Every day we see all the negative – the bad – the painful things in regards to animals. But let’s take a deep breathe and see all the good and amazing things that happened for animals in 2019 all over the world!
We could all use some positive news – and this post is it!
While it may seem the change is not happening that we need – and want for animals to have better lives, they are! There are so many great people standing up for animal rights – risking their lives, spending their money – and fighting to the end to make sure animals are treating with compassion, respect and love.
Below are some of our favorite animal stories of 2019 that have had a huge impact for their well-being. 2019 was a pretty great year for animals – we are excited to see the changes that will happen for them in 2020.
1. Animal Cruelty Becomes a Felony In The United States
This new law was signed by President Trump in November 2019 and helps to improve the lives of animals in the United States. The anti-cruelty legislation makes it a federal crime to do things like crush, stab, sexually exploit or burn animals – all of which are commonly done in what are called “crush videos”. Although many states do have laws regarding these issues, they have always been hard to prosecute since there was no federal law to back it up.
2. New York Is First State To Ban Declawing Of Cats
Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law a bill that bans the declawing of cats anywhere in the state of New York! While there are some cities that have banned this practice, in July of 2019 – NY became the first state!
While this law does not come without controversy from some opponents saying it will increase rates of families relinquishing cats – most approve of the law and are against the barbaric techniques used to do the declawing.
3. Colombia Bans Recreational Hunting
In February 2019, the Constitutional Court in Colombia decided they wanted to protect animals – and the environment and banned recreational hunting. The ban officially starts on February 6, 2020 even though many hunters tried fighting the ban stating that shooting animals for fun fit into the “national culture” of the country – and that is served educational purposes.
Thankfully the courts disagreed.
4. Animals Gain Legal Rights In India
One of our favorite things took place in India in May 2019 where the Punjab and Haryana High Court ruled that animals have the same legal rights as humans. This ruling goes as far as to include birds and fish as part of this case.
This case and ruling stemmed from a situation in which 20 cows were packed in inhumane conditions to be transported for almost 400 miles. The lack of compassion for these living beings was felt – and it was realized that humans have a responsibility to care and show compassion for these animals. You can read more about this case here.
5. Whales & Dolphins Are Banned From Captivity In Canada
A bill that was introduced back in 2015 to precent the captivity of whales and dolphins finally passed in June of 2019. This bill prevents anyone from breeding or holding in captivity whales, dolphins or porpoises – and violators can be fined up to $150,000 USD.
While this bill does not ban the existing animals being help in captivity from being removed – it will prevent new animals from facing the same fate. One group who was vehemently agains this bill passing was Marineland – who currently houses roughly 55 beluga whales, 5 bottlenose dolphins and an orca. Their concern of course is the decline in visitors the park will receive.
6. California Bans Fur Products
California actually did 2 great things in 2019 related to fur – the first was a law called the Wildlife Protection Act of 2019 which bans the trapping of animals for fur. Then the next part of this successful ban was the legislation that was passed to actually prevent the sale and display of any clothing or accessories made with real fur.
California is the first state to ban fur sales and place such tough laws in place – although it is rumored that other states will follow suit given the support of banning fur. Sadly, the Fur Information Council of America is of course not happy with these rulings and plans on fighting this in court.
The ban officially goes into effect on January 1, 2023.
7. England Bans Wild Animals From Circuses
After 20 years of research and investigating – wild animals finally gained a voice. In July 2019, the British Parliament passed a bill called the Wild Animal in Circus which prohibits the use of wild animals in a circus in England.
This came with a lot of support from the public knowing the conditions these animals were kept in. The law is effective January 2020!
8. Baby Elephant Trade Banned
In August 2019 at a Geneva meeting called the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) tightens the rules on the elephant trade. Zimbawbe and the United States led the pack on voting against the new bans – but not enough to prevent it from happening.
Zimbawbe have in the past been able to export baby elephants to what were considered “appropriate and acceptable” destinations – sadly under that rule this meant Chinese zoos. The new ban now significantly improves the restrictions on where they can export elephants. They only view elephants as an economic opportunity – not that they are real sentinent beings.
Going forward the new law will require that animals can only be placed under “exceptional circumstances” and are subject to approval by a committee of Cites members ensuring the elephants are going to healthy environments.
Having traveled to Africa this past summer – and having our tour guide talk about the issues with the elephants – I could not put into words how happy this makes me.
9. Otters Get Increased Poaching Protection
Not a common problem in the United States because otters are not legal to own – but still a win for other countries and for the underground US market that we are sure there is.
Another Geneva success story from the CITES conference in August 2019 passed legislation to prevent any wildly caught Asian small clawed otter from being permitted in international trade for entertainment or pet ownership purposes.
This was introduced because of the large amount of posts on social media showing that these species make good pets – when they are not. In Japan there is even an otter cafe which makes the otters even more wanted. There were other animals included in the protection including Indian Star Tortoises but we were unable to find an extensive list to share.
10. TripAdvisor Stops Promoting Whale & Dolphin Attractions
Not a law – but still a big win for animals and we want to give a shout out to TripAdvisor for doing the right thing.
By the end of 2019 – TripAdvisor has committed to no longer sell or promote any tickets to attractions that feature dolphins or whales as their primary entertainment. Their website will have all mentions of these entertainment options removed – we hope that in turn the want for these types of entertainment will decline and eventually disappear entirely!
11. Foie Gras Ban in NYC
I had no idea what foie gras was until this story made its way into my inbox – and I was disgusted when I learned more about it. Foie gras (french for fatty liver) is basically a luxury food made from the diseased and enlarged liver of a duck. This may not sound so bad – but the issue is how they make this liver happen – the ducks are force fed in horrific ways to make their livers superior for consumption.
This abuse entails foot longs pipes being jammed down their throats and more to ensure their livers are enlarged.
New York City has now banned this practice as well as California. Sadly, it has been said that there is no ethical or humane way to create foie gras so we hope this fad will pass.
So – as you can see, a lot of great things came out of 2019. Personally, we hope we can double this list for 2020! There is so much good in the world – and if we all work together change CAN happen!