Following our investigation, pressure builds to ban fur farming in Romania

By on September 29, 2022 with 1 Comment

We’re pressing Romania to ban fur farming on the strength of hard-hitting evidence just released from our undercover investigation of chinchilla breeding operations in that Eastern European nation. Humane Society International/Europe’s film footage and documentation paint a desperate picture of animals housed in bleak and windowless rooms, confined in cages stacked floor to ceiling, in barren, filthy and cramped conditions.

There is a particularly unseemly dimension to the cruelty involved here. The female chinchillas are often subjected to a perpetual cycle of breeding, pregnancy and birth, with one male having access to up to 10 females who are fitted with neck braces to stop them from escaping their cages during mating. In the footage, tiny babies could be seen struggling to walk on the wire cage floors, while adults frantically chew at cage bars.

The intensive confinement systems used at these fur factory farms often deprive chinchillas of the opportunity to meet their most basic biological and behavioral needs, and they certainly do not meet the standards of the Five Freedoms or of the European Union’s Council Directive 98/58/EC, which contains minimum animal welfare requirements concerning animals raised on farms.

Professor Alastair MacMillan, a veterinary consultant who viewed our footage, rendered this severe judgment of the conditions documented: “Chinchillas are naturally very sociable animals, yet on these fur farms they are kept in solitary caging. They have a strong desire to run, jump, burrow, forage for food and regularly take sand baths, and yet their tiny cages with only the very minimum of enrichment, means they are unable to exhibit these natural behaviors to any meaningful extent…Cervical dislocation—breaking the animal’s neck—is an entirely unsuitable method of killing chinchillas, and if these animals are routinely being killed this way, as some of the fur farmers admit, that will surely be a horrific end to a miserable life.”

The good news is that we now have a chance do something concrete about it. Following discussion with HSI/Europe representatives, members of the National Liberal Party have submitted a bill in the Chamber of Deputies of the Romanian Parliament to ban mink and chinchilla fur farming.

In addition, HSI/Europe has submitted evidence of its investigation to Romania’s prime minister, Nicolae Ciucă, with a formal request that the government introduce a comprehensive national fur farming ban. Should it happen, Romania would become the 15th of the 27 European Union member nations to prohibit fur farms.

There’s also potential action brewing on a broader scale. As our investigation breaks, EU citizens by the thousands are signing a European Citizens Initiative calling for an EU-wide ban on fur farming and trade. The ECI approach is one of the most effective pathways for EU citizens to press the government of the EU, the European Commission, to advance new laws. One million validated signatures from EU citizens will trigger a response.

Our sustained campaigns against fur over the last few years have deglamorized it to the extent that a raft of designers have committed not to use it, and a host of retailers now decline to sell it. Then there are the countless millions of consumers who shun it. In that light, it’s strange to have to make the economic argument against fur, but it is still sometimes necessary. In this case, we have presented data and evidence to support our view that the industry has been on the skids in Romania for some years running. In that sense, in Romania as in many other countries, the fate of this industry that has been responsible for so much animal misery and death, for so long, is sealed.

We’ve just assisted in the rescue of 275 dogs from what might be the largest sting of an alleged dogfighting operation in South Carolina’s history

By on September 26, 2022 with 11 Comments
We’ve just assisted in the rescue of 275 dogs from what might be the largest sting of an alleged dogfighting operation in South Carolina’s history

Yesterday, we assisted federal and state law enforcement officers as they executed nearly two dozen search and seizure warrants at multiple properties in South Carolina in what is believed to be the biggest takedown of a suspected dogfighting network in the state’s history. When the . . . 

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Coyotes need humane, scientific solutions to potential conflicts

By on September 23, 2022 with 5 Comments
Coyotes need humane, scientific solutions to potential conflicts

There is an aggressive group of anti-coyote propogandists emerging in many communities, as a recent article in the Los Angeles Times on the presence of coyotes in a dozen or so California localities suggests. The belligerence of these propagandists, and their disdain for best practices . . . 

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We’re honoring lawmakers for their efforts to save sharks and end the shark fin trade

By on September 20, 2022 with 1 Comment
We’re honoring lawmakers for their efforts to save sharks and end the shark fin trade

At a time when bipartisanship can be unpredictable in politics, it’s particularly gratifying to recognize four lawmakers who have joined together to advance one of the most urgent animal protection measures in the Congress, the Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act. This week, we’re honoring Senate . . . 

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California bear injured by arrow is first heartbreaking sign of cruel trophy hunting season  

By on September 19, 2022 with 15 Comments
California bear injured by arrow is first heartbreaking sign of cruel trophy hunting season  

Last week, residents of Arcadia, California, spotted a black bear they were used to seeing around the neighborhood. But this time, something was different. The bear was moaning and was clearly suffering; an arrow was sticking out of his flesh. This is a heartbreaking reminder . . . 

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A year after leaving the puppy mill, Rosie’s past still lingers 

By on September 15, 2022 with 5 Comments
A year after leaving the puppy mill, Rosie’s past still lingers 

Last December, we helped rescue three puppies who were surrendered by the American Kennels pet store in New York City in the wake of our undercover investigation. The investigation revealed that sick puppies were left to suffer or even die in the store and that . . . 

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How street dogs in Vadodara received the help they needed

By on September 13, 2022 with 1 Comment
How street dogs in Vadodara received the help they needed

On a bustling street in the city of Vadodara, India, a young local resident is pointing out dogs wandering among the traffic. She is with three animal care officers from Humane Society International/India, who are playing with the dogs, feeding them some treats and then . . . 

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For Fashion Week, let’s celebrate the brands putting fur out of fashion

By on September 9, 2022 with 9 Comments
For Fashion Week, let’s celebrate the brands putting fur out of fashion

I remember when fall fashion used to be practically synonymous with fur on the runways and in the stores of many of the top luxury brands. Not so, anymore. We’ve seen a paradigm shift over the past several years, with major company after major company . . . 

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New law aims to ensure that no family must choose between their pet and their home

By on September 7, 2022 with 5 Comments
New law aims to ensure that no family must choose between their pet and their home

Throughout the country, millions of people are experiencing a devastating housing crisis—and people with pets face special hardships when searching for a place to live. It’s still far too common that some rental properties have arbitrary restrictions about the allowed breeds or weight of companion . . . 

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How our shelter and rescue partners are essential to our work for animals

By on September 6, 2022 with 8 Comments
How our shelter and rescue partners are essential to our work for animals

Last week, we completed the massive accomplishment of placing nearly 4,000 beagles with animal shelters and rescues across the country, where they can begin a new chapter of their lives: becoming beloved family members. The operation to remove these beagles from a breeding facility in . . . 

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Breaking: Last beagle of thousands spared from testing arrives at our care center

By on September 2, 2022 with 50 Comments
Breaking: Last beagle of thousands spared from testing arrives at our care center

It wasn’t long ago that I witnessed the first van full of beagles arrive at our care and rehabilitation center in Maryland. On July 21, I was on hand to help welcome these dogs into a new and beautiful chapter of their lives, and I . . . 

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Stolen pet cats discovered among roughly 150 being sold into China’s meat trade

By on September 1, 2022 with 2 Comments
Stolen pet cats discovered among roughly 150 being sold into China’s meat trade

Chinese activists who fight the dog and cat meat trade see some pretty horrible sights in their work, and this is no less true of a recent rescue of 150 cats who were lured and trapped by thieves using wild-caught sparrows as bait. According to . . . 

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