Looking back as we look forward to an exciting change ahead
Thirteen years ago, on bitterly cold nights in Philadelphia, a small group of activists stood outside restaurants to protest foie gras. It was the start of something that would become more impactful—thanks to supporters like you—than we ever imagined.
With this grassroots approach as a foundation, we began focusing on institutional change. From Baltimore to Boston to Berkeley, we ran dozens of campaigns, holding companies to account. And, we won. Company by company. Campus by campus. Restaurant by restaurant. All committing to cage-free policies that would break millions of chickens free from the brutal confines of cages. Thanks to those relentless efforts, and the dedicated activists who stood alongside us, over 10 million chickens are now free each year to spread their wings.
As the years went on, our team ran campaigns against bigger companies. Their size, and power, never scared our committed community from taking a stand for the animals who were enduring abuse. General Mills. PepsiCo. Grupo Bimbo. Starbucks. Subway. Burger King. Chipotle. Pret A Manger. And, the world's biggest institutional food providers—Sodexo, Aramark, and Compass Group—have all enacted animal welfare policies. Over the last few years, our staff and volunteers have helped to pass the world's strongest animal protection legislation—starting with Question 3 in Massachusetts and, most recently in 2018, Prop 12 in California.
But, our movement didn't stop at institutional change. We also believe in changing hearts and minds. That's why we've also worked to empower millions with knowledge, opening eyes to the horrors of factory farming, and inspiring many to leave animals off of their plates. Over the years, we've trained dozens of students on campuses across the U.S. to become unstoppable leaders and activists, and we've distributed over 7.1 million veg eating guides. Most recently, we launched our own resource, EatingVeg.org, with veg eating tips, facts, and meal plans.
Because we've always been committed to effective animal protection, we launched a research arm called The Humane League Labs. This team conducts studies and makes practical recommendations to inform our strategies and tactics—both at The Humane League and within our larger movement—ensuring that all of our work is grounded in sound research and efficacy.
By 2016, our reach grew broader, and the network of activists fighting for animals grew even mightier. Because we know the abuse of animals raised for food is a global crisis, we opened offices in Mexico, the U.K, and Japan. We also initiated the Open Wing Alliance (OWA), a global coalition united in a common goal: to end the abuse of chickens worldwide. The OWA has 59 member organizations across 6 continents. Collectively, in 2018 alone, it earned 388 corporate animal welfare commitments and gave $405K in grants to grassroots organizations all across the world. This global coalition makes it possible for us to share resources, train other non-profits, and cultivate a welcoming and collaborative international community. After all, this is a movement that's far bigger than ourselves.
A lot has happened over these past 13 years. We're proud of the progress we've made, together. And, we're equally excited to continue the journey. Reimagining the future for the animals, and taking an even bolder stance moving forward. Because the time is now to take a stand. To win. For the animals.
In the next two weeks, we'll be sharing an exciting announcement! So, stay tuned on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to be the first to know. And, over these next two weeks, we invite you to start reimagining the future for animals. In four days, starting on March 18th, we invite you to share what that looks like for you on Instagram.
Throughout all the years, and the changes along the way, one thing has remained the same: we are, and have always been, for the animals. With you.