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December 26, 2013

Our Biggest International Gains in 2013

In recent days, I’ve recounted some of The HSUS’s wide-ranging accomplishments for 2013, achieved with your help and support. We maintain a separate affiliate, Humane Society International, whose work spans the globe. Indeed, in this era of globalization, with the pathways of trade and transport used  by just about every animal-exploitation industry, we must meet them on that playing field. Here are some of the highlights from HSI’s work for 2013:

A BANNER YEAR FOR ANIMAL TESTING BANS

The European Union implemented a ban on cosmetics tested on animals anywhere in the world, India banned animal testing for cosmetics, and China has agreed to stop requiring animal testing of cosmetics manufactured in the country. HSI’s work was a key factor in all three of these moves.

10-day-old harp seal
Keren Su/Alamy

A DEATH BLOW TO THE CANADIAN SEAL HUNT

The World Trade Organization (WTO) upheld the European ban against Canadian seal products, saying the ban was valid because of public moral concerns about seal welfare.

SAVING STREET DOGS

HSI directly reached more than 61,000 street dogs in 2013, and through our training and advocacy programs helped millions more avoid cruel and misguided dog culling programs and neglect. We have successful programs in Bhutan, the Caribbean, Haiti, India, Latin America, Mauritius, Philippines, and the South Pacific. We build capacity in country by training and working with local groups and veterinarians to spay, neuter, and vaccinate the animals.

SHARK FIN BANS AND REDUCTIONS TAKE HOLD

HSI staff helped to secure a ban on shark finning in India, a revamped anti-finning law in the European Union, and tangible gains in China, including an end to the serving of shark fin soup at some government functions. In Canada, 18 municipalities have banned the sale of shark fin products. The Government of Hong Kong announced it will not serve shark fin products at official functions and urged employees not to consume such products at external functions. Staff members helped The HSUS to secure bans on the trade in shark fin products in three U.S. states, and are working to fend off a proposed rule within the National Marine Fisheries Service that poses the threat of pre-emption of state laws against finning.

FIGHTING FACTORY FARMING ALL OVER THE GLOBE
 
I’ve mentioned that we secured declarations in 20 of 28 Indian states to ban battery cage confinement for laying hens. This sets the stage for a phase out of barren battery cages in India, currently the third largest egg producer in the world. Another huge gain was the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD announcing that it would end its support for companies that rely on barren battery cages and sow stall confinement systems. The EBRD will now require its clients to meet (at a minimum) European Union standards for farm animal welfare. The EBRD annually provides millions of finance dollars to animal agribusiness facilities in Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and other nations within Central Asia, Eastern Europe, and the Mediterranean. As some of the largest firms transition to higher welfare housing systems over the next several years, it will have a positive effect on the lives of billions of animals.

MARINE & OTHER ANIMALS GAIN PROTECTION AT CITES

At the 16th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, in March, Humane Society International pushed member nations to adopt protections for commercially valuable marine species such as oceanic whitetip, hammerhead, and porbeagle sharks, as well as manta rays. Member nations also adopted increased protections for a wide range of other species including the African manatee, and more than 40 species of freshwater turtles and tortoises. Rules governing “introduction from the sea” were also finally accepted, which means that animals taken from the high seas that are listed on Appendix I and II of the convention are now subject to CITES trade provisions. In addition, parties to the convention agreed to a raft of recommendations to strengthen rhino and elephant protection in range states, to encourage demand-reduction, and to prevent illegal commercial trade.

RHINO HORN REDUCTION CAMPAIGN

HSI launched an awareness and education campaign with the government of Vietnam to stop the cruel trade in illegal rhino horn, after that nation was declared the largest consuming country of rhino horn in the world.

Bhutan street dog
Kathy Milani/HSI

HELPING HAIYAN’S ANIMAL VICTIMS IN THE PHILIPPINES

Our practiced international disaster response team reunited pets with their families in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan.  We were the first international organization on the ground and rescuing and caring for the animals, as our Philippines-based team responded to the devastation in Tacloban and other communities with textbook efficiency and impact.

ENFORCING DOG FIGHTING LAWS IN LATIN AMERICA

Humane Society International-Latin America supported the first dog fighting raids conducted in Costa Rica. Working with law enforcement staff members participated in raids on two illegal breeding facilities for dogs used in fighting, and rescued 88 dogs from a life of suffering. Many of these were discovered to be bloodlines imported from the United States. In conjunction with the Department of Animal Health of the Ministry of Agriculture, HSI-Latin America developed a guide to understanding and dealing with aggressive dogs, to help government entities put processes in place to protect animals and themselves during raids and handling of dog bites. This guide is in the process of being made official by the government and distributed throughout the country. Over 100 police officers and first responders were trained on the use of the guide.  Additionally, HSI-Latin America started collaborating with the Costa Rican government on animal hoarding, rescuing over 200 cats and 32 dogs from inhumane and dangerous conditions.

UP WITH DOLPHINS, DOWN WITH DOLPHINARIA  

After hard work by HSI and other parties, the United States expanded the scope of its dolphin-safe label to tuna fisheries and dolphins in all oceans. And India banned dolphinaria while its Ministry of Environment and Forests advised state governments to reject proposals to set up amusement parks or aquariums for housing other marine mammals in addition to cetaceans. We blocked the import of 18 belugas to the Georgia Aquarium, which collaborated with SeaWorld to press for import permits.

Indeed, the suffering of animals is bound by no national borders, and not peculiar to any part of the world.  That’s why we’re actively building our international capacity, relying on the core strengths of The HSUS to extend our reach to every dark corner where cruelty festers.

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