Humane Society International / Mexico


Vivian Argüelles/HSI Cage-free hens in Mexico

MEXICO CITY—Friday, October 11, is World Egg Day, and Humane Society International, one of the world’s largest animal protection organizations, wants to draw the attention of Mexicans to the reality of egg production – in Mexico and globally – and inform consumers how they can help improve the welfare of millions of hens. Watch our World Egg Day video.

Around the world, more than 7 billion hens are raised per year. Mexico is the fourth largest egg producer in the world with 156 million laying hens.

In Mexico, the vast majority of hens spend their entire lives crammed in metal cages, where they cannot stretch their wings or walk. The space per hen in these cages is less than a letter-sized sheet of paper, and the restriction is so severe that hens usually develop abnormalities in their bones due to their inability to move, and experience stress and frustration by not being able to perform their natural behaviors.

Hens are sentient, intelligent and sociable animals. Scientific studies have shown that they can count; they anticipate the future, which in turn affects their decision-making; they empathize with their chicks; and they enjoy social activities such as dust-bathing.

Vivian Argüelles, animal behavior and welfare specialist for HSI/Mexico, said, “In the wild, chickens spend their day scratching and pecking the ground in search of food. They dust-bathe to keep their feathers clean and healthy. They look for different places to  lay their eggs, and at night they sleep on tree branches to keep themselves protected from predators. In cages, hens cannot do any of these things.”

Several countries have totally or partially banned the use of cages for egg-laying hens, including the members of the European Union, Bhutan, India and New Zealand. In the United States, several states, such as California and Washington, have passed their own bans.

“In recent years, growing concern about and the rejection of the intensive confinement of egg-laying hens have mobilized companies, governments, universities and organizations to develop and implement alternatives that offer better welfare conditions to these animals,” Argüelles said.

Among the alternatives available in the Mexican market, there are cage-free production systems, where hens live in closed sheds and have nests in which to lay their eggs, elevated perches where they can rest, litter to scratch, peck and dust-bathe and enough space to walk, stretch their wings and fly. In free-range systems, hens also have access to an outside area where they can exercise, sunbathe and receive greater stimulation from their environment.

In Mexico, cage-free eggs are already available in supermarkets, and dozens of companies in the food industry have  made commitments to buy only cage-free eggs in their supply chains by 2020, 2022 or 2025 at the latest. These companies include Grupo Bimbo, Toks, CMR, McDonalds and 100% Natural, to name a few.

Humane Society International works with food industry companies on the adoption and implementation of their cage-free policies and with poultry farmers to achieve a successful transition. The shift towards systems of greater animal welfare will continue, as  more consumers say, “No” to cages and, if they consume eggs, choose cage-free.

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Media contact: Laura Bravo, laura@labcomunicacion.com.mx, 04455 54556 1476

About Humane Society International
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 / Global


CITES

GENEVA—A ban on international commercial trade in the Asian small-clawed otter has been agreed by an overwhelming majority by world leaders attending the 18th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES CoP18), being held in Geneva, Switzerland. Countries voted to list the Asian small-clawed otter on Appendix I, in addition to an earlier vote to also list the smooth-coated otter on Appendix I. Humane Society International/India and its global affiliate Humane Society International, part of one of the largest global animal protection charities in the world, welcomes the CITES uplisting as essential to the survival of these species.

Mark Simmonds, senior marine scientist at Humane Society International, said: “A wide variety of threats is adversely affecting the Asian small-clawed otter in the wild, such as habitat loss, pollution, and the fur trade, but increasingly it is persecution for the pet trade that is proving its downfall. This is the smallest and arguably the ‘cutest’ of all the otter species, and interest in them, fanned by photos and film on social media, means that a market for live pet animals has been swiftly growing in Asia. They are increasingly being seen in coffee shops in Japan and elsewhere where they are used as props to entice customers who share their experiences on social media platforms like Instagram, thus perpetuating the otter craze.

“With so much stacked against these otters, who are now classified as Vulnerable by the IUCN, we are delighted that they will now benefit from this very welcome, precautionary agreement to give them the highest protection at CITES. The Appendix I listing effectively bans international trade for commercial purposes and removes one of the key threats that they face. This isn’t the end of the story however. We urgently need other complementary conservation initiatives to truly tackle the otter’s demise, and so we hope that this new CITES listing will act as a call to action. We commend India, Nepal, the Philippines and Bangladesh for bringing both the otter proposals forward, and all the countries and conservation organizations that supported them.”  

Sumanth Bindumadhav, HSI/India’s wildlife campaign manager who presented an intervention on the floor of CITES CoP on behalf of 24 other national and international non-profit organisations, said: “HSI/India has long highlighted the myriad threats faced by the small-clawed and smooth-coated otters, so we are delighted by these important CITES actions. Appendix I listings will send an important and timely warning, not least to online and social media audiences, that these are imperilled species and that trade in them is harmful to their welfare and their overall species survival. We hope that it will also lead to additional trade controls, enhanced scrutiny of captive-breeding operations, and aid enforcement, given the challenge in distinguishing between tropical Asian otter species once in trade.”

The decision needs to be ratified at the plenary session of the CITES conference on August 27/28th.

Media Contacts:

Shambhavi Tiwari, +91 8879834125 stiwari@hsi.org

Media contact at CITES CoP in Geneva: Sumanth Bindumadhav, +91 99808 72975 sbindumadhav@hsi.org

HSI/India will build capacity of government veterinary department if needed who will now carry this program forward

Humane Society International / India


MALAPPURAM—Humane Society International/India, on the completion of two years of its animal birth control (ABC) program at Malappuram in Kerala, has decided to hand over operations to the District Animal Husbandry Department and Jilla Panchayat.

Over the past two years, HSI/India’s dog management team has sterilized and vaccinated more than 2,700 dogs in Malappuram. In addition to sterilizing more than 70% of the dog population, HSI/India’s aim was to create healthy and safe coexistence between dogs and human beings. The team started work in early 2017 and has worked across regions of Poonani, Manjeri, Thenipalam,Tirur, Areekode and Chungathara.

Rahul Sehgal, senior director for HSI/India’s companion animals and engagement department, says, “HSI/India started the ABC program in Malappuram to curb dog culling and to deliver high quality spay and neuter. We initiated community engagement to highlight the importance of co-existence with these animals. Our team was supported wonderfully by the local administration and the Panchayats. The program ended on April 30, and the local administration has made arrangements to continue what we started and take it to the next level”.

Dr. Ayub, deputy director of the district animal husbandry office for Malappuram, says, “We are extremely happy at how the team has done the work so far and appreciate the leadership and skills in community work. In all the places where the HSI/India team has operated, they have managed to influence the public as well as the gram panchayats and community leaders into peaceful human – street dog coexistence. Also the work done during the Kerala floods and other rescue work are very commendable.”

In 2015 and 2016, Kerala came under scrutiny because of dog culling that was taking place across the state, a punishable offense under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960. It was during that time that the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India reiterated the illegality and cruelty of dog culling and ordered a stop to it, citing implementation of Animal Birth Control Rules, 2001.

Media Contact: Uma Biswas, +91 8758807223, ubiswas@hsi.org

 

Humane Society International / India


PATNA — Humane Society International/India has joined with Bihar’s Department of Animal Husbandry, People for Animals and local organization Jag Jagran Sansthan to urge devotees of the Gadhimai festival in Nepal not to transport or sacrifice animals during the event this year in November, consistent with the order of the Hon’ble Supreme Court.

The quinquennial festival has long been considered the largest animal sacrifice festival in the world; hundreds of thousands of buffalo, goats, chickens and other animals are decapitated to placate Gadhimai, the goddess of power. Following campaigns by HSI/India and PFA at the last Gadhimai in 2014, there was an estimated 70 per cent reduction in animal sacrifice. In 2015 temple authorities declared a ban on future animal sacrifice. The public awareness drive seeks to ensure that news of the ban reaches the estimated 5 million devotees expected to attend the event.

In a joint effort spanning many months and multiple languages and dialects, the organisations are running street plays, radio advertisements, billboards, and utilising local celebrity support across key districts of Bihar via which the majority of devotees travel to Nepal for the Gadhimai festival.

Arkaprava Bhar, Humane Society International/India’s regional manager for East India, said: “The decision by the Gadhimai temple committee to end the animal sacrifice should spare the lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent animals. But for it to have impact we now have the huge task of making sure that the millions of people heading to Gadhimai are made aware of the temple’s ruling, and bring flowers, sweets and fruit to offer to the goddess instead of buffalo and birds. We are extremely grateful to the Government of Bihar for supporting our efforts to spread the news that the transport of animals to Nepal for religious sacrifice is illegal, and that the temple has also declared an end to this bloodshed. We hope that by watching our street theatre, listening to our radio ads, and reading our education materials, we can save as many animals as possible from a terrible and needles fate.”

The awareness drive started in early March and is now in its second phase in Muzaffarpur, bringing street plays to districts including Darbhanga, Madhubani, Supaul and Kishangan. Similar initiatives will be conducted in other districts of Bihar until October. The Government of Uttar Pradesh also joined with HSI/India and PFA earlier this year at the Kumbh Mela, the world’s largest religious congregation, to make attendees aware of the Gadhimal festival ban on animal sacrifice.

In 2014 the Sashastra Seema Bal, the border force at the Indo-Nepal border, was increased to intercept those attempting to bring live animals for sacrifice, and in total more than 2,000 animals were confiscated.

Mr. Vinod Gunjial, director of Bihar’s Animal Husbandry Department said: “With guards at the Indian-Nepalese border, the movement of animals can be controlled. The practise of sacrifice is not only brutal but also is very stressful to watch. We hope that with all these measures, the awareness drive should leave a positive impact on devotees of Gadhimai.”

Facts:

  • The origins of Gadhimai are said to date back some 265 years when the founder of the Gadhimai temple, Bhagwan Chowdhary, had a dream that the goddess Gadhimai wanted blood in return for freeing him from prison, protecting him from evil, and promising prosperity and power. The goddess asked for a human sacrifice, but Chowdhary offered sacrifice of five animals instead, and this been repeated every five years since.
  • It is estimated that more than 500,000 animals including buffalo, goats, chickens and others were decapitated at Gadhimai in 2009, but in 2014 the numbers had reduced by 70 percent.
  • The Gadhimai temple committee’s 2015 ban on animal sacrifice at the temple was announced after rigorous negotiations with the Temple Trust members by Animal Welfare Network Nepal, PFA and HSI/India.
  • While the temple’s ban on animal sacrifice is limited to the slaughter of buffalo within the main temple arena (as the only area that comes under its jurisdiction), it has appealed top devotees to refrain from all animal sacrifice that also takes place outside of the arena.

Download images from Awareness Drive and Gadhimai 2014 here.

Media Contact: Sanjana Rao, +91 8897827214, srao@hsi.org

Humane Society International / India


David Paul Morris

BANGALORE—In collaboration with Antoine Lewis, a renowned food and wine critic, Humane Society International/India organized a corporate roundtable focused on animal welfare trends in the food and hospitality industries.

The roundtable, which took place at Sheraton Grand, Bengaluru on March 8, saw participation from global leaders in the food and hospitality sector, including Sodexo, IKEA, Compass Group, Hilton, Marriott and Accor.

The event focused on supporting the development and implementation of animal welfare standards within corporate policies, with the purpose of improving the welfare of animals in the food supply chain. Considering the increasing consumer demand for ethical sourcing of food products and the parallel need for traceability, a transition away from battery-cage egg supply chains and towards cage-free egg supply chains and practices was highlighted. Additionally, consumers are increasingly paying attention to the massive negative impact high levels of consumption of meat, dairy and eggs has on the environment and their health, resulting in a growing trend towards the consumption of plant-based foods. To cater to this demand, participants discussed the need to increase the availability of plant-based food on menus.

Speakers included representatives from IKEA India; cage-free poultry farm, Happy Hens; plant-based meat company, Good Dot; and animal welfare experts from HSI. Antoine Lewis, food and wine critic from Mumbai, said, “Many chefs, hoteliers and restaurateurs I have spoken to have expressed a desire to move towards clean, ethically produced ingredients. This is a new area and naturally there are gaps between supply and demand. The roundtable will allow cage-free egg producers and the F&B industry to honestly understand the issues and challenges each faces and hopefully come up with equitable solutions.”

Humane Society International/India is assisting companies with developing and implementing cage-free commitments in their egg procurement policies.

Shreya Paropkari, manager of farm animal protection for Humane Society International/India, said “We are thrilled to be hosting India’s first corporate roundtable on animal welfare. Progressive companies in India have come together for this roundtable with the purpose to build a more humane, healthy and sustainable world. We are here to provide the support the companies require to help achieve this objective, and this roundtable is the first step towards more such collaborations.”

A similar conference will be conducted next week at JW Marriott, Mumbai, and will focus on relationship building with food and hospitality industry leaders and provide attendees with Humane Society International/India’s resources and assistance. Roshith Rajan, director of corporate social responsibility for Sodexo Asia Pacific, will be speaking at that event, sharing the company’s experience in the implementation of animal welfare standards.

Interview opportunities with Antoine Lewis and HSI expert Sara Shields available on request

Media Contact: Sanjana Rao, srao@hsi.org, +91 8897827214

Humane Society International / Global


KERALA, India – Eight puppies who were found covered in thick tar on the streets of Tirur, India had a lucky escape when the local community rallied for hours in a desperate bid to save them. A barrel of tar had collapsed on the puppies in the early hours of the morning, and when local residents heard their whimpering, the tiny puppies had been struggling to breathe or move in the toxic tar for at least eight hours.

A local animal lover Mr Jaleel led the rescue effort which included residents, ambulance drivers and journalists, subsequently joined by animal rescuers from Humane Society International/India who drove for two hours to reach the scene after receiving a call for help from the local government. HSI/India praised the community effort which is all the more remarkable because historically the region has struggled with human/street dog conflict.

HSI/India continued the rescue effort at its facility in Nilambur where the team battled for hours to clean the puppies with vegetable oil until all eight were safely free of the sticky tar and could be reunited with their mum. Sally Varma of Humane Society International/India works with the local community to promote animal welfare and humane street dog management, and she was part of the HSI animal rescue effort when devastating floods hit Kerala last year.

Sally was delighted at the community’s response to the puppies, and said: “This was such an awesome community effort because there is absolutely no doubt that these puppies would have died had the local people not come to their rescue. These tiny puppies had been trapped in the tar for many hours, and were exhausted as well as overwhelmed by the noxious fumes. They had tar covering their eyes, and in their noses and mouths, so they would surely have perished were it not for these compassionate people. HSI’s animal welfare officers refused to give up, and worked tirelessly to remove the tar. It was thrilling to see these sweet pups come back to life and suckle from their mother after their ordeal.”

Mr Jaleel, the ambulance drivers, journalists and HSI/India were presented with an award by the Tirur Press Club for this remarkable rescue effort. In two weeks the puppies will be old enough for HSI/India to vaccinate and sterilise them, before returning them to Tirur where the locals are anxiously waiting to look after them.

Robert Tigga, one of HSI/India’s animal welfare officers who helped the puppies, said: “To see this community tend to these street puppies with such kindness really makes us happy because Kerala has had a very troubled history with brutal dog culling. We’ve been working in this area for some years now on spay and neuter of street dogs, and promoting animal welfare, so this joint effort to save the puppies really feels like we’re seeing a more humane attitude towards these dogs.”

Download video and photos of the puppy rescue here.

Media contact

United Kingdom: Wendy Higgins whiggins@hsi.org

Humane Society International/India and People for Animals applaud ICMR initiative to “think outside the cage”

Humane Society International / Global


NEW DELHI — In a historic move to advance both human medical progress and move away from reliance on monkeys, dogs and other animals as models of human disease, the Indian Council of Medical Research, under the aegis of Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, has announced its plans to establish a new “ICMR Centre of Excellence in Human Pathway-Based Biomedicine and Risk Assessment” in Hyderabad.

ICMR’s announcement comes on the heels of meetings with Humane Society International and People for Animals, which have urged Indian science funding bodies to ramp up their investment in leading technologies such as human organs-on-a-chip and next-generation computer modeling techniques, which are essential for advancing public health and economic growth alongside the United States, Europe, China and other global innovation leaders.

HSI/India Deputy Director Alokparna Sengupta said: “We are grateful to ICMR for thinking outside the cage and heeding our call to establish this urgently needed centre for advancement of human-specific approaches for medical research and product safety testing. More and more scientists are questioning the relevance and utility of animal-based research and testing, while foreign funding agencies are investing heavily in cutting-edge non-animal technologies. This new ICMR centre, if properly resourced, has the potential to make India a key global player in 21st century medical research. We look forward to continued collaboration with ICMR to make this vision a reality.”

In parallel, ICMR has coordinated the drafting of an “Indian Roadmap on Alternatives to Animals in Research” with inputs from eminent Indian scientists and experts in the area, including representatives of HSI/India. It is expected that this white paper document will serve as a foundation for developing future research funding calls by ICMR, which will ultimately drive the science agenda at the new human-focused Centre of Excellence in Hyderabad.

Humane Society International is a founding member of the Biomedical Research for the 21st Century (BioMed21) Collaboration, a diverse, international group of stakeholders who share a vision of a new, human-focused paradigm in medical research. The Collaboration is currently advertising an open funding call aimed exclusively at Indian health scientists, to support the development and open-access publication of targeted review articles in key public health areas such as cancer, diabetes (type II), cardiovascular diseases and tuberculosis.

Media Contact: Sanjana Rao, +918897827214, srao@hsi.org