Thanks to animal advocates and their supporters, 2015 has brought significant animal advocacy wins for companion animals, wildlife, and farmed animals. Even though many changes are needed before humans do right by animals,  we have made important gains. It is good to celebrate steps in the direction of compassion and right action.

Speaking for animals who cannot speak for themselves, we say thank you to animal advocates.  You signed petitions, donated, wrote  letters, attended rallies, rescued, adopted, cross-posted and so much more. Please keep the pressure on. Legislators and food industries do listen, especially when our voices are many and we vote with our wallets.

Now for the animal advocacy wins.

Illegal Wildlife Poaching

2015 animal advocacy winsSenator Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Senator Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) introduced a bipartisan bill in December of 2015 aimed at combating wildlife trafficking through a “whole of government” approach to tackling this 8-10 billion dollar criminal industry. The END Wildlife Trafficking Act complements the recent introduction of a similar bill, the Global Anti-Poaching Act, in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The bill sends a clear message that the U.S. government is serious about putting an end to poaching and the illegal trade in wildlife parts and that this is more than a  conservation community issue.  The END Wildlife Trafficking Act is supported by the African Wildlife Foundation, the Humane Society of the United States, TRAFFIC, Tsavo Conservation Group, the Wildlife Conservation Society, and the World Wildlife Fund.

Find below more information about the END Wildlife Trafficking Act from a press release distributed by the office of Senator Chris Coons:

U.S. Senators work to end wildlife trafficking

In addition, the sixth Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), held Dec. 4–5, marked the first time the illegal ivory trade was featured on the forum’s agenda. After the public outcry and multiple petitions following the killing of Cecil the Lion, over 40 airlines have banned the shipping of wildlife trophies on their carriers.

Landmark Washington State Wolf Case

In response to a challenge brought by a coalition of animal advocates and conservation organizations, a federal court rejected plans to escalate wolf killing in Washington state by the secretive federal program dubbed “Wildlife Services”. This secretive agency violates state and federal laws and has been responsible for the yearly killing of millions of wild animals using incredibly cruel tools such as aerial gunning, leg-hold traps, snares and poisons. The judge ordered plan authorized activities to cease immediately and a new full-blown analysis of environmental impacts to be conducted. Read more here.

Habitat Protected

Defenders of Wildlife and their animal advocate allies successfully lobbied hard to protect 9.3 million acres of old growth rainforest in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest, home to a variety of species from salmon to wolves, from new road building and logging.  The fight is not over, but for now and for months to come, most of the Tongass will be spared from the devastating effects of road-building and unsustainable logging.

These groups also worked successfully to halt the reinstatement of relocation programs for sea otters from their habitat (to please fishermen). Read more about Defenders of Wildlife and their 2015 animal advocacy wins here.

Victories for Farm and Laboratory Animals

We have a long way to go in creating humane conditions for farm animals and ending the horrors of laboratory life, yet every animal advocacy victory is a celebration for those whose lives are made better.

The Humane Society of the United States reported that 2015  was their highest impact year ever with 2.3 million messages sent to decision makers.Your petitions, donations, letters and phone calls to policy makers pays off. Their wins include:

  • The biggest names in the food industry — like Walmart, McDonald’s, Starbucks, Kellogg and Panera — are no longer going to confine or cage animals in their supply chain. Taco Bell is leading the pack with a commitment to 100% cage free by the end of 2016.
  • All chimpanzees are now listed as endangered under U.S. law, effectively ending invasive experiments on chimpanzees in this country.
  • Ringling Bros. committed to ending its use of elephants in circuses.
  • The European Union closed its border to products of the commercial Canadian seal slaughter, and the number of seals killed was reduced by 90 percent.

Thanks to a yearlong PETA campaign and a petition by the ForceChange community,the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have put an end to distressing psychological experiments inflicted on infant Rhesus monkeys. For the last 30 years, these babies were taken from their mothers at birth and purposely traumatized to study anxiety and depression.The researcher who led these appalling tests will no longer experiment on animals and his laboratory is being closed down.

The ASPCA and its supporters successfully:

  • lobbied the U.S. Sentencing Commission to address stricter sentencing guidelines in federal animal fighting cases
  • lobbied Congress on behalf of farm animals at the horrific Meat Animal Research Center. Result: 57 million dollars is being withheld from the USDA’s budget until they prove compliance with the Animal Welfare Act
  • banned the worst puppy mill brokers and breeders from selling in NYC and New Jersey
  • and more. 

Animal advocates helped Mercy For Animals expose cruelty, convict animal abusers, end cruel factory farming practices, and change the way major corporations treat farmed animals. Also, people are making more compassionate choices and moving toward vegan eating.

Other Animal Advocacy Wins

The FBI will begin tracking incidents of certain types of animal abuse, including sexual and organized abuse, in 2016, which will be reported to the public in 2017. This comes at the urging of the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) and the National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA). Violence against animals as an early indicator of violence against humans. It is estimated by the ASPCA that 90% of studied physical abuse of children was preceded or concurrent with animal cruelty.

Hopefully, this will make potential abusers think twice and lead to stiffer penalties for animal abusers.

Do you click to give? Greater Good reports that more than 76.6 million bowls of pet food were supplied to shelters and rescues from clicks and purchases on the animal rescue site. Over 6 billion square feet (143,649 acres) of vital rain forest and habitat lands were protected through the rainforest site. Your daily clicks really add up for good!

Click to give here. It’s free!

Many petitions circulated asking for stiff penalties for  abusers and better conditions for animals, I do know that at least a few of them made an impact. So keep signing on behalf of animals. It only takes a minute.

Without your support of these hard-working, devoted advocacy groups, you can be sure we would be not be celebrating these animal advocacy wins today. You can also be sure that many special interest groups fight against these wins for wildlife and other animals. Your voice for the voiceless is vital. Thank you!

Do you belong to/support animal advocates or rescue organizations? Tell us about it and your successes and challenges in the comments below.

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2015 Animal Advocacy Wins
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18 thoughts on “2015 Animal Advocacy Wins

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    • January 14, 2016 at 9:37 am

      You’re welcome Robbi. There is so much awfulness all the time that I think it’s good to once in a while look at what we are beginning to make right.

  • January 14, 2016 at 7:44 am

    This was a great round up and gives me hope for the human race. Thanks for sharing!

  • January 14, 2016 at 5:29 pm

    I am so happy that some changes have been made especially in animal testing. Chimp Haven is just outside of our city and it is a “retirement” facility for chimpanzees that have spent their lives in testing facilities. I wish it would be banned completely. Thank you for the positive information.

    • January 14, 2016 at 6:09 pm

      That is my hope as well. Let’s keep the pressure on and make it happen sooner rather than later.

  • January 14, 2016 at 7:25 pm

    2015 was quite a year. Here’s hoping that we can make a greater impact in 2016!

    • January 14, 2016 at 7:39 pm

      Amen to that!

    • January 14, 2016 at 7:50 pm

      I’ve already started collecting positive news coming in for 2016!

  • January 14, 2016 at 8:31 pm

    A fabulous round up of all the great work in animal advocacy – and here is to the coming year!

  • January 15, 2016 at 2:00 am

    Val thank you SO much for publishing this report, it’s so uplifting and motivating. I know we have a very long way to go still, but these are amazing accomplishments! Using animals in labs is one of the things that distressed me the most, I’m all about being cruelty free these days. Thanks for placing a spotlight on these accomplishments and on the big companies that have elected not to support caged animals and other cruelties.
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

    • January 15, 2016 at 7:33 am

      Thanks Cathy. Are you aware of the beagle freedom project? They are working hard to get beagles out of labs. Can you imagine choosing a breed to exploit and torture like that because of their sweetness?

  • January 15, 2016 at 2:25 am

    This was so refreshing! There are so many more initiatives happening that I wasn’t aware of — thank you for posting this. I was so happy to see Ringling Brothers finally ban using elephants.

    • January 15, 2016 at 7:31 am

      Yes, me too. I felt a little guilty, having taken such delight in the elephant acts as a child. Of course, I had no idea how they were treated or even if it was ethically right to be using them even if they were. Now the question is whether Ringling Brothers will allow them to go to a sanctuary willing and ready to take them, or whether they will take them to their retirement facility, where they are not treated well and may be further exploited. So the fight isn’t totally over yet.

  • January 15, 2016 at 9:10 am

    what an uplifting round up to start the year. We are all learning a lot about the ethical treatment of animals. I’ll share with my business partner (she co-produced the animal rights doc “Ghosts in Our Machine” and my daughter who is an activist – she will be happy to hear these and is fighting for marine mammals)

  • January 15, 2016 at 6:08 pm

    Wow – I’ll certainly check out the film. I can imagine what it shows. Horrible what we do to animals. Appreciate your daughter fighting for marine mammals. I just got the ocean conservancy update, so that will go in for next year!


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