Today, in a crucial victory for animals, President Trump signed into law the Farm Bill minus the anti-animal King amendment but with three pro-animal measures. This is an outcome the Humane Society Legislative Fund had long worked for, along with our Humane Society of the United States legal and Farm Animal Protection teams, and it caps a year of extraordinary and path breaking gains for animals in the United States and across the world.
This was the year of two major ballot victories: a California measure that will forever change the way farm animals are treated, and another that shut down the cruel sport of greyhound racing in its Florida stronghold. We were at the heart of both initiatives.
This was the year when Ohio passed one of the strongest puppy mill laws in the country, and New Jersey became the first state to pass a sweeping ban on the use of wild animals in circuses. We were fully engaged in these campaigns.
This was also the year in which we celebrated a victory in a battle that we’ve fought for three decades to achieve: the World Trade Organization ruled to protect dolphins from fishing fleets that often injure and kill them in attempts to catch the tuna that swim below them.
Here’s our take on the top gains for animals in 2018, achieved with your support and with the leadership, energy and effort the Humane Society of the United States and our affiliates brought to these fights:
Our work helped ensure the Farm Bill passed with no King amendment and with three pro-animal measures
We are so proud to have played a key role in keeping out of the final Farm Bill the mean-spirited and overreaching amendment advanced by Rep. Steve King of Iowa. King’s proposal could have nullified state and local laws addressing horse slaughter for food, extreme confinement of farm animals, shark finning and puppy mills, among other things. Just as importantly, the Farm Bill did incorporate crucial animal protection provisions that HSLF worked hard to see included: banning the domestic slaughter, trade and import/export of dogs and cats for human consumption; extending federal domestic violence protections to include pets, horses, service animals and emotional support animals at risk and authorizing grants to help domestic violence shelters accommodate animals or arrange for their shelter; and making clear that federal prohibitions on dogfighting and cockfighting apply consistently across all U.S. jurisdictions, including the U.S. territories and the commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
We led victories for farm animals in the United States and globally
In California, we led the historic campaign to pass Proposition 12, which strengthens the state’s law prohibiting confinement of laying hens, mother pigs and veal calves in tiny cages, and bans the sale of eggs, pork and veal from animals confined this way regardless of where those products were produced. This is the strongest law of its kind in the world.
In the federal courts, we won a lawsuit preventing the government from sending more than $20 million to the pork industry’s largest lobbying group, the National Pork Producers Council, that would have fueled opposition efforts against our work to protect farm animals across the country.
We helped move many companies in the United States—including Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, Accor Hotels and Bruegger’s Bagels—to adopt chicken welfare policies in 2018. Our Humane Society International team worked with dozens of food and hospitality companies across the globe to adopt cage-free egg policies, including Grand Hyatt Singapore, the leading retailer in Brazil, Carrefour, Argentina’s leading food company, Havanna, and Colombia’s leading food manufacturer, Colombina.
We took wild animals out of traveling circus acts:
Last week, Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law a bill that makes New Jersey the first state to ban the use of numerous wild animal species, including elephants, tigers, lions, bears and primates, in circuses and traveling shows. In Hawaii, we await the signature of Gov. David Ige on a regulation enacted by the board of agriculture to ban dangerous wild animals, including tigers, lions, bears, primates, elephants and crocodiles, from being brought into the state to perform in circuses, carnivals and other public exhibitions.
We sparked major progress in our campaign to end the use of fur:
We made major strides against the fur trade. San Francisco and Los Angeles voted to ban the sale of fur within city limits, the largest US cities to do so. Coach, Burberry, Donna Karan/DKNY, Versace, Furla, Bottega Veneta, Nicholas K., TJ Maxx/Marshalls and Farfetch.com announced fur-free policies. Chanel banned not only fur, but exotic skins as well and Diane von Furstenberg and Columbia Sportswear went further and also banned angora and mohair. Gucci, which we helped ban fur in 2017, banned angora, too. London Fashion Week announced that it is fur-free. InStyle magazine announced a fur-free policy, including editorials, photos and advertisements. Finally, Linden Staub became the first modeling agency to refuse to send its models to shoots or runway shows where they’re required to wear fur.
We made gains for companion animals here and around the world:
In November, Florida voters passed – by a nearly 69 percent majority vote – a measure to ban greyhound racing. Since Florida has 11 of the remaining 17 racetracks in the country, the vote to end racing there is a victory of historic proportions.
In April, Maryland became the second state to pass a ban on the sale of puppies in pet stores, and in September, our months of work led directly to Ohio’s new law cracking down on puppy mills – one of the strongest of its kind. Commercial breeders in Ohio, the country’s second worst puppy mill state, can no longer cram dogs into cages stacked on top of each other and deprive animals of basic necessities, like space to move, exercise and access to veterinary care.
In March, Congress renewed the prohibition on funding for U.S. Department of Agriculture oversight of horse slaughter plants, effectively keeping such plants from reopening on U.S. soil this year.
A jury found a New Hampshire breeder guilty on 17 counts of animal cruelty based on the deplorable conditions in which she kept 84 Great Danes. In September, we completed the court-ordered placement process and closed our temporary shelter, and all of the Great Danes have found loving foster or adoptive homes.
Globally, the states of Chihuahua and Yucatan in Mexico passed strong dogfighting legislation. Our work to end the consumption of dog meat continued at full speed. We closed the 13th dog meat farm in South Korea and rescued more than 200 dogs, bringing the total of dogs rescued since we started this work to almost 1,600. We assisted Seongnam city council in shutting down and demolishing South Korea’s largest dog slaughterhouse. In China, we assisted with the closure of four dog slaughter operations and helped with the rescue of hundreds of dogs and cats. In Vietnam, our work as part of the Asia Canine Protection Alliance inspired the Hanoi government to call on citizens to stop eating dog meat. The Indonesian government pledged to ban the dog and cat meat trade after HSI helped release a Dog Meat-Free Indonesia investigative report linking the dog meat trade to the spread of rabies. And HSLF worked with champions in Congress to get a House resolution passed in September urging all nations to ban, and enforce laws against, the dog and cat meat trade.
We sued to maintain vital ESA protections for Yellowstone grizzly bears – and won:
HSUS attorneys don’t take threats to animals lightly, and we showed it when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decided to remove Endangered Species Act protection for grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. The HSUS and others sued to prevent premature removal of federal protections for the population, and to prevent the states of Wyoming and Idaho from opening trophy hunting seasons for grizzly bears for the first time since the early 1970s. In September, the U.S. district court for the District of Montana rejected the government’s plan.
Our 30 years of advocacy paid off as the World Trade Organization embraced protections for dolphins:
Our 30-year battle to protect dolphins from fishing fleets that target them, often injuring or killing them, to catch the tuna that swim below them is finally over, after the World Trade Organization upheld a panel ruling from October 2017 that found that the U.S. amendments to its dolphin-safe labeling regime brought it into compliance with WTO rules. Tuna sold in the United States will continue to get the “dolphin-safe” label only if the fishing fleets do not set nets on dolphins, making the choice an easy one for dolphin-loving consumers.
We made progress toward ending the cruelty of animal testing:
In September, Gov. Jerry Brown of California signed into law a bill that prohibits the sale of cosmetics tested on animals — the first law of its kind in North America. Starting Jan. 1, 2020, all cosmetic products in California stores will be free from new animal testing.
Globally, Japan and South Korea announced the end of year-long pesticide poisoning tests on beagle dogs – a campaign HSI has led globally since 2010. In Canada, the Senate passed the Cruelty Free Cosmetics Act, bringing the country closer to becoming a cruelty-free cosmetics market. The world’s second largest beauty brand, Unilever, announced its support for the #BeCrueltyFree campaign led by HSI, HSUS and HSLF aimed at banning animal testing for cosmetics across the globe within five years.
We haven’t missed a step in taking on the big fights in 2018 and our record shows it. Yet if it was a great year in our transformational campaigns to help animals, it was only so because of you and the many other supporters who demonstrate their faith in the HSUS and its affiliates every day. We appreciate your support, and we’ll continue to take on the biggest fights out there in 2019 and beyond.