In July 2019, thanks to the generous support of donors to ACE’s Recommended Charity Fund, we distributed $45,538.92 to our 2018 Top Charities and Standout Charities. Each charity has provided us with an update on their work over the past six months, and we’re excited to share their achievements. By making a single gift to our Recommended Charity Fund, you can support multiple highly effective charities working hard to reduce animal suffering around the world.
2018 Top Charity Updates
The Humane League
Thanks to ACE’s Recommended Charity Fund, The Humane League (THL) invested in global efforts to reduce the suffering of chickens. Over the past six months, THL secured 18 international cage-free commitments and numerous welfare commitments for chickens raised for meat, with 13 in the U.S. and 29 in Europe—including from Kraft Heinz and Le Pain Quotidien.
From 2014 to 2016, most major U.S. companies publicly committed to source only cage-free eggs by 2026 or sooner. A report from The Humane League Labs found that, since December 2015, the percentage of egg-laying hens in the U.S. being raised cage-free has more than doubled, increasing from 8.6% to 20.7% (see graph above). This has reportedly affected more than 40 million hens.
To ensure this progress continues, THL began a dialogue with 19 companies to hold them accountable for their cage-free commitments due in 2019 or earlier. Nine companies completed their cage-free transition, while seven more began publicly reporting their progress. THL launched campaigns against the remaining three, naming them 2019’s Rotten Eggs, which has since resulted in an additional company reporting their progress. This effort has likely set a precedent of transparency and accountability for companies with upcoming cage-free deadlines.
The Good Food Institute
In October 2019, The Good Food Institute (GFI) Policy Director Jessica Almy spoke at The Wall Street Journal Global Food Forum alongside the CEOs of the biggest food companies in the world and the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.
In the last six months, GFI also filed a lawsuit against the state of Arkansas in collaboration with the national American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), and Tofurky. The case represents what GFI reports to be the “biggest victory yet for fair labeling,” as the judge held that Arkansas’ law is probably unconstitutional. Learn more by watching GFI’s Policy Director Jessica Almy speak about the issue on CNN.
Following GFI lobbying, Congress registered its support for alternative protein research in the fiscal 2020 Senate Agriculture Appropriations Report, and it included new language providing extra funding for the Agricultural Research Service to conduct research on pulses. GFI also launched GFI-Israel, now a team of four, and expanded the size of their affiliates in Brazil, India, Asia Pacific, and Europe (now ~25 total across the five offices).
Finally, GFI’s second annual Good Food Conference brought together nearly 1,000 attendees from 34 countries, plus thousands of livestream viewers from 50 countries. The schedule featured research, strategies for industry growth, and perspectives on regulatory issues.
Information about the last full year of GFI’s activities can be found here beginning in early February.
Albert Schweitzer Foundation
With the support of ACE’s Recommended Charity Fund, the Albert Schweitzer Foundation (ASF) achieved several victories for chickens used for meat in the second half of 2019. ASF led a Europe-wide campaign of eight organizations against frozen food giant Nomad Foods and won their pledge to join the European Chicken Commitment within just three days. An additional international campaign against fast food chain Subway was launched in December. Twenty organizations in 14 countries across Europe are coordinating to convince Subway to join the European Chicken Commitment. Another seven companies in various industries joined the Commitment after talking to ASF’s corporate outreach team, among them the majority of Germany’s top ten catering companies and one of Germany’s biggest wholesalers.
ASF also gained an important partial win in their legal work on behalf of animals. A court ruled that organizations aiming to launch investigations against industrial farms do not need to hand in all of their information at the beginning of the case. This move will protect whistleblowers and other vulnerable sources of information.
A collection of all of ASF’s 2019 milestones in their efforts to help animals can be found here.
2018 Standout Charity Updates
Sociedade Vegetariana Brasileira
Sociedade Vegetariana Brasileira (SVB) used their grant from the Recommended Charity Fund to support many of their reported achievements for animals from the second half of 2019. Firstly, they expanded from 40 to 50 volunteer groups across Brazil. They also continued to build the capacity of health professionals: Through their trainings, SVB has now reached 3,000 health professionals with information about plant-based nutrition.
In the second half of 2019, SVB also worked with restaurants to increase the accessibility of vegan food. They report that 600 restaurants have since added vegan options to their menus. Additionally, they organized Vegfest Brazil 2019—the largest veg event in Latin America—with 5,000 participants attending in the city of Brasília in October 2019 (see photo above).
SVB also used their grant to build the capacity of 1,200 cooks working in the São Paulo public school system and other institutional food programs. Additionally, they report influencing the official Health Ministry’s Dietary Guidelines (published in November 2019) to acknowledge the possibility of raising vegetarian and vegan children.
Finally, SVB achieved a total of 80 million vegan meals served in 2019 as a result of their Meatless Monday program in São Paulo public schools and other cafeterias. More information about their recent accomplishments can be found here.
Through campaigns and negotiations, Sinergia Animal helped achieve 10 cage-free egg commitments in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, and Thailand. These included some of the first-ever commitments made by supermarket chains in these countries, such as Carrefour in Argentina and Tesco in Thailand and Malaysia. They also helped secure a cage-free egg policy from Subway that applies to seven Asian countries. In Indonesia, Sinergia Animal is carrying out a coalition campaign directed at McDonald’s, and in Latin America, they started a tracking program with more than 50 companies that are already committed to eliminating the use of eggs from battery-caged hens.
In August, Sinergia Animal launched investigations to expose abusive practices in the dairy industry in Chile, Argentina, and Colombia. The images were viewed by over four million people and were covered by 16 news media, including large and mainstream outlets. In Thailand and Indonesia, they launched plant-based challenges for consumers that have already attracted over 1,100 participants.
With support from ACE’s Recommended Charity Fund, ProVeg International was able to further their global work with the public and private sectors, continue to create strong grassroots networks, and run public awareness-raising campaigns in support of their mission to reduce the global consumption of animals by 50% by 2040.
In the last six months of 2019, ProVeg expanded to Iaunch ProVeg U.S., led by U.S. Executive Director Michael Webermann (see photo above of Webermann at ProVeg’s 2019 Global Leadership Summit). They also ran the third cohort of their global food accelerator program, ProVeg Incubator. Through this cohort alone they cultivated ten start-ups, including Latin American’s first cell-cultured meat start-up, Cell Farm Food Tech.
ProVeg International also released The Plant Milk Report, a report that explores the role of plant-based and cell-cultured milk in healthy, sustainable nutrition. Additionally, they co-organized a side event at the UN Climate Change Conference in Madrid. The event underscored the link between diet, climate change, and health to over 150 conference attendees.
Finally, ProVeg International continued to run their Veggie Challenge, an online tool that aims to help individuals implement a meat reduction goal for 30 days. In 2019, the program supported a total of 120,000 participants.
Open Cages used their Recommended Charity Fund grant to strengthen their corporate campaigns work. Open Cages (as a part of the Open Wing Alliance and as a result of independent communication with local and national companies) convinced subsequent companies to sign the European Chicken Commitment and hence to demand higher welfare standards from their suppliers.
They also continued their previous work to raise awareness about fish welfare. After publishing the first report on fish farming in Poland, Open Cages convinced several retailers to end the sale of live fishes.
Nonhuman Rights Project
With the support of ACE’s Recommended Charity Fund, the Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP) continued to focus on establishing legal personhood and fundamental rights for nonhuman animals in and outside of the courtroom.
In 2019, rallies became an important grassroots advocacy tool for the NhRP to complement their litigation, connect with supporters, and help mount public pressure. In August, they held their second equally well-attended rally outside the Bronx Zoo for Happy the elephant. Meanwhile, in court, they argued before Justice Allison Y. Tuitt, who heard a total of ten hours. The NhRP reports that both the duration and substance of these hearings were unique for arguments on preliminary motions or any habeas corpus proceedings. They were able to delve into the following issues before Justice Tuitt: who counts as a legal person with rights; and why Happy is entitled to the fundamental right to liberty and must be released to a sanctuary.
In August, Colombia’s highest court invited the NhRP to submit a video to the Court as it prepared to decide whether a bear should be permitted to use habeas corpus to secure his freedom from a zoo. The litigation was modeled on the NhRP.
L214 obtained nine new cage-free egg commitments in the second half of 2019. These include a commitment from Leclerc, the leading distributor in France. Leclerc has expanded the scope of its commitment to all of the countries in which it operates. The distributors Système U and Auchan have also expanded the scope of their commitments to all of their brands and egg products. As a result, the production of eggs from caged hens in France has already accelerated its decline. Currently, 42.2% of hens are raised cage-free in France (compared to 31 % two years ago) and based on the commitments L214 obtained from producers, they estimate that at least 75% of laying hens will be raised cage-free in France by 2025.
L214’s Vegan Pratique website—whose aim is to inform and support people who wish to eat more plant-based foods—has recorded 1.5 million visits over the last six months, a reported 36% increase compared to the same period in 2018. The number of page views also doubled to 6.6 million in the second half of 2019.
Finally, through their recent “Improved” campaign, L214 is raising awareness among food industry professionals about the impact of animal products and the appeal of plant-based alternatives. “Improved” organizes events with plant-based menus at companies offering catering to their employees. Following an “Improved” event, a large company in the South of France decided, as a pilot project, to offer a complete plant-based meal daily for three months, reaching 400 employees daily for the duration of the program.
Faunalytics completed one major study and began two others in the latter half of 2019. They completed research on the impact of donation appeals for farmed animals and companion animals using an individual victim versus statistics about suffering. Key findings include: (i) farmed animals received almost as much as companion animals when donors were given the opportunity to support them; (ii) people who had previously donated to any animal charity gave 92% more money to farmed and companion animals than people who had not; and (iii) there was no difference in donations whether the appeal used an identifiable victim or statistical victims.
Compassion in World Farming USA
Compassion in World Farming USA (Compassion USA) released the third annual EggTrack report, the progress tool ensuring that companies stick to their cage-free egg commitments. Forty percent of companies reportedly tracked progress on their cage-free commitments—a substantial increase from last year’s 27%. Notably, McDonald’s and Walmart reported for the first time; the two companies combined have an annual footprint of 15.1 billion eggs, affecting 52.2 million hens. Industry-wide, one in five hens raised in the U.S. is now cage-free.
Compassion USA’s first annual ChickenTrack report highlighted progress by Perdue and Wayne Farms to reduce the suffering of chickens raised for meat. Additionally, Compassion USA’s fourth Better Chicken Leadership Forum convened 26 companies to roadmap the transition to a higher welfare chicken supply. Aramark and KFC expanded their Better Chicken Commitments to Europe, and Barilla met its 100% cage-free egg commitment ahead of schedule.
Finally, Compassion USA participated in a coalition effort that successfully banned the sale of foie gras in New York City.
Support the impactful work of all of ACE’s Top and Standout Charities by making a single donation to the Recommended Charity Fund!