2015 has been an incredible year for animal rights with more people than ever before coming together to make a difference to the lives of animals all over the world.
As the year comes to an end we want to celebrate all the success stories and get inspired to make 2016 even bigger and better!
The Gahimai Festival in Nepal was responsible for the slaughtering of an estimated 200,000 animals every five years but not anymore. Motilal Prasad, secretary of the Gadhimai Temple Trust, who organizes the event, announced that they will completely stop the practice of animal sacrifice saying, “I realized that animals are so much like us – they have the same organs as us … and feel the same pain we do.”
Following an undercover investigation into an illegal slaughterhouse in Florida, more than 9,000 animals were rescued from the most unimaginable pain and suffering. The slaughterhouse had been operating in secret killing around 300 animals a day using the most torturous methods but thanks to Animal Recovery Mission the animals are now safe in sanctuaries across the US and the perpetrators have been arrested for animal cruelty.
The animal agriculture industry have invested billions of dollars into banning undercover surveillance inside factory farms after a 2012 expose into one of Idaho’s dairy farms documented workers beating, kicking and shocking cows, and dragging them with chains attached to their necks. They rallied legislators to pass a law making it a crime to film inside agricultural facilities, but this year a judge overturned the ban stating that it violated the constitutional right to free speech, delivering a significant victory to animal rights activists.
For years the FBI have been filing animal abuse under the label “other” making cruelty hard to find and hard to track. Now animal cruelty has become a Group A felony with its own category, in the same way homicides, arson and assault are listed. This victory means more convictions for animal abusers and stronger sentencing, as well as allowing police and counselors to work with children who show early signs of trouble.
After relentless campaigning from PETA, Inditex, the world’s largest clothing retailer, agreed to ban angora products permanently and donate all its remaining stock to Syrian refugees, rather than profiting from the garments. The multinational company, which owns Zara, is sending over $900,000 of brand new angora coats, sweaters and other products to refugees in Lebanon.
The National Institute of Heath (INH) announced that they will be retiring the last 50 research chimpanzees after Care2 member, Brittany E.G. started a petition which received more than 21,000 signatures. After years of medical testing the chimps will now get to live out the rest of their lives in a sanctuary where they will be able to lie about in the sunshine, forage for food, and climb trees just like chimps should.
In October of this year, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that the consumption of processed meats such as hot dogs, sausages, hams, and meat based sauces have been proven to cause colorectal cancer, and that eating meat such as lamb, beef and pork is also “carcinogenic to humans.” Hopefully this news will help people cut meat out of their diets, which is great news for the animals!
After 5 years of campaigning against the cruel and inhumane treatment of marine life at SeaWorld, animal rights campaigners achieved a huge victory in December 2015, when the company announced that it would no longer be holding live Orca shows at its San Diego park. There is still a long way to go before all tanks are empty, but this is the first time SeaWorld has conceded that its live shows are an unacceptable way to treat animals.
Despite embodying the spirit of American freedom and pride, last year more than 140,000 American horses were brutally slaughtered for human consumption in foreign countries. Early this year legislation prohibited the slaughter of American horses in the US and abroad, banning this cruelty once and for all.
2015 was the year that veganism went mainstream. From food and drink, to Google searches and news media coverage, animal rights issues are becoming part of everyday conversation. Data shows that sales of food items such as vegan milks, meat alternatives, and dairy free chocolates are at an all time high, well above the percentage of population who are actually vegan. Slowly, the world is becoming more compassionate!
Photo Credit: Pinti 1