It’s Hard to Be Ethically Consistent While Tap-Dancing on Eggshells

My objection to hunting, trapping and seal clubbing is colorblind as well as culture-blind. I oppose cruelty to animals, no matter who is doing the shooting, trapping or clubbing. A victim doesn’t suffer any less because of the ethnicity or cultural beliefs of their executioner. An animal’s right to a life, free from harm, trumps anyone’s right to exploit or kill them.

Over the weekend I received the following question, which I’ll attempt to answer below…


Dear Mr. Robertson,

I was wondering your opinion on the subject of animal rights vs. the rights of indigenous people. What do you think about hunting by Native American tribes, or the hunting of seals by the Inuit? Also, of course, the various other tribes around the world that have their culture based off of hunting. What do you think about their participation in hunting, trapping, etc?


Hmmm, one of those questions…one of those I-wouldn’t-touch-that-with-a-ten-foot-pole kind of questions. Do I risk being called a hypocrite, or “culturally elite?” I could spend all day tip-toeing around this—tap-dancing on egg shells—but here’s an answer just off the top of my head:

My objection to hunting, trapping and seal clubbing is colorblind as well as culture-blind. I oppose cruelty to animals, no matter who is doing the shooting, trapping or clubbing. A victim doesn’t suffer any less because of the ethnicity or cultural beliefs of their executioner. An animal’s right to a life, free from harm, trumps anyone’s right to exploit or kill them (unless someone is literally starving to death and has no other options, which is not the case for most who hunt, trap, club seals, harpoon whales or trade in bushmeat).

Why oppose the Japanese or the Faeroese for slaughtering dolphins or pilot whales and not the Makah for killing grey whales, or even the Inuit for hunting bowhead whales? We’re all part of the species, Homo sapiens, and our ancestors all used to live by hunting and trapping. For better or worse, we’re all moving forward technologically, so there’s no reason we shouldn’t all move forward in our treatment of non-human animals.

That’s my humble opinion, anyway. It might not be popular, but it’s ethically consistent.

Text and Wildlife Photography© Jim Robertson

Text and Wildlife Photography© Jim Robertson


Animal People and Sexual Misconduct

As revolting as the revelations about some HSUS officials are, those who
recently resigned or were let go did at least bring farmed animals as
individuals with feelings and intelligence into mainstream focus for the
time in HSUS history. This is not to excuse anything, but to say that a
in HSUS leadership and workplace conduct may not mean that the organization
now show more progressive leadership on behalf of farmed animals and
veganism. I
worry it will revert to its more traditional programs and attitudes even if
offensive office behavior is eliminated.

As for sexual harassment of women and worse, while women rightly object to
treated as objects whose bodies may be physically assaulted and
disrespected by
men, this experience, magnified a trillion times over, is precisely what
chickens and pigs and cows and all farmed animals, “laboratory” animals,
animals, “entertainment” animals and others endure endlessly at the hands
of our

If we are outraged that certain male employees in our movement have
their female colleagues physically and professionally, we had better stand
and be counted for our nonhuman animal victims for whom interspecies sexual
assault and every form of intimate, repulsive violence perpetrated by human
beings against them and their bodies is their experience of being alive in
flesh. Veganism is not a superficial “food choice.” It is ethical activism
behalf of the most profoundly, helplessly victimized beings on the planet.

Animal agriculture is now, and always has been, rooted in violating the sex
organs, mating choices, and reproductive processes of helpless animals.
“breeding” animals – the very word breeding – is an obscenity. We cannot
to care about animals while obscenely consuming their muscles, their nursing
mother’s milk and their eggs, or suggesting to others that these
obscenities may
be practiced “humanely.”

As animal advocates, we must amplify the animals’ voices and be their
Voice: “ME

For a comprehensive look at interspecies sexual assault of farmed animals
business and pleasure, please see and share my article Interspecies Sexual
Assault: A Moral Perspective

Karen Davis, PhD
United Poultry Concerns

United Poultry Concerns is a nonprofit organization that promotes
the compassionate and respectful treatment of domestic fowl.
Don’t just switch from beef to chicken. Go Vegan.

View this article online

The Humane Society of the United States accepts the resignation of Wayne Pacelle as president and CEO

The Humane Society of the United States announced that it has accepted the resignation of Wayne Pacelle, as president and CEO, effective immediately.  Wayne has served in this capacity since 2004, and previously served for 10 years as the organization chief political and communications operative.

The HSUS has named Kitty Block as acting president and CEO. Ms. Block, an attorney, is currently president of Humane Society International, The HSUS’s global affiliate.

“The last few days have been very hard for our entire family of staff and supporters,” said Rick Bernthal, Chairman of the Board of The HSUS.  “We are profoundly grateful for Wayne’s unparalleled level of accomplishments and service to the cause of animal protection and welfare.”

“We are most grateful to Kitty for stepping forward to lead the organization as we continue to advance our mission, which has never been more important,” added Bernthal.

Ms. Block has served at The HSUS since 1992, first as a legal investigator to the investigations department, then to oversee international policy work related to international trade and treaties. In 2007, she was promoted to Vice President of Humane Society International, later to Senior Vice President, and last year became President of this affiliate overseeing all HSI international campaigns and programs. Ms. Block received a law degree from The George Washington University in 1990 and a bachelor’s degree in communications and philosophy from the University of New Hampshire in 1986.

Additionally, The HSUS announced the resignation of Board member Erika Brunson.

CEO Of The Humane Society Resigns Amid Allegations of Sexual Harassment

Wayne Pacelle, former CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, at a 2015 news conference. Pacelle resigned Friday.

Jonathan Bachman/AP Images for The Humane Society of the United States

The president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, Wayne Pacelle, has resigned effective immediately, the nonprofit group announced Friday.

Pacelle had been at the center of a controversy over allegations that he had sexually harassed three female subordinates at the Humane Society, one of the country’s largest animal charities.

The move came a day after the group’s board of directors had voted to keep Pacelle despite the allegations dating to 2005.

In a statement, Humane Society Board Chair Rick Bernthal said:

“The last few days have been very hard for our entire family of staff and supporters. We are profoundly grateful for Wayne’s unparalleled level of accomplishments and service to the cause of animal protection and welfare.”

Bernthal said that the president of the Humane Society’s international affiliate, Kitty Block, has been named as acting chief executive.

The development came just hours after Bernthal had defended the group’s decision yesterday to allow Pacelle to remain as CEO. In a statement, Bernthal said that after an investigation:

“The board reviewed the information assembled and determined that there was not sufficient evidence to remove Wayne Pacelle from his position as CEO.

“Many of the allegations were explosive in nature, and reading or hearing about them is a shock to anyone. It was to us, too. But when we sifted through the evidence presented, we did not find that many of these allegations were supported by credible evidence.”

Bernthal also denied that his group had offered settlements to three other workers who said they were dismissed or demoted after raising concerns about Pacelle’s alleged sexual misconduct. “The Board concluded that there was no motivation behind severance agreements to silence women who had spoken up or raised concerns,” he said.

After the board voted to retain Pacelle, the CEO acknowledged that the controversy was taking a toll.

Pacelle had told the New York Times earlier on Friday that he was assessing his future professional life:

“‘I’m going to take stock of everyone’s opinion and assess where I go and where the organization goes from here,’ he said. ‘I think leadership changes at organizations are often very healthy and renewing, and I’m going to talk with staff and board members and find the best course that [contributes] to our mission of fighting for all animals.’ ”

Yet pressure was building for Pacelle’s dismissal from both inside and out the organization, with major donors announcing that they were withdrawing their support from the group.

In a statement earlier Friday, the president of the National Organization for Women, Toni Van Pelt, had called for Pacelle’s firing:

“Like Donald Trump, the Humane Society is engaged in a cover up in plain sight. Instead of trying to enable a sexual abuser, they should dismiss him. Instead of making excuses, they should be making reparations. Instead of silencing or attacking women who’ve suffered abuse, and those who defend them, the Humane Society should change its own culture.

“The Humane Society needs to know this. Women are watching. We know when a charity deserves our support, and when it fails the most basic obligations of trust.

“The Humane Society has no humanity. Fire Wayne Pacelle. Do it now.”

The initial decision to retain Pacelle also had led to the resignation of seven protesting board members.

PETA asks government to tax meat, other animal derived foods

PETA India, in a letter to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, requested him to consider taxing meat and other animal derived foods to discourage their consumption.


NEW DELHI: Animal rights body PETA asked the government to levy a tax on meat and other animal derived foods for their damaging effects on environment and public health, on the lines of a similar tax imposed on tobacco.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India, in a letter to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, requested him to consider taxing meat and other animal derived foods to discourage their consumption.

PETA India asks that India tax meat and other animal derived foods for their damaging effects on the environment and the public’s health the same way there are increased taxes in countries around the world on other unhealthy or damaging goods such as tobacco,” said Nikunj Sharma, Lead–Public Policy, PETA India.

In India, the consumption of beef, chicken, eggs, dairy and other animal derived foods is on a rapid rise, it said, asserting that between 2003 and 2013, meat consumption more than doubled in the country.

While vegetarian and vegan eating is also increasing (between 2004 and 2014, there was a five per cent growth in the number of vegetarians in India), the amount of meat, eggs or dairy foods consumed per person in India is the highest it has been in history and it is projected to grow further.

India’s chicken meat consumption is growing annually at about 12 per cent, the letter said.

“This extraordinary upsurge in the consumption and production of these foods in India adversely impacts animals, of course, but also the health of its citizens, water availability, air and water pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and climate change and food supply to the poor in colossal ways,” it said.

It said India now tops the charts in many diet-related ailments and pointed out that cardiovascular disease was the leading cause of death in India, while stroke was also a main cause of death and disability in the country.

It said India is also the world leader in diabetes, its cancer rate is out of control, and childhood obesity is at a crisis point.

It asserted that India is home to 20 per cent of the world’s cattle and buffalo population and 11 per cent of world goat and sheep population, which are bred predominantly to be used for meat or dairy production.

The animal rights body said according to satellite data from our space programme, ruminant animals transfer almost 12 million tonnes of methane–which traps 25 times as much heat as carbon dioxide does–into the atmosphere via flatulence every year.

It said while India tops the world hunger list with 194 million people and as 77 million people in the country lack access to safe water, the production of meat, eggs and dairy foods uses one-third of the world’s fresh water resources as well as one-third of the world’s global cropland as feed for animals.

“Taxing meat could discourage citizens from consuming these damaging products and could bring in revenue that could help support costs related to damage to public health and the environment because of meat, eggs and dairy foods.

“Won’t India, a country known for its cultural respect for animals, and with a Constitution that requires all of its citizens to protect and improve the natural environment…and to have compassion for living creatures take the lead on taxing meat and other animal derived foods?” it asked.

Animal Rights: Remedy to Trumpism

By David Cantor

The Trump presidency is proving as destructive, troubling, and demoralizing as anticipated by anyone respectful of the Constitution, of human beings and other animals, and of the living world.  Increasing animal abuse is the overarching trend: intensifying injustice and assaults on human beings, reversing constraints on our species’ destruction of the living world (the Biocaust), and reinvigorating the animal-abuse and disease-spreading industries driving climate breakdown, toxic pollution, and other sources of misery.

So the needed response is not just protesting and resisting Trump, voting for candidates who oppose Trumpism, and urging people to act “humanely” at the personal level.  Our opposition must advance the total paradigm shift needed to reduce animal abuse by undermining the full range of animal-abuse policy, culture, and practice.  One easy thing to do: Read and share with your officials and potential candidates Responsible Policies for Animals’ two-page political background paper “Governing for Life: How Officials Can End Animal-Abuse Policy, Annihilation of Nature, and Resulting Human Misery by Upholding the Constitution and Its Stated Values.”

Animal abuse has never been reduced in more than 50,000 years.  The Animal-Abuse Revolution generated, thousands of years ago, tyrannical governance such as the American Revolution has only begun to eradicate.  That ongoing Enlightenment-, justice-, and equality-based Revolution is widely faltering due to infiltration and cooptation by consumer-capitalism, its global mind-management endeavor (public relations), and the ascendance of the weapons industry.  Ubiquitous access to powerful weapons enables dangerous human enemies to appear the most pressing problem.  But the Animal-Abuse Revolution is the root of weapons manufacturing as well as most human misery.

Regulation of capitalism irks the most aggressively dominant, the greediest, and the most conscience-challenged tycoons even while many of their peers accept or even praise it.  Deregulation, the centerpiece so-called 2017 “accomplishments” the Trump administration boasts of, sounds abstract and legalistic.  But it means removing the already-mild restraints on what nonfeeling, amoral, nonliving corporations and industries and their dependents can do to human beings and other animals.

The primary endeavor of the radical right is to permanently free capitalism from democracy – as Nancy MacLean puts it in Democracy in Chains.  So the people won’t be able to decide what corporations and industries can do to the living world, including “us” and Earth’s other beings.  As Joel Kovel shows in The Enemy of Nature: The End of Capitalism or the End of the World, capitalism is primarily a war on the living world.  Trump brazenly bullies the human world toward tyranny to overcome human self-interest, our innate affinity for nonhuman animals and the living world (biophilia), and the values stated in the Constitution: liberty, justice equality, defense, tranquility, and the general welfare.

A problem with treating even the best Democratic candidates and their platforms as the solution to the Trumpian project is that the Democratic Party, too, is an engine of capitalism and the Biocaust.  It’s not just that Democratic candidates and officeholders, too, receive donations from big money; it’s that they accept the basic humanist-extremist premises that only human beings are innately entitled to a chance at a fulfilling life; our pursuit of fulfillment needn’t take other beings’ experience or ecological value into account; our species’ population explosion, its rampage over Earth, and its impacts on other animals and the living world are self-justified; and dividing “the pie” among humans is their only responsibility.  Democrats need coaching such as RPA’s above-mentioned background paper provides.

The first Earth Day, in 1970, taught us that our species must reduce its “footprint.”  Since then, both major parties have failed to lead humanity toward the needed change, succumbing with little resistance to capitalism’s war on the environmental movement and animal advocacy – as Sharon Beder shows in Global Spin: The Corporate Assault on Environmentalism.

Many Democrats rail against the gross inequality among humans that steadily grows, undermines democracy, increases human misery, and generates protest and rebellion.  But none publicly acknowledges that animal abuse in its full scope, dating back more than 50,000 years – all that humans do to each other, and to and with other animals and their natural homes – is the root of the pre-Constitutional tyranny Trump labors to restore and the misery from war, disease, poverty, and demagoguery which the Constitution enables us to overcome if we exercise vigilance and perpetually and fully exercise our rights as policymaking citizens.

Creating needed lasting change entails thinking independently, not following politicians’ framing of the agenda, their public-relations campaigns, or the news industry’s reflexive rehashing of them.  We must assess policy through experience and books, educating our representatives and candidates.  Most politicians, though well-meaning, are not particularly well educated or informed beyond conventional wisdom, and conventional wisdom is generated by an industry-government-university-media complex in service to humanist extremism that omits other animals’ interests and thus the living world we all depend on, which unfortunately rapidly collapsing.

With three plant or animal species going extinct per hour, human health and wellbeing steadily worsening, violence and transportation and infrastructure disasters frighteningly constant and ubiquitous, sea levels rising, hurricanes and wildfires intensifying, ocean life nearly gone, and human industry abusing all animals on Earth, including humans – obviously a new paradigm is needed.  Tweaking the old one won’t work.  In his 2017 manual On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century, Yale history professor Timothy Snyder urges us to avoid screen-based media versions of reality, informing ourselves through books in order to assess the validity of what special interests and opinion-mongers foist on us electronically.

As long as only human beings are deemed persons – beings worthy of respect, equal treatment, and a chance at fulfillment – they will continue to suffer needlessly along with all of Earth’s other animals.  Because the abuse humans rationalize inflicting on nonhuman animals by denying their personhood and their worthiness of consideration generates nearly all human misery.  That counterintuitive reality is explained in many items at this website.  But how do we get the public and its officials to act based on reality?  I’ve spent my three decades as a full-time animal advocate – when I wasn’t investigating and protesting atrocities and being arrested for civil disobedience – learning the origins, causes, and nature of animal-abuse policy, culture, and practice and implementing campaigns to strike at their roots.  Results and recommendations for action pervade this website.

Passionate, dedicated, and skillful pursuit of solutions to superficial problems without addressing roots of the problems describes most animal, environmental, public-health, and vegetarian advocacy of recent decades.  Good work that doesn’t address root causes explains why misery and threats to life itself continue increasing and intensifying: The roots continue generating the problems we wish to solve; they keep reappearing the way grass grows tall after mowing.  Responsible Policies for Animals’ website, literature, and lectures focus the roots of the big problems Trump intensifies but by no means causes.  RPA’s campaigns ask us to act with long-term persistence rather than briefly express ourselves and lament the lack of results.

In 2018, make the vision of equal rights of all animals the basis of your mainstream political activities.  I’m glad to assist you.  By educating authorities, we not only can undermine Trump’s effort to intensify the Biocaust; we can put our species on the new trajectory all living beings desperately need us to embrace.

Animal Rights Activists and Billionaire John Catsimatidis Clash Over His Plan to Import Pandas

Dec. 27 2017 BY 

John Catsimatidis, one of the two billionaires helping U.S. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney raise $50 million to rent a pair of pandas from China and put them on display in NYC, defended his plan during a dramatic confrontation with animal rights activists:

During the confrontation, Mr. Catsimatidis defended the importation of pandas on the grounds that New Yorkers want them: “We’ve taken polls. Ninety percent of New Yorkers say, ‘We love pandas, and we want them in New York.’”

The day after the clash, Mr. Catsimatidis invited protest organizer Donny Moss onto his radio show to debate the issue:

“I think that Mr. Catsimatidis genuinely cares about animals,” said protest organizer Donny Moss. “If he took the time to learn why holding wild animals captive for our entertainment is outdated and inhumane, then he might change his mind about renting pandas from China, and he might understand why the animal advocacy community in NYC must continue protesting his plan.”

Animal rights activists in NYC are protesting a plan to rent pandas from China and put them on display in NYC.

In February 2017,  Mr. Catsimatidis, Congresswomen Carolyn Maloney and billionaire Maurice (Hank) Greenberg held a fundraiser called the “Black & White Panda Ball” at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel to raise money for the project, which is estimated to cost $50 million.  The gala raised approximately $500,000. Their charity, The Pandas are Coming to NYC, continues to raise money.

Your Turn

Please sign the Care2 petition asking Carolyn Maloney to call off her plan to import pandas into NYC for display.

Follow No Panda Prison NYC on Facebook.

Stop HR 3599 & HR 2887: The States’ Rights Elimination Acts

Representatives Steve King (R-IA) and James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) have introduced two bills— HR 3599and HR 2887, respectively—we’ve dubbed the States’ Rights Elimination Acts. These bills would completely undermine the authority of states to pass laws to protect animals and their citizens.

A diverse and broad coalition of more than 60 groups opposes these dangerous bills. More than 50 of these organizations have signed a joint letter to Congress opposing HR 3599 and HR 2887) while other groups (such as Freedomworks) are speaking out against King’s bill on their own.


These bills could make it easy for animal abusers to skirt existing state laws on many important issues including puppy mills, factory farms, horse slaughter, cat and dog meat and shark finning.

Both HR 3599 and HR 2887 could roll back many hard-fought protections for animals and lead to additional suffering.

Please urge your legislators to stop the attack on animals by opposing the States’ Rights Elimination Acts»

Download the HR 3599 / HR 2887 Factsheet»

HR 3599

  • Rep. King’s bill is the same failed proposal he’s put forth for years. It aims to undo most existing state and local laws regarding agricultural products, including how animals are raised. It takes a lowest-common-denominator approach—if any one state tolerates the way a particular agricultural product is manufactured or produced, no matter how hazardous or unacceptable, every other state could have to do so as well.
  • This threatens laws already enacted by state legislatures and citizen ballot measures on a wide range of concerns including puppy mills, the sale of horse meat, dog and cat meat, eggs from battery-caged hens, and shark finning.
  • In addition to animal welfare laws, HR 3599 could subvert hundreds of state and local measures addressing food safety, food labeling, environmental requirements, child labor, alcohol, fire-safe cigarettes, and more.
  • While King has not yet succeeded in enacting his bill, he did get it added as a House committee amendment to the last Farm Bill, generating tremendous opposition across the spectrum (PDF). Thankfully, the catastrophic provision was left out of the final version of the last Farm Bill, but now King aims to insert it into the new Farm Bill.

“[HR 3599] would preempt vital state agricultural policies designed to protect the safety and well being of our farmland, waterways, forests and most importantly, our constituents…[It] not only violates the tenets of the Tenth Amendment, but would also have significant economic effects across the states.”
– The National Conference of State Legislatures

Download the HR 3599 California Factsheet »

HR 2887

  • Rep. Sensenbrenner’s bill prohibits states from taxing or regulating any activity in interstate commerce by any person (including a corporation) unless that entity is physically present in the state, for example by being there for 15 days or more in a calendar year. It would prevent states from regulating sales within their own borders of any product made in another state, no matter how hazardous the product or unacceptable the production process.
  • It would also prevent states from regulating professions and services within their borders. Short-term visitors would be able to sell otherwise prohibited goods and commit an untold number of otherwise prohibited acts without being subject to state standards or restrictions. This would put citizens at risk across a broad range of concerns and put in-state businesses at a competitive disadvantage with out-of-state operators who are free to evade state requirements.
  • State laws that could be nullified under HR 2887 include agriculture and animal-related laws threatened by the King bill and a multitude of additional laws related to interstate commerce, such as those governing opioid prescriptions, gambling, adult-oriented businesses, gun sales, water rights, price-gouging by car repair shops, and professional licensing requirements.

“This constitutionally questionable legislation would codify a radical federal overreach that would undermine the longstanding constitutional right of states to protect the health, safety, and welfare of their citizens and local businesses, as well as preempt countless laws in all 50 states. In short, this legislation would strip states’ ability to govern.”
– The National Conference of State Legislatures

Circus wins, anti-fur policies lead list of top gains for animals in 2017

by Wayne Pacelle,
December 21, 2017

This was a year of extraordinary gains on a wide set of issues, showing the power and reach of The HSUS, Humane Society International, and our affiliates. But along with it came some terrible setbacks at the federal level – with Congress unwinding federal rulesadopted in 2016 and in January 2017 to protect grizzly bears and wolves on national wildlife refuges in Alaska, loss of federal protections for Yellowstone-area grizzly bears, and with the U.S. Department of Agriculture delaying or dissembling rules on horse soring and farm animal protection (the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices rule).

This was also a year that saw The HSUS announce a major, multi-million-dollar agreement with the New York Blood Center (NYBC) concerning more than 60 chimpanzees formerly used by the NYBC in medical experiments in Liberia. And hundreds of thousands of Americans donated to help animals and people in a series of intensely powerful disasters. Our emergency responders moved more than 2,000 animals from affected areas, and brought lifesaving animal services to animals and the people who care about them in low-income areas. We made short-term and long-term investments in Puerto Rico, with spay and neuter clinics, transporting animals, and rebuilding the animal welfare capacity in the Commonwealth, and delivered tens of thousands of pounds of supplies and food to people and animals in devastated areas.

Ending the era of wild animals in traveling circus acts

In the wake of Ringling Bros. first ending its elephant acts and then shuttering its entire operation in 2017, we’ve helped push the cause of ending wild animal acts in circuses throughout the United States and across the world. Just this week, the Pittsburgh city council banned wild animal acts, just the latest in a long list of communities, including New York City and Los Angeles. In August, Illinois became the first state to ban the use of elephants in circuses, and New York state followed in October. Italy, Scotland, and other nations banned wild animal acts in circuses. The outgoing interior secretary for France’s presidential administration announced a phase-out of the use of cetaceans in marine parks and facilities in that country. While Ringling Bros. is gone, a number of small circuses cart animals around and subject them to inhumane training techniques and grueling travel. In May, The HSUS released an undercover investigation of Ryan Easley’s ShowMe Tigers Act, that revealed the mistreatment of eight tigers. The Oklahoma-based act is contracted out to branded circuses, including Shrine Circuses.

This was a remarkable year for fur-free fashion, with more high-fashion houses and retailers committing to a fur-free future. Photo by iStockphoto

The fur-free movement surges, with Gucci, Michael Kors and others going fur-free in banner year

This was a remarkable year for fur-free fashion, with more high-fashion houses and retailers committing to a fur-free future. This summer, Stein Mart, the U.S.-based department store chain found mostly in the South, VF Corporation, the parent company of more than two dozen popular clothing brands, including The North Face, Vans, Timberland, and Nautica, and Yoox Net-A-Porter, one of the world’s leading online luxury fashion retailers for brands like Burberry, Prada, Gucci, and Michael Kors, announced they will stop selling all items and accessories made with real animal fur. In October, Gucci announced it will go fur-free, followed by an announcement from Burlington Stores that it would remove fur from all of its nearly 600 stores. In mid-December, Michael Kors announced it will phase out all fur products by the end of 2018.

Farm animals gain in the U.S. and globally

After we launched our Nine Billion Lives campaign – calling for a set of minimum standards for the care of broiler chickens that dramatically improve their welfare – more than 70 companies have agreed to phase in purchasing practices consistent with the terms set forth, including Burger King, Sonic, Jack in the Box, and Subway. The HSUS partnered with Compass Group and Aramark—two of the world’s largest food service companies—on the most extensive plant-based work in the industry to date, including chef training and menu development. An HSUS undercover investigation exposed mistreatment at industrial chicken production and slaughtering facilities in Georgia and Texas connected to the factory farm giant Pilgrim’s Pride, the second largest chicken producer in the United States, producing more than a billion chickens a year. In September, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a unanimous ruling reinstating California’s law banning the sale of foie gras. In May, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal by several state attorneys general and governors, including former Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, seeking to overturn California’s landmark egg sales law, AB 1437, which requires eggs sold in the state come from hens not subjected to cruel confinement practices.

Our Humane Society International team worked with corporations around the world to improve conditions for egg-laying hens, from Brazil to Mexico to Colombia and Singapore. After working with HSI, Taco Holding, Mexico’s second largest restaurant operator with more than 550 restaurants across the country, announced that it will go 100 percent cage-free. Seventeen major Brazilian food companies, including JBS, Bunge, Casa do Pão de Queijo, and Sapore also announced cage-free egg policies. HSI also worked with major multinational companies, including Nestlé and Kraft Heinz, two of the world’s largest food manufacturers, to announce global cage-free egg policies, and garnered the first-ever cage-free egg commitments from Colombian, Chilean, and Asian companies. In Brazil, the fourth largest pig processor, Frimesa, committed to eliminating gestation crates, joining the country’s top three producers that have made similar commitments.

In Brazil, the fourth largest pig processor, Frimesa, committed to eliminating gestation crates, joining the country’s top three producers that have made similar commitments. Photo by iStockphoto

Major gains to stop cruelty to dogs, other domesticated animals throughout the world

Our HSI/Mexico team won a major victory this year when Mexico banned dogfighting nationwide and adopted felony-level penalties for dogfighting. Mexico City updated its constitution to recognize animals as sentient beings whose welfare must be protected. In Guatemala, the Congress passed sweeping anti-cruelty legislation, including a dogfighting ban, a prohibition on tail and ear docking of farm animals, and a ban on cosmetic testing on animals. The law creates the first-ever government entity in Central America that will deal specifically with animal cruelty. The Indian government announced sweeping new regulations that are expected to end the suffering of dogs bred indiscriminately and without basic needs like food, water, and shelter; improve conditions for animals sold in livestock markets; and ensure that fish sold in aquariums and fish stores are not caught using destructive fishing practices, or taken from protected areas. Our HSI/India team also succeeded in persuading authorities to ban the import of the skins of exotic animals and furs into the country. Earlier this month, the Nepalese Supreme Court banned all public cullsof street dogs using poisons, beating, and shooting, and directed the Nepalese government to introduce a nationwide humane management plan for homeless animals.

The world starts to show a tilt against trophy hunting

British Columbia’s newly-formed government announced a provincial ban on trophy hunting of grizzly bears, even if the hunters involved claim they eat the meat of the animal. President Trump in a tweet called trophy hunting “a horror show” and stated that decisions by his Fish and Wildlife Service to allow imports of elephant and lion trophies from Zambia and Zimbabwe would be placed on hold. The incoming governor of New Jersey said that there would be no more black bear hunting in New Jersey under his watch, the Connecticut legislature rejected attempts to open a black bear hunting season, and Florida Fish and Game Commissioners blocked bear hunting there for the second year in a row. A federal appeals court upheld California’s right to bar mountain lion trophies coming into the state.

In August, the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit rejected the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to remove Endangered Species Act protection for wolves in the Great Lakes region.

Wildlife trafficking progress

China is in the final stage of shutting down its ivory carving and ivory trade operations throughout the nation, in one of the most extraordinary acts of disassembling a major industry. In the wake of our ballot initiative win in Oregon in 2016 and following the lead of numerous states, Nevada adopted strict new measures against the trade in shark fins, ivory, rhino horns, and other imperiled species. President Trump issued an executive orderstating that it shall be the policy of the executive branch to strengthen enforcement of laws against transnational crime and international trafficking, including wildlife trafficking.

HSUS, federal courts stave off mass wolf killing in northern Great Lakes region

In August, the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit rejected the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to remove Endangered Species Act protection for wolves in the Great Lakes region, affirming the outcome by a U.S. District Court. We estimate that state agencies in Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin would have shot and trapped approximately 1,000 wolves this fall if we hadn’t blocked the delisting of the wolves. We are now in a furious fight to prevent Congress from reversing that decision. The Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act, which amounts to a grab bag of anti-wildlife provisions, including wolf delisting, may see action in Congress. We need every animal advocate to contact their lawmakers and urge them to oppose any effort by Congress to cherry-pick wolves from the endangered species list in order to placate trophy hunters, trappers, and ranchers who want to kill the forebears of our domesticated dogs.

The Indian government announced sweeping new regulations that are expected to end the suffering of dogs bred indiscriminately and without basic needs like food, water, and shelter. Photo by iStockphoto

Puppy mill victories

An HSUS undercover investigation revealed that puppies were being mistreated at Chelsea Kennel Club, a boutique pet store in Manhattan, generating investigations by the New York attorney general’s office and the mayor’s office. Under pressure, the store closed down within two months. California became the first state to ban the sale of puppies in pet stores, unless they come from rescues or shelters. We drove the number of local jurisdictions that ban the sale of puppy mill dogs at pet stores to almost 250. We helped close down a commercial breeding operation in a New Hampshire mansion, saving 84 Great Danes living there in deplorable conditions, and spurring the state to consider a new law to better regulate commercial breeders. The breeder was convicted on 10 counts of animal cruelty in December and was just sentenced and ordered to pay more than $790,000 in restitution to The HSUS and other groups. Through our Puppy Friendly Pet Stores Conversion Program – where we work to change the business models of pet stores to forgo puppy mill sales and instead work with shelters and rescues on in-store adoptions – we’ve converted a total of 21 stores and helped adopt out more than 12,000 dogs. Earlier this year, the Courts of Appeals for the Second and Seventh Circuits upheld laws restricting retail sales of companion animals from puppy mills and other unscrupulous breeders where animals are often raised in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions, leading to health and behavioral problems for the animals, and emotional and financial burdens on consumers.

After 30-year fight, international panel embraces dolphin protection standards for U.S.

Commercial tuna fleets won’t be able to flood the U.S. market with tuna caught by chasing dolphins and setting nets on the air-breathing mammals, after the World Trade Organization (WTO) ruled in October that the United States has not engaged in unfair trade practices with Mexico by placing restrictions on tuna imports. This has been a 30-year fight, and the WTO’s ruling may end an extraordinarily complex and multi-channel battle that has seen the debate move from the marketplace to Congress to the federal courts to the WTO.

Commercial tuna fleets won’t be able to flood the U.S. market with tuna caught by chasing dolphins and setting nets on the air-breathing mammals anymore, following a World Trade Organization ruling in October. Photo by iStockphoto

Progress on the End Dog Meat campaign

HSI continued its End Dog Meat campaign in Asia, particularly in China and Korea. The Yulin dog meat festival in China was conducted with much less fanfare this year than in past years, as HSI continued to keep the world’s eyes on this cruel spectacle, and work with local authorities to end it. Working on a tip from activists just two days before the “official” start of the festival, authorities seized a truck transporting more than 1,300 dogs and 100 cats to a dog meat market and turned them over to activists. In 2017, HSI China helped more than 3,000 dogs rescued from the meat trade and other abusive situations. In South Korea, HSI continued to close down dog meat farms, with 10 such farms closed so far. To date, 1,222 dogs have been rescued with many brought to the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada for a chance at a better life. HSI and its partners launched a campaign in Indonesia to end the dog meat trade there. Taiwan banned the sale of dog and cat meat.

Some Good News and Some Victories for Animals in 2017!
An Animal Rights Article from


THANK YOU for every single thing you did to make a difference for animals in 2017!

We know there are many more victories and many more good news items for animals in 2017 and we know there are LOTS of opinions of what “victory” or “good news” mean. If you have articles/stories to share, email us!

These are good news/victories on our 2017 weekly eNewsletters. [Subscribe here.]


Return to Animal Rights Articles
See past issues of weekly Newsletters
Go here to subscribe!