Displaying items by tag: animals

 

Washington, D.C., March 9, 2017 -- Today, Born Free USA, a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation, announced support for the reintroduction of the Refuge from Cruel Trapping Act (H.R. 1438) in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY). This bill would ban the use or possession of body-gripping animal traps including snares, Conibear traps, and steel-jaw leghold traps within the National Wildlife Refuge System.

According to Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA, “The mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System is clear: to be an inviolate sanctuary for our native wildlife. Dangerous, indiscriminate body-gripping traps simply have no place on these federal protected lands. The brutality of these traps cannot be overstated. Steel-jaw leghold traps and Conibear traps slam shut with bone-crushing force, causing massive injury and trauma. Animals trapped in strangulation neck snares—designed to tighten around an animal’s neck as he or she struggles—also suffer in extreme agony for an unconscionable amount of time. Born Free USA commends Congresswoman Lowey for leading the effort to end this cruelty and urges swift passage of the legislation to ensure that national wildlife refuges are safe havens for wildlife.”

“We must restore the true meaning of ‘refuge’ to the National Wildlife Refuge System,” said Congresswoman Lowey. “This critical legislation will ban indiscriminate body-gripping traps on public land, which not only endanger wild animals but also the millions of visitors who enjoy our nation’s 566 refuges each year. These violent devices are simply not worth the devastation of even one accident. It is past time we ensure the entire National Wildlife Refuge System remains safe for animals and families alike.”

The National Wildlife Refuge System encompasses the most comprehensive and diverse collection of fish and wildlife habitats in the world, and provides a home for more than 380 endangered species. Overall, the National Wildlife Refuge System harbors species of more than 700 birds, 220 mammals, 250 reptiles and amphibians, and 1,000 fish. Despite its mission “to administer a national network of lands and waters for the conservation, management, and where appropriate, restoration of the fish, wildlife, and plant resources and their habitats within the United States for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans,” more than half of all national wildlife refuges allow trapping on refuge grounds.

“More than 100 other countries have either severely restricted or outright banned the use of steel-jaw leghold traps. It is inexcusable to allow these and other cruel traps on land specifically set aside to be safe havens for wildlife. Additionally, the millions of people who visit national wildlife refuges every year with their families and companion animals should be able to enjoy American refuges without the fear of stepping into a cruel, hidden trap and getting injured or killed.” Roberts added.

Born Free USA urges other members of Congress to join Congresswoman Lowey in support of H.R. 1438.

Born Free USA is a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation, and public education, the organization leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic “pets,” trapping and fur, and the destructive international wildlife trade. Born Free USA brings to North America the message of “compassionate conservation”—the vision of the United Kingdom-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic film Born Free, along with their son, Will Travers. Born Free USA’s mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally. More at www.bornfreeusa.org, www.twitter.com/bornfreeusa, and www.facebook.com/bornfreeusa.

 

Donations to support injured and orphaned wildlife

Washington, D.C., March 2, 2017 -- Today, Born Free USA, a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation, announced the completion of its third annual Born Free USA Fur for the Animals campaign. The four-month donation drive collected 1,615 fur items from around the world to distribute to U.S. wildlife rehabilitation centers and sanctuaries, where they will be used to bring familiar warmth, comfort, and enrichment to orphaned, injured, and rescued wildlife.

The number of fur donations quadrupled from last year’s total. This year’s donations are valued at an estimated $3.7 million and represent approximately 53,000 animals who died for these products. While donations included the more common mink, rabbit, and fox coats and accessories, Born Free USA also received several vintage items made from imperiled and threatened species. Such items include a coat, hat, and muff made from Geoffroy’s cat (a small wild cat species found in South America), two Canada lynx pelts tagged by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), and one CITES-tagged gray wolf pelt. Other noteworthy items include coats made from bobcat, otter, seal, and beaver.

According to Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA, “We are proud of the success of the Fur for the Animals initiative. Hundreds of items arrived at our office each week, and it is clear that this campaign is fulfilling an important need as the public becomes increasingly aware that any fur items are the result of misery and cruel death for millions of animals. Fur for the Animals allows people to give up their fur in a profound and satisfying way, repurposing these garments with positive effect: for animals.”

“All of the items are going to wildlife rehabilitation centers or sanctuaries, but Born Free USA—in consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service—will keep the vintage imperiled species items in order to raise awareness about the destructive and despicable international wildlife trade. Some of these species partially owe their vulnerable status to the demand for their parts and commercial products made from them,” Roberts explains.   

Born Free USA is sending fur to wildlife rehabilitation centers across the country, including the following campaign partners:

  1. Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary, Locust Grove, Georgia
  2. Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation, Kendalia, Texas
  3. The Fund for Animals Wildlife Center, Ramona, California
  4. Mississippi Wildlife Rehabilitation, Inc., Lake Cormorant, Mississippi
  5. Wet Mountain Wildlife Rehabilitation, Inc., Westcliffe, Colorado
  6. Thunder Eagle Wildlife, McKenney, Virginia

For a complete list, click here. Additional wildlife rehabilitation centers are encouraged to participate. Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information. 

Born Free USA commends the growing number of fashion retailers vowing to go fur free. In March 2016, the luxury brand Giorgio Armani announced it will remove real animal fur from its collections beginning with its Fall/Winter 2016 line. Armani is joining such brands as Hugo Boss, American Apparel, Esprit, H&M, Steve Madden, Marks & Spencer, and Topshop, among others that have pledged to produce only fur free merchandise.

Born Free USA is a member of the Fur Free Alliance: an international coalition of animal protection organizations working to bring an end to the exploitation and killing of animals for their fur. The Fur Free Alliance represents more than 40 animal protection organizations in 28 countries and millions of supporters worldwide. 

Born Free USA is a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation, and public education, Born Free USA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic “pets,” trapping and fur, and the destructive international wildlife trade. Born Free USA brings to North America the message of “compassionate conservation”—the vision of the United Kingdom-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic film Born Free, along with their son, Will Travers. Born Free USA’s mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally. More at www.bornfreeusa.org, www.twitter.com/bornfreeusa, and www.facebook.com/bornfreeusa.

“An honest and engaging portrayal of her journey from dog lover to dedicated shelter volunteer. [Sutherland] seamlessly interweaves a narrative of the dogs she has loved over the years—warts and all. Reader, beware: you may find yourself falling in love with each one too.”
   — Booklist, starred review

“[Sutherland’s] understanding of shelter dogs—she writes that they are not so much homeless as humanless—shines through on every page....An inside look at the experiences of shelter dogs that is sure to appeal to dog and animal lovers.”

   — Kirkus Reviews

 
   

 

RESCUING PENNY JANE

One Shelter Volunteer, Countless Dogs,

and the Quest to Find Them All Homes

By Amy Sutherland

What shelter dogs need is obvious – homes. But how do we find all those homes? That question sends best-selling writer and shelter volunteer Amy Sutherland looking for answers in her own experiences and beyond. The result is RESCUING PENNY JANE: One Shelter Volunteer, Countless Dogs, and the Quest to Find Them All Homes (Harper; on sale February 21, 2017; $26.99), an inspiring, fascinating trip through the world of homeless dogs and the people who work so hard to save them.

A longtime shelter volunteer, Sutherland essentially lets the dogs she’s known do the talking because in their stories she finds so many answers. There’s Gwen Stefani, a ball-crazy pit bull mix who can’t find a family; Rugby, an abandoned puppy with crippled front legs, and Brody, a young German Shepherd who likes to mouth people, among many others. Readers will also meet the author’s own dogs—Penny Jane, a skittish stray from a Maine farm, and Walter Joe, a luckless terrier from a hoarder’s house—as well as Sido, the sheltie-mix who inspired the no-kill movement, and Sadie the Civil War dog who braved Gettysburg. Traveling across the country, Sutherland draws further solutions and inspiration from the experiences and stories of shelter workers and experts at the forefront of the rescue community.

Throughout her explorations, Sutherland also weaves in a wealth of practical tips, such as how to read a dog’s body language, handle behavior problems, and select your own shelter dog as well as fresh insights into what makes dogs – and humans – tick. At a time when Americans have more dogs than children, the time is ripe to end dog homelessness, and RESCUING PENNY JANE reveals how we can do it.

RESCUING PENNY JANE offers an unforgettable, poignant journey into the special world of rescue and shelter dogs. As the New York Times bestselling author of the memoir Bettyville writes, “Sutherland gives us puppy love, yes, but she goes beyond sentiment and shows us how we can change the lives of the creatures who give the world so much.”

About the Author

Amy Sutherland is the best-selling author of three previous books, most recently What Shamu Taught Me About Life, Love and Happiness. She writes for the New York Times, Smithsonian, Preservation, Women's Health and more, and has a regular column, “Bibliophiles,” in the Boston Globe's Sunday Book Section. She lives in Boston with her two rescue dogs, Walter Joe and Penny Jane.

RESCUING PENNY JANE:

One Shelter Volunteer, Countless Dogs, and the Quest to Find Them All Homes

By Amy Sutherland

Harper

On Sale: February 21, 2017

ISBN-13: 9780062377234

Hardcover/288 pages/$26.99

 

Lawsuit argues removal of online animal welfare records violates the Freedom of Information Act and the Administrative Procedure Act

SAN FRANSICO – Today, the Animal Legal Defense Fund filed suit against the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for removing tens of thousands of animal welfare records from the agency’s website. According to the lawsuit, the USDA’s decision to remove the records violates both the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). The removed documents revealed inhumane treatment of animals at thousands of research laboratories, roadside zoos and puppy mills across the country.

The lawsuit, filed in the Northern District of California on behalf of a coalition of animal protection organizations, contends that the USDA violated FOIA, which requires federal agencies to affirmatively disclose final orders and frequently requested records. It also argues that the USDA violated the APA, which prohibits agencies from taking actions that are “arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with law[.]” If the coalition is successful with its claim under the APA, the USDA would be required to resume posting the records online so they are available to the public.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund is joined in the lawsuit by Stop Animal Exploitation NOW!, Companion Animal Protection Society and Animal Folks. The USDA’s decision to stop posting records significantly burdens the organizations because they must now manage voluminous FOIA requests to access the same records, potentially pay large fees, and wait for several months or even years to obtain records previously accessible immediately online at no cost.

Public access to these records is especially important in light of the USDA’s chronically lackadaisical enforcement of the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA). The Office of Inspector General, an oversight division of the USDA, regularly finds that the USDA renders its enforcement of the AWA largely ineffective by not aggressively pursuing enforcement actions against substandard facilities and by significantly discounting penalties even when it does pursue enforcement action.

“The USDA itself needs oversight due to its continual failure to adequately enforce the federal Animal Welfare Act,” says Animal Legal Defense Fund Executive Director Stephen Wells. “The information blackout is a tremendous blow to transparency and undermines advocates who are working to protect hundreds of thousands of animals across the country.”

The plaintiffs filing today’s lawsuit regularly utilized the USDA database and enforcement actions page to obtain records about the conditions of animals at facilities regulated under the AWA, such as research laboratories, puppy mills and zoos around the country. In turn, these organizations use the records to advocate for stronger animal protection policies, confront the USDA over inadequate regulation of substandard facilities, supply evidence for law enforcement action and build legal cases against especially egregious violators. The Animal Legal Defense Fund relied on these records in its groundbreaking Endangered Species Act (ESA) victory against the Cricket Hollow Animal Park (previously Cricket Hollow Zoo), a roadside zoo that cruelly confined endangered animals in inhumane conditions. It was the first victory applying the ESA to protect animals in captivity.

The organizations are represented pro bono by Margaret Kwoka, Associate Professor at University of Denver Sturm College of Law, and Perkins Coie LLP.

For more information visit, aldf.org.

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About the Animal Legal Defense Fund
The Animal Legal Defense Fund was founded in 1979 to protect the lives and advance the interests of animals through the legal system. To accomplish this mission, the Animal Legal Defense Fund files high-impact lawsuits to protect animals from harm; provides free legal assistance and training to prosecutors to assure that animal abusers are punished for their crimes; supports tough animal protection legislation and fights harmful legislation; and provides resources and opportunities to law students and professionals to advance the emerging field of animal law. For more information, please visit aldf.org.

About the Companion Animal Protection Society
Founded in 1992, the Companion Animal Protection Society (CAPS) is the only national nonprofit dedicated exclusively to protecting companion animals from cruelty in pet shops and puppy/kitten mills. CAPS addresses animal suffering through investigations, legislation, education, media relations, consumer assistance, and rescue.

About Stop Animal Exploitation NOW!

SAEN (Stop Animal Exploitation NOW!) is a national non-profit animal advocacy organization dedicated to the rights of all animals.  Our mission is to end the exploitation of animals imprisoned in laboratories by educating the public with the reality of what is happening inside the vivisection industry and engaging government agencies to enforce laws, issue citations, and levy fines against criminal labs.  Through in-depth investigations of laboratories and national media campaigns, SAEN exposes and ends the misery of animals.

About Animal Folks

Animal Folks is a nonprofit organization devoted to protecting the lives of animals by modernizing the animal law enforcement system in Minnesota. Animal Folks is focused on systemic change — finding new, innovative ways to prevent animal cruelty and improve how animal law is enforced throughout Minnesota. To achieve this mission, Animal Folks conducts research on animal cruelty issues and cases, creates training materials and resources, files criminal and civil complaints against abusers, and collaborates with state, local and national authorities and organizations for sustainable reforms. www.animalfolks.org.

SAN FRANCISCO – The San Francisco Zoo & Gardens invites guests to celebrate Lunar New Year with two full weekends of fun and entertainment at its 100-acre park, living classroom, conservation center and Zoo!  The festivities will be held Saturday and Sunday, January 28-29 and February 4-5 from 10:00-4:00 as guests are treated to traditional Chinese dance performances multiple times each day.  Embark on an adventure by navigating the Chinese Zodiac Animal Scavenger Hunt and be sure to visit SF Zoo’s Rhode Island red rooster “Mac” during the Year of the Rooster celebration.

San Francisco Zoo & Gardens guests born in the Year of the Rooster receive complimentary admission on January 28-29 and February 4-5.  Keeping with the Chinese calendar, the Zoo will honor birthdays in 2017, 2005, 1993, 1981, 1969, 1957, 1945, 1933, 1921 and 1909, as well as birthdays falling in January and February of the following year.

Event Details

What: Lunar New Year Celebration at San Francisco Zoo & Gardens

Where: San Francisco Zoo & Gardens, Great Highway and Sloat Blvd., San Francisco, CA 94132

When: January 28-29 and February 4-5 from 10:00-4:00

Visuals: Traditional Chinese dance performances, guests going on Chinese Zodiac Animal Scavenger Hunts, and more than 2,000 animals (including a rooster)

Best time for coverage: 11:00 am or 1:30 pm for the dance performances (11:00 and 12:30 on 2/5 only)

Event link: https://sfzoo.worldsecuresystems.com/announcements/lunar-new-year-2017

 

For planning purposes, below outlines upcoming February events:

  • February 1-28: Senior Sweetheart Month – Senior citizens ages 65 and older receive 2 for 1 admission
  • February 11: Members’ Morning – Exclusive access to the Zoo before gates open to the public
  • February 11-12: Will Zoo be Mine? – Take a “Lovers Stroll” and learn about animal mates, couples and families
  • February 18-20: Animals of America – Spend President’s Day Weekend visiting and learning about Zoo residents (many of them rescued) native to North America

About San Francisco Zoo & Gardens

Established in 1929, San Francisco Zoo & Gardens connects people to wildlife, inspires caring for nature and advances conservation action.  An urban oasis, the Zoo & Gardens are home to more than 2,000 exotic, endangered and rescued animals representing more than 250 species as well as seven distinct gardens full of native and unusual plants.  Located at the edge of the Pacific Ocean where the Great Highway meets Sloat Boulevard, the Zoo is open 365 days a year from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm (fall/winter) and is accessible by San Francisco MUNI "L" Taraval Line.  You can find us on the web at www.sfzoo.org.

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Animal Defenders International (ADI) applauds Massachusetts State Senator Bruce Tarr’s introduction of SD.2002, to prohibit traveling wild & exotic animal acts. ADI was honored to work with Senator Tarr and local advocates on the bill, reflecting increasing public recognition that these acts are both cruel and dangerous.

The Feld organization recently announced its closure of RinglingBros. circuses, citing decreased ticket sales over the last decade, a change in views from audiences, and admitting that“It isn’t relevant to people in the same way.”

The Federation of Veterinarians of Europenotes"There is little or no educational, conservational, research or economic benefit derived fromthe use of wild mammals in travelling circuses that might justify their use. In addition to thewelfare considerations, the use of wild mammals in circuses canrepresent serious animalhealth and public health and safety risks.

ADI President Jan Creamer said ADI worked closely with Senator Tarr on this effort and we know how determined he is to protect wild animals and the public from these cruel and dangerous acts. ADI’s evidence of the suffering and abuse of wild animals in circuses shows that these shows simply cannot meet the needs of wild animals in lightweight, small and mobile accommodation.

A comprehensive 2016 scientific review considered the latest science and consulted 658 experts and organizations around the world (including industry representatives), to ultimately conclude that for wild animals, this is not “a life worth living.”


Once a ban is in place, ADI has offered to assist with the relocation of circus animals should the need arise. Despite assurances from the circus industry, the physical and psychological health of animals in circuses is inevitably compromised. Animals in circuses are routinely subjected to brutal training methods and violence.

ADI has led the campaign to expose the suffering and educate the public around the world, providing video evidence, prosecutions, and expert reviews. 34 nations have reviewed the evidence and taken action to end traveling circus performances. Across 27states in the US, 68jurisdictions have already decided to either ban or restrict the use of wild animals in traveling shows, due to concerns about public safety and animal welfare.

ADI is also supporting RepresentativesRyan Costello (R-PA) andRaul Grijalva(D-AZ), who launched Traveling Exotic Animaland Public Safety ProtectionAct (TEAPSPA)in Congress last November. The congressmen have concluded that ending wild animal use is the only practical approach to deal withpublic safety issues and inspection and oversightproblems repeatedly cited by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG).

Following bans on the use of animals in circuses in Peru and Colombia,ADIworked with both governments to remove over 100 animals from circuses and the illegal wildlife trade last year including lions, bears, monkeys, a tiger and others. ADI rehabilitated the animals and rehomed them to their natural habitats. These rescues were popular with the public and show what can be achieved with legislators and animal protection organizations cooperating.

Join the global campaign to Stop Circus Suffering: www.stopcircussuffering.com

 

RALEIGH, N.C. (January 18, 2017) – The ever-increasing emergence of new canine DNA tests and testing laboratories has made choosing quality DNA testing providers and the right DNA tests for health and breeding decisions increasingly challenging for many owners, breeders and veterinarians. Working with a wide-spectrum of stakeholders in dog health, the International Partnership for Dogs (IPFD) "Harmonization of Genetic Testing for Dogs" initiative will provide practical support to address these challenges.

With no existing national or international standards of accreditation, or standardization oversight group, there is a growing need for a reliable third party neutral organization that can provide guidance surrounding test reliability, laboratory quality assurance processes and procedures, test applicability by breed, and provide counseling regarding interpretation and best use of genetic test results. This is needed to support consumer confidence in DNA testing, educate consumers in the use of these tests, utilize these tests effectively as tools to reduce the incidence of inherited disease, and to reduce redundant international efforts. IPFD will work to coordinate and consolidate expertise, as well as ongoing and new work to increase the availability of resources to consumers.

The goal of this new IPFD initiative is to create an open access, searchable and sustainable online resource that will:

  • Catalog information provided voluntarily from commercial test providers for genetic testing in dogs;
  • Describe expertise, quality assurance, activities and resources of the test providers;
  • Host expert panel reviews of genetic tests, their reliability, and applicability;
  • Coordinate a program for standardized proficiency testing and potentially peer review and audit;
  • Collate/assemble existing and new resources for genetic counseling and education; and provide the foundation for future developments.

The initial phase of the initiative is to develop a working prototype of the online resource. Both the prototype and the final output will be hosted on the IPFD’s DogWellNet.com platform. The initiative will be guided by IPFD CEO This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and Project Director This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., and will be overseen by a multi-stakeholder steering committee set up by the IPFD. Initial funding for the prototype is provided through generous contributions from IPFD Founding Partners, the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA), and the AKC Canine Health Foundation.

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AKC Canine Health Foundation
For more than 20 years, the Raleigh, NC-based AKC Canine Health Foundation has leveraged the power of science and research to improve the lives of dogs and their people. The Foundation works to prevent, treat, and cure diseases that impact all dogs, while providing professional information and resources for a new breed of dog owner. Take action because you care; find out more online at www.akcchf.org.

International Partnership for Dogs
International Partnership for Dogs (IPFD) is a non-profit organization, registered in Sweden, and initiated in 2014 by a diverse group of stakeholders in the international dog world. The IPFD mission is to facilitate collaboration and sharing of resources to enhance the health, well-being and welfare of pedigreed dogs and all dogs worldwide. Visit the IPFD online at www.dogwellnet.com for more information.

Orthopedic Foundation for Animals
Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) is a 50 year old non-profit foundation with a specific mission to improve the health and welfare of companion animals through a reduction in the incidence of genetic disease. Visit the OFA online at www.ofa.org for more information.


Animal Defenders International (ADI) has welcomed the announcement by Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus to close its animal shows from May, citing declines in ticket sales after earlier announcing a ‘mood shift’ among their consumers .After decades of exposing the cramped, barren conditions with long periods of time tied up and chained with no freedom of movement and a brutal training culture, ADI believes that public opinion has ended the suffering.

Modern audiences now have many entertainment options and do not want to see shows where animals are made to suffer for a few minutes of entertainment.

Jan Creamer, ADI President, said:“After decades of exposing the suffering of animals in circuses behind the scenes, we are pleased to hear that Ringlings has finally bowed to public opinion – it was a mistake for them not to see the trend away from animal shows to human-only performances over a decade ago. Circuses can survive without the animal performances.”

Studies of the use of wild animals in traveling circuses show that in the circumstances of a traveling show, circuses cannot meet the needs of wild animals. Animals are confined in small spaces, deprived of physical and social needs, spending excessive amounts of time tied or chained up, shut in transporters and unable to move around.The abnormal, stereotypical behaviors seen in circus animals, rocking, swaying and pacing, indicate that they are under stress and not coping with their environment. ADI’s video evidence has shown how these animals are forced to perform tricks through physical violence, fear and intimidation.

ADI has led the campaign to expose the suffering and educate the public around the world, providing video evidence, prosecutions and expert reviews. 34 nations have reviewed the evidence and taken action to end traveling circus performances. Across 27states in the US, 66jurisdictions have already decided to either ban or restrict the use of wild animals in traveling shows, due to concerns about public safety and animal welfare.

ADI is supporting RepresentativesRyan Costello (R-PA) andRaul Grijalva(D-AZ), who launched Traveling Exotic Animaland Public Safety ProtectionAct (TEAPSPA) in Congress last November. The congressmen have concluded that ending wild animal use is the only practical approach to deal withpublic safety issues and inspection and oversightproblems repeatedly cited by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG).

FDA cites numerous health dangers


January 3, 2017
By: Edie Lau
For The VIN News Service

 


Photo courtesy of Valley Animal Hospital
Powdered medical gloves, such as this supply at a veterinary hospital in New Jersey, must be thrown away to comply with a federal ban that takes effect this month.

Powdered medical gloves are going the way of powdered wigs.

A once ubiquitous staple of doctors, powdered gloves are being thrown out of exam and operating rooms by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as of Jan. 18. The reason: The powder poses a variety of risks to wearers, patients and even bystanders.

The dangers include severe airway inflammation from inhaling the powder; wound inflammation and post-surgical adhesions from contact with the powder; and respiratory allergic reactions from breathing powder that carries proteins from natural rubber latex gloves. The most common type of powder used in gloves is cornstarch, according to the FDA.

The coming ban is absolute — there’s no grace period for using up existing supplies. “[T]he risks of illness or injury to individuals who are currently exposed to these devices is [as] equally unreasonable and substantial as it would be for future individuals that might be exposed to powdered gloves,” the FDA stated in a March 22, 2016, Federal Register notice proposing the ban. The ban was made final on Dec. 19.

Although glove use in veterinary medicine is not explicitly mentioned in the FDA rule, the prohibition applies in the veterinary sphere, too, an agency spokeswoman confirmed.

“The ban applies to powdered surgeon’s gloves, powdered patient examination gloves, and absorbable powder for lubricating a surgeon’s glove that are already in commercial distribution and for these devices that are already sold to the ultimate user, such as small medical practices and hospitals. As such, it applies to ... gloves that are in use at veterinary practices,” the spokeswoman, Deborah Kotz, said by email.

Asked how the ban will be enforced, Kotz replied: “The FDA can take various enforcement actions, if necessary, to remove banned devices from the market, including seizure of the product, civil money penalties or criminal prosecution.”

She declined to say what criminal charges could be brought, or the potential size of fines.

The FDA recommends unused inventories of gloves be disposed of like any community solid waste, which usually is by burial in a landfill or by incineration.

Dr. Bruce Henderson, hospital director of Valley Animal Hospital in Clifton, New Jersey, estimates that his practice has $150 worth of powdered gloves in stock. “I’m just going to pitch them all in the garbage and buy new ones,” he said in a message-board discussion  on the Veterinary Information Network, an online community for the profession.

Henderson said he wouldn’t want to risk creating a situation in which employees claim harm from the use of banned gloves. Moreover, he’s already largely made the transition to powder-free gloves and prefers them.

“My associate requested non-powdered gloves when she started working here a few years ago, so we switched over. I like the non-powdered way better!!” he wrote on VIN.

Henderson explained by email that he likes not getting powder all over himself when he removes the gloves.

Some veterinarians are less enthused about switching.


VIN News Service photo
Dr. Karen Vanderloo, a practitioner in Wisconsin, has been dissatisfied so far with powder-less gloves. She hopes her clinic will find other styles that work better. “I’m sure we’ll all get used to the new gloves eventually,” she said.

Dr. Karen Vanderloo, a veterinarian at Oregon Veterinary Clinic near Madison, Wisconsin, is unimpressed with the performance of non-powdered gloves.

“Anticipating the change, we got a shipment of the powder-free gloves about six to eight weeks ago, and the general consensus was not favorable,” she told the VIN News Service by email. “They’re more difficult to put on, especially immediately after scrub prep before surgery, and because of the rolled cuff, are harder to put on in sterile fashion — the rolled edge keeps folding/rolling on itself.”

Other practitioners cite the difficulty of donning powder-less gloves with sweaty hands. That’s one advantage of powdered gloves, the FDA noted. “The benefits of powdered gloves appear to only include greater ease of donning and doffing, decreased tackiness and a degree of added comfort …” the agency stated in its notice of the final rule.

These benefits, the FDA concluded, “are nominal when compared to the risks posed by these devices.”

Long history of problems

The use of lubricant powders in surgical gloves dates to the late 19th century. At the time, the powders consisted of the spores of Lycopodium, an evergreen herb also known as club moss.

“By the 1930s, Lycopodium powder was recognized to cause wound granulomas and adhesion formation and was replaced by talcum powder (chemically, hydrous magnesium silicate) … In the 1940s, talcum powder (talc) was also recognized to be a cause of postoperative adhesions and granuloma formation. In 1947, modified cornstarch powder was introduced ...” according to the FDA.

Despite changes in powder type, problems persisted. In 1997, FDA issued a Medical Glove Powder Report that described the risks of glove powder and the state of the medical-glove market. Because no good alternatives to powdered gloves existed at the time, the agency opted not to ban them: “The report concluded that banning powdered gloves in 1997 would cause a market shortage of medical gloves, which could result in inferior glove products and increased costs to the U.S. health care system …”

Public pressure caused the FDA to revisit the issue some years later. Between 2008 and 2011, the agency received three petitions asking it to ban the use of cornstarch powder on latex and synthetic surgical and examining gloves.

One of the petitions accompanied a report published by the American Journal of Emergency Medicine in 2009 discussing the dangers of cornstarch powder on medical gloves. The authors stated that Germany banned surgical glove cornstarch powder in 1997, and that the United Kingdom’s purchasing and supply agency stopped purchasing gloves lubricated with cornstarch in 2000.

In 2011, the FDA put out a call for public comments on the risks and benefits of powdered gloves.

The agency also considered issuing a formal warning about the risks of gloves, but, as explained in the rule finalizing the ban, concluded that warning labels would be inadequate:

“[P]atients often do not know the type of gloves being worn by the health-care professional treating them, but are still exposed to the potential dangers. Similarly, glove powder’s ability to aerosolize and carry NRL (natural rubber latex) proteins exposes individuals to harm via inhalation or surface contact. Thus, some of the risks posed by glove powder can impact persons completely unaware or unassociated with its employment and without the opportunity to consider the devices’ labeling.”

Perhaps just as compellingly, the agency now believes that the market easily can handle the switch. “Our searches … revealed that the market is saturated with alternatives to powdered gloves, resulting in downward pressure on the prices of non-powdered gloves. In addition, the share of powdered medical gloves sales has been declining since at least 2000, while total sales of all disposable medical gloves have increased.”

Glove manufacturers largely have supported phasing out powder. In an interview published by the magazine Infection Control Today in late 2015, representatives of several manufacturers said unequivocally that the health concerns are valid. They also said alternative gloves are abundantly available. A representative of Halyard Health (formerly Kimberly-Clark Health Care) said her company sells only non-powdered exam gloves. Medline Industries' representative said his company offers 20 different powder-free options with synthetic polymer coatings inside the gloves to make donning and double-gloving easier.

Henry Schein, a leading distributor of medical, dental and veterinary supplies, states on its website that it carries “a wide selection of powder-free latex medical exam gloves manufactured by reputable companies,” and names seven makers plus its own private-label brand.

The FDA cites statistics suggesting that the timing of the ban should be no trouble for the vast majority of practitioners: “[R]ecent projections of annual gloves sales indicate that at least 93 percent of medical providers have switched to non-powdered gloves.”

The FDA notes that while manufacturers will be prohibited as of Jan. 18 from importing powdered gloves, they may export powdered gloves to countries where they are lawful. The agency does not address the ethics of exporting products that it has judged to present an unacceptable health risk.

VIN News Service staff writers Christy Corp-Minamiji and Phyllis DeGioia contributed to this report.

Washington, D.C., January 5, 2017 -- Today is Born Free USA’s 15th annual National Bird Day: a day to raise awareness for wild and captive birds everywhere.

According to Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA, a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation: “We want to use this day to remind the public that birds belong in the wild. They do not deserve to be bred in captivity in unregulated, often miserable conditions. They deserve to fly and not be traded and sold as pets where they spend their lives in cages, and where people cannot possibly meet the complicated needs of a bird.”

National Bird Day is a time to celebrate birds for the true wild animals they are,” Roberts adds.

Born Free USA’s facts about birds:

  1. How many species of birds are there? There's no single correct or universally agreed-upon number, and that's because there is more than one definition of "species." By one definition, there are 18,000-20,000 bird species; by another definition, there are only half that.
  2. Blackbird singing in the dead of night. "Blackbird," a song on the Beatles' White Album, is said to have been inspired by the U.S. Civil Rights Movement.
  3. The Birds. Alfred Hitchcock's 1963 film The Birds employed live birds in many scenes. To attract the birds, actors often had ground meat or fish smeared on their hands.
  4. Indeed, a very Big Bird. Big Bird, a beloved character on the children's program Sesame Street, debuted in 1969. He is 8 feet 2 inches (249 cm) tall.
  5. Keep on Rockin'! The common pigeon we see in cities around the world (and sometimes in rural or wilderness areas) used to be called the Rock Dove, but it's now called the Rock Pigeon. It's a feral, domesticated variation of the wild type found in Europe, Africa, and Asia.
  6. Edgar Allen Poe's famous narrative poem, "The Raven," was first published in The Evening Mirror on January 29, 1845.
  7. Now, that's old! Parrot fossils have been found that date back as far as 60 million years.
  8. The bald eagle. The bald eagle is the national bird of the United States, but Benjamin Franklin had originally argued that the turkey would have been a more appropriate symbol.
  9. This is what is sounds like. Prince's 1984 song "When Doves Cry" stayed at number one on the Billboard Music Chart for five weeks, keeping Bruce Springsteen's "Dancing in the Dark" from reaching the top spot.
  10. Kept captive around the world... Turacos and louries—long-tailed, medium-sized birds—are only found in the wild in Africa, but we commonly see them in zoos.
  11. Beep, beep! Looney Tunes characters The Roadrunner and Wile E. Coyote debuted in 1949. Their adversarial relationship was inspired in part by Tom and Jerry.
  12. The bird is the word. "Surfin' Bird" by The Trashmen was released in 1964. The song regained fame and notoriety after it was featured in a television episode of Family Guy.
  13. I smell an advantage for this owl. Great Horned Owls are found in every mainland state and Canadian province—and they have a really bad sense of smell! But, that's good for them, because a major prey species for this owl is the skunk. The skunk's best defense, a foul-smelling spray from their anal scent glands, does not deter the Great Horned Owl. Museum specimens of the owls, decades old, often retain traces of the skunk odor!
  14. The Last Suppers. In his two frescos of "The Last Supper," painted in Florence in 1480 and 1482, Renaissance artist Domenico Ghirlandaio prominently featured flying peacocks. Art historians believe the peacocks are meant to emphasize the "Oriental" setting of the Last Supper scene.
  15. And, a partridge in a pear tree. In the song "The 12 Days of Christmas," a holiday season standard, the singer's true love gives her 364 gifts—184 of which are birds.

For more information on how to celebrate the wildness of all birds and help birds in captivity, please visit www.nationalbirdday.org. For bird owners looking for support, visit www.nationalbirdday.org/a_happy_bird.php.

Born Free USA is a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation, and public education, Born Free USA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic “pets,” trapping and fur, and the destructive international wildlife trade. Born Free USA brings to North America the message of “compassionate conservation”—the vision of the United Kingdom-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic film Born Free, along with their son, Will Travers. Born Free USA’s mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally. More at www.bornfreeusa.org, www.twitter.com/bornfreeusa, and www.facebook.com/bornfreeusa.

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