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Heifer International Joins WSPA’s Growing Animals Matter to Me Community

August 23, 2010

Heifer joins millions of people, organizations and governments that support WSPA’s movement to end animal cruelty and establish universal animal welfare standards

Boston, Mass. – Joining more than 2.2 million people and organizations worldwide, Heifer International today signed on to support the World Society for the Protection of Animals’ (WSPA) “Animals Matter to Me” campaign – a movement to encourage changes in policies and legislation to improve animal welfare, worldwide.

Animal cruelty is shockingly prevalent around the world, even in countries like the U.S. where strong legal penalties have been put in place. The “Animals Matter to Me” community represents people, governments and organizations that have signed a universal declaration to end worldwide animal cruelty and suffering, such as:

  • Stray animal culling – There are nearly 1 billion stray cats and dogs in the world, some of which are mistreated by people who are terrified of catching diseases, like rabies. Many local authorities don’t have laws regarding the humane treatment of the stray animals, so poisoning, shooting and electrocution are common.

  • Illegal animal trade – Millions of animals are killed for their skins, fur, tusks, bones and other body parts, which are then sold to make clothes, ornaments and medicines in a black market worth an estimated $10 billion a year.

  • Working animal abuse – There are few laws and resources that protect the well-being of horses, donkeys, mules and other working animals who help people across the world maintain their livelihoods. Many of these animals work for long hours without rest or water; wounds from badly-fitting equipment, disease and poor nutrition cause them terrible suffering.

“The health and well-being of animals are vital to our organization’s mission to help people obtain sustainable food and income sources,” said Terry Wollen, Interim Vice President of Advocacy for Heifer International. “For nearly 65 years, humane animal handling and protection has been one of our cornerstone principles and a vital part of our management and training programs. And, today, we proudly affirm to that ideal by supporting WSPA’s ‘Animals Matter to Me’ movement.”

Heifer, which recently ranked as one of the top 10 most trusted nonprofits in America,  joins more than 266,000 people and 40 organizations in the U.S. – including the ASPCA, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW,) to name a few – that have expressed their support for WSPA’s campaign.

“We are thrilled that Heifer has joined us in furthering the animal welfare movement,” said Silia Smith, Interim U.S. Executive Director at WSPA. “We’re confident that the organization’s prestige and support will help us reach our goals of changing existing policies and legislation, as well as inspiring positive attitudes toward animals in every corner of the world.”

WSPA’s “Animals Matter to Me” community includes a diverse range of high-profile supporters. Government entities in Chile, Peru, India, Thailand and Indonesia have all declared support for the initiative, as have celebrities including Simon Cowell, Leona Lewis, Tiffani Thiessen, Miranda Richardson, Kristin Davis and Christina Applegate.

About The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA)
Through its alliance of more than 1,000 animal welfare groups – with at least one member in virtually every country of the world – WSPA works where there is the greatest need to stop animal suffering and cruelty. For more information, visit, follow us on Twitter and friend us on Facebook.

About Heifer International
Heifer’s mission is to end hunger and poverty while caring for the Earth. Since 1944, Heifer International has provided livestock and environmentally sound agricultural training to improve the lives of those who struggle daily for reliable sources of food and income. Heifer is currently working in 50 countries, including the U.S., to help families and communities become more self-reliant. For more information, visit or call 1-800-696-1918.


Media contact:
Laura Flannery
U.S. Communications Manager
The World Society for the Protection of Animals
(617) 896-9291

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Elephants at a Kenyan orphanage run by a member society