Archive for the ‘Humane Society International’ Tag

Europeans Suspend Horsemeat Imports From Mexico – Deal Huge Blow to North American Slaughter Operations   1 comment

From:  The Humane Society of the United States

Dec 8, 2014 by Wayne Pacelle

The horse slaughter industry has been dealt the biggest blow since The HSUS led the fight in Congress, the states, and federal courts to shut down the three operating horse slaughter plants in the United States in 2007. Today’s game-changing news: the European Commission has suspended the import of horsemeat from Mexico to the European Union (EU) due to food safety concerns.

Mexico accepts tens of thousands of American horses for slaughter and shipment to Europe. Photo: The HSUS

HSI EU executive director Jo Swabe and I have personally appealed to senior EU regulatory leaders multiple times on this issue. I have long wondered how the Europeans could tolerate the rampant abuse and drugging of horses endemic to the North American trade, given their rigorous adherence to humane food safety standards for other species. The regulatory correction to the situation in Mexico has now finally occurred.

The suspension follows a series of audits by the Commission’s Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) – the most recent one was published last week. The audit is a shocking account of significant animal welfare concerns that riddle the entire horse slaughter pipeline, from the United States to Mexico. The audit also details serious concerns about the traceability of horses slaughtered in EU-certified equine slaughterhouses in Mexico; 87 percent of these animals originate from the United States.

The Commission’s decision reflects exactly what The HSUS and HSI have been saying for years – there are serious food safety issues regarding horsemeat that originates from U.S. horses because they are not raised as food animals. Horses are our companions and partners in work and sport. As a result, horses are commonly treated with drugs such as phenylbutazone and other substances long deemed unfit for human consumption. And, as the audit shows, American horses lack lifetime medical records and do not meet EU food safety regulations.

While the audit focused on food safety, it also documented appalling suffering in the United States and Mexico. It details downed, sick horses slaughtered for human consumption despite being ill, horses suffering in export facilities on U.S. soil, and horrific welfare problems during transport. The audit confirms the cruelty of the horse slaughter pipeline that The HSUS has repeatedly exposed through undercover footage. The FVO even acknowledges that the information received from groups such as The HSUS and HSI accurately depicts the extremely poor conditions in which horses are transported. Special thanks to Animals Angels for its tireless work to document this trade.

The predatory horse slaughter industry is singularly concerned with making a buck, by snatching up young and healthy horses at auction, often outbidding legitimate horse owners and rescues. For these interests, it’s never been about euthanizing old, sick horses – that’s been a fiction since the start of this debate. This lust for profit is precisely why the industry and its legions of lobbyists have fought so hard to block federal legislation that would end horse slaughter.

We’ve long argued that Congress should enact the SAFE Act (Safeguard American Food Exports Act), to halt the transport of horses for slaughter within the United States and also to our North American neighbors. With Congress last year defunding slaughter in the United States, and the EU’s action to shut down imports from Mexico, there really is no rationale for not banning this trade.

The people of the United States do not see horses as a source of food, and despite all the scrutiny and pressure coming to bear on the horse slaughter industry, it has shown itself to be consistently reckless, unsafe, and inhumane. There’s no redeeming it, and the details documented in the European Commission announcement make that plain.

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Ask your legislators to help protect our nation’s horses through the SAFE Act.

 

Black rhino horns and elephant tusks for auction: activists outraged   1 comment

From:  The Sydney Morning Herald – New South Wales

 

By  Esther Han

 

A rhinoceros in the wild.

 

A rhinoceros in the wild. Photo: Greg Newington/AFR

WARNING: Some readers may find picture below disturbing

Conservation groups have joined forces to stop the auction of black rhinoceros horns and elephant tusks in Sydney on Friday, saying the sales will increase demand and consequently poaching, which is decimating the species.

Auction house Lawsons, based in Leichhardt, expects the bidding war for the black rhino horns to hit $70,000; the pair of unmounted African elephant tusks to reach $70,000, and the embellished elephant tusks with a gong  to reach $16,000.

A white rhinoceros killed by poachers for its horns in 2012.

A white rhinoceros killed by poachers for its horns in 2012. Photo: Humane Society International

Humane Society International (HSI), with backing from the International Fund for Animal Welfare and Greenpeace, is demanding Lawsons pull the items from auction and change its policies to prevent similar items from surfacing in the future.

“The pressure on the remaining wildlife populations of rhino in Africa, India and [south east] Asia is such that all efforts must be made to stop rhino horn being trafficked,” wrote Alexia Wellbelove, senior program manager at HSI, in a letter to Martin Farrah, managing director at Lawsons.

“Even the export of one antique horn from Australia onto south-east Asia markets further promotes and encourages trade, perpetuating this devastating cycle of killing.”

 

A pair of elephant ivory tusks expected to fetch up to $70,000 at an auction on Friday

A pair of elephant ivory tusks expected to fetch up to $70,000 at an auction on Friday Photo: Lawsons Auctioneers

Ms Wellbelove said two letters expressing concern were ignored, and in a follow-up phone call last week Mr Farrah told her: “We have nothing else to say.”

The world rhino population has dropped from 500,000 at the start of the 20th century to just 29,000 because of poaching, according to the Save the Rhino organisation based in London.

The price of rhino horns has skyrocketed in the past decade because of rising demand from Chinese and Vietnamese people who believe it can cure cancer and be used as an aphrodisiac.

In March, Lawsons sold a pair of rhino horns mounted on a wooden plinth for $92,500 – a figure that shocked antique and auction experts across the country.

Simon Hill, general manager of Lawsons, said the black rhino horns belonged to a Cairns woman who inherited them from her father who migrated from Africa to Australia in 1950.

He said the auction house has contacted the federal environment department to obtain approval for Friday’s sale of the 4.6 kilogram rhino horns set and elephant tusks.

Under Australian law, the import and export of rhino horns dated from 1950 is banned and, since July, anyone wishing to export vintage rhino horns must conclusively prove its age through radiocarbon dating.

A department spokesman confirmed to Fairfax Media that investigators had assessed the specimens and were satisfied of their lawful origins. The department granted approval for the domestic sale of the three items only.

Mr Hill said it was only the third time since 1999 that he had seen rhino horns up for auction at Lawsons.

“I understand [the conservationists’] concerns and we have them equally. We take it very, very seriously and that’s why we go through the relevant bodies to make sure we’re doing the right thing,” he said.

“I would not know if there is any direct correlation of the selling of antique items and increasing in poaching. If there was, I’d love to see the hard data on it.”

So far this year, 969 rhinos have been poached in South Africa, according Save the Rhino. It claims poaching is “dramatically increasing”.

The Western black rhino was declared extinct by the International Union for Conservation of Nature in 2011. All five remaining species are listed on its threatened species Redlist, with three classified as critically endangered.

“Elephant populations are also in big trouble in Africa and elsewhere. By continuing to sell elephant ivory, we’re continuing to create demand and therefore increase poaching the populations can’t sustain,” Ms Wellbelove from HSI said.

On Tuesday, Greenpeace rallied its 400,000 supporters via email, urging them to contact Mr Farrah to demand he pull the horns and ivory from Friday’s Natural History, Taxidermy and Science auction and change Lawsons’ policies.

An International Fund for Animal Welfare report released this year revealed the number of products derived from endangered animals offered for sale on Australian websites has more than doubled since 2008.

A pair of black rhinoceros horns expected to fetch $70,000 at Lawsons auction on Friday.

A pair of black rhinoceros horns expected to fetch $70,000 at Lawsons auction on Friday. Photo: Lawsons Auctioneers

English: A Black Rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis)...

English: A Black Rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) in Tanzania Deutsch: Spitzmaulnashorn (Diceros bicornis) in Tanzania Français : Rhinocéros noir Nederlands: Zwarte neushoorn (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Male Diceros bicornis (Black rhinoceros or Hoo...

Male Diceros bicornis (Black rhinoceros or Hook-lipped rhinoceros) at the Saint Louis Zoological Park in Missouri Français : Rhinocéros noir (Diceros bicornis) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rhino horn declining in demand   1 comment

 

 

A story published by The Guardian states that rhino horn is in less demand. This news comes at a time when rhinos have reached the ‘tipping point’ – when rhino numbers are declining from poaching faster than rhino are reproducing.

“A poll conducted by Nielsen for the Humane Society International (HSI) and the Vietnam Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites) found that Rhino horn demand in Vietnam dropped by more than a third in one year.”

 

Efforts to curb trade in rhino horn appear to be gaining traction

A year long public information campaign to try to deter people from buying and consuming rhino horn was conducted in Vietnam, a key market for the trade of rhino horn.

The public information campaign, done through business, university, school and women’s groups in Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital, focused on dispelling the myth that rhino horn has medicinal value.

Following the campaign, only 2.6% of people in Vietnam now continue to buy and use rhino horn, a decrease of 38%, the report stated.

And there has been a 25% decrease in the number of people who think rhino horn, which is made of the same material as fingernails and hair, has medicinal value. However, 38% of Vietnamese still think it can treat diseases such as cancer and rheumatism.

 

One Person Can Make a Difference

One woman, an Australian named Lynn Johnson, raised money to launch a series of advertisements in Vietnam that warn people rhino horn is harmful to them and is a bad choice as a status symbol.

Advertisements have appeared on buses and billboards, and an HSI book called I’m a Little Rhino has been distributed in schools.

Ms. Johnson is a business woman with no prior experience in conservation efforts. To that I say, well done. 

“The messaging has gone up significantly in Vietnam over the past year which is fantastic,” Ms. Johnson said. “Our campaign targets the users directly but overall the amount of information aimed at Vietnamese has increased markedly.”

Although there are a lot of questions still to be answered in how this data was obtained – for instance, how many people did they poll to come up with these statistics?; has the supply side of the poaching chain slowed down yet? – it’s a hopeful sign that in a  short period of time, through education, a focused campaign in the right areas, and the help of individuals like you and me, public perception can be changed.

Behavior then usually follows.

Yes, it appears things are finally heading in the right direction, but this doesn’t mean we can not afford to stop anti-poaching efforts. If anything, these findings only confirm that our efforts are working and that maybe there is a chance to halt demand for rhino horn and save the African Rhino after all.

Read more: http://africainside.org/2014/07/21/beverly-derek-joubert-african-rhinos/

SIGN UP TO AFRICAINSIDE.ORG

 

Vietnam gets tough on illegal cross-border dog trading   1 comment

Reblogged from AnimalsAsia:

13 February 2014

Dogs trafficked in Vietnam

Vietnam’s Department of Animal Health has issued a directive ordering provincial authorities to crack down on the illegal trafficking of dogs for human consumption as rabies concerns rise. The action will help put an end to the cruel and inhumane dog meat trade in this region.

The move follows a ground-breaking meeting in Hanoi last August, when members of the Asia Canine Protection Alliance met with the authorities of Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia and Laos agreed to consider a five-year moratorium on the commercial transport of dogs from one country to another. ACPA is made up of Change For Animals FoundationHumane Society International, Animals Asia and Soi Dog Foundation.

The DAH directive specifically instructs DAH sub departments to strengthen the inspection and prevention of illegal import, transport and trade of animals or animal products. The government has also instructed the DAH to work with international organisations to raise awareness about the dangers of consuming dog meat, and the illegality of much of the cross border trade.

Tuan Bendixsen, Vietnam director for Animals Asia said:

“The dog meat trade has long been characterised by cruelty and corruption. Companion animals and strays are snatched and crammed into cages to be transported long distances. Their proximity and lack of care means diseases are rife. They are dangerous to those who choose to eat them and dangerous to anyone who comes into contact with them. Vietnam has long been the destination for trafficked dogs, from surrounding countries – if governments are serious about stopping trafficking then the corrupt and unregulated dog industry is the obvious place to start.”

Kelly O’Meara, director of companion animals and engagement with Humane Society International stated:

“This new directive is a big step in ending this cruel and illegal trade of dogs over international borders. ACPA intends to assist the Vietnam government to insure this new directive is implemented to its fullest, preventing the intense suffering of thousands of dogs and the further spread of rabies”.

“Given the dog meat trade involves the only current mass movement of known or suspected rabies-infected dogs, there is a strong argument to stop the cycle of infection by banning this trade entirely,” continues Lola Webber, Programmes Leader for Change For Animals Foundation.

While the unregulated trade of dogs into Vietnam has been illegal since 2009, limited resources have meant the law is often unenforced and has remained, until now, a low priority. It is estimated that up to 5 million dogs are slaughtered in Vietnam every year for human consumption. All countries in the region have already banned the transport of dogs without evidence of rabies vaccinations, health certificates, export licenses and proof of origin.

“The Government of Vietnam is to be applauded for taking this initiative, and we hope other countries in the region will follow this lead. Many people cite culture in defence of the trade, but rabies and cholera and other diseases associated with it are no respecters of culture”, explains John Dalley, Vice President of Soi Dog Foundation.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations has pledged to wipe out rabies in the region by 2020. Rabies is responsible for the deaths of up to 29,000 people in Asia every year. Rabies cannot be eliminated from the region without provincial authorities stopping illegal dog trafficking.

APCA

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