The year 2019 was one of extraordinary gains for animals trapped in the cruel business of fur, for companion animals who are the victims of malicious cruelty, for wild animals at risk of extinction because of trophy hunting and the wildlife products trade, and for farm animals forced to spend their lives in inhumane cages.
Here are some of the most significant of these victories:
We moved still closer toward ending the fur trade:
The movement against fur accelerated, with many more fashion houses and retailers going fur-free. There were two landmark victories for our fur-free campaign: in October the retail behemoth Macy’s, Inc., parent company of department stores Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s, announced it will go fur-free by the end of 2020; and in October, California’s Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law a landmark ban on the sale and manufacturing of all new fur products in California—the first U.S. state to do so.
We helped pass a historic federal law against animal cruelty:
The Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act, P.L. 116-72, enacted on November 25 , authorizes the FBI and other federal law enforcement agencies to prosecute malicious animal cruelty, including crushing, burning, drowning, suffocating and impaling live animals, and other abuses such as sexually exploiting them. Prosecutors can bring federal felony charges when these acts occur within federal jurisdiction (including on federal property), or when animals are moved across state lines, or the internet is used as part of a criminal enterprise.
We made strong gains for farm animals around the world:
We waged successful legislative campaigns in three states, Oregon, Washington and Michigan, to ban the sales and production of eggs from caged hens. In India, home to 403 million laying hens—the world’s second-largest population of such hens—Humane Society International successfully defended a prohibition on new battery cages. In Central and Latin America, almost two dozen companies committed to ending the sales of eggs from caged hens.
Our legal team beat back two separate challenges—filed by multiple states—to landmark laws in California and Massachusetts banning the cruel confinement of egg-laying hens, mother pigs and baby veal calves, as well as the sales of products from any animals who are cruelly confined. At nearly the same time, the Supreme Court rejected a lawsuit appeal filed by foie gras producers seeking to overturn California’s law banning the sale of products resulting from the cruel force-feeding of birds.
We made global progress toward ending tests on animals for cosmetics and chemicals:
In September, the EPA announced its plan to phase out and end all animal testing on mammals for chemicals and pesticides. The agency will focus on non-animal alternative technologies and substantially reduce animal tests, including those it commissions in-house and those it requires businesses to conduct, by 2025, and end them altogether by 2035. Two more U.S. states passed laws to prevent companies from selling cosmetics that have been newly tested on animals.
Brazil announced sweeping changes to its requirements for animal testing of agricultural pesticides, including eliminating its requirement for a one-year toxicity test conducted on dogs, after negotiations led by HSI and spurred by an HSUS undercover investigation. Australia moved to end reliance on cosmetic animal testing, passing the Industrial Chemicals Bill 2017 into law. And Avon, P&G and Estée Lauder Companies joined the Humane Society family’s #BeCrueltyFree campaign, supporting an end to cosmetics testing on animals around the globe.
We pushed ahead in our campaign to help animals in puppy mills:
In March, the USDA proposed a rule regarding much-needed changes to AWA licensing procedures. The rule requires licensees to demonstrate compliance with AWA regulations before being issued a license or a renewal, and mandates that dog breeding facilities provide continuous access to water, annual veterinary checks and immunizations for diseases.
We released new undercover investigations showing the suffering of dogs and rabbits at Petland, a national pet store chain that sources animals from puppy mills. We also helped pass dozens of new local ordinances banning the sale of puppy mill dogs in pet stores, taking the total of such ordinances to 334 nationwide.
We moved the needle forward on protecting wildlife from exploitation in trade:
Our Humane Society International team helped achieve major victories for wildlife at the meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Delegates from 183 countries agreed to protect giraffes from overexploitation in international trade—the first time giraffes have received such protection. Countries also took action at CITES to limit the export and capture of wild-caught African elephants from Botswana and Zimbabwe for zoos and rejected multiple dangerous proposals to open up the trade in elephant ivory and rhino horn. New York State became the first U.S. state to pass comprehensive protections for giraffes by banning trade in their body parts.
Our Humane Society Legislative Fund team helped pass the Rescuing Animals With Rewards Act, signed into law on December 20th, which provides the State Department with critical tools for combating wildlife trafficking syndicates around the world.
We struck some big blows against the shark fin trade:
We gained more protections for sharks who suffer and die in the shark fin trade. Canada, the largest importer of shark fins outside Asia, passed a landmark bill that prohibits the trade in shark fins nationally as well as finning in Canadian waters. The U.S. House passed the Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act, H.R. 737, to end all commercial shark fin trade in the United States. The New Jersey legislature passed a bill ending shark fin sales in the state, and it is now awaits the governor’s signature.
We kept up the pressure against the use of marine mammals in entertainment:
Canadian lawmakers overwhelmingly passed the Ending the Captivity of Whales and Dolphins Act or the “Free Willy Bill” banning the trade, possession, capture and breeding of all cetaceans for entertainment.
We did still more to hasten the demise of the dog meat trade in South Korea:
Authorities in South Korea’s capital city, Seoul, declared their city free of dog slaughter, after the last three dog meat shops there agreed to end such slaughter on-site. Our work to close down dog meat farms and transition farmers to more humane livelihoods continued with the closure of two more such operations – our 14th and 15th – so far. Nearly 300 dogs were rescued and transported overseas for a chance at a better life. Authorities in South Korea also shut down the Gupo dog meat market, one of the country’s largest such markets. With local partner groups, HSI rescued nearly 100 dogs from the market as it shut down.
We achieved decisive victories for wildlife:
In September, Arizona banned cruel wildlife killing contests and Massachusetts did so in December. Five states have now prohibited these contests, in which participants compete to win cash and prizes for killing the most or heaviest animals. Maryland extended a moratorium on gruesome killing contests for cownose rays in the Chesapeake Bay until a fishery management plan is in place. The HSUS has turned a strong spotlight on wildlife killing contests with undercover investigations, including one in Oregon in January.
California announced a moratorium on bobcat hunting and trapping after a campaign we helped to wage.
After New Mexico decided to authorize trapping of cougars for the first time in 50 years, our legal team filed suit to protect these majestic cats as well as endangered wolves who could be caught in traps. In September, the New Mexico Game Commission eliminated the cougar trapping program, significantly restricting trophy hunting of cougars.
Consistent with our fundamental mission, we don’t shy away from the biggest fights, and 2019 was no different. But when we rise to the occasion, it is because of animal lovers like you who contribute to our work and success, who take action on the issues we fight for, and who support us through donations and other means. With you by our side, we’ll do still more in 2020, taking on – and winning -- the kinds of battles that make the biggest and most positive difference for animals worldwide.