As we look back on 2011, animal welfare groups are reminding us of the many victories achieved this year on behalf of animals. Laws were passed to help groups of animals and campaigns were held to save individuals.

The following lists some of the highlights for the year.

Individual Campaign Successes

Efforts by advocates were seen all over the world. Campaigns freed Tony the Tiger from his truck stop cage, sent the oldest working elephant, Anne from a circus big top to a sanctuary and gave a runaway cow named Yvonne her freedom.

Individuals brought a nearly starved dog named Patrick back to life after he was thrown down an apartment garbage chute and people were brought together to try and save a kitten named Dexter who was beaten with a baseball bat.

Animal lovers in China stopped 800 dogs from being delivered to a slaughterhouse, advocates traveled to Japan to save animals after the earthquake and tsunami and rescuers saved the lives of countless pets after tornadoes ravaged the Mid-West.

National and International Campaigns

Organized campaigns and legal action brought about many victories for animals:

*Bolivia became the first South America country to ban the use of wild animals in circuses. Thanks to a campaign by Animal Defenders International all of the animals were relocated to wildlife sanctuaries.

*Peru became the second South American country to ban the use of wild animals. Proposals were also launched in the U.K. and the U.S.A.

*Shark fin products were banned in California and Toronto.

*Japan’s annual illegal whale hunt was shortened due to pressure from activists.

*Suffolk County, New York created the nation’s first animal abuse registry.

*Cooney’s Law in Nevada upgraded animal abuse to a felony crime.

*The Humane Society of the United States reported 1,615 pet stores joined its campaign to stop selling puppy mill dogs in favor of adopting homeless pets.

*Iam’s Home 4 The Holidays campaign which works with 3,500 animal rescue groups worldwide, adopted its 6 millionth dog.

*Toronto banned the sale of puppy mill dogs in pet shops throughout the city.

*Israel placed a country wide ban on declawing cats.

*Spain banned bullfighting in its north-eastern region.

*Maine was the sixth state to pass legislation banning the use of gestation crates and veal crates for animals on factory farms.

*The National Institutes of Health suspended funding for any new experiments on chimpanzees.

*Alabama unanimously passed a ban on using gas chambers for euthanasia.

*California signed a law to strengthen the penalties for cock fighting and dog fighting and those who attend events.

*Russia banned importing harp seal products.

*BLM promised to make changes on how wild horses are rounded up.

The list above only scratches the surface of victories for animals in 2011. Hopefully your favorite achievement wasn’t overlooked. If you have an animal welfare success story, please feel free to share it

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