Live export campaign goes global
The animal victims of the global live export trade were given an unprecedented voice in 2017. Evidence from our 8-month long investigation was released in 22 countries from Germany to Brazil. And the response has been staggering. Hundreds of thousands of people across the world called for the cruelty to end, the European Commission announced an Inquiry into the trade, Germany's major political parties and farming associations denounced shipping live animals for slaughter, and the suffering inherent to live export has made media headlines in dozens of countries. Finally, the stories of these animals are being told and hope for change is on the horizon.
Dogs saved from the meat trade
When an Animals Australia investigator infiltrated dog meat gangs in Bali, he not only captured evidence of immense suffering, but revealed that tourists were unwittingly fuelling the trade. Caring people from around the world appealed to the Governor to protect dogs — and he heard us! The Governor has instructed authorities in each Regency to end the dog meat trade! The first dog meat restaurants have closed, with more to come... Puppies once destined to be stolen, butchered and turned into 'satay' sticks, finally have hope of living their lives in peace. A kind transformation has begun on the island and we will remain there to see this historic commitment become a reality.
Sheep spared from live export terror
Kuwait's notoriously cruel livestock market has consistently been the scene of extreme abuse and suffering during the annual 'Festival of Sacrifice'. Distressed sheep stuffed in car boots in 50 degree heat. Frightened animals dragged into makeshift slaughter rooms to have their throats cut. Year on year, the live export industry would abandon animals to extreme abuse at this site. But we refused to give up on these animals. After years of relentless investigations and 10 damning legal complaints, in 2017, where once we would have seen chaos and cruelty — there were instead empty pens. For the first time in over a decade, terrified Aussie sheep weren't tied up, abused, or killed at this notorious market. The live export industry has been reined in because exporters know our investigators are on the ground, watching their every movement.
Factory farms shut (before they open)
History was made this year, when a proposal to build an intensive piggery was met with outcry from a compassionate community. For these 'big bosses', the plan to confine thousands of sensitive, intelligent animals inside a sprawling new factory farm sparked a record number of public submissions in opposition. Fuelled by the relentless efforts of local group, Say No To Blantyre Farms, and backed by Animals Australia supporters, people power prevailed sparing thousands of pigs from having to endure a lifetime of suffering. The momentous decision to stop the factory farm was a not only a win for the community, but for all victims of factory farming cruelty.
Hens freed from cages
It doesn't matter in what country a caged hen is suffering, if we can save her from a lifetime of misery, we will. In fact, freeing the world's battery hens from cages is the ambitious remit of the Open Wing Alliance — a global coalition of animal protection groups, including Animals Australia as a founding member. In 2017, OWA successfully negotiated an end to cage cruelty with some of the world's biggest food companies including Nestle, Kraft Heinz and McCain. Thanks to corporate and retailer commitments secured so far, tens of millions of curious, gentle hens across more than 100 countries will be spared from life in a cage!
Animals saved from slaughter
Countless animals were saved from the cruelty of factory farms and slaughterhouses this year, as a shift towards plant-based eating steadily increases. Through the distribution of free vegetarian starter kits, and a newly launched network of global websites, Animals Australia provided support to hundreds of thousands of people — in 14 different languages — who were interested in taking animals off their plates and into their hearts.
Ducks saved from 'recreational' shooters
On the opening day of this year's shooting season, we stood alongside rescuers from the Coalition Against Duck Shooting, with one united goal – to save as many native waterbirds as possible from being maimed and killed in the name of 'sport'. Animals Australia's investigators and legal team also sprung into action, successfully barring shooters from killing animals at three major wetlands and sparing tens of thousands of waterbirds from violence and carnage.
Greyhounds protected from the racing industry
Greyhound adoptions are up, breeding is down, and fewer dogs are being killed as 'waste products' of this gambling industry. A lot has changed since we exposed the dark underbelly of greyhound racing – with piglets, possums and rabbits used as 'live bait' and slow dogs condemned to certain death in China. The industry is under unprecedented scrutiny, participants face tighter rules and tougher sanctions, and major airlines are refusing to fly racing dogs to Asia. In 2017, community pressure led by Animal Liberation Queensland and supported by Animals Australia saw Logan City Council reject a proposal for a new greyhound racing track. And in a landmark victory, the ACT became the first jurisdiction in Australia to ban racing greyhounds all together. Both victories will spare countless dogs and other animals from horrific injuries, prolonged suffering, and death. With more people than ever before opening their hearts and homes to these gentle dogs, a kinder future for greyhounds is fast becoming a reality.
Hidden cruelty exposed
Even some of the littlest creatures were recipients of an outpouring of compassion this year. When we exposed the barbaric practice of cutting the eyes off live prawns, Australians were horrified. To then learn that this was a routine industry procedure to force the stressed animals to breed faster, tens of thousands of people demanded action and major retailers promised reform. The overwhelming response to this exposé demonstrates a shared value that unites us all: the desire for all living beings — no matter how small or how different they may be from us — to have a life free from suffering.
Strengthening the animal protection movement
We may still call Australia 'home', but in 2017, your support of our work accelerated progress for animals worldwide. On the ground, at the board table, in the community – everywhere our work on behalf of animals takes us – we are finding like-minded advocates and building powerful alliances towards changing this world for animals. It's clearer than ever that momentum is with us, with this movement. It's with the kind-hearted locals spearheading animal education programs in Palestine; it's fuelling the passionate Uruguayans rallying to end live export; and its locking in win after win for the advocates in 27 countries fighting for a cage-free future for hens. Our global networks are galvanising and we are no longer fighting injustice city by city, country by country — but side by side, as one movement united, for animals.