HSUS, HSI and partners threaten to sue U.S. for failing to protect pangolins

By on November 13, 2019 with 0 Comments

Pangolins are the most illegally trafficked mammals in the world. For decades they have been poached indiscriminately throughout their range in Africa and Asia, driving their numbers in the wild to dangerously low levels. That’s why, four years ago, the Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International, with other environmental and animal protection groups, petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect them under the Endangered Species Act. The agency agreed that protections may be warranted, and initiated a status review of the species, which is required by law to be completed within one year of the petition being filed.

Unfortunately, we haven’t heard a peep out of the USFWS since. Meanwhile, the killing of pangolins has continued at an astonishing rate. That’s why today, we and our coalition partners, Born Free USA, the Center for Biological Diversity and the Natural Resources Defense Council, are putting the FWS on notice: begin the process of protecting all pangolin species under the ESA promptly, or face a lawsuit in federal court.

There is no time to lose. More than a million pangolins were killed by poachers between 2004 and 2014, and this is a conservative estimate. The demand has been driven by the fact that pangolin scales and meat are prized for their use in traditional “medicines” and as a culinary delicacy in Asia. Earlier this year, authorities seized more than 60 tons of pangolin scales during massive busts in Singapore and Malaysia.

The United States has contributed to the problem, because there’s a market for pangolin parts and products right here, on U.S. soil. A 2015 HSI investigation uncovered U.S.-based companies selling “medicinal” pangolin parts and products online to American customers, and HSUS and HSI have also documented pangolin scales for sale in shops in Portland, Oregon and New York City. Between 2004 and 2013, U.S. authorities seized at least 29,000 pangolin products, almost all “medicinal” products. Many of these products were manufactured in China and are illegal for export under domestic Chinese law.

The more we learn about pangolins, the stronger the case for their protection becomes. These shy and gentle creatures play an all-important role in their ecosystems, by controlling insect populations — a single pangolin can eat some 70 million ants and termites per year. When they sense danger, pangolins protect themselves by rolling their bodies into a tight ball, making them easy prey for poachers who can easily snatch them up.

In 2016, at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), 183 member nations voted to give the highest level of protection to all eight pangolin species and banned the international commercial trade in pangolin parts. HSI’s delegation to CITES led this fight, and it was a tremendous step toward shutting down the international trade in pangolin parts.

It is now time for the United States to step up and be a leader on this issue. We cannot fight pangolin poaching around the world if we continue to provide a market for pangolin products on our soil. Our nation has a moral – and legal – obligation to curb the pangolin trade, and to prevent this important species from continuing to careen toward extinction. If those with the authority to take action fail to act quickly on behalf of this beleaguered species, we will not hesitate to step up the fight.

New poll shows more Floridians than ever oppose hunting of black bears

By on November 12, 2019 with 0 Comments
New poll shows more Floridians than ever oppose hunting of black bears

Florida authorities are now considering a proposal to manage the state’s black bear population, including a plan that could open the animals to the sights of trophy hunters. But a new statewide poll shows that more than two-thirds of Floridians are against the idea of . . . 

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Honoring our veterans and the animals they love

By on November 11, 2019 with 0 Comments
Honoring our veterans and the animals they love

Veterans Day appears on our calendars every year as a special day on which to honor the men and women who have faithfully served in our nation’s armed forces. But the fact is that we ought to be mindful of veterans’ service and loyalty every . . . 

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Louisville, KY, urges Sens. Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul to stop blocking efforts to end horse soring, pass PAST Act

By on November 8, 2019 with 8 Comments
Louisville, KY, urges Sens. Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul to stop blocking efforts to end horse soring, pass PAST Act

Council members of the largest city in Kentucky last night adopted a resolution with a strong message for the state’s two U.S. Senators, Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul: co-sponsor and help enact the Prevent All Soring Tactics Act to end the torture of Tennessee walking . . . 

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Pets and their people line up by the thousands at Spayathon for Puerto Rico

By on November 7, 2019 with 1 Comment
Pets and their people line up by the thousands at Spayathon for Puerto Rico

Round 5 of SpayathonTM for Puerto Rico, a strategic initiative that aims to reduce pet overpopulation on the island, concludes today. As always, it’s been a joyful but incredibly busy time for our staff and volunteers who are working round the clock at seven clinics . . . 

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BREAKING NEWS: PACT Act passes U.S. Senate two weeks after clearing House; Bill now awaits Trump’s signature

By on November 5, 2019 with 23 Comments
BREAKING NEWS: PACT Act passes U.S. Senate two weeks after clearing House; Bill now awaits Trump’s signature

A long-awaited law that would make some of the most brutal acts of animal cruelty federal felonies is just one signature away from becoming reality. The U.S. Senate moments ago unanimously passed the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act, a bill that will make . . . 

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British queen says ‘no’ to new fur in royal wardrobe

By on November 5, 2019 with 3 Comments
British queen says ‘no’ to new fur in royal wardrobe

Queen Elizabeth II, one of the world’s most photographed icons, will no longer wear new fur outfits for her public engagements. Instead, she will now step out in harsh winters wearing faux fur. In a new memoir, the British queen’s official dresser Angela Kelly writes . . . 

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20,000 shelter pets adopted through HSUS pet store conversion program

By on November 4, 2019 with 2 Comments
20,000 shelter pets adopted through HSUS pet store conversion program

One of the ways we are boosting animal adoptions from shelters, steadily reducing the population of homeless animals in the United States, and striking a blow against puppy mills is through our Puppy-Friendly Pet Stores Program. As part of this initiative, we work with pet . . . 

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Seoul, South Korea’s capital city, ends all dog slaughter

By on November 1, 2019 with 9 Comments
Seoul, South Korea’s capital city, ends all dog slaughter

South Korea moved one crucial step closer to condemning its dog meat trade to history this week, with the last three dog meat shops in Seoul agreeing to stop all slaughter for dog meat within the capital city. “We will maintain the city as a . . . 

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HSUS- and HSLF-backed plan for wild horses and burros rejects slaughter, offers much-needed reprieve

By on October 31, 2019 with 2 Comments
HSUS- and HSLF-backed plan for wild horses and burros rejects slaughter, offers much-needed reprieve

By Kitty Block and Sara Amundson America’s wild horses and burros have long been engulfed in a political quagmire, and their place on our western rangelands has been hotly contested for more than half a century. But a comprehensive, science-based management proposal promises to break . . . 

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Rescuers pulling out around 150 cats and other animals from alleged neglect situation in Pennsylvania

By on October 30, 2019 with 18 Comments
Rescuers pulling out around 150 cats and other animals from alleged neglect situation in Pennsylvania

It could have been the setting of an eerie movie that our Humane Society of the United States rescuers and law enforcement officers walked into this cool fall morning. The location was Washington County, Pennsylvania, and they were responding to an alleged large-scale animal neglect . . . 

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Scientists carry water for trophy hunting industry

By on October 30, 2019 with 6 Comments
Scientists carry water for trophy hunting industry

By Kitty Block and Sara Amundson For years now, trophy hunters have spun a web of lies to tie their ruthless killing of some of the world’s most at-risk animals to fake conservation benefits. A recent exchange in the prestigious Science magazine has laid bare . . . 

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