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
FDA cites numerous health dangers
January 3, 2017
By: Edie Lau
For The VIN News Service
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.
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.
Animal welfare organizations support move to block spending
WASHINGTON—Congress could once again ban the use of federal funds to inspect horse slaughter plants in the United States if it follows the lead of the White House—a move that is strongly supported by The Humane Society of the United States, the ASPCA (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) and the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI). President Obama’s FY 2014 budget proposal includes a request for Congress to block spending by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to inspect U.S. horse slaughter plants. A similar spending prohibition was put in place in 2005, which effectively shut the door to the grisly horse slaughter industry on U.S. soil. However, it was not renewed in 2011, leading to the potential for horse slaughter plants to reopen in the U.S at the expense of American taxpayers.
There are no horse slaughter facilities operating in the U.S., but the USDA confirms it has received at least six applications and is processing those requests. Humane organizations oppose the slaughter of American horses for human consumption because the practice is inherently cruel to horses. Additionally, horse meat poses a potential human health risk, as horses are not raised for food in the U.S. and are consequently treated with a wide range of drugs that are not approved for use in animals intended for human consumption.
Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS, said: “It’s a fool’s errand to inspect tainted horse meat, and this Administration is wise to reject that path and to embrace the idea, even indirectly, that horses belong in the stable and not on the table.”
Nancy Perry, senior vice president of the ASPCA, said: “It is wonderful to see our government taking steps to ensure American horses are not slaughtered on our own soil for foreign demand, especially in light of the daily news from Europe about the horrors of discovering horse meat in their food supply from co-mingling with beef in tainted food products. Wasting tax dollars on cruel and dangerous practices makes no sense, and we urge Congress to adopt this budget cut.”
Chris Heyde, deputy director of government and legal affairs for the AWI, said: “Now that the administration has taken this important step toward ending horse abuse, reducing the size of the federal government, and saving taxpayer dollars, we urge Congress to swiftly ensure this widely supported language is maintained when sent back to the president for his signature later this year. Given the serious fiscal choices facing our elected officials in Washington, restoring an unpopular foreign driven horse slaughter industry that only serves to drain taxpayers’ money every year, this should be the easiest spending cut they can approve.”
The Safeguard American Food Exports Act, H.R. 1094 / S. 541, introduced this year by U.S. Sens. Mary Landrieu, D-La., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Reps. Patrick Meehan, R-Pa., and Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., is a bipartisan measure that would prevent the introduction of horse slaughter operations in the U.S., end the current export of American horses for slaughter abroad, and protect the public from consuming toxic horsemeat.
- American horses are raised to be companions, athletes and work horses. They are often treated with drugs, both legal and illegal, that can endanger the food supply. There is currently no system in the U.S. to track medications and veterinary treatments given to horses throughout their lives to ensure that their meat is safe for human consumption.
- “Kill buyers” gather up horses from random sources and profit by selling horsemeat from healthy horses that bring the best price per pound for their meat. USDA reports show that approximately 92 percent of American horses going to slaughter are healthy and would otherwise be able to go on to lead productive lives.
- The methods used to kill horses rarely result in quick, painless deaths, as horses often endure repeated blows to render them unconscious, and sometimes remain conscious during the slaughtering process. When horse slaughter plants previously operated in the U.S., the USDA documented severe injuries to horses incurred during their long-distance transport to slaughter plants in unsafe, overcrowded trailers, including broken bones and eyeballs hanging from their sockets by a thread of skin.
The Humane Society of the United States is the nation’s largest animal protection organization, rated the most effective by its peers. Since 1954, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. We rescue and care for tens of thousands of animals each year, but our primary mission is to prevent cruelty before it occurs. We're there for all animals, across America and around the world. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty – on the Web at humanesociety.org.
About the ASPCA®
Founded in 1866, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the first animal welfare organization in North America and serves as the nation’s leading voice for animals. More than two million supporters strong, the ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. For more information, please visit www.ASPCA.org, and be sure to follow the ASPCA on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
The Animal Welfare Institute (www.awionline.org) is a non-profit charitable organization founded in 1951 and dedicated to reducing animal suffering caused by people. AWI engages policymakers, scientists, industry, and the public to achieve better treatment of animals everywhere—in the laboratory, on the farm, in commerce, at home, and in the wild. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates and other important animal protection news.
American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act would prevent transport of
horses to slaughter for human consumption
NEW YORK—Following the passage of the 2012 Agricultural Appropriations bill, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is urging support of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (HR 2966/S 1176), which would stop the inhumane killing of American horses for human consumption by banning it in the U.S. and prohibiting the transport of horses across U.S. borders for slaughter in other countries. The passage of this critical legislation would end the current export and slaughter of approximately 100,000 American horses each year.
Since 2005, the appropriations bill has included language that prevents money from being used for USDA inspections at horse slaughterhouses. This year, Congress lifted the ban on funding horse meat inspections, thus allowing tax dollars to be used for inspections at slaughterhouses.
“Using tax dollars to fund this grisly business is a wildly unpopular decision and has fueled the fire for a complete ban on horse slaughter,” said Nancy Perry, senior vice president of ASPCA Government Relations. “We stand with the large group of bipartisan leaders on Capitol Hill who have already declared that they will be pressing for accountability and recorded votes on this issue. We applaud Representatives Jim Moran (D-Va.), Dan Burton (R-Ind.) and Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) and Senators Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) who are eager to bring an end to the cruelties of horse slaughter.”
While the language in the appropriations bill protected American communities from the horrors of horse slaughter plants, it did not prevent horses from going to slaughter because thousands of horses are purchased at auctions and then sent over U.S. borders for this purpose every year. The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act would not only ban horse slaughter in the U.S., but would also ban the export of horses to Canada and Mexico for slaughter.
"The majority of Americans are opposed to horse slaughter, and there is no domestic demand for horsemeat,” said Senator Mary Landrieu, D-La. “Considering that the cost of humane euthanasia for a horse is equal to the cost of approximately one month’s care, it is inconceivable to me that a horse owner could not afford to put down a sick, injured or unwanted animal humanely. This fight is long from over. I plan to continue to working with my colleagues in Congress and other advocates to end this inhumane and controversial practice once and for all."
Horse slaughter is inherently inhumane and the methods used to kill horses rarely result in quick, painless deaths, as they often endure repeated stuns or blows and sometimes remain conscious during their slaughter and dismemberment. “Furthermore, if horse slaughter inspections resume, American taxpayers will have to shell out $5 million a year for a product no Americans want,” added Perry.
The passage of this the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act is a priority for the ASPCA and several other animal welfare organizations, veterinarians and equine groups. The ASPCA has an extensive history of equine protection around the country and continues to assist domestic and wild horses through legislation, advocacy, targeted grants and enforcement of the carriage horse and cruelty laws in New York City. Animal advocates should contact their federal legislators to press for passage of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act by visiting www.aspca.org/AHSPA.
About the ASPCA®
Founded in 1866, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the first humane organization established in the Americas and serves as the nation’s leading voice for animal welfare. More than one million supporters strong, the ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. The ASPCA, which is headquartered in New York City, offers a wide range of programs, including a mobile clinic outreach initiative, its own humane law enforcement team, and a groundbreaking veterinary forensics team and mobile animal CSI unit. For more information, please visit www.aspca.org.
56 exotic animals ran wild in Ohio yesterday after their owner let them escape from his property before taking his own life. All but a few were shot and killed by police.
Terry Thompson's personal menagerie included tigers, lions, bears, wolves, leopards, and monkeys. And despite numerous previous complaints and visits from police, his operation was totally legal: Ohio has no regulations on the sale and ownership of exotic animals.
Liz Dumler is a Change.org member and student at Ohio University who worked for a ban on exotic animals in Ohio last year. When she heard about this disaster, she knew that Ohio's lack of regulation had threatened public safety and animal welfare for too long. So she started a petition on Change.org asking Ohio Governor John Kasich to immediately issue an executive order banning exotic animals. Click here to add your name to her petition now.
In the last six years, local authorities visited Thompson's farm nearly 30 times in response to complaints about escaped animals, animal cruelty, and more. Police knew the rare animals were at a huge risk, but there was nothing they could do.
After Liz and other animal advocates fought for a ban, then-Governor Strickland outlawed exotic pets in January. But when the new governor, John Kasich, took office, he purposefully let the ban expire, saying it would "hurt small businesses."
Ohio is one of fewer than 10 states that have no regulations about private ownership of exotic animals. After yesterday's disaster, it should be clear to Governor Kasich that Ohio needs to take exotic animals out of unsafe private collections, for the safety of the animals and the public. And when Ohio moves to protect these animals, other states will soon follow.
Please sign Liz's petition asking Ohio Governor Kasich to immediately take action to ban private ownership of exotic animals in his state:
Thanks for being a change-maker,
- Michael and the Change.org team