YOUR IMPACT FOR ANIMALS IN 2022
In 2022, Animal Equality’s supporters achieved outstanding accomplishments for animals.
In February, you watched – alongside millions of other viewers – as Animal Equality’s investigators exposed workers in a Welsh dairy farm beating and kicking cows. Days later, reporters at the Grocery Gazette announced a decrease in dairy consumption after the 30-minute program shocked people across the UK. The bravery and courage of our undercover investigators and your support make an end to the dairy industry a closer reality.
In June, you proudly celebrated as members of the Congress of Hidalgo, Mexico voted to pass the first-ever law to protect farmed animals in the country. Once again, your vision of a world without animal cruelty, combined with our powerful investigations and tireless legislative work, prompted this incredible breakthrough for animals in the country.
You celebrated as the Italian Senate passed a ban on the killing of male chicks in the egg industry, a practice that ends the lives of between 25 and 40 million baby chicks every year in Italy. Thanks to your support, our campaign to end the slaughter of male chicks is now global. Together we’ve impacted 45 million chickens in Brazil and Italy so far in 2022.
It’s been said that one human with courage makes a majority.
Your courage to defend animals strengthens and motivates us to continue working for them and inspires others to treat animals with kindness.
And the year is not over yet!
With you by our side, we know we can achieve what others deem impossible.
Animal Equality President
IMPACT BY THE NUMBERS
Together, we’ve made significant strides to help animals in 2022 through our global campaign actions. With your determination and support, we’re tackling some of the most pressing issues impacting farmed animals. Your actions have helped advocate for mother pigs trapped in farrowing crates, spotlight the abuse of chickens, expose the dairy industry’s cruel practices, and much more.
Every campaign we launch is instrumental in creating lasting change for chickens, cows, pigs, and other animals in factory farms and slaughterhouses worldwide. With each petition signature, we gain public Every campaign we launch is instrumental in creating lasting change for chickens, cows, pigs, and all other animals in factory farms and slaughterhouses worldwide. With each petition signature, we gain public support that allows us to sit at the table with key decision-makers to change existing laws and establish new legal protections for animals. By sharing our work and contacting companies and MPs on social media you’re helping to create awareness around animal suffering and hold animal abusers accountable. These actions lead to important changes like legal reforms and company policies, and sometimes they lead to facility closures. Importantly they also inform consumers of the realities of animal farming, allowing the public to make compassionate choices every time they visit a supermarket.
Your commitment to animals is pivotal to the success of each campaign. By joining forces we’re using our collective strength to push back against the industry and build a better, kinder world for animals.
ENDING FACTORY FARMING
Cows, pigs, fish, chickens and other animals spend their lives trapped inside factory farms to produce dairy, meat, and eggs. Packed into windowless sheds, for weeks pregnant pigs are confined in crates so small that they’re unable to turn around and nurse their young. Chickens live amongst their own waste, struggling to walk or stand and suffering from chronic pain. Cows endure forced, repeated impregnations, only to be separated from their calves just hours after they give birth. And hens are forced to live in cramped cages, unable to move or spread their wings.
Animals living on factory farms are denied many of their most basic needs, such as seeing sunlight, breathing fresh air or moving freely, and are routinely exploited for their bodies.
Increasing Animal Protections in Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay
Animal Equality Brazil, together with pan-European advocacy group Eurogroup for Animals, organised a conference with key decision-makers to discuss the negative impacts of the European Union’s Mercosur Free Trade Agreement (FTA) that will define the trade relations between the EU and some Latin American countries and that doesn’t currently include any guidelines on the treatment of animals.
During the meeting participants debated the need to engage civil society organisations from Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay in decisions related to the FTA, such as the subsidies granted to the animal production industry, the use of natural resources by the animal agriculture industry, and topics related to ‘One Health’. This concept addresses animal health and environmental balance as essential to human health.
We talked about how to prevent future catastrophes and combat deforestation and climate change by increasing animal protection. Participants also urged members of the European Commission to increase transparency in animal-based producers’ supply chains and to foster the transition to a plant-based food system.
Germany Calling for an EU Commissioner for Animal Welfare
Animal Equality Germany is part of the #EUforAnimals campaign calling for the appointment of a European Commissioner for Animal Welfare. This function would ensure the presence of a permanent person within the European Commission in charge of animal protection issues and responsible for acting in the event of legal violations.
181 Members of the European Parliament from different countries and political groups support the demand, including 11 from Germany. Over 175,000 European citizens have already signed the petition for the #EUforAnimals campaign.
Ending the Sale of Live Animals at Markets in India
As part of our ongoing legal advocacy efforts, Animal Equality shared its dairy, egg, chicken, and fish farm investigations with the Government of India. The report includes a list of demands to better protect these animals and reduce their suffering. We’re also asking for the creation of a committee to monitor the treatment of animals and to stop the sale of live animals at wet markets. Currently, no health inspections are conducted in these places; as a result, the conditions are unacceptable and unsanitary and risk the potential of contributing to the spread of dangerous zoonotic diseases.
BANNING THE FORCE-FEEDING OF DUCKS AND GEESE
We’re helping ducks and geese by ending the cruel production of foie gras made by force-feeding. The practice of force-feeding not only causes enormous pain and stress for the animals but it also causes many to suffer from injuries, infections, and ruptured organs.
We’re determined to permanently ban foie gras made by force-feeding with a strategic approach. In the UK – where producing foie gras in this way is illegal – we’ve been campaigning for several years with MPs to ban the importation and sale of this cruel ‘delicacy’. And in countries where the process of force-feeding is still legal, we’re working to eliminate the production of foie gras alongside its import and sale.
Spain Launches a Campaign to Ban Foie Gras
Animal Equality Spain launched a campaign to ban foie gras production and imports, a cruel practice that one million ducks and geese are subjected to every year. We investigated seven foie gras farms in Spain, one of which closed as a result of our campaign actions. The petition – addressed to the Government and the European Commission – has already received more than 80,000 signatures of support.
The campaign received the support of Spanish actress and animal rights activist Sara Sálamo who has given her voice to the campaign video.
Protecting Ducks and Geese in the US
Animal Equality launched a campaign calling for a complete ban on the sale and production of foie gras in the US. Over 50,000 people have already signed the petition in support of a nationwide ban since February.
We’re working to introduce local and state legislation to ban force-feeding and the sale of foie gras, advancing toward a permanent ban on foie gras production in the United States. President Sharon Núñez and our Legal Advocacy Counsel Sarah Hanneken held a Q&A event to answer questions about foie gras and how to take action in support of our campaign to protect ducks and geese.
Banning Cruel Force-Feeding in Germany
Animal Equality launched a campaign to ban the import of foie gras made by force-feeding in Germany. Although force-feeding is already a violation of the country’s laws, in 2020 alone Germany imported over 50 tonnes of foie gras from other countries, resulting in approximately 65,000 ducks suffering to supply that demand.
Additionally, we’re calling for a complete ban on force-feeding in Europe to be introduced as part of the ongoing revision of EU legislation about animals. Our petition has already received over 25,000 signatures of support.
ELIMINATING SOME OF THE WORST ABUSES OF CHICKENS
Chickens are kept in dark, windowless sheds, forced to live in their own waste, and bred to grow so fast that they experience painful leg deformities, heart attacks and organ failure.
Internationally, we’re working to establish protections for chickens and end the breeding of chickens genetically selected to grow to an unnaturally large weight in just a few weeks causing them extreme, unnecessary suffering.
First Latin American Commitment to Ban the Killing of Male Chicks
Following discussions with Animal Equality and other animal protection organisations, major food
After negotiations with Animal Equality, Grupo Mantiqueira, South America’s largest egg producer, became the first Latin American company to commit to stopping buying eggs from hatcheries that kill male chicks.
We’re working to introduce technologies in Brazil to identify the sex of the chick during the incubation period. Grupo Mantiqueira’s commitment will spare seven million male chicks a year.
Historic Victory for Male Chicks in Italy
In 2020, Animal Equality launched the ‘Stop the Slaughter of Male Chicks’ campaign, supported by more than 110,000 people.
As a result, a historic vote has ended the mass slaughter of male chicks in Italy. By 2026, the Italian Government will have to introduce measures to ban the egg industry’s systematic killing of chicks. This historic ban will impact the lives of between 25 and 40 million chicks.
The Consequences of Fast-Growing Chicken Breeds Exposed
Animal Equality investigators inspected a fast-growing chicken farm in Italy. These chickens are bred to grow 400% faster and suffer from numerous health conditions like heart attacks and pneumonia. Because of their unnatural size, many of the chicks are unable to walk or stand up, and their bones break easily. Currently, 99% of chickens raised for human consumption in Italy are fast-growing.
We’re demanding that the Italian Government makes it illegal to breed animals genetically selected to grow so large and so fast that they spend their entire lives suffering.
Lawsuit Filed Against Large Chicken Producer for Illegal Cruelty
Animal Equality filed a lawsuit against a Foster Farms hatchery in California. In 2021, we released an investigation revealing baby chicks being crushed, drowned, and mutilated. The hatchery breeds roughly 3.3 million chicks for Foster Farms weekly. Despite our complaint, the local law enforcement failed to respond.
We’re seeking a court order prohibiting Foster Farms from continuing unlawful business practices and requiring the company to establish policies and procedures that better protect the baby chicks at the hatchery from unnecessary injury, suffering, and death.
Supermarket Chain Adopts the European Chicken Commitment
The Spanish supermarket chain Eroski has announced its commitment to implement measures that better protect animals in its supply chain in more than 1,000 food stores in Spain. This is a decision that will impact 18 million chickens annually.
TAKING ACTION FOR PIGS
We’re campaigning for pigs on factory farms who spend weeks on end confined in crates so small they can’t even turn around. Mother pigs are forced to lay on cold, wet floors unable to properly care for their young. And their babies endure tail cutting and ‘teeth clipping’ without anaesthesia within days of being born – a common practice in the meat industry.
Italian Slaughterhouse Owner Held Accountable for Abuse
Animal Equality Italy filed two complaints against workers and owners abusing pigs at a major pig slaughterhouse in Northern Italy. The investigation was released in 2021 and showed workers beating pigs with sticks and shovels, slamming a pig against the wall, and ineffectively stunning them before slaughter, leaving them still conscious.
The owner of the company faced charges for his actions. After one year and two hearings, the judge put the owner on probation. In addition, he was required to pay c. $10,000 as a result.
Investigation Update: 2018 Complaint Goes to Court
In a significant step toward holding abusers accountable, Spanish meat company Cefusa will go to court. After we filed a complaint in 2018, an independent expert witness – not affiliated with Animal Equality – inspected the farm and urged the judge to close the farm due to the neglect and cruelty he witnessed.
The investigation was featured in the most important television program of the country, Salvados, and showed pigs suffering from tumours, deformities, and in some instances cannibalism.
Investigation in Mexico Reaches Millions
Our investigators in Mexico documented the painful mutilations that piglets endure shortly after birth. The investigation was covered by some of the most important media in the country and helped inform millions of people about the implications of meat consumption, encouraging them to reduce or eliminate meat consumption.
Currently in the state of Jalisco farmed animals are not protected by law. Animal Equality will continue drafting legislation to include the first chapter of animal welfare in the State Animal Protection Law. If approved, it will benefit more than 230 million animals.
ELIMINATING CAGES FOR HENS
Hens spend their lives in cramped wire cages where they’re unable to move freely or even spread their wings. Due to the stress of confinement, many engage in self-mutilation and cannibalism. We’re pushing companies to eliminate the use of cages and provide enrichments like nest boxes, perches, and dust-bathing areas.
Arizona Commits to Eliminate Cages
This April Arizona became the 10th state to ban the sale and production of eggs from caged hens. Animal Equality’s supporters submitted public comments supporting the ban as part of a coalition effort with other organisations. While cage-free is not cruelty-free, it’s estimated that seven million hens will be able to spread their wings when the new ban is implemented in 2025.
Spain Hotel Group to Eliminate Cages for Hens
After holding talks with Animal Equality, the hotel chain Vincci Hotels has committed to ensuring that 100% of the eggs consumed in all its hotels in Europe come from cage-free hens.
PROTECTING ANIMALS IN SLAUGHTERHOUSES
Because of ineffective stunning methods, cows, pigs, and lambs are often killed while still conscious. In addition, chickens, turkeys, and other birds are often passed through an ineffective electrical water-bath stunning system, causing millions of chickens to be scalded alive every year.
Through our investigations, we’re raising public awareness about the cruel practices used in slaughterhouses worldwide and campaigning to spare millions of animals from unnecessary suffering.
Stopping the Self-Regulation of Slaughterhouses in Brazil
Animal Equality launched a campaign against the so-called Livestock’s Self-Control Bill introduced by the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture. The Bill is aimed at reducing government oversight of the animal agriculture industry, and will directly affect how animals are treated in slaughterhouses. We investigated three slaughterhouses to demonstrate that animals suffer greatly even in places where regulations are in place.
The Bill was approved at the Agricultural Chamber and will be sent to the President to be sanctioned. Animal Equality, alongside other animal protection organisations and the Association of Inspectors, sent two open letters to the Senate. Due to this mobilisation and to media coverage, 27 Senators filed a demand for the Bill to be voted on in a plenary session. These Senators also filed a request to allow Animal Equality and other organisations to present the impacts of the bill to the Senate that will be voted on soon.
Hidalgo Becomes the First State in Mexico to Protect Animals in Farms
As a result of our investigations, the Congress of the State of Hidalgo has unanimously approved an initiative to modify the Law for the Protection and Dignified Treatment of Animals and the Criminal Code. This makes Hidalgo the first state in Mexico to dedicate an entire chapter of a law to protect farmed animals. In addition, it will criminalise animal cruelty in slaughterhouses.
The killing of conscious animals and the operation of unregulated slaughterhouses will be considered a crime and result in fines and sentences of up to four years in prison. It also includes a chapter on minimum standards for animals on farms. These reforms now better protect nearly 50 million pigs, cows, chickens, hens, lambs, and other animals raised for human consumption.
ENDING THE EXPLOITATION OF COWS
Cows raised and killed for dairy are repeatedly impregnated, then separated from their calves, throughout their entire lives until they are sent to slaughter when they are considered ‘unproductive’. Their calves will live in a small pen where they’re fed a milk replacer. If they are female, they will take the place of their mothers and be exploited for their milk. If they are male, they will be sent to slaughter and sold for meat.
Our investigations over the years have also uncovered abuse by workers worldwide, such as punching and kicking animals in the face and stomach. We’ll continue to raise awareness amongst the public and advocate for new legislation that holds abusers accountable.
Dairy Investigation Watched by Millions on The BBC
Animal Equality released an investigation inside Madox Farm, a dairy farm in Carmarthenshire, South Wales. Our investigator documented workers kicking and punching cows in the face and stomach, twisting their tails, and hitting them with sharp metal shovels. In one instance, a pregnant cow was left to suffer and die after her baby died inside of her. At the time of filming the farm supplied milk to Freshways, the UK’s largest dairy processor, whose products are distributed to major companies. The footage aired on BBC One’s Panorama, one of the country’s biggest television programs, and was seen by millions of viewers.
The response was huge, with hundreds of people pledging publicly to stop drinking dairy. Data gathered from the popular dating app Veggly show that 35% of the UK’s ‘vegetarian’ users have switched to ‘vegan’ since the investigation aired. There has also been a 40% increase in new vegan users.
Alongside the investigation, we launched a petition calling for a licensing system to be put in place for farms and slaughterhouses. This will only allow farms that successfully pass regular and thorough inspections to operate. The petition has been signed by over 66,000 people so far.
Promoting Plant-Based Cheese and Milk to Save Cows
Animal Equality launched a Love Veg campaign to save cows and calves by inviting people to leave milk and cheese off their plates. In a recipe book with 29 recipes to live without dairy, we’ve helped more than 32,000 people switch to plant-based alternatives. With this and other efforts, Love Veg has helped more than 278,000 animals in Mexico this year.
Actress Miriam Margolyes Asks Consumers to Ditch Dairy
Award-winning British-Australian actress Miriam Margoyles has joined Animal Equality’s campaign to help cows and calves who suffer in the dairy industry. Launched via The Independent, it calls on the UK Government to move subsidies away from the dairy industry and towards plant-based alternatives like oat milk and soy milk and to support farmers in making the transition. The petition has so far gathered over 21,000 signatures.
Millions of fish live tightly packed inside aquafarms with high levels of ammonia and nitrates. They’re susceptible to bacterial infections and parasites that feed on their gills, organs, and blood. There are few legal protections for fish around the world and in the UK they can be killed by suffocation, electrocution, bludgeoning and decapitation.
We’re fighting for farmed fish by working with governments to reduce their suffering. And we’ll continue to investigate and document the conditions they endure inside fish farms and slaughterhouses to make sure that fish are not forgotten and receive the protections they deserve.
Routine Inspections of Fish Slaughterhouses Introduced In Scotland
The Scottish Government has introduced mandatory inspections in salmon slaughterhouses. This is a result of lobbying prompted by an Animal Equality investigation released in 2021 where we uncovered fish having their gills cut while still conscious and being clubbed by workers and left to suffocate. The inspections will begin for a one-year period, with the possibility of making the inspections permanent.
Animal Equality is now pushing for mandatory surveillance cameras and for the footage to be made available to the public for scrutiny, with our legal advocacy campaign garnering media regular coverage in mainstream publications, including The Times.
The UK Holds First-ever Parliamentary Meeting to Discuss Fish Welfare at The Time of Killing
In July, Animal Equality was invited to join a first-of-its-kind Parliamentary roundtable event to discuss fish welfare. The event was held and chaired by leading veterinary expert, Lord Trees. The session – coordinated by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Animal Welfare, for which Lord Trees currently serves as co-chair – looked to discuss ‘increasing welfare protections for farmed fish’.
During the session, we presented the findings of our investigation inside a salmon slaughterhouse operated by The Scottish Salmon Company as well as our recommendations.
As a result, the Animal Welfare Committee is currently considering the issue of the welfare of farmed fish at the time of killing and is exploring the need for changes to current practice or legislation, marking an incredible milestone for farmed fish.
PROMOTING A PLANT-BASED DIET
Animal Equality’s legislative and investigative work is changing the world for farmed animals. With more and more people becoming aware of the suffering of animals inside farms and slaughterhouses, our message of compassion is becoming stronger every day.
Although increasing legal protections for farmed animals is having a lasting impact on how they are treated, the most powerful way to prevent them from suffering is to leave them off your plate.
Animal Equality offers resources and support for anyone who wants to transition to a plant-based diet.
In Italy, Animal Equality published the Save a Lamb Campaign before the Easter holiday. We developed a heartwarming video filmed at an animal sanctuary with Bruno Bozzetto, an Italian cartoonist and film director, and Andrea Capodanno, a famous vegan influencer with over 200k social media followers, to encourage people to adopt a plant-based diet and show them how affectionate and sociable lambs are.
The film also includes a conversation between Bozzetto and Capodanno about how easy it is to renew traditions. It was covered by key Italian media such as la Repubblica and HuffPost Italia.
And in Spain, we launched a series of publications to encourage Spaniards to drop dairy and choose delicious dairy-free alternatives.
None of these results is possible without your support and generous donations. Together, we’re building a better world for animals, but there’s still more work to be done. Join Animal Equality today to help animals throughout the year and keep pushing progress forward.