Humane Society International / Latin America

Claudio Ramirez for HSI

CHILE—More than 300 people took part in a webinar on disaster response organized by the Responsible Ownership Program of the Undersecretary of Regional and Administrative Development of the Chilean government and supported by Humane Society International/Latin America.

The webinar came after the fires that affected Chile between December 2022 and March 2023, when Humane Society International in Chile distributed veterinary first aid equipment, medicine and food to local organizations in support of the rescue and care of wildlife, domestic animals and farm animals.

The webinar, “Animal Dimension in Disaster Response: International Experiences and Global Learning,” was held on June 1, with participants from countries including the United States, Costa Rica, Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico and a large number of municipal officials from different regions of Chile.

“We are pleased to participate in this type of initiative since it is our duty to extend the learning acquired in each animal disaster response experience. We hope that the lessons shared will strengthen and inspire the work of people in Latin America who are on the front lines helping animals,” said Adam Parascándola, vice president of Humane Society International’s Animal Rescue Team.

“One of the strengths of this seminar was the discussion between the different stakeholders involved in the prevention, attention and mitigation of disasters. We learned that an animal rescue manual has been developed in Chile and that the discussions on the Animal Dimension are within the framework of ‘One Health’. It was interesting to hear, for example, that, during the Seminar, the Municipality of Chañaral committed to making an annex to its disaster care plan to include rescue and animal care in an emergency,” said Dr. Claudia Edwards, regional coordinator of disaster response for Humane Society International/Latin America.

“In highly vulnerable countries like Chile, we believe that the way to advance and grow is to work collaboratively with the authorities, and with the relevant stakeholders at the local level. This seminar was an example of collaboration that allowed us to extend the knowledge that HSI has acquired over time and raise awareness about the importance of considering animals in disaster response plans,” said Daniela Sánchez, country director for Humane Society International in Chile.

During the day, speakers shared their experience in disasters such as the eruption of the Fuego Volcano in Guatemala, Hurricane Matthew in Haiti, earthquakes in Mexico and Türkiye, fires in Australia and California, and the war in Ukraine. Topics included HSI’s global disaster response program, community preparedness, veterinary work and the rescue of wild and domestic animals.


Media Contact: Daniela Sanchez: (+56 9) 62181089;

These endangered birds returned to their natural habitat, thanks to HSI/Latin America and ARCAS Rescue Center

Humane Society International / Latin America

Mauricio Mota/Humane Society International

PETEN, Guatemala—Thirty-six parrots (Amazona autumnalis, Amazona albifrons and Pionus senilis) were released in the Rio Azul National Park, in Peten, Guatemala, on May 25, after being rescued from illegal trafficking and going through a rigorous rehabilitation process.

The birds’ release resulted from a joint effort by non-governmental, non-profit organizations, Asociacion Rescate y Conservacion de Vida Silvestre and Humane Society International/Latin America, who have been working together since 2007 in wildlife protection and conservation in Guatemala.

Under the guidance of the National Council for Protected Areas (in Spanish: Consejo Nacional de Areas Protegidas, or CONAP), ARCAS Wildlife Rescue Center and HSI staff facilitated the return of the 36 parrots of different species to the forest. Some of the parrots were victims of wildlife trafficking and others experienced negative interaction with humans.

According to ARCAS director, Fernando Martinez, the rescue center carries out physical, medical and ethological rehabilitation of the different species that enter as a result of illegal trafficking, under strict scientific management standards. The animals are later released in the Mayan Biosphere Reserve.

“The Rescue Center’s mission is to reinforce existing wildlife populations, to prevent the extinction of species, and thus ensuring that there are healthy populations capable of adapting and reproducing in their natural habitat,” said Martinez.

Mauricio Mota, advocacy officer for ESAP, supported by HSI/Latin America, explained that keeping parrots as pets is a frequent activity in Guatemala, and they are obtained mainly through illegal wildlife trafficking, which puts populations at risk.

“That is why HSI/Latin America and ARCAS work to ensure a successful rehabilitation of these animals and thus give them a second chance to live in freedom. Also, we urge everyone to refrain from buying these animals as pets, to not purchase objects that contain parts or derivatives of wild animals, and to report to the authorities any suspicious activity regarding wildlife,” said Mota.

The parrots will be monitored during a couple of weeks after the release, through sightings on trails and on observation platforms.

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Media Contact: Mauricio Mota: 502-324-38475;   

Survey conducted by Humane Society International reveals positive trends regarding the welfare of companion animals

Humane Society International / Latin America


SAN JOSE—A study of street dog and cat populations conducted by animal welfare organization Humane Society International in nine key areas in Costa Rica has revealed that animal numbers are starting to decrease in some urban areas thanks to spay and neuter programs.

Conducted in July and August last year in four urban, three rural and two coastal sites, the study involved counting street dog and cat numbers (both those with and without an owner), as well as household surveys in the Montes de Oca, Curridabat, La Union and Cartago districts, rural areas adjacent to the Greater Metropolitan Area, and the San Francisco and Tortuguero communities in Pococi, Limon province.

Andrea Borel, executive director of HSI/Latin America, says: “The study allowed us to identify and compare dog and cat populations at these sites, as well as the current status of sterilization and vaccination in urban and rural locations. We were also able to see how these roaming dogs and cats interact with people and other animals, including wildlife. What we found was a quantifiable decrease in dog populations in those areas where sterilization is most common and a high level of sterilization in urban areas. This is vital data that will help HSI collaborate with existing animal welfare programs in Costa Rica to achieve sustainable change through humane dog and cat population management, affordable and accessible sterilization, preventative veterinary care, public education and a strengthened culture of responsible pet ownership.”

A total of 2,168 household surveys were conducted in combination with early morning street counts of animal numbers. A team of researchers used HSI’s specially developed mobile phone application to accurately record the location of each dog and cat and calculate the total number of roaming animals on each street. The teams also assessed the visible health status of each animal. By replicating pre-defined Google routes surveyed in 2014, HSI was able to demonstrate that the street dog population density has decreased in some urban areas in Costa Rica where spay and neuter is most common. In some areas the survey revealed a more than 80% dog sterilization rate.

Free-roaming dogs and cats, when present in high density, may face serious welfare issues, such as starvation, disease and untreated injuries. At worst, they may also compromise public safety and environmental health, and contribute to the deaths of other animal species. A decrease in dog density is often an indicator of the effectiveness of animal welfare and sterilization programs developed by private and public institutions, particularly in areas where the municipality has an active role.

Other relevant survey findings included:

  • A high level of sterilization of dogs and cats, mainly in urban districts such as Montes de Oca (81%). Additionally, 86% of cats reported in urban areas were sterilized, compared to 63% in rural areas.
  • The majority of households said they had sterilized their companion animals in private clinics (63%), although sterilization campaigns prevailed in three rural areas.
  • Companionship is the main reason for having a dog (96% in urban areas and 91% rural), followed by personal/property protection, which is more common in rural areas.
  • Most people acquire an animal as a gift from a friend or relative (62% in urban areas and 48% rural), followed by rescuing them from the street.
  • Cases of animal cruelty often go unreported, with the main barriers to reporting being an unwillingness to get involved, the perception that it is not the individual’s responsibility to report cruelty, and lack of knowledge how and where to report it.
  • There are complex interactions between free roaming dogs and cats and wildlife. Although specific wild animal species involved varied from area to area, the most common interaction cited was dogs and cats hunting small animals.
  • The percentage of households where someone had been bitten by a dog was noticeably lower compared to other Latin American countries studied by HSI (Mexico and Chile).


Media contact: Alejandra Zúñiga ;

Humane Society International / Latin America

Cheryl Gerber/AP Images for the HSUS Pamela Alfaro, pictured left, accepts the Lifetime Achievement Award. 

The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International were proud to present Pamela Alfaro, executive director of Red Informativa del Movimiento Animal, with a Lifetime Achievement Award at Animal Care Expo for her commitment to helping the animals of Chile.

The Lifetime Achievement Award is a recognition given during Animal Care Expo—the largest international educational conference and trade show for animal welfare professionals and volunteers—to individuals who have made a significant contribution to the improvement of animals’ lives through long-term personal and professional commitment and dedication to the field of animal welfare.

Alfaro has been a pioneer in promoting the sterilization of dogs and cats in Chile for over 20 years, developing training for veterinarians in minimally invasive sterilization surgery, running clinics for animals in underserved communities and supporting and advising various government-run programs at the municipal, regional and national levels.

Alfaro said: “I am honored to have been recognized with this prestigious award. I have been fighting for animals since I was 10 years old, and the knowledge and skills I have gained participating in this conference have renewed my motivation and provided ideas and strategies that I am eager to implement upon my return to Chile.”

Jeffrey Flocken, president of Humane Society International, said: “Pamela’s incredible lifelong commitment to helping the animals of Chile is inspiring. In particular, I enjoyed learning about her vision in introducing humane and effective methods of managing cat and dog populations in Chile. Pamela clearly exemplifies the kind of passion and dedication that deserves to be honored with such an award.”

Marcela Diaz, companion animals and engagement program manager for Humane Society International in Chile, said: “Attending Animal Care Expo is a lifechanging event for individuals who dedicate their lives to change the reality for animals across the world. Oftentimes we feel lonely and isolated in this fight, and coming together with individuals from all around the globe renews our strength, our knowledge and our commitment to continue the fight for all animals.”

Animal Care Expo was hosted by the Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International in New Orleans, Louisiana in the United States earlier this month.

Experts from all aspects of animal welfare will come together from across the globe to learn about the latest programs, share best practices, gain inspiration, and build lasting connections.

This year, the conference attracted over 2,500 participants from across the United States, as well as dozens of individuals and organizations from around the world. HSI provided more than 30 sponsorship opportunities for individuals working to advance dog and cat welfare in more than 10 countries on four continents to attend.

Other attendees from Chile include Katrina Justiniano of Fundación Carlos Huerta in Tongoy, Verónica Barrestica of Fundación Felinnos, Paulette Goujon of Fundacion Amigos de los Animales and Andrea Espinoza of the Undersecretary of Regional and Administrative Development.


Media contact: Daniela Sanchez: +56 9 62181089;

Humane Society International / Latin America


SAN JOSE, Costa Rica—From how to improvise a muzzle to the correct way to treat a poisoned cat or dog—these were some of the topics addressed at Humane Society International/Latin America’s first aid training. The workshop was given to 20 judicial police agents from the new specialized section against environmental crimes and other regional offices.

The new section has dealt with 83 cases of animal cruelty nationwide from April to December 2022. HSI/Latin America seeks to provide judicial agents with tools so that they can safeguard animal lives at crime scenes, while protecting valuable evidence.

“We analyzed the most common examples of animal cruelty, for example, physical injuries resulting in fractures, bleeding and burns, and how agents can give the animal a better chance to survive, but always paying attention to the surroundings so as not to lose evidence that can contribute to cruelty cases,” said Sofia Herra, cruelty prevention and companion animals program manager for HSI/Latin America.

Workshop participants also practiced helping an animal in the event of poisoning, suffocation or heat stroke, how to apply bandages and temporary splints, and responding when a dog or cat has a seizure or suffers cardiorespiratory arrest.

“Agents from this specialized section are often the first to respond to complaints of animal cruelty in cases taken by the Judicial Police. Therefore, this workshop was very useful since it provides us with tools to deal with these situations and help the animals involved, always preserving the integrity of crime scene,” said investigator Shirley Calderon of the specialized section against environmental crimes.

HSI/Latin America seeks to work jointly with government institutions that address animal cruelty in Costa Rica. “We want to support their capacity building, with workshops such as this one, but we are also interested in actively contributing to preventing and reducing animal cruelty cases in the country,” Herra said.


Media contact: Alejandra Zuniga: 7012-5598;

Humane Society International

Claudio Ramirez for HSI

CHILE—Humane Society International is providing critical supplies to aid animals affected by the wildfires plaguing Chile. Oxygen concentrators, food and veterinary medical supplies were provided by the HSI team to animal rehabilitation centers and veterinary hospitals to support hundreds of wild, companion and farm animals impacted by the fires in the Ñuble and Bio Bio Region.

After three weeks, the forest fires remain active and have further spread into the Maule, La Araucanía and Los Ríos regions. The area affected by the fires is over 436,000 hectares (over a million acres)—three times the size of the Greater London area.

“We are seeing how fires are becoming more common each year in many parts of the world, destroying communities and habitats for millions of people and animals. Chile is now experiencing one of the worst fires in decades and we are sending resources to provide as much emergency treatment to animals affected as possible,” says Kelly Donithan director of animal disaster response for Humane Society International.

The situation is critical, many animals have died, and others remain severely burned. As a first estimate over 16,000 farm animals have died and over 2,000 are still receiving critical veterinary care. Treatments for injuries sustained from fires are painful, long and expensive and without additional supplies, many of these affected animals will not survive.

“We have been in dialogue with all stakeholders involved, monitoring critical needs and coordinating with our international team to provide timely supplies to help the animals affected. With help from Quiltro Foundation in Chile, we have delivered veterinary supplies such as oxygen concentrators for the treatment of wild animals in critical conditions along with food and other medication to support hundreds of severely burned companion, wild and farm animals,” says Daniela Sanchez, Chile country director for Humane Society International.

The combined efforts between the National Disaster Prevention and Response Service, the National Veterinary Board, the Agriculture and Livestock Service, the University of Concepción, the military forces and many veterinary private clinics and local volunteers have resulted in the installation of a number of local veterinary attention points to help animals in need.

Humane Society International will continue connecting and supporting local stakeholders in Chile to help provide relief to the thousands of affected animals.


Media Contact: Daniela Benavides Sanchez:

#BeCrueltyFree campaign applauds largest beauty market in South America for restricting cosmetics animal testing

Humane Society International / Global


Brasilia, BRAZIL—A partial ban on animal testing for cosmetics in Brazil was introduced by the National Council for the Control of Animal Experimentation via regulatory restriction No. 58, of Feb. 24, 2023, published today in the Union Official Journal. The restriction prohibits animal testing for cosmetic ingredients with “known effects” and obligates the use of alternative methods for “unknown ingredients.”

Humane Society International government affairs specialist in Brazil, Antoniana Ottoni, said: “We are thrilled to see our efforts come to fruition after a decade of campaigning resulting in state bans and federal progress. This new Brazilian norm is a welcome next step in the right direction and something for which we have long advocated. However, a domestic testing ban on its own will not prevent the import and sale of newly animal-tested cosmetics from other countries. This will put our personal care industry at a competitive disadvantage, and fall short of the cruelty-free beauty sector that Brazilian consumers have made clear that they want. For this reason, our work to secure a federal law must continue, and we look forward to working with the Chamber of Deputies to build on this positive momentum to see a federal law in place this year.”

As an extension of the Ministry of Science and Technology, CONCEA does not have the legal jurisdiction to include certain important issues in its resolutions, including a restriction on marketing cosmetics that rely on new animal data. As such, the new CONCEA normative should be seen as a partial solution only, and one that requires the support of lawmakers to augment.

At the end of last year, language for a federal bill was agreed to by Humane Society International and The Brazilian Association of Personal Hygiene, Perfumery and Cosmetics Industry, and through a cooperative effort, it cleared the Federal Senate. Today, PL 3062/2022 is in urgent status and stands ready for approval by the Chamber of Deputies, and contains all the essential provisions to complement the CONCEA normative and guarantee an end to cosmetic animal testing in Brazil.

Humane Society International has led a decade-long global effort to outlaw animal testing for cosmetics and has played a pivotal role in securing national bans in India, Norway, Switzerland, South Korea, Australia and Mexico. #BeCrueltyFree Brazil, led by Humane Society International and Te Protejo, was instrumental in attaining state-level bans in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais, Amazonas, Pará, Santa Catarina, Paraná, Pernambuco, Espírito Santo, Acre, Paraíba and the Federal Distict.


Media Contact: Antoniana Ottoni:; +5561981403636

These iconic animals return to their natural habitat, thanks to NGOs, ARCAS and HSI/Latin America

Humane Society International / Latin America


PETEN, Guatemala—Thirteen spider monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi), an iconic species in Latin America, were released in the Yaxha Nakum Naranjo National Park, in Peten, Guatemala, after they were rescued from illegal trafficking and went through a rigorous rehabilitation process.

These mammals’ release resulted from a joint effort by non-governmental, non-profit organizations, Asociacion Rescate y Conservacion de Vida Silvestre and Humane Society International/Latin America, who have been working together since 2007 in wildlife protection and conservation in Guatemala.

Under the guidance of the National Council for Protected Areas, ARCAS Wildlife Rescue Center and HSI staff facilitated the return of 13 spider monkeys to the forest; some, victims of wildlife trafficking and others, of negative interaction with human beings.

According to ARCAS director, Fernando Martinez, its rescue center carries out physical, medical and ethological rehabilitation of the different species that enter the facility as a result of illegal trafficking. ARCAS’ approach follows strict scientific management standards and results in animals being released in the Maya Biosphere Reserve.

“The Rescue Center’s mission is to reinforce existing wildlife populations, to prevent the extinction of species, and thus ensuring that there are healthy populations capable of adapting and reproducing in their natural habitat,” Martinez said.

Grettel Delgadillo, deputy director for HSI/Latin America, explained that negative interactions between people and wildlife are becoming more frequent in Guatemala, as well as the illegal trafficking of animals such as spider monkeys.

“That is why at HSI/Latin America and ARCAS we work to ensure a successful rehabilitation of these animals and thus give them a second chance to live in freedom. Also, through different education and public awareness initiatives, we urge everyone to refrain from buying these animals as pets, to not purchase objects that contain parts or derivatives of wild animals, and to report to the authorities any suspicious activity regarding wildlife,” Delgadillo said.

The released spider monkeys will be monitored for six months, using telemetric collars and follow-up in the field.

Humane Society International


Watch these webinars to learn about the market opportunities and scientific basis behind cage-free egg production according to experts in the field and cage-free producers in Latin America.

Part 1

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Argentina’s Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development is working to prohibit the importation of all hunting trophies to Argentina.

Humane Society International / Argentina


BUENOS AIRES, Argentina—The vast majority of Argentine society opposes trophy hunting in the country and the export and import of trophies. This was demonstrated by the results of a recent survey conducted in Argentina in May 2022  regarding this practice, which consists of killing animals for competition or pleasure with the intention of obtaining parts of the animals to exhibit them.

According to the survey, which was carried out by the consulting firm at the request of Humane Society International, 86% of respondents oppose trophy hunting. That figure goes up to 93% when it comes to hunting threatened or endangered species such as lions, elephants and giraffes—with 92% of respondents openly in favor of a ban on trophy hunting.

When asked about the presence of foreign hunters in the Argentine territory, 91% of those surveyed agreed that the practice should be prohibited, as should the exports of trophies that result from such hunting and the import of trophies from Argentine hunters abroad. This trend is in line with the growth of a global movement that advocates for animal welfare.

“Trophy hunting is a destructive practice that harms animal welfare and species protection. Unfortunately, trophy hunting exists in many countries and Argentina is one of the top exporting countries of hunting trophies. We have the opportunity to become an agent of change. By encouraging the cessation of this activity, we can be an example to follow,” said Marina Ratchford, a representative of Humane Society International in Argentina.

Argentina’s minister of Environment and Sustainable Development Juan Cabandié highlighted the importance of the opinion poll and stated that it is “evidence of the growing environmental conscience” in the country. “The social perception is in line with this,” he said, referring to the recent poll demonstrating that trophy hunting is an arcane practice that is currently rejected by nine out of 10 Argentinians.

Teresa M. Telecky, vice president of HSI’s Wildlife department, said: “Trophy hunting is a destructive, abusive and archaic practice that threatens the survival of wild populations. Argentina is a significant contributor to this unethical industry. The country has the power to step up as a world leader in conservation and end the import and export of these macabre trophies once and for all.”

There has been much recent progress in the fight against trophy hunting. Not long ago, Argentina’s Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, led by Juan Cabandié, clarified current regulations on exports and inter-jurisdictional transit of hunting trophies.

Under Cabandié, the environmental ministry has prohibited the importation, exportation and interjurisdictional movement of hunting trophies of native fauna species through Resolution 133/22. The ministry is also working on an updated regulation to prohibit the importation of all hunting trophies to Argentina. With respect to animal welfare and wildlife preservation efforts, the minister singled out the Environmental Control Brigade’s operations to rescue animals from illegal wildlife trafficking, with more than 700 animals rescued to date. These animals are currently living in rescue and rehabilitation centers for fauna.

In 2021 Aerolineas Argentinas instituted a policy that prohibits the transport of hunting trophies of Argentina’s native fauna on any domestic or international flight.

Humane Society International has joined with groups in Argentina’s nonprofit sector linked to the protection of wildlife, such as Pumakawa and Fundacion Cullunche, to urge the government to acknowledge and act upon the public’s opposition to trophy hunting as well as the export and import of hunting trophies.

“Trophy hunting is an inhumane form of hunting that results in and encourages methods that increase the suffering of animals. Not setting a limit on practices like these is harmful to the policies and advances built from the effort and work carried out by the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development and other organizations,” added Jennifer Ibarra of the Cullunche Foundation.

According to information from the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), between 2014 and 2018, Argentina was among the top 10 exporters of hunting trophies and the world’s 23rd largest importer of hunting trophies of protected mammals. Among the most imported animals are the African elephant, Hartmann’s mountain zebra, African lion, hippopotamus and chacma baboon. The majority of hunting trophy exports were of blackbuck and pumas, with nearly all blackbucks taken from the wild and most pumas bred in captivity.

What is happening around the world:

  • The High Court of the Western Cape granted an interim suspension of relevant hunting quotas in the application for an interim interdict against the South African Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment’s 2022 hunting and export quotas for leopard, black rhino and elephant.
  • The International Union for the Conservation of Nature Ethics Specialist Group called on the German government to end the practice of trophy hunting imports for ethical, ecological and legal reasons. This was followed by an announcement from the Environment Minister Steffi Lemke of the intention to restrict the import of hunting trophies from protected animal species to Germany.
  • The Belgian Federal Parliament unanimously passed a resolution demanding that the government immediately stop authorizing trophy import permits of species protected under certain international trade regulations.
  • In Italy, a bill to ban the import and export of hunting trophies of protected species—the first of its kind in that nation—was presented to the Chamber of Deputies in Rome.
  • The Spanish Parliamentary Association for the Defense of Animal Rights presented a motion for resolution to prohibit the import and export of hunting trophies of protected species listed in Annexes A and B of the Wildlife Trade Regulations.
  • The United Kingdom committed to one to one of the world’s strongest policies banning the import of hunting trophies of over 7,000 protected species.
  • Costa Rica pioneered this paradigm shift in Latin America in 2015 when it banned recreational hunting in response to a public petition.
  • In 2019, Colombia banned recreational hunting and in 2021 banned the import of hunting trophies as part of a new law to strengthen the fight against wildlife trafficking.
  • Recently, Chile’s President Gabriel Boric committed to prohibiting the hunting of native fauna.

The poll of 1,001 residents of Argentina’s Northwest, Northeast, Central, Buenos Aires, Mountain and Patagonia regions was conducted by CIO Investigacion from March 31 to April 9, 2022, with a margin of error of +/- 3%.

Media contact: Rodi Rosensweig, senior principal strategist media relations: ; 202-809-8711

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