One bitterly cold night in Philadelphia, a group of animal activists joined each other outside a restaurant. They were meeting up to protest foie gras—speaking out against the cruel practice on behalf of the animals who couldn’t.
And they didn’t know it yet, but that grassroots activism was the start of something big.
Those passionate individuals would go on to found The Humane League (THL), an international nonprofit on a bold mission to end the abuse of animals raised for food. The Humane League’s strategic global team influences the world’s biggest companies, advances policy change, and empowers others to take action. And that’s what THL’s work is all about—the animals.
Of all animals currently being raised for food, 94% live on factory farms. That means a life without sun on their backs, fresh air in their lungs, or even the freedom to extend their limbs. And out of the billions (yes, billions) of animals raised for food worldwide, chickens account for nine in every ten. Tragically, these sensitive beings have little to no legal protection—and they face some of the most extreme forms of animal abuse in our food system.
Whether raised for eggs or for meat, chickens endure horrific cruelty every day of their lives. Egg-laying hens are confined to battery cages, and barren wire crates that are only a few feet wide and about 15 inches tall. Crowded together with up to ten other birds, each hen has a space smaller than a sheet of paper—too small to even spread her wings. “Broilers,” an industry term for the chickens raised for meat, don’t have it any better. Selectively bred to reach market weight unnaturally fast, many are unable to walk or even stand. At the end of their brief lives, they endure the horrific process of live-shackle slaughter—where some of them may even be boiled alive.
No amount of profit makes this cruelty acceptable. So, since its founding in 2005, The Humane League has been laser-focused on ending abuses like live-shackle slaughter as effectively—and urgently—as possible. Powered by passionate supporters and a global community of hardworking volunteers, THL has launched forceful campaigns calling on some of the world’s largest corporations to end the worst abuses against chickens and egg-laying hens. And the movement is only growing.
In 2016, THL founded the Open Wing Alliance (OWA), a coalition of organizations working towards an amazing shared vision: to end the abuse of chickens worldwide. In addition to running hard-hitting global campaigns against restaurants and supermarkets, the OWA supports over 95 member organizations in over 70 countries, changing the way the world’s biggest companies treat animals and setting a new standard for corporate animal welfare policies around the world.
“The progress we’ve seen so far—with the egg industry transitioning to cage-free systems and more—makes me optimistic for what’s to come for farm animals,” says Dr. Vicky Bond, certified veterinarian and animal welfare scientist and President at The Humane League. “Tremendous strides have been made to influence the hearts and minds of legislators, corporate decision-makers, and consumers. As we witness plant-based options increasing every day, we’ll work together to secure meaningful animal welfare legislation and corporate policies to create a more compassionate world together.”
A lot has changed since those first protests in Philadelphia—but one thing has stayed the same. The Humane League has always been, and always will be, for the animals. Together, THL staff and volunteers are influencing change—ensuring companies abolish the worst forms of abuse through meaningful animal welfare policies. Day by day, we get closer to a world in which animals no longer suffer at the hands of factory farms. But we won’t get there without your help.
The Humane League’s campaigns are fueled by support from compassionate individuals like you. Your passion and dedication have the power to repair our broken food system. Please join us by adding your voice to the movement—and creating the brighter future that animals deserve.
Check out more charities to support:
- The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation: A Simple Act And An Elegant Solution
- Switch4good Wants Equal Milk For All
- Mercy For Animals: Preventing Cruelty And Promoting Compassionate Food Choices
- Farm Sanctuary: Let’s Build The Good Together
- The Gentle Barn: ‘we Never Give Up On An Animal’
- How Beyond Fences Brings Pet Resources To Underserved Communities
- Children’s Health Defense: Groundbreaking Change Powered By Parents
- Meals That Heal With Peta India