You’d be forgiven for thinking that the very existence of national environmental laws creates an obligation on Environment Ministers to protect the environment. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Instead, their obligations are limited by the objects and duties that are specified in the law. And in the case of our...
Thanks to all of our supporters, Humane Society International has had a monumental year campaigning for animals and their environments in 2018. Here are some of the highlights that you made possible by supporting us this year:
HSI ramped up our campaign against shark culling by visually documenting the wildlife killed in shark nets and lethal drumlines in the Great Barrier Reef and throughout Queensland. We have been working hard in the lead up to our much anticipated court case in January next year, where we’ll be challenging the permit to cull sharks with 173 lethal drumlines in the Great Barrier Reef.
HSI has also joined forces with AMCS (Australian Marine Conservation Society) to work on a multi-year shark conservation campaign in Australia called Shark Champions. In this work we are proud to be supported by the Shark Conservation Fund.
Together with are aiming to end all shark culling programs in Australia. We will stop overfishing and catch of endangered sharks in our fisheries. And we will secure better legislative protection at a national and global scale for our threatened sharks and rays.
Whaling – Reckless proposals defeated at IWC
HSI was again at the forefront of calls to protect the world’s majestic whales, as the International Whaling Commission meeting took place in Brazil in September. Nicola Beynon, our Head of Campaigns, was the NGO representative on the Australian delegation. HSI commended the Australian Government for leading the charge against the reckless proposals by Japan to reinstate a commercial whaling quota, and these proposals were squarely defeated.
With reports that Japan may leave the IWC and become a pirate whaling nation surfacing this week, HSI continues to speak out for cetaceans and to call on the Australian Government to lead the opposition to whaling wherever it is taking place around the world.
Dingoes – species remains native in WA
HSI led a successful campaign for one of Australia’s most persecuted species this year, with plans for the WA Government to list the dingo as a non-native species getting our supporters fired up to protect the Australian canine.
Thousands signed our letter to WA’s Environment Minister Stephen Dawson, who then decided to backtrack on the plan to list the dingo as non-native in the state. This decision was a welcome relief for a species that has had multiple assaults thrown its way in Australia, and we hope to see the tides shift further to stop the persecution of dingoes in the wild.
New laws – ALP committed to new nature laws and EPA
HSI has a strong legacy reforming and improving Australia’s environment laws and we have continued this in 2018. As a co-founder of the Places You Love alliance, we have been pushing all sides of politics to commit to new nature laws, and we saw the ALP commit to positive environmental law reform at its recent National Conference.
HSI also worked with EDO NSW to prepare a detailed blueprint for what next generation environment laws should look like, and we look forward to working with future governments to implement these stronger laws to protect our native wildlife and their precious habitats.
Fishing exclusion zones implemented to protect endemic Australian sea lion
HSI has a solid history of protecting the Australian sea lion, and in 2018 we succeeded in getting the Western Australian Government to implement fishing exclusion zones around sea lion colonies. This important protection measure will help reduce the number caught and killed in the WA gillnet fishery and follows similar progress we made in South Australia where sea lion exclusion zones have been enacted for nearly six years.
HSI is now working to ensure this endemic species gets the protection it deserves under Australia’s national environment laws as an Endangered species.
Wildlife Land Trust and Threatened Ecological Communities
HSI’s WLT private land conservation program continues apace, with 76 sanctuaries added to the Australian network this year.
It now numbers more than 580 wildlife-friendly properties, amounting to nearly 70,000 hectares of safe habitat for an enormous range of wildlife – from loggerhead turtles to forty-spotted pardalotes.
Our scientific nominations to protect threatened habitats continued at full steam and we celebrated two successful and important national listings: Coastal Swamp Oak Forest of New South Wales and South East Queensland, and a unique community in Estuarine Species Dependent on Salt-Wedge Estuaries of Southern Australia.
Protecting the world’s betrodden donkeys
HSI ramped up our campaign to protect the world’s donkeys in 2018 by launching an investigative report on the true cost of ejiao – a traditional medicine product made from donkey skins. This report hit close to home as we identified Australia as the 8th biggest importer of ejiao products with more than US$4m worth of product coming in last year.
HSI has also been supporting a public education campaign in China to highlight the welfare, environmental and health risks with ejiao products. HSI continues calling on the Australian Government to rule out supplying donkeys to China for ejiao.
Milestone in campaign to end the dog meat trade in Asia
We didn’t anticipate such amazing progress this year but we, as part of the Dog Meat Free Indonesia coalition, reached an absolute milestone in our global campaign to end Asia’s dog meat trade.
The Indonesian Government pledged to ban the dog and cat meat trade nationwide in August. The coalition is now calling on the Central Government in Jakarta to enact and enforce a ban to end its ‘extreme’ markets, and the broader dog and cat meat trade across the whole country.
HSI also closed down three dog meat farms in South Korea in 2018, and also assisted the authorities in the closure of the largest dog slaughterhouse in that country.
In China, HSI assisted in the closure of four slaughter operations of the country’s dog/cat meat industry, leading to the rescue of more than 300 dogs and 375 cats. We also helped rescue 137 dogs from the Yulin dog meat festival.
Helping those most in need caught up in trying circumstances
In Guatemala, HSI’s disaster response team provided on-the-ground relief work following the Volcan de Fuego eruption. HSI responders provided emergency treatment to dogs, cats, chickens, horses and other animals, more than 900 in all. In India, we helped with the rescue, treatment and care of animals after floods devastated the state of Kerala and its surrounding states, rescuing more than 200 animals.
We have achieved many great outcomes for animals in 2018 but none would have possible without your incredible support and we thank you so much for staying with us and the animals for another year. We look forward to winning more battles for animal protection with you in 2019.