At SeaWorld attendance is down, stock shares have almost halved in their value and sponsors are reducing in numbers. 2015 may just be the year that SeaWorld resigns itself to a model that does not exploit their captive animals?
2: Released footage showing how angora (wool) was produced led several high profile brands including H&M, Espirit, C&A and New Look to suspend production of their angora fashion items. Although this is probably not a permanent suspension, it encourages discussion on the issue that harvesting angora in volume without harming rabbits is exceedingly difficult. Lets hope that in 2015, if angora is to remain a fashion staple, it will be a high value,cruelty free fabric rather than something cheaply produced.
3: Officials from Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam have agreed that sustained and directed collaborative actions are needed to fulfill their pledge to eliminate rabies by 2020 and end the inhumane trade in dogs for meat. The governments made plans for cross border collaboration in key target areas near the Vietnamese-Lao border and the Thai-Lao border. They will implement pilot programs for rabies elimination and humane dog population management in these areas which may be replicated nationwide.
4: More than 80 leading European food companies came together to talk about animal welfare at CIWF Good Farm Animal Welfare Forum in Paris. Food companies who have already placed animal welfare at the heart of what they do shared their experiences and won awards. Winners included SPA Food (Poland), Monoprix (France) and Globus (Germany) demonstrating that European food companies are taking animal welfare seriously.
5: Following the lead of Bolivia, Greece and the Netherlands - Malta and Mexico have both also banned circuses. The US progressed too with several notable victories this year with LA, Miami Beach and Oakland (California) all approving a ban on the use of elephant bullhooks. These bans mean that circuses that 'feature' elephants - will be very unlikely to perform in these cities.
6: India banned cosmetic animal testing within the country earlier in the year and followed up by imposing a ban on importing any cosmetics tested on animals setting an excellent example for other nations to follow. China subsequently removed mandatory animal testing for many domestically produced cosmetics. A step in the right direction at least!
7: For years, the U.S. military have used live animals for various medical trainings including intubation and ‘surgery’ on conscious goats, cats and ferrets. The training had been designed to allow medics and soldiers to practice on anatomy and repeat vital procedures until they were confident and proficient. In 2014, the U.S. military announced that it would replace its use of live animals with human simulators.
8: The Danish Minister agreed to address processes to improve survival rates among piglets and encourage free-farrowing systems for sows. Canada also decided to move away from gestation crates and from July 2015, any new builds or renovations will require group housing for pregnant sows. Good works have also taken place in Oz with Australian Pork Limited estimating that 65% of pig meat enterprises were phasing out the use of sow crates. Thirteen Chinese pig producers were recognized at the inaugural Good Pig Production Awards during the China and EU Collaboration on Pig Welfare Conference. Requirements for the awards include group housing of sows in the gestation period and several food safety elements.
9: The RSPCA prompted a full enquiry into live animal exports from the port of Dover. Sheep and cattle are currently transported to continental Europe before being slaughtered at their destination. The enquiry will assess if current laws are upheld and enforcement agencies properly minimise the suffering of the animals. A push for a nationwide ban continues.
10: The World Trade Organisation upheld a European Union ban on imports of seal products, rejecting an appeal by Canada and Norway in a landmark ruling that said, “animal welfare can trump trade”. The WTO had never issued a final decision on how to square animal welfare with international trade regulations and observers described it as a watershed case.The WTO appellate body ruled that while there was merit in Norway and Canada's complaints that their seal trade was being affected, this was outweighed by theEU goal of addressing moral concerns about seal welfare. Inuit hunters are exempt.