Major gains for farm animals in 2019, including advances for laying hens, growth in plant-based foods
The year 2019 saw some spectacular victories in our campaigning for farm animals around the world. We spearheaded successful campaigns in three U.S. states to pass laws against the use of cages for egg-laying hens. Our work to reduce meat consumption also advanced as we partnered with food service operators around the world to offer more plant-based meals to consumers.
Here are some of the biggest gains of 2019.
Public policy and legal wins:
- With the backing of the Humane Society of the United States, three states – Oregon, Washington and Michigan – passed laws to ban the sale and production of eggs from caged hens.
- We helped thwart multiple harmful bills meant to undermine animal protection efforts, including anti-whistleblower ag-gag measures in West Virginia and Texas.
- In India, home to 403 million laying hens—the world’s second-largest population of such hens — we successfully defended a prohibition on new battery cages.
- In November, a California court rejected an attempt by the meat lobby to stop the implementation of Proposition 12, the state’s historic law that would ban the extreme cage confinement of egg-laying hens, mother pigs and baby veal calves. Earlier, in January, the Supreme Court declined to take a case aimed at overturning California’s ban on the sale of force-fed foie gras. Foie gras is produced by force-feeding a duck or goose such excessive amounts of food that his liver becomes swollen and diseased.
- Also in January, the Supreme Court refused to take up a lawsuit challenging the Massachusetts farm animal anti-confinement law, and another challenging California’s Proposition 12. Our lawyers helped secure these significant positive outcomes.
Reducing meat consumption:
Through our Forward Food, Green Monday and other meat reduction campaigns, our Food and Nutrition teams are helping food service professionals serve more plant-based meals.
- Globally we convinced more than 525 institutions, including school districts like Oklahoma City Public Schools, universities like Harvard, and local governments like the Municipal Department of Social Assistance in São Paulo Brazil, which includes hospitals, prisons and more, to adopt policies around serving less meat and more plant-based foods in their cafeterias. We hosted more than 250 culinary events globally, training over 10,000 food service professionals across the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Brazil, South Africa, Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia.
- We took our relationship with Sodexo—one of the world’s largest food service companies—to the next level, joining with its U.S. culinary leadership team to increase plant-based options across the country. The partnership is helping Sodexo create new recipes for its thousands of chefs while launching a culinary education platform focused on plant-based meals.
Working on reform with major food corporations:
We continued our groundbreaking work with the private sector, helping companies reform their supply chains.
- In the United States, we launched our first-ever Food Industry Scorecard, to track how 100 of the largest food companies are progressing on their animal welfare commitments.
- We moved major food companies like Denny’s and Conagra Brands to adopt policies that will dramatically improve the well-being of chickens in their supply chains.
- In Central and Latin America, almost two dozen companies committed to ending the sale of eggs from caged hens, including Carrefour (which operates 589 stores in Argentina), Walmart Brazil, Unifood (the largest fast-food holding company in Chile) and La Parroquia de Veracruz (a major restaurant chain in Mexico).
- We helped Tesco become the first major retailer in South East Asia to pledge to sell only cage-free eggs, impacting the company’s 2,000 stores in Thailand and Malaysia.
- In Brazil, we worked with partners to convince Pamplona, a major pork producer, to announce that it will eliminate gestation crates, sparing over 40,000 mother pigs annually from extreme confinement.
Partnering with financial institutions to end farm animal abuse:
We have been working with the financial sector to spotlight the risks of factory farming.
- We launched the FARMS (Farm Animal Responsible Minimum Standards) Initiative, with Compassion in World Farming and World Animal Protection, to serve as a resource for financial institutions on adopting higher animal welfare standards in their lending, investing and insuring practices. The initiative’s standards are now included as “Key Resources” in the United Nations Environment Programme’s Principles for Responsible Banking Guidance Document.
- In Singapore, we helped DBS – South East Asia’s largest bank – develop the region’s first-ever sustainability-linked loan for a small- or medium-sized enterprise. The loan supports a new cage-free laying hen facility producing over 500,000 eggs every day.
- We consulted with United Kingdom’s Standard Chartered (one of the world’s 50 largest banks) on a global cage- and crate-free financing policy — the first of its kind by a major financial institution.
The universe of farm animal suffering is the largest of our global challenges, and it demands focus, thought and the marshaling of scant resources to maximize impact. In our efforts to help farm animals, we work with stakeholders across the spectrum, from corporations to farmers, from non-governmental partners to caring citizens, from scientists to nutritionists, and from celebrities to politicians of every stripe. We are committed to a world in which animals raised for food do not suffer needlessly. As we look back proudly on our successes in 2019, we promise to continue to work – with purpose, passion and vision — toward a better world for animals in 2020.