Humane Society International / Europe


BRUSSELS —The European Commission today kick-started a plan to phase out animal testing for chemicals across Europe but will not protect the EU ban on animal testing for cosmetics in response to the “

Save Cruelty Free Cosmetics – Commit to a Europe Without Animal Testing” European citizens’ initiative (ECI) signed by 1.2 million European citizens.

While campaigners welcome the plan to ultimately eliminate animal testing for chemicals and the longer-term proposals to reduce and phase out the use of animals in research and education, the Commission  ignored citizens’ calls to uphold the ban on animal testing for cosmetics; a ban established by legislators over a decade ago.

Despite the introduction of an EU ban on animal testing for cosmetics ingredients in 2009, animal tests for chemicals handled by industrial workers or which may be released into the environment are still being required under the EU’s REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) regulation. Disturbingly, proposed updates to REACH indicate that animal testing for chemicals is set to surge over the coming years. Rather than waiting for the EU courts to resolve this issue, citizens’ demands must be addressed to prevent further animal suffering.

In the EU and Norway, a shocking 7.9 million animals suffered in laboratories in 2020 – among them rabbits, mice, cats, and dogs. Substances are forcibly administered down their throats, and they are infected with debilitating diseases, genetically manipulated, given brain damage through surgery, exposed to severe pain, and used in breeding programs that perpetuate this cycle of suffering. Although the Commission is exploring actions to accelerate the development and use of non-animal methods, these do not constitute the root-and-branch reform demanded by EU citizens via the ECI.

The ECI was launched in August 2021 by animal protection groups Cruelty Free Europe, Eurogroup for Animals, the European Coalition to End Animal Experiments, Humane Society International/Europe, and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, with the backing of beauty brands The Body Shop and Dove. The ECI called for the strengthening and protection of the ban on animal testing for cosmetics, the transformation of chemicals regulations to bring an end to testing on animals, and a commitment to phasing out all testing on animals in Europe.

Positive commitments made by the Commission in response to the ECI include the following:

  • To develop a roadmap to end all mandated tests on animals for industrial chemicals, pesticides, biocides and human and veterinary medicines
  • To explore the creation of an expert scientific committee to provide advice on the development and uptake of non-animal approaches
  • To propose an action of the European Research Area to coordinate national policies to replace the use of animals in laboratories and speed up development and implementation of non-animal methods
  • To organise one or more workshops with experts to determine future priority areas of research to accelerate the transition to animal-free science.

Citizens will now expect that everyone involved works to ensure that the measures suggested by the EC have maximum and meaningful impact, and we will continue to advocate for more action where it is needed.

“The people of Europe have made it clear that experimentation on animals has no place in our modern society,” says Sabrina Engel, chair of the ECI organising committee. “While we welcome positive actions to replace the use of animals in experiments and chemicals tests, we wholly condemn the Commission for failing to end the suffering of thousands of animals used in cosmetics tests. The Commission must now propose meaningful changes to existing legislation and policies to set member states, regulators, and assessment bodies on the path to phasing out all uses of animals in laboratories. Therefore, we are calling on all actors to pursue the goals of the ECI.”


  • Here is a briefing on the “Save Cruelty Free Cosmetics – Commit to a Europe without Animal Testing” ECI.
  • “Save Cruelty Free Cosmetics” is the second ECI on the issue that has surpassed 1 million signatures, after “Stop Vivisection” in 2015, and only the ninth ECI that has been successful out of more than 100 that have been submitted.
  • Across the EU, approximately 8 million animals are used in experiments or for the breeding and maintenance of genetically altered animals each year. A further 10 million animals languish in cages without being used in procedures or are used as part of the laboratory supply chain, either for breeding or so that their body parts may be used in experiments.


Media contact: Cassie Bodin-Duval, international coordinator for media relations: ; +32 (0) 469 149 469

Scientists call on governments to consider evidence for the elimination of fur farming

Humane Society International / Europe

Stock Photography

BRUSSELS―In an article published in the scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, virologists Dr Thomas Peacock and Professor Wendy Barclay of Imperial College London have issued a stern warning regarding the risks fur farming poses for future disease outbreaks. The concerns have intensified due to recent avian flu outbreaks on mink and fox fur farms in Spain and Finland, sparking increasing fears that fur farms can act as breeding grounds for zoonotic diseases. Responding to this alarming development, leading animal protection organisation Humane Society International/Europe urges the European Commission to act fast to introduce a ban on fur farming and imports throughout the EU.

Fur farming has faced significant restrictions and outright bans across Europe, with a total of 19 countries, including 14 EU Member States, taking a stand against this controversial industry. Despite these advancements, millions of animals, including mink, fox, raccoon dog and chinchilla continue to be bred for their fur in EU countries, such as Finland, Poland, Greece, Spain, Romania and Sweden.

In the PNAS article, Dr Peacock and Professor Barclay write that “fur farming takes place in a high-density animal environment that allows for rapid spread of viruses with pandemic potential—and for virus adaptation to animals that would be unlikely to occur in nature.” Reports in Science and Nature have raised fears that the avian flu virus could be demonstrating the potential to mutate and spread mammal-to-mammal, which in turn increases concerns of a future pandemic. Peacock was quoted saying that the outbreak is “incredibly concerning” and “a clear mechanism for an H5 pandemic to start.”

Peacock and Barclay go on to say in the PNAS article: We strongly urge governments to also consider the mounting evidence suggesting that fur farming, particularly mink, be eliminated in the interest of pandemic preparedness. Fur farming should be in the same category of high-risk practices as the bushmeat trade and live animal markets. These activities all increase the likelihood of future pandemics.”

Dr Joanna Swabe, senior director of public affairs at Humane Society International/Europe, said: “It is completely unacceptable that millions of animals continue to suffer terribly for fur fashion across Europe, and this is compounded by the equally outrageous fact that their exploitation poses a very serious threat to the health of EU and global citizens. As the outbreaks of COVID-19 and avian influenza on fur farms have amply shown, factory farming mammals in small wire cage conditions is simply unsustainable from an animal welfare and pandemic prevention viewpoint. We’re essentially putting public health at risk for cruel products that no one needs. With the EU Commission due to deliver its proposals to revise EU animal welfare legislation, now is the perfect time to relegate the cruel and dangerous fur trade to the annals of history.”

Earlier this year, an EU-wide “Fur-Free Europe” European Citizens’ Initiative petition calling on the European Commission to ban the farming and sale of fur in the EU, gathered 1.5 million validated signatures in under ten months. The Commission now has until December 14 this year to formally respond to this ECI and outline the actions it intends to take with regard to fur farming in the EU. As the European Commission prepares to deliver later this year legislative proposals to revise and expand the scope of the existing animal welfare legislation,  a coalition of more than 70 European animal groups, including Humane Society International/Europe, is calling for that revision to include an EU-wide ban on fur farming and trade.


  • Mink and foxes tested positive this month for highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 on 10 fur farms in Finland, with more farms under suspicion for the virus and awaiting test results. In October last year, the first recorded outbreak of avian flu on a fur farm took place on a Spanish mink fur farm intensively breeding 52,000 mink, reigniting calls for an end to global fur farming.Since April 2020, mink on 487 fur farms across North America and Europe have been reported as having tested positive for SARS-CoV-2.  The virus has been shown to pass from mammal to mammal on intensive mink fur farms and reports of farmed mink to human transfer has been reported in at least six countries. The most recent outbreaks were recorded in Poland in March 2023 and in Italy in April 2023.
  • Fur farming is already banned in many European countries, including Austria, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Czech Republic, Croatia, Estonia, France, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, North Macedonia, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and the United Kingdom. Lithuania, Poland and Romania are currently considering fur farming bans.
  • In June 2023, Austria, Germany and the Netherlands tabled an information note on fur farming, which was co-signed by the Belgian, Czech, Estonian, Lithuanian, Luxembourg and Slovak delgations, for discussion at the AGRIFISH Council. During the debate, 18 Member States voiced their support for a full ban on fur farming in the EU.

Media contact: Cassie Bodin-Duval, international coordinator for media relations: ; +32 (0) 469 149 469

Feeric Fashion Week Sibiu will have its first fur-free edition

Humane Society International / Europe

Kateryna Kukota

SIBIU, Romania―The Feeric Fashion Week, the oldest still running fashion event in Romania, has accepted the invitation of Humane Society International/Europe to join the Fur Free Retailer programme. It will have its first fur-free edition between July 19-23, 2023 in Sibiu. Among the fashion brands and designers participating in the Sibiu fashion festival, there are students from fashion universities from Eastern and Central Europe, Central Asia and Northern Africa.

HSI/Europe, who represents the Fur Free Retailer programme for Romania, welcomes the newest member, which is also the first fashion show to join it.

Andreea Roseti, Romania country director for HSI/Europe, said: “It is an excellent message that a well-known fashion festival in Romania has decided for the first time to promote brands not using fur in their clothing products. With the help of events like Feeric Fashion Week, we are changing perceptions in Romania about fur and making people aware that the suffering of animals bred for their fur must be stopped. Our hope is that the Chamber of Deputies will soon vote for the legislation to close fur farms in our country.”

Elise Allart, corporate engagement director at HSI/Europe, added: “The Romanian fashion industry clearly shows that the future of fashion is fur-free. Feeric Fashion Week is the first fashion event in the world to join the Fur Free Retailer programme and commit to banning fur fashion from the runway. The event is a great addition to the growing list of Romanian fashion brands that are already part of the programme, including Ioana Ciolacu, Muse um Concept, REDU and OCTAVIA CHIRU. Last weeks we welcomed KATERINI and HOOLDRA. We call on all designers, retailers and events to join the fur-free fashion movement in Romania, contributing to the overall European effort to give up fur fashion.”

Mitichi, president of Feeric Fashion Week, said that sustainability and care for the environment have been major concerns for the organisers of the event for many years, stating: “We are now in our seventh year of promoting sustainable fashion, but 2023 is the first year that we are focusing on promoting fur-free clothing creations. We decided that we needed to take on the role of informing the public and helping to build a cleaner environment and a better future for the fashion industry, one that does not involve animal cruelty.”

This Feeric Fashion Week marks its 15th edition, being the longest running fashion event in Romania and one of the most important in Central and Eastern Europe. Feeric Fashion Week has also proved over time to be a platform for the promotion of young talent, with students who study fashion design having the chance to present their creations and be noticed by representatives of established brands in the fashion industry.

Fur facts:

  • The Fur Free Retailer programme is the world’s leading initiative to connect fur-free businesses with customers looking for ethically sourced products. The programme is free to join and aims to advise and encourage companies to go fur-free and further the spirit of ethical consumerism. Almost 1,600 fashion brands, retailers and designers in 25 countries around the world are part of the program, including Gucci, Moncler, Prada, Adidas, H&M and Zara. The program is initiated by the Fur Free Alliance, an association of more than 50 animal welfare organizations, and is represented in Romania by Humane Society International/Europe.
  • Romania remains one of the last EU member states with no restrictions on the keeping of animals for fur.
  • Last year, an undercover investigation by HSI/Europe exposed the living conditions on Romanian chinchilla farms. Animals were found living in small, dirty mesh cages. Female animals were forced into permanent reproduction and animals were killed by breaking their necks or in improvised do-it-yourself gas chambers. Following the HSI/Europe investigation, a bill to ban the farming of mink and chinchilla was tabled in parliament, voted on by the Senate and is currently debated by the Chamber of Deputies.
  • Public demand for an EU-wide ban on fur farming and fur imports has also been clearly demonstrated during the past year as the Fur Free Europe petition collected more than 1.5 million verified signatures from EU citizens. The European Commission is expected to respond to the demands of the petition by the end of the year and take action accordingly.
  • More than 100 million animals are killed for their fur every year worldwide—that is equivalent to three animals dying every second, just for their fur.

Fur farming has been banned in 19 European countries including the Netherlands, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Croatia, Slovenia, Luxembourg, Malta, Ireland, Estonia, France, Italy and, most recently, on 22 September 2022, Latvia. Political discussions on a ban are also underway in Romania, Lithuania and Poland. Two countries (Switzerland and Germany) have implemented strict regulations effectively ending fur farming, and three other countries (Denmark, Sweden and Hungary) have imposed measures that have ended the fur farming of certain species.


Media contacts: Andreea Roseti, Romania country director at Humane Society International/Europe, 0741 188 934

Humane Society International / Europe


BRUSSELS—Today, the Belgian Federal government’s Council of Ministers approved a legislative proposal for a ban on the import of hunting trophies of endangered animal species, put forth by Zakia Khattabi, Minister of Climate, the Environment, Sustainable Development and Green Deal.

The Minister’s preliminary draft bill follows the Federal Parliament of the Kingdom of Belgium’s unanimous vote in March 2022 in support of a resolution demanding that the government put the brakes on the issuance of trophy import permits for a broad array of threatened and endangered species. This resolution protects species such as the hippopotamus, Southern white rhinoceros, African savannah elephant, lion, polar bear and argali sheep killed for sport. The scope of the resolution also extends to all species listed in Annex A, along with certain species in Annex B, of the European Regulation 338/97 on the protection of species of wild fauna and flora.

Member of Parliament Kris Verduyckt (Vooruit, Flemish Socialists), initiator of the legislative proposal to ban hunting trophy imports in 2020 and proposer of the aforementioned resolution, said: “I am glad that this hard work is paying off. Minister Khattabi is now fully translating my proposal into a bill and the entire Council of Ministers approves it. It’s time we really started protecting endangered species, trophy hunters prefer to kill the largest and strongest animals, the loss of which contributes to the disruption and decline of animal populations.”

The European office of animal protection charity Humane Society International, a long-time vocal advocate against the import of endangered species’ trophies, lauded the government’s decision. Ruud Tombrock, executive director for HSI/Europe said: “We welcome the fact that the unanimous resolution of Parliament has been translated into a legislative measure and look forward to studying the details of the legislation once published. Belgium is leading the way for other countries in Europe already listening to calls from their citizens to consign the import of hunting trophies to history. The next step should be an EU-wide ban on the import of hunting trophies from endangered and protected species, again reflecting the views of citizens across member states in the European Union.”

Over the past 16 months, HSI/Europe has worked with MPs to ensure that the unanimous resolution of Parliament was translated into legislation and today’s approval is the culmination of this campaign. MPs from different political parties have maintained pressure on Environment Minister Khattabi. A recent response to a parliamentary question from MP Jan Briers (CD&V, Flemish Christian democrats) revealed that the Ministry had only stopped issuing permits for importing animal trophies since mid-March 2023, a delay which outraged many MPs.

This landmark decision by the Belgian government echoes the strongly held views of its people. A 2020 survey by Ipsos commissioned by HSI/Europe showed that 91% of Belgians oppose trophy hunting and 88% support a prohibition on importing any kind of hunting trophy at all.

This sentiment is not limited to Belgium but is resonating across the European continent. A 2023 pan-European poll conducted by Savanta in all 27 EU Member States on behalf of HSI/Europe, laid bare the widespread public rejection of trophy hunting. A striking 83% of respondents stood firm against this practice, with just 6% in favor. The vast majority is expecting strong measures to be taken against trophy hunting, with a compelling majority (74%) rallying behind a national import ban and similar support for an EU-wide ban (73%). These survey results underscore a profound and growing public concern across Europe, spotlighting the urgency and importance of wildlife conservation and the protection of threatened species.

Today, Belgium has echoed the urgent European call to action against trophy hunting, joining the ranks of countries like the Netherlands, France, and Finland, which have each implemented various degrees of bans and restrictions on the practice of import of hunting trophies. Momentum against trophy hunting is accelerating across the continent, with nations including the UK, Germany, Italy, and Poland now also involved in active discussions to impose bans at varying stages of progress.

Facts on trophy hunting:

  • The Netherlands introduced a trophy hunting ban for more than 200 species in May 2016, on the 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, African elephant, 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 is restricted since 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 the United Kingdom in March 2023, British lawmakers approved a ban on the import of animal hunting trophies covering 6,000 endangered species which makes it one of the toughest in the world. The legislation is now being debated in the House of Lords.
  • 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 (CIC) 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, was presented. After the fall of the government and the elections, in 2023 the same bill was tabled again in parliament.
  • In Poland, a bill sponsored by the deputy chairperson of the Sejm, the lower chamber of the parliament, reached committee stage discussion this month and is scheduled for further progress in August 2023.
  • Trophy hunting of endangered species poses a severe threat to conservation efforts and the world’s natural heritage. Trophy hunters prefer to kill the largest, strongest animals, whose loss causes declines in population. The affected species, such as African elephants, lions, rhinoceros, and leopards, among others, are already facing the risk of extinction and play crucial roles in maintaining healthy ecosystems and biodiversity. The loss of these iconic animals not only disrupts delicate ecological balances but also erodes cultural and historical significance. Many species play important roles in their ecosystems, and their removal can have cascading effects on other wildlife, vegetation, and the overall health of the ecosystem.
  • The EU is the second biggest importer of hunting trophies after the United States, as indicated in a report by Humane Society International/Europe from 2021, with an average of 3000 trophies imported in the period between 2014 and 2018.
  • The top 10 species imported into the EU as trophies are: Hartmann’s mountain zebra (Equus zebra hartmannae) (3.119), Chacma baboon (1.751), American black bear (Ursus americanus) (1.415), brown bear (1.056), the African elephant (952), African lion (Panthera leo) (889), African leopard (Panthera pardus) (839), hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius) (794), caracal (Caracal caracal) (480) and red lechwe (Kobus leche) (415).
  • The EU was the largest importer of cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) trophies with 297 cheetah trophies imported into the EU during the study period.
  • Belgium is the 13thlargest hunting trophy importer of internationally protected species in  Europe
  • Shortly before the vote of the resolution last year, Animal Rights Belgium, another organisation campaigning against the import of hunting trophies in Belgium, delivered a petition with 37,000 signatures supporting the ban to the Federal Environment Minister, Zakia Khattabi.


Media contact: Cassie Bodin-Duval, international coordinator in media relations at Humane Society International/Europe: ; +32 (0) 469 149 469

Policymakers, experts, organizations and industry gather at European Parliament to discuss ending pig mutilation and extreme confinement

Humane Society International / Europe


BRUSSELS—European Union policymakers, animal welfare experts, industry representatives and non-governmental organizations gathered today at the European Parliament for a roundtable discussion on the necessity of raising welfare standards for the production of pigs. Animal scientists conveyed the need to end the intensive crate confinement of pigs, and transition to higher welfare systems that meet the inherent welfare needs of these intelligent and social animals.

This debate is extremely timely given the impending delivery of a package of legislative proposals by the European Commission for the revision and expansion of the scope of the existing EU animal welfare legislation. In its response to the European Citizen’s Initiative to End the Cage Age in 2021, the Commission pledged to propose an end to caged confinement for farm animals. Today’s event highlighted the need for them to abide by this important commitment to advancing animal welfare.

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

“At present, more than 140 million pigs are being kept in the EU, the vast majority of which are regrettably still being housed in production systems that fail to adequately meet their complex welfare needs. The science is crystal clear. It is time to end the close confinement of these highly intelligent animals in stalls and crates and begin to respect the integrity of the species and the animals’ behavioral needs. The living environments for pigs need to be enriched, they should be kept in family groups and the practice of mutilating their bodies should be prohibited. The revision of the EU animal welfare legislation is a golden opportunity for politicians, policymakers and the pig industry to get things right and align more accurately with science and the will of European citizens. We strongly urge them to pay heed to the animal welfare scientists and support the Commission’s proposals that aim to ensure that the pigs we keep for food are afforded a dignified existence.”

Maria Noichl MEP for the Socialist and Democratic Group and full member of the European Parliament’s Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, added:

“It is our responsibility as MEPs to make sure that we fully listen to both citizens and scientists and deliver new animal welfare standards that will give farm animals lives worth living. Of course, we must listen to the legitimate concerns of the animal agriculture industry about the practicalities and costs of transitioning to higher welfare systems. However, these concerns should not be used as an excuse to block progress on achieving progress on animal welfare. Let us instead look at the ways we can help farmers to upgrade or replace their existing housing systems. The new Common Agricultural Policy co-schemes, for example, were established exactly with this kind of goal in mind. We need to stimulate Member States and producers to make full use of existing funding CAP streams and also better incentivize farmers to improve animal welfare, rather than placing obstacles in the way of achieving better welfare for pigs and other farmed animals.”

HSI/Europe’s vision for the future of pig production was presented at this event by animal welfare scientist Dr Heleen van de Weerd, who provided an overview of minimum standards for pig production in the EU:

  • An end to close confinement for pigs in stalls or crates.
  • The selection of pigs for robustness, includes traits, such as lower prolificacy, good mothering skills, low aggression, and resilience in local conditions.
  • The necessity for pig housing to offer variation, with spacious, functional areas for secluded resting and activities, such as foraging and rooting, eating and drinking. Pigs must also have access to a bedded area, with materials, such as straw, for comfort and enrichment.
  • Respect for the species’ integrity. This entails keeping pigs in family group systems where sows and their piglets live together. Piglets should also not be mixed and moved as little as possible. Social groups should remain together.
  • Litter size must be aligned with sow nursing capacity and the weaning age must more closely approach the natural weaning age.
  • An end to unnecessary surgical mutilations. All pigs must have intact bodies (no castration, tail docking, teeth clipping, or ear notching)
  • Pig handling must be respectful and pay full regard to species-typical behavior without causing stress to the animals. There must be a culture of care on pig farms with each farm appointing a trained and named animal welfare officer legally responsible for overseeing and ensuring the welfare of the animals on the premises.


  • In 2020, in its EU Farm to Fork Strategy, the European Commission committed to revising and expanding the scope of the existing body of EU animal welfare legislation to bring it in line with current scientific understandings of animal welfare. The proposals were scheduled to be delivered in the third quarter of 2023.
  • Following the successful European Citizens’ Initiative to End the Cage Age, which gathered 1,3 million signatures, in 2021 the European Commission pledged to also deliver a proposal to end caged confinement for animals farmed for food production.
  • There is no accessible data with regard to how many pigs are still commercially kept in close confinement systems. It is, however, known that only about 1% of EU pig herds are estimated to be organically raised and thus kept under higher welfare standards with outdoor access, although the data on organic production show that some Member States have a higher share of organic pigs (e.g., Austria, Sweden, Denmark, all with 3% of pigs raised in organic systems).
  • Most pigs in Europe live in indoor confinement on industrialized farms where they are unable to display their full range of complex social, foraging, and exploratory behavior. This leads to animal welfare problems, such as tail-biting and aggression. Piglets are routinely castrated and tail-docked without pain-relieving anesthetic. Poor air quality and intensive confinement can also result in other health problems.


Media contact: Cassie Bodin-Duval, international coordinator in media relations: ; +32 (0) 469 149 469

Humane Society International responds to Kodami investigation as further evidence of trophy hunters’ political greenwashing and the division amongst hunters.

Humane Society International / Europe

Lion rug

ROME—Yesterday, the Italian media outlet Kodami released a video of their independent undercover investigation undertaken at “Jagd & Hund”, Europe’s largest hunting fair held in Dortmund, Germany from January 24-29, delivering another shocking look behind the scenes of an industry currently under intense political scrutiny in Europe as multiple Member States consider hunting trophy trade bans.

Humane Society International and affiliates have been at the forefront of a global fight to ban the trade in hunting trophies of imperiled species. For years, the Humane Society of the United States has unveiled what happens at the world’s largest annual hunting fair hosted by Safari Club International in the United States, working to unmask the hypocrisy of the trophy hunting lobby and its attempts to greenwash the exploitative industry while lobbying against endangered species protections.

Kodami’s investigation findings add to a growing collection of evidence of trophy hunters’ political equivocation and blatant disregard for conservation principles. Many hunters are condemning trophy hunting as unacceptable in modern society. Multiple investigations by HSI and the HSUS over the years revealed:

  • The presentation of trophy hunting as a well-managed, conservation-focused industry is a farce. When gathered together at these conventions, outfitters and trophy hunters have undermined or outright dismissed ethical and animal welfare considerations. At the Staffordshire County hunting fair in 2022 an HSI investigator asked if he could drink alcohol while on a hunt in Africa. The outfitters’ response was: “Yeah, they [expletive] don’t give a [expletive] over there. [Expletive] me if you want to go around with a beer and a cigar and [expletive] blast stuff. They’re pretty laid back.” This crude, irresponsible sentiment was seen across multiple investigations, outfitters and guests.
  • Trophy hunting outfitters at the fairs use gimmicks and deep discounts on animals’ lives to increase sales. Many offer canned hunts—where the animal is bred and shot in captivity—or “easy” hunts where they can guarantee a kill for a client.

Outfitters push marketing schemes meant to maximize hunt sales regardless of the hunters’ proficiency by promising a family-like experience with the guides and glorifying the adrenaline of trophy hunting, preparing inexperienced clients in as little as a day. They also claim to “bend the rules” around hunts and ethics, offering clients the option of hunting from the back of trucks or setting up  captive hunts.

  • Children are often present and featured in promotional material to encourage family engagement. It was apparent to HSUS investigators that killing animals for pleasure and keeping their body parts was being normalized for children at these conventions. One conference attendee attendee told investigators that he and his children participated in a canned hunt, killing “their” lion within 90 minutes.
  • Investigators found that the hunting community is not united in support of trophy hunting. Many hunters believe that captive hunting, baiting and hunting from a vehicle violate fair chase ethics, while others don’t support hunting of iconic or imperiled animals or hunting animals when meat consumption isn’t a primary driver.

Kodami’s investigation video further proves what Humane Society International has been pointing out for years: the trophy hunting industry’s economic model incentivizes over-exploitation which can push imperiled species like lions, leopards and elephants further towards extinction. The sales model found across all conventions indicates that the value of wildlife is determined by consumer demand, not by their intrinsic value, conservation status or value to local communities. Trophy fees can run up to US$65,000 for wild lions and US$35,000 for leopards and are typically around US$40,000 for an elephant, depending on the size of their tusks. The record auction for a hunt of a black rhino—one of the most endangered mammals on the planet—was at the 2014 Safari Club International convention for US$400,000. However, the industry also chooses which animals to devalue either by setting trophy fees low such as for ducks, doves and guinea fowl “worth” only US$5; by offering extreme discounts for the hunting packages (a giraffe hunt was offered for US$1,200 as “a giveaway”); or by offering animal kills for free as bait, such as hippos (whose numbers are declining), to draw out the target trophy animal such as lions and leopards.

Humane Society International/Europe executive director Ruud Tombrock, after seeing the footage released by Kodami yesterday, commented: “Trophy hunters can’t seem to hide their passion for carnage or complete disrespect for animals for long when they all gather together at conventions like the Jagd & Hund in Germany,  Cinegética in Spain, and Safari Club International’s in the U.S. Undercover investigations like Kodami’s and ours are vitally important to dispel the ‘helping hand’ fantasy that the hunting lobby has peddled to policymakers and the public. These false representations of the industry have so far secured for them hunting and trade policy exemptions for imperiled wildlife they shot for fun where it would otherwise be prohibited. We cannot let this pandering continue under their lobby’s false narrative. Policymakers need to see their true nature and put an end to facilitating their abuse of wildlife.”


  • The EU is the second largest importer of hunting trophies with 14.912 hunting trophies from 73 different CITES-listed mammalian species imported between 2014-2018, such as leopards, hippos, elephants, lions and even species like the critically endangered black rhino. Hunting fairs played a significant role in the promotion and sale of the represented hunts.
  • More and more transport companies pledged to prohibit transporting of hunting trophies. Find here a list of more than 30 airlines, freight carriers and businesses from the transport sector that have a passenger baggage or cargo policy against hunting trophies.
  • HSI/Europe has been advocating for a ban on hunting trophy imports with its campaign #NotInMyWorld aimed at the European Union and Member States since 2021. Our petition to the European Parliament calls for urgent action to ensure that the existing requirements of the EU Wildlife Trade Regulations and Habitats Directive with respect to hunting trophies are being properly implemented, as outlined in commitments in the EU Biodiversity Strategy.
  • We’ve made significant progress to date:
    • On June 21st the French Assembly adopted an amendment that will significantly assist customs authorities in limiting the import of hunting trophies of certain endangered animal species into France by an overwhelming majority (113 votes for, one vote against). This vote coincides with a new legislative proposal for a ban brought forth by Senator Céline Boulay-Espéronnier on May 23.
    • In March 2023, British lawmakers in the House of Commons advanced legislation that would ban the import of animal hunting trophies from over 6,000 internationally regulated species, including elephants, rhinos and leopards. The bill is currently under consideration by the House of Lords.
    • Last year in Italy, IEG Italian Exhibition Group SpA announced it will no longer host the HIT Show (Italy’s largest hunting fair with 40,000 visitors and hundreds of international exhibitors each year) citing explicitly the event’s incompatibility with environmental values and mission of the event.
    • Finland banned the import from outside the EU of hunting trophies of species protected under Annex A and 12 species under Annex B of the EU Wildlife Trade Regulations in 2022.
    • The Belgian federal parliament unanimously called on the government in 2022 to immediately stop issuing import permits for trophies of species protected by specific international trade regulations.
    • The European Parliament adopted a resolution in 2022 calling for an end to the import of hunting trophies into the EU of protected species.
    • In 2016, the Netherlands banned imports of trophies of more than 200 species, and in 2015, France banned imports of lion trophies.


Media contact: Eva-Maria Heinen, communications and PR manager for Germany&Italy:

Assembly discussion on prohibiting hunting trophy imports coincides with new legislative proposal by Senator Céline Boulay-Espéronnier supported by 91% of French people

Humane Society International / Europe


PARIS—Yesterday, the French Assembly adopted an amendment that will significantly assist customs authorities in limiting the import of hunting trophies of certain endangered animal species into France by an overwhelming majority (113 votes for, one vote against).

This vote coincides with a new legislative proposal for a ban brought forth by Senator Céline Boulay-Espéronnier on May 23, the first time such a ban has been championed by politicians at the legislative level in France. That Senate proposal is supported by an overwhelming 91% of French citizens who would rally behind the initiative to outlaw trophy imports of endangered species, including African elephant, giraffe and polar bear, according to a poll commissioned by HSI/Europe.

The Assembly sub-amendment proposed by Deputy Sandra Regol, Ecologist group – NUPES, states: “The practice of trophy hunting tourism, when it contributes to endangering species, harms biodiversity. However, it is happening in many countries, whether it is South Africa, Mozambique or Canada, and in total, at least 200,000 hunting trophies from 451 endangered species have been imported around the world between 2005 and 2015. It is crucial to fight this phenomenon, aligning with French people’s expectation and the ecological necessity.”

France has already taken steps to protect lions from trophy hunting, in the aftermath of the scandal surrounding the killing of Cecil the lion in 2015. However, this new move signifies renewed hope for all the other species such as the elephants, leopards and cheetahs that fall victim to being legally hunted and imported as trophies into France. Several of these targeted species, including the African elephant, leopard, hippopotamus and cheetah, teeter on the brink of extinction. France stands out as the first destination within the European Union for African leopards, exacerbating the plight of a species under the threat of extinction.

Humane Society International/Europe and Convergence Animaux Politique commend Mrs Sandra Regol for her unwavering commitment to championing the bill through the sub-amendment aimed at tackling the detrimental impact of trophy hunting on endangered and vulnerable species, by expanding the implementation of a customs authority investigation process commonly referred to as a “blow buy.” The Ecologist group – NUPES is fully supportive of the sub-amendment proposed.

Explaining the significance of the Assembly’s adopted sub-measure, Milton Federici, public affairs manager of Convergence Animaux et Politique, says: “The adoption of this amendment marks a significant victory. It gives ground to customs officers to use the ‘purchase’ investigation technique for hunting trophies, signaling their import as a legal offense. While the current import ban solely focuses on lion trophies, the resoundingly positive vote by the Assembly demonstrates politicians’ willingness to be more ambitious. This vote is a step forward towards a ban on trophy hunting imports to safeguard all the other endangered species targeted by trophy hunters.”

Capucine Meyer, HSI/Europe trophy hunting campaign consultant for France, says: “The overwhelming support to the amendment shows that politicians align with the 91% of French citizens who support a prohibition on trophy hunting imports of protected species. It is a clear signal that there is no time to waste in expanding the level of protection granted to endangered species beyond just lions. Many more species targeted by the trophy hunting industry are facing extinction and are in dire need for such a ban to be adopted.”

France’s initiative aligns with efforts by other member states to move towards enhanced protection of wildlife threatened by trophy hunting. Countries such as the Netherlands (2016) and Finland (2022), have already surpassed CITES ((the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) recommendations and implemented binding measures for species protection. With Belgium, Poland, Italy and the United Kingdom in the process of enacting similar legislation, the EU government must take immediate action to reflect the general public’s desire for a ban on hunting trophy imports in line with a precautionary approach to species protection.

The groups appreciate the commitment of French politicians to ban the import of hunting trophies of endangered species, saying it sends a powerful message and emphasizes the need for global action to preserve our planet’s irreplaceable wildlife. HSI commends Senator Boulay-Espéronnier’s efforts, which place France at the forefront of the fight against trophy hunting as the bill progresses through legislative procedures.

Background facts:

  • Trophy hunting poses a grave threat to biodiversity and ecosystem stability. It involves the killing of wild animals for the purpose of exhibiting their heads, skins or other body parts as trophies. This cruel and detrimental activity exacerbates the decline of species, endangering their survival and disrupting ecosystems.

Contrary to claims that trophy hunting benefits local communities, studies reveal that a mere 3% of the revenue generated from this activity reaches them. Consequently, communities are deprived of genuine conservation opportunities and the potential economic benefits of sustainable ecotourism, which can create employment and contribute to conservation efforts.

Minister Svavarsdóttir ends decades of senseless whale killing and begins a new chapter in Iceland’s relationship with whales

Humane Society International / Europe

Japanese whaling
Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert/Alamy

BRUSSELS―As news breaks that Iceland has cancelled this season’s  commercial whaling on animal welfare grounds, global animal protection charity Humane Society International says it is thrilled and relieved at the announcement that will spare hundreds of whales from agonising deaths, and urges the Icelandic government to make it a permanent ban.

Food, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Svandís Svavarsdóttir, announced that Iceland’s whaling vessels will not kill any whales this season due to the conclusion that “the fishing method used when hunting large whales does not comply with the law on animal welfare.”The suspension lasts until August 31st which effectively cancels this season’s whale killing. The minister’s statement continues “it is necessary to postpone the start of the whaling season so that there is room to investigate whether it is possible to ensure that the hunting is carried out in accordance with the provisions of the Animal Welfare Act.”

Ruud Tombrock, HSI/Europe’s executive director, said: “This is a major milestone in compassionate whale conservation. Humane Society International is thrilled at this news and praises Minister Svavarsdóttir for ending the senseless whale killing which will spare hundreds of minke and imperilled fin whales from agonising and protracted deaths. There is no humane way to kill a whale at sea, and so we urge the minister to make this a permanent ban. Whales already face so many serious threats in the oceans from pollution, climate change, entanglement in fish nets and ship strikes, that ending cruel commercial whaling is the only ethical conclusion.”

The announcement follows the Minister’s op-ed last year in which she said she saw little reason to permit whaling after 2023, and publication last month of an independent report by the Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority―commissioned by the Minister―that revealed some whales killed in Icelandic hunts had taken up to two hours to die, with 41% of whales suffering immensely before dying for an average of 11.5 minutes.

Kitty Block, CEO of Humane Society International, said: “For those of us who have been campaigning for many years to end commercial whaling, to see the day that Iceland decides to stop killing whales and retire its harpoons for good, is truly historic. Economic factors have certainly played a significant role in the demise of this cruel industry -with little demand for whale meat at home and exports to the Japanese market dwindling- but it is the overriding moral argument against whaling that has sealed its fate. Harpooning these magnificent giants not only causes unjustifiable suffering to those whales who are killed, but also unimaginable distress to the rest of their pod who witness their family members being chased and slaughtered. Iceland is already one of the best places in the world to go whale watching, and the country stands to attract even more ecotourists now that it has abandoned whaling forever. The world now looks at Japan and Norway as the only two countries in the world to still mercilessly kill whales for profit.”

Fast facts:

  • The International Whaling Commission agreed to enact a global moratorium on all commercial whaling in 1986.
  • Iceland left the IWC in 1992 but returned in 2002 with an exception to the moratorium, despite objections from multiple nations. Since re-joining the IWC, Iceland had killed more than 1,500 whales, including fin whales.
  • Iceland suspended hunting fin whales in 2016 due to a declining market for whale meat in Japan. Hunting resumed for the 2018 season when 146 fin whales were killed, including a pregnant female and a rare fin-blue hybrid whale, plus six minke whales. A single minke whale was killed from 2019-2021, and 148 fin whales in 2022.
  • Fin whales are classified by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature as globally vulnerable to extinction despite decades of recovery since the commercial whaling moratorium.


Media contact: Wendy Higgins, director of international media:

1,502,319 signatures were officially submitted to the European Commission calling for an EU ban on fur farming and sales

Humane Society International / Europe

Mink on a fur farm
Jo-Anne McArthur

BRUSSELS, Belgium―Today it was officially confirmed that 1,502,319 EU citizens have signed the Fur Free Europe European Citizens’ Initiative calling on the European Commission to ban fur farming and prohibit the placing of fur products on the European market. This marks the 10th successful European Citizens’ Initiative since the petition tool was launched, with seven of those 10 ECIs dedicated to animal issues. Fur Free Europe represents the most successful ECI for animal welfare, and the third most successful ECI overall. The ECI organisers will now meet with the European Commission and then attend a public hearing at the European Parliament, after which the European Commission must publicly respond to the initiative, before the end of the year.

The petition was launched in May 2022 with the backing of more than eighty animal protection organisations from across Europe, and closed on March 1st, more than two months earlier than its official deadline, thanks to a record number of unconfirmed signatures collected: 1,701,892 in less than ten months. The ECI also successfully reached the signatures threshold in twenty-one Member States, three times the minimum requirement of seven Member States.

“The overwhelming public support to this initiative has made one thing clear: fur must become a thing of the past. We are so proud to have achieved yet another step towards ending this cruel and unnecessary practice and now we call on the EC to use the new animal welfare legislation to make the wish of 1.5 million European citizens come true”, commented Reineke Hameleers, CEO of Eurogroup for Animals, the organisers of Fur Free Europe.

“There could not be a clearer sign than this enormous petition that there is no place for the cruelty of fur farming in a progressive, ethical society,” said Dr. Joanna Swabe, senior director of public affairs at HSI/Europe. “The European Commission now has a duty to propose legislation to consign this outdated practise to history and make Europe fur-free. Such a move would strengthen Europe’s position as a leader in animal welfare and humane progress.”

On all fronts, the existence of fur farming holds no reasonable grounds. In fur farms animals such as minks, foxes and racoon dogs are kept in tiny cages, hindered from displaying natural behaviour and killed solely because of the value of their fur.

In addition, the farms pose a significant risk to animal and human health, as demonstrated during the COVID-19 pandemic, when outbreaks on mink fur farms caused variants to be transmitted from animals to humans. From an environmental perspective, the use of toxic chemicals in the production of fur also makes it a significantly polluting industry.


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

Save Cruelty-Free Cosmetics: Commit to a Europe without Animal Testing ECI moves forward with a hearing at the European Parliament.

Humane Society International / Europe

Jacob Studio/ 

BRUSSELS—In an unprecedented milestone, the European Citizens Initiative  “‘Save Cruelty-Free Cosmetics —Commit to a Europe without animal testing” reached more than 1.2 million validated signatures in January. This is the second ECI on this issue that has surpassed the one million signature mark.

Continuing on its formal journey, after an initial meeting between the ECI organisers and the European Commission, the next step was the parliamentary hearing, held by the Committees of the European Parliament. The hearing was divided into three parts, corresponding with the ECI’s three objectives:

  • Protect and strengthen the cosmetics animal testing ban: initiate legislative change to achieve consumer, worker and environmental protection for all cosmetics ingredients without testing on animals for any purpose at any time.
  • Transform EU chemicals regulation: ensure human health and the environment are protected by managing chemicals without the addition of new animal testing requirements.
  • Modernise science in the EU: commit to a legislative proposal, plotting a roadmap to phase-out all animal testing in the EU, before the end of the current legislative term.

The ECI organisers: Cruelty Free Europe, Eurogroup for Animals, the European Coalition to End Animal Experiments, Humane Society International/Europe, and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals proposed actions for a win-win-win scenario for science, society and animals by supporting once again a plan to transition to non-animal science.

During the hearing, the Directorate General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs—the Commission’s department for growth—committed to “try to be as ambitious as we can possibly be” in reaching their “ultimate goal of phasing out animal testing in the long-term”. This was reiterated by Ms Carmen Laplaza Santos, of the EC’s Health Innovations & Ecosystems unit, who promised the Commission’s final and detailed response to the Initiative by the end of July.

Over ten million animals—cats, dogs, rabbits, mice and others—are harmed every year in research and testing in laboratories around Europe. European citizens are demanding an end to the use of animals in cosmetics and other chemical tests, as well as an achievable plan to transition to a science without the use of animals.

Troy Seidle, Humane Society International vice president of research and toxicology, said:

“Reforms to the EU’s chemicals law are urgently needed to close loopholes that have allowed authorities to demand new animal tests for cosmetic ingredients, and reposition animal-free approaches as the gold standard for modern safety assessment. The much anticipated REACH reform process is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for EU institutions to honour the will of citizens who supported this ECI by standing firm against the introduction of new or expanded animal test requirements. Going forward, citizens expect that every legal reform process will tangibly reduce the testing burden on animals—not make it worse—until the EU’s stated goal of full replacement is achieved.”

This overwhelming public support echoes the position taken in 2021 by the European Parliament, which led to a resolution calling on the European Commission to coordinate, together with Member States, a concrete plan to accelerate the transition to non-animal testing.

The EP hearing was also the occasion to launch the Save Cruelty Free Cosmetics – Commit to a Europe without Animal Testing briefing prepared by the ECI organisers.

“Citizens are calling on the EC to take a leadership role in the transition to non-animal science and drive a new way of thinking without animal experiments. We would like to thank the citizens, the NGOs, the researchers, the industry, the governments and the members of parliament that already support these goals. This ECI shows that EU citizens share many of this Parliament’s positions as laid out in the EP Resolution. We are confident that the EP will help to break the cycle of harms that come with animal experimentation, by supporting once again the end of all animal testing for cosmetics, no additional animal tests for safety assessments, and a roadmap to accelerate the transition to non-animal research, regulatory testing, and education,” commented Sabrina Engel, chair of the organising committee for the ECI.



Media contact: Cassie Bodin-Duval, International Coordinator, Media Relations, Humane Society International/Europe: ; +32 (0) 469 149 469

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