Tens of thousands of concerned Canadians and international stakeholders participated in public consultation on possible trade prohibitions

Humane Society International / Canada


Elephant and calf
Getty Images/istockphoto

MONTREAL—As the Canadian government’s public consultation on elephant ivory trade comes to an end, Humane Society International/Canada, Elephanatics, and more than 40 Canadian and international NGOs, together representing tens of millions of supporters globally, have signed on to a letter calling on the new Canadian government to take urgent action to prohibit elephant ivory trade.

Environment and Climate Change Canada launched the public consultation to hear feedback on proposed measures to restrict or end elephant ivory trade on July 23, 2021. During the 60-day consultation period, Canadians and individuals around the world voiced their support for ending Canada’s role in the elephant ivory trade.

Kelly Butler, the wildlife campaign manager for Humane Society International/Canada, stated:

“Canadians have made it clear that there is no place for elephant ivory trade in Canada. We are now calling on the newly elected Canadian government to listen to the overwhelming number of Canadians and international stakeholders who supported strict elephant ivory trade prohibitions and implement these measures urgently. Elephants do not have another four years to wait.”

Tessa Vanderkop, vice-president of Elephanatics, stated:

“The African elephant population has declined by a staggering 96% in the last century alone and the species is at risk of going extinct in the wild within the next few decades without global intervention. The United Nations Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and leading conservation organizations including the African Elephant Coalition have called for countries to close their legal elephant ivory markets in order to curtail poaching and save African elephants from extinction. Experts around the world agree that it’s beyond due time for Canada to close its elephant ivory market.”

The NGO-led sign-on letter calls on the Canadian government to implement the strictest measures that were proposed in the consultation, including prohibitions on importing elephant ivory for commercial purposes or as hunting trophies, and is signed by:

African Conservation Foundation, Animal Defenders International, Animal Justice, Animals Asia Foundation, BC SPCA, Big Life Foundation Canada, Born Free Foundation, Bring The Elephant Home, Canopy,  CATCA Environmental and Wildlife Society (CEWS), Earth League International (ELI), Elephanatics, Elephant Listening Project, Elephant Reintegration Trust, Family and Animal Wellness Inc, Fondation Franz Weber, For the Love of Wildlife Ltd, Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, Global March for Elephants and Rhinos, Humane Canada™, IFAW Canada, Insure Our Future, International Animal Rescue, Mara Elephant Project, Member of this planet, National Council of Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. New Zealanders for Endangered Wildlife founder, No Whales In Captivity, NRDC, Nsefu Wildlife Conservation Foundation, NSPCA, Pan African Sanctuary Alliance, Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), Pro Wildlife, Rhino & Elephant Defenders (RED), Save Elephant Foundation, SEEJ-AFRICA (Saving Elephants through Education and Justice), Shark Research Institute, Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, Species Survival Network, Standfast Developments Ltd, The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee, Two Million Tusks, WildlifeDirect, World Animal Protection Canada, World Animal Protection International, World Elephant Day, and Zoocheck Inc.

Quick Facts:

  • Every year, as many as 35,000 elephants die at the hands of elephant ivory poachers in Africa.
  • In March of 2021, the International Union for Conservation of Nature updated the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and declared the African forest elephant to be Critically Endangered and the African savanna elephant to be Endangered.
  • Canada’s top trading partners, including the United States, China and the United Kingdom have closed their elephant ivory markets in response to declining elephant populations.
  • In addition to the elephant ivory trade, Canada allows the import of elephant tusks and parts from trophy hunts. Approximately 300 African elephant tusks – representing 150 elephants – were legally imported into Canada from 2010-2018.
  • Repeated government seizures of elephant ivory in Canada are irrefutable evidence of illegal ivory trade in this nation. While such seizures may intercept some of the illegal trade that is occurring, it is conservatively assumed that customs intercepts just 10% of all contraband ivory.
  • In June, an open letter calling for an end to the elephant ivory trade in Canada was signed by notable Canadians including David Suzuki, Robert Bateman and Bryan Adams.
  • According to a 2020 poll by Insights West, 94% of Canadians support an elephant ivory trade ban. A public petition calling for a Canadian ban on the elephant ivory trade has amassed over 600,000 signatures.

ENDS

Media Contact: Michael Bernard: 613-371-5170; mbernard@hsi.org

Humane Society International / South Korea


Jean Chung/for HSI Nara Kim of HSI holds a puppy rescued at a dog meat farm in Hongseong, South Korea. May 6, 2020.

SEOUL—In response to South Korean President Moon’s reported suggestion that it could be time for South Korea to ban dog meat, Humane Society International/Korea’s dog meat campaigner Nara Kim issues this response from Seoul:

“As a Korean who has visited many dog meat farms and seen the appalling animal suffering first hand, I welcome these words from President Moon and hope that it signals the beginning of the end for the brutal dog meat industry. These dogs live a dreadful existence, locked in barren wire cages their whole lives, most in a pitiful state of malnutrition, skin disease and fear, only to be painfully electrocuted often in front of each other. It’s like a living nightmare for them, all to produce a meat that most Koreans don’t want to eat. Banning dog meat would be the right thing to do not just for the dogs but also for South Korea. HSI/Korea works with dog farmers who want to get out of this dead-end trade. Our program helps them transition to more humane livelihoods, and so we urge President Moon to advance a ban but also to adopt HSI’s farmer transition program to make sure the phase out happens with the backing of farmers so that it is sustainable and permanent. Consigning the dog meat industry to the history books is within our grasp.”

President Moon first issued a Blue House pledge in 2018 to consider removing dogs from the legal definition of livestock following a 1 million signature petition submitted by HSI/Korea and partners KARA.

Facts:

  • Although banned in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand and Singapore, as well as the cities of Shenzhen and Zhuhai in mainland China, and the Siem Reap province in Cambodia, an estimated 30 million dogs a year are still killed for meat in other parts of Asia.
  • In South Korea up to 2 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.
  • A recent 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 regularly eat dog, the belief that dog meat soup will cool the blood during the hot summer still holds with many, particularly the older generation.
  • In South Korea, there have been a string of crackdowns by authorities in recent years to curb the dog meat industry include the shutting down of Taepyeong dog slaughterhouse (the country’s largest) by Seongnam City Council in November 2018, followed in July 2019 by the closure of Gupo dog meat market in Busan, and a declaration in October last year by the mayor of Seoul that the city is “dog slaughter free”. In November 2019 a Supreme Court found that a dog farmer who electrocuted dogs was in violation of the Animal Protection Act, a judgement that could have huge implications for an industry that relies almost entirely on electrocution as a killing method.
  • HSI in South Korea works in partnership with dog meat farmers to permanently close down dog meat farms and help them switch to alternative livelihoods as part of the charity’s strategy to demonstrate that the cruel trade can be phased out. It’s a strategy that so far has seen HSI close down 17 dog meat farms and rescue more than 2,000 dogs who are adopted out to loving homes in the United Kingdom, United States and Canada through the help of placement partners.
  • Of the more than 2,000 dogs that HSI has rescued from South Korea’s dog meat trade, 30 dogs now live in happy homes in the UK. The majority of dogs are adopted out in the United States and Canada. Pumpkin the jindo in Surrey, Winston the Boston terrier in Hampshire, Molly the jindo mix in Camberley, and Penny the spaniel mix in Farnborough, were all fated to have been amongst the more than one million dogs who would have been electrocuted, butchered and eaten during this Bok Nal season. They were rescued by HSI from a dog meat farm in November 2019. Other dogs now living happy lives in the UK include Nara the jindo in Devon, Robin the maltese-cross in Oxfordshire, Millie the spaniel in Staffordshire, Sandie the Labrador in Nottinghamshire, Henry the golden retriever in Brighton, and Roxy the jindo in south west London.

Download Photos/Video of an HSI Dog Meat Farm Closure 

ENDS

Media contact: HSI/United Kingdom: Wendy Higgins whiggins@hsi.org +44 (0)7989 972 423

Humane Society International / Africa


Locals worry that Humba and Netsai, two male lions dubbed “Cecil’s heirs,” could be sitting targets of foreign trophy hunters.

Humane Society International celebrates Kering and its brands for ending its long history with the fur trade

Humane Society International / Global


RT-Images/iStock.com

PARIS—Kering, one of the world’s largest luxury fashion companies and parent company to some of the biggest names in fashion–including Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Bottega Veneta and Brioni–announced today that it is going completely fur-free. The announcement is a significant blow to the declining fur trade and puts pressure on the few remaining fashion brands that continue to sell fur to follow suit.

Yves Saint Laurent and Brioni were the last of Kering’s brands to use fur. Humane Society International and the Humane Society of the United States worked with Gucci to announce its fur-free policy in 2017. They were later joined by Bottega Veneta in 2018, and earlier this year Alexander McQueen and Balenciaga made the decision to drop fur.

Kitty Block, CEO of Humane Society International and CEO and president of the Humane Society of the United States, said: “The future is clearly fur-free and now one of the world’s largest luxury fashion conglomerates agrees. As markets around the globe close their doors to fur products opting instead for innovative humane products, it makes complete sense for a power fashion house like Kering to make this ethical decision. We couldn’t be more proud of our long-standing relationship with Kering and its brands and look forward to continuing our work with them to pave the way for a kinder fashion world.”

PJ Smith, director of fashion policy for the Humane Society of the United States, said: “Kering is synonymous with luxury fashion, and with this announcement, it marks a new era for what is considered luxury to now include what is socially responsible, ethical and innovative. We hope the rest of the fashion industry will take notice choosing compassion and innovation over an outdated idea of luxury.”

The announcement comes at a time when the majority of fashion brands and retailers have moved away from fur opting instead for cruelty-free alternatives that are better for animals and the planet. Just this year alone, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Mytheresa, Canada Goose, Valentino, Oscar de la Renta, Tory Burch, Holt Renfrew, Mackage, Moose Knuckles, Alexander McQueen and Balenciaga have announced fur-free policies.

Also in 2021, Israel became the first country to ban fur sales and the British government is also considering a fur import and sales ban in the coming months. In the U.S., Ann Arbor, Michigan and Weston, Massachusetts also banned fur sales this year following California’s ban in 2019.

ENDS

Media Contact: Wendy Higgins: whiggins@hsi.org

More than 1,000 animals affected by floods receive veterinary care

Humane Society International / Global


Disaster Response Floodings Costa Rica – August 2021

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica—Whether under a temporary tarp, in a shack or with a looming rainstorm, teams provided emergency veterinary care for 1,250 pets after flooding occurred in the Costa Rican Caribbean and northern areas. 

Humane Society International, in conjunction with the National Animal Health Service (SENASA), other animal welfare organizations and local emergency committees, installed mobile clinics in five communities prioritized by the authorities based on need: San Rafael and a Maleku territory in Guatuso, Sixaola, Suretka and Naranjales in Sarapiquí. 

At these sites, people brought their pets to receive basic veterinary care while following COVID-19 prevention measures. Many of the dogs and cats were treated for skin ailments caused by the floods. Teams cleaned wounds, provided antibiotics when needed—and provided rabies vaccinations, deworming and anti-flea treatments. SENASA also donated food and other animal supplies such as bowls, collars, leashes and blankets. 

“Animals also suffer the impact of natural disasters, be they floods, volcanic eruptions or earthquakes; that is why at HSI we support government entities by providing emergency veterinary care for pets who have been affected by them,” said Andrea Borel, executive director of HSI/Latin America. 

Borel also highlighted the importance of including both companion and farm animals in family, local and national emergency plans. 

ENDS

Media Contact: Alejandra Zúñiga: 7012-5598; azuniga@hsi.org

World’s biggest plant-based celebrities tell COP26 President Alok Sharma “stop ignoring the cow in the room”

Humane Society International / United Kingdom


dhughes9/iStock.com

LONDON—Some of the world’s biggest celebrity advocates for plant-based diets, including Moby, Billie Eilish, Joaquin Phoenix, Alan Cumming, Alicia Silverstone, Leona Lewis, Lily Cole and Stephen Fry, have written to Rt. Hon. Alok Sharma MP, president of the COP26 climate change conference to be held in Glasgow this November, to stop ignoring animal agriculture as a catastrophic climate change culprit, and to put it on the COP26 agenda for world leaders to discuss. The letter was sent in support of the recently launched #TheCowInTheRoom campaign, by global animal protection charity Humane Society International.

Globally, more than 88 billion animals are raised and slaughtered for food every year. Intensive animal farming is responsible for an estimated 14.5%—16.5% of human induced greenhouse gas emissions globally, on par with emissions levels of the entire transport sector. Despite being one of the largest contributors to climate change, animal agriculture is not on the COP26 agenda as a priority in climate change mitigation discussions. COP26 is organised by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Studies show that reducing meat and dairy production and consumption is one of the most effective actions we can take to avoid catastrophic climate change. The letter, which is also signed by Star Wars actress Daisy Ridley, singer-songwriter Alesha Dixon, naturalist Chris Packham, entrepreneur and Dragons Den investor Deborah Meaden, actress Evanna Lynch, song writer and record producer Finneas O’Connell, the Vamps’ vocalist and guitarist James McVey, actress Joanna Lumley OBE, comedian and actor Ricky Gervais and compassionate lifestyle influencer Lucy Watson calls on the COP26 conference to formally acknowledge animal agriculture’s climate impact.

Humane Society International and its celebrity advocates share a passion for protecting animals and the planet through practical policies and actions, and they hope that formal recognition at COP26 will encourage world leaders to commit to vital meat and dairy consumption reduction strategies to help meet the Paris Agreement’s below 2°C target.

The letter reads: “With animal agriculture being such a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, it is impossible to meet goals set out in the Paris Agreement without making changes to our global food system. Even if all other major sources of emissions were reformed, we will still fall short… Addressing these urgent areas in the UNFCCC COP26 meeting would help propel governments around the world to take action and would provide world leaders with another high impact option to add to their toolbox for tackling climate change. We call on the UNFCCC to formally and publicly recognise the role of animal agriculture as one of the largest contributors of climate change and to open a greater space for dialogue.”

Singer, songwriter and animal rights activist Moby, said: “Intensively farming animals for food is, simply, destroying our planet. Animal agriculture is the second-highest CO2 emitter in the world, yet it remains largely ignored by world leaders. The science is clear and overwhelming; that adopting a more plant-based diet is one of the most impactful actions we can take to avert catastrophic climate change. So, if we want to protect our planet, we must include intensive animal agriculture in climate change mitigation strategies. COP26 is the ideal opportunity to do this, and one of our last vital changes to reform our global food systems. I beg you, please; STOP ignoring the cow in the room.”

In addition to significant greenhouse gas emissions, the farm animal production sector is also the single largest anthropogenic user of land, with meat, egg, dairy and aquaculture production systems using approximately 83% of the world’s farmland while providing just 37% of the world’s protein and 18% of calories. Animal agriculture is also a major driver of deforestation, species extinction, land degradation, pollution and exhaustion of water resources.

Julie Janovsky, Humane Society International’s vice president for farm animal welfare, says: “If we are serious about avoiding climate catastrophe, it is imperative that world leaders acknowledge and act to cut every major driver of climate change, including industrial animal agriculture. Intensive animal farming is unsustainable, and that transforming our global food systems to more plant-based diets is one of the most effective climate-mitigation measures we can take. COP26 offers a vital opportunity for world leaders to make meaningful commitments to tackle climate change, restore biodiversity and help end the cruelty caused by factory farms.”

Farm Facts:

  • According to The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, animal agriculture is “one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global.” (FAO)
  • Consuming fewer animal products and eating more plant-based foods, we can help protect the world’s water supply. Producing meat, milk and eggs requires huge amounts of water: growing feed, cleaning housing enclosures, hydrating the animals, disposing their waste or disinfecting slaughtering equipment. Producing 1 kg of chicken requires 4,325 litres of water on average, compared to the 1,644 litres needed to produce 1 kg of cereals. (Hoekstra 2015)
  • Eating more plant-based meals will reduce the amount of land used by agriculture. Worldwide, we need more land to raise and feed farm animals than for any other single purpose. More than 97% of soymeal and more than 60% of the barley and corn produced globally are fed to farm animals. (FAO)
  • The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC) report revealed that the climate crisis is poised to get worse if greenhouse gas emissions continue to surge.
  • By 2030, the livestock sector is projected to account for almost half of the world’s emissions budget for 1.5C unless things change. (Harwatt 2019)

ENDS

Media Contact: Leozette Roode: Lroode@hsi.org; +27 713601104

Fur trade labelled as ‘barbaric,’ ‘cruel,’ ‘utterly illogical,’ ‘outmoded’ and ‘inhumane’

Humane Society International / United Kingdom


Theodora Iona /PETA UK CEOs and Directors from five of the UK’s largest animal protection organisations,  Humane Society International/UK, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (UK), FOUR PAWS UK, Open Cages and the RSPCA, gathered with campaigners in geometric fox masks at the gates of No 10 Downing street to submit 1 million #FurFreeBritain petition signatures to the Prime Minister, calling for the UK to ban the sale of cruel animal fur.

LONDON—In Parliament’s first fur debate since leaving the European Union, MPs from across the political spectrum have called on the government to ban the sale and import of real animal fur in Britain. All 18 of the MPs who spoke did so in favour of a ban during yesterday’s Westminster Hall debate, referring to the trade as ‘barbaric’, ‘cruel’, ‘utterly illogical’, ‘outmoded’ and ‘inhumane’. The debate was held after a 1 million signature petition was recently delivered to the Prime Minister by the #FurFreeBritain campaign, led by Humane Society International/UK. HSI/UK thanked MPs for their compassionate contributions and urged the government to “consign fur cruelty to the history books.”

Claire Bass, executive director of Humane Society International/UK, says: “Every MP who spoke at this debate reflected the views of their constituents by supporting a ban on fur imports and sales, and calling for Britain to end its bloody business with the international fur trade. DEFRA Parliamentary Under Secretary Rebecca Pow, and Environment Secretary George Eustice can have been left in no doubt that there is overwhelming political as well as public support for a UK fur ban. If we are a nation of animal lovers, Britain cannot remain complicit in the appalling suffering of millions of fur-bearing animals caged or trapped overseas, all for frivolous fur fashion. We urge Government to consign fur cruelty to the history books by introducing legislation to ban the import and sale of real animal fur as soon as possible.”

Download the Full Debate

Since banning fur farming more than two decades ago in 2000, Britain has imported more than £800 million worth of fur from countries including Finland, China, France and Poland, where tormented animals such as foxes and mink suffer for their entire lives in barren battery cages, measuring around one square metre. Coyote, beaver and other animals are also trapped and killed in the wild using cruel traps that are also banned in the UK.

Notable quotes from MPs at the debate include:

  • Conservative MP Christian Wakeford who called for the debate, said: “It’s now time that we end the double-standard of having a ban on fur farming, whilst importing the same cruelty from overseas. The fur industry would appear to me to be an industry that is outmoded and out of touch with modern values and principles of the humane treatment of animals, and I implore my Parliamentary colleagues to join me in condemning it to the history books as we have done for so many other cruel and archaic treatments of animals. Following the call for evidence on the fur trade held by the Government over the summer; given the strong public and Parliamentary support for this measure; and noting the Government’s commitment and ambition to be a world leader on animal welfare standards – I ask the Minister to use her response to today’s debate to reassure me and everyone in this room today that legislative action to end the UK’s involvement in the global fur trade will be imminently forthcoming. It’s not just the popular thing to do; it’s the right thing to do.” 
  • Tracey Crouch MP, from the British Conservative Party, said: “There is huge cross-party support on this issue, reflecting public opinion, and there’s really only one outcome from this which is that we should ban fur sales, full stop.”
  • Dr Lisa Cameron MP for the Scottish National Party said: “It’s not just the humane thing to do, but there’s also a public health interest in making sure this happens.
  • Conservative MP Jason McCartney said: “When we set the standard some twenty years ago by banning fur farming here in the UK, other countries followed our lead, so if we can set the example here, we will not only help animal welfare by what we do as a country, other countries will follow, so let’s take the lead.”
  • British Conservative MP Sir Roger Gale said: “There is, in this day and age, absolutely no justification whatsoever for using real fur because there are so many synthetic alternatives that are good and available…  It’s completely anomalous that we should ban fur farming in the United Kingdom and then allow the product to be imported from other countries. It’s got to stop, it can stop now. The Government has a good track record on animal welfare legislation, I urge my friend the right honourable Minister to make sure this is added to that portfolio. Let’s stop it now.”
  • Scottish National Party MP Steve Bonnar said: “Fur farming has been rightly banned in the UK since 2003, yet we continue to import tens of millions of pounds of animal fur each year. If it is too cruel an industry to have on our shores, than how can we justify importing fur that is farmed using the same inhumane methods, which are illegal in the UK? All have managed to do is outsource our animal cruelty overseas.” He added “Dangerous viruses thrive when animals are kept in filthy, crowded conditions. By allowing the sale of fur in Britain, we are inadvertently supporting a reservoir of deadly viruses.”
  • Taiwo Owatemi, Labour MP for Coventry North West, said: “The government has shown some willingness and stated it wants to drive up animal welfare standards in the United Kingdom. Well, banning the fur trade in its entirety, including fur imports, would be a bold step towards reaching these aims. We need actions, not just warm words from the government. In doing so we will have the overwhelming support of the animal loving British public.

Responding on behalf of the government, DEFRA Parliamentary Under Secretary of State Rebecca Pow MP noted that it was clear from the interventions at the debate that there was “great strength of feeling on this topic” and that “animal welfare is an absolute priority of this government”. However, she went on to state that she was “not in a position to introduce any next steps on the fur trade today” but that “we are building a strong evidence base on which to inform any future policy, noting information from a range of sources, including industry associated with the fur trade and notable retailers who have recently gone fur-free…” Pow also cited the “incredible 30,000 responses” the government received to the recent Call for Evidence which she said demonstrated “the strong feeling in this area.”

To date the #FurFreeBritain campaign has enjoyed much cross-party political support. Last year Tracey Crouch MP tabled an Early Day Motion (EDM267) which received the support of 140 MPs and current Early Day Motion (EDM193), tabled in June 2021, already has 103 signatures.

This month, more than 100 MPs and Peers from various parties wrote to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Rt Hon George Eustice MP, calling on the UK Government to ban the import and sale of animal fur.

There is also significant public support for ending the double standard of UK fur imports and sales. DEFRA’s recent Call for Evidence on the UK fur trade received over 30,000 responses, and more than 1 million petition signatures have been delivered to the Prime Minister in support of #FurFreeBritain. Public opinion polls consistently show widespread backing for a UK fur sales ban; a Yonder opinion poll published in May 2021 found that 72% of Brits support a ban on the import and sale of all animal fur, replicating exactly the same majority support demonstrated by a YouGov opinion poll in 2020 which also revealed Brits’ scathing view of fur as ‘unethical,’ ‘outdated, ‘cruel’ and ‘out of touch.’

Earlier this year Israel became the first country in the world to ban the sale of fur, and in the United States the city of Ann Arbor in Michigan joined Los Angeles, San Francisco, Berkeley and West Hollywood in California, and the towns of Weston and Wellesley in Massachusetts, in also banning fur sales. California became the first US state to ban fur sales in 2019.

Fur Facts:

  • More than 100 million animals are killed for their fur every year worldwide including mink, fox, raccoon dog, chinchilla and coyote—that’s equal to three animals dying every second, just for their fur. Rabbits are also killed for their fur, likely to be in the hundreds of millions.
  • 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 C02emissions 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.
  • 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, Neiman Marcus, Chanel, Prada and other high-profile brands have announced fur-free policies. In addition, major online fashion retail platforms Net-A-Porter and Farfetch have adopted fur-free policies.
  • Fur farming is not only cruel to animals, it also presents risks to public health. A June letter signed by over 60 veterinarians and virologists highlighted outbreaks of SARS-CoV-2 on hundreds of mink fur farms across a dozen countries, and the potential for such farms to act as reservoirs for the virus. It also notes the potential for fur farms to create future zoonotic diseases, stating: “The intensive breeding conditions typical on fur farms—animals unnaturally crowded together, poor hygiene, stress, injuries and low genetic diversity—are ideal for the creation and spread of novel pathogens.” Signatories to the letter support “a permanent global end to the breeding, keeping and killing of animals for the purposes of fur production, and the sale of fur.”

Download Photos/Video from the #FurFreeBritain Campaign

Download Photos/Video from the HSI Chinese Fur Farm Investigation

ENDS

Media contact: Leozette Roode: Lroode@hsi.org; + 27 71 360 1104

European Parliament votes in favour of EU plan to replace animal experiments with cutting-edge science

Humane Society International / Europe


JVisentin/istock

BRUSSELS—The European Parliament has adopted a resolution vote calling on the European Commission to establish an EU-wide Action Plan for the active phase out of the use of animals in experiments by defining milestones and targets to incentivise progress in the replacement of animals with non-animal human-relevant methods. Nearly 10 million animals are used in invasive experiments in EU laboratories every year, including monkeys, dogs, cats, rabbits, rats and mice, a huge number of animals that has remained relatively unchanged in the last decade. The vote has been welcomed by animal welfare groups; Humane Society International called the vote “an historic opportunity to take animal suffering out of EU the equation and shift the focus to modern, cutting-edge, human relevant research.”

Whilst acknowledging European-level initiatives to reduce and refine the use of animals, the Parliament recognised that an active, coordinated approach for the full replacement of animals has not been achieved. By requiring an EU-wide action plan with an ambitious timeline and list of milestones, the European Parliament is aiming to drive the active phase-out of animals used for all scientific purposes.

Eurogroup for Animals, Cruelty Free Europe, Humane Society International/Europe, the European Coalition to End Animal Experiments and PETA, representing over 100 organisations from 24 EU Member States, have campaigned for the passing of the resolution. The groups are now calling on the Commission to make it a priority.

Troy Seidle, Humane Society International’s vice president for research and toxicology, says: “This vote signals the need for systemic change in the EU’s approach to safety science and health research, with Parliament embracing an historic opportunity to take animal suffering out of the equation and shift the focus to modern, human relevant technologies. If our goal isn’t to cure cancer in mice or prevent birth defects in rabbits, we need to let go of the unfounded belief that these animals are miniature people and get serious about understanding and predicting human biology in the real world. Human organ-chips, stem cell models and next-generation computing allow us to do exactly that, and can deliver considerable benefits in the study of uniquely human diseases and the assessment of potential new medicines and chemical safety generally. Today with this historic vote, the EU Parliament is calling for pro-active and coherent policies to phase-out animal experiments, such as preferential funding for non-animal methods, training scientists in new technologies and key regulatory changes to chemicals legislation. We call on the Commission to embrace these proposals and recognise that an Action Plan to hasten our departure from animal-based science is in all our interests.”

Opinion polls show that ending animal experiments is a priority for EU citizens: nearly three quarters (72%) agree that the EU should set binding targets and deadlines to phase out testing on animals. This is being echoed by the achievements of the recently launched European Citizens’ Initiative Save Cruelty Free Cosmetics – Commit to a Europe without Animal Testing, which has already gathered more than 119,000 signatures in less than three weeks.

While the EU Parliament vote is not legally binding, it does now place significant political pressure on the European Commission to respond (usually within three months) and act. HSI/Europe urges the Commission to create the Action Plan requested by Parliament, and stands ready to assist the Commission in devising and implementing concrete proposals.

“The European Parliament understands that the time is right for this action plan, because of the work that scientists have been doing to better understand the limitations of animal studies and the potential of non-animal models. There are no excuses to perpetuate the current level of reliance on animal experiments. It is clear that an ambitious phase-out plan, with clear milestones and achievable objectives, is the next step needed to start reducing significantly the use of animals in science.” -Tilly Metz (Greens/EFA, LU) – Chairwoman of the Animals in Science Working Group of the Intergroup on the Welfare and Conservation of Animals.

“It is now in the hands of the European Commission to establish this EU-wide Action Plan, and we expect the Commission will make this a high-level priority – Because if the Commission is serious about its commitments to EU citizens, it needs to start now the dialogue with all parties to effectively coordinate funding, education and milestones to accelerate the transition to non-animal science.” -Jytte Guteland MEP (S&D, SE) Member of the Animals in Science Working Group of the Intergroup on the Welfare and Conservation of Animals.

“This action plan is a win-win situation for humans, other animals, and the environment and it is imperative that it is led from the top in the Commission – Animal testing is relevant to so many different areas of the Commission’s responsibilities and a coordinated approach to reducing and replacing is essential. Delivering safety and sustainability without animal testing will help deliver the goals of EU Green Deal which is led by Vice-President Frans Timmermans.” -Anja Hazekamp MEP (The Left, NL) – Chairwoman of the Intergroup on the Welfare and Conservation of Animals.

ENDS

Press contacts:

• Yavor Gechev, HSI/Europe communications director: ygechev@hsi.org
• Wendy Higgins, director of international media: whiggins@hsi.org

Humane Society International’s campaign targets the EU as the world’s second largest importer of hunting trophies including endangered species

Humane Society International / Europe


Offroad and HSI

BRUSSELS—With the European Union the world’s second largest importer of hunting trophies after the United States, animal protection group Humane Society International/Europe is stepping up its fight with a new hard-hitting campaign. Its striking #NotInMyWorld campaign images featuring a trophy hunted rhinoceros wrapped and delivered in brown parcel paper, will appear across social media this month, and on buses and billboards in selected European cities in October, exposing the shocking reality that thousands of internationally protected species are being shot for fun in foreign countries and imported into the EU as trophies. HSI/Europe research reveals that nearly 15,000 hunting trophies of 73 threatened and endangered species were imported into the EU between 2014 and 2018.

#NotInMyWorld calls on EU citizens and politicians to take action to stop the EU’s involvement in this grotesque and unsustainable killing. The campaign is running in tandem with a global petition to the European Parliament.

Among the iconic species being imported into the EU are the African elephant, African lion, rhinoceros, polar bear, lynx, walrus, captive bred tigers and the scimitar oryx, a species extinct in the wild. HSI/Europe says although the killing of imperiled wildlife by trophy hunters in countries far away may feel like a remote issue, for as long as EU countries allow the trophies to be imported, EU countries are complicit in this brutal hobby. HSI/Europe hopes its eye-catching campaign will help urge EU policy makers to ban the import and export of trophies from endangered and threatened species.

Adeline Fischer, HSI/Europe’s trophy hunting communications manager, says: “Trophy hunting has no place in modern society. The gratuitous killing of wild animals so that hunters can bring home macabre trophies of their body parts, such as elephant foot flower pots, giraffe neck floor lamps and polar bear rugs, not only shows a total lack of respect for these magnificent creatures, but also adversely impacts wild populations, exacerbates other pressures such as poaching and fails to deliver meaningful socio-economic benefits. EU citizens will be shocked to learn that the EU is the second biggest importer of hunting trophies in the world. Our campaign exposes the grim reality of the EU’s part in this cruelty. Animals are shot, stuffed, packed and delivered as trophies to Europe’s doorsteps, and citizens and politicians can and must stop it. It’s time for us all to say #NotInMyWorld.”

Although opinion polls reveal that 85% of EU citizens oppose trophy hunting of internationally protected species and 81% want to end trophy imports, many Europeans will be unaware that it is legally permitted for EU citizens to hunt threatened and endangered species in foreign countries and bring back home their stuffed body or body parts.

EU trophy import statistics for individual animals (2014-2018), include:

  • 3,119 Hartmann’s mountain zebra,
  • 1,751 chacma baboon,
  • 1,415 American black bear,
  • 1,056 brown bear,
  • 952 African elephant,
  • 889 African lion, of which 62 were captive-bred lions,
  • 839 African leopard,
  • 794 hippopotamus,
  • 480 caracal,
  • 415 red lechwe,
  • 297 cheetah—the EU is the largest importer of cheetah trophies in the world,
  • 65 polar bears,
  • Six trophies of critically endangered black rhinos.

Germany, Spain, Denmark, Austria, Sweden, France, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia are the top trophy importing EU Member States, with Namibia, South Africa, Canada, Russia, Argentina, Kyrgyzstan and the U.S. representing the top exporting countries to the EU. Spain, Poland, Hungary, Germany and the Czech Republic are the top importers of captive lion trophies from South Africa.

“The aim of the campaign is to raise awareness about how cruel trophy hunting is. The fact that people visit other countries to shoot endangered species for entertainment and a thrill, and that the resulting trophies can be imported here in Europe, is outrageous. We don’t want our world to be like that,” says Thomas Candussi, lead conceptualist at offroad communications, the Austrian marketing agency that developed the campaign.

Only a few European countries have taken limited action to curb hunting trophy imports. In 2015 France banned lion trophy imports and in 2016 the Netherlands banned trophy imports of over 200 species. Only a few European countries have taken limited action to curb hunting trophy imports. In 2015 France banned lion trophy imports and in 2016 the Netherlands banned trophy imports of over 200 species. In March this year the Finnish parliament presented a motion proposing a trophy import ban, and in May the UK Government recommitted to a ban on the import of hunting trophies from endangered species.

Germany is Europe’s top importing country. Sylvie Kremerskothen Gleason, Germany director for Humane Society International/Europe, says: “EU trophy hunters kill for kicks many thousands of wild animals around the globe, with Germany being the main destination for trophies in the EU. In addition to the cruelty, it is irresponsible to allow rich elites to shoot imperiled species for pure pleasure. Being able to have these gruesome body parts shot, stuffed, packed and shipped home for display is a major motivation for these hunters, so if more EU countries were to ban trophy imports, it would effectively help stop the killing. We urge Germany and all EU nations to protect wild species from being shot for fun overseas and flown to the EU for gruesome display, by introducing an import ban now.“

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