Humane Society International / Latin America


SAN JOSE, Costa Rica—From how to improvise a muzzle to the correct way to treat a poisoned cat or dog—these were some of the topics addressed at Humane Society International/Latin America’s first aid training. The workshop was given to 20 judicial police agents from the new specialized section against environmental crimes and other regional offices.

The new section has dealt with 83 cases of animal cruelty nationwide from April to December 2022. HSI/Latin America seeks to provide judicial agents with tools so that they can safeguard animal lives at crime scenes, while protecting valuable evidence.

“We analyzed the most common examples of animal cruelty, for example, physical injuries resulting in fractures, bleeding and burns, and how agents can give the animal a better chance to survive, but always paying attention to the surroundings so as not to lose evidence that can contribute to cruelty cases,” said Sofia Herra, cruelty prevention and companion animals program manager for HSI/Latin America.

Workshop participants also practiced helping an animal in the event of poisoning, suffocation or heat stroke, how to apply bandages and temporary splints, and responding when a dog or cat has a seizure or suffers cardiorespiratory arrest.

“Agents from this specialized section are often the first to respond to complaints of animal cruelty in cases taken by the Judicial Police. Therefore, this workshop was very useful since it provides us with tools to deal with these situations and help the animals involved, always preserving the integrity of crime scene,” said investigator Shirley Calderon of the specialized section against environmental crimes.

HSI/Latin America seeks to work jointly with government institutions that address animal cruelty in Costa Rica. “We want to support their capacity building, with workshops such as this one, but we are also interested in actively contributing to preventing and reducing animal cruelty cases in the country,” Herra said.


Media contact: Alejandra Zuniga: 7012-5598;

Humane Society International

Claudio Ramirez for HSI

CHILE—Humane Society International is providing critical supplies to aid animals affected by the wildfires plaguing Chile. Oxygen concentrators, food and veterinary medical supplies were provided by the HSI team to animal rehabilitation centers and veterinary hospitals to support hundreds of wild, companion and farm animals impacted by the fires in the Ñuble and Bio Bio Region.

After three weeks, the forest fires remain active and have further spread into the Maule, La Araucanía and Los Ríos regions. The area affected by the fires is over 436,000 hectares (over a million acres)—three times the size of the Greater London area.

“We are seeing how fires are becoming more common each year in many parts of the world, destroying communities and habitats for millions of people and animals. Chile is now experiencing one of the worst fires in decades and we are sending resources to provide as much emergency treatment to animals affected as possible,” says Kelly Donithan director of animal disaster response for Humane Society International.

The situation is critical, many animals have died, and others remain severely burned. As a first estimate over 16,000 farm animals have died and over 2,000 are still receiving critical veterinary care. Treatments for injuries sustained from fires are painful, long and expensive and without additional supplies, many of these affected animals will not survive.

“We have been in dialogue with all stakeholders involved, monitoring critical needs and coordinating with our international team to provide timely supplies to help the animals affected. With help from Quiltro Foundation in Chile, we have delivered veterinary supplies such as oxygen concentrators for the treatment of wild animals in critical conditions along with food and other medication to support hundreds of severely burned companion, wild and farm animals,” says Daniela Sanchez, Chile country director for Humane Society International.

The combined efforts between the National Disaster Prevention and Response Service, the National Veterinary Board, the Agriculture and Livestock Service, the University of Concepción, the military forces and many veterinary private clinics and local volunteers have resulted in the installation of a number of local veterinary attention points to help animals in need.

Humane Society International will continue connecting and supporting local stakeholders in Chile to help provide relief to the thousands of affected animals.


Media Contact: Daniela Benavides Sanchez:

#BeCrueltyFree campaign applauds largest beauty market in South America for restricting cosmetics animal testing

Humane Society International / Global


Brasilia, BRAZIL—A partial ban on animal testing for cosmetics in Brazil was introduced by the National Council for the Control of Animal Experimentation via regulatory restriction No. 58, of Feb. 24, 2023, published today in the Union Official Journal. The restriction prohibits animal testing for cosmetic ingredients with “known effects” and obligates the use of alternative methods for “unknown ingredients.”

Humane Society International government affairs specialist in Brazil, Antoniana Ottoni, said: “We are thrilled to see our efforts come to fruition after a decade of campaigning resulting in state bans and federal progress. This new Brazilian norm is a welcome next step in the right direction and something for which we have long advocated. However, a domestic testing ban on its own will not prevent the import and sale of newly animal-tested cosmetics from other countries. This will put our personal care industry at a competitive disadvantage, and fall short of the cruelty-free beauty sector that Brazilian consumers have made clear that they want. For this reason, our work to secure a federal law must continue, and we look forward to working with the Chamber of Deputies to build on this positive momentum to see a federal law in place this year.”

As an extension of the Ministry of Science and Technology, CONCEA does not have the legal jurisdiction to include certain important issues in its resolutions, including a restriction on marketing cosmetics that rely on new animal data. As such, the new CONCEA normative should be seen as a partial solution only, and one that requires the support of lawmakers to augment.

At the end of last year, language for a federal bill was agreed to by Humane Society International and The Brazilian Association of Personal Hygiene, Perfumery and Cosmetics Industry, and through a cooperative effort, it cleared the Federal Senate. Today, PL 3062/2022 is in urgent status and stands ready for approval by the Chamber of Deputies, and contains all the essential provisions to complement the CONCEA normative and guarantee an end to cosmetic animal testing in Brazil.

Humane Society International has led a decade-long global effort to outlaw animal testing for cosmetics and has played a pivotal role in securing national bans in India, Norway, Switzerland, South Korea, Australia and Mexico. #BeCrueltyFree Brazil, led by Humane Society International and Te Protejo, was instrumental in attaining state-level bans in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais, Amazonas, Pará, Santa Catarina, Paraná, Pernambuco, Espírito Santo, Acre, Paraíba and the Federal Distict.


Media Contact: Antoniana Ottoni:; +5561981403636

These iconic animals return to their natural habitat, thanks to NGOs, ARCAS and HSI/Latin America

Humane Society International / Latin America


PETEN, Guatemala—Thirteen spider monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi), an iconic species in Latin America, were released in the Yaxha Nakum Naranjo National Park, in Peten, Guatemala, after they were rescued from illegal trafficking and went through a rigorous rehabilitation process.

These mammals’ release resulted from a joint effort by non-governmental, non-profit organizations, Asociacion Rescate y Conservacion de Vida Silvestre and Humane Society International/Latin America, who have been working together since 2007 in wildlife protection and conservation in Guatemala.

Under the guidance of the National Council for Protected Areas, ARCAS Wildlife Rescue Center and HSI staff facilitated the return of 13 spider monkeys to the forest; some, victims of wildlife trafficking and others, of negative interaction with human beings.

According to ARCAS director, Fernando Martinez, its rescue center carries out physical, medical and ethological rehabilitation of the different species that enter the facility as a result of illegal trafficking. ARCAS’ approach follows strict scientific management standards and results in animals being released in the Maya Biosphere Reserve.

“The Rescue Center’s mission is to reinforce existing wildlife populations, to prevent the extinction of species, and thus ensuring that there are healthy populations capable of adapting and reproducing in their natural habitat,” Martinez said.

Grettel Delgadillo, deputy director for HSI/Latin America, explained that negative interactions between people and wildlife are becoming more frequent in Guatemala, as well as the illegal trafficking of animals such as spider monkeys.

“That is why at HSI/Latin America and ARCAS we work to ensure a successful rehabilitation of these animals and thus give them a second chance to live in freedom. Also, through different education and public awareness initiatives, we urge everyone to refrain from buying these animals as pets, to not purchase objects that contain parts or derivatives of wild animals, and to report to the authorities any suspicious activity regarding wildlife,” Delgadillo said.

The released spider monkeys will be monitored for six months, using telemetric collars and follow-up in the field.

Humane Society International


Watch these webinars to learn about the market opportunities and scientific basis behind cage-free egg production according to experts in the field and cage-free producers in Latin America.

Part 1

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Argentina’s Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development is working to prohibit the importation of all hunting trophies to Argentina.

Humane Society International / Argentina


BUENOS AIRES, Argentina—The vast majority of Argentine society opposes trophy hunting in the country and the export and import of trophies. This was demonstrated by the results of a recent survey conducted in Argentina in May 2022  regarding this practice, which consists of killing animals for competition or pleasure with the intention of obtaining parts of the animals to exhibit them.

According to the survey, which was carried out by the consulting firm at the request of Humane Society International, 86% of respondents oppose trophy hunting. That figure goes up to 93% when it comes to hunting threatened or endangered species such as lions, elephants and giraffes—with 92% of respondents openly in favor of a ban on trophy hunting.

When asked about the presence of foreign hunters in the Argentine territory, 91% of those surveyed agreed that the practice should be prohibited, as should the exports of trophies that result from such hunting and the import of trophies from Argentine hunters abroad. This trend is in line with the growth of a global movement that advocates for animal welfare.

“Trophy hunting is a destructive practice that harms animal welfare and species protection. Unfortunately, trophy hunting exists in many countries and Argentina is one of the top exporting countries of hunting trophies. We have the opportunity to become an agent of change. By encouraging the cessation of this activity, we can be an example to follow,” said Marina Ratchford, a representative of Humane Society International in Argentina.

Argentina’s minister of Environment and Sustainable Development Juan Cabandié highlighted the importance of the opinion poll and stated that it is “evidence of the growing environmental conscience” in the country. “The social perception is in line with this,” he said, referring to the recent poll demonstrating that trophy hunting is an arcane practice that is currently rejected by nine out of 10 Argentinians.

Teresa M. Telecky, vice president of HSI’s Wildlife department, said: “Trophy hunting is a destructive, abusive and archaic practice that threatens the survival of wild populations. Argentina is a significant contributor to this unethical industry. The country has the power to step up as a world leader in conservation and end the import and export of these macabre trophies once and for all.”

There has been much recent progress in the fight against trophy hunting. Not long ago, Argentina’s Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, led by Juan Cabandié, clarified current regulations on exports and inter-jurisdictional transit of hunting trophies.

Under Cabandié, the environmental ministry has prohibited the importation, exportation and interjurisdictional movement of hunting trophies of native fauna species through Resolution 133/22. The ministry is also working on an updated regulation to prohibit the importation of all hunting trophies to Argentina. With respect to animal welfare and wildlife preservation efforts, the minister singled out the Environmental Control Brigade’s operations to rescue animals from illegal wildlife trafficking, with more than 700 animals rescued to date. These animals are currently living in rescue and rehabilitation centers for fauna.

In 2021 Aerolineas Argentinas instituted a policy that prohibits the transport of hunting trophies of Argentina’s native fauna on any domestic or international flight.

Humane Society International has joined with groups in Argentina’s nonprofit sector linked to the protection of wildlife, such as Pumakawa and Fundacion Cullunche, to urge the government to acknowledge and act upon the public’s opposition to trophy hunting as well as the export and import of hunting trophies.

“Trophy hunting is an inhumane form of hunting that results in and encourages methods that increase the suffering of animals. Not setting a limit on practices like these is harmful to the policies and advances built from the effort and work carried out by the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development and other organizations,” added Jennifer Ibarra of the Cullunche Foundation.

According to information from the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), between 2014 and 2018, Argentina was among the top 10 exporters of hunting trophies and the world’s 23rd largest importer of hunting trophies of protected mammals. Among the most imported animals are the African elephant, Hartmann’s mountain zebra, African lion, hippopotamus and chacma baboon. The majority of hunting trophy exports were of blackbuck and pumas, with nearly all blackbucks taken from the wild and most pumas bred in captivity.

What is happening around the world:

  • The High Court of the Western Cape granted an interim suspension of relevant hunting quotas in the application for an interim interdict against the South African Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment’s 2022 hunting and export quotas for leopard, black rhino and elephant.
  • The International Union for the Conservation of Nature Ethics Specialist Group called on the German government to end the practice of trophy hunting imports for ethical, ecological and legal reasons. This was followed by an announcement from the Environment Minister Steffi Lemke of the intention to restrict the import of hunting trophies from protected animal species to Germany.
  • The Belgian Federal Parliament unanimously passed a resolution demanding that the government immediately stop authorizing trophy import permits of species protected under certain international trade regulations.
  • In Italy, a bill to ban the import and export of hunting trophies of protected species—the first of its kind in that nation—was presented to the Chamber of Deputies in Rome.
  • The Spanish Parliamentary Association for the Defense of Animal Rights presented a motion for resolution to prohibit the import and export of hunting trophies of protected species listed in Annexes A and B of the Wildlife Trade Regulations.
  • The United Kingdom committed to one to one of the world’s strongest policies banning the import of hunting trophies of over 7,000 protected species.
  • Costa Rica pioneered this paradigm shift in Latin America in 2015 when it banned recreational hunting in response to a public petition.
  • In 2019, Colombia banned recreational hunting and in 2021 banned the import of hunting trophies as part of a new law to strengthen the fight against wildlife trafficking.
  • Recently, Chile’s President Gabriel Boric committed to prohibiting the hunting of native fauna.

The poll of 1,001 residents of Argentina’s Northwest, Northeast, Central, Buenos Aires, Mountain and Patagonia regions was conducted by CIO Investigacion from March 31 to April 9, 2022, with a margin of error of +/- 3%.

Media contact: Rodi Rosensweig, senior principal strategist media relations: ; 202-809-8711

Humane Society International

Grigorios Moraitis/Getty Images

SANTIAGO, Chile—Egg farmers who are using cage-free hen housing systems in Chile have formed the country’s first union association to support  cage-free production. The formation of Chile Libres comes after many years of dialogue among producers and stakeholders including Humane Society International, who played a technical advisory role.

Chile Libres aims to promote cage-free egg production systems with high animal welfare standards and to collaborate with similar national and/or foreign institutions to develop capacity building programs, to inform the organization’s activities and to engage in regulatory developments that support a transition to cage-free hen systems.

“We have felt the need to promote change and call on those who share this vision to work together. We would like to make our experience available to strengthen local capacity and become the solution to society’s call for more humane, fair and sustainable production systems. Animal welfare is a core value for our association,” said Pablo Albarrán, Chile Libres Association president, in a statement translated from Spanish.

Daniela Sánchez, country director and farm animal welfare corporate policy manager for Humane Society International in Chile, said: “We are proud that Chilean producers are leading this effort  to promote cage-free hen and higher welfare egg production systems. We applaud their entrepreneurial spirit and their active and public role in support of higher welfare production systems that allow laying hens to express their natural behavior.

Egg-laying hens in Chile are typically confined in wire cages so small that they cannot freely spread their wings. Cage-free production systems provide a much higher level of welfare, allowing the birds to express their natural behavior, including ground scratching and pecking, laying their eggs in nests, perching and fully spreading their wings, which are all scientifically documented behavioral needs. HSI works with the food industry in Chile and worldwide to help ensure a successful transition to these higher-welfare production systems.

HSI will continue to support the work of the Chile Libres Association to bring the collective knowledge of producers on cage-free production to enhance the global cage-free movement.


Media Contact: Daniela Sanchez: +56 9 62181089;

A royal toucan, three turtles, three raccoons, three hawks, three spotted owls and a margay cat returned to their natural habitat, thanks to ARCAS and HSI/Latin America

Humane Society International / Latin America

Oliver de Ros A margay (Leopardus wiedii) climbs a tree after being released into the wild in the national park Yaxhá by ARCAS staff members on Friday, Sept. 24, 2021 in Petén, Guatemala. 

PETEN, Guatemala—When the rescue crate door was opened, the margay cat (Leopardus wiedii) took a glimpse of Yaxha Nakum Naranjo National Park, before jumping out and immediately climbing up a tree towards freedom. The small nocturnal wild cat had spent several weeks rehabilitating after being rescued from wildlife trafficking.

Along with the margay, 13 other wild animals were released on September 24th by non-governmental organizations Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Association (ARCAS) and Humane Society International/Latin America. These 14 animals were the latest release of 61 animals so far this year. The animals were donated, rescued or seized in different parts of the country, including the Izabal and Peten departments, and comprised:

  • three spotted owls (Ciccaba virgata)
  • three raccoons (Procyon lotor)
  • three road hawks (Rupornis magnirostris)
  • one margay (Leopardus wiedii)
  • one royal toucan (Ramphastos sulfuratus)
  • two hooded turtles (Kinosternum scorpioides)
  • one snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina)

ARCAS and HSI/Latin America have worked together since 2007 to protect wildlife in Guatemala, and this latest release. Following treatment, rehabilitation and quarantine at the ARCAS Wildlife Rescue Center in Peten, Guatemala, and having completed a pre-release veterinary assessment, the animals were released by the NGOs under the guidance of the National Council of Protected Areas.

This is the latest release of wild animals completed by ARCAS with the support of HSI /Latin America, which during 2021 has also included the release of 24 crocodiles (Crocodylus morelleti), six coyotes (Canis latrans), eight raccoons (Procyon lotor), five opossums (Didelphis marsupialis) and four coatis (Nasua narica).

The ARCAS Rescue Center has been working since 1991 developing physical, medical and ethological rehabilitation programs for the different species of animal who fall victim to illegal trafficking, so that they can be later released in the Mayan Biosphere Reserve.

Fernando Martinez, ARCAS director, said: “The Rescue Center’s mission is to strengthen existing wildlife populations, to prevent species extinction, and to have healthy populations capable of adapting and reproducing in the wild.”

Mauricio Mota, director of Humane Society International in Guatemala, believes the partnership between ARCAS and HSI/Latin America has been crucial to the success of releasing these animals. Mota said: “As habitats are under threat and human populations grow, we are seeing more and more encounters between people and wild animals, including exploitation and capture for illegal trafficking. That is why HSI is pleased to support ARCAS’ work to rehabilitate animals who have been rescued, seized or donated, to give them a second chance at a life of freedom in the wild. People should never buy these animals as pets, should not buy objects that contain animal parts, and should report any illegal activity related to wildlife to the authories.”

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Media Contact: Mauricio Mota: (502)  32438475

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. 


Media Contact: Alejandra Zúñiga: 7012-5598;

From Arica to Tierra del Fuego, more than 3,900 dogs and cats living on the streets have received food and basic veterinary care through 30 animal protection organizations in Chile

Humane Society International

Pequitas de Hualpen

SANTIAGO, Chile—Since the COVID-19 pandemic was declared worldwide in 2020 more than 3,900 animals and counting have been fed and assisted thanks to donations made by Humane Society International.

This effort was made possible by generous aid provided by Mars, Incorporated to HSI to help communities and animals around the world during the pandemic crisis.

In coordination with thirty animal protection organizations in Chile, HSI provided more than 16 tons of food—the equivalent of the approximate weight of a bus—to dogs and cats impacted by the strict pandemic confinement measures. Additionally, more than 900 animals received basic veterinary care to treat wounds, skin problems and other ailments.

Thanks to the donation made by Mars, Incorporated, HSI delivered 16 basic emergency kits equipped with supplies and medications needed to assess and manage ailments like skin conditions, small injuries and wounds, to various groups in central Chile, benefiting more than 570 animals who required immediate assistance.

To date, local organizations in Chile delivered 16.4 tons of food for dogs and cats in 26 cities and towns across Chile. The groups distributed the aid in two phases: one starting in 2020 and the other throughout the first quarter of 2021.

“The COVID-19 lockdown has severely affected the health and well-being of dogs and cats throughout the Latin American region. Through this important collaboration with Mars, we have been able to mitigate some effects related to the lack of food and veterinary services,” said Alexandra Rothlisberger, companion animals and engagement director for HSI in Latin America and the Caribbean.

HSI recognizes that each country is experiencing the effects of the pandemic differently, and has varying animal welfare needs, which is why the Mars, Incorporated support has been extended to different parts of the world. This aid has also reached many countries in Latin America, including but not limited to Bolivia, Colombia, Guyana, Mexico, Ecuador, Guatemala and Costa Rica, and in the Caribbean, to the Dominican Republic.

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