Brazil Steps Forward on Animal Welfare
Sao Paolo, the largest city in Brazil and in all of the western hemisphere, and a financial and cultural center of South America, has banned the sale of foie gras and the fur products from animals farmed solely for their fur, in yet another victory for animals in the world’s fifth largest country. The state of Sao Paulo banned most fur farming last year. And all of Brazil is on the way to phasing out cruel gestation crates for pigs and cosmetic testing on animals.
The progress in Brazil and India is a great rebuttal to people who claim that animal welfare is a North American or European value. Through Humane Society International, we’re now working in over 50 countries, and everywhere we are finding people receptive to the message of treating animals more humanely.
And now with the Pope’s new encyclical calling for a more humane relationship with animals, the momentum in Brazil can only build throughout the world. (The Argentine Pope is a hero in Brazil – three million Brazilians attended his mass on Copacabana beach two years ago.)
In particular, Brazil is poised to make progress on an issue the Pope specifically signaled out for condemnation – non-medical testing on animals. The Brazilian Senate is right now considering a bill to restrict cosmetic testing on animals. Earlier this month, HSI delivered a letter from Leona Lewis to the Senate urging a complete ban on cosmetic testing on animals.
HSI is also leading changes to Brazil’s pork industry, one of the world’s largest. At the end of last year, BRF, Brazil’s largest pork producer, committed to phasing out the continuous use of gestation crates from its whole supply chain by 2026. Earlier this month, JBS, the world’s largest animal protein processing company, announced in its sustainability report plans to phase out the use of gestation crates at all company-owned facilities by 2016. JBS also pledged to build all-new units using group housing and to help suppliers (contracted farmers) to transition.
Arcos Dorados, the largest McDonald’s franchisee in Latin America and the Caribbean, and in the world, announced that all of its pork suppliers must present documented plans to discontinue the use of gestation crates and adopt group housing systems, including in Brazil, by 2022. And the Brazilian Pork Producers Association announced this month that it will lead a study into transitioning to higher welfare group housing systems.
HSI and its partners are also working with more than 200 civil society groups (including environmental groups, health groups, consumer groups, and animal protection groups) throughout Brazil to promote Meatless Monday to their constituencies, as a way to reduce the suffering of animals in factory farms. Together, we’re reaching more than 4.5 million people every two weeks. The Brazil Vegetarian Society, our partner in meat reduction efforts, scored a major victory when the Sao Paulo public schools system adopted Meatless Mondays.
More than ever the progress on animal protection issues is global. We’re delighted to see Brazil leading the progress in Latin America, and look forward to driving more humane reform in the country.
Animal Testing is an outdated way to obtain information that is relevant to human populations. Fortunately, science is evolving and so too are the methods that can more accurately give scientists and regulators information on chemicals in our environment. The bad news is that, despite all the advancements, many scientists and companies still use animals in experiments.
Animals do not react similarly to chemicals as humans do, so putting animals through painful and lethal tests is both scientifically and ethically questionable. One modern nonanimal test method includes using human cells from surgical leftovers to create 3D human skin in a petri dish and then testing chemicals on that. The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act will reform the Toxic Substance Control Act by modernizing chemical testing and I personally support this bill because of that.