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How to shop fur-free this holiday season
Fur farms now produce about 85% of the world’s fur, of which China – with no legal animal welfare protection and appalling conditions for farmed animals – is now responsible for four-fifths of pelt (fur) production. After a downturn in the industry years ago, fur is now enjoying a resurgence thanks to ever-cheaper production, largely in China, a growing international consumer base, and ignorance or indifference among the public about the suffering of animals farmed for fur. As faux fur becomes more realistic-looking and real fur becomes harder to identify – because of increased use of dyes – WSPA has identified a few ways in which consumers can tell the difference between the two.

Participate in Fur Free Friday
It aims to educate people about the cruelty of fur production through protests, education and the promotion of cruelty-free fashion. Fur farms now produce about 85% of the world’s fur, of which China – with no legal animal welfare protection and appalling conditions for farmed animals – is now responsible for four-fifths of pelt (fur) production. After a downturn in the industry years ago, fur is now enjoying a renaissance thanks to ever-cheaper production, (largely in China), a growing world consumer base with more disposable income, and ignorance or indifference among the public about the suffering of fur trade animals.

Regional winners announced in anti-fur design competition
Student entrants from around the world are asked to capture the imagination of fashion consumers with the message that wearing fur is cruel and unnecessary. The fur trim industry is now worth half a billion dollars a year, with China being the largest producer and exporter of fur trim and accessories. For further information about fur farming, fur bearing animals and more consumer tips - including a guide on telling fake from real fur - visit the Fur Free Alliance website. November offers you the chance to vote in the Design Against Fur poster competition and influence which anti-fur artwork will win the People's Choice prize.

Israel in world first fur ban vote
The Knesset will vote on whether to introduce a complete ban on all fur production and sales. Campaigners in Israel say the outlook is positive and the majority of politicians are backing the bill. By taking the logical step and simply banning fur in its entirety, Israel would set an amazing global precedent – it would be hugely significant for the animal welfare movement and send a clear message to the fur industry. Please also link to this story if you are active on blogs and/or social networks such as facebook and twitter to show your public support for this trailblazing move from Israel.

European Union agrees to complete ban on dog and cat fur
On Thursday April 12th 2007 the European Parliament voted in favor of a complete ban on the import, export and sale of dog and cat fur across the European Union. A very large majority of MEPs voted for the ban, following a public outcry over evidence that dog and cat fur products were still entering the EU. Over a million EU citizens signed a petition calling for an end to the trade and a number of Member States requested action from the Euopean Commission. The majority is believed to be imported from China, although there is evidence of a cat and dog fur trade within European countries.

WSPA urges G8 leaders to start serving humane and sustainable farming
Industrial leaders meeting at the G8 summit this week again failed the millions of people around the world who are hardest hit by the current food crisis, failing to recognize the damage done to livelihoods by factory farming. As outlined in our recent report – Industrial Animal Agriculture – Part of the poverty problem –industrial agriculture is not only responsible for the suffering of billions of animals around the world, is also a key part of the poverty problem. Significant environmental and health costs are also created by the countries involved, rather than by the foreign-owned corporations profiting from the goods.

‘Ethical’ fur exposed: the case for a fur-free Christmas
A film released this month has exposed the horrifying extent of animal suffering in Norway’s fur farms, providing a timely reminder of the true cost of fur and fur-trims for all seasonal shoppers. Norway already has legislation to protect fur animals and in 1998 the government even warned that fur farming would be phased out unless conditions for animals improved. Fur farming can only exist in response to consumer demand, which has growth in recent years. You can make a stand against cruelty by refusing to buy fur and by telling your friends what is really involved in making a fur coat or fur trim.

Haiti: A Six-Month Update
Thanks to the generous donations from WSPA supporters, our disaster management team – as part of the Animal Relief Coalition for Haiti (ARCH) – has made great strides in providing disaster relief to the animals and people of Haiti during the past six months. Immediately following the disaster, our team worked closely with Haitian government officials, international agencies (such as the United Nations) and other NGOs to define the country’s most pressing animal-related problems, carry out treatments and develop a long-term plan for Haiti to better protect against future disasters. Thank you for your help in making these achievements possible – there is still a lot of work to be done, but we’re getting closer to improved animal welfare conditions and veterinary capacity in Haiti.

ARCH Leads Animal Welfare Efforts and Accomplishments in Haiti
Thanks to the generous donations from WSPA supporters, our disaster management team – as part of the Animal Relief Coalition for Haiti (ARCH) – has made great strides in providing disaster relief to the animals and people of Haiti during the past six months. Immediately following the disaster, our team worked closely with Haitian government officials, international agencies (such as the United Nations) and other NGOs to define the country’s most pressing animal-related problems, carry out treatments and develop a long-term plan for Haiti to better protect against future disasters. Thank you for your help in making these achievements possible – there is still a lot of work to be done, but we’re getting closer to improved animal welfare conditions and veterinary capacity in Haiti.

New facility offers special care for baited bears
An up-to-date clinic made possible by a generous supporter is now enabling staff at a WSPA-funded sanctuary in Pakistan to give rescued bears the very best care and treatment. It currently provides veterinary care and a safe haven for 22 bears formerly used for baiting. Bear baiting is a savage blood sport in which dogs are set upon a tethered and defenseless bear. Mellun had been rescued from a landlord who had used him in baiting events for six years. Thousands of key religious leaders have denounced baiting as un-Islamic and so far 235 landlords – who run the events – have given it up.

WSPA and partners get animal welfare onto Earth Summit agenda
With the focus of world leaders and the world’s public on the event, WSPA is working to ensure that animal welfare is firmly on the agenda. WSPA succeeded in having animals and sustainable agriculture inserted into the Rio Conference declaration – the so-called “Bonn Declaration” – which will feed into the planning process for the Earth Summit and the texts used to prepare it. WSPA also co-organized and chaired an event at the conference with other organizations and academics to discuss the importance of animal welfare to sustainable agriculture and food consumption. The Bonn Declaration states that animal welfare should be safeguarded and notes that, “sustainable development can only be ensured if humanity, directed and led by government policies, embraces humane, sustainable, low-carbon lifestyles and adopts sustainable livelihoods”.

Dr Gus Thornton, a former WSPA president, has died following a long illness
Dr Thornton and his granddaughter Rose © Courtesy of the MSPCA-Angell He grew up and went to veterinary school in Oklahoma, USA. Through his work for the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA), he helped WSPA set up its first office and later served two years as WSPA President. Mike Baker, Director General of WSPA, said: “He was a great veterinarian and humanitarian, and he was a true leader in both fields, nationally and internationally. He cared so very deeply about animals and people, was a kind and generous person, and he spent his life helping others….he will be greatly missed.”

WSPA 2009 Achievements for Animal Welfare
From bringing essential aid to thousands of animal victims of multiple disasters in Asia Pacific, to pioneering the first-ever release of captive bonobos into the wild in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to making a difference for farm animals in Brazil, we’ve accomplished so much for animals this year. As the world’s largest alliance of animal welfare organizations, WSPA works with our partners where the animal welfare need is greatest. We accomplished many key achievements for animal welfare with our partners in 2009. Hundreds of people in the Brazilian agriculture industry were trained in humane animal handling, having the potential to improve conditions for millions of farm animals.

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A stray dog that has survived flooding, Colombia