Groups in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia take in the dogs for adoption

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.

WASHINGTON (July 16, 2020)—More than 100 dogs saved from South Korea’s brutal dog meat trade are headed for loving homes in the United States. Humane Society International rescued the dogs as part of its campaign to end the dog meat trade and flew them to the U.S., where the Humane Society of the United States placed them with several Shelter and Rescue Partners in the mid-Atlantic.

Organizations taking in the rescued dogs include

“Rescuing animals from suffering and neglect is as important as ever,” said Kitty Block, CEO of Humane Society International and president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States. “Thanks to the hard work of our staff and partners — both in Korea and the U.S. — these dogs will now have the happy lives they deserve: with families who love them.”

Sixty of the dogs arriving in the United States were rescued from a single dog meat farm by HSI in May (the remaining dogs from that farm are scheduled to go to Canada). This was the 16th farm the organization has helped to close since 2015. The dogs stayed in a temporary shelter in South Korea until modification of travel restrictions made it possible for HSI to bring them to the United States.

While dog meat is eaten in several countries in Asia, South Korea is the only country that farms dogs for human consumption on a large scale. An estimated 2 million dogs a year are reared on thousands of dog meat farms across the country. The conditions on these farms are horrific – most dogs live their entire lives in barren wire cages without adequate shelter or veterinary care until they are brutally slaughtered, usually by electrocution or hanging.

HSI’s pioneering program works with Korean dog farmers to rescue their dogs and transition the farmers to more humane and profitable livelihoods. The farmers sign a 20-year contract, stipulating they will not breed dogs or any animals, and the cages are demolished to ensure that no animals will suffer on the property in future.

At each dog meat farm closure, a veterinarian vaccinates the dogs against the H3N2 (dog flu) virus, rabies, DHPP, corona virus, distemper and parvo. HSI then quarantines the dogs on the farm or at a temporary shelter with no dogs permitted in or out prior to transport overseas. The dogs are given another check-up before their flight to ensure they are healthy enough to fly.

So far, HSI has saved more than 2,000 dogs from Korean dog meat farms. The dogs are brought to the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom for adoption. While pet ownership is on the rise in South Korea, adopting instead of buying a dog is still not a widespread practice there.

Download photos of the dogs’ journey from South Korea to the United States (more photos will be added Thursday afternoon). HSI’s senior specialist for disaster operations Kelly Donithan filmed a Facebook Live from the plane before it took off from Incheon International Airport in Seoul.

Download photos and video of the dogs on Farm 16 and their rescue.

END

Media contact: Nancy Hwa, Humane Society International, nhwa@hsi.org, 202-596-0808 (cell)

Humane Society International / United States


dra_schwartz/istockphoto

WASHINGTON—Humane Society International and the Humane Society of United States have supported a fast-track research grant for non-animal approaches to investigate mechanisms, medicines and vaccines for the novel coronavirus and COVID-19, sponsored by the Johns Hopkins Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The organizations believe that understanding the biological mechanisms that make humans especially susceptible to COVID-19 is urgently needed to inform the development and evaluation of effective countermeasures.

Laboratory investigations of human disease often attempt to artificially reproduce a condition in animals. Since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic, a flood of studies have described infecting mice, hamsters, ferrets, monkeys and other animals with COVID-19. Yet most report that the animals used were either immune to the new virus, or manifested symptoms that differ substantially from the human condition, including in the most severe clinical outcomes. In addition, the animal-based approach is limited in its ability to predict the impact of comorbidities— the presence of two chronic diseases—in COVID-19 patients, or how the various treatments could impact or worsen the infection.

“We have great faith in the Johns Hopkins Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing as a source of funding for research with the potential to spare humans, as well as animals in laboratories, from suffering caused by COVID-19,” says Kitty Block, president and CEO of HSUS and CEO of HSI.

The two organizations’ donation of $20,000 to the CAAT grant program aims to stimulate innovative and inherently human-relevant solutions for COVID-19. Models based on human biology—from cell and tissue cultures to complex organoids, organs-on-a-chip and computational tools—can help scientists understand the mechanisms of disease progression and rapidly identify interventions that are effective and safe in a human biological environment.

The groups previously released a multi-pronged policy plan for preventing another global health crisis like COVID-19.

– 30 –

Media contacts:

  • HSUS: Emily Ehrhorn, Senior Specialist of Media Relations, eehrhorn@humanesociety.org, 301.258.1423
  • JHU: Michael Hughes, CATT communications manager, mhughe18@jhu.edu, 410.614.4920

Humane Society International and its partner organisations together constitute one of the world’s largest animal protection organisations. For more than 25 years, HSI has been working for the protection of all animals through the use of science, advocacy, education and hands on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty worldwide – on the Web at hsi.org

Founded in 1954, the Humane Society of the United States and its affiliates around the globe fight the big fights to end suffering for all animals. Together with millions of supporters, the HSUS takes on puppy mills, factory farms, trophy hunts, animal testing and other cruel industries, and together with its affiliates, rescues and provides direct care for over 100,000 animals every year. The HSUS works on reforming corporate policy, improving and enforcing laws and elevating public awareness on animal issues. More at humanesociety.org.    

Subscribe to Kitty Block’s blog, A Humane World. Follow the HSUS Media Relations department on Twitter. Read the award-winning All Animals magazine. Listen to the Humane Voices Podcast.  

The Johns Hopkins Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing, founded in 1981, is part of the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, with a European branch located at the University of Kostanz, Germany.

CAAT promotes humane science by supporting the creation, development, validation and use of alternatives to animals in research, product safety testing, and education. The center seeks to effect change by working with scientists in industry, government, and academia to find new ways to replace animals with non-animal methods, reduce the numbers of animals necessary, or refine methods to make them less painful or stressful to the animals involved.

“There is no future in this dog meat industry,” says farmer Kim

Humane Society International / Global


Jean Chung/for HSI Dogs are shown locked in a cage at a dog meat farm in Hongseong, South Korea, on Saturday, February 8, 2020.

SEOUL—More than 70 dogs found languishing on a South Korean dog meat farm by animal charity Humane Society International have been given a second chance by the farmer’s decision to quit the dog meat industry once and for all. Mr. Nakseon Kim has been breeding dogs for nearly 40 years, but he jumped at the chance to leave dog farming behind when HSI offered to help him start a new life growing cabbages and other vegetables instead.

Amid growing South Korean opposition to eating dogs and a series of new regulations and court rulings cracking down on the industry, farmers like Mr. Kim are increasingly looking for an exit strategy but with one request – to save their dogs. After years of sending the animals to slaughter, Mr. Kim is not the first farmer to be relieved to learn that HSI rescues, rehabilitates and seeks happy homes for all the dogs.

“It may sound odd but I started dog farming because I like dogs,” said Mr. Kim, “I’ve never actually been a big fan of dog meat myself. I had a few dogs so I began breeding them and when I had 20 or 30 I started to sell them because I thought it would be good money but it hasn’t really worked out that way. I earn nothing from this dog farm, and pressure from the government is increasing and it’s not a good business at all.”

On his property in Hongseong, Mr. Kim breeds tosas, Jindos, poodles, beagles, huskies, golden retrievers, Pomeranians, Chihuahuas and Boston terriers for two abusive industries – the meat trade and the puppy mill trade. In rows of dilapidated cages, surrounded by animal waste, junk and garbage, some dogs are destined for the slaughterhouse, and others the unscrupulous puppy mill trade. Despite Korea’s dog meat industry attempting to claim a difference between pet dogs and “meat dogs”, the reality is they are all just dogs whose fate ultimately depends on where greatest profits can be made.

Nara Kim, HSI/Korea’s dog meat campaigner, said: “Unfortunately, it is still very common in South Korea to see live puppies for sale in pet shop windows. But what most Koreans will be shocked to learn is that these same puppies could easily have ended up being killed for human consumption instead. Whether they live or die, they are all born in this miserable place, their mothers intensively bred over and over until they are exhausted and eventually sold to slaughterhouses. I’m so glad that this nightmare has ended for these lovely dogs, but until the government commits to phase out this dreadful industry, the nightmare continues for millions more. As Koreans we need to be their voice and call for an end to the dog farming and dog meat industries.”

Marking the 16th dog farm that HSI has closed since its farmer transition program began in 2015, all the dogs will eventually be flown to partner shelters in Canada and the United States to seek adoptive homes. First, they are being relocated to a temporary boarding facility in South Korea while the organization waits for COVID-19 travel restrictions to relax. Once safely off the farm, the dogs will immediately receive a full veterinary check-up and settle into their temporary quarters where they can begin their rehabilitation.

HSI hopes its model for change will hasten an end to the controversial and cruel industry by demonstrating to the Korean government that a farmer-supported phase out of farms can work.

Mr. Kim said: “It’s too much work and I’ve got too old to be doing this for no profit. I just want to get some rest from all of this now. I’ve had enough, especially now that I have to pay for dog food since the local school decided to stop giving me free kitchen waste. I don’t think there are many people in South Korea who are willing to run dog meat farms anymore. There is no future in this dog meat industry. Once HSI helps me close my dog farm, I think I will start to grow crops instead like lettuce, cabbage, or other greens to sell to restaurants. That’s a business with a future.”

Dog meat consumption has been steadily declining in South Korea, and is banned or severely restricted in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines. In 2018 both Indonesia and Vietnam’s capital city Hanoi pledged an end to the dog meat trade, and most recently in April 2020 the Chinese cities of Shenzhen and Zhuhai banned dog and cat meat consumption following a public statement by the Chinese government that dogs are considered companions and not livestock. As global pressure builds for countries across Asia to permanently close wildlife wet markets amid coronavirus risks, the array of undeniable human health risks posed by the dog meat trade in South Korea and across Asia, is strengthening calls for action across the continent.

Facts:   

  • Up to 2 million dogs a year are bred and raised on thousands of dog meat farms across South Korea.
  • Dog meat consumption is declining in South Korea, particularly among younger generations, and most Koreans don’t eat it regularly. A June 2018 survey by Gallup Korea showed that 70% of South Koreans say they will not eat dog meat in future. Still, dog meat remains popular during the Bok days of summer in July and August based on its perceived curative properties during the hot and humid summer months.
  • There has been a series of recent crackdowns by authorities to curb the dog meat industry. In November 2018, HSI/Korea assisted Seongnam City Council in shutting down Taepyeong dog slaughterhouse (the country’s largest dog slaughterhouse), followed in July 2019 by the closure of Gupo dog meat market in Busan (South Korea’s second largest dog meat market after Moran market, which has also closed), and a declaration in October last year by the mayor of Seoul that the city is “dog slaughter free”. Most recently, last November HSI’s partner group Korea Animal Rights Advocates (KARA) won a Supreme Court case against a dog farmer who electrocuted dogs in violation of the Animal Protection Act, a judgement that could have huge implications for an industry that relies almost entirely on this brutal and protracted killing method.
  • HSI has rescued more than 2,000 dogs from South Korea’s meat industry. At each dog meat farm closure, HSI has a veterinarian test for the presence of the H3N2 virus (“canine influenza”), at the time the dogs receive their rabies, DHPP and coronavirus vaccines. HSI also vaccinates the dogs for distemper and parvo. HSI then quarantines the dogs on the farm or at a shelter for at least 30 days, and the dogs are health certified again prior to transport overseas.

Download broll video and photos of the rescue.

ENDS

Media contacts
United Kingdom and international media: Wendy Higgins, whiggins@hsi.org, +44 (0)7989 972 423
United States: Nancy Hwa, nhwa@hsi.org, 1-202-596-0808
South Korea: Nara Kim, nkim@hsi.org

Humane Society International / Global


HSI HSI/India responds to the COVID-19 pandemic in Lucknow, India.

WASHINGTON— Family-owned Mars, Incorporated has donated $1 million to animal welfare organization Humane Society International for its global companion animal programs. The donation is a part of Mars’ initial $20 million cash and in-kind donations to aid communities across the globe during the COVID-19 crisis. HSI will use the funds in targeted countries to help keep companion animals in their homes, to assist shelters taking in abandoned or surrendered animals, and to provide for street dogs and cats who are not able to be fed by their communities during this time.

“We are incredibly grateful to Mars for this generous donation, which recognizes that our companion animals are a vital part of our families,” said HSI President Jeffrey Flocken. “They are a source of comfort and unwavering affection, particularly in difficult times. As the world struggles with this pandemic, these critically needed funds will directly help dogs and cats who are suffering as a result of the coronavirus crisis, be it starving dogs on the streets in India, Chile and elsewhere, or shelters in need of vital supplies in South Africa and beyond.”

“It’s vital that businesses like ours do our part to ensure the continued health and well-being of the people, pets and communities most affected by COVID-19, which is why Mars Incorporated has committed $20 million in relief to vulnerable populations across the world,” said Poul Weihrauch, President, Mars Global Petcare. For those of us fortunate enough to have animals in our lives, the companionship, love and comfort they bring has probably never felt more important. That’s why we are pleased to provide $1 million in support to HSI, an organization dedicated to providing critical support to the millions of vulnerable pets across the world.”

HSI is strategically deploying the grant to provide the greatest impact for animals at risk or suffering as a result of this global crisis. Recognizing that each country is experiencing the effects of the pandemic on a different timeline and faces different animal welfare needs, the relief effort will be conducted in phases. Phase 1 will focus on the most urgent needs in eight geographic areas:  Chile, China, Guyana, India, Mauritius, Morocco, South Africa and the Middle East region. HSI already has a presence and/or existing relationships with local organizations and governments in these locations, which will help to maximize the campaign’s impact.

The range of work will include:

  • Assisting residents to enable them to keep their animals at home;
  • Helping shelters that face shortages of food and supplies while dealing with increased numbers of animals surrendered or abandoned by owners who can longer care for them;
  • Tending to community animals who have lost their usual sources of food and medical care as a result of lockdown policies;
  • Working with governments to ensure companion animals are incorporated into pandemic emergency plans by designating veterinary services as essential and allowing advocates to rescue animals in need during lockdowns; and
  • Promoting accurate and useful information about appropriate animal welfare for cats and dogs during the pandemic.

HSI estimates that Phase 1 will help more than 20,000 animals. Subsequent phases of the campaign will be determined as the crisis spreads to new areas or intensifies in current areas, and the needs shift.

An additional component of the campaign involves engaging Mars Associates through volunteer opportunities to make a tangible difference for dogs and cats affected by the pandemic. Opportunities include reaching out to local shelters to offer assistance, encouraging their networks to adopt and foster shelter animals, and virtual engagement and support of the Mars-HSI initiative to help animals in need during the COVID-19 crisis.

“We are immensely proud to work with Mars on this effort,” said Flocken. “Mars’ commitment to animals and the people who love and care for them has never been more evident than it is now, during this unprecedented time.”

Download photos and video of animals affected by the pandemic.

END

MEDIA CONTACTS:
Nancy Hwa, Humane Society International, nhwa@hsi.org, 202-596-0808
Kimberly West, Mars, Incorporated, Director of External Communications, Kimberly.west@effem.com.

 

HSI and its partner organizations together constitute one of the world’s largest animal protection organizations. For more than 25 years, HSI has been working for the protection of all animals through the use of science, advocacy, education and hands-on programs. hsi.org and @hsiglobal.

Humane Society International / United States


Indonesia, India, Vietnam among countries where wild animal markets pose a disease risk

Humane Society International / Global


Masked man in Hong Kong market
Jayne Russell/ZUMA Wire/Alamy Live News

WASHINGTON —Wildlife campaigners across the globe from animal charity Humane Society International have called for an urgent worldwide ban on the wildlife trade after China’s announcement that it will prohibit the buying and selling of wild animals for food in light of the mounting threat associated with coronavirus. The capture, market trade, and butchery of wild animal species for human consumption happens across large parts of Asia and Africa such as Indonesia, India, Vietnam, and West, Central and East Africa, as well as in Latin America, says HSI, posing a very real threat of spreading zoonotic and potentially fatal diseases. Governments around the world must take China’s lead and shut down this trade for good. HSI leadership in South Africa, Nepal, India, South Korea, Canada, the United States, Australia, Guatemala, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, the United Kingdom, Honduras, El Salvador and Costa Rica have joined the call for global action.

Jeffrey Flocken, HSI president, says: “China has taken decisive action to halt the wildlife trade for human consumption implicated in the global coronavirus crisis, but it would be a grave mistake for us to think that the threat is isolated to China. The capture and consumption of wild animals is a global trade that causes immense suffering for hundreds of thousands of animals every year, including endangered wildlife species being traded to the brink of extinction. The trade can also spawn global health crises like the current coronavirus, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome and the deadly bird flu. Wildlife markets across the globe, but particularly in Asia and Africa, are widespread and could easily be the start of disease outbreaks in the future.”

In the north eastern states of India, wild species such as the Chinese pangolin and several species of wild birds are routinely sold for human consumption. Bengal monitor lizard meat is also consumed across India, driven mainly by the superstitious belief that the fat stored in the tail can cure arthritis, and meat from the Indian flap-shell turtle is also popular across the country, despite both species being listed under Schedule 1 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. In some north Indian states, owl eyes are also consumed for their perceived medicinal benefits for human vision.

Indonesia also has hundreds of “extreme” animal markets where the conditions are the same as those described by scientists as the perfect breeding ground for new and deadly zoonotic viruses, such as coronaviruses. Wild animals are sold and slaughtered in public and unsanitary conditions. The trade takes place alongside that of dogs and cats which itself has already been shown to pose a risk of rabies transmission. In January this year, Humane Society International wrote to Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo as part of the Dog Meat Free Indonesia coalition, calling for urgent measures to ensure that Indonesia does not become the next point of origin of a deadly virus by tackling the risk posed by these animal markets.

Mr. Flocken adds: “We already know that dog and cat meat markets in Indonesia are a hotbed for disease transmission, and we also know from our investigations that rabies-positive dogs are being sold and slaughtered for consumption in these markets. Given that dogs are caged and slaughtered alongside wild animals such as snakes, bats and rats, Indonesia must surely take preventative measures now to ensure it does not become the next point of origin of a deadly virus. Similar risks can be observed in wild animal markets across the globe and especially in Asia and Africa. The trade in wildlife is a global crisis that calls for global action, now.”

Wild meat consumption is also an issue in Vietnam where wild pig, goat and bird species are eaten as well as softshell turtle, bear, snake, pangolin and civet, and snake wine is also consumed. A number of studies conducted in recent years reveal that a significant percentage of the Vietnamese population consumes wild animals.

Bush meat, including that derived from primates, is still consumed in many parts of Africa. Earlier this month, the Tanzanian government endorsed the establishment of butcheries specifically for the bushmeat trade. And in South Africa, approximately 12,000 lions are captive bred in deplorable conditions, to facilitate the export of lion skeletons to Southeast Asia for tiger bone wine. Lions are hosts for the tuberculosis (TB) virus, which can survive in bones ground to powder.

In Guatemala and El Salvador, meat from crocodile, iguana and other reptiles is often eaten during Lent despite it being illegal to do so.

This week, the National People’s Congress, the Chinese national legislature, elevated an originally temporary ban on wildlife trade for human consumption from an administrative action to the level of a national law. Specifically, the announcement, issued as an emergency measure, creates a comprehensive ban on the trade in terrestrial wild animals bought and sold for food, including those who are bred or reared in captivity.

Download video footage of Indonesia’s wild animal and dog/cat meat markets here: https://www.dropbox.com/home/Indonesia%20Extreme%20Markets

ENDS

Media contact: Wendy Higgins whiggins@hsi.org

Humane Society International / United States


The National Institutes of Health has betrayed their commitment to retire all federally owned and supported chimpanzees to a sanctuary.

Donald Trump Jr. was a speaker at the February 5 to 8 convention in Reno

Humane Society International / United States


WASHINGTON — An undercover investigation last week by the Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International exposed exhibitors peddling wild animal products at the Safari Club International convention in Reno, Nevada. Items found for sale include belts and boots made of elephants, hippos and stingrays, which likely violate Nevada’s wildlife trafficking law.

Among the other items for sale were boots made of giraffe skin ($1,390) and kangaroo skin ($1,080), and trips to hunt Asiatic black bears, giraffes, elephants, lions, hippos and more. One outfitter said hunting a giraffe costs “only” $1,200 because they have “too many giraffes” and need to “get rid of the animals.”

For the second year in a row, the investigator found “canned” lion hunts for sale, where customers pay to shoot a captive-bred lion, violating SCI’s own ban that it implemented in February 2018. In his sales pitch, one vendor bragged that his safari company holds five of the top 10 lions ever recorded in SCI’s Record Book.

Among the featured speakers and entertainers at the convention were Donald Trump Jr. and the Beach Boys. A “dream hunt” with Donald Trump Jr. aboard a luxury yacht in Alaska to kill black-tailed deer and sea ducks was sold to two winners for auction at a total of $340,000. A taxidermy ibex mountain goat that Trump Jr. killed was on display on the convention floor.

Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, said, “This convention does nothing other than celebrate senseless violence towards wildlife. For far too long SCI has chosen profits and bragging rights over conservation, ethics and the law, and has been trying to convince the public that the display of thousands of dead animal trophies, parts and products is somehow beneficial to conservation. The public isn’t falling for it anymore. Wild animals are not commodities to be sold, with their deaths something to celebrate. This needs to end.”

This is not the first time that vendors at SCI’s convention defied local authorities. Last year a dozen vendors were found selling illegal wildlife products in potential violation of the state law. HSUS and HSI have submitted evidence of the violations of state law to local enforcement authorities.

Jeff Flocken, president of Humane Society International, said, “No animals are off limit to trophy hunters. From shooting giraffes, hyenas, zebras, elephants, hippopotamus to primates and lions, the trophy hunting industry reveals its true nature – one that is motivated by the thrill to kill, and not by conservation.”

Hunting trips for sale at the convention included:

  • A $350,000 hunt for a critically endangered black rhino in Namibia.
  • An outfitter advertised its “Trump Special” – a $25,000 hunt for a buffalo, sable, roan and crocodile.
  • Advertised as a “bargain” was a captive-bred lion hunt for $8,000 in South Africa.
  • A $6,000 hunt for any six animals that a customer can choose to kill in South Africa. The offerings were: zebras, wildebeest, warthogs, impalas, hartebeest, gemsbok, nyala and waterbuck.
  • A polar bear hunt in Canada was offered for sale for $35,000.
  • An Asiatic black bear hunt in Russia sold for $15,000.
  • A 15-day Alaska hunt to kill a brown bear, black bear, mountain goat and wolf was sold for $25,000.

The Humane Society of the United States, Humane Society International and the Humane Society Legislative Fund are urging the public to ask the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to deny any import request for the trophy of a rare argali sheep that Trump Jr. killed in Mongolia last year.

“No one is above the law—not these outfitters, not the wealthy elite, and not our agencies. Shooting ESA listed species does not enhance their survival and it’s time we make that irrevocably clear,” said Sara Amundson, president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund. “We are fighting for strong legislation that puts an end to our country’s significant contribution to this inhumane practice based on vanity and colonialist fantasies.”

Additionally the organizations are urging the public to ask their members of U.S. Congress to support H.R. 4804, the Prohibiting Threatened and Endangered Creature Trophies Act (ProTECT Act) and H.R.2245 the Conserving Ecosystems by Ceasing the Importation of Large Animal Trophies Act (CECIL Act), which would significantly withdraw the U.S.’s prominent role in global trophy hunting of imperiled species.

Investigation Report here.

Photos/video for download from the 2020 investigation.  

Soundbites on YouTube. 

B-roll on YouTube.

 

Media contacts:

The Humane Society of the United States/Humane Society Legislative Fund:

Rodi Rosensweig, 203-270-8929, RRosensweig@humanesociety.org

Humane Society International:

Nancy Hwa, 202-676-2337, nhwa@hsi.org

-30-

Founded in 1954, the Humane Society of the United States and its affiliates around the globe fight the big fights to end suffering for all animals. Together with millions of supporters, the HSUS takes on puppy mills, factory farms, trophy hunts, animal testing and other cruel industries, and together with its affiliates, rescues and provides direct care for over 100,000 animals every year. The HSUS works on reforming corporate policy, improving and enforcing laws and elevating public awareness on animal issues. More at humanesociety.org.   Subscribeto Kitty Block’s blog,A Humane World. Follow the HSUS Media Relations department on Twitter. Read the award-winning All Animals magazine. Listen to the Humane Voices Podcast. 

 

Humane Society International and its partner organizations together constitute one of the world’s largest animal protection organizations. For more than 25 years, HSI has been working for the protection of all animals through the use of science, advocacy, education and hands on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty worldwide – on the Web at hsi.org.

 

The Humane Society Legislative Fund is a social welfare organization incorporated under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code and formed in 2004 as a separate lobbying affiliate of The Humane Society of the United States. The HSLF works to pass animal protection laws at the state and federal level, to educate the public about animal protection issues, and to support humane candidates for office. Visit us on all our channels: on the web at hslf.org, on our blog at animalsandpolitics.com, on Facebook at facebook.com/humanelegislation and on Twitter at twitter.com/HSLegFund.

Court ruling still required to block federal use of illicit council’s recommendations

Humane Society International / United States


Cecil and his cubs
Brent Stapelkamp

WASHINGTON — After a key legal defeat, the Department of the Interior told a federal district court in New York late Friday that no future meetings of the International Wildlife Conservation Council (IWCC) will take place, bringing an end to the controversial council.

Environmental and animal advocacy groups sued over the IWCC—composed largely of hunting and gun advocates—and chartered by the Trump Administration to advise on the trophy hunting of elephants, lions, and other threatened wildlife. The court recently rejected the administration’s motion to dismiss that case.

“The IWCC’s disbandment is a huge victory in the fight against the Trump administration’s illegal advisory bodies, said Democracy Forward senior counsel Travis Annatoyn. “But the fight isn’t over.”

Democracy Forward is representing the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Center for Biological Diversity, the Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International in a lawsuit challenging the legality of the IWCC under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA). The disbandment announcement came on the heels of a slew of FACA lawsuits against the administration.

“I have little doubt our litigation spurred the administration’s decision to abandon the IWCC and walk away from its biased and un-transparent practices,” said Zak Smith, international wildlife conservation director for the Natural Resources Defense Council. “We’re glad the Trump administration is closing shop on this ridiculously misguided council and we await a full accounting of its tainted work product.”

Disbanding the council is a step forward for wildlife, but the IWCC’s advice, reports, and recommendations also violate FACA and legally cannot influence Interior’s decision-making. Federal law requires government advisory panels to be in the public interest, fairly balanced and protected against improper influence by special interests.

“The end of Trump’s thrill-kill council is a huge victory for elephants, lions and other imperiled animals targeted by trophy hunters,” said Tanya Sanerib, international legal director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “It’s still critical to address this biased committee’s past legal violations and prevent self-serving advice from trophy hunters from poisoning federal wildlife policies.”

The council met five times since its creation in 2017, but the Trump administration has allowed the IWCC’s charter to lapse, meaning it can no longer use taxpayer dollars to convene.

Interior’s filing was submitted as Safari Club International’s Reno, Nevada convention kicked off where the organization auctions off numerous hunting trips, including many targeted at imperiled foreign species.

“SCI’s use of taxpayer dollars to unduly influence international wildlife policy has come to an end, in yet another sign that the unsustainable and inhumane trophy hunting industry is closer to becoming a thing of the past,” said Anna Frostic, senior vice president for programs and policy for Humane Society International and representing the Humane Society of the United States.

Former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke created the IWCC in November 2017 with a mission of promoting the benefits of international trophy hunting. Trump’s Interior Department rejected all nominations from conservation, public interest, or science groups, and instead stacked the Council with friendly political donors, firearm manufacturers and advocates for trophy hunting, many of whom stand to benefit from changes to federal policy.

Media contacts:

The Humane Society of the United States:

Rodi Rosensweig, 203-270-8929, RRosensweig@humanesociety.org

 

Humane Society International:

Nancy Hwa, 202-676-2337, nhwa@hsi.org

 

-30-

 

Founded in 1954, the Humane Society of the United States and its affiliates around the globe fight the big fights to end suffering for all animals. Together with millions of supporters, the HSUS takes on puppy mills, factory farms, trophy hunts, animal testing and other cruel industries, and together with its affiliates, rescues and provides direct care for over 100,000 animals every year. The HSUS works on reforming corporate policy, improving and enforcing laws and elevating public awareness on animal issues. More at humanesociety.org.  

Subscribe to Kitty Block’s blog, A Humane World. Follow the HSUS Media Relations department on Twitter. Read the award-winning All Animals magazine. Listen to the Humane Voices Podcast.  

 

Humane Society International and its partner organizations together constitute one of the world’s largest animal protection organizations. For more than 25 years, HSI has been working for the protection of all animals through the use of science, advocacy, education and hands on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty worldwide – on the Web at hsi.org.

Humane Society International / United States


Video screen grabs from an undercover investigation at Safari Club International’s annual hunter’s convention in Las Vegas.

WASHINGTON — Thousands of trophy hunters from around the world will gather next week in Reno, Nevada (February 5 through 8), for Safari Club International’s annual convention, which will feature approximately 870 exhibitors showcasing and selling trophy hunting opportunities and wildlife parts and products – from animal heads to hides. In addition, trophy hunter Donald Trump Jr. is scheduled to speak at the event on February 8.

Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, said, “This annual event is the largest meeting in the world of people who celebrate the senseless killing, buying and selling of dead animals for bragging rights. As our planet suffers an extinction crisis, it is business as usual for the trophy hunting industry and SCI, who continue to revel in spending millions of dollars every year to destroy imperiled wildlife.”

The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International have analyzed the products promoted for sale and auctions of trophy hunts by exhibitors attending the upcoming 2020 convention. Among those are more than 300 trophy hunts in the U.S. and abroad whose starting bids range from $1,650 to $100,000 each. These hunts will kill at least 860 animals of over 50 species, including black bears, wolves, leopards and elephants. The auctions are expected to bring in more than $5 million to SCI. One of the hunts up for bid is a black-tailed deer hunt with Donald Trump Jr. in Alaska for $17,000.

Jeff Flocken, president of Humane Society International, said, “The trophy hunting industry’s conservation claim is shattered by SCI’s promotion of and profit from killing rare and imperiled animals. Trophy hunting is unethical, ecologically devastating and inflicts tremendous cruelty on wild animals. It’s time that we move beyond a colonial pastime and celebrate wild animals in their natural environment.”

In addition to Donald Trump Jr. speaking at the event, the Beach Boys and Charlie Daniels are scheduled to perform at the convention. The group REO Speedwagon had been scheduled, but they pulled out of the event and HSUS and HSI applauds their decision.

According to reports, Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi is slated to attend this year’s convention to accept an award. Last year, the government of Botswana lifted a ban on elephant hunting in the country, for which he received SCI’s praise, despite local and international backlash and opposition from elephant experts.

The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International are urging the public to ask the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to deny any authorization for Trump Jr. to import the trophy of an Argali sheep he killed in Mongolia last year

Photos/video from the 2019 SCI convention.

 

Media contacts:

The Humane Society of the United States:

Rodi Rosensweig, 203-270-8929, RRosensweig@humanesociety.org

 

Humane Society International:

Nancy Hwa, 202-676-2337, nhwa@hsi.org

 

-30-

 

Founded in 1954, the Humane Society of the United States and its affiliates around the globe fight the big fights to end suffering for all animals. Together with millions of supporters, the HSUS takes on puppy mills, factory farms, trophy hunts, animal testing and other cruel industries, and together with its affiliates, rescues and provides direct care for over 100,000 animals every year. The HSUS works on reforming corporate policy, improving and enforcing laws and elevating public awareness on animal issues. More at humanesociety.org.  

Subscribe to Kitty Block’s blog, A Humane World. Follow the HSUS Media Relations department on Twitter. Read the award-winning All Animals magazine. Listen to the Humane Voices Podcast.  

 

Humane Society International and its partner organizations together constitute one of the world’s largest animal protection organizations. For more than 25 years, HSI has been working for the protection of all animals through the use of science, advocacy, education and hands on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty worldwide – on the Web at hsi.org.