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December 05, 2013

Our Top 13 Transformational Achievements in 2013

The HSUS and its affiliates are the nation’s number-one provider of animal care, through the work of our animal sanctuaries and rehabilitation centers, Animal Rescue Team, Pets for Life program, wildlife response units, veterinary division, international street dog defenders, and other hands-on programs. This year, we worked with partners to conduct one of the largest-ever dogfighting raids, conducted a series of raids (15 in the last two years) of puppy mill operations in North Carolina, provided free spay/neuter and other critical services to more than 10,000 pets in underserved communities in four major cities, dug out hundreds of gopher tortoises about to be entombed by commercial developments and relocated them, and deployed to help animals and people in the Philippines.

And while rescue and other direct-care programs are vital to helping animals in crisis, we cannot rescue our way out of so many problems for animals. We must prevent cruelty to millions caught up in factory farms, animal-testing labs, puppy mills, animal fighting rings, the wildlife trade, and so many other settings. That’s why The HSUS, through its advocacy programs, drives transformational change—bringing a wide set of tools to take on the biggest fights, confronting multi-billion dollar industries, and staying the course until reform is realized. Here are some highlights for 2013:

FREEING CHIMPANZEES FROM LABORATORIES

The HSUS played the crucial role in securing the passage of a bill in Congress to continue funding for chimpanzee sanctuaries; in persuading the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to propose listing all chimpanzees as endangered, whether they live in the wild or in captivity; and in getting the National Institutes of Health to commit to retiring nearly 90 percent of the chimpanzees owned by the government to sanctuary.

REJECTING GESTATION CRATES

PigsThe HSUS and its global affiliate, Humane Society International, generated seismic shifts in the landscape for sows in gestation crates, getting leading agricultural agencies and trade associations to recommend a phase-out of these restrictive devices in Canada and South Africa. In the U.S., we persuaded major food retailers such as Dine Equity, Marriott, General Mills, Papa John’s, Ahold (Giant and Stop & Shop), Quizno’s, and others to phase out the use of gestation crates. On top of similar declarations from McDonald’s, Burger King, Costco, and Safeway, announced last year, we have sufficient momentum to spell the end for the use of crates in the U.S.

REDUCING ANIMAL TESTING WORLDWIDE

The HSUS and HSI spurred three of the four biggest economies in the world to take decisive action against animal testing. The European Union, India, and China all took major steps toward a phase-out of reliance on animal tests for cosmetics and other products. We are at the leading edge of a global campaign to drive innovation, develop alternatives, and end animal testing everywhere.

STRENGTHENING PROTECTIONS FOR ANIMALS IN THE STATES

The HSUS helped to secure 107 new state laws to protect animals in 2013 (the highest number in four years): upgrading animal cruelty and fighting laws in Alabama, Nevada, and North Dakota; banning the sale and possession of shark fins in Delaware, Maryland, and New York; halting horse tripping in Oregon; creating statewide spay-and-neuter funding mechanisms in Maryland and Virginia; ending the trade in primates as pets in Arkansas; and restricting the use of steel-jawed leghold traps in Hawaii. We banned the use of carbon monoxide gas chambers for shelter euthanasia in Texas, and worked to shut down chambers in Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, and West Virginia. The HSUS also defeated anti-whistleblower (ag-gag) legislation in 11 of 11 states where factory farming interests engineered their introduction.

ENDING SHARK FINNING ON A GLOBAL SCALE

The HSUS and HSI secured bans on the trade in shark fin products in three U.S. states; a ban on finning in India; a revamped anti-finning law in the European Union; and tangible gains in China, including an end to serving shark fin soup at some government functions. The HSUS is 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.

Puppy Mills
Kathy Milani/The HSUS

MAKING GAINS TO END CRUELTY IN PUPPY MILLS

The HSUS championed a new U.S. Department of Agriculture rule bringing 2,000 Internet dog sellers under federal regulation; we drove enactment of new laws in Vermont and West Virginia to provide for humane breeding standards; we conducted undercover investigations showing puppy mill dogs being sold at flea markets and pet stores; and we exposed the American Kennel Club’s ties with the puppy mill industry on national television.

REQUIRING LEAD-FREE AMMUNITION IN CALIFORNIA

The HSUS partnered to secure the first statewide requirement for the use of lead ammunition when shooting wildlife. It’s our hope that this landmark law will usher in similar policies in other states and at the federal level to require the use of non-lead ammunition, which would prevent the poisoning of millions of wild animals every year.

STOPPING ANIMAL FIGHTING IN THE U.S. AND ABROAD

The HSUS secured language in the House and Senate Farm Bills to make it a federal crime to attend or bring a child to an animal fight. We conducted a series of raids on dogfights and cockfights throughout the nation, including more than a dozen sites in Alabama and Georgia, rescuing hundreds of dogs in the second-largest dogfighting bust in U.S. history. We participated in a series of busts in Costa Rica and are readying a campaign to outlaw dogfighting worldwide.

STALLING HORSE SLAUGHTER—ON THE WAY TO A NORTH AMERICAN BAN

Throughout 2013, the HSUS’s legal team has blocked the opening of horse slaughter plants in Iowa, Missouri, and New Mexico, and created an unfriendly climate for the opening of plants in other states. We secured preliminary language in the 2014 House and Senate agriculture spending bills to defund USDA inspections of horse slaughter plants as a more lasting way to prevent the resumption of horse slaughter operations in the U.S.

STAYING BEAR BAYING IN THE UNITED STATES

The HSUS’s three-year campaign, built upon a shocking undercover investigation, prompted South Carolina to end bear “baying”—a form of animal fighting in which packs of hounds attack a captive, tethered bear for entertainment. This is the last state in the nation that permitted these staged spectacles—and the bears rescued from this cruelty have been retired to sanctuary.

Seals
Marcus Gyger

SECURING A LANDMARK RULING TOWARD ENDING CANADA’S SEAL HUNT

A World Trade Organization panel upheld the European Union’s ban on the sale of seal products, a ban secured by HSI in 2009. Specifically, the panel held that the main portion of the EU regulation was in compliance with international trade rules because it contributed to a legitimate objective (addressing the moral concerns of the EU public) and was not more trade-restrictive than necessary. The panel’s ruling is pivotal to ending Canada’s seal hunt, and more broadly, validates the idea that animal welfare is a legitimate moral concern that can justify trade restrictions.

REMAKING ANIMAL PROTECTION IN INDIA

Since opening an office just prior to 2013, HSI has had remarkable success in the world’s second most populous country. In 2013, we secured declarations in 20 of 28 Indian states to ban battery cage confinement for laying hens. We’ve secured national bans on shark finning, the use of animals in cosmetic tests, and the captive display of dolphins in India.

UPHOLDING LAWS TO PREVENT EXTREME CRUELTY ON FACTORY FARMS AND INDUSTRIAL SLAUGHTERHOUSES

We secured a final settlement against the owners and investors of the dairy cow slaughter plant that a 2008 HSUS undercover investigation exposed for downed animal abuses in Chino, Calif. A judgment was entered of more than $155 million, which cannot be recovered but will deter future cruelty and fraud at the nation’s slaughter plants. The USDA also committed to adopting a rule to ban the slaughter of downed veal calves. Seven workers at a Wyoming pig farm were convicted of animal cruelty this year, as a result of another HSUS undercover investigation. And our legal team successfully upheld California laws phasing out the extreme confinement of farm animals in crates and cages (Prop 2) and prohibiting the force-feeding of ducks and geese for foie gras.

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