treatments. It also stresses that ‘continued transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in mink farms may eventually give rise to other variants of concern’.

ECDC report key findings:

  • The overall level of risk to human health posed by SARS-CoV-2 mink-related variants is low for the general population, but moderate-to-high for medically vulnerable individuals living in areas with a high concentration of fur farms. The risk is moderate for those working with mink and very high for individuals with occupational exposure, such as fur farmers.
  • The national competent authorities must take a number of measures to decrease the risk to public health for those occupationally involved with mink and the communities where mink farms are situated, including systematic testing and sequencing of mink farm workers and nearby communities with immediate contact tracing, isolation and quarantine if human cases are related to a mink farm; infection prevention and control measures for mink farm workers and visitors; monitoring and surveillance of mink farms.

ENDS

Media contact: Leozette Roode, HSI/UK, media and campaigns manager: LRoode@hsi.org; +27 71 360 1104.

Humane Society International / Africa


Canada’s pork industry wants to extend its timeline to phase out cruel intensive confinement systems from 10 to 15 years

Humane Society International / Canada


Aumsama, iStock.com

MONTREAL—Humane Society International/Canada, a leading national advocacy group for animal welfare, is deeply concerned about the pork industry’s delay in phasing out gestation crates, which are used to confine mother pigs for nearly their entire lives. These crates, also known as sow stalls, are commonplace in Canada’s pork industry and are so small that the animals cannot even turn around.

Riana Topan, HSI/Canada’s campaign manager for farm animal welfare, says: “Pigs are intelligent, social creatures and they should be given the opportunity to move around freely, to socialize, explore and play. We urge the pork industry to quit stalling and to adhere to its original timeline of phasing out gestation crates by 2024. This kind of delay, which will compromise the welfare of hundreds of thousands of animals, is a stark reminder of why the animal agriculture sector should not be allowed to self-regulate.”

The Canadian pork industry committed to a transition away from sow stalls in 2014, after immense public pressure from Canadian consumers who are increasingly concerned about animal welfare. Over 32,000 Canadians participated in an industry driven and government sanctioned Code of Practice development process in 2013, through which stalls were scheduled to largely be replaced with group housing systems by 2024, with gestation stalls permitted for up to 35 days of pregnancy. HSI/Canada hailed the move as an historic achievement for farm animal welfare in North America at the time. Unfortunately, the pork industry is stalling and now says the transition cannot be completed until 2029.

Within Canada, the federal government only regulates animal transport and slaughter. There are few laws to ensure humane animal treatment on farms. Instead, there are industry-specific Codes of Practice, which are created by the industry-dominated National Farm Animal Care Council and enforced by the industries to which they pertain. These Codes of Practice are not legally binding.

NFACC develops and reviews these Codes regularly and the Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Pigs is currently being revised, with comments being accepted until Nov. 19, 2020. The most contentious proposed change extends the timeline to phase out gestation crates from 2024 to 2029. The original agreement was to switch to group housing systems, which are better for animal welfare, five years earlier than the proposal currently under consideration.

HSI/Canada is calling on the Canadian pork industry to follow through on the commitment it agreed to in 2014. HSI/Canada further calls on the federal government to better regulate the pork industry and to divert any existing industry subsidies towards eliminating gestation crates. We also urge food companies—including Canada’s grocery industry—to uphold their existing commitment to have crate-free supply chains by 2022.

Facts:

  • The federal government does not regulate the treatment of animals on farms. Most provinces have animal cruelty legislation, but they typically contain exemptions for “generally accepted” agricultural practices. This lack of animal welfare laws and the Code of Practice system allow the industry to self-regulate, perpetuating cruel practices.
  • The NFACC Codes of Practice are developed largely by the industry they pertain to and are not enforced with third-party oversight.
  • Pigs routinely suffer in the pork industry: they often live in bare physical and social environments and are forced to undergo mutilative practices like tail docking, teeth clipping and castration without adequate pain relief. Piglets can be “euthanized” using blunt force trauma, where their heads are hit against a flat, hard surface or they are hit with “a sharp, firm blow with a heavy blunt instrument to the top of the head over the brain.”
  • A national poll conducted by Environics Research Group in 2013 revealed that an overwhelming 84% of Canadians support a phase out of the use of gestation crates for breeding sows.

ENDS

Media contact: Riana Topan, HSI/Canada, campaign manager: 613-315-0775, rtopan@hsi.org.

Humane Society International


WDnet/iStock.com

SÃO PAULO—Food and hospitality companies across South America agree farm animal welfare is a core part of any responsible sourcing or sustainability policy, especially during the current pandemic. This message was a recurring theme at last week’s Humane Society International virtual “From Commitment to Action” workshop about farm animal welfare in South America.

Attendees included companies from several different sectors and five different countries, including retailers, restaurant chains, hotel chains and baked goods manufacturers, among others. These companies joined food and egg producers, scientists, investors, animal welfare specialists and policy makers to discuss ongoing efforts to promote the production of eggs and pork using systems that do not confine chickens and pigs to tight, immobilizing cages.

The three-day roundtable examined three key issues: the why and how of adopting a commitment to cage- or crate-free sourcing; opportunities and challenges for suppliers seeking to meet this new demand; and growing support for the cage- and crate-free movement, as evidenced by new financing approaches, supportive policies and consumer demand.

For over 10 years, Humane Society International has worked closely with companies, suppliers and policy makers to support higher animal welfare standards in supply chains across the region.

As Maria Fernanda Martin, corporate policy and program manager for HSI Farm Animals in Brazil, observed: “Every day we work with forward-thinking companies to support their implementation of animal welfare policies, to identify opportunities for collaboration and to share of lessons among various stakeholders. HSI is committed to providing companies and suppliers with all the tools and technical resources they need to make a cage-free future for laying hens and a crate-free future for sows a reality. And we embrace new companies that want to join this movement. This year, we celebrated cage-free commitments from over a dozen companies; next year we expect to see even more progress as the cage- and crate-free movement continues to spread.”

Barilla, which won the Henry Spira Corporate Progress Award from Humane Society of the United States for transitioning its supply chain to 100% cage-free eggs a year earlier than planned, shared the key reasons and the ‘how-to’ on achieving its cage-free commitment early.

Fabiana Araujo, Barilla’s marketing manager, said: “With the support of the Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition Foundation, we understand and carry out actions that seek the balance between a nutritionally balanced diet and less environmental impact. The implementation of cage-free eggs is an important step in respect for consumers and the environment, and we are grateful to all the associations and production chains that supported us in this process. We hope that more companies can be part this movement, increasing the consumer awareness about better animal conditions. Animal welfare is an urgent matter and needs to be on the leadership agenda.”

Arcos Dorados, Carrefour Argentina, and AB Brasil, among other companies, reaffirmed that their reputations and ability to maintain consumer trust depend in part on strong animal welfare policies.

According to Yamila Scollo, Sustainability and Social Responsibility Manager for Carrefour Argentina: “Carrefour`s sustainability policy is aligned with new consumer`s trends. Under the challenge of leading the food transition, we have initiated a road that strengthen the commitment to offer our clients products that come from production systems with focus on environment care and animal welfare. We have conformed an interdisciplinary team over areas that foster animal welfare issues, designing concrete action plans, with key stakeholders’ advice”.  In addition, Ricardo Huber, responsible for the development of Natural Print brand and fresh organic products in Argentina said: “We aim to develop even more our Natural Print Brand, which is a product line that focus on animal welfare, environmental respect and biodiversity protection, including zero deforestation and the preservation of native ecosystems. We are working to enlarge the diversity of producers and suppliers expanding good practices, like we have done with our cage free eggs. In a way, conventional producers adapt and transform their production systems to a more sustainable one”.

Vitor Oliveira, head of Egg Business in AB Brasil also stated: “To participate in events like this gives us the chance to effectively contribute to the debate on the balance of the production system, the preservation of life and environmental stability. As egg processors, we are an intermediate link, essential to the egg-products’ production chain and, in the position we are, it is rewarding to see that we are advancing with responsibility and planning to expand the dissemination of a new culture capable of combining respect for the human and animal lives and human prosperity with viable actions.”

Grupo Mantiqueira, South America’s largest egg producer, shared its journey toward cage-free production, its new commitment to no longer investing in new cage facilities and the importance of close and ongoing communication with companies and consumers.

Leandro Pinto, president and founder of the group stated: “We are building a sustainable company, reinventing ourselves and anticipating what the next generations will ask for. And for the sake of quality and transparency, we are committed to not building any new conventional cage facilities, and also to making large investments in cage-free farms so that, by 2025, we will have 2.5 million laying hens in this system. We believe that Mantiqueira will revolutionize the Brazilian poultry farming with that decision. Consumers are increasingly aware of the origin of their food, and we want to participate in the values ​​that are being demanded. We want our purpose to focus on animal welfare to democratize and make the consumption of cage-free eggs accessible to all the people.”

In South America and around the world, egg-laying hens spend their entire lives confined in wire battery cages that are so small that the hens cannot even fully spread their wings. Science confirms what common sense tells us: the lack of space and restriction of movement is detrimental to the physical health of these animals and causes enormous frustration and suffering.

Mother pigs are also confined in gestation crates.

However, advocates for better animal welfare are making enormous progress in South America. Over 100 food and hospitality companies in the region have committed to sourcing exclusively cage-free eggs by 2025 or earlier. The future is cage- and crate-free, and South America is leading the way.

ENDS

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

“There has never been a more compelling time for Denmark to shut down the sick fur industry for good”, says Humane Society International/Europe

Humane Society International


Jo-Anne McArthur/We Animals A male mink at a fur farm. 

LONDONDenmark’s Prime Minister has announced a complete cull of all mink on Danish fur farms. A total of 207 out of the 1,139 fur farms in Denmark has been infected with COVID-19, which prompted the announcement. Millions of mink will be killed as a result. 

Speaking from Amsterdam, Dr Joanna Swabe, Humane Society International/Europe’s senior director of public affairs, said: “Denmark is one of the largest fur producers on the planet, so a total shut down of all Danish mink fur farms amidst spiralling COVID-19 infections, is a significant development. Although not a ban on fur farming, this move signals the end of suffering for millions of animals confined to small wire cages on Danish fur farms solely for the purposes of a trivial fur fashion that no-one needs.

The Danish Prime Minister is taking this essential and science-led step to protect Danish citizens from the deadly coronavirus and ensuring that the effectiveness of any vaccine is not compromised by mutations in the SARS-CoV-2 virus from its mink hosts.

With COVID-19 having already been detected on 207 of the 1,139 fur farms in Denmark and over 1.2 million mink having already been culled as a result, the risk of keeping these virus reservoirs operating is far too great. 

A decline in the public demand for fur fashion has led to a significant drop in pelt prices and stockpiles of fur skins going unsold at auctions. Although the death of millions of mink – whether culled for COVID-19 or killed for fur – is an animal welfare tragedy, fur farmers will now have a clear opportunity to pivot away from this cruel and dying industry and choose a more humane and sustainable livelihood instead. HSI urges the Danish government to assist fur farmers to transition to other activities. There has never been a more compelling time for Denmark to shut down the sick fur industry for good”.

ENDS 

Media contact: Wendy Higgins: whiggins@hsi.org