Historic “Yes on 13” Campaign Launched to End Dog Racing
Constitutional Amendment to Phase Out Greyhound Racing by 2020 Will Appear on November Ballot
TAMPA—Humane advocates will launch an historic campaign to phase out greyhound racing in Florida this morning, with a press conference at the Humane Society of Tampa Bay. State Senator Dana Young, a steadfast advocate of greyhound protection issues in the legislature, will announce the campaign along with Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan, campaign volunteers, and rescued greyhounds.
“Greyhound racing is cruel and inhumane,” said Protect Dogs – Yes on 13 Co-Chair Kate MacFall. “Thousands of dogs endure lives of confinement and substandard treatment at Florida dog tracks, and every three days a greyhound dies.”
Following the kick off, the campaign will hold thirteen grassroots meetings across the state. Protect Dogs – Yes on 13 recently launched a digital campaign to inform voters about the cruelty of greyhound racing. The campaign will communicate to voters directly via a dedicated website, Facebook page, Twitter feed and Instagram account.
“This will be a true grassroots campaign,” said Protect Dogs – Yes on 13 Co-Chair Joyce Carta. “We are confident that when Floridians see the way greyhounds suffer in this industry, they will vote Yes for the dogs.”
The campaign has chosen to make this historic announcement at the Humane Society of Tampa Bay, one of the leading animal welfare organizations in the state.
“We are proud to host this historic announcement,” said Sherry Silk, Chief Executive Officer of the Humane Society of Tampa Bay. “Dogs play such an important role in our lives, we consider them family, and they deserve to be protected.”
Serious animal welfare concerns have been documented at Florida dog tracks. Thousands of greyhounds endure lives of confinement at these facilities, kept in warehouse-style kennels in rows of stacked cages for 20 to 23 hours per day. Also, according to state records, 458 greyhound deaths have been reported at Florida dog tracks since 2013.
Commercial greyhound racing is illegal in 40 states, and two-thirds of all remaining dog tracks nationwide are in Florida.
About the Protect Dogs – Yes on 13 campaign
Protect Dogs – Yes on 13 is a grassroots campaign working to end the cruelty of greyhound racing in Florida. Protect Dogs – Yes on 13 is being sponsored by greyhound protection group GREY2K USA and the Humane Society of the United States. To learn more, go to ProtectDogs.org, or visit the campaign on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
About the Humane Society of Tampa Bay
For more than 100 years, the Humane Society of Tampa Bay has been dedicated to ending animal homelessness and providing care and comfort for companion animals in need. Named a Four-Star Charity by Charity Navigator since 2008, designated a Platinum Participator with GuideStar, recognized as a Service Enterprise by Points of Light, and accredited by AAHA, the standard in veterinary excellence, the Humane Society of Tampa Bay is dedicated to the highest standards in animal sheltering and veterinary care. Our adoption programs, affordable veterinary services, community outreach efforts and volunteer opportunities are essential to the health and wellbeing of animals across Tampa Bay. HumaneSocietyTampa.org.
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(WASHINGTON) June 27, 2018 -- A new statewide poll by Remington Research Group commissioned by the Humane Society of the United States shows that a supermajority of Alaskans strongly oppose the Department of the Interior’s plan to permit the use of cruel and unsporting practices to kill bears, wolves and caribou on the National Park Service’s National Preserve lands in Alaska. Alaskans in both major political parties, as well as hunters and non-hunters, stand together in opposing these cruel methods.
On May 22, 2018, the National Park Service proposed a rule that would roll back an Obama-era regulation prohibiting extreme and controversial killing methods on National Preserves in Alaska. The survey showed that a supermajority of Alaskan voters, by a three-to-one margin, oppose allowing hunters to kill black bears and their cubs with artificial lights when they are hibernating in their dens, hunting black bears with packs of hounds, and hunting swimming caribou with the aid of motorboats.
By a two-to-one margin, a supermajority of Alaskan voters oppose the baiting of bears with pet food, grease, rotting game or fish or other high-calorie foods, and killing whole packs of wolves and coyotes when they are raising their pups at their dens.
In addition to opposing these cruel-killing methods, which would be permitted under the plan, a majority of Alaskan voters disfavor the killing of wolves, brown bears, black bears, wolverines, lynx and other wildlife on state lands along the northeast boundary of Denali National Park and Preserve.
Nicole Paquette, vice president of wildlife for the Humane Society of the United States, said, “Alaskans and the majority of Americans oppose the killing of brown bears, black bears, wolves and other species using unthinkably inhumane and unsporting practices on National Preserves in Alaska. Overturning the National Park Service’s 2015 rule is simply and purely motivated by trophy-hunting special-interest groups. This administration is catering to trophy hunters and trappers by proposing to subject our nation’s iconic wildlife to unnecessary cruelty on these federal lands that are owned by all Americans.”
The poll asked the following questions:
Q: On the National Park Service’s National Preserves in Alaska such as Glacier Bay, a 2015 rule prohibited hunters from killing sleeping black bears (including mothers with dependent cubs) in the den with the aid of artificial lights such as flashlights. Do you support or oppose a proposal to again allow the killing of hibernating black bear mothers and their cubs with the aid of artificial lights on national preserves in Alaska?
Oppose 71 percent
Support: 22 percent
Not sure: 7 percent
Q: On the National Park Service’s National Preserves in Alaska, such as Gates of the Arctic, a 2015 rule prohibited guides from using packs of hounds to chase and corner black bears in trees so that hunters could more readily shoot them. Do you support or oppose a new proposal to again allow guides paid by hunters to hunt bears with hounds on national preserves in Alaska?
Oppose: 69 percent
Support: 26 percent
Not sure: 5 percent
Q: On National Park Service’s National Preserves in Alaska, a 2015 rule prohibited the killing of swimming caribou including with motor-powered boats. Do you support or oppose a new proposal to again allow the killing of swimming caribou, including with motor-powered boats, on national preserves in Alaska?
Oppose: 75 percent
Support: 22 percent
Not sure: 3 percent
Q: On the National Park Service’s National Preserves in Alaska such as Katmai, a 2015 rule prohibited hunters and trappers from baiting brown and black bears. Hunters and trappers bait bears with pet food, grease, rotting game or fish and other high calorie foods. Baiting bears accustoms them to a certain location making it easier for a hunter to shoot them. Do you support or oppose a new proposal to again allow hunters to bait brown and black bears on national preserves in Alaska?
Oppose: 60 percent
Support: 34 percent
Not sure: 6 percent
Q: On the National Park Service’s National Preserves in Alaska, such as Denali, a 2015 rule prohibited hunters and trappers from killing wolves and coyotes at den sites. Do you support or oppose a proposal to again allow hunters and trappers to kill whole wolf- and coyote-family members, including their pups, at their den sites on national preserves in Alaska?
Oppose: 57 percent
Support: 34 percent
Not sure: 9 percent
Each year, hunters and trappers target and kill wolves, brown bears, black bears, wolverines, lynx and other wildlife on state lands along the northeast boundary of Denali National Park & Preserve (also known as the Stampede Trail). This affects Denali’s ecosystem and reduces the Park's 650,000 annual visitors’ wildlife-viewing success. Do you support or oppose establishing a no-kill buffer zone on these state lands adjacent to the northeast boundary of Denali National Park and Preserve to protect wolves, bears, wolverines, lynx and other wildlife?
Support: 54 percent
Oppose: 37 percent
Not sure: 9 percent
The telephone poll of 1,004 statewide Alaskan voters was conducted by Remington Research Group on behalf of the Humane Society of the United States from June 18 through June 19, 2018. The margin of error is plus or minus three percent with a 95 percent level of confidence.
The Humane Society of the United States is the most effective animal protection organization, as rated by our peers. For more than 60 years, we have celebrated the protection of all animals and confronted all forms of cruelty. We and our affiliates are the nation’s largest provider of hands-on services for animals, caring for more than 100,000 animals each year, and we prevent cruelty to millions more through our advocacy campaigns. Read about our more than 60 years of transformational change for animals and people. HumaneSociety.org.
Talkin' Pets News
February 24, 2018
Host - Jon Patch
Co-Host - Karen Vance - Trainer/Agility
Producer - Daisy Charlotte
Network Producer - Quin McCarthy
Executive Producer - Bob Page
Special Guest - Lora Dunn, Director of the Criminal Justice Program at the Animal Legal Defense Fund will join Jon and Talkin' Pets 2/24/18 at 630pm EST to discuss AMERICA’S TOP TEN ANIMAL DEFENDERS STAND UP FOR THE VOICELESS
Environmental Ed will join Jon and Talkin' Pets at 520pm EST to discuss Climate Change, Human Encroachment, Forests...
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In observance of Labor Day, we will be closed for the holiday weekend. We will resume business Wednesday, September 6th. We wish everyone a safe, and YAPPY holiday! WOOF!**
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I was on the ground with the Animal Rescue Team and what we found was unimaginable: 84 Great Danes had been living in and around a 15,000-square-foot home in New Hampshire, walls smeared with feces and wooden floors thick with their waste.
What our Animal Rescue Team accomplished on that rainy, dreary day was extraordinary...
...I witnessed remarkable teamwork as four of our Animal Rescue Team members tag-teamed to remove seven huge dogs from cages in a room filled with ammonia fumes and no ventilation. After dealing with one dog, the handler would get some fresh air while another rescuer went in to get the next dog.
...I watched the leader of our Animal Rescue Team, Sára Varsa, think fast when faced with a huge dilemma. Some of the dogs were literally too large for the largest cages we had. Even though we had three huge trucks, Sára knew we needed more. She made a quick call and before you know it -- horse trucks were delivered to the scene. Over and over she was met with variables and, with her team, found a solution.
From 5 a.m. to 11 p.m., our Animal Rescue Team worked tirelessly to save all of the dogs from this horrible situation. And by midnight, every dog was in a warm pile of shavings, fed and asleep in a safe place.
It’s only with the support of generous animal lovers like you that this lifesaving work is possible. Please make an emergency donation to save more animals who are suffering from cruelty.
All of the dogs have now received full veterinary exams, but they will continue to need ongoing care to address a range of medical conditions and to receive enrichment and training.
It’s heartwarming to see that these sweet dogs are already getting much more comfortable being around people -- regaining trust, despite everything they have gone through.
Senior Vice President, Programs & Innovations
(May 18, 2017) – On the eve of Ringling Bros. permanently ending its traveling animal-based circus acts, The Humane Society of the United States released the results of a disturbing undercover investigation of a different traveling tiger act used by the Carden Circus and Shrine Circuses, showing tigers being regularly whipped and hit. In one instance, the investigator witnessed a trainer angrily whip at a tiger 31 times in less than two minutes after he became frustrated with the animal during a training session.
The HSUS investigation of ShowMe Tigers, a traveling tiger act hired to perform in circus shows, revealed numerous potential violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act and raises alarm about the violent handling and inhumane confinement of the tigers as well as safety concerns for the animals and public. ShowMe Tigers is owned and operated by tiger trainer Ryan Easley (aka Ryan Holder), one of many tiger trainers who contract with regional circuses around the country.
The investigation took place from December 28, 2016 through January 18, 2017, during which time The HSUS investigator was with Easley at his headquarters in Hugo, Oklahoma followed by nine days on the road while Easley toured with the Carden Circus, often performing for Shrine Circuses, in Sulfur Springs, Giddings, Bryan and Cedar Park, Texas, and in Shawnee, Oklahoma. Last year, Easley performed all season at Circus World Museum in Baraboo, Wisconsin. Prior to that, Easley toured with the Kelly Miller Circus for years.
The HSUS has filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture asserting likely violations of the Animal Welfare Act, and is urging the agency to investigate ShowMe Tigers and take swift enforcement action for violations of federal law.
Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS said: “While it’s true that Ringling is going out of business, other circuses are still operating and using inhumane methods of handling wild animals. There’s no excuse or rationale for whipping tigers or other wild animals for these silly performances. All circuses should end their wild animal acts.”
- A tiger named Tora did not receive veterinary care for a raw open wound on the side of her face. The USDA had previously cited Easley for not providing veterinary care to Tora when she had a laceration on her ribcage.
- The distressed tigers were whipped and terrorized to force them to perform physically difficult tricks, including one tiger who was forced to “moonwalk” on her hind legs.
- The tigers cowered, flinched and moaned in distress and flattened their ears back in a fearful response to being whipped and hit with a stick, typical behavior of traumatized and abused tigers. The mere presence of these tools during performances evoked classic signs of fear and behavioral stress.
- While traveling, except for the few minutes each day when the tigers performed, they were kept exclusively in transport cages, where they ate, slept, paced, urinated and defecated in the mere 13-square feet of space afforded to each tiger. Not once were they provided the chance to exercise outside the cages. In fact, the tigers’ exercise cage was never unloaded from the trailer.
- In Hugo, Oklahoma, the tigers had no heat source and only an inch of bedding during temperatures often well below freezing.
- Easley withheld food from the tigers on five of the 22 days of the investigation, fed them only raw chicken and rarely provided necessary dietary supplements.
In a statement provided to The HSUS, Jay Pratte, an animal-behavior expert, trainer, and wildlife consultant with 25 years of experience, said: “Ryan Easley utilizes archaic training methods which entail fear, force and punishment. In my professional opinion, the tigers at ShowMe Tigers are suffering from psychological neglect and trauma on a daily basis.”
The Humane Society of the United States is the nation’s largest animal protection organization, rated most effective by our peers. For more than 60 years, we have celebrated the protection of all animals and confronted all forms of cruelty. We are the nation’s largest provider of hands-on services for animals, caring for more than 100,000 animals each year, and we prevent cruelty to millions more through our advocacy campaigns. Read about our more than 60 years of transformational change for animals and people. HumaneSociety.org
-Wildlife Groups Seek to Save Species from Silent Extinction-
WASHINGTON (April 19, 2017) — In response to recent scientific consensus on giraffes’ vulnerability to extinction, five wildlife protection groups today petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect Earth’s tallest land animal under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.
The legal petition, filed by the Center for Biological Diversity, Humane Society International, The Humane Society of the United States, International Fund for Animal Welfare and Natural Resources Defense Council, seeks “endangered” status for the species. Facing mounting threats from habitat loss, being hunted for their meat, and the international trade in bone carvings and trophies, Africa’s giraffe population has plunged almost 40 percent in the past 30 years and now stands at just over 97,000 individuals.
“Giraffes have been dying off silently for decades, and we have to act quickly before they disappear forever,” said Tanya Sanerib, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “There are now fewer giraffes than elephants in Africa. It’s time for the United States to step up and protect these extraordinary creatures.”
New research recently prompted the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to elevate the threat level of giraffes from ““least concern” to “vulnerable” on the “IUCN Red List of Threatened Species”. Yet giraffes have no protection under U.S. law. Species designated as “endangered” under the U.S. Endangered Species Act receive strict protections, including a ban on most imports and sales. The United States plays a major role in the giraffe trade, importing more than 21,400 bone carving, 3,000 skin pieces and 3,700 hunting trophies over the past decade. Limiting U.S. import and trade will give giraffes important protections.
“Previously, the public was largely unaware that trophy hunters were targeting these majestic animals for trophies and selfies. In the past few years, several gruesome images of trophy hunters next to slain giraffe bodies have caused outrage, bringing this senseless killing to light,” said Masha Kalinina, international trade policy specialist with the wildlife department of Humane Society International. “Currently, no U.S. or international law protects giraffes against overexploitation for trade. It is clearly time to change this. As the largest importer of trophies in the world, the role of the United States in the decline of this species is undeniable, and we must do our part to protect these animals.”
Known for their six-foot-long necks, distinctive patterning and long eyelashes, giraffes have long captured the human imagination. New research recently revealed that giraffes live in complex societies, much like elephants, and have unique physiological traits, like the highest blood pressure of any land mammal.
“I was lucky enough to study giraffes in the wild in Kenya many years ago. Back then, they seemed plentiful, and we all just assumed that it would stay that way,” said Jeff Flocken, North American regional director for the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). “Giraffes are facing a crisis. We cannot let these amazing, regal and unique creatures go extinct – it would be a dramatic loss of diversity and beauty for our planet. This listing petition is rallying the world to help save the giraffe.”
The IUCN currently recognizes one species of giraffes and nine subspecies: West African, Kordofan, Nubian, reticulated, Masai, Thornicroft’s, Rothchild’s, Angolan and South African. Today’s petition seeks an endangered listing for the whole species.
“I can’t – and won’t – imagine Africa’s landscape without giraffes,” said Elly Pepper, deputy director of NRDC’s wildlife trade initiative. “Losing one of the continent’s iconic species would be an absolute travesty. Giving giraffes Endangered Species Act protections would be a giant step in the fight to save them from extinction.”
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has 90 days to review and respond to the petition and determine whether a listing may be warranted.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.2 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.
Humane Society International and its partner organizations together constitute one of the world’s largest animal protection organizations. For more than 20 25 years, HSI has been working for the protection of all animals through the use of science, advocacy, education and hands on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty worldwide – on the Web at hsi.org.
The Humane Society of the United States is the most effective animal protection organization, as rated by our peers. For more than 60 years, we have celebrated the protection of all animals and confronted all forms of cruelty. We and our affiliates are the nation’s largest provider of hands-on services for animals, caring for more than 150,000 animals each year, and we prevent cruelty to millions more through our advocacy campaigns. Read more about our more than 60 years of transformational change for animals and people. HumaneSociety.org.
Founded in 1969, IFAW rescues and protects animals around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals, and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit www.ifaw.org. Follow us on Facebook/IFAW and Twitter @action4ifaw.
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 2 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us atwww.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.
Thousands of big cats are kept as pets or maintained in ill-equipped roadside zoos in the U.S.
WASHINGTON (March 30, 2017) – Big Cat Rescue, Born Free USA, the International Fund for Animal Welfare, The Humane Society of the United States and the Humane Society Legislative Fund applaud U.S. Representatives Jeff Denham (R-CA), Walter Jones (R-NC), and Niki Tsongas (D-MA) for introducing the Big Cat Public Safety Act (H.R. 1818). The bill would advance animal welfare and protect public safety by prohibiting possession and breeding of tigers, lions, leopards and other big cat species by private individuals and unqualified exhibitors.
This bill would strengthen the Captive Wildlife Safety Act, the existing federal law passed unanimously in 2003, by closing the loopholes that allow private possession of big cats by unqualified individuals. Existing owners that do not qualify for an exemption may keep the big cats they currently possess so long as they notify the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The bill provides for reasonable exemptions for wildlife sanctuaries and exhibitors licensed by the United States Department of Agriculture that meet basic standards intended to protect the public and the animals.
According to Kate Dylewsky, program associate at Born Free USA, “This common sense and narrowly-crafted bill is an urgently-needed solution to the problem of big cats kept in unsafe and abusive situations around the country. Thousands of big cats are currently owned as pets or maintained in ill-equipped roadside zoos. These poorly regulated facilities — with animals kept in basements, cement pits, or in backyards — pose a severe risk to the safety of people in surrounding communities, as well as the welfare of the cats themselves.”
Nicole Paquette, vice president of wildlife for The Humane Society of the United States, said, “Tigers, lions, and other big cats should not be kept in peoples’ homes or backyards. In order to protect the public, there needs to be strong oversight of these private owners who, in most cases, do not have the expertise needed to properly care for these animals in captivity. Some states have little to no laws regarding the keeping of big cats and it’s time for a uniform federal law that ends this dangerous industry once and for all.”
Carson Barylak, campaigns officer at the International Fund for Animal Welfare, noted that “there are now more tigers in private hands in the U.S. than remain in the wild, and nearly all of them are denied proper veterinary care, nutrition and enrichment.” Moreover, “law enforcement officers and other first responders — including those who have encountered these deadly animals in the course of their work — have joined animal rescue and conservation advocates in supporting the Big Cat Public Safety Act. Emergency officials and the communities that they protect, much like the big cats themselves, should not be placed in harm’s way by a private owner’s irresponsible decision to keep big cats.”
"Relying on accredited sanctuaries to take in unwanted and usually neglected big cats is not a viable solution," said Carole Baskin, founder and CEO of Big Cat Rescue. "When individuals foolishly acquire big cats as pets or exploit them in entertainment businesses, the cats often suffer in deplorable conditions with inadequate nutrition and veterinary care for many years. Then when owners realize they are not equipped to take care of a big cat or no longer want them, the burden to house and care for these big cats falls upon sanctuaries. This is not the solution; it does not address the inhumane treatment of the cats nor the public safety issues."
- There have been more than 700 dangerous incidents in the U.S. involving tigers, lions, and cougars, including hundreds of human injuries, maulings and deaths. In many cases, the animals were shot and killed, often by first responders who are not trained to deal with these situations. The most dramatic example was an October 2011 incident in Zanesville, Ohio, in which a private exotic animal owner released 38 big cats near a populated area, requiring law enforcement to kill the cats — and risk their own lives — for the sake of public safety.
- Big cats are wild animals and suffer when kept as pets. They are often purchased as babies, and private owners typically are not able to manage them once they’re fully grown. Consequently, the animals are frequently left to languish in grossly substandard conditions and often deprived of sufficient space, adequate veterinary care, a nutritious diet and enrichment.
- It is standard procedure for some roadside zoos to separate babies from their mothers so they can charge the public to pet and play with the cubs. This is an inhumane and unhealthy practice that can cause lifelong physical and psychological problems — or even death — for the cubs. Young cats, who very quickly outgrow their usefulness in the cub handling industry, end up warehoused at substandard “zoos,” sold into the exotic pet trade or possibly even killed and sold for parts — all while a vicious cycle of constant breeding churns out more babies to be exploited.
Big Cat Rescue is one of the largest accredited sanctuaries in the world devoted to rescuing and providing a permanent home for abused and abandoned exotic cats. Located in Tampa, Fla., Big Cat Rescue is home to approximately 80 exotic cats, most of whom were abandoned by owners who mistakenly thought they made good pets, abused, seized by authorities, orphaned or retired from performing acts. The sanctuary’s dual mission is to provide the best possible home for the cats in our care and to educate the public about the plight of big cats in captivity and in the wild. www.BigCatRescue.org
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 America the message of "compassionate conservation": the vision of the U.K.-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'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.
The Humane Society Legislative Fund is a social welfare organization incorporated under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code and formed in 2004 as a separate lobbying affiliate of The Humane Society of the United States. The HSLF works to pass animal protection laws at the state and federal level, to educate the public about animal protection issues, and to support humane candidates for office. On the web at hslf.org.
The Humane Society of the United States is the nation’s largest animal protection organization, rated most effective by our peers. For 60 years, we have celebrated the protection of all animals and confronted all forms of cruelty. We are the nation’s largest provider of hands-on services for animals, caring for more than 100,000 animals each year, and we prevent cruelty to millions more through our advocacy campaigns. Read more about our 60 years of transformational change for animals and people. HumaneSociety.org
IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare): Founded in 1969, IFAW rescues and protects animals around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals, and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit www.ifaw.org. Follow us on social @action4ifaw and Facebook/IFAW.
(Sept. 21, 2015) – The Humane Society of the United States, The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and The Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association filed a legal petition with the United States Department of Agriculture urging the agency to improve the standards of care for dogs kept in commercial breeding facilities. The USDA regulates such facilities under the federal Animal Welfare Act, but current AWA regulations fall far short of ensuring the humane treatment of dogs.
The requested changes would create more specific standards for veterinary care, housing, breeding practices, socialization and placement of retired breeding dogs. Among other things, the petition urges the USDA to adopt the following rules for licensed dog breeders:
- Restrict the use of wire flooring in the dogs’ primary cage space. Wire flooring is routinely used in commercial breeding facilities, often in cages stacked on top of each other, and is highly detrimental to the dogs’ welfare;
- Require breeders to provide dogs with access to an exercise space. Current regulations do not mandate even daily or weekly exercise, and many dogs are kept in their cages day in and day out, for years on end;
- Require that dogs be physically examined by a veterinarian at least once per year, including a determination that breeding dogs are fit to endure pregnancy and nursing;
- Restrict the frequency of breeding. Currently there are no limits on how frequently dogs may be bred, and commercial breeders routinely breed female dogs at every heat, with no rest between litters, contrary to the recommendations of most breed clubs;
- Require breeders to provide dogs with constant access to potable water;
- Increase the minimum cage space requirements so that dogs have adequate space to move around freely and to stand on their hind legs without touching the top of the cage; and
- Require breeders to make reasonable efforts to work with rescue groups to adopt out retired breeding dogs and “unsellable” puppies, rather than euthanizing or abandoning the dogs.
The HSUS, ASPCA and HSVMA issued the following statements:
Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS said: “It’s common sense that dogs should have water, space, exercise, and other basic care, and responsible dog breeders and pet industry groups should welcome these improved standards to deal with the outliers who cut corners and treat puppies like products. The current standards are insufficient and outdated, and need to be fortified to crack down on abusive puppy mills.”
Matt Bershadker, president and CEO of the ASPCA said: “Dogs are not products that can be simply warehoused without appropriate regard for their welfare. The public overwhelmingly agrees that the current USDA standards for dogs kept in commercial breeding facilities do not amount to humane treatment for dogs. The USDA needs to recognize this, and step up to ensure these vulnerable animals have proper care to maintain their health and well-being.”
Dr. Susan Krebsbach, veterinary advisor for HSVMA said: “This petition requests much needed enhancements to existing regulations concerning the treatment of dogs used and bred for commercial sale, including the physical conditions of the breeding facility and the health and welfare of the individual dogs. These new regulations would greatly improve the living space, physical health, and psychological well-being of literally tens of thousands of dogs in the United States.”
The petition was prepared pro bono by the international law firm Latham and Watkins and by attorneys in the Animal Protection Litigation department at The HSUS and by the ASPCA.
The Humane Society of the United States is the nation’s largest animal protection organization, rated most effective by our peers. For 60 years, we have celebrated the protection of all animals and confronted all forms of cruelty. We are the nation’s largest provider of hands-on services for animals, caring for more than 100,000 animals each year, and we prevent cruelty to millions more through our advocacy campaigns. Read more about our 60 years of transformational change for animals, and visit us online 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 Instagram.
The Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association was formed as a home for veterinary professionals who want to join together to speak out for animals, engage in direct care programs for animals in need, and educate the public and others in the profession about animal welfare issues. The HSVMA is an affiliate of The Humane Society of the United States. www.hsvma.org
This month is pet-preparedness month as well as hurricane season. Even though we hate to admit it, disasters happen and advanced preparation can be the difference between life and death, for you and your furry friends. From natural disasters to everyday emergencies, The Humane Society of the United States has recommendations that will keep both you and your pet safe.
Steps for a plan include making a disaster kit, finding a pet-friendly hotel or motel, and making sure your animal has a collar and identification tag.
The HSUS Disaster Plan website also includes information such as when to evacuate with your pet and what to do if you decide to stay home with your pet.
You can find all the information and step-by-step instructions for a disaster plan on the HSUS Website.