New Year’s Reflections: 2008 Was A Great Year For Animals

In a previous post, I pointed out that people’s attitudes towards animals are changing for the better. This was increasingly evident in 2008. The year was filled with economic strife and worrisome news, but there were still some bright spots for animals.


Perhaps most notably was the passage of Proposition 2, the groundbreaking measure that makes it illegal for California farmers to confine animals in gestation crates, battery cages, and veal crates. This may not seem revolutionary, but it will make life better for 20 million farmed animals, and it indicates that people are becoming more mindful of the inhumane ways in which animals in factory farms are treated.


The New Jersey Supreme Court unanimously ruled that factory farming practices cannot be considered “humane” simply because they’re widely used, setting a legal precedent for further efforts to end the egregious abuses of factory-farmed animals.


Several companies took steps to reduce the suffering of animals killed for food in 2008. Target stopped selling foie gras, for example, and KFC in Canada agreed to implement stronger animal welfare guidelines. Most KFCs in Canada also added a faux-chicken option to their menus, which helps show people that it’s easy to find great-tasting meatless meals in mainstream restaurants.


In 2008 alone,, Juicy Couture, A.C Moore, DirectBuy, Cole Haan, and Nike  joined the ever-growing list of retailers that refuse to sell fur. Donna Karan just announced that her fall 2009 lines will be fur-free and that she has “no plans” to use fur in the future.


Los Angeles—a city that takes in an average of 46,000 homeless animals annually—passed a mandatory spay/neuter ordinance in 2008, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture permanently shut down Jessie’s Pet Paradise, a Colorado pet store that was selling sick puppies. The store owner was charged with 15 counts of knowingly selling sick animals and seven counts of failure to quarantine animals.


Kind-hearted Massachusetts voters banned greyhound racing throughout the state, and companies as diverse as Harris Teeter, Lukoil, Denny’s, Fitwise4Kids, and Hanson Windows, a Michigan-based home-repair company, refused to promote Ringling Bros. because the circus has a history of animal abuse.


Several other companies, including SEGA,, CDW, and Subaru, pledged not to use great apes in advertisements, and a number of schools, festivals, and community events cancelled inhumane activities involving animals, including donkey basketball games, pig-wrestling contests, greased-pig chases, frog jumps, and more. (Click here for details on these and other victories.)


National Taiwan University College of Medicine cancelled cruel experiments on mice and frogs after a concerned whistleblower contacted PETA, and Idaho State University stopped using live dogs from a local animal shelter for its Advanced Trauma Life Support training just seven days after the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine began a public effort to end the practice.


Now, we all know that animal abuse and exploitation should not occur in the first place—the ultimate victory will be when there is no abuse to end, no suffering to stop, and no wrongs to right. We still have a long way to go until that time, but the aforementioned actions indicate progress and prove that people do have the power to make a difference. Without whistleblowers, activists, and compassionate folks who vote for kindness rather than cruelty at the polls and in the stores, these changes would not have happened.


Everyone can help make 2009 an even better year for animals simply by changing one habit that harms them. Try buying cruelty-free detergent instead of detergent that’s been tested on animals, or choosing soy milk instead of cow’s milk. Even small changes can make a big difference. In my next post, I’ll suggest some more resolutions that will help make the world a kinder place. It may not always seem like it, but we are getting there.


Christian Burgess
Past Member 10 years ago

It Was Not A Good Year For Animals... What About Lab Animals.
Stop Kidding Yourself We Need To Do More

Suzanne C.
Suzanne C.10 years ago

We get so caught up in the horrors that we forget that we are winning this war against animals. Yes, there is much work to be done, but look at this great list of "wins"! Of course this struggle takes far too long, but what can we do except keep on fighting!

Katie Moore
Katie Moore10 years ago

I work for a non profit that recently announced our clients were finding it increasing more difficult to provide for their companion animals. There was an immediate heart warming response to correct the situation. Those who have been touched by the non human member of their families know what an intricate member of the family they are.

Acts of kindness motivate other acts of kindness.
The sooner of mindset goes in this direction the better. Starting with our children, we can make a difference and make the world a better place.

Bring on the peace, bring on the joy, bring on the love.

Lisa L.
Lisa L10 years ago

I love to hear the positive side of this and hearing the good news. It truly gets very sad when all you hear about is the negative, horrific things that happen daily to these poor creatures..
This post compiling all the good information gives everyone hope that all the hard work and conscious decision making is panning out and making a difference!! I just know that 2009 is going to be even better for all these animals.
We must continue to be a voice for them, do what we can do, no matter how little effect you think it might will never know how far reaching any movement you make can have. Thanks so much for sharing this, much appreciated!