It’s easy to feel defeated by the abundant animal cruelty in this world. It’s human nature to dwell on the negative and share only the heartbreaking stories and photos, but over time this tends to make us feel hopeless and dispassionate. To stay inspired, optimistic, and committed, it’s important to acknowledge and celebrate the victories! I hope these recent wins fill you with a renewed sense of energy and hope:
#1: Norway Announces a Ban on Fur Farms!
On January 14, 2018, the Norwegian government pledged to shut down all fur farms by 2025. Norway currently has between 250-300 active fur farms, where hundreds of thousands of mink and foxes are raised in horrific conditions and slaughtered by electrocution or gassing (these methods prevent blood from ruining the pelts). While it’s upsetting to imagine these conditions remaining for another seven years, it’s worth noting that this kind of substantial legislation typically can’t be passed without a phaseout period that allows business owners to transition to other industries. Activists hope that many of these fur farms will begin shutting down prior to the deadline, given that they know their business model is ultimately doomed. This news makes Norway the 14th European nation to ban inherently cruel fur farms, adding pressure to the remaining nations that are still reluctant to abandon this violent industry.
#2: Nosey the Elephant arrives at The Elephant Sanctuary!
Nosey the elephant, often referred to as, “the saddest elephant in the world,” had been living in cruel, exploitative conditions for decades before recently being confiscated by animal control. Often chained so tightly she could barely move, Nosey received inadequate veterinary care and insufficient food. Her abusers (who have racked up 200+ animal cruelty violations over the years), routinely used bullhooks and electric prods to force her to perform in circuses and give rides to children. For Nosey, who was stolen from her mother in the wild at 2-years-old, life was miserable and lonely. In December 2017, she was finally taken from her abusers after they left her chained to a trailer for days without adequate shelter. She was immediately transported to The Elephant Sanctuary, where she was given love, medical attention, and the freedom to explore her (relatively) natural habitat until the courts determined her fate. Nosey’s supporters nervously awaited her owners’ final trial, but on January 22, 2018, a judge determined that Nosey will live permanently at the sanctuary!! Follow The Elephant Sanctuary for updates on Nosey’s well-deserved retirement.
#3: Poulsbo, Washington becomes the 250th U.S. locality to ban the sale of (non-rescued) dogs & cats!
Adding one more blow to the heartbreaking puppy mill industry, the Poulsbo City Council recently passed an ordinance forbidding pet stores from selling puppies and kittens unless the animals are being presented in cooperation with a shelter or rescue organization. Poulsbo is now the 3rd city in Kitsap County to embrace this lifesaving legislation. It’s not uncommon for well-intentioned animal lovers to buy puppies and kittens from pet stores, thinking they are “rescuing” that animal from unhealthy conditions; unfortunately, this action just sends more money to those who profit from mass production of pets, allowing the cycle of abuse to continue. With bans in place, these same animal lovers can instead visit their local shelter or rescue group to adopt an animal, an action that truly saves lives.
#4: Vegan Advocacy Documentary “The Game Changers” Debuts at the Sundance Film Festival!
This news is as good for me as it is for animals, because I’ve been looking forward to this film for years! The Game Changers, a new documentary film produced by James Cameron (Titanic, Avatar) and directed by Louis Psihoyos (The Cove), aims to challenge the myth that humans need to eat animals in order to be strong and healthy. Featuring interviews with plant-based Olympic athletes, NFL players, professional bodybuilders, sports doctors, and even Arnold Schwarzenegger, the film also combats the outdated notion that eating meat makes one more masculine. The Game Changers received multiple standing ovations at Sundance and even earned a very positive review from Vogue, and it’s only just getting started!
#5: Switzerland Bans Boiling Lobsters Alive!
Following in the footsteps of Italy and New Zealand, the Swiss government has banned the cruel practice of boiling lobsters alive while they are fully conscious. According to Time Magazine, the new law demands that, “lobsters must be stunned before they are cooked and kept in a natural environment rather than on ice or in ice water.” This may seem like a small step, but given that billions of crustaceans are eaten by humans every year, any step towards more humane treatment has a big impact. Additionally, it’s likely that the new required welfare steps will make lobster harvesting more expensive, thus leading to a decrease in consumption. Given that commercial fishing is responsible for accidentally killing millions of non-target marine animals (“by catch”) every year, any reduction is beneficial.
I hope these stories give you some encouragement and optimism to help start your week with a renewed sense of passion! If I missed any victories, feel free to let me know in the comments!
Other animal welfare stories to keep an eye on: