Humane Society International / Europe

Mark Von Holden/AP Images for the HSUS

BRUSSELS— Today, the European Parliament approved the revised Environment Crime Directive, strengthening the EU’s approach to addressing environmental crime. This decision, endorsing the compromise agreement reached between the Council of the European Union and the European Commission in November 2023, marks a significant step towards better protecting wildlife and habitats. The updated legislation equips authorities with enhanced tools to tackle serious environmental offenses and deter criminals, including wildlife traffickers. Humane Society International/Europe welcomes the European Parliament’s adoption of the revised Environment Crime Directive as a positive step to ensure better protection of wildlife and the environment.

Environmental crime stands as the third most lucrative organised criminal activities in the world, growing at a rate of  . It contributes significantly to biodiversity loss, increases the risk of zoonotic diseases, and has serious negative socio-economic impacts, particularly in countries where animals and wildlife products are sourced. Despite its considerable profitability, detecting, prosecuting and penalizing environmental crime offenses has proven to be  challenging.

A 2019-2020 evaluation revealed that the effectiveness of the initial EU Directive (2008) addressing environmental protection via criminal law was limited. Few cases resulted in sentences, imposed sanctions were too low to deter criminals, and cross-border cooperation was not consistently occurring. Recognising these shortcomings, the European Commission presented in 2021 a proposal aimed at enhancing the effectiveness of the Directive.

Dr Joanna Swabe, senior director of public affairs for Humane Society International/Europe, said:

“The revised Environmental Crime Directive, although not perfect, does respond to societal demands for environmental crime to be taken more seriously. The legislation will now allow more stringent penalties to be imposed on those who commit the most serious criminal offences against the environment, and will hopefully serve as a deterrent to all those considering partaking in crimes against animals, such as wildlife trafficking. We also warmly welcome the fact that underwater noise pollution has been included in the list of criminal offences. This poses a significant threat to the welfare of marine mammals, especially cetaceans, since it disrupts their ability to communicate and navigate properly. We are glad that this threat to marine wildlife has been recognised.”

Over the past few years, HSI/Europe has worked closely with other animal and environmental protection organisations to ensure that the EU legislation on environmental crime, which was originally passed in 2008, was significantly strengthened. Amongst other things, the revised Environmental Crime Directive now:

  • Introduces common sanction levels for both natural and legal persons.
  • Provides a far more comprehensive list of environmental offences to be criminalised in Member States than in the original legislation, although fails to include one the most lucrative environmental crimes, namely illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.
  • Includes Annex C species of the EU Wildlife Trade Regulations, thereby broadening the scope of the Directive to cover, for example, threatened endemic species.
  • Offers additional tools for national prosecutors through legal guidance and national strategies.
  • While stopping short of using the term ecocide, it introduces a “qualified offence” for the most serious environmental crimes, which cause widespread and substantial damage to the environment that could be irreversible or long-lasting.
  • Enables the involvement of civil society organisations and ordinary citizens to help combat environmental offenses, effectively asserting their legitimacy in exposing environmental crimes and marking a first step toward protecting them from intimidation or litigation when reporting such crimes or assisting investigations.
  • Strengthens data collection provisions to assist Member States’ reporting practices.
  • Recognises the need for enhanced specialisation, training and resources for competent enforcement and judicial authorities.

Media contact: Yavor Gechev, communications director for HSI/Europe, ; +359889468098 ; +393515266629

Humane Society International / Europe

Ukrainian Red Cross

BRUSSELS―Animal protection charity Humane Society International and humanitarian agency the Ukrainian Red Cross will reach their goal of having helped 100,000 dogs, cats and other pets and 40,000 pet guardians in war-torn Ukraine by the end of 2024 since their collaboration first began two years ago. The organizations have been working together to provide lifesaving aid such as pet food, veterinary care and supplies for pets and support for their owners internally displaced or otherwise affected by conflict in Ukraine.

So far, the partnership has provided emergency relief in 14 regions across Ukraine, reaching over 19,000 pet guardians and 40,000 pets and delivering over 205 tonnes of pet food. In addition, 48 tonnes of cat litter, 3,530 litter boxes, 2,500 pet carriers and 9,000 packages of flea and tick prevention have been distributed to help dogs and cats in need. To reach their goal, the HSI/URC program will expand its outreach to three more regions, Zakarpattia,  Kharkiv and Sumy, to ensure that aid reaches those in need across Ukraine.

Ruud Tombrock, executive director of Humane Society International/Europe, said: “As the conflict in Ukraine persists, both people and animals are enduring unimaginable hardships side by side. Pets are family, and in such dire circumstances they provide comfort and a sense of normality. We are grateful for the recognition by the Ukrainian Red Cross that the welfare of animals during times of war is intricately linked with the well-being of the people who cherish and depend on them. We are committed to keeping people and pets together.”

In the two years since Russia invaded Ukraine, the war has displaced over 11 million people, including 5 million inside the country, many of whom refuse to evacuate without their pets. To help these people and their animals, the joint efforts of HSI and the URC have provided vital supplies in Kyiv, Khmelnytskyi, Donetsk, Rivne, Zaporizhzhia, Chernihiv, Volyn, Poltava, Zhytomyr, Ternopil, Cherkasy, Chernivtsi, Mykolaiv and Kryvyi Rih. In regions such as Donetsk where congregating in centralized locations poses risks, volunteers from the Red Cross facilitate door-to-door deliveries to ensure the safety of recipients. In select districts, such as the Podil district in Kyiv, additional partnerships enable internally displaced Ukrainians to access complimentary veterinary care.

Maksym Dotsenko, director general of the Ukrainian Red Cross, said: “The Ukrainian Red Cross highly appreciates the support of Humane Society International in providing aid for pets during this difficult time. Being able to stay together with pets is so important for the well-being of our citizens, and this program is helping to make that possible.”

Humane Society International has been helping Ukrainian refugees and their pets since March 2022, providing emergency funding and supplies such as pet food, pet carriers, blankets and veterinary care.

Download Photos


Media contact: Wendy Higgins:

Landmark decision will increase protection of elephants, lions, rhinos and other iconic species

Humane Society International / Europe

Britta Jaschinski, co-founder of Photographers Against Wildlife Crime

BRUSSELS—In a momentous triumph for wildlife conservation and animal welfare, Belgium’s Parliament sealed a landmark decision today by voting unanimously in favour of the Minister of Climate, the Environment, Sustainable Development and Green Deal, Zakia Khattabi’s bill prohibiting the import of hunting trophies from endangered species into the country. This historic move, following nearly two years since the Parliament’s initial call for such a ban, will protect revered species such as lions and rhinos.

The vote, endorsed in the Belgian Chamber of Representatives unanimously, echoes the 91% of Belgians standing against trophy hunting and the 88% supporting a ban on the importation of any hunting trophy, according to a 2020 Ipsos survey commissioned by Humane Society International/Europe.

Before the ban, Belgium imported trophies of species vulnerable to extinction such as hippopotamus, cheetahs and polar bears. The new law will stop the import of hunting trophies from many species currently at risk of extinction due to trade or that could be threatened unless trade is limited. All species listed in Annex A of the European Regulation 338/97 on the protection of species of wild fauna and flora, such as jaguars, cheetahs, leopards, some brown bears, Cape mountain zebra and chimpanzees, and African elephants will be protected by the new bill, along with certain species in Annex B of the same regulation, including African lions, Southern white rhinos, hippos and argali sheep, also listed in Annex XIII to Regulation (EC) No 865/2006 regulating the trade of protected wild flora and fauna. The new law surpasses the 2022 Parliament resolution, by extending protection to more species from Annex B than the initial six initially covered by the resolution.

Minister of Climate, the Environment, Sustainable Development and Green Deal, Zakia Khattabi says: “With the approval of my legislative project this Thursday in plenary, the Parliament is providing a legal basis to the resolution it unanimously adopted on 24 March 2022. It was urgent and necessary to protect these threatened and endangered species!”

Member of Parliament Kris Verduyckt (Vooruit, Flemish Socialists), who initiated the legislative proposal to ban hunting trophy imports, said: “Our country is finally banning the import of hunting trophies of endangered animals. The protection of these species is incompatible with trophy hunting imports. I am delighted that my legislative proposal is now enshrined in our legislation and I hope that it will serve as a source of inspiration for many other countries.”

Having championed this cause for years and collaborated closely with Belgian MPs to garner parliamentary support, Humane Society International/Europe applauds the adoption of this crucial legislation, which brings to a successful outcome a complicated legislative process. The animal protection charity has worked with MPs to secure an import ban for over two years, resulting at first in a unanimously supported parliamentary resolution in 2022 that became a legislative proposal approved by the Federal government’s Council of Ministers in July 2023.

“The Belgian Parliament made history today for animals and is illustrating its continued and principled stand against the senseless killing of endangered wildlife,” said Ruud Tombrock, executive director of HSI/Europe. “With this decision, Belgium positions itself as a leader in protecting biodiversity and endangered species. We believe other European countries are also ready to follow suit and take a strong stance against trophy hunting by banning imports of such souvenirs. The time is now for an EU-wide ban on the import of hunting trophies from endangered and protected species, reflecting the views of citizens across Member States in the European Union who share a commitment to being cautious and protective of animals and biodiversity, as well as preventing the fragmentation of the EU Single Market.”

The ban in Belgium sends a positive signal in support of the adoption of a similar ban in neighbouring France, where a cross-party Assembly bill proposal to ban the import of hunting trophies of protected species is currently under parliamentary session. That ban was proposed by Ecologist MP Sandra Regol with the support of Renaissance MP Corinne Vignon, chair of the Assembly’s Study Group on the Condition and Welfare of Animals.

Before its implementation, the adopted Belgian legislation needs to receive royal sanction and promulgation. The text will then be published in the ‘Moniteur Belge,’ coming into force on the day specified within the text, or if unspecified, 10 days after publication.

Download pictures of hunting trophies and campaign materials against trophy hunting here.


  • Trophy hunting of endangered species poses a severe threat to conservation and the world’s natural heritage. Trophy hunters prefer to kill the largest, most physically impressive animals, whose loss can cause cascade declines in populations. Many of the targeted species, such as African elephants, rhinoceros and leopards, are facing the risk of extinction and play crucial roles in maintaining healthy ecosystems and biodiversity.
  • According to an HSI/EU report, the EU is the second largest importer of hunting trophies after the United States, with an average of 3.000 trophies imported in the period between 2014 and 2018. The EU was also the largest importer of cheetah trophies with 297 cheetah trophies imported into the EU between 2014 and 2018. The top five species imported into the EU as trophies: Hartmann’s mountain zebra (3.119), Chacma baboon (1.751), American black bear (1.415), brown bear (1.056) and the African elephant (952),
  • Belgium is the 13th largest hunting trophy importer of internationally protected species in Europe.
  • In May 2016, the Netherlands instituted a ban on the import of hunting trophies for more than 200 species listed under Annex A of European Regulation 338/97 on the protection of species of wild fauna and flora by regulating trade therein and of species in danger of extinction. The import ban also applies to the following Annex B species: white rhinoceros, hippopotamus, mouflon (wild sheep from the Caucasus), lion and polar bear. A total of 200 animal species are affected by the import licenses ban.
  • France implemented a ban on the import of lion-hunting trophies in 2015. In 2023, a Bill proposal for registration, aimed at “stopping the issuance of import permits for hunting trophies of certain endangered species” was tabled.
  • The import of hunting trophies into Finland was restricted in June 2023. The new Nature Conservation Act includes a provision that prohibits the import of individual animals or their parts from the most endangered species worldwide which are threatened by international trade as trophies from countries outside the EU.
  • In Germany, the Minister of the Environment, Steffi Lemke (The Greens), announced that she intends to restrict the import of hunting trophies from protected animal species. Germany terminated the Country’s membership in the International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation, a pro-trophy hunting lobby, in 2022.
  • In Italy in 2022, a bill aimed at banning the import, export and re-export to and from Italy of hunting trophies obtained from animals that are protected by CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) was presented. After the fall of the government and the elections in 2022, the same bill was tabled again in Parliament.


Media contact: Cassie Bodin-Duval,  international media relations coordinator at Humane Society International/Europe,; +32 469 149 469

Animal-Free Safety Assessment Collaboration urges European Chemicals Agency to step up compliance with mandates to prevent animal testing

Humane Society International / Europe


BRUSSELS—A new paper published this month in Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology by Unilever, Procter & Gamble, Innospec and other members of the Animal-Free Safety Assessment Collaboration has exposed numerous concrete examples of acceptance barriers to companies’ good-faith attempts to honour the requirement under European chemicals law that new animal testing may only be undertaken “as a last resort.”

The peer-reviewed article, “The last resort requirement under REACH: from principle to practice,” also provides recommendations to enhance the governance and enforcement of the legal requirement established in the EU Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) regulation. If implemented, the AFSA suggestions would significantly advance science and animal welfare by helping to inform upcoming plans to revise REACH and develop an EU roadmap for phasing out animal testing in the chemicals and other regulated product sectors.

Members of AFSA have issued the following statements:

“This paper highlights the challenges and type of barriers that REACH registrants often face when using non-animal methods to try to meet various test requirements,” said Anders Bergqvist, PhD, head of toxicology team for Global Product Compliance Europe. “While we will certainly continue to aptly use non-animal methods, we hope that the recommendations presented in this paper will be adopted by the European Commission and the European Chemicals Agency so that animal testing under REACH, before being phased out, can be reduced to the absolute minimum.”

“All scientists must uphold the legal requirement that animal testing is conducted only ‘as a last resort’ when addressing REACH information requirements,” said Dr Carl Westmoreland for Unilever’s Safety and Environmental Assurance Centre. “To ensure that this principle is transparently applied to all proposed testing, it is essential that new science which offers advanced approaches to adapting standard information requirements is robustly applied, discussed and submitted.”

James Dawick, senior toxicology and risk assessment manager, and Ian Callan, vice president global regulatory compliance and ESG, Innospec, together said: “Innospec is very proud to have collaborated with AFSA colleagues on this important publication. As an organisation we are working hard across multiple forums to eliminate the need for animal testing. This publication provided a great opportunity for us to highlight some of the challenges and opportunities on the subject, specifically in regard to EU REACH. Innospec sincerely hopes the case studies and solutions provided in this AFSA paper serves to stimulate dialogue with key stakeholders and catalyse the necessary changes to ensure animal testing is used as a last resort under EU REACH.”

“As P&G is a founding member of AFSA, we are happy to have contributed to hands-on ingredient examples evidencing how well animal-free methods address safety questions without the need for new animal data,” said Dr Xiaoling Zhang, senior scientist and toxicologist, Central Product Safety, Global Product Stewardship for Procter & Gamble. “We hope this paper will build trust and help accelerate the global adoption of non-animal methods for chemical safety assessments.”

“We are proud to support efforts that will help drive greater acceptance of new approach methodologies to validate the safety of ingredients around the world,” said Ben Carrick, head of global public policy at Kenvue.  “Through the implementation of these recommendations, we hope we can reduce the need for unnecessary testing on animals and only leverage these outdated methods as a last resort for chemicals regulation in the EU.”

“Companies should not be penalised for obeying the law and making best efforts to avoid new animal testing except as a ‘last resort’,” said Jay Ingram, director of chemicals for Humane Society International.Chemicals, chemical regulations, guidance and regulatory compliance reviews by the European Chemicals Agency and EU Member States should facilitate, not impede, compliance with this legal mandate. We hope our publication sparks dialogue and action to ensure regulatory enforcement mechanisms are appropriately leveraged in the pursuit of protecting human and environmental health and animal welfare—a true win, win, win for everyone.”


Media Contact: Emily Ehrhorn:; 202-779-1814


  • Despite efforts from regulatory bodies to increase the use and acceptance of non-animal methods such as read-across, a popular non-animal approach, their use has remained static from 2016 to 2022. Given the predicted increase in the number of chemicals proposed in the EU over the next 30 years, it is vital that companies are adequately supported in the safety assessment process.
  • Co-operative efforts to further support the transition towards an animal-free future of chemical legislation require genuine intentions to execute the last resort requirement. The peer-reviewed article sets out recommendations for the European Commission, ECHA, and companies registering new products:
  • The study has revealed the redundancy of ECHA’s requested animal tests, Companies who adhere to REACH’s last resort requirement and sufficiently establish safety using non-animal methods have been asked by ECHA to reconsider their approach, being left with no option but to test on animals.
  • Some EU-based companies initially use animal tests rather than as a last resort, due to ECHA’s lack of provision, whereby those collecting data to register new chemicals and products face several challenges in satisfying the last resort requirement. For example, data from read-across is often rejected after ECHA reviews.
  • Inflexible administrative processes, non-acceptance of non-animal methods, and redundancy of testing can contribute to a fear of rejection from regulators, creating an environment not conducive to mainstream adherence of REACH’s last resort requirement.
  • In 2021, the European Parliament called for acceleration towards the transition to innovation without the use of animals in regulatory testing. A 2022 European Citizens initiative signed by over 1.4 million people echoed this notion, supporting the phasing out of animal testing in the EU. The European Parliament response to this initiative repeats its commitment to ‘reducing and potentially eliminating animal testing in the context of chemicals legislation’.

Humane Society International / Europe


BRUSSELS—Today the European Commission has announced that it will be taking steps to reduce legal protections for wolves in the EU. To achieve this, they will propose the downgrading of the wolf’s protection status under the Bern Convention. At present, wolves are listed under Appendix II, which means they require special protection. However, if Parties to the Bern Convention agree to this proposal, the species will be downlisted to Appendix III. While still protected, the “exploitation” of the species could still be regulated in accordance with the Convention. This would open the door to more wolves being killed in the EU and the potential amendment of the EU Habitats Directive.

Humane Society International/Europe condemns the Commission’s alarming attempts to downgrade legal protections for wolves in the EU. Despite the remarkable resurgence of this species as a conservation success, the leadership of the Commission, instead of upholding its commitment to biodiversity protection, appears to be yielding to pressure from farming and hunting lobbies advocating for increased wolf killings. HSI/Europe is also concerned about the process that led to the current decision.

Dr Joanna Swabe, senior director of public affairs for HSI/Europe, says: “This decision of the European Commission is deeply troubling, as it is driven more by political convenience than scientific evidence and stems from an opaque and irregular consultation process relying on anecdotal submissions.”

HSI/Europe, in collaborating with other animal and environmental protection organisations, has consistently communicated its profound concerns to President Ursula  von der Leyen regarding the alarming trajectory of large carnivore protection.

Dr Swabe emphasizes: “If President von der Leyen believes that she is currying favour with rural voters with such decisions ahead of the EU elections, she should think twice. A recent survey conducted among rural communities in 10 Member States found that a significant majority are keen to see legal protections for wolves upheld and priority given to their conservation. Rather than trying to destroy legal protections for these large carnivores, the Commission should be working harder to promote the uptake of coexistence measures in Member States, since opportunities to implement mitigation measures are being underutilised despite the fact that farmers can receive 100% remuneration for taking non-lethal action to protect their animals.”

  • The Council of Europe’s Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats, known more commonly as the Bern Convention,is a legal instrument in the field of nature conservation, covering most of Europe and extending to some states of Africa.
  • On 4th September 2023, the Commission issued a press release claiming that the concentration of wolf packs in the EU has become a danger for farm animals and potentially for humans. This statement was misleading and not based on science. It also announced the collection of data on “challenges related to the return of wolves” for an 18-day period.
  • HSI/Europe and other NGOs consequently wrote to President von der Leyen raising concerns that this public ‘consultation’ violated the Commission’s own rules with regard to Better Regulation, and challenging its necessity given the data generated by the recent Fitness Check of the Nature Directives, as well as from Member States reporting under the requirements of the Habitats Directive, including in relation to the existing derogations concerning large carnivores.
  • A survey conducted by Savanta in November 2023 among a sample of 10,000 inhabitants of rural areas in 10 Member States (Germany, France, Spain, Netherlands, Italy, Belgium, Poland, Denmark, Sweden and Romania) found that many rural inhabitants are supportive of protecting wolves and other large carnivores, with 68% stating that they should be strictly protected and over two-thirds (72%) agreeing that they have a right to co-exist.
  • The farming and hunting lobby have consistently been pushing for the protection status of wolves to be downgraded. Yet the Savanta survey found that a very low proportion of respondents indicated that they feel well-represented by hunting (12%) and farming (18%) interest groups.
  • Wolves are listed in the Annexes of the EU Habitats Directive as either a strictly protected or protected species, depending on the population in question. Hunting permits to kill them can only be granted under exceptional circumstances.
  • The Habitats Directive authorises Member States to use derogations to allow management control provided there is “no satisfactory alternative and the derogation is not harmful to the maintenance of the populations of the species concerned.” These exceptions are meant to stop “serious damage” to livestock and crops, protect the public’s health and safety or for research and education. However, research indicates that while in theory hunting may be allowed in very narrow circumstances, in reality it would be very difficult to do so in a way that complies with all criteria of the Directive, and questionable whether it could comply with the precondition that no satisfactory alternatives exist.
  • The Commission recently published a detailed Guidance Document to provide clarification to Member States on how this derogation can be applied.
  • The EU’s LIFE programme has already funded numerous projects to help effectively mitigate human-large carnivore conflicts.
  • State Aid provisions compensate farmers with 100% financial remuneration for losses suffered and costs incurred by predator attacks, but also offer 100% reimbursement for the mitigation measures implemented. The primary issue is that farmers are not always aware of their entitlement to such funds, and Member States are slow in compensating them for their losses.


Media contact: Yavor Gechev, communications director for HSI/Europe: ; +359889468098 ; +393515266629

Heavily watered-down animal welfare package also disappoints with weak animal transport proposal

Humane Society International / Europe

Jo-Anne McArthur

BRUSSELS—Animal protection group Humane Society International/Europe has called “inexcusable” the European Commission’s failure today to recommend an EU-wide fur farming ban in response to the 1.5 million signature-strong European Citizens’ Initiative petition. Despite overwhelming evidence that animal suffering is endemic within fur farming, the European Commission failed to urgently end the suffering of 10 million foxes, raccoon dogs, mink and chinchillas killed on EU fur farms each year and instead delayed until 2026 any decision on proposing a ban. HSI/Europe says that the Commission’s failure to deliver a ban condemns millions of sentient animals to lives not worth living on the EU’s remaining fur farms.

The Commission’s Communication states the European Food Safety Authority will provide its scientific opinion on the welfare of animals on fur farms by March 2025, followed by an evaluation which the Commission pledged to present by March 2026 to say whether they will deliver an EU-wide ban on fur farming and on the sale of fur taken from mink, foxes, raccoon dogs, and chinchillas. Given that the mandate of the current Commission is due to end in late 2024, there is no guarantee that their successors will make good on this promise.

Dr Joanna Swabe, senior director of public affairs for Humane Society International/Europe, noted: “The plans announced today show a European Commission that is out of touch with public opinion and expectations for stronger laws to stop animals suffering. Millions of European citizens recognise that keeping huge numbers of wild animals on fur factory farms is grossly inhumane, and leading virologists warn that fur farms present a very real pandemic disease risk. So, it is deeply frustrating and worrying that the Commission is side-stepping its responsibility for decisive action to end the outdated and unnecessary fur trade. Irrespective of fur industry claims about welfare, each and every fur farm investigation in recent times consistently shows chronically stressed animals living under appalling conditions. Stereotypical behaviours, self-mutilation, untreated wounds and even cannibalism are tragically common horrors on European fur farms. The Commission’s failure to deliver a ban today is inexcusable and condemns millions of sentient animals to lives not worth living on the EU’s remaining fur farms.”

The announcement about the Fur Free Europe ECI was made alongside the publication of the Commission’s highly watered-down Animal Welfare Package. The only proposals that the Commission has delivered today are to revise Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 on the protection of animals during transport and related operations, and a new Regulation on the welfare of dogs and cats and their traceability. Alone, these proposals fall short of the commitments made in the Farm to Fork Strategy and the Commission’s promise to the 1.4 million European citizens backing the ‘End the Cage Age’ European Citizen’s Initiative

Ruud Tombrock, executive director of HSI/Europe, commented: “While the proposal on animal transport contains some progressive elements, it ignores EFSA’s scientific recommendations about making sure no animal is transported in frigidtemperatures below 5°C and suffocating heat exceeding30°C. Derogations would still allow vulnerable and young animals, such as calves not yet weaned from their mother’s milk to be transported for long durations byroad. Absurdly, when these unweaned animals are transported by sea, as it often happens with calves exported from Ireland to mainland Europe, the time travelled by sea does not count as journey time. There is also no ban on live exports to non-EU countries, which has been long demanded by animal protection NGOs. The failure to address these issues is evidence that industry interests have prevailed over science and ethics, and that despite this legislative revision, it will be business as usual for operators to the detriment of animal welfare. Member States and Members of the European Parliament during the next political term must commit to strengthening this proposal to give animals the protection that they deserve.”

Facts on fur farming
  • The Commission’s communication on the Fur Free Europe ECI acknowledges that fur farming poses a risk to public health and that it is relevant to the EU’s One Health policy of protecting animals, humans and the environment. To these ends, it commits to conducting three on-site visits to fur farms to assess the disease control mechanisms in place, as well as looking into animal welfare on the selected farms.
  • The risk to native biodiversity posed by fur farms is also addressed in the Communication. While raccoon dogs are already listed on the list of invasive alien species of Union concern, the Commission states that in 2024 it will consider whether to propose to include American mink in this list. Previous attempts to do so had been blocked by several Member States despite the responsible scientific committee’s approval of a risk assessment highlighting the threat American mink pose to native biodiversity.
  • Fur farming has already been completely banned in 15 Member States (with phase-outs still ongoing in some), namely Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Slovenia and Slovakia. Partial bans have also been introduced in other Member States, namely Denmark, Sweden and Hungary. Legislation in Germany has rendered fur farming economically unviable. A proposal to ban fur farming is currently under consideration in Romania.
Facts on improving lives of animals farmed for food:
  • In 2020, the Commission committed to revising and expanding the scope of the existing EU animal welfare legislation in the framework of the EU Farm to Fork Strategy. Following the 1.4 million signatures strong ECI to End the Cage Age, the Commission later pledged to deliver a legislative proposal to end caged confinement for animals farmed for food by the end of 2023. This proposal has not been forthcoming.
  • The Commission’s proposal to revise the existing animal transport legislation includes the following elements:
    • Proposing the lowering of maximum journey times for most species. For example, horses, cows, sheep, goats and pigs should not be transported to slaughter for more than nine hours.
    • Updating space allowances to be aligned with EFSA’s recommendations on animal transport
    • Protecting young unweaned calves, lambs, kids, piglets and foals by banning on-road transportation over eight hours. However, a very concerning loophole exists where if part of the animal transportation occurs at sea, the time spent at sea is not included in the overall journey duration, thereby undermining the protection of unweaned animals.
    • Requiring real-time traceability of live animal consignments for all road journeys, which will help enforce rules designed to protect animals, such as maximum transportation times.
    • Limiting live animal transport to ships flying white or grey flags. Under the performance ratings of the Paris Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Controls, only those ships will be allowed to operate and receive authorisation certificates to transport live animals. This will exclude ships that have shown an excessive number of deficiencies to be responsible for transporting animals.


Media contact: Cassie Bodin-Duval, international media relations coordinator;

Humane Society International

Humane Society International / Italy


ROME—The leading Italian airline, ITA Airways, proudly announces its support of the campaign #NotInMyWorld of the global animal protection charity Humane Society International/Europe. The airline has adopted a new corporate policy that prohibits the transportation of hunting trophies on all company flights, both as cargo and as passenger baggage. This stands as a significant testament to the Company’s commitment to wildlife conservation, as well as a substantial contribution to ending trophy hunting and fostering business practices that acknowledge the global community’s responsibility for biodiversity protection.

Hundreds of thousands of animals globally, including endangered and threatened species, are killed by trophy hunters for amusement and boasting, contributing to the decline of wild populations, conservation challenges, and inhumane practices. Unlike subsistence hunting, the primary motivation for those engaged in this activity is to kill animals for competition and entertainment, targeting rare or highly sought-after animals for their physical characteristics (thick manes, long tusks, overall size, etc.) and turning them into trophies for display to showcase success in hunting. Considering that a significant number of trophy hunters who book overseas hunting trips intend to transport their macabre souvenirs back home, the transportation sector plays a key role in facilitating this ethically questionable and harmful industry.

On a national level, ITA Airways’ commitment holds particular significance since Italy ranks among the primary importers of hunting trophies in Europe. Between 2014 and 2021, 442 hunting trophies from mammals protected under CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) were imported, including hippos, rhinos, elephants, and lions. These data reveal the country’s active involvement in the trophy hunting industry, despite a survey indicating that 86% of Italians oppose this practice, with 74% supporting a legislative ban on trophy imports.

By joining the campaign, ITA Airways has taken several measures including:

  • Addition of hunting trophies to the list of prohibited items: ITA Airways has expanded the list of prohibited items for transportation in both passenger baggage and cargo, expressly including hunting trophies. This clear prohibition ensures that such items are not accepted on ITA Airways flights.
  • Online publication of the policy: The hunting trophy policy has been published on the ITA Airways’ official website, providing transparency and accessibility to the new directives. This step reflects the Company’s commitment to open and responsible communication.
  • Update of operational manuals for cargo and ground procedures: ITA Airways has reviewed and updated its operations manuals, ensuring that the new provisions regarding hunting trophies are fully integrated into cargo procedures and ground operations.
  • Dissemination of the policy to staff, hubs, and suppliers: The new policy has been disseminated at all levels of the Company, including flight and ground staff, as well as suppliers and hubs where the airline operates. This dissemination ensures full understanding and adherence to the new provisions regarding hunting trophies.

Giovanna Di Vito, ITA Airways’ chief program office, ESG & Customer Operations, emphasizes “Our firm support for Humane Society International/Europe’s campaign to stop the import of hunting trophies into Italy and Europe reflects ITA Airways’ ongoing commitment to the planet, our country, and communities. Our Company’s new policy, which formalizes a ban on the carriage of hunting trophies on its flights, is a concrete action, our contribution to the protection of wildlife and the promotion of that protection. Indeed, we believe that companies have a key role in supporting and spreading ethical practices that represent real progress toward a more responsible and sustainable future.”

Martina Pluda, director of Humane Society International/Europe in Italy, states: “ITA Airways’ support to our campaign and their new policy represent a highly significant contribution to the goal of ending cruel trophy hunting. In fact, the corporate sector also plays a huge role in the collective action necessary to protect threatened wildlife globally. With HSI/Europe’s #NotInMyWorld campaign, we continue to strengthen our commitment to the preservation of endangered animal species and flora and for the introduction of bans on import, export and re-export of hunting trophies from protected animals in Italy and Europe.”

In addition to ITA Airways, an increasing number of airlines, cargo operators, and transport companies worldwide have adopted corporate policies against the transportation of hunting trophies. Please visit for an overview of all transport companies.

Visit  the new ITA Airways corporate policy 


Media contact:

  • HSI/Europe: Eva-Maria Heinen, communications & PR manager for HSI in Italy and Germany:; 3338608589
  • ITA Airways: Pietro Caldaroni, Head of Communication and Institutional relations;

Humane Society International / Europe

Thomas Szacka-Marier for HSI

BRUSSELS―With just a week to go before the European Commission is due to deliver its formal response to the European Citizens’ Initiative petition for an EU-wide fur farming ban, animal protection organizations, members of the Fur Free Alliance and MEPs gathered opposite the European Parliament to highlight the suffering of animals exploited for fur fashion.  More than 1.5 million EU citizens signed the ECI petition for a Fur Free Europe which could end the suffering of 10 million foxes, raccoon dogs, mink and chinchilla on EU fur farms each year.

Campaigners from Humane Society International/Europe, Oikeutta eläimille and Otwarte Klatki, Gaia and Tu Abrigo Su Vida wore body screens broadcasting footage recently obtained from undercover investigations on fur farms in six Member States, namely Finland, Poland, Denmark, Spain, Latvia and Lithuania. The disturbing footage exposes the harsh realities of intensively confining wild species on fur factory farms, and shows mink and foxes in small, wire cages, enduring horrifying injuries, maggot infested wounds and painful infections.

Dr Joanna Swabe, senior director of public affairs for Humane Society International/Europe, said: “This new footage showing mink, foxes and raccoon dogs suffering from the most horrific injuries and displaying stereotypical behaviours, confirms just how poor animal welfare standards are on Europe’s remaining fur farms. Despite fur industry claims of improved welfare on fur farms, the truth is there is precious little evidence that anything has really changed since the fur farm investigations of the 1980s. Animal suffering is endemic within fur farming and the only ethical solution, which also satisfies the demands of a majority of EU citizens, is to ban fur farming altogether. The European Commission must now take action to deliver a legislative proposal to prohibit fur farming at an EU level.”

Kristo Muurimaa, campaigns director at Finnish animal group Oikeutta eläimille, added: “Over the past decade, I have visited dozens of fur farms in Finland and elsewhere in the world, and the one common factor is the appalling welfare conditions under which the animals are standardly kept. It is extremely common to see abnormal behaviours, evidence of fighting, untreated injuries and even instances of cannibalism. I’ve seen these poor conditions on fur farms certified as complying with the industry’s voluntary animal welfare standards, demonstrating that this certification is not worth the paper it is written on. It is quite simply impossible to safeguard or guarantee the welfare of animals intensively bred for fur.”

Karolina Pelka, investigations specialist at Otwarte Klatki in Poland, said: “Given the conditions under which animals on fur farms are intensively kept, bred and killed, it is impossible to meet their complex welfare needs. Let it be clear. Any attempt to develop EU animal welfare standards for fur animals, which is based on the existing caged housing system, cannot deliver meaningful welfare improvements for these animals. Moreover, it would be an insult to the more than 1.5 million EU citizens who signed the ECI calling for a Fur Free Europe. They will be satisfied by nothing less than an EU-wide ban on fur farming.”

“In this day and age, it is reprehensible that we are still keeping and killing animals solely for their fur. This is a cruel and unnecessary practice, which—as we have seen in recent years with outbreaks of the SARS-CoV-2 and HPAI [highly pathogenic avian influenza] viruses on fur farms—also poses a serious threat to public health. The fur industry is already in serious decline throughout Europe, consumers, retailers and fashion designers have increasingly been turning their backs on fur and fur production has been prohibited in many Member States. So let us finally end this cruel business by introducing an EU-wide ban on fur farming. The industry only exists to supply the frivolous fashion industry with luxury products that no-one actually needs. It is high time that the Commission listens to EU citizens and delivers an EU ban on fur farming,” says Tilly Metz MEP (Greens/EFA) and President of the European Parliament’s Intergroup on the Welfare and Conservation of Animals.

Find pictures of the event and of MEPs supporting a ban on fur farming.


Media contact: Cassie Bodin-Duval, international media relations coordinator,

The distiller joins the movement to eliminate caged confinement in Europe

Humane Society International / Europe

David Paul Morris for HSUS

BRUSSELS—De Kuyper Royal Distillers has become one of the first distillers globally to announce a commitment for the responsible sourcing of eggs. As early as 2011, the Dutch manufacturer of distilled spirits and liqueurs, which uses approximately 19 million eggs annually, has embarked on a mission to source exclusively cage-free eggs. By 2030, the company aims to transition to sourcing free-range eggs throughout its entire supply chain. De Kuyper’s new animal welfare policy was developed in cooperation with Humane Society International/Europe.

De Kuyper’s commitment to source eggs exclusively from cage-free production systems, along with its aspirations to transition to free-range production systems, sends a strong signal to both policymakers and producers by demonstrating a growing appetite and increasing market demand for responsible eggs among corporate actors. With this commitment, De Kuyper Royal Distillers has joined the growing number of global consumer goods companies who have pledged to stop using eggs from caged hens, including PepsiCo, Unilever, Mondelez and Nestlé.

In 2021, following the success of the End the Cage Age European Citizens Initiative which was supported by 1.4 million EU citizens, the European Commission announced that they will deliver a proposal to end caged confinement for farmed animals. While it is uncertain when and if the Commission will deliver this proposal in the near term, the fact that increasingly more businesses are taking corporate responsibility with regard to how the eggs they use are produced, is a clear proof for support for higher animal welfare standards in Europe.

Mark de Witte, CEO at De Kuyper Royal Distillers, said: “As a company with more than 325 years of history, De Kuyper Royal Distillers has always been able to adapt to changing times and changing customer and consumer demands, and this is no different when it comes to animal welfare. As a socially responsible company, we are proud to present our first animal welfare policy and take steps towards higher animal welfare standards to become future-proof.”

De Kuyper Royal Distillers is a global market-leading producer of liqueurs and creates the traditional Dutch liqueur Advocaat. The company is one of the largest producers of egg liqueur globally and distills it for its own brands, as well as for other leading retailers in Europe.

Elise Allart, corporate engagement director for Humane Society International/Europe, said: “De Kuyper Royal Distillers has taken an important step by including animal welfare in its responsible sourcing strategy. The company sources exclusively cage-free eggs not only for its liqueurs, but also for the products served in the canteens to its employees. The policy also reaffirms the long-lasting commitment of De Kuyper to not test its products on animals, or to implement protecting practices that involve any form of cruelty to animals, for instance in their marketing activities.”

The majority of hens in the global egg industry are confined to cramped battery cages, where they spend their entire life on a surface not bigger than an A4 sheet of paper. In response to consumer demands and serious concerns about animal welfare, barren battery cages were eventually phased out in the EU by 2012. However, in 2022 43.2% of hens in the European Union are still confined to enriched cages. Cage-free and free-range systems, on the other hand, allow birds to perform their natural behaviours, such as laying eggs in nests, walking, perching, dust bathing or wing-flapping.


Media contact:

  • Humane Society International/Europe: Cassie Bodin-Duval, international media relations coordinator,
  • De Kuyper Royal Distillers: Thomas van Gaal, sustainability manager,

Learn More Button Inserter