by MPD
Categories: Animals, Causes.


Get out your homemade party hats and post-consumer recycled streamers, 2010 is almost here! As the new year quickly approaches, Ecorazzi’s looking back and paying homage to the Top 5 Animal Rights Victories of 2009. Count ‘em down with us and share some of your favorite animal victories of 2009 in the comment section below.

  • Livin Veg

    I’m also a big fan of the EU’s ban on seal products. Take that Canadian seal hunt!

  • Frances

    How much is Wayne Pacelle at HSUS paying you for PR services?

  • Dave Shishkoff

    Almost none of these have anything to do with ‘animal rights’, based on how i understand rights-based social justice.

    Most are reforms of animal husbandry practices. Reforming the industry only allows it to persist, and is a form of toleration – not opposition.

    Animal rights demands freedom for other animals: allowing them to live on their own terms. Which of these ‘victories’ enables animals to live freely, without human interference?

    Animal rights is an important aspect of the social justice movement (not some joke for media exposure, as a large group would have us think) – and true victories are few and far between, mainly because so many fail to understand what ‘animal rights’ really is, and focus on this.

    Instead of demanding that animals no longer be exploited, these activists become participants in that which they should oppose…and the result is often the public feeling *more* comfortable about using animal products. There’s something very disturbing about that…

    Focus on what needs to be done: promoting veganism, and exploring our relationships with other animals. Cows don’t need us to stop tail docking, they need us to stop eating and exploiting them. Please, let’s focus on that.

    Dave Shishkoff
    Friends of Animals

  • Michael Parrish DuDell

    Living Veg- That’s a great one! Duly noted!!

    Frances- 10 trillion, quadrillion, bagillion dollars. Also, it’s opposite day! If you think we’ve missed a major animal victory of 2009, let us know (sans snarky overtones, of course).

  • Michael Parrish DuDell

    Hey Dave,

    Thanks for chiming in. I’m quite familiar with your organization’s approach to the issue and therefore not entirely surprised by the comment.

    I don’t think it’s realistic to merely define animal rights by the victories that allow “animals to live freely, without human interference.” And I certainly do not agree that activists who focus on welfare issues “become participants in that which they should oppose.” Quite the opposite. I believe it’s these individuals who manage to create the most change by effectively appealing to a larger mass of people.

    Whether we like it or not, animals will never live without any sort of human interference. It just won’t happen. That’s like fighting for clouds to be protected from airplanes. However, that doesn’t mean positive action can’t and won’t occur.

    I think we must face the reality that in this day and age the issues of animal rights and animal welfare are one and the same. I realize that this philosophy directly counters your organization’s stance on the subject.

    In closing, here at Ecorazzi we applaud organizations and noted individuals who work hard to create a greener, kinder, more compassionate planet. I believe that these five victories have helped do just that and fully stand behind our choices.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts!


  • Livin Veg

    I agree with Michael. The world we live in is way too complicated to look at issues as either/or. In order to create real lasting change, we need to strive for animal rights while taking steps through animal welfare. I’m glad cows in CA won’t be having their tails docked anymore. Do I wish that people would also stop eating cows? Of course. But for the moment, I think that taking these smaller steps is vital to making a difference for the animals suffering right now. All the while we advocate for going vegetarian and vegan. I look at the smaller steps as leading up to the main goal. It’s just going to take a while. Best to help alleviate suffering where we can and how we can. Doesn’t mean we don’t still have our eye on the prize.

  • Anai Rhoads

    If lasting change means keeping animals in the state they’re in to satisfy consumer demand (read: dairy/egg-eating vegetarians and meat-eaters) then count me out. I personally don’t want to be a part of/support any campaign that pushes for the humane treatment of animals if it means the animals are still being used and/or subsequently slaughtered. This is not exactly progress by any means.

  • Dave Shishkoff

    Hi Michael, thanks for the response.

    I don’t want to get into a rights vs reform argument, needless to say i disagree with your position.

    The point of my posting is that they are indeed very different. To say reform and rights are the same, is to put any animal exploiter (furrier, vivsector, farmer, etc) in the same company as a vegan animal rights activist, which is an absurd notion.

    It would be like saying the human slave abolitionists held the same position as the slave ‘owners’.

    That is absolutely not true, and the case is the same here.

    In this light, i would like to see ‘rights’ used to describe actual rights-based activism…i hope that is a reasonable request!

    I’m curious to hear you explain why you believe that the definition i provided is unrealistic?

    I think many, many animals live without direct interference from humans…of course, many have never seen a human in their lifetime. And certainly, were the world to adopt a vegan ethic, significantly more would as well, as we retract our fishing vessels, and cease deforestation, and allow habitat to return to its original’s often animal agriculture that spurs our wide-ranging destruction…and a vegan diet requires significantly less land.

    Of course we will influence *some* animals with our living, we shouldn’t have to live in bubbles. I think we can certainly do better, working to live in peace with nature, and to leave many more to live their lives on their own terms (which is a fundamental human right, is it not?)

    Ending the breeding and captivity is something we humans have control over, and can end completely. And rights advocates need to demand their end, not their modification and sanitation. The suffering only ends when humans stop this domination.

  • eleveneleven

    Dave Shishkoff wrote: “It would be like saying the human slave abolitionists held the same position as the slave ‘owners’.”

    The use of such an analogy is nothing more than a cooptation. Are you aware slavery still exists? (No doubt you are and just don’t care.)

    It’s quite comical the way you argue with fellow vegans. Even more comical that you get paid to do it. (Oh, but let’s not discuss that!)

    Moreover, it could be argued that you & your organization are in the business of exploiting farm animals as you collect a paycheck while purposely working against those who are not only vegan, but who are also individuals and organizations working to reduce animal suffering. I think there must be a name for that.

  • Monica

    Elephants getting their day in court!

    Ringling Bros circus going to federal court! No decision has been made yet but the fact that the case was heard and the evidence of abuse now public record is a victory in and of itself.

    Here is a link to the court docs and more information

  • Alex

    I am not necessarily opposed to welfare reforms, yet I agree that “rights” and “welfare” should be separate designations. It’s confusing to the public for us to ignore the difference.

    If you want to do a list with both, say “animal advocacy.”

  • Alex

    Oh and here are some missing victories that are actually animal rights related: the greyhound racing ban in MA, the use of contraceptives instead of culling for Catalina Island’s bison, and the fact that no dolphins were slaughtered in Japan this year.

  • Rob

    Yes please, let’s keep ‘rights’ and ‘welfare’ separate. This is confusing enough for many people to get a handle on.

    ‘Rights’ is the position that we don’t have the right to use animals as we see fit. ‘Welfare’ reforms do not achieve this. It’s a thorny issue, but not one to be ignored.

  • Urton

    It’s great that you’ve highlighted California’s tail docking ban. This practice is not performed at slaughterhouses, though (to my knowledge). It is performed by some dairy farmers in an attempt to keep manure-covered tails from getting in the way of milking parlor staff. Some farmers also believe it helps keep the udder clean, but this has been disproved by research at the University of British Columbia.

    As a result of this research, the Canadian Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Dairy Cattle (a quasi-regulatory standard) was amended earlier this year to stipulate that dairy farmers must not tail dock in Canada. Incidentally, the Code also now includes restrictions on electric prod use and states that pain control must be used for dehorning (which is called “disbudding” on young calves), castration and branding of dairy cattle. You can see the full Code at

    Geoff Urton
    British Columbia SPCA

  • Dave Shishkoff

    I’m surprised the comments from eleveneleven made it through moderation, how are their comments anything more than flamebait?

    At least i’m up-front with who i am, and who i choose to represent.

    The rest of the comments are insulting and specious.

    Appreciate that other readers recognize and value the differences between rights and reform.

    • herwin

      I dont know you or your organisation, i only know you by the words i read now.
      I must say, i pretty much agree with it. By now many ordinary people know about the animal factories and how immense cruel the animals are treated. Many ordinary people are seriously considering going veg, for one or more days a week. But instead of keeping our agenda and showing how brutal the animal factories are, we play the game and suddenly advertise it as an “animal rights” victory when the animal factories stop cutting tails, or another small change.
      In short , animal organisations saying that this is a victory for the animals, are giving the message to ordinary people that animal factories cleaned up their cruel behaviour and have become more humane.
      That, in short, is a BIG step back.

      These sort of reforms only help clean up the animal factories image, and refrain ordinary people from switching to a veg diet, because even animal organisations themselves are saying that the animals are living a better life.

      I agree with you that some posters here dont stick to arguments but get personal and insulting, too bad, that doesnt do their case very good, and disrespectful because you post here with your own name and simply expres your opinion.

      “We dont want bigger cages, we want empty cages.”
      That was the motto from the animal rights movement.
      anybody who thinks that can’t be possible and only minor reforms are “realistic” is a cynicus.

      True animal victories are the ban on seal fur in the European Union.
      I am so glad that these people did fight for a Ban and not for a “more human way of killing the seals”.

      You get what you fight for. You fight for minor improvem,ents, thats what you get.
      You fight for a ban, thats what you get.
      Thank you all the true animal defenders like Paul Watson, who don’t “compromise”. Because you cant compromise with somebody elses life.
      If you where in the shoes of the pig, the cow, the chicken, you would FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT for a ban, to turn people vegan, you woulnd fight for 10 cm2 extra space.

      • herwin

        so my guess is, David, according to your standards, that you fully support any animal rights organisation that fights for ending FUR, fights for ending ALL animal experiments, Fights against the animal trade, has a running and very high profiled and very succesful campaign promoting veganism, (so many veggies i meet around the world, became veggie after seeing Peta’s Meet Your Meat or Peta’s website information) such as PETA, eh ?
        Cool, a Peta supporter…

  • gen

    Dave, will you marry me? :)

  • Tom England

    In June this year, Animal Defenders International secured a national ban on all animals in circuses in Bolivia – the first of it’s kind in the world. This is without a doubt the biggest victory for animal protection this year.

    Visit to find out more about the good work they do.

  • Tom

    The formatting on this website is totally out of whack and doesn’t load properly. Comments are covered by the flower thing, the text flows vertically with one word per line… Also, the ‘Top 5 Animal Rights Victories of 2009′ gallery doesn’t open or work.

    Too bad… looks like a site would like to keep tabs on.

    • Michael d'Estries

      Hi Tom,

      Would love to help. We receive thousands of visits per day without any issues reported. I suspect it may have something to do with your browser — and since we’re still working out the bugs from our latest refresh, I’d appreciate any input you might be able to provide.


      • herwin

        i had a distorted view a while ago for the Razzi, but it was my browser. All i had to do was press the Compatibility View button (looks like a paper torn in tow pieces) at the top of the browser, next to the adres bar. Problem solved.

  • ????

    A quick note to Mary. Are you sure that you have read the entire article? They answer your queries towards the end!