IFAW advocates for the passage of animal protection laws and to mainstream animal welfare values into other legislation and policies. Sound animal welfare legislation, in particular, is essential to protect animals from cruel treatment:

  • Effective national legislation establishes uniform standards for the treatment of animals.
  • National laws are often easier to enforce than a patchwork of community, state, or provincial regulations.
  • They demonstrate a nation's commitment to animal welfare that national leadership can represent within international agreements.

IFAW's achievements in legislative campaigning

Over the years, IFAW has ensured the voice of animals is heard and listened to by politicians and national lawmakers. Some of our legislative campaigns and accomplishments include:

  • In Russia, IFAW achieved a ban in 2011 on the winter den hunt that left countless bear cubs orphaned each year. The previous year, we achieved a ban on the annual grey seal hunt in Russia, saving around 35,000 seals each year.
  • In China, the 2011 annual conference of the party fielded an unprecedented number of animal welfare proposals including anti-cruelty legislation, anti-tiger farming legislation, and responsible pet ownership legislation.
  • In the UK, IFAW achieved a huge victory when the Government banned the cruel sport of hunting with dogs by introducing the Hunting Act of 2004. We continually defend this ban against calls for a repeal by the Conservative Party and have employed hunt monitors whose evidence has been used in both private and public prosecutions under the Act. To date there have been over 180 successful prosecutions under the Hunting Act. Read more about this campaign.
  • In the UK, IFAW contributed to the development of the 2006 Animal Welfare Act that imposes a duty of care to ensure the well-being of domesticated animals.
  • In the US, IFAW contributed to the 2003 passage of the Captive Wildlife Safety Act which dramatically reduced the number of big cats being held in captivity within the country.
  • In the US in February 2012, Rep. Buck McKeon (R-CA) and Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA) introduced H.R. 4122, the “Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act,” in the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill would not affect zoos, but would prohibit breeding and private possession of big cats and would ensure that lions, tigers and other dangerous big cats do not threaten public safety, diminish global big cat conservation efforts, or live in deplorable or abusive conditions. The proposed legislation is being supported by a number of animal welfare and wildlife conservation groups including the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Born Free USA, Big Cat Rescue, the Ian Somerhalder Foundation (ISF), Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), the ROAR Foundation and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).
  • In Canada, our 2007 study, Falling Behind: An International Comparison of Canada's Animal Cruelty Legislation, detailed serious deficiencies in Canada's animal-cruelty legislation, which has not been updated since 1892. It also recommended seven simple, specific measures that would better protect animals in Canada.

Leading experts who attended an international forum organized by the International Fund for Animal Welfare and the University of Limerick, in June 2004 collaborated on Gaining Ground: In Pursuit of Ecological Sustainability.  The 425-page book, published in 2006, is FREE. Order it now.