The past 12 months have been a rollercoaster ride. But as we adapt to the “new normal,” animal advocates have made great strides — giving us hope for a kinder, more considerate post-pandemic world. From dog races to dolphin shows, from fur farms to fox hunting, here are some of the ways he changed the world for the better this year.
Tougher penalties have been issued for those who abuse animals
Cruelty to animals is now punishable by up to five years in prison in England and Wales – from a pathetic maximum of six months – thanks to legislation passed this year. The new law should act as a strong deterrent to potential offenders and send a message that cruelty to animals is a serious issue.
Fortnum & Mason ditch the foie gras
The Queen’s grocer, Fortnum & Mason, bowed to a decade of pressure from PETA and celebrity supporters when she announced it would stop selling foie gras, made from duck livers and diseased goose. Sensitive birds are forcibly fed the equivalent of 20kg of grain per day to make this ‘can torture’, a process so cruel that it’s illegal here in the UK.
Sponsor ExxonMobil has pulled out of the deadly Iditarod dog sled race
People power pays off! The protests have led ExxonMobil to withdraw its lucrative sponsorship of the Iditarod dog sled race, where dogs are forced to run in some of the most extreme weather conditions on the planet. Since the start of the race, more than 150 dogs have died and many more were injured after they were forced to haul heavy sleds a thousand miles across Alaska.
The fur industry has taken a huge blow
Israel made history by being the first country in the world to ban the sale of fur – paving the way for other countries to follow suit. The UK is expected to introduce similar legislation next year. Estonia banned fur farming and the list of designers and retailers rejecting fur grew as Canada Goose, Oscar de la Renta, French fashion group Kering and others canceled the cruelly sourced product. All of this is great news for foxes, minks, and raccoons, to whom their fur belongs — not us.
Not ready to wear our furry friends? Here’s how to distinguish between real and fake fur.
Foxes escaped a gruesome death
Trail hunting is now banned on all National Trust grounds, saving countless foxes from the agony of being shredded by hounds in the name of “sport.” Thanks to the votes of thousands of National Trust members, the Board of Trustees has seen a trail that is searching for its truth: a smokescreen for poaching with dogs. The Hunt Saboteurs Association has predicted that some hunting operations will end as a result of this decision. We hope that they will do alternative activities that do not involve torturing and killing animals.
China ended mandatory cosmetic testing
After years of hard work and pressure from Peta entities, China has dropped requirements for animal testing for imported generic cosmetics. While there is still more work to be done, this important decision will save many animals the pain of tests in which chemicals are put into their eyes, applied to their shaved skin, or pushed down their throat. To find companies that don’t test on animals anywhere in the world, check out this list.
Swimming encounters with dolphins have been banned by Expedia
Although travel was prohibited for most of the year, travel companies continued to press ahead, realizing – as the PETA motto says – that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”. This year has seen travel giant Expedia cut its financial lifeline to SeaWorld and “swim with dolphins,” where these clever animals are confined to barren tanks or makeshift lakes where they can do little but swim in endless circles.
European Parliament voted to replace animal testing
In a massive decision setting a precedent, the European Parliament has voted to develop an action plan that would advance science and end animal testing. Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have also directed the European Commission to work with scientists, including PETA scientists, toward a future without any animal testing. Speaking about the decision, MEP Anya Hazekamp said: “This action plan to phase out animal testing is a win-win situation for humans, other animals and the environment.”
Live export ban to spare 3 million animals
Day-old chicks and delicate cows are among three million animals that will be saved from long, painful cruises around the world, thanks to New Zealand’s merciful decision to phase out the live export trade over the next two years.
Live calves are exported from Ramsgate to Europe under harsh conditions
Vegetarian food – we love it
Fast food chain McDonald’s has made vegan food easier by introducing the Mc Planet vegan burger across the UK this year. Eating vegetarian food is increasing, as more and more people choose plant foods to protect animals, their health and the environment. This new McDonald’s show will introduce a new audience to vegan food.
Elisa Allen is the Director of Peta UK