Breaking news: California leads the nation by banning fur sales, bobcat trophy hunting

By on October 12, 2019 with 4 Comments

By Kitty Block and Sara Amundson

Moments ago, Gov. Gavin Newsom made history by signing into law two landmark bills: one banning the sale and production of all new fur products in California, and another prohibiting the trophy hunting of bobcats in his state.

California, a trendsetter in animal welfare and in fashion, is the first state in the nation to pass a ban on the sales of fur, and we applaud Gov. Newsom and the state’s lawmakers for recognizing that California citizens do not want their state’s markets to contribute to the demand for fur products. The fur industry causes the suffering and death of more than 100 million animals worldwide each year, and animals on fur factory farms are forced to live in cramped, wire-bottom cages, deprived of the ability to engage in natural behaviors, before being cruelly killed by gassing or electrocution.

The law, which will go into effect in January 2023, is a monumental victory in the Humane Society of the United States’ decades-long campaign to end this cruel and unnecessary trade. Hawaii and New York have introduced similar measures, and we’ll continue working hard with other cities and states to convince them to follow California’s lead.

The other bill Gov. Newsom signed today makes it unlawful to trophy hunt bobcats in the state, although the measure allows the lethal removal of any individual animal posing a danger to humans, endangered and threatened species, or livestock. Other states have passed temporary bans on trophy hunting bobcats after their numbers dropped too low because of hunting, trapping and habitat loss, but the California law goes above and beyond by taking a proactive step to end needless and cruel trophy hunting before the animals are pushed to the verge of extinction.

The law puts bobcats on a small list of protected species in the Golden State, alongside California’s other wildcat, the mountain lion. Bobcats at present face numerous other threats to their survival, like the recent deadly wildfires and urban sprawl. And each year, hundreds of these animals are killed by trophy hunters in California. In fact, over the past decade, trophy hunters have killed more than 10,000 bobcats in the state.

We are thankful to Gov. Newsom for signing these bills and to all the lawmakers who voted for them. Our special thanks to Assemblymember Sydney Kamlager-Dove, who authored the legislation on bobcats, as well as the bill’s co-authors, Assemblymembers Richard Bloom, Laura Friedman and Tasha Boerner Horvath, and Senators Ben Allen, Cathleen Galgiani and Anthony Portantino. We are also grateful to Assemblymember Laura Friedman, who introduced the bill on fur sales last December. It had many notable supporters among politicians and the fashion industry, including the California Democratic Party, Los Angeles City Mayor Eric Garcetti, the San Diego County Democratic Central Committee, the City of West Hollywood, InStyle magazine, Stella McCartney, DVF-Diane von Furstenberg, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Hugo Boss, Patagonia, H&M, GAP, J.Crew, Madewell, Des Kohan, Hiraeth and Inditex/Zara. Animal protection groups and citizens across the state mobilized in favor of the legislation.

Year after year, California has been the hands-down pace-setter among American states on a number of key animal-related matters, including passing the world’s strongest farm animal protection law, prohibiting the sale of puppy mill dogs in pet stores, banning foie gras, and ending the sales of animal tested cosmetics. For nine consecutive years, it has topped our Humane State report card, which ranks states based on a wide set of animal welfare policies. Today, by speaking out against fur and for bobcats, the Golden State has once again proven why it continues to be our nation’s undisputed leader on animal protection issues.

P.S.: As we celebrate these victories, our thoughts are with the people — and animals — of California who are affected by the wildfires. We are keeping an eye on the situation and will be standing by to assist as needed.

Sara Amundson is president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund.

Breaking news: European court upholds strong protections for wolves

By on October 11, 2019 with 0 Comments
Breaking news: European court upholds strong protections for wolves

Europe’s highest court has ruled that wolves in the European Union cannot be hunted, except in the rarest cases where member countries can prove there is no other option to end human-wolf conflict. The European Court of Justice ruling followed a challenge to a decision . . . 

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South Dakota will allow trophy hunters to kill 30 percent of its mountain lions

By on October 9, 2019 with 27 Comments
South Dakota will allow trophy hunters to kill 30 percent of its mountain lions

South Dakota has a notorious history of mismanaging its mountain lion population and playing into the hands of trophy hunters. In past years, the Mount Rushmore state has repeatedly increased its hunting quota for the animals, despite evidence that its lion population is on the . . . 

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Breaking news: Department of Justice defends federal cockfighting ban in Puerto Rico, Guam

By on October 8, 2019 with 1 Comment
Breaking news: Department of Justice defends federal cockfighting ban in Puerto Rico, Guam

By Kitty Block and Sara Amundson The federal government has filed a brief strongly defending a law that would expand the ban on cockfighting in the United States to Puerto Rico, Guam and other U.S. territories. Cockfighters seeking to overturn the ban have challenged it . . . 

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HSVMA links veterinary professionals to animal welfare needs and programs

By on October 7, 2019 with 0 Comments
HSVMA links veterinary professionals to animal welfare needs and programs

The Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, an affiliate of the Humane Society of the United States, is the nation’s only organization for veterinary professionals that focuses solely on animal welfare. The HSVMA contributes to the work we do every day, by bringing the important veterinary . . . 

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Gov. Inslee says killing wolves over livestock conflicts is not working for Washington

By on October 4, 2019 with 4 Comments
Gov. Inslee says killing wolves over livestock conflicts is not working for Washington

Wolves in northeastern Washington, under the gun because of reported conflicts with cattle ranchers, have found a powerful ally. This week, Gov. Jay Inslee weighed in on his state’s controversial killings of more than two dozen wolves in this region in recent years. In a . . . 

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Airbnb, TripAdvisor announcements herald progress for wild animals trapped in tourism industry

By on October 3, 2019 with 5 Comments
Airbnb, TripAdvisor announcements herald progress for wild animals trapped in tourism industry

Today, the New York Times reported on Airbnb’s new featured offering of “animal experiences,” which will have an ethical focus and will ban any direct contact with wild animals. The announcement comes on the heels of a decision by TripAdvisor, reported just yesterday, to stop . . . 

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Senator introduces bills to restrict private possession of big cats, primates

By on October 2, 2019 with 4 Comments
Senator introduces bills to restrict private possession of big cats, primates

By Kitty Block and Sara Amundson Ten years ago, Americans were stunned by a pet chimpanzee’s vicious attack on a Connecticut woman, Charla Nash. The animal bit off Nash’s fingers and toes, tore off most of her face, and left her fighting for her life. . . . 

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HSUS videos cross 150 million views on YouTube

By on September 30, 2019 with 4 Comments
HSUS videos cross 150 million views on YouTube

One of the most effective ways we communicate with the public about the animals we help is through the power of visual storytelling. The use of video makes it possible for the public to see the plight of animals while also learning how they can . . . 

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A week of successes for wildlife as key Senate committees vote up funding, protections for wild horses and burros, whales and elephants

By on September 27, 2019 with 3 Comments
A week of successes for wildlife as key Senate committees vote up funding, protections for wild horses and burros, whales and elephants

By Kitty Block and Sara Amundson A number of important bills are now making their way through Congress, and this week has been a particularly successful one for wildlife and especially for elephants, rhinos, wolves, wild horses, burros and right whales. Yesterday, the Senate Appropriations . . . 

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New York proposes to crack down on private ownership of capuchin monkeys, arctic foxes, raccoons, skunks and other wildlife

By on September 26, 2019 with 0 Comments
New York proposes to crack down on private ownership of capuchin monkeys, arctic foxes, raccoons, skunks and other wildlife

In recent years, our nation has witnessed an epidemic of people acquiring exotic wildlife as pets. Wild animals, including lions, tigers, bears, chimpanzees, monkeys, venomous snakes, alligators and other dangerous species are readily available from breeders and even over the Internet. In private hands, these . . . 

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Breaking news: 17 states sue Trump administration for weakening Endangered Species Act

By on September 25, 2019 with 8 Comments
Breaking news: 17 states sue Trump administration for weakening Endangered Species Act

By Kitty Block and Sara Amundson Today, 17 U.S. states, the District of Columbia and New York City filed a lawsuit to block the Trump administration from making harmful changes to how the Endangered Species Act, the bedrock law that protects endangered and threatened animal . . . 

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