Humane Society International and Polish Members of Parliament advocate for legislation to halt trophy imports

Humane Society International / Poland


HSI

WARSAW, Poland—Humane Society International and members of the Polish Parliament are urging Poland to ban the import of hunting trophies from endangered species. This call comes alongside the inauguration of the “Still Life. #NotInMyWorld” photographic exhibition by Britta Jaschinski at the Polish Parliament organized by HSI in Poland and the Parliamentary Group for the Protection of Animal Rights. The exhibition aims to expose the harsh reality of trophy hunting. 

Britta Jaschinski’s photographs capture haunting images of animal bodies, skins, paws and heads. The once living creatures have been reduced to lifeless trophies. Her work draws a poignant parallel between the objectification of endangered animals and the traditional concept of “still life,” where inanimate objects, including hunting trophies, are depicted. This powerful visual narrative underscores the negative ethical and ecological implications of trophy hunting. 

Iga Głażewska, Poland country director for HSI/Europe, said: “Hunting trophies are often perceived as symbols of status, but they represent an outdated and colonial view of nature. This exhibition challenges that perception and highlights the severe impact of trophy hunting on both the animals themselves, and on biodiversity and the environment. We firmly believe that Poland should follow the lead of other European countries and adopt a ban on the import of trophies from imperiled species. In the face of the climate and biodiversity crises, it is imperative to eliminate practices that threaten the extinction of more species.” 

Following the opening of the exhibition, where Britta Jaschinski, Professor Rafał Kowalczyk from the Mammal Research Institute of the Polish Academy of Sciences, and MP Katarzyna Piekarska spoke, a meeting of the Parliamentary Group for the Protection of Animal Rights took place. The meeting focused on trophy hunting and the need for stricter regulations in this area.  

Between 2013 and 2022, the European Union imported hunting trophies from over 27,000 animals threatened by trade and regulated under CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora). Poland alone imported nearly 1,400 such trophies during this period, including those from species like the brown bear, African lion, black bear, cheetah, leopard and rhino. 

Through the #NotInMyWorld campaign, HSI is advocating for a global shift in policies related to trophy hunting. The campaign has already achieved success in several countries. In January 2024, Belgium banned the import of trophies from numerous endangered species. Finland enacted a similar ban in December 2022, and similar legislation is under consideration in France, the United Kingdom, Italy and Spain. 

The “Still Life. #NotInMyWorld” exhibition not only raises awareness about the cruelty of trophy hunting but also reinforces the call for legislative change in Poland. Banning trophy imports would align Poland with other nations taking steps to protect endangered species and support global conservation efforts.

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Media contact: Iga Glazewska, Poland country director for HSI/Europe: iglazewska@hsi.org 

Humane Society International / India


Jaihari AK/HSI 

ASSAM, India—Animal protection charity Humane Society International/India, in collaboration with Humanitarian Aid International, North-East Affected Area Development Society, Just Be Friendly and Anchalik Gram Unnayan Parishad, is providing critical emergency relief to the estimated almost 40 lakh (4 million) animals and people affected by the devastating floods in Assam. The floods have left countless humans and animals stranded, injured and in desperate need of food and medical or veterinary attention.

HSI/India has deployed its Disaster Preparedness, Response and Relief team on the ground to aid collaborative relief efforts, which include emergency animal feed distribution, medical and veterinary supplies, as well as food rations, water and protective gear for families affected. The organization is working closely with district disaster management authority and local organizations to ensure the most affected animals and people are getting the relief they need.

Reports indicate that more than 24 lakh (2.4 million) people have been displaced across 30 districts in Assam, while 15 lakh (1.5 million) animals remain at risk. With more rainfall expected in the coming days, the situation is likely to worsen. Owing to the state’s vulnerable geography and changing climate, Assam continues to grapple with recurring floods, posing a significant humanitarian and animal welfare challenge.

Praveen Suresh, manager of disaster preparedness response and relief at Humane Society International/India, said: “With more than 10 lakhs (1 million) of companion and farmed animals at risk in Assam, the threat to animals also impacts people, their families and their livelihoods. We are witnessing the loss of hundreds of animal lives, with many more suffering injuries, displacement due to their shelters being destroyed plus the high risk of disease spread in the weeks to come. HSI/India is dedicated to providing immediate food and veterinary care to these animals, while also supporting the impacted communities. As we assess the evolving situation, we will progressively scale up our response to ensure we can assist as many affected animals and communities as possible amidst the devastating floods Our current relief operations plan is to mainly focus on Dorrang, Dhubri and Barpeta districts of Assam, which are also the most affected ones”

Facts:

  • HSI/India’s Disaster Preparedness, Relief and Response team has been responding to disasters since 2013, starting with the Uttarakhand flash floods and including the devastating Kerala floods in 2018 where the organization provided relief to more than 1,000 vulnerable families and 100,000 animals.
  • In 2022 and 2023 alone, HSI/India helped save more than 30,000 animals from floods in Delhi, Telangana and Assam.

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Media contact: Shaili Shah: 9930591005; sshah@hsi.org

Cat farmer supports Humane Society International’s campaign to ban the cat meat trade

Humane Society International / Global


Meredith Lee/HSUS Quang Nguyen, Program Manager of Companion Animals for HSI Viet Nam, spends time with a kitten at the 6th Models for Change facility in Viet Nam, a cat fattening facility where cats are fattened before slaughter for the cat meat trade, on June 6, 2024 in Thai Nguyen province.

THAI NGUYEN , Viet Nam—The owner of a cat fattening farm and slaughterhouse in Thai Nguyen, where kittens were fattened up and killed for the cat meat trade, has expressed his relief at being able to leave animal cruelty behind him thanks to a charity program. Through working with Humane Society International’s Viet Nam team, the farmer has been able to close up shop and start a new life growing crops. An estimated 1 million cats a year are killed for meat in Viet Nam but recent opinion polls show that the majority of the population (71%) support a ban on both cat meat consumption and trade.

Sixty one-year-old Mr. Nguyễn Đức Thịnh, who ran the cat fattening farm and slaughterhouse for five years in Quyet Thang commune, Thai Nguyen city, received a one-off grant from HSI’s Models for Change program that enabled him to permanently close his business and transition the property to grow tea, guava and pomelo fruit for local markets instead. Mr Thịnh purchased kittens from local villages and fattened them to slaughter weight to be killed by scalding with boiling water followed by drowning. He said despite making a decent income, the guilt of causing so much suffering and becoming aware of the trade’s potential to spread deadly rabies weighed heavily on his conscience. Thanks to the collective efforts of HSI’s Viet Nam team and the provincial Department of Animal Health, he was relieved to be able to leave the cat meat trade behind him.

Mr. Thịnh said: “When I started the business five years ago, I had no idea that the cat and dog meat trades were linked to the spread of rabies and other diseases, and I never expected to be so affected by the suffering of the cats. Now that I am aware, I feel an immense sense of regret and I am hugely relieved to leave it all behind me. Scalding and drowning is a terrible death for any animal and I hate to think how many thousands of cats have endured that fate because of my business. I’m looking forward to leading a peaceful life growing crops instead. The cat and dog meat trades are a risk to the health of both people and animals, so I’m very proud to be a part of HSI’s Models for Change program. Without them my new life would never have been possible.”

HSI’s team in Viet Nam rescued 20 young cats—including some who had been born on the farm in filthy conditions—as part of the closure. The HSI team took the cats  to a custom-made sheltering facility at Thai Nguyen University of Agriculture and Forestry to receive medical care. Sixteen of the cats will be flown to the charity’s care and rehabilitation center in the United States to seek adoptive families, while the kittens will join them once they are old enough to fly with their mother.

Mr Thịnh’s farm is the sixth dog or cat meat trade business to permanently close as part of HSI’s Viet Nam Models for Change program since it launched in the country in 2022. The charity has operated Models for Change in South Korea since 2015, succeeding in seeing a similar scheme become part of the legislative ban on the industry passed by South Korea’s National Assembly in January this year. HSI hopes South Korea’s ban creates a blueprint for change that the government in Viet Nam can follow.

Quang Nguyen, HSI’s Viet Nam companion animals and engagement program manager, said: “Our Models for Change program here in Viet Nam is demonstrating that cat and dog meat business owners like Mr Thịnh can be part of the solution to end these cruel and dangerous trades. Trafficking and slaughtering millions of cats and dogs for meat each year, whether they are stolen from the streets, smuggled into the country, or transported on journeys sometimes spanning the county from fattening farms, jeopardises human health and causes immense animal suffering. South Korea’s recent ban on dog meat farming and sales proves that legislative change is possible, and we believe the health of Viet Nam’s citizens, as well as the welfare of its cats and dogs, would be safeguarded by a similar ban in this country.”

Most cats killed for meat in Viet Nam are strays and pets snatched while roaming the streets. Traders use food baits to lure the cats into homemade spring-loaded snares. Others are smuggled in on trucks and buses from surrounding provinces as far south as Ho Chi Minh City and even internationally from countries such as Cambodia. Those who survive these ordeals go on to be crammed together in cages and loaded onto trucks to be driven incredible distances across Viet Nam, often travelling for more than 24 hours without rest, food or water in suffocating conditions, with many dying along the way. Cat fattening farms like Mr Thịnh’s are far less common; the kittens are sold to farms at such a young age, they are highly vulnerable to disease and many succumb to the squalid conditions.

The link between the dog meat trade and the spread of deadly rabies has been well established by the World Health Organization and others, but cats are also susceptible to rabies and so the combined trades undermine rabies elimination efforts. This is another compelling driver to end the trade, in addition to the suffering and killing of 5 million dogs and 1 million cats a year for meat in Viet Nam.

Cat meat trade facts

  • Cat meat dishes called “thịt mèo” (cat meat) and “tiểu hổ” or “little tiger” are particularly common around the capital, Hanoi, and in northern provinces.
  • Northern Viet Nam shares a large border with Southern China where cat meat and cats are readily available and easily trafficked. In 2015 a truck loaded with thousands of cats in bamboo crates being trafficked from China was intercepted in Viet Nam. Despite animal groups pleading to offer help, the authorities buried the cats alive. In 2017, Vietnamese officials stopped a truck transporting5 tons of rotting cat and chicken carcasses which were on their way to the cat meat consuming “hotspot” of Thai Binh province. In 2018, nine cooler boxes containing almost one ton of frozen cats was intercepted between Dong Nai province in the south and Thai Binh province in the north.
  • In 1998, the Prime Minister issued a directive banning the hunting, slaughtering and consumption of cats in efforts to encourage cat ownership to keep the rat population under control. However, little to no action was taken to combat the trade, and the directive was eventually repealed in 2020.
  • A Nielsen opinion poll conducted in October 2023 and commissioned by HSI shows that cat meat is consumed by a relative minority of the Vietnamese population (21%). By far the top reasons for not consuming dog and cat meat are a belief that they are companion animals and an aversion to animal cruelty.
  • The poll also shows an astonishing 87% of people have either had a pet stolen or have an acquaintance whose pet has been stolen. Pet theft is becoming a growing societal issue in Viet Nam, with the increasing animal-loving and pet owning population frustrated with the lack of law enforcement to protect their animals from unscrupulous thieves and traders.

Download video and photos of the cat slaughterhouse closure operation HERE

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Media contacts:

Nielsen’s online survey of Vietnamese citizens was conducted in September 2023 with recipients aged between 25 – 60 years old, with a total sample size of 800 and a margin of error of +- 2.53%.

Humane Society International / Europe


Help change the law and making this Iceland’s last whaling license

Thanks to the joint work of animal welfare organizations, 41 parrots return to their natural habitat

Humane Society International / Latin America


HSI

PETEN, Guatemala—A group of 41 parrots of different species (Amazona autumnalis and Amazona alfibrons), iconic in the Latin American region, were released in the Mayan Biosphere Reserve after they were rescued and confiscated from illegal wildlife trafficking.

The release of these birds into their natural habitat was the result of the joint work of animal welfare nonprofit organizations, Asociacion Rescate y Conservacion de Vida Silvestre and Humane Society International/Latin America, who have worked together since 2007 to protect wildlife in Guatemala.

Most of the parrots were seized in 2021 by the authorities while they were being held captive in wooden boxes in a hotel in Flores, Peten. The rest of the group was brought to ARCAS after a series of rescues throughout the rest of 2021 and, after their quarantine period, they all joined the initial group and have progressed together in their rehabilitation process.

Andrea Borel, executive director of HSI/Latin America, explained that negative interactions between people and wildlife, as well as illegal trafficking of wild birds such as parrots, are becoming more common in the region.

“The capture of wild animals for the national and international pet trade is a real problem in Guatemala. These animals are often kept in cramped, inadequate conditions and denied the ability to exhibit their natural behaviors, which can further cause them physical and psychological distress,” Borel said.

Borel continued: “By supporting and working with our local partner, ARCAS, this rescue, rehabilitation and release program is giving these birds back their freedom as well as increasing their wild populations to ensure future breeding in their natural forest habitat where they belong. We also work together on raising awareness and urging citizens not to buy products from wildlife and to report any suspicious activity to the authorities.”

Fernando Martinez, ARCAS director, said, “In our Rescue Center, the animals’ physical, medical and ethological rehabilitation is carried out under strict standards and in compliance with protocols for the different species that are brought in, as a result of illegal trafficking or negative interactions with human beings, to later be released into the Mayan Biosphere Reserve.”

Martinez continued: “Our mission is to protect wildlife and, with these parrots’ release, we contribute to maintaining genetic diversity and thus ensure the survival of the species. These birds will be monitored for 15 days, through direct observation methods on previously designed platforms and trails.”

ARCAS Wildlife Rescue Center and HSI staff facilitated the parrots’ release in the Mayan Biosphere Reserve. under the supervision of the governmental National Council of Protected Areas, or CONAP.

Download Photos

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Media Contact: Andrea Borel: aborel@hsi.org

Humane Society International


HSI

On May 22, Humane Society International hosted a webinar with three companies that have successfully transitioned to sourcing eggs exclusively from cage-free hens. Representing various business sectors, retailer Casa Santa Luzia, global hotel chain Marriott, and pet food company Special Dog, have each demonstrated how corporations can expand their ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) initiatives by transitioning to a cage-free supply chain.

HSI kicked off the webinar with an overview of the growing number of companies prioritizing animal welfare in their ESG initiatives. Globally, over 2,000 companies, including more than 160 in Brazil, have committed to transitioning to cage-free practices. HSI commended Casa Santa Luzia, Marriott, and Special Dog for their successful transitions to cage-free production systems, noting that the companies are sending a powerful message to their peers and producers, while changing the lives of countless animals for the better.

Representing the retail sector, Casa Santa Luzia, a high-end retailer from the state of São Paulo, opened the panel discussion. Luciana Lopes, coordinator of the Sustainable Action Program at Casa Santa Luzia, provided an overview of the company’s commitment to sustainable practices and its supply chain process. “The retail sector plays a very important role in educating on sustainability. And that is what we are trying to do every day,” said Lopes. In 2023, Casa Santa Luzia sold 2.5 million shell eggs, and will continue to only sell eggs from cage-free hens moving forward.

Next to speak was Marriott, represented by Jason Silva, the company’s procurement manager at Renaissance Hotel São Paulo. Silva emphasized Marriott’s dedication to high animal welfare standards and sustainable practices among its suppliers. Acknowledging HSI’s crucial support, Silva stated, “HSI has been helping us understand if suppliers are, in fact, meeting the parameters we want in terms of animal welfare. This is the most critical part of our company’s process of homologation [assessing and aligning] of new suppliers.” In 2023, the company purchased approximately 2.5 million shell eggs and 27 thousand pasteurized eggs.

Special Dog, the first pet food company in Brazil to complete its cage-free transition, concluded the presentations. João Paulo, Special Dog’s sustainable development manager, emphasized how animal welfare is essential in producing high quality pet food, indicating that the company has expanded its commitments to sustainable practices accordingly. Paulo stated, “Special Dog’s sustainability initiatives reach consumers and is today a competitive differential compared to other pet food manufactured brands. Cage-free comes to add to these efforts.” It is estimated that the lives of over 100,000 hens have been positively affected by the company’s shift to cage-free practices.

Anna Souza, policy and program manager in Farm Animal Welfare and Protection at HSI Brazil, closed the event with a final message: “A commitment to cage-free sourcing is not only a pledge to improve animal welfare, but a foundation for the sustainable development of businesses in all sectors. The future of egg production is cage-free.”

The full event recording can be accessed here (in Portuguese).

Recordings per section can be found below:

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Media contact: Anna Cristina Souza: asouza@hsi.org.

This is a rejection of once-in-a-generation opportunity to end slaughter at sea, says Humane Society International

Humane Society International / Global


Minke whale
Nature Picture Library/Alamy

REYKJAVÍK, Iceland—As news breaks that Iceland’s Food, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Bjarkey Olsen Gunnarsdóttir will renew a one-year commercial whaling licence to whaling company Hvalur hf., despite clear evidence of immense animal suffering, global animal protection charity Humane Society International calls it a devastatingly disappointing decision.

An independent report published last year by the Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority 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. Such suffering was deemed in contravention of the country’s Animal Welfare Act.

Adam Peyman, director of wildlife programs at Humane Society International, said: “It is devastatingly disappointing that Minister Gunnarsdóttir has set aside unequivocal scientific evidence demonstrating the brutality and cruelty of commercial whale killing and allowed whales to be killed for another year. There is simply no way to make harpooning whales at sea anything other than cruel and bloody, and no amount of modifications will change that. Whales already face myriad threats in the oceans from pollution, climate change, entanglement in fish nets and ship strikes, and fin whale victims of Iceland’s whaling fleet are considered globally vulnerable to extinction. With the need for whale protection so critical. This is a rejection of a once-in-a-generation opportunity to end the slaughter at sea. There is a new shameful entry in the conservation history books―Iceland had a chance to do the right thing and it chose not to.”

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. Icelandic whalers killed a single minke whale between 2019 and 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.

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Media contact: Wendy Higgins, director of international media: whiggins@hsi.org

The initiative, that’s first launched in Mysore, enables communities to learn about snakes around them and puts first aid for snakebites at their fingertips

Humane Society International / India


Shaili Shah/HSI HSI/India’s wildlife team member Anisha Iyer engages with the community members and snakebite survivors and educates them about a WhatsApp chatbot that enables them with information on snakebites, types of snakes, how to prevent a snakebite, do’s and don’ts after a snakebite etc.

Mysore, KARNATAKA—Karnataka’s first-of-its-kind WhatsApp chatbot has been launched in Mysore to educate citizens about snakes and snakebite prevention. The chatbot, launched by Humane Society International/India in collaboration with The Liana Trust, provides easily accessible information about snake species found in the local vicinity, as well as lifesaving snakebite first-aid, snakebite prevention tips, and myth-busting around misinformation about snakes that can lead to acts of cruelty. 

The automated chatbot, accessed via a QR code or messaging “Hi” to +91 9154190472, disseminates engaging, visual content in English or Kannada, making it easy to understand. Through the WhatsApp chatbot initiative, both organizations aim to reach at least a lakh users this year in Mysore to foster coexistence with snakes and prevent snakebites. 

India has an unfortunate reputation for having more snakebites than any other country in the world, contributing to nearly 50% of snakebite deaths across the globe. India witnesses ten lakh snakebites a year leading to nearly 58,000 human snakebite-related deaths annually and nearly 200,000 cases of morbidity, with Karnataka alone having 6,500 reported snakebites in 2023. It is also a neglected tropical disease, classified by the World Health Organization, taking a devastating toll on the socioeconomics of households and the mental health of those affected.  

Many people have an innate fear of snakes for various reasons including a lack of meaningful information about them. This often leads to snakes being killed or relocated to alien habitats where they have little chance of survival. The new app addresses this information vacuum to empower local communities to take swift and informed action when snakes are encountered.  

Vinod Krishnan, human-wildlife coexistence manager at Humane Society International/India, said: “Snakebite is a mass problem which requires a mass solution. As per our survey in the Mysore district, WhatsApp is one of the most used digital apps. Hence, this is an easy platform to reach many people with vital information that could save human lives and prevent snake persecution. While there is venom research and strengthening of healthcare infrastructure overall to ensure quality care for those affected, preventing a bite from occurring and knowing the right first aid once a bite occurs is crucial.”  

Gerry Martin, founder of The Liana Trust, said: “As we progress in avenues of public outreach, our methods need to evolve and keep with the times. The chatbot is a great way to have a continuous dialogue with the community, assess the information they are accessing the most, and add further layers to this such as information on the nearest hospital, ambulance services and so on in the future.”  

HSI/India and The Liana Trust have been working in Mysore district since 2018 through ecological studies, social surveys, community outreach, policy reform and institutional capacity building, all to aid in the development of a model district for snakebite prevention and management. In February 2024, Karnataka became the first state in India to declare snakebite as a notifiable disease. 

Download Photos/Video

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Media Contact: Shaili Shah: 9930591005; sshah@hsi.org 

Humane Society International / Latin America


Eduardo Cabrera

PETEN, Guatemala—Multiple mammals and birds have been released back into the Guatemalan rainforest after being rescued and rehabilitated from incidents of illegal trafficking and cruelty.

Asociacion Rescate y Conservacion de Vida Silvestre, with the support of Humane Society International/Latin America, released the animals in the Maya Biosphere Reserve, a protected area that spans 13.3 million acres in Peten. This joint project aims to tackle wildlife trafficking for the pet trade and other human activities that negatively impact wild animals.

The group of animals included one anteater (Tamandua mexicana), two raccoons (Procyon lotor), one margay (Lepardus wiedii) and two royal toucans (Ramphastos sulfuratus). The anteater, margay and toucans are all protected by legislation in Guatemala as endangered.

Both raccoons were rescued as juveniles back in August 2023. They were treated at the ARCAS rescue center before being moved to larger rehabilitation enclosures. These enclosures replicate a wild environment as closely as possible, ensuring the raccoons’ safety and well-being. The adult toucans arrived separately in 2023, allowing them to retain their wild behavior and quickly advance in their rehabilitation process, which ensures that animals can survive in the wild by hunting for food, hiding from predators and learning how to fly, jump or run.

Andrea Borel, executive director of Humane Society International/Latin America said: “The capture of wild animals for the national and international pet trade is a real problem in Guatemala. These animals are often kept in cramped, inadequate conditions not suitable for their species and denied the ability to exhibit their natural behaviors, which can further cause them physical and psychological distress. By supporting and working with our local partner, ARCAS, we are able to help animals regain their freedom as well as increase their wild populations to ensure future breeding in their natural forest habitat where they belong. We also work together on awareness raising to urge citizens not to buy products from wildlife and to report any such suspicious activity to the authorities.”

ARCAS director Fernando Martinez said: “Our mission is to reinforce existing wildlife populations, to prevent the extinction of species and thus ensure that there are healthy populations capable of adapting and reproducing in their natural habitat. We are proud that our rescue center is a pioneer in endemic species rehabilitation and release in our region, and we appreciate HSI/Latin America’s support.”

ARCAS carries out the physical, medical and behavioral rehabilitation of victims of wildlife trafficking and exploitative human activities, under strict scientific management standards. HSI/Latin America and ARCAS have been working together in wildlife protection and conservation in Guatemala since 2007. The release was conducted with the authorization of Guatemalan authorities from the National Council for Protected Areas, or CONAP.

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Media contact: Grettel Delgadillo: gdelgadillo@hsi.org

Humane Society International / Latin America


HSI

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica—This year, Humane Society International/Latin America has conducted three comprehensive trainings for Costa Rican authorities on how to properly handle wildlife either seized or rescued in police and judicial operations. According to the Judicial Police’s Specialized Section against Environmental Crimes, between 2022 and 2023, 534 wild animals were seized in Costa Rica.

These workshops are part of the “Improving Costa Rica’s capacity to combat wildlife trafficking” project, funded by the U.S. Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs and administered by Humane Society International in coordination with Costa Rica’s National Environmental Security Commission.

During the workshops, public officials learned how to properly handle seized or rescued wildlife, how to protect people involved in confiscation processes and how to feed and transport wild animals. They also learned about a new online guidebook designed to help enforcement officers identify different species and to provide them with information on legal protections, conservation status and handling techniques for different animals.

“For the Attorney General’s Office, ongoing training and inter-institutional coordination are key to environmental law enforcement. Knowing how to properly manage seized wild animals, their products and by-products, is the best way to guarantee, first, protection of these public domain assets and, second, appropriate sanctions for people who are illegally hunting and trafficking them,” said Jose Pablo Gonzalez, deputy environmental prosecutor and national environmental security commission coordinator for the Costa Rica Attorney General’s Office.

“The majority of wild animals seized or rescued in police and judicial operations have experienced captivity, stress and abuse. That is why at HSI we seek to support law enforcement authorities so that they are prepared to handle these animals in a humane and safe way, not only thinking about the animals themselves but also the safety and wellbeing of the people involved”, said Andrea Borel, executive director of HSI/Latin America.

Officials from the Ministry of Public Security (police force, national coast guard service, border police and air control) attended the workshops, as well as officials from the Ministry of Environment and Energy (the National System of Conservation Areas, the National Commission for Biodiversity and the Administrative Environmental Tribunal), the National Animal Health Service (SENASA), the Judicial Investigation Agency (OIJ) and the Attorney General’s Office.

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Media contact: Alejandra Zuniga: alezuniga@outlook.com

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