Chinese fur production has shrunk by almost 90% in last decade, but millions of animals still suffering despite public health risks

Humane Society International


BEIJING—Alarming footage from fur farms in north China shows foxes, raccoon dogs and mink exhibiting repetitive, stereotypical behaviour associated with mental decline and animals kept in intensive conditions including in close proximity to poultry, despite the potential for zoonotic disease spread. The animal protection charity Humane Society International has released the footage and renewed its call for a global end to the fur trade.

Investigators visited five fur farms in December 2023 in the northern regions of Hebei and Liaoning where they also witnessed widespread use of antibiotics and the sale of raccoon dog carcasses for human consumption.

Official statistics from China’s Fur and Leather Industry Association reveal a 50% decline in the country’s fur production from 2022 to 2023 and a decline of almost 90% during the period 2014 to 2023, consistent with an overall decrease in global fur production . The investigators observed that a significant number of the rural small and medium sized fur farms previously active in the area had closed due to poor sales. Although still the largest fur-producing country in the world, China’s trade cannot escape the global consumer and designer shift away from fur on both animal welfare and environmental grounds.

Chinese investigator Xiao Chen said: “The fur farms we visited were typical of fur farms across China where animals are sadly held in cramped, barren cages, many pacing up and down repetitively due to psychological distress. These are naturally inquisitive, energetic animals but they are reduced to this sad existence in a wire cage with nowhere to go and nothing to do. I cannot imagine their frustration and boredom, all to produce something as trivial as fur fashion. I feel ashamed to be a human when I visit these fur farms and see the cruelty and indifference of which we are capable.”

Each of the fur farms visited kept between 2,000 – 4,000 fur bearing animals in small cages so packed together that in some cases the mink or raccoon dogs could touch animals in neighbouring cages through the wire walls, making disease transfer a possibility. Despite the many hundreds of COVID-19 and avian influenza cases confirmed on fur farms globally since 2020, the fur farmers confirmed to the investigators that they don’t routinely sterilize the farms because of cost considerations. Despite not being asked by any of the farmers to abide by disease prevention protocols before entering, the investigators took their own precautions.

The food preparation areas on several fur farms showed large quantities of frozen fish, chicken meat and liver, eggs and milk powder being ground up into paste to feed to animals. In addition to contributing to fur farming’s carbon footprint, feeding raw chicken meat to animals on fur farms has been identified by EU experts as a biosecurity risk.

Veterinarian Professor Alastair Macmillan, who viewed the footage, said: “As a veterinary microbiologist, I am deeply concerned by the apparent lack of biosecurity and potential for transmission of avian influenza due to chickens and ducks moving freely between cages of raccoon dogs. That demonstrates a ready route of transmission via direct contact or faecal contamination. Cases of avian influenza have already been documented on European fur farms and such close proximity between species significantly heightens the risk of avian-to-mammal transmission. The high stocking density of raccoon dogs could also facilitate virus adaptation to mammalian hosts and the selection of virus strains capable of transmitting between mammals. The sale of raccoon dog carcasses and cooked meat for human consumption also raises concerns about the potential for zoonotic disease transmission.”

The investigation found that the most common killing method on the fur farms is electric shock applied via the mouth and rectum, although some farm operators kill mink by smashing their heads against a metal pole or beating them over the head with a club. There are a number of markets in the region where animal carcasses from fur farms are sold for approximately 2-3 yuan/kg. One local restaurant visited by the investigators offered boiled, fried and marinaded raccoon dog meat for sale to local customers for around 20 yuan and confirmed that it cooked 42 raccoon dogs a day.

Dr Peter Li, HSI’s China policy expert, said: “Although this investigation took place in China, the animal suffering inherent in the fur trade can also be seen on fur farms across Europe and North America. Mentally disturbed animals, piles of animal filth, barren cages and worrying zoonotic disease risk is in stark contrast to the glamorous image the fur trade tries to portray. But that’s the grim reality behind this industry. China exports fur to countries such as the United Kingdom, the United States and across Europe, making those nations complicit in this cruelty. Responding to so many designers and consumers rejecting fur, fur farming in China has seen a dramatic reduction in recent years. But the end of this cruel, environmentally damaging and dangerous industry cannot come soon enough.”

Download photos and videos from the investigation.


Media contact: Wendy Higgins, HSI’s director of international media:


In 2023, China produced 10 million fox, mink and raccoon dog fur pelts, a more than 50% decrease on the 22 million pelts produced in 2022 and an 88% decline from a decade ago. In 2014, China produced 87 million fur pelts—60 million mink pelts, 14 million raccoon dog pelts and 13 million fox pelts.

A study by carbon footprint experts at Foodsteps, commissioned by Humane Society International and reviewed by renowned sustainability expert Dr Isaac Emery, found that the environmental impacts of mink, fox and raccoon dog fur production significantly exceed those of other materials used in fashion, including cotton and even polyester and acrylic used to make faux fur. A significant component of fur’s carbon footprint is the vast quantity of animal products fed to carnivorous animals on fur farms.



The African elephant population has declined 60% over the last 50 years

Humane Society International

Waldo Swiegers/AP Images for HSI

WASHINGTON—Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced a final rule governing import permits for live African elephants and elephant hunting trophies. This action effectively bans elephant hunting trophy imports from certain countries that serve as major destinations for trophy hunters—a win for the conservation of the species listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

“Today’s announcement serves as a victory for the animal welfare and conservation movement, as this is precisely what the Endangered Species Act was designed to accomplish. The U.S. government should not be in the business of promoting the decline of a species, especially one classified as threatened under its own law,” said Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States. “Elephants are complex, family-centered animals, important within their ecosystems and cherished by people all over the world. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s move is a meaningful step toward saving African elephants from extinction.”

Since the Fish and Wildlife Service classified African elephants as threatened in 1978, their global population has decreased by at least 60% due to poaching, habitat loss and other compounding threats. Trophy hunting and the capture of live wild elephants for exhibition in U.S. zoos contribute to this decline through direct removals of individuals and ripple effects negatively impacting the overall health and survival of family groups.

“For decades the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been allowing African elephant imports without current population data, transparency or effective oversight,” said Sara Amundson, president of Humane Society Legislative Fund. “With African elephants’ rapid global population decline and the abrupt reversals in federal protections between administrations, this new revision to the regulation will help the agency make decisions that enhance the survival of the species in the wild, instead of incentivizing its decline. Considering how the U.S. is one of the world’s worst offenders in the elephant hunting trophy trade, we thank U.S. Secretary of the Interior Secretary Haaland and the Fish and Wildlife Service for taking these steps to protect endangered and threatened species.”

The new revision clarifies guidelines for granting import permits. It also strengthens the agency’s oversight capacity and the transparency of the permit application process. The U.S. imports more hunting trophies than any other country in the world, accounting for 75% of global hunting trophy imports and almost 25% of global elephant hunting trophy imports between 2014 and 2018. The revised rule heightens the criteria required for the Fish and Wildlife Service to authorize imports, including from South Africa, Zimbabwe and Namibia—the top exporters of elephant hunting trophies to the U.S.—making it harder for trophy hunters to import their hunting spoils and for captive wildlife facilities such as zoos bring animals taken from the wild into the U.S. for exhibition.

“The agency’s new rule is a strong step in the right direction to finally gain transparency and oversight on this highly politicized and harmful trade in African elephants killed for fun and gruesome souvenirs,” said Jeff Flocken, president of Humane Society International. “We will continue to fight for a full ban on the trade in African elephant hunting trophies, and we hope this sets a precedent that can be applied to other countries and to other imperiled species, like lions, giraffes and leopards.”

Under the Obama administration in 2014, the Fish and Wildlife Service issued rules suspending the importation of elephant trophies from Tanzania and Zimbabwe into the U.S. In 2018, the Fish and Wildlife Service under the Trump administration withdrew that rule and began to allow the import of elephant trophies on a case-by-case basis, although former President Donald Trump tweeted about the trophy hunting aspect of the rule, saying he was “very hard pressed to change [his] mind that this horror show in any way helps conservation of elephants or any other animal.” Now, the Biden administration has heightened the criteria for what imports are allowed into the U.S.

In January, Belgium’s parliament voted unanimously to prohibit the import of hunting trophies from many endangered species into the country. This comes after the Netherlands instituted a ban on the import of hunting trophies for more than 200 species and France implemented a ban on the import of lion hunting trophies in 2015.

Photos and videos available upon request.


Media contact: Kate Sarna: 202-836-1265;

Humane Society International / Canada

Wolf in the snow
Marco Arduino/Alamy Stock Photo

OTTAWA, Ontario—Wolf Awareness, WeHowl, Animal Justice, the International Fund for Animal Welfare, Humane Society International/Canada and Animal Alliance of Canada are applauding a decision by Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency to cease the use of the poison strychnine for killing wild animals, including wolves, coyotes and black bears. 

The decision to cancel the registration of products containing this dangerous poison follows years of advocacy and campaigning, including a request for special review of strychnine and other predacides filed by a coalition of groups in December 2020. Today’s decision reverses the PMRA’s initial proposal in August 2022 to allow the continued use of both strychnine and Compound 1080. That proposed decision was widely condemned by animal protection and conservation groups because of the cruel nature of these indiscriminate poisons and the serious harm that they cause to the environment.   

Strychnine is notorious for causing some of the most agonizing symptoms of any poison, including muscular convulsions that can last up to 24 hours or longer before an animal finally succumbs to exhaustion or suffocation. Due to its gruesome nature, it featured prominently in Agatha Christie murder mystery novels. 

In addition to the unnecessary pain the poison inflicts on its intended targets, it is known to recklessly kill hundreds of non-target animals each year, including companion dogs, birds of prey and endangered species. These animals suffer and die after consuming poison baits or from consuming the bodies of other poisoned animals. 

“This decision is a huge victory for wild animals across Canada,” said Kaitlyn Mitchell, director of legal advocacy with Animal Justice. “Strychnine is among the most gruesome poisons in existence. We are thrilled that animals will no longer endure the agony of strychnine poisoning on the Canadian landscape.”    

“Strychnine not only kills the intended wolves, coyotes, black bears and skunks,” said Hannah Barron, conservation director with Wolf Awareness. “It also kills countless other animals unintentionally, including golden eagles, lynx, ravens, grizzly bears and companion dogs, to name a few. Getting rid of this indiscriminate poison gets Canada one step closer to meeting its biodiversity targets under the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.”  

“There is a growing body of scientific evidence showing that lethal removal of large carnivores, including through poisoning, is not an effective way to reduce predation on livestock,” said Sadie Parr, organizer of WeHowl. “There are more effective ways to prevent conflicts, which are also more ethical and environmentally responsible. Many Canadians are already using such methods with success.” 

“Canada’s use of strychnine to kill wildlife is an issue that attracted the attention of hundreds of thousands of concerned citizens in Canada and beyond. We are thrilled that Health Canada has reversed their previous decision, and finally canceled all uses of strychnine” said Sheryl Fink, director of Canadian wildlife issues with IFAW.  

I want to thank the Minister of Health and the folks at the Pest Management Regulatory Agency for banning the use of strychnine in Canada,” said Liz White, director of Animal Alliance of Canada. “No longer will this predacide be spread on the landscape indiscriminately killing wolves, coyotes and many other wild animals.” 

“We are thrilled with Health Canada’s decision to ban this deplorable poison, which has no place in wildlife management,” said Kelly Butler, wildlife campaign manager at Humane Society International/Canada. “This ban will spare so many animals from horrific, prolonged and needless deaths and we commend the government for taking this step towards improving welfare outcomes for wildlife and removing poisons from Canada’s ecosystems.” 

While the animal protection and environmental groups are relieved following PMRA’s decision to end the use of strychnine by September, it remains urgent for the PMRA to also ban Compound 1080, another poison also used to kill wolves and coyotes. It causes vomiting, convulsions, intense pain and hallucinations to animals who ingest it, and is unacceptably cruel. 

Similar to strychnine, the effects of Compound 1080 can last hours or even days before an animal dies from cardiac failure or respiratory arrest. 

According to a national Environics poll commissioned by Wolf Awareness, Animal Alliance and Animal Justice, 69% of Canadians say that the risks posed by strychnine and Compound 1080 used in Canadian wildlife management programs are unacceptable. 


Media Contacts: 


Sadie Parr 

Wolf researcher/advocate and Organizer of WeHowl 



Hannah Barron 

Conservation Director, Wolf Awareness 



Kaitlyn Mitchell 

Director of Legal Advocacy, Animal Justice 



Sheryl Fink 

Director, Canadian Wildlife Campaigns. IFAW Canada 



Kelly Butler 

Wildlife Campaign Manager, Humane Society International/Canada 

514 914-7607 

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:

Humane Society International / Latin America

Claudio Ramirez/ For HSI

VIÑA DEL MAR, Chile—From a makeshift veterinary hospital set up in a local school in the wildfire-impacted city of Viña del Mar in Chile, the disaster relief team from animal charity Humane Society International is helping to treat dogs and cats with distressing injuries.

Animals are brought in with painful burns to their paws and bodies, breathing difficulties from smoke inhalation and infected eyes from falling ash and debris. Animals are also experiencing dehydration and malnutrition from spending days fending for themselves after becoming separated from their families during the fire. Since the hospital was first established after the fire, around 150 animals have received treatment at the hospital, where HSI’s disaster relief team has deployed at the request of the Viña authorities. HSI will also begin search and rescue in more remote areas where they expect to find more animal casualties in need of treatment.

Daniela Sanchez, HSI’s Chile country director, who lives in the local area, said: “The majority of dog and cat casualties are coming into the field hospital with painful skin burns, breathing problems and other issues caused by direct contact with the fires or burning materials. These animals have been through a very frightening ordeal compounded by being separated from the comfort of their families, so we are also treating many of them for shock as well as dehydration and malnutrition. Every day we are seeing desperate locals coming to the hospital searching for their beloved animal companions in the hope of being reunited. We are working hard to make those happy reunions possible so that despite the devastation this fire has caused, at least people and their pets can be together again to help each other get through the trauma.”

Felipe Marquez, HSI Latin America’s disaster response program manager from Mexico, has responded to many disasters and believes that for the sake of both people and animals, there is an increasing need for climate change-related disaster preparedness as such events become more frequent and intense. According to the United Nations Environment Program, wildfires are likely to increase by up to 14% by 2030 and 50% by 2100 due to climate change and land use change which are leading to “hotter, drier and longer fire seasons.”

HSI’s Marquez says: “Millions of people and animals across the planet, including here in Viña del Mar, are victims of climate change-exacerbated disaster events. This is becoming a more frequent reality for animal rescue teams such as HSI’s which is why we focus a lot on helping communities and local authorities better prepare for the inevitable. For now though, our immediate priority here in Chile is to attend animal casualties, distribute food, water and veterinary supplies, as well as head out on search and rescue to find animals for whom help has not yet come. We know from our field experience responding to earthquakes, wildfires and floods around the world that injured or sick animals can survive for some time by scavenging a little food and water, but without treatment they can succumb to injuries and infections. So, we’re hoping to reach as many as possible and bring them back to the hospital for proper care.”

HSI’s disaster relief team comprise members from Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico and the United States. Between them they have years of experience in animal search and rescue, including during Australia’s wildfires in 2020 and the earthquakes in Türkiye last year.

Download Photos/Video 


Media contact: Wendy Higgins, director of international media:

Humane Society International and Grupo Bimbo's commitment to animal welfare and cage-free eggs: a collaborative journey

Humane Society International / Mexico

David Paul Morris

MEXICO CITY—Humane Society International congratulates Grupo Bimbo, a global leader in the food industry, for making meaningful progress toward its goal of a 100% cage-free egg supply chain by 2025. The company has also successfully influenced major producers to begin cage-free production in Mexico. For nearly a decade, Grupo Bimbo has actively collaborated with Humane Society International and other non-governmental organizations in Mexico to help facilitate their transition globally.

The market for cage-free eggs in Mexico is rapidly growing, accelerating the shift toward kinder, cage-free systems for raising hens and harvesting their eggs. Over 150 companies in Mexico have committed to stop using eggs from caged hens in their supply chains. This includes major manufacturers such as Grupo Bimbo, restaurants such as Toks and McDonald’s operator Arcos Dorados, hotel operators such as Karisma and Marriott, and many others. Where the market goes, the production follows: the volume of eggs required to fulfill these commitments requires a significant sector shift to cage-free production. Companies like Grupo Bimbo are leading the way by working directly with their suppliers to transition away from using cages to meet their pledge.

Cage-free systems typically offer hens higher levels of welfare by allowing more opportunities for expression of natural behavior such as ground scratching, pecking, dustbathing, nesting, perching and socializing, all of which are not possible in systems that house hens in cages. Hens are sentient, intelligent and sociable animals. Scientific studies have shown that they have a sense of time, can count, learn from their flock mates and anticipate the future, which in turn affects their decision-making. They experience positive emotional states and enjoy social activities.

Grupo Bimbo states, “It is important to note that we have carried out this process (achieving a 17% progress in our global target) with the support of our allies and various civil society organizations that are experts in the field, including Humane Society International, who have provided us with information and recommendations.”

Arianna Torres, senior program manager at HSI, said: “The collaborative journey between Grupo Bimbo and HSI underscores the transformative impact that collective efforts can have on shaping a more humane future. HSI has been working with Grupo Bimbo since the beginning, providing trainings to their staff, supporting road map development, bringing companies together to share lessons learned, and helping find suppliers that are willing to transition away from cages globally and throughout Mexico. Grupo Bimbo is demonstrating that companies of all sizes can make significant positive changes for animals.”

Humane Society International is facilitating a successful transition to higher welfare, cage and crate free housing for farmed animals around the world, by working with corporate buyers, producers and financial institutions.


Media Contact: Erica Heffner:

Animal organizations unite to see Max Mara go fur-free

Humane Society International / United Kingdom

Mink on a fur farm
Jo-Anne McArthur/Andrew-Skowron/We Animals Media

LONDON—Ahead of Fashion Weeks in New York, London, Milan and Paris, the largest ever global anti-fur consumer campaign has been launched to urge fashion house Max Mara to go fur-free. The campaign is headed by animal charities Humane Society International, the Humane Society of the United States and the Fur Free Alliance comprising organizations in more than 35 countries. Campaigners are asking their millions of supporters and compassionate citizens from the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, South Korea, the European Union and the United States to target Max Mara’s phone lines, email and social media urging the design house to drop fur because it is cruel, out-dated and has no place in a modern society.    

Max Mara, which has 2,500+ stores in 105 countriesof which 39 are in the United States is one of the last major fur users and its current range includes items made of fox, raccoon dog and mink fur. Max Mara fur products include fox fur cuffs, a mink trimmed hood, a fox fur trimmed hood, mink mittens and a raccoon dog fur charm, and product labels show the company uses mink fur from China plus fox and raccoon dog fur from Finland. 

Max Mara’s use of fur is increasingly out of mode considering that most of the world’s major fashion-houses have already gone fur-free, including Dolce & Gabbana, Saint Laurent, Valentino, Prada, Gucci, Versace, Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga and Jimmy Choo. Many other designers and retailers have long-standing policies against using fur, including Hugo Boss, Armani, Tommy Hilfiger, Stella McCartney and Vivienne Westwood.  

PJ Smith, director of fashion policy at Humane Society International and the Humane Society of the United States, said: “Max Mara is one of the last global fashion brands that continues to support the vile fur trade, despite clear evidence that the fur industry is cruel, bad for the environment and a risk to public health. By doing so, Max Mara is increasingly isolated in a world where the vast majority of consumers find fur obscene. We hope that Max Mara stops being an apologist for the fur trade and instead decides to strike a pose for compassionate fashion by going fur-free.”

Mink, fox and raccoon dogsall species used by Max Maraare bred to die on fur factory farms where they spend their entire lives in cramped, barren cages, deprived of the ability to engage in natural behaviors, only to be crudely gassed or anally electrocuted and then skinned.  

Fur production is also environmentally devastating and a risk to public health. Peer-reviewed research by carbon footprint experts Foodsteps and commissioned by HSI shows that, when compared to other materials, per kilogram fur has the highest greenhouse gas emissions, with the carbon footprint of 1kg of mink fur 31 times higher than that of cotton and 25 times higher than polyester. Fur factory farms are also breeding grounds for zoonotic diseases like COVID-19 and avian influenza, with hundreds of confirmed outbreaks on fur farms across Europe and North America in the last several years. All this while quality, animal-friendly alternative fabrics, such as KOBA® Fur Free Fur which incorporates plant based and recycled ingredients, are readily available and sold by Max Mara’s competitors.  

The most recent and largest ever undercover investigation of fur farms was conducted in six EU countriesincluding Finland, the country from which Max Mara sources its fox and raccoon dog fur. During summer and autumn 2023, investigators made more than 100 visits to fur farms resulting in shocking photo and video evidence. Mink, foxes and raccoon dogs were shown in horrifying conditions in which incidences of cannibalism were documented. Animals on the farms were also shown injured, diseased, with some either dead or dying. Some had missing limbs, tails or ears and/or had serious eye infections, wounds infested with maggots and disturbing instances of self-mutilation. 

Max Mara’s headquarters can be contacted about their use of fur via HSI’s action page at as well as via Max Mara’s social media channels: X, Facebook, and Instagram.

Fur facts:

Tens of millions of animals suffer and die each year in the global fur trade. The majority of the animals killed for fur are reared in barren battery cages on fur farms.   

Mink on more than 480 fur farms across 13 countries have been found infected with COVID-19, and fur farms in Spain and Finland have had outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (H5N1). The potential for zoonotic disease spread on fur farms has been acknowledged by the World Health Organization and leading virologists have recently warned governments to “consider the mounting evidence suggesting fur farming be eliminated in the interest of pandemic preparedness.” 

Fur farming has been banned in 20 European countries including the 15 Member States of Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Slovakia and Slovenia and five other European nations of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Norway, United Kingdom, North Macedonia and Serbia. Additionally, Switzerland and Germany have strict welfare regulations which have effectively ended fur farming.   

In the United States, there are fur sales bans in the state of California and in the following 14 towns or cities: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Berkeley and West Hollywood in California; Lexington, Cambridge, Plymouth, Brookline, Weston and Wellesley in Massachusetts; the borough of Etna in Pennsylvania, and the cities of Ann Arbor in Michigan; Boulder, Colorado; Hallandale Beach, Florida. Israel became the first country to ban fur sales in 2021. 

Download video/photos of Finnish fur farms here

Media contact:  Wendy Higgins, director of international media:

Humane Society International / Global

Animals are suffering on fur farms and in traps right now. Please help convince Max Mara to change its cruel practices.

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 / Indonesia

Garry Lotulung/AP Images for HSI

JAKARTA, Indonesia—Twenty four dogs rescued from a slaughterhouse at Indonesia’s Tomohon “Extreme” Market in North Sulawesi province have flown from Indonesia to the United States in search of loving families. Poppy, Romeo, Wendy, Mia, Rocky and friends were saved by animal charities Humane Society International and Animal Friends Manado Indonesia after the organizations negotiated an historic ban on the dog and cat meat trades at the Tomohon market in July last year.

HSI transported the 24 dogs, including Abbie, Lano, Jilly, Oliver and Root,  to its care and rehabilitation center near Washington, D.C., in the United States, where they are now receiving soft beds, nutritious food, toys, veterinary care and time to heal from their ordeal. After this initial phase, they will be placed with shelter and rescue partners where they will be prepared for adoption into loving homes.

  • Photos/video of their journey to the USA HERE
  • Photos/video of their rescue HERE

On the day the market ban came into force, the HSI and AFMI campaigners saved a total of 25 dogs and three cats from being bludgeoned and blowtorched to death for human consumption. One dog named Daisy was subsequently adopted by HSI rescuer Lola Webber who lives in Indonesia, and all three cats also found loving homes on the island country. More than 130,000 dogs and countless cats annually are slaughtered in public markets across Indonesia’s island of Sulawesi, with more than 1 million dogs a year killed for the meat trade nationwide.

Lola Webber, HSI’s director of Ending Dog Meat campaigns, said: “For dogs like Daisy, change came literally just in time in Tomohon. As proud adopter of Daisy, who utterly stole my heart when we rescued her, I am filled with hope for these wonderful dogs as they begin their journey to find happy homes in the United States. Daisy was at one of the slaughterhouses we closed down that supplied Tomohon Extreme Market, and which alone had killed hundreds of these terrified animals every week for years. It was a filthy place with a blood-stained floor and emaciated dogs crammed in steel cages, peering out desperately. I will never forget the look of fear in their eyes.

These poor animals witnessed and experienced unimaginable brutality and traumatizing cruelty. But I know how transformative love can be for dogs and cats rescued from the meat trade. Sweet Daisy is living proof that with kindness, patience and compassion, these dogs can look forward to happy futures surrounded by families who love them. Daisy is adored by my husband and me and our four children, and is living the life all dogs deserve. I can’t wait to see the same happy ending for Romeo, Poppy, Rocky and friends.”

The ban at Tomohon market introduced by Mayor Caroll Senduk not only shut down this cruel trade at the market itself, but also impacted the vast network of animal thieves and traffickers across the entire province for whom sales at the market were a prime motivation. As a leading member of the Dog Meat Free Indonesia coalition, HSI has helped achieve bans on the dog and cat meat trades in 40 cities and regencies so far, with provinces also pledging action to eradicate the trade, and the charity aims for further victories in 2024. The ultimate goal is a nationwide ban on the dog and cat meat trades, which HSI hopes Indonesia’s policy makers will feel inspired to introduce following the ban just passed in South Korea.

Ms Webber says: “In addition to the immense animal suffering the dog and cat meat trades cause, they also pose a very real danger to public health, particularly through the spread of the deadly rabies virus. Dog capture, transport, killing, butchery and consumption can all facilitate rabies transmission, and rabies-positive dogs have been found for sale at markets throughout Indonesia. So, there are compelling animal and human welfare reasons for Indonesia to be the next country in Asia to finally ban this trade.”

In November last year a host of Hollywood and Indonesian stars wrote a letter to President Joko Widodo urging him to ban the dog and cat meat trades. The letter, signed by stars including Kim Basinger, Courteney Cox, Andie McDowell, Dame Judi Dench, Alicia Silverstone, Leona Lewis OBE, Daisy Fuentes, Billie Eilish, Charlize Theron and Clint Eastwood, alongside Indonesian mega-stars Bubah Alfian, Cinta Laura Kiehl, D.J Bryant, Davina Veronica, Luna Maya, Prilly Latuconsia, called for a ban “so that we can soon celebrate a truly dog and cat meat-free Indonesia.”  The stars went on to say: “We stand strong with the overwhelming majority of Indonesian citizens and international visitors who oppose the dog and cat meat trades and believe in protecting animals from cruelty and exploitation.”

HSI’s rescues and dog transports are conducted in compliance with national and local animal and public health recommendations. Following their rescue, the animals were evaluated by a veterinarian, treated for endo- and ectoparasites, vaccinated against rabies, distemper, hepatitis, parvo virus, parainfluenza, leptospira and screened for illness as needed to ensure the health of each animal and to comply with international export and import requirements. On arrival in the United States, the dogs were further cleared by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention before being received at the care and rehabilitation center.

Download photos and video of the dogs and cats being rescued here

Download photos and video of the dogs on their Indonesia to USA journey here

Download photos and video of the dog meat trade at Tomohon Extreme Market (May 2023) here

A list of the shelter and rescue partners at which the dogs are placed will be available here once that information becomes available.


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