Ricky Gervais receives HSI’s first Cecil Award

By on November 12, 2018 with 0 Comments

Three years ago, the American public roared in outrage upon learning of the killing of a beloved lion, Cecil, by an American trophy hunter. As terrible as that killing was, it was also a watershed moment for animal welfare – one that created a global furor against this senseless “sport” that’s dominated by wealthy Americans who use foreign lands as their playgrounds and reduce endangered and threatened animals to decorations for their homes.

One of the most prominent voices heard globally after the killing of Cecil was that of Ricky Gervais, the Golden Globe and Emmy winning comedian, actor and director who has long been a friend of all animals and who has partnered with us on many platforms at the Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International, including dog adoption, ending the fur trade, animal testing for cosmetics, the international dog meat trade, and the exploitation of animals for entertainment such as bullfighting.

“I am struggling to imagine anything more beautiful than this,” Ricky tweeted, alongside a photograph of Cecil alive and well, signalling his sadness soon after the news of the killing went viral. In other contexts, Ricky has explained his dedication this way: “I speak for animals because they don’t have a voice.”

Ricky Gervais’s voice has reached out over the years to his millions of fans over social media and through the media, elevating the work we do in raising global awareness about trophy hunting. Photo by Amy Sussman/AP Images for the HSUS

Over the years, following news of trophy hunts, including, more recently, the killing of a family of baboons in Namibia by an Idaho fish and game commission official, Ricky’s voice has continued to reach out to his millions of fans over social media and through the media, elevating the work we do in raising global awareness about trophy hunting, moblizing the shock and outrage felt by millions in reaction to news about trophy hunts, and adding to the momentum to ending it for good.

On Friday, it was my honor to present this remarkable supporter of our cause with Humane Society International’s first Cecil Award at the HSUS “To the Rescue!” annual gala in New York City. The award recognizes Ricky’s global advocacy against trophy hunting, and his outspoken, heartfelt crusades for so many animal issues.

Also a top honoree at this year’s gala was the luxury fashion brand Gucci, which received the Corporate Consciousness Award for showing that a highly successful company can take a stand against cruelty in its manufacturing policies.

When Gucci announced it was going fur-free last year, it was a pathbreaking moment for the fashion world: by shedding a product that results in the cruel killing of a hundred million animals each year, Gucci increased its appeal to the next generation of consumers who care about animals, while showing the fashion industry that fur was no longer fashionable. In the year since we have seen a cascade of fur-free announcements from a number of major names in fashion, including Coach, Michael Kors, Diane von Furstenberg and Burberry.

This year’s HSUS Innovator award was presented to fashion blogger and Humane Generation New York committee member Katie Sturino and, posthumously, her dog Toast. Toast, over the course of her life, made a huge difference for animals, from helping educate the public about the reality of puppy mills, to promoting adoption, to raising critical funds that benefit our mission. We are grateful to Katie for leveraging Toast’s audience in social media to make a positive impact and inspire other donors and dog lovers to step up their support of our work. Toast’s campaign with the Shelter Pet Project — a joint effort of the HSUS, Maddie’s Fund and the Ad Council — helped lead to more than 500,000 searches for adoptable pets on the Shelter Pet Project’s website.

The gala, chaired this year by Georgina Bloomberg and hosted by Tony-winning actress and singer Sutton Foster, supports the advocacy and hands-on work that the HSUS and HSI do for the rescue, care, placement and potential rehoming of tens of thousands of animals each year, including animals suffering in puppy mills, dogfighting rings, large-scale neglect cases and natural disasters.

Other attendees at the gala included Rob Thomas, Moby, Erich Bergen, Carole Radziwill and Loretta Swit.

There is still a long road ahead in achieving a world where all animals are treated with compassion. The fight against trophy hunting, in particular, has become tougher over the past two years, with the U.S. Department of the Interior loosening hard-won restrictions on trophy imports and attempts in Congress to whittle down Endangered Species Act protections. But there is also much to celebrate as we did the other night, and today we are back at work in our mission to protect all animals. With prominent individuals like Ricky Gervais and our other gala attendees, dedicated supporters and donors, and successful businesses understanding and embracing our cause, the wind is at our backs.

HSUS, partners step in to help dogs rescued from a Louisiana puppy mill

By on November 9, 2018 with 0 Comments
HSUS, partners step in to help dogs rescued from a Louisiana puppy mill

Our work to tackle the puppy mill scourge is multifaceted and includes a range of tactics. We appeal to consumers to adopt animals from rescue groups and animal shelters, or to adopt from responsible breeders. We persuade pet stores to discontinue their reliance on puppy . . . 

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Second round of Spayathon for Puerto Rico will help 8,000 dogs and cats

By on November 8, 2018 with 0 Comments
Second round of Spayathon for Puerto Rico will help 8,000 dogs and cats

The Humane Society of the United States and its partners are back on the ground for the second round of Spayathon for Puerto Rico, an ambitious project that aims to provide free spay, neuter and vaccination services to 30,000 dogs and cats in the commonwealth . . . 

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Historic wins for farm animals in California, greyhounds in Florida

By on November 7, 2018 with 163 Comments
Historic wins for farm animals in California, greyhounds in Florida

The Humane Society of the United States and the Humane Society Legislative Fund take on the big fights: the ones that have the greatest long-term impact for the most animals. On Election Day, we prevailed once again with two decisive and historic victories, one for . . . 

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Election Day: Live updates

By on November 6, 2018 with 1 Comment
Election Day: Live updates

VICTORY! In California, voters have approved Proposition 12, a historic measure that will improve the lives of tens of millions of farm animals by prohibiting cruel cage confinement of egg-laying hens, pigs used for breeding, and calves raised for veal in small cages that immobilize . . . 

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California and Florida cast crucial votes tomorrow on farm animals, greyhounds

By on November 5, 2018 with 2 Comments
California and Florida cast crucial votes tomorrow on farm animals, greyhounds

Tomorrow, citizens in California and Florida will vote on critical animal protection measures with profound and lasting implications for humane work. In California, a virtual army of Humane Society of the United States staff members and volunteers are making the case for a ballot measure . . . 

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Americans kill 80 percent of trophy-hunted primates – more than 800 each year

By on November 2, 2018 with 3 Comments
Americans kill 80 percent of trophy-hunted primates – more than 800 each year

Last month, Americans reacted with horror and outrage when an Idaho game commission official, Blake Fischer, circulated a photo that showed him smiling next to a family of baboons, including youngsters, he had killed on a hunting trip in Namibia. To most of us, it . . . 

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Canada should do the right thing by right whales

By on November 1, 2018 with 0 Comments
Canada should do the right thing by right whales

North Atlantic right whales are among the most critically endangered animals on the planet today. There are fewer than 440 left on earth, and their mortality rates are high: at least 20 individual right whales died in U.S. and Canadian waters during 2017 and 2018 . . . 

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Now more than ever: Violence and the meaning of our mission

By on October 31, 2018 with 1 Comment
Now more than ever: Violence and the meaning of our mission

The last few months have produced a horrible stream of grim and scarring news stories about hate-inspired killing sprees in our supermarkets, sanctuaries of worship and schools, and murderous threats and attacks targeting elected officials in public and at their homes. They continue to shock, . . . 

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Urgent alert! Act now to stop cruel hunting methods to kill wolves, bears on national lands in Alaska

By on October 30, 2018 with 14 Comments
Urgent alert! Act now to stop cruel hunting methods to kill wolves, bears on national lands in Alaska

We need your help urgently to stop a proposal that would roll back an Obama-era regulation prohibiting cruel and controversial trophy hunting and predator control methods on 20 million acres of national preserve lands in Alaska. These practices, condemned by most Americans, include killing hibernating . . . 

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