One of my favorite articles to write is the yearly animal welfare wins by national and international non-profits. I collect and save incoming reports throughout the year. I hope you enjoy reading about some of these highlights as much as I enjoy sharing them with you.
Why I Share Animal Welfare Wins
There is much to do to make the world a better place for animals and people. Sometimes it feels like we are fighting a losing battle. Or that our efforts amount to little or nothing. While it is true that we have a steep hill to climb, significant gains are being made. Certainly more than if we did nothing. Reviewing a yearly list of victories, however big or small, shows that good things happen when people work together. It inspires me, and I hope you, to continue your efforts.
I also think it’s important to be mindful of the fact that these victories are hard-won. They often take years, many hours of conversation, petitioning, planning and legal work, and lots of money to secure. The people on the front lines often witness terrible things and have to press on against powers seemingly stronger than theirs. How they do it day after day is a testimony to their dedication. Yet without your support they could do little or nothing. By donating, clicking to give, signing petitions, and calling your legislators you keep “boots on the ground” and send a loud message to businesses and lawmakers who rely on your shopping dollars and votes.
Showing appreciation and gratitude is another reason I compile this list. Thank you for being a voice for the voiceless and a force for good in the world. Thank you advocates in these and other devoted groups around the world. And thank you legislators and business people who embrace these changes. Together we are making the world a better place for animals and people, too.
Animal Welfare Wins Highlights
Note: although a victory is listed under a particular organization it does not necessarily mean they are solely responsible for that success. For major projects and legislative initiatives, several groups may work together or separately on the same issue. I have only listed it once. I’m also happy to tell you that there are more wins than what are listed below.
Greater Good.org thanks you for making the following possible:
- Your clicks-to-give, purchases, and donations helped the Rescue Bank deliver 55 million free meals and 820 tons of cat litter to animals in shelters and rescues throughout the U.S.
- Your donations also helped human and animal flood, hurricane and fire victims.
- A major 2016 GG fundraiser was for the flight of 33 long-time circus lions to the 12-thousand acre Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary in South Africa. Nine of the lions traveled from Colombia where they were joined by the other 24 in Lima, Peru. All arrived safely and are enjoying their new freedom.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) thank you for helping them secure the following animal welfare wins:
- Paul White Chevrolet stopped using an ad featuring Popi the orangutan. Popi’s former owner forced her into the entertainment industry. He viciously beat her and confined her to a tiny, windowless locker for nearly two decades. Over 24,000 of you e-mailed the company.
- Church in the Son in Orlando, Florida vowed never to use live animals in future sermons. Footage of an obviously distressed caged lion being used as a prop in a recent sermon caused quite an uproar when it went viral. Over 35,000 of you e-mailed the church and hundreds of you posted to its social media pages.
- The governor of Rhode Island signed legislation banning the use of bullhooks, a weapon designed to inflict pain and used to punish and control elephants. Almost 4,000 of you e-mailed the governor in behalf of elephants, bringing about this groundbreaking victory!
- Minor League Baseball (MiLB) issued a statement speaking out against monkey rodeos. Terrified capuchin monkeys are tied to the backs of dogs who “race” around a track, reaching speeds of up to 30 mph. Over 18,500 of you contacted MiLB management.
- After intensive campaigning by PETA and thousands of Street Teamers who sent e-mails to Amazon about its partnership with Air Transport Services Group (ATSG), ATSG has agreed to stop transporting monkeys to laboratories. Together we have persuaded nearly every major airline in the world to stop this transport. Air France is now the last carrier continuing this cruel business.
- The Kots Kaal Pato festival in Mexico has been banned. Iguanas and opossums are spared the horrific abuse of being stuffed alive into piñatas, bashed with rods, and trampled by frantic crowds. Ducks are spared from being hung upside down while festivalgoers attempt to tear off their heads.
Watch how PETA’s Animal Rahat (India) makes life better for animals every day.
The Humane Society of the United States thanks advocates like you for helping to pass national legislation as well as 194 state and local measures to protect animals and to defeat 60 harmful ones.
- Massachusetts banned the sale of eggs, pork and veal from caged animals. 78 percent of voters decided in favor of better treatment for farm animals, sending a strong message to the agriculture industry that the days of extreme confinement are coming to an end.
- In Oklahoma, the deceptive “right to farm” measure was crushed by more than 60 percent of voters. State Question 777 would have prevented local communities from passing laws to protect clean water and public health. It was so broadly worded that it could have prevented restrictions on any “agricultural” practice, including puppy mills, horse slaughter and raising gamefowl for cockfighting.
- In Oregon, 70 percent of voters passed a ballot measure to combat wildlife trafficking, restricting the interstate trade of ivory, rhino horn and the parts of 10 other species. Similar bans on at least some of these products have passed in California, Hawaii, New Jersey, New York and Washington.
- Sea World is ending their orca breeding program.
- Governor Cuomo of New York signed into law a bill requiring state-funded institutions to give dogs and cats used in biomedical research and testing a chance at adoption into forever homes.
- Congress passed wildlife trafficking legislation.
- President Obama signed a bill to greatly reduce animal testing. In a huge victory for elephants, the Obama Administration also enacted regulations that amount to a near-total ban on our country’s commercial ivory trade.
The Center for Biological Diversity, the International Fund for
Animal Welfare and Born Free USA thank you for signing a petition urging a ban on all imports and sales of pangolins in the U.S.
At the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES),countries around the world voted to ban international trade of pangolins, the worlds most trafficked animal. One million pangolins have been removed from the wild in the last decade.
This ban is a huge step toward saving pangolins from extinction but domestic measures still need to be put in place and pangolin trade must be banned in the U.S.
World Wildlife Federation installed a new thermal infrared camera that locates poachers from afar by their body heat.
Rangers can now track them down—even in the dead of night. More than two dozen poachers in the Maasai Mara have been arrested and two poachers were apprehended at another national park in Kenya.
Their work advocating for zero tiger poaching with governments, law enforcement, and local communities across Asia has stopped the decline of tiger populations. For the first time in 100 years the population is growing. They also use the latest technology to protect and connect vulnerable tiger habitat.
WildEarth Guardians won a groundbreaking settlement agreement in federal court against Wildlife Services, a federal wildlife killing service.
In 2015, WS killed over 1.6 native animals (including the unintended deaths of endangered species, non-targeted species and pets) by aerial gunning, poisoning and trapping. A new environmental analysis is required in Nevada and updates are mandated across the country. Until the analysis is complete and taxpayers can weigh in, all killing activities will cease in over six million acres of designated public lands in Nevada’s Wilderness and Wilderness Study Areas.
Defenders of Wildlife reports several animal welfare wins.
They helped win back federal protection for Wyoming’s gray wolves after they were prematurely delisted from the endangered status. This protections saves them from the state’s kill on sight practice. See more in the following video.
Ocean Conservancy celebrated a huge victory for our oceans.
Thanks to your support, Congress backed a bill banning the use of microbeads in personal care products and President Obama signed it into law. The beads are too small to be filtered out by water treatment plants, so they flow from our sinks to the ocean and into the mouths and gills of sea creatures worldwide. They will be phased out entirely by July 1, 2017.
Along with other organizations, Oceana spearheaded two successful campaigns to stop deep sea trawling bans in the Straits of Sicily and in northeast Atlantic waters. This protects fragile ecosystems and habitats in an area larger than the entire European Union.
Mercy for Animals reported that Perdue Foods has made a precedent -setting commitment to improve animal welfare.
This victory followed a disturbing MFA undercover investigation and extensive negotiations with Mercy For Animals, Compassion in World Farming, and The Humane Society of the United States. Nearly 182,000 consumers signed their Change.org petition urging Perdue to adopt more stringent animal welfare standards. Perdue’s new policy will reduce the suffering of 680 million birds on 2,200 farms every year.
View more of there successes here.
World Animal Protection announced that they are working together with Panera Bread to make life better for chickens destined for their cafes.
Improvements include slower-growing chicken breeds, more space for birds, improved living conditions with natural lighting and enrichments. They are calling on other brands to do the same.
How You Can Help in 2017
Thank you for making past animal welfare wins possible. There is much to do in 2017 and beyond.
Learn how to be an effective animal advocate (works for people too).
Helping animals does not have to take a lot of time or effort. Learn my 5-minute daily routine and more in the free Be a Hero ecourse. You get 7 short video tutorials and a pdf showing you many ways to help animals right from home in minutes a day for little or no money.