Animal protection charity announces new executive director, as current HSI/UK head Claire Bass steps into a newly created senior position
Humane Society International / United Kingdom
LONDON—Animal protection organisation Humane Society International/UK has today announced that it has appointed Nick Jones as its new executive director. The move will help HSI to develop and deliver even greater change for animals, both in the UK and around the world.
Jones has a wealth of expertise in charity management and strategic growth, having previously held several senior positions in UK nonprofits including Save the Children and, most recently, as managing director of fundraising, communications and policy at Action for Children. He is also an independent member of the Standards Committee of the Fundraising Regulator of England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
“Too many animals are subjected to cruelty and abuse and I’m inspired by HSI’s work to save lives and improve laws to protect animals,” said Jones. “I am very proud to be joining the HSI team and excited to be part of its mission to end animal suffering in the UK and across the world.”
Claire Bass, who has been executive director of Humane Society International/UK since she joined the organisation in 2014, is stepping into the newly created role of senior director of campaigns and public affairs. Throughout her tenure as executive director, Bass led the organisation to many important victories for animals. In her new position, Bass will continue to increase HSI/UK’s impact, securing more critical campaign successes and furthering legislative animal protection progress.
Media contact: Sally Ivens, senior specialist in media and communications for HSI/UK: firstname.lastname@example.org; (+44) 7590 559299
Dr. Khan and HSI/UK team up for new short documentary on why a UK hunting trophy import ban is crucial, ahead of key political debate
Humane Society International / United Kingdom
LONDON—Animal advocate and much-loved TV regular Dr. Amir Khan has joined with animal protection organisation Humane Society International/UK to front a short film exposing the cruelty of the trophy hunting industry. In the film, Khan explains why the UK’s proposed ban on hunting trophy imports—due to be debated by MPs in Parliament next Friday, 25 November—is a vital step towards protecting threatened and endangered species. Alongside Dr. Khan, some of Africa’s most prominent wildlife advocates also speak out in HSI/UK’s film, namely Josphat Ngonyo, executive director of the Africa Network for Animal Welfare, and Lenin Tinashe Chisaira, founder of Advocates4Earth, a Zimbabwe-based environmental organisation.
Around the world, tens of thousands of animals every year are killed by hunters who pay thousands of dollars purely to kill for their own pleasure, often taking photos alongside the dead bodies of the animals they’ve shot and then cutting off their body parts to bring home as souvenirs. In recent years, UK hunters have imported trophies from some of the world’s rarest species, including polar bears, rhinos, African elephants and leopards. A 2021 YouGov poll showed that the overwhelming majority— 82% —of the British public supports a ban on the import of hunting trophies, and the issue is set to be debated in the House of Commons on 25 November during the Second Reading of Henry Smith MP’s Hunting Trophies (Import Prohibition) Bill.
Arthur Thomas, public affairs manager at Humane Society International/UK, said: “Dr. Khan’s film with HSI/UK debunks the trophy hunting industry’s absurd claim that it means to protect the very animals it delights in killing, and shines a light on the corruption, greed and self-interest that really drive this cruel and archaic practice. Rather than aiding conservation, trophy hunting threatens endangered species; rather than alleviating poverty, it reinforces colonial power imbalances; and rather than protecting habitats, it cherry picks the most valuable species and leaves areas abandoned when they are no longer profitable. With Parliament about to debate this vital Bill, we hope that Dr. Khan’s film will help MPs see through the trophy hunting industry’s spin, and ensure that people who kill wild animals for kicks can no longer bring their grotesque souvenirs back to Britain.”
Since trophy hunting rose to prominence in the colonial era, there have been catastrophic declines in populations of some of the world’s most iconic species, including elephants, lions, rhinos and giraffes. Many of these species are under increasing pressure from human-induced mortalities, including from loss of habitat, climate breakdown, poaching and the illegal wildlife trade.
Dr. Amir Khan said: “Like the majority of the British public, I find the concept of trophy hunting—the killing of animals for fun, especially species which are rare or endangered—disgusting. Seeing images of hunters posing with an animal they have just killed makes my blood boil. We cannot continue to support an industry that profits from the death of rare animals and exploits the natural world for short-term gain. That’s why HSI/UK and I are calling on the UK Government to ban the import of hunting trophies and end its involvement in this outdated practice.”
Countless scientific studies over the years have evidenced that trophy hunting damages conservation efforts and fails to provide meaningful support to local communities living alongside the targeted animals, debunking claims often made by the industry in attempts to greenwash its unfavourable image.
Africa Network for Animal Welfare’s executive director, Josphat Ngonyo, is featured in the video, stating: “I personally come from a community that has lived in a conservation area. Communities have come out very strongly everywhere to say no, [trophy hunting] doesn’t help.”
Speaking about HSI/UK’s campaign to ban hunting trophies from being imported into the UK, Advocates4Earth founder Lenin Tinashe Chisaira is seen in the video saying: “As an environmentalist based in the Global South, I really urge the government not to support trophy hunting.”
Humane Society International/UK is sharing the video with MPs, and urging people to contact their MP to ask them to attend the debate on 25th and speak in strong support of the ban.
Media contact: Sally Ivens, senior specialist in media and communications for HSI/UK: email@example.com; (+44) 7590 559299
Humane Society International / United Kingdom
Fireworks can be fun for some, but terrifying and dangerous for others. Here is our advice for keeping companion animals and wildlife calm and safe during Bonfire Night and other festivities often celebrated with firework displays, such as Diwali and New Year’s Eve.
Fireworks might bring some colour to dark winter nights, but they can pose a real danger to animals. Both domestic and wild animals can find the thunderous sounds and flashing lights overwhelming and terrifying.
Pets may be so scared of fireworks that they shake in fear or become extremely agitated. Some get so frightened by the noise that they run away from otherwise familiar environments, and can even get injured or lost. Others become so stressed that they sadly suffer devastating or even fatal health effects.
And it’s not only dogs and cats who we need to think about—wildlife is affected, too. The sudden bright flashes and sounds can disturb wild animals and cause them to run into roads, resulting in traffic accidents. Birds can get disorientated by the loud explosions, with research showing that fireworks can cause flocks of birds to take off for prolonged periods of time, expending crucial energy, and even fly so far out to sea that they are too exhausted to make the return flight. Additionally the debris from fireworks, containing toxic materials, can be mistakenly consumed by wildlife or even fed to their young.
Here are our top tips to keep animals safe when there are fireworks, from Bonfire Night to beyond:
Fireworks advice for dogs and cats
Walk dogs before dark, when it’s much less likely fireworks will be set off. It’s a good idea to keep them on-lead around dates such as Bonfire Night just in case.
Keep pets safely indoors with you, making sure the windows and doors of your house are securely shut. Block any exits that animals could escape through, such as cat flaps. At the same time, ensure that your cat or dog has access to safe hiding space in your home if they want to, such as under a table.
As well as closing windows, draw your curtains or blinds to reduce the lights and noise coming in from outside.
Background noise can help to mask the sound of fireworks. Keep the TV on or try some calm music.
Just like at all other times, dogs and cats should be wearing a collar and identification tag—even when they’re safely indoors. Some pets can become so scared during firework displays that they may take desperate measures to escape the noise, running outside when doors are briefly opened or even breaking through windows. You should also make sure your pet is microchipped and that the contact information on the chip is up to date.
If needed, speak to your vet about medications that might help to reduce your pets’ anxiety. Calming jackets for cats and dogs, which provide a gentle pressure to alleviate stress, are also available.
Fireworks advice for small mammals such as rabbits and guinea pigs
Bring any outdoor hutches inside for nights when fireworks are happening in your areas, and keep them in a quiet room with the windows and curtains shut.
Provide extra bedding for pets to burrow in, to help them feel safe and secure.
Keeping wildlife and other animals safe on Bonfire Night
Care should be taken not to let off fireworks near farmed animals or horses, as this may cause them to panic.
If you have horses, check if there’s going to be any firework displays in your area and get in contact with the organisers to ask if they can set off the fireworks well away from where horses are kept, or to consider using low noise fireworks. Stay with your horse if you think fireworks are going to be let off nearby, and talk to your vet for advice in advance.
Carefully check bonfires for wild animals such as hedgehogs before lighting them.
Take action to reduce the bangs
We agree with the RSPCA that tighter regulations are needed to restrict firework use, in order to reduce the number of bangs and unpredictability of when they occur. The Scottish government has already brought in extra controls and we urge other UK governments to follow their lead by:
Introducing a licensing scheme for the purchase of fireworks, which would reduce sales and ensure that people buying and using fireworks are appropriately trained, preventing injuries to both people and animals.
Shortening the period in which fireworks can be legally sold around Bonfire night. At present they can be sold from mid-October to mid-November, meaning weeks of unpredictably timed private displays. We’d like to see the sale window shortened to only one week before Bonfire night, similar to the shorter sale windows for New Year’s Eve and Diwali.
The current legal noise limit for fireworks sold to the public is 120 decibels, a similar level to a plane taking off! We’d like to see this reduced to 90 dB.
You can show your support for tighter controls on fireworks by:
Contacting your MP to let them know you are concerned about the animal welfare impacts of overly liberal firework laws, and signing government e-petitions to help get the issue debated in Parliament.
Asking your local officials to use low noise fireworks for public displays, or even to try out a different type of celebration. Light displays using drones or lasers are a more eco-friendly alternative to fireworks.
Frasers Group—including House of Fraser, FLANNELS and Sports Direct—announces commitment to stop purchasing fur
Humane Society International / United Kingdom
LONDON—Frasers Group, owner of House of Fraser department stores, as well as luxury retail chain Flannels and retail brands including Sports Direct, has announced it has immediately informed its suppliers it will stop purchasing fur products, a move that will take effect on shop shelves this coming season (Autumn/Winter 2023). The commitment was announced by Frasers Group Chief Executive Michael Murray at the company’s annual general meeting on 19 October, and follows discussions with animal protection organisation Humane Society International/UK.
Announcing what it describes as its “long-term commitment” away from fur, the Group will work with HSI/UK to phase out as soon as possible its existing inventory of garments containing fur. It also pledged further updates on progress towards a date from which consumers can be assured Frasers Group’s stores will be free of fur. Frasers Group has over 1,500 stores globally, including fashion retailers such as FLANNELS, House of Fraser, Sports Direct, Cruise and 18 Montrose.
Humane Society International/UK, which worked with Frasers Group bosses to announce the policy, attended the meeting to hear the announcement to shareholders. Claire Bass, HSI/UK’s executive director, said: “We are pleased to have been able to work alongside Frasers Group and applaud it for taking the important decision to stop purchasing fur. By making this commitment to a fur-free future, Frasers Group are showing that it is a company in tune with the vast majority of the British public who believe that animals should not suffer in the name of fashion. Frasers Group’s decision is another critical milestone in the fur-free revolution underway in the UK, and brings us another big step closer to a Fur Free Britain. We look forward to continuing to work with the company to set an end date for its inventory phase out period, to enable consumers to be confident of when Frasers Group will be fully fur-free.”
Frasers Group is the latest in a long line of luxury retailers and international designers that have turned their backs on fur in recent years, including Farfetch, Net-a-Porter, Canada Goose, Burberry, Chanel, Gucci and Prada. The announcement signifies the accelerating decline of the fur trade and adds further pressure to the few remaining fashion brands that continue to sell fur to follow suit.
Answering a question put by Bass at the meeting, Murray commented: “Frasers Group is committed to a future without fur. The Group’s intention is to stop purchasing fur products from its partners starting with orders for the coming season. The business will be issuing letters to all of its suppliers requesting no fur products are supplied to the Group.”
Group Board Chair David Daly thanked HSI/UK at the meeting for its support in helping the company reach this decision.
Humane Society International/UK works to end the fur trade globally and leads the #FurFreeBritain campaign for a UK fur imports and sales ban. National opinion polling carried out in April 2022 revealed that 77% of Britons think the government should ban the import of products, such as fur, where production methods are banned in the UK. More than one million signatures have so far been amassed for the #FurFreeBritain petition calling on the UK to ban the sale of cruel animal fur.
More than 100 million animals are killed for their fur every year worldwide. The vast majority (around 95%) spend their entire lives confined in small, barren cages unable to act out their most basic behaviours such as running, digging and, in the case of mink, swimming.
Fur farming has been banned in the UK since 2003, however almost £1 billion of fur has been imported into the country since then, from countries including China, Finland and Poland.
The UK was the first country in the world to ban fur farming and 18 other European countries have now followed suit, including Ireland, France, Italy and most recently in September 2022, Latvia.
Reference in this article to any specific commercial product or service, or the use of any brand, trade, firm or corporation name is for the information of the public only, and does not constitute or imply endorsement by HSI/UK or any of its affiliates of the product or service, or its producer or provider, and should not be construed or relied upon, under any circumstances, by implication or otherwise, as investment advice. Links and access by hypertext to other websites is provided as a convenience only and does not indicate or imply any endorsement with respect to any of the content on such website nor any of the views expressed thereon.
Moves to lift global ban on commercial whaling a major concern, says Humane Society International
Humane Society International / United Kingdom
LONDON—Ahead of the upcoming 68th meeting of the International Whaling Commission which begins on 13th October in Slovenia, animal protection and conservation non-profit Humane Society International warns that the very future of the IWC and the global moratorium on commercial whaling could be in jeopardy.
The global economic crisis, the pandemic and the exit of Japan―a whaling nation and formerly a major IWC funder―have created a serious budgetary emergency at the IWC. Efforts to reduce costs, including selling the IWC Secretariat headquarters in Cambridge, have stalled. The financial survival of the IWC as the only international body that focuses on cetacean conservation hangs in the balance at a time when almost half of the world’s known species, subspecies and subpopulations of cetaceans, are listed as Critically Endangered, Endangered or Vulnerable. The negotiations to balance the budget will be critical for the future of whales.
Rebecca Regnery, senior wildlife director at Humane Society International, said: “Whales face myriad threats from human activities including whale hunting; fisheries bycatch; chemical, plastic and noise pollution; ship strikes; habitat loss and the urgent climate crisis. If the IWC were to collapse now, everything it has done to establish and maintain the global whaling moratorium, the Southern Ocean sanctuary and multiple other scientific and conservation work would also collapse. The framework the IWC has provided for global cetacean conservation and management would disappear, leaving these ocean giants even more vulnerable in increasingly challenging and hostile seas.”
The threat to the IWC’s vital work, and even the global moratorium on commercial whaling, are at further risk because the IWC is considering allowing voting rights for nations even if they have failed to pay their membership fees, a move that would largely benefit pro-whaling countries. While the proposal aims to assist countries hit hard by the pandemic, many of which rely on tourism, it could tip the balance on some key pro-whaling draft resolutions including one by Antigua and Barbuda to lift the commercial whaling ban.
Regnery says: “The global moratorium on commercial whaling, which has spared the lives of hundreds of thousands of cetaceans and been instrumental in pulling many species back from the brink of extinction, is in very real danger. Scrapping the moratorium is what Japan has been pushing for since it was first adopted in 1982. Ironically, although Japan has withdrawn from the IWC, its pro-whaling influence is as menacing as ever via country allies beholden to Japan that continue to push its dangerous agenda. This year, if many more pro-whaling nations are allowed to vote, it could be the beginning of the end for global whale protection. So we are urging all whale-friendly countries to assemble at the IWC ready to fight once again to save the whales.”
Other top IWC priorities for Humane Society International include:
A marine plastic pollution draft resolution by the European Union that, if adopted, will provide critical IWC support for international negotiations on a global plastics treaty to tackle the serious threats to cetaceans including entanglement and ingestion, both of which can also lead to strandings and death.
A proposal to establish a South Atlantic Whale Sanctuary by Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay. The IWC has considered this proposal many times at past meetings, but it has consistently been blocked by pro-whaling nations. However, due to climate change and the biodiversity crisis, establishment of this sanctuary is increasingly important for the continued survival of marine mammals and our oceans.
A food security proposal by Gambia, Guinea, Cambodia, Antigua and Barbuda, countries very closely aligned with Japan. None of these countries provide any evidence that they rely on whale meat for subsistence or national food security. Conversely, whales kept alive in the ocean may provide financial and therefore food security and poverty alleviation to communities reliant on whale watching income, as well as contributing to healthy fish stocks as marine ecosystem managers.
A newly developed Cetacean Welfare Assessment Tool which will be presented at the meeting. We foresee this tool being extremely useful for our work and others for assessing welfare threats and solutions.
The fate of Greenland hunts, especially of killer whales which are in need of a full population assessment, harbour porpoises which may be overhunted especially when combined with the threat of bycatch, and narwhals which are being excessively hunted causing changes to life history and population dynamics. The North Atlantic Marine Mammal Commission has recommended a zero-hunting quota stating that narwhals in Greenland are at “high risk of extirpation of the stocks if harvest at any level continues.” The 2022 hunting quota for narwhals in Greenland is 50. Atlantic white-sided dolphins are also hunted in high numbers in Greenland, Norway, Newfoundland, Canada and the Faroe Islands (where direct take is especially high and has occurred without a full assessment).
Media contact: Wendy Higgins, director of international media for HSI/UK: firstname.lastname@example.org
Of the 90 species, 12 subspecies and 28 subpopulations of cetaceans that have been identified and assessed to date, 22 are listed as Critically Endangered, 22 as Endangered and 16 as Vulnerable.
Ricky Gervais, Joanna Lumley and Paul O’Grady support call for commitment to vital animal welfare improvements
Humane Society International / United Kingdom
London—In the month of the bicentenary of the UK’s first ever animal protection law—Martin’s Act of 22nd July 1822—some of the UK’s leading animal charities are joined by Larry the Downing Street cat (@Number10Cat) and celebrities including Ricky Gervais, Dame Joanna Lumley and Paul O’Grady to urge Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak to pass and strengthen more laws to protect animals from suffering if they become the country’s next Prime Minister.
In an open letter to the Conservative leadership contenders, the CEOs of the RSPCA, Humane Society International/UK, FOUR PAWS UK and others, ask Truss and Sunak for their public commitment to deliver on the promises the Government made in its 2021 Action Plan for Animal Welfare, only four of which have so far been delivered. Thousands of members of the public have also emailed the leadership candidates over the last few days, calling on them to support animal welfare issues.
Sunak and Truss have been asked to go public on three specific commitments:
Pass the Kept Animals Bill, delivering on manifesto commitments to end live animal exports for fattening and slaughter; introduce new laws to tackle low welfare puppy imports and pet abduction; and restrict the keeping of primates as pets, amongst other measures—the Kept Animals Bill has not been given Parliamentary time since November last year.
Progress legislation to protect the welfare of animals abroad suffering for the UK market, including bans on imports of hunting trophies, fur and foie gras, and the advertising of low welfare tourism activities overseas. These bans were derailed by dissenters in Boris Johnson’s cabinet in recent months.
Strengthen existing legislation to: introduce compulsory cat microchipping; phase out use of cages in farming; prevent inhumane trapping and killing of wildlife (e.g. banning snares and expediting an end to the badger cull); and strengthen and extend the current laws on hunting with dogs.
The letter welcomes the Conservative Party’s 2019 manifesto statement that ‘high standards of animal welfare are one of the hallmarks of a civilised society’ and asks: “Animals need a Prime Minister whose government will give them the legal protections they need and deserve, as sentient beings. Will you pledge such protections as part of your leadership campaign?”
A spokesperson for the group of animal protection NGOs said: “In the year where the sentience of animals has finally been enshrined in law, we must not lose this dedication to better animal welfare in the UK. Animals matter to voters of all political persuasions, including the 72% of Conservative voters who want more and stronger laws to protect animals. Ministers are constantly claiming that the UK is a world leader on animal welfare, so we’re calling on Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss to set out exactly what they’ll deliver to justify that title. Showing compassion and ambition to protect vulnerable animals could tell us a lot about the sort of leader they might be.”
National polling carried out in April 2022 showed that British voters want to see the government follow through on its promise to protect animals, with 72% of respondents—and 71% of those who voted Conservative in the last general election—stating they would like the government to pass more laws designed to improve animal welfare and protect animals from cruelty.*
Read the open letter and view the full list of signatories.
*Polling was run on the Focaldata platform. Data was collected from a nationally representative sample of 10,018 adults between 11th and 20th April 2022.
Animal protection & conservation NGOs unveil plaque in Brighton’s Hilton Metropole Hotel where historic whaling ban was agreed in 1982
Humane Society International / United Kingdom
United Kingdom—The 40th anniversary of the global ban on commercial whaling has been marked today, with a plaque unveiled to hail one of the most significant conservation victories of all time.
Almost three million whales were killed for their oil and meat in the 20th century, bringing many species and populations to the brink of extinction. In July 1982, member countries of the IWC held an historic meeting at the Metropole Hotel in Brighton and agreed a global ban on commercial whaling, which remains in place today.
A recent £300,000 funding award to the International Whaling Commission (IWC) from the UK Government is supporting its vital whale conservation and welfare work around the world, addressing significant threats such as bycatch and climate change. This funding is also supporting the participation of developing countries in IWC meetings, ensuring that decisions are representative of all members. This financial support will help to enable the IWC to continue with its excellent work providing an international framework for the conservation and management of cetaceans.
To commemorate the anniversary a permanent memorial plaque was unveiled at the Hilton Metropole Hotel, at a reception attended by past and present members of the IWC, dignitaries and local Members of Parliament. Caroline Lucas MP opened speeches, pledging her ongoing commitment to vital conservation efforts. The event was co-hosted by leading animal protection charities working on the IWC, including the UK representatives of the Animal Welfare Institute, Born Free Foundation, Environmental Investigation Agency, Greenpeace, Humane Society International/UK, IFAW, OceanCare, ORCA, and Whale and Dolphin Conservation.
International Environment Minister Zac Goldsmith said: “The moratorium on commercial whaling led the way four decades ago and remains one of the clearest demonstrations that conservation action works, moving from a bleak outlook where nearly 3 million whales were killed in the 20th century, to one where whale populations are coming back from the brink of extinction. The work of the IWC has been instrumental, bringing together global partners to deliver the science, conservation and management to support these majestic marine mammals, and the UK is proud to lend our full support to this work, including to uphold this vital moratorium.”
Without doubt the ban on commercial whaling has spared the lives of hundreds of thousands of whales and been instrumental in pulling many species and populations back from the brink of extinction — although some have never recovered.
Beyond whaling, whales still face many threats caused by human activities including fisheries bycatch; chemical, plastic and noise pollution; ship strikes; habitat loss and the urgent climate crisis. Of the 90 species, 12 subspecies and 28 subpopulations of cetaceans that have been identified and assessed to date, 22 are listed as ‘Critically Endangered’, 22 as ‘Endangered’ and 16 as ‘Vulnerable’.
Originally established in 1946 to conserve whales in order to manage whaling, the IWC has since evolved to address myriad anthropogenic threats, such as fisheries bycatch, that are estimated to kill hundreds of thousands of cetaceans a year. The IWC is now central to global cetacean conservation and welfare efforts, including overseeing regional efforts to prevent entanglement and vessel strikes, and advancing the scientific understanding of cetacean sentience and suffering. The UK’s funding therefore comes as a huge boost to global efforts to protect these ocean giants for generations to come.
Sue Fisher, acting marine policy director for the Animal Welfare Institute, observed: “Forty years ago, members of the public protesting outside this hotel and around the world convinced their governments to ‘save the whales’. Today they face new perils from our degraded oceans. We commend the United Kingdom for its commitment to ensuring that the IWC can do its vital work to save the whales again.”
Claire Bass, executive director of Humane Society International/UK, said: “Whales face an uncertain future in our degraded oceans, but there can be no doubt that the global ban on commercial whaling has saved many species from the brink of extinction. The ban’s 40-year anniversary is therefore a timely reminder of what can be achieved and should serve to strengthen our resolve to strive for even greater action against threats such as entanglements and pollution. The UK government’s funding for and renewed commitment to the vital work of the International Whaling Commission is a very welcome boost that will support international efforts for years to come to ensure the recovery of cetacean populations and the welfare of these astonishing ocean giants.”
Lucy Babey, ORCA’s head of science & conservation, and marine mammal chair at Wildlife and Countryside Link, said: “The IWC moratorium on commercial whaling was one of the biggest single conservation measures ever introduced, and its legacy resonates even today. To celebrate this milestone is a privilege that I know everyone involved feels lucky to be a part of, and we are delighted that the UK Government has decided to reaffirm its commitment to the IWC to ensure the legacy of this momentous decision is safeguarded for years to come. Future generations can look back on this watershed moment and see a time when people who cared about the ocean came together and did something special, and in that spirit we are proud to have been a part of marking this occasion.”
Sharon Livermore, IFAW marine conservation director, commented: “To this day, the global commercial whaling ban remains one of the most iconic and important conservation achievements of all time. But there is still much work to do to protect whales and dolphins from the many other threats they face; the International Whaling Commission is central to that work, so this new UK government funding is very timely.”
Mark Simmonds OBE, director of science for OceanCare, said: “Historically, the whales had been viewed as huge swimming barrels of oil, blubber and meat, ripe for the plundering. By 1982, when the moratorium was agreed, they were much better known, the grace and grandeur of these social mammals had been revealed by ground-breaking underwater cinematography, and we were increasingly concerned about the cruelty of whaling. And now, forty years on, we know so much more! New species and populations have been discovered and we also recognize cultural units with unique behaviours, and we are also busy exploring the contributions that the whales make to keeping our essential marine ecosystems healthy. Now is the time to make the moratorium complete and for all commercial whaling to end.”
Vanessa Tossenberger, Whale and Dolphin Conservation policy director, commented: “Working towards the recovery of whale populations is part of a nature-based solution to the climate and biodiversity crises. We appreciate that the IWC is leading efforts to better understand whales and their impact on ecosystem functioning. For this work to be successful, the IWC must urgently strengthen protections for cetaceans from the many risks they are facing and ensure the moratorium on commercial whaling stays firmly in place and is fully adhered to by all IWC members.”
Clare Perry, Environmental Investigation Agency UK senior advisor on ocean campaign said: “The ban on whaling has already saved the great whales from certain extinction and today it has an even more important role to play in securing the future of all whales, dolphins and porpoises from mounting threats including hunting, pollution, climate change and bycatch.”
In the 20th century, commercial whalers killed 2,894,094 whales, including 874,068 fin whales and 761,523 sperm whales. At the peak of their operations, commercial whalers were killing an average of 70,000 whales a year.
The IWC’s commercial whaling ban was agreed in 1982 in a 25:7 vote, and came into effect worldwide in 1986. Catches fell to 6,361 that year. There are three countries that currently conduct commercial whaling: Norway, Iceland and Japan.
The degradation of the ocean has accelerated rapidly in recent years, with ocean temperatures warming up to 40% faster on average than the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change previously estimated.
Science estimates that the amount of plastic entering the ocean will increase three-fold between 2016—2040 if urgent action isn’t taken.
Ocean acidification has increased by 26% since pre-industrial times, and global maritime traffic as well as underwater noise levels from shipping, seismic surveys, exploration and military activities, have also significantly intensified.
An estimated 300,000 cetaceans are killed annually as bycatch in fisheries.
Media contact: Sally Ivens, Humane Society International/UK: email@example.com
Country’s leading animal protection charities urge prime minister: ‘Save the Animals Abroad Bill’
Humane Society International / United Kingdom
LONDON—New U.K. national polling from the #DontBetrayAnimals campaign, backed by a group of 14 of the country’s leading animal protection charities including Humane Society International/UK, shows British voters want to see the government deliver on its promise to protect animals. Polling comes almost exactly a year since publication of the government’s Action Plan for Animal Welfare, and amid rumours No.10 is considering abandoning the Animals Abroad Bill, which includes fur and foie gras bans.
Almost three quarters (72%) of respondents want to see this government pass more laws designed to improve animal welfare and protect animals from cruelty, and over three quarters (77%) want to see the government ban the importation of animal products where the production methods are already banned in the UK, including fur. Fewer than one in 10 respondents disagree that such an import ban should be introduced.
The campaigners are calling on the government to respond to the public’s wishes and include the Animals Abroad Bill in the upcoming Queen’s Speech. The new seat-by-seat MRP analysis of the polling illustrates the political, as well as moral, imperative for doing so.
If the government fails to deliver on its commitments to animals, as set out in its May 2021 Action Plan for Animal Welfare, this will be at odds with voters’ interests, as illustrated by the poll highlights, which estimate:
Almost three quarters (73%) of voters in seats held by cabinet ministers want to see the government pass more laws to protect animals.
Support for banning fur and other cruel imports is even higher in cabinet members’ constituencies (79%) than the national average.
Passing laws to protect animals is a doorstep issue for supporters of every major political party – only Brexit Party voters registered less than majority support, although almost half (48%) still support more laws to improve animal welfare.
Crucially, almost three quarters (72%) of voters in 20 of Conservative seats identified as the most marginally held want to see the government pass more laws to protect animals.
Constituencies in the former Red Wall (constituencies which historically tend to support the Labour Party), also showed strong support for animal protection legislation, with seven in 10 (70%) voters supporting import bans on low welfare products such as fur.
The poll also revealed consistent support for animal protection across a range of voter demographics:
Support for the government to pass more laws to improve animal welfare is equally high amongst all household social grades (AB: 71%, C1:72%, C2:72%, DE:71%). Support for banning the importation of animal products like fur is highest amongst AB household respondents (79%), but not significantly lower amongst DE households (74%).
Only 8% of women and 12% of men disagreed with the idea that the government should ban the importation of animal products like fur.
Support for the government to pass more animal protection laws is marginally higher amongst rural respondents (73%) than urban respondents (72%). Likewise, rural support for banning low animal welfare product imports like fur is slightly higher (80%) than urban support (76%).
The MRP analysis of the results challenge the narrative that the wants and needs of city dwellers are drastically at odds with rural residents, with the constituency of North East Somerset (76%) almost equally aligned with Islington North (75%) when it comes to wanting to see the government pass more legislation to protect animals.
The constituency of North East Somerset was found in the poll to have the joint eighth highest level of support for a ban on the importation of cruel animal products such as fur (North East Somerset; 83%), exceeding that of Islington North (80%).
The government needs to act fast to deliver what the electorate wants—by including the Animals Abroad Bill in the upcoming Queen’s Speech and fulfilling promises to legislate to protect animals it made in both its manifesto and Action Plan for Animal Welfare, including banning live exports.
Claire Bass, executive director of Humane Society International/UK, said: “Our new poll leaves no doubt that we’re a nation of animal lovers, and that the British public expect the government to deliver more animal protection laws. In terms of showing it is in tune with public opinion, banning the importation of cruelly produced products, such as fur and foie gras, is an open goal for Number 10. We urge Boris Johnson to ensure that the forthcoming Queen’s Speech delivers on the Conservative’s 2019 manifesto promise to better protect animals, both at home and abroad.”
Jessica Terry, World Animal Protection UK external affairs manager, said: “The government has repeatedly promised to introduce the Animals Abroad Bill, however we are yet to see any action. Through this bill, the prime minister promised to end the horrors of trophy hunting and cruel animal entertainment and we will continue to speak up until this legislation is passed. All animals deserve happy and healthy lives.”
Sonul Badiani-Hamment, FOUR PAWS UK country director said: “It is clear from this new polling that there is overwhelming public support for greater protection for animals, across political divides. We are almost a year on from the Action Plan for Animal Welfare and have had nothing but empty promises from the government. We urge the prime minister to seize the opportunity of the Queen’s Speech to save the Animals Abroad Bill, and urgently bring forward bans on fur, foie gras and trophy hunting imports in the next parliamentary session. With this legislation, the UK Government has a unique chance to assert its global leadership in animal welfare, sending a clear message that animal cruelty will neither be tolerated nor imported.”
Emma Slawinski, RSPCA director of policy & communications, said: “The Queen’s Speech will be an acid test of the government’s true commitment to honouring the animal welfare pledges it has made to the public. Its foot-dragging over the Animals Abroad Bill has been shameful, particularly in light of the new research showing such huge public appetite for legislation to protect animals.
“Announcing a ban on foie gras and fur imports as part of the Animals Abroad Bill on May 10 would be a good start and an opportunity for the government to demonstrate that rather than outsourcing animal cruelty, it really is committed to a better deal for animals. It would also be a strong signal that the government intends to keep its word on other animal welfare legislation, such as the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill in the future.”
James West, senior policy manager at Compassion in World Farming, said: “Compassion in World Farming warmly welcomed the publication of the Action Plan for Animal Welfare, including proposals to ban live exports for slaughter and fattening and ending the import or sale of foie gras. Despite the encouraging words offered by the government, one year on we have seen little progress – the Kept Animals Bill has not been in parliament since November, and the foie gras ban is at risk of being completely dropped. This polling highlights the fact that people expect the government to now keep its promises and progress both the Kept Animals and Animals Abroad Bills with urgency in the next parliamentary session.”
Media contact: Wendy Higgins, HSI director of international media: firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to editors
Groups backing the #DontBetrayAnimals campaign are: Animal Aid, Animal Equality UK, Born Free Foundation, Compassion in World Farming, FOUR PAWS UK, Humane Society International/UK, The Humane League UK, League Against Cruel Sports, LUSH, Naturewatch Foundation, PETA UK, RSPCA, Save The Asian Elephants, World Animal Protection UK.
The polling was run on the Focaldata platform. Data was collected from a nationally representative sample of 10,018 adults between 11th and 20th April 2022. Using the polling data, Focaldata completed a constituency-level analysis using MRP modelling.
Over three quarters (77%) of voters think UK Government should ban the importation of animal products, such as fur, where farming and production methods are banned in the UK, including:
82% of women and 72% of men
61% of 18 – 24 year olds, 73% of 25-36 year olds, 76% 35 – 44 year olds, 82% of 45 – 54 year olds, 82% 55 – 64 year olds, 81% of 65+ year olds
The MRP polling analysis estimates support amongst:
over three quarters (78%) of the 10, 15 and 20 most marginal Conservative-held seats
almost three quarters (74%) of Red Wall voters
over three quarters (79%) of voters in the Cabinet’s constituencies
Fifteen cabinet members with 80%+ support are: Dominic Raab, Liz Truss, Sajid Javid, Kwasi Kwarteng, Alok Sharma, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, Therese Coffey, Nadhim Zahawi, George Eustice, Brandon Lewis, Chris Heaton-Harris, Suella Braverman, Kit Malthouse, Michelle Donelan and Jacob Rees-Mogg.
Almost three quarters (72%) of voters would like to see the UK Government pass more laws designed to improve animal welfare and protect animals from cruelty, including:
75% of women and 69% of men
66% of 18 – 24 year olds, 75% of 25 – 34 year olds, 74% of 35 – 44 year olds, 74% of 45 – 55 year olds, 73% of 55 – 64 year olds, 69% of 65+ years old
The MRP polling analysis estimates support amongst:
Over three quarters (72%) of the 1-0,15 and 20 most marginal Conservative held seats
Almost three quarters (70%) of Red Wall voters
Almost three quarters (72%) of voters in the Cabinet’s constituencies
Naturalist Chris Packham joins Humane Society International/UK in celebrating ban
Humane Society International / United Kingdom
LONDON—The public’s use of glue traps to catch mice and rats will be banned across England after a government-backed Private Members Bill received unanimous support during its third and final reading today in the House of Lords. The ban has been welcomed by animal charity Humane Society International/UK, which led the “Unstuck” campaign to end the public use of the “inhumane, indiscriminate and indefensible” glue boards, which immobilise the small mammals in strong adhesive in which they can suffocate, rip off skin and fur and break their limbs in desperate efforts to escape.
Despite their potential to cause prolonged and extreme animal suffering, glue traps are currently widely sold to the public in DIY and corner shops, as well as online, for as little as 99p. The traps also pose a serious risk to other species, with numerous reports each year of animals—including protected and endangered species like hedgehogs, wild birds and bats, and even pet cats—being caught and suffering often fatal injuries.
The legislation contains a limited exemption for so-called “pest” control operatives to apply to the Secretary of State for a licence to use a glue trap, which may be granted where there is “no other satisfactory solution” and where the action is required for “the purpose of preserving public health or safety”. The exemption mirrors that of the 2015 glue trap ban in New Zealand, where glue trap licences have fallen year on year since the ban’s introduction, with no approvals for use in 2021.
Claire Bass, executive director of Humane Society International/UK, said: “Glue traps are crude devices that cause horrific suffering to millions of animals. It is absolutely right that their public use will be banned, and we hope this will precipitate their removal from sale by retailers since it will be illegal for their customers to use them. It is immoral to subject small, sentient wildlife to being immobilised on these sticky boards, only to suffocate in the glue, die slowly of their injuries, or be ineptly killed by unprepared members of the public who resort to drowning or throwing them in the rubbish while still alive. The licensing regime for glue trap use by the ‘pest’ control industry will need to be strictly managed to ensure that these cruel products are no longer casually used with impunity.”
Once the Bill receives Royal Assent, the new law will make it an offence in England for a member of the public or any “pest” controller without a licence to set a glue trap to either deliberately or accidentally catch a rodent, with a fine and/or up to 51 weeks in prison. Discovering a glue trap but failing, without reasonable excuse, to ensure it is disabled will also constitute an offence.
Naturalist and campaigner Chris Packham, who supported HSI/UK’s Unstuck campaign, joined the charity in welcoming the ban, saying: “When wildlife, like mice and rats, are successful at living alongside humans, we label them ‘pests’ or ‘vermin’ and seem to think that’s a green light to completely disregard their welfare. Glue traps are a prime example of this. That attitude has to change. I commend HSI/UK on their Unstuck campaign victory and I’m delighted that cruel and unnecessary glue traps will now be taken out of public use, prompting a more compassionate and also effective approach to dealing with unwanted wildlife. This law is great news for mice and rats, but also for the many unintended victims who get stuck in the glue, such as delicate birds, grass snakes, frogs and hedgehogs.”
Conservative MP Jane Stevenson, who sponsored the Bill, said: “I am absolutely thrilled that my Glue Traps Bill has passed its Third Reading, meaning it will soon receive Royal Assent and become law. The banning of the use of glue traps by the general public is another step forward in the strengthening of animal welfare legislation in England, and I want to thank everyone involved in making this happen. The use of glue traps is cruel and barbaric, and has often led to animals not intended to be caught in these traps dying in the most inhumane way. Together with ministers at Defra and organisations such as HSI/UK, the RSPCA and others, I am pleased to have made a positive difference.”
HSI/UK advocates an ethical approach to wildlife management, addressing the root cause of problems through human behaviour change strategies and wildlife control and mitigation measures that are humane, with lethal interventions used only as a last resort to protect public health and safety. As well as being inhumane, killing animals like mice and rats typically does not offer a permanent solution to the problems their presence might cause, whereas measures such as removing food sources and blocking up access holes are effective in addressing such situations.
The ban will come into effect in England two years after receiving Royal Assent. In Scotland, the government made a commitment in January this year to ban glue traps following a review by the Scottish Animal Welfare Commission, and the Welsh government has also been seeking stakeholder views on a possible ban.
Fans can vote online to help Save Ralph win internet’s top honor
Humane Society International
WASHINGTON, DC—Humane Society International announced today that Save Ralph has been nominated for best Public Service & Activism video in the 26th Annual Webby Awards. Hailed as the “Internet’s highest honor” by The New York Times, The Webby Awards, presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, is the leading international awards organization honoring excellence on the Internet.
Save Ralph is a stop-motion animation short film produced in several languages by Humane Society International (HSI) in support of its global campaign to end cosmetic testing on animals. Written and directed by Spencer Susser and produced by Jeff Vespa in partnership with HSI and the Arch Model studio of puppet maker Andy Gent, the film features HSI’s campaign spokesbunny Ralph, as he goes through his daily routine as a “tester” in a lab. HSI’s #SaveRalph campaign tackles the disturbing issue of animal testing in an original and unexpected way—using the story of one bunny to shine a light on the plight of countless rabbits and other animals suffering in laboratories around the world, engaging viewers to help ban animal testing for cosmetics. The English-language film features a star-studded cast including Oscar winner Taika Waititi as Ralph, along with Ricky Gervais, Zac Efron, Olivia Munn, Pom Klementieff and Tricia Helfer. Save Ralph was also produced in French, Portuguese, Spanish and Vietnamese, and subtitled in multiple other languages, to support HSI’s efforts to reach hearts and minds of consumers and lawmakers in Canada, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Southeast Asia and beyond.
“Nominees like Save Ralph are setting the standard for innovation and creativity on the Internet,” said Claire Graves, president of The Webby Awards. “It is an incredible achievement to be selected among the best from the 13,500 entries we received this year.”
“We are absolutely thrilled that Save Ralph is being recognized by the Webby Awards. This nomination provides a fantastic opportunity for Ralph to continue shining a global spotlight on the cruelty of cosmetic testing on animals to a new audience and the need to ban this practice around the world,” said Donna Gadomski, Save Ralph executive producer and HSI senior director of external affairs.
“Save Ralph has had a tremendous impact on Humane Society International’s efforts to end cosmetic testing on animals globally since its premiere last April,” said Troy Seidle, Save Ralph executive producer and HSI vice president of research and toxicology. “This film has motivated millions of people around the world to sign HSI’s petition to outlaw this cruel and obsolete practice, propelling Mexico to become the first North American country to ban cosmetic testing on animals, and is helping advance our legislative efforts in several other countries. We’re excited that the Webby recognition may help continue this momentum.”
As a nominee, Save Ralph is also eligible to win a Webby People’s Voice Award, which is voted online by fans across the globe. From now until April 21st, Save Ralph fans can cast their votes at Webby Awards People’s Voice .
Winners will be announced on Tuesday, April 26, 2022, and honored in a star-studded show at Cipriani Wall Street. Winners will have an opportunity to deliver one of The Webby Awards’ famous 5-Word Speeches. Past 5-Word Speeches include: Steve Wilhite’s “It’s Pronounced “Jif” not ‘Gif’; NASA’s “Houston We Have A Webby”; and Solange’s “I Got Five On It.”
Media contact: Cassie Bodin-Duval, international coordinator in media relations: email@example.com