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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.

WSPA announces new Director General
Peter’s retirement marks the end of a very successful chapter for the organization, during which WSPA saw massive growth and development – not just in size, but in capacity and ability to influence policy and legislation worldwide. Peter Davies said, “When I reflect on my time here, there is much WSPA has to be proud of – not least our creation of this truly global animal welfare movement. Today, WSPA has a presence in over 150 countries around the world and the commitment displayed by every member of this alliance has allowed for some truly impressive achievements – the sound of so many voices speaking on individual issues has been a powerful tool for advancing global animal welfare.” Through partnership with hundreds of member societies we strive to create a world where animal welfare matters and animal cruelty ends.

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.

Be fur free: a consumer guide
The fur industry is responsible for the intense suffering and death of over 100 million animals every year. While 85% of animals used to produce fur are commercially farmed, some are wild-caught and die in inhumane traps. Most fur animals are killed for their first winter coat, when they are about eight months old. So high quality fur products do not indicate a lifetime of wellbeing – rather that the animal only shed its filthy, matted infant fur just before death. This confirms that the power to stop production lies with the consumer – the industry grows or declines with public demand.

WSPA Board and Advisory Council announced
Mark Watts, Cecilia Vega Leon and Chinny Krishna WSPA welcomed three new Board members at the 2008 annual general meeting, held on June 3. Cecilia Vega Leon (Mexico), Chinny Krishna (India) and Mark Watts (UK) will also serve on the Advisory Council. The new Board members join some experienced colleagues. Following the meeting, the Board elected new WSPA Officers for the coming year: Dominique Bellemare (Canada) as President, Professor Ranald Munro (UK), as Senior Vice President Hanja Maji-Weggen (Netherlands) as Junior Vice President, Andrew Rowan (USA) as Treasurer and Peter Mason (New Zealand) as Secretary. Read more about WSPA, who we are and what we do >>

WSPA launches new website to educate Traditional Asian Medicine users on bear farming
More than 12,000 endangered Asiatic black bears are cruelly confined in bear farms, facilities at which many are kept in tiny cages and their bile is regularly extracted and sold for use in Traditional Asian Medicine (TAM). WSPA has encouraged traditional medicine groups worldwide to support a statement agreeing that there are good herbal alternatives to bear bile - 71 traditional Asian medicine associations from eight countries have already expressed their support. The letters sent to retailers will include a link for retailers to learn more about bear farming and obtain a template letter (in English or Chinese) that they can use when contacting Chinese companies about their bear bile policies.

New, comprehensive text on long distance transport launched
Long Distance Transport and Welfare of Farm Animals – the book that provides the scientific basis of the Handle with Care campaign – was launched at the 76th General Session of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) in Paris. The largest and most comprehensive academic reference text on the long distance transport of animals for slaughter was presented to almost 100 of the world’s Chief Veterinary Officers in a reception on May 26 2008. The reception was also attended by nearly 250 delegates of the general session, including the OIE Director General and Deputy Director General. The following day, Peter Davies, Director General of WSPA, addressed the OIE general session and highlighted the Handle with Care coalition’s global transport campaign.

Farm animal victory in the USA
WSPA congratulates member societies the Humane Society of the United States and the Farm Sanctuary for their work, along with other US-based animal welfare groups, in improving the lives of thousands of farm animals. In many of these countries the practice of cruel, intensive factory farming is exploding. The project will act as a flagship example of alternative farming systems for chickens, pigs and cows that adhere to improved welfare standards. The project also aims to raise awareness of inhumane farming practices and encourages Brazilian and Chinese consumers to purchase meats, milks and eggs that have been reared on farms that take the animal’s welfare into consideration.

Factory farming encourages global poverty
A new report by the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) says that far from benefiting those suffering from poverty and hunger - as once promoted by Governments and Development Agencies - factory farming is actually part and parcel of the poverty problem. The report “Industrial Animal Agriculture-Part of the Poverty Problem” demonstrates that the cruel and hidden costs of factory farming results in lost livelihoods for people living in developing countries who depend on local farming for their survival. The WSPA believes the majority of industrial animal farming practices not only cause immense pain and suffering to the animals involved but are one of the causes of poverty and hunger in developing countries.

Humane slaughter agreement signed In China
The WSPA and the APSRI will work in partnership to provide training and support on the humane transport, handling, stunning and slaughter of farm animals. The organizations will also work with relevant Chinese government agencies to establish humane slaughter legislation and codes of practice. Jia Zili, Director of the APSRI, said: “We are very glad to cooperate with the WSPA, the world’s largest animal welfare organization, to put the humane slaughter training program into practice. The WSPA and the APSRI have been working together to improve animal welfare since 2005. The MoU will mark a significant step forward in developing and improving humane slaughter programs in China, thereby also improving the quality of meat.

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