Abuse of animals raised for foodProblem
Better living conditions for animals and less meat consumptionSolution
In-depth research and collective global actionImpact
94% of all animals raised for food are in the cattle industry. The livestock industry causes unnecessary animal suffering every day
The explosive demand for meat and other animal products has led to an industry where 64 billion land animals are raised and slaughtered for food every year. Companies in the livestock industry aim to keep production costs as low as possible. Due to this enormous price pressure, all production processes (breeding, keeping, feeding and slaughtering) have been heavily optimised. The quality of life of the animals was considered of secondary importance in these optimisations. As a result, the majority of these animals live in harsh, inappropriate conditions.
Chickens, which make up the vast majority of animals slaughtered, suffer particularly badly. Broiler chickens, for example, live in dense conditions with 26 chickens occupying one square metre in groups of up to 40,000. This leads to stress and aggression among the birds. The beaks of laying hens – an important tactile organ – are often clipped without anaesthetic in order to prevent injury of the other chickens due to the high level of stress.
In addition to improving the living conditions of animals, a sharp reduction in the consumption of animal products is an obvious solution to this welfare crisis. Despite decades of activism by animal and environmental organisations, there has only been a moderate increase in the number of vegetarians or vegans. Meat consumption continues to rise even though 8 out of 10 Dutch people no longer eat meat every day1.
The Humane League (THL) focuses on influencing the food industry and politics, in particular when it comes to keeping laying hens in cages. This proves to be particularly effective due to the large numbers of chickens involved. Setting standards for companies can greatly improve the living situation of animals in the livestock industry. If a company is not prepared to change voluntarily, public campaigns can make consumers aware of the adverse conditions and result in consumer pressure on organisations to address the issue.
THL is also working on the legal basis for animal rights. Changing laws usually takes much longer than other interventions but the effects of such legislation are long-lasting and affect the entire industry.
Open Wing Alliance: global action
The Humane League (THL) has been very successful in convincing companies to end cruel farming practices. In the past ten years, the organisation has received voluntary commitments from more than 400 companies to stop producing battery cage eggs2.
In addition, more than 150 voluntary commitments have been made to improve the living standards of broiler chickens. As a result, the lives of more than 300 million chickens have been significantly improved each year.
THL coordinates and provides subsidies to animal welfare organisations. They also train and mentor activists worldwide. More than 80 animal welfare organisations are now united within the Open Wing Alliance (OWA) founded by THL (The Humane League, w.d.). This alliance makes THL’s campaigns even more effective because they enable the organisation to quickly mobilise a large number of people to support a petition, for example.
Impact through sound research and effective animal protection
The Humane League (THL) was founded in 2005 and now employs over 100 people in the US, Japan, Mexico and Great Britain. The organisation is committed to effective animal protection based on solid research. The research arm of THL, called The Humane League Labs, conducts studies and makes practical recommendations for future strategies and tactics to improve animal welfare.
Every year since 2012, Animal Charity Evaluators has recommended THL as a top organisation: “We find THL to be an excellent giving opportunity because of their strong programs aimed at improving the welfare standards of farmed animals and strengthening the animal advocacy movement across multiple countries.”
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