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About The Humane League

The Humane League (THL) exists to end the abuse of animals raised for food. THL is laser focused on the efforts that have the biggest impact for the greatest number of animals. We are distinguished from other animal welfare organizations by the effectiveness of our corporate campaigns, our unique role as the most aggressive campaigners, and our approach to multiplying our movement’s impact globally through the Open Wing Alliance (OWA) and in the US through the Animal Policy Alliance (APA). Our scalable interventions have a proven track record of reducing farm animal suffering—according to a 2019 Rethink Priorities report, our corporate cage-free campaigns affect nine to 120 years of a hens life per dollar spent, and have a follow-through rate of 48%-84% (we’ve found up to 89% in recent years)[1]. But our work is neglected — the entire farm animal advocacy movement receives just 0.03% of US philanthropic support.[2]

We are proud to be recognized by Animal Charity Evaluators and Founders Pledge as one of the most effective animal protection charities in the world.

“While we expect all of our evaluated charities to be excellent examples of effective advocacy, THL is exceptional even within that group. Giving to THL is an excellent opportunity to support initiatives that create the most positive change for animals.” - Animal Charity Evaluators, 2023 THL evaluation report

Our Strategy & 2023 Impact

THL believes in focusing our collective energy where it will do the most good. Since chickens represent 90% of all land animals raised for food, any interventions we make for chickens have the greatest potential impact. And restrictive battery cages—small wire cages used to confine laying hens— are one of the worst sources of suffering for chickens. Ending the battery cage means ending the acute suffering of millions of birds. THL is committed to ending the abuse of animals raised for food by:

  • Holding companies accountable to their cage-free commitments. Thousands of companies around the world have pledged to transition to 100% cage-free, eliminating the practice of confining hens in tiny, barren battery cages. Now, THL is holding these companies accountable, ensuring they keep their promises. Globally, 89% of companies followed through on their 2022 cage-free pledge. And in the US and globally, THL pushed the companies falling behind on their commitments to follow through on their promise. In 2023, THL held 36 companies with global cage-free commitments accountable to reporting progress on their pledges. Companies like Kellogg’s, PepsiCo, and Yum! Brands — the world’s largest service restaurant company and the parent company of KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell — began publicly reporting on their cage-free commitments. All of this is translating to real change on the ground, with 39.4% of the US egg-laying flock free from cages (over ~120 million hens), up from ~5% when THL began this work in 2014.[3] (Global data is currently unavailable)
  • Progressing the cage-free movement globally. In addition to holding companies accountable for their existing commitments, THL is working to secure new cage-free commitments in key strategic areas around the world. Through the OWA, our coalition of nearly 100 member groups in 67 countries, THL is developing a global movement of effective animal advocates that conduct coordinated international and regional campaigns for layer hen and/or broiler chicken welfare. This year, the OWA pushed 103 global companies to pledge to rid their supply chains of cruel battery cages, including first cage-free commitments from corporations headquartered in Japan, the Middle East, Greece, Ukraine, Peru, Ecuador, South Africa, Argentina, South Korea, and Taiwan. And following a months-long international campaign facilitated by the OWA, Jollibee Foods Corporation, the largest and fastest-growing restaurant group in Asia, pledged to reform its global supply chain, impacting an estimated 2 million birds annually. This victory is especially key as we look to progress cage-free work in Asia, where nearly 68% of the world’s eggs are produced. 

Our Room for More Funding

In THL’s 2023 review, ACE estimated that THL had a 2024-2025 funding gap of $10.5M. Additional marginal funding will be used to support our 2024 - 2026 strategic plan, including continuing our work to secure new cage-free commitments in key areas of the world, as well as holding US and global companies accountable for their cage-free commitments. In particular, more funding is needed for travel to effectively conduct our global work, as well as digital advertising to pressure companies and recruit new supporters to power our campaign. In 2023, both these areas were significantly resource-constrained, and created bottlenecks that prevented us from achieving additional impact.

If THL were to receive more significant additional funding, we have developed a robust expansion plan for the OWA through 2030. The goal of this expansion is to free one billion hens from cages by 2030 and achieve a critical tipping point in the OWA’s mission to eliminate battery cages from the planet. Campaigns against global companies have worked well, but to phase out battery cages across the globe, we must have a robust and high-functioning alliance in every major country. 

Our success in building an effective global alliance is outpacing the operational support THL is able to provide, given our own resource constraints. Our current model of having a single regional OWA coordinator to support upwards of 20 member groups with differing needs across an entire continent is no longer sustainable. As the OWA is one of the only international movement building resources available, our constraints mean that groups are unable to get the training and support that they need, alongside the strategic guidance and leadership development. We also see a huge appetite from groups to expand what the OWA is offering so that we can be an even more effective global coalition. 

To achieve the current need and anticipated growth, we need to create small teams in key regions around the world that can then support the differing needs of groups in their respective regions. Those regions are Asia-Pacific—where we especially need more groups securing cage-free commitments in Asia—the Americas—where we need more cage-free commitments and corporate accountability, particularly in Latin America—and EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa)—where we need several more groups in the Middle East, and more support for existing groups in Africa and Europe. These teams would include hiring more campaigners and corporate negotiators to develop customized strategies in coordination with regional OWA leaders, more animal welfare scientists to provide local groups with scientific evidence and support tailored to each region, and regional teams to recruit and support new groups on effective campaigning. To scale this up, we estimate this will cost an additional $2.5M in 2024 and an additional $8M in 2025 and beyond.

We would also increase our OWA grants by more than $1M and staff up core supporting teams (Operations, Communications, and Development) as needed to meet the needs of the expanded OWA and Global teams. 

Another program that is primed for expansion is the Animal Policy Alliance—already 14 member groups strong, and we have a goal to reach at least 30 active alliance members by 2025. THL launched the APA in 2022 to organize, unite, and empower local and state-level animal advocacy groups that are involved in issue-based advocacy and implementing legislative strategies for animals with policy agendas that include animals raised for food. These groups harness and channel the grassroots power of a significant base of animal protection advocates in the United States that they then use to create relationships with legislators at the city, state and federal level, and advocate for policies that benefit animals. Over time, through its leadership role in this alliance and through its grant-making capacity, THL will also influence local groups to focus more on farmed animal and food system issues. 

The APA can immediately support $500K-$1M in APA grants. We distributed $500K in grants in 2022 and were unable to continue the grants program in 2023 due to funding constraints. But through this process, we know the need for funding policy work in the US is strong, and that there are dozens of groups eager to expand their advocacy for farmed animals.

Alongside the expansion of the alliance and APA grants, we would need to expand the APA team and core teams, which we estimate would cost $1M in 2024 and $1.5M in 2025 in total. 

Opportunities to Support THL

Donate to THL directly on our website or vote for us in the EA Forum donation election! We’d love to hear why you think donating to THL is important and effective. If you would like to discuss the impact a more substantial donation could have or other ways to give, please reach out to Caroline Mills, Chief of Staff, at cmills@thehumaneleague.org.

If you’re based in the UK, we recommend you check out THL UK. THL UK is an independent organization that works in collaboration with and is partially funded by THL. If you're based in the UK, you can maximize your impact by taking advantage of gift aid!

  1. ^
  2. ^

    Founders Pledge Animal welfare report, updated March 27, 2023

  3. ^

     Samara Mendez, US Egg Production Data Set, updated April 9, 2023. Most recent data available in the monthly USDA Egg Markets Overview.

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Executive summary: The Humane League seeks additional funding to further progress cage-free corporate commitments globally and hold companies accountable to existing pledges in order to reduce animal suffering.

Key points:

  1. The Humane League's corporate cage-free campaigns have been highly effective, with high follow-through rates, but the organization is resource constrained.
  2. In 2023, The Humane League held companies accountable and secured new cage-free commitments, especially in Asia.
  3. Additional funding estimated at $10.5M for 2024-2025 would support strengthening accountability and securing more commitments.
  4. With major expansion of their international Open Wing Alliance, The Humane League could aim to free 1 billion hens from cages by 2030.
  5. Expanding their Animal Policy Alliance could empower advocacy groups' legislative work for farmed animals in the US.
  6. UK donors can maximize impact via gift aid to their UK affiliate.

 

This comment was auto-generated by the EA Forum Team. Feel free to point out issues with this summary by replying to the comment, and contact us if you have feedback.

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