Thursday, 18 August 2011 16:39

Conservation Groups Thrown Out of International Elephant Debate Featured

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 Leader in elephant and wildlife conservation Will Travers, CEO of Born Free USA, is shocked at being expelled

Geneva, August 17, 2011 - -  In a shocking move that could not have been anticipated, some of the world’s leading wildlife conservation organizations were this morning summarily expelled from an international meeting on wildlife conservation in Geneva, Switzerland by a seven to six vote.  

The move was initiated by the government of Kuwait on behalf of the Asian region and was supported by Botswana, Iran, Kuwait, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominica and Norway. The organizations were removed from deliberations concerning elephant conservation, the international trade in ivory, and concerns regarding China’s increasing involvement in illegal ivory trade.  There is a fear that the decision may set a precedent and that such methods may be used to exclude NGOs and civil society from participating in debates on other issues such as rhino and tiger trade.

The measure was approved at the 61st Standing Committee meeting of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), despite the strong objections of the UK and Kenya. Democratic Republic of Congo, Bulgaria, Ukraine, United States of America and Australia also voted against the action in an effort to support transparency and public participation.  A simple majority in favor meant that the Species Survival Network (SSN),  Born Free Foundation, International Fund for Animal Welfare, Humane Society International, Environmental Investigation Agency, Elephant Family, World Wildlife Fund, and numerous others - -organizations with decades of experience working on the frontline of wildlife conservation and representing tens of millions of members of the public from around the world - -  now sit in the lobby of the CIGC (Centre International de Conférences Genève) unable to assist and participate in debates on which the future of wild elephants may depend.

Will Travers, President of the SSN and CEO of Born Free USA and the Born Free Foundation said, “I am almost lost for words.  This is a terrible precedent and jeopardizes the effective conservation of not only elephants but potentially many other species if we are prevented from participating in other debates.  The SSN, together with the American delegation nearly a decade ago successfully championed the participation of civil society representatives in Standing Committee meetings which, until this morning have been as open and transparent as possible, in line with UN principles.  That achievement, on behalf of the citizens of the world, is now in jeopardy.  Clearly, there is a coordinated initiative by some Parties to stifle open debate.  This simply must not be allowed to happen.”

Conservation organizations of all persuasions have played an active and positive role in helping CITES achieve meaningful and positive results for species that are or may be threatened by international trade.  In addition, thanks to the generosity of the general public, they contribute tens of millions of dollars each year to conservation efforts in some of the world’s most vulnerable places. 

Travers concluded, “This is a bleak day for principles that we all should hold dear - the principles of openness, transparency, accountability and responsibility.  It is imperative that CITES, a Treaty to which more than 175 countries subscribe, addresses this matter as a high priority and ensures and enshrines the participation of individuals, organizations and experts who have only one thing in common, their desire to ensure the long-term, sustainable survival of life on earth.”

The plight facing elephants

In 2009, over 20 tonnes of ivory was seized and countries have started to report localized extinctions of very vulnerable elephant populations. Since Standing Committee last met in March 2010, over 23 tonnes of ivory have been seized by customs and police agencies worldwide and so far this year at least 11.5 tonnes have been seized.  More at


The Species Survival Network (SSN), founded in 1992, is an international coalition of over eighty non-governmental organizations (NGOs) committed to the promotion, enhancement, and strict enforcement of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Through scientific and legal research, education and advocacy, the SSN is working to prevent over-exploitation of animals and plants due to international trade.

Born Free USA

Born Free USA is a nationally recognized 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’s Primate Sanctuary in Texas is home to more than 500 primates rescued from laboratories, roadside zoos, and private possession. 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, now CEO of both organizations. 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:; twitter; Facebook


The international trade in wild animals and plants is worth billions of dollars every year. Levels of exploitation and rates of wild capture can have a serious detrimental impact on the future survival of thousands of animal and plant species across the globe. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES) is an international agreement between Governments, which provides varying levels of protection for species that are or may be in danger of extinction as a result of the impact of  international trade.

Thursday, 18 August 2011 14:22


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Campaign on calls on the USDA to remove circus elephant who collapsed from Ringling Bros., citing concern for animal’s health and history of Animal Welfare Act violations

WASHINGTON, DC – More than 2,000 people across the U.S. and Canada have joined a campaign on, started by a California resident concerned by the collapse of a Ringling Bros elephant in Anahaim, Calif., calling on the USDA to remove the ailing animal from the circus.

Laura Goldman, an animals blogger and California-based activist, launched the campaign on after seeing the video of Sarah, the 53-year-old elephant, collapsed on the ground beside a Ringling Bros boxcar. Just two months ago, the USDA cited Ringling Bros for violating the Animal Welfare Act by failing to treat Sarah’s chronic medical problems; meanwhile, the circus boasts that the sick elephant has never missed a performance.

“About 20 years ago, before I was really aware of circus animal abuse, I went to a Ringling Bros. show in Anaheim,” said petition creator Laura Goldman. “I was appalled by the sight of the elephants all wedged together with chains around their legs, standing on the hot asphalt in the parking lot. All these years later, I wonder if Sarah was one of those miserable elephants.”

“Sarah has an untreated, chronic infection that experts say can be fatal if not addressed, yet Ringling insists she’s perfectly healthy and continue forcing her to perform,” the petition creator continued. “I started the petition on because she’s suffered for too long already and needs to be removed from the circus.”

In less than a week, more than 2,000 people have signed the online campaign on, the world’s fastest growing platform for social change. Animal Defenders International has already filed a formal complaint on Sarah’s behalf and the growing support from people across the continent adds to the pressure on the USDA to act. Protesters are planning demonstrations at upcoming Ringling Bros events in California and other locations.

“We’ve seen an incredible outpouring of concern for this elephant’s welfare after her collapse,” said Senior Organizer, Stephanie Feldstein. “Thousands of people worry that she’s in serious danger, especially as Ringling Bros continues to make Sarah perform after her fall. It has been remarkable to watch as more than 2,000 people join in to ask the USDA to step in before it’s too late.”

Live signature totals from the campaign:

Video of collapsed elephant:

For more information on, please visit: is the world’s fastest-growing platform for social change — growing by more than 400,000 new members a month, and empowering millions of people to start, join, and win campaigns for social change in their community, city and country.


Tuesday, 16 August 2011 15:18


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Activists pushing an online campaign on say R300 is suffering, not recovering at Marine Mammal Conservancy


KEY LARGO, FL – More than 1,500 people have joined a campaign on calling on the National Marine Fisheries Service to end the suffering of a pilot whale known as R300.


Marine mammal activist Barbara Napoles launched the campaign on after a video (featured on the petition) exposed Marine Mammal Conservancy President Robert Lingenfelser showing the whale to tourists, which is in violation of the National Marine Fisheries Service regulation prohibiting display of marine mammals in rehabilitation


The video shows the whale being observed by tourists during a physical therapy session. Lingenfelser is heard soliciting donations as he explains to tourists that R300 is suffering from a fully collapsed right lung and one-third collapsed left lung. She has also been diagnosed with scoliosis, pneumonia and MRSA, a staph infection that can be transmitted between whales and humans.


More than 1,500 people have signed the petition on, urging the National Marine Fisheries Service to investigate R300’s condition and use their authority to end R300’s suffering


“If she is found to be suffering from the ailments being used to raise money in her name, please ensure that she is humanely euthanized to end her suffering,” reads the petition. “If she is healthy, she needs to be moved to an appropriate rehab facility where she is not being used to raise money.”


R300 was one of 23 pilot whales stranded on the Gulf Coast in May. Fifteen of the whales didn’t survive the stranding, two were humanely euthanized. Of the remaining whales that went into rehabilitation, two were released, two were euthanized, and one was moved to SeaWorld. More than 90 days later, R300 is the last of the pilot whales to continue rehabilitation at the Marine Mammal Conservancy.


Marine Mammal Conservancy’s supporters are hoping to see R300 released back into the ocean, but that doesn’t seem to be a likely prospect, even under the best circumstances. According to Erin Fougeres, SE Stranding Program Administrator for National Marine Fisheries Service, even though the goal of the agency is to release stranded animals, "If an animal has ongoing health issues, it is highly unlikely to be a candidate for release.” Fougeres notes that R300 appears to have been showing some improvement over the past month, but at this point, her continued recovery would mean achieving a high quality of life in captivity, not back in the open ocean.


Russ Rector, former dolphin trainer and founder of Dolphin Freedom Foundation, knows from experience how serious R300’s situation is. “This animal is so debilitated 90 days in, she will never recover,” Rector said. “If she somehow miraculously does, there is no place to put her. She is too old and too big for any facility to want. This ordeal we are putting her through has crossed from rehab into cruelty.”


“What right do we have to continue to prolong her suffering?” said the petition starter Barbara Napoles. “These pilot whales stranded because they were all sick. We have to try to take care of them as respectfully and humanely as possible.”  


“Thousands of people come to every day to speak out against animal suffering,” said Pamela Black, an organizer with “The decision as an animal advocate to consider euthanasia as an option is never an easy one. But Ms. Napoles has used the platform to bring a difficult issue to light and connect with more than 1,500 people who agree that R300’s misery has to end.”


Live signature totals from the campaign on



View the video of R300:


Additional background: is the world’s fastest-growing platform for social change — growing by more than 400,000 new members a month, and empowering millions of people to start, join, and win campaigns for social change in their community, city and country.



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Melbourne, Florida – National Solar Power today announced, after a deliberative, exhaustive and comprehensive search process, it has narrowed its list to four communities in Florida to become the home of the world’s largest solar farm. The announcement means Gadsden, Hardee, Osceola and Suwannee counties are in the running to host the landmark $1.5 billion renewable energy project.

“We have been impressed by all of the communities we have considered. After careful consideration, we’ve determined the Sunshine State will provide the most attractive site for our first solar project,” said National Solar Power CEO James Scrivener. “Our friends in Georgia and North Carolina were deeply interested in this project. The communities we have visited and considered in those states remain viable options for our company’s growth plans in the future.”

In June, the company announced seven communities (including the Florida counties along with Sumter and Tatnall counties in Georgia and Guilford County in North Carolina) were in the running to become home of the world’s largest solar farm.

The company established a set of criteria in selecting its community partner for the solar farm location including:

  • Finding ideal available sites with adequate supply of undeveloped land that can properly meet infrastructure needs related to the establishment of the solar facility;
  • Receiving appropriate business, government and community support;
  • Qualifying for appropriate economic development and tax incentives; and
  • Access to a qualified work force.

“All of the communities we have considered would make excellent homes for the kind of solar project we will establish,” Scrivener added. “The communities in North Carolina and Georgia are great places with excellent opportunities for success. That’s why we will keep our talks with them ongoing as we consider the future growth of our company and this exciting solar industry.”

The first phase of the project is expected to be up and running within six months of breaking ground. Hensel Phelps Construction Co., a world leader in construction that rebuilt the Pentagon after the 9-11 attacks in 2001, will design, build and operate the solar farms for National Solar Power.

By converting the natural power of the sun into electricity, National Solar Power’s planned 400-megawatt farm will be capable of providing enough renewable energy to power roughly 32,000 homes.

National Solar Power was established to meet the growing demand in the utility market for renewable energy generation by providing utilities with cost-effective solar solutions. The company has entered into power supply agreements for more than 3,000 megawatts of solar farms in the Southeastern United States. With these agreements, the company is well positioned to be a market leader in utility-scale solar production.

A market leader in utility scale solar power solutions, National Solar Power is uniquely positioned within the marketplace to offer cost effective solar power solutions on the utility scale. With more than 30 years of industry experience, National Solar Power’s founders have been involved in the solar and utility energy marketplace and witnessed renewable energy gaining in popularity and affordability. National Solar Power has executed power supply agreements for more than 3,000 Megawatts of Solar Farms in the Southeastern United States. Learn more about National Solar Power at


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SEAACA & Pet-Connections to Provide No-Cost Spay & Neuter Programs for Owned Free-Roaming Cats

(LOS ANGELES, CA) August 11, 2011 - SEAACA (Southeast Area Animal Control Authority; and Pet-Connections are helping cat owners who live in the 14 cities served by SEAACA with the BIG MEOW, a compelling program to provide no-cost spay and neuter serviced for owned free-roaming cats. The year long, national program kicks off at SEAACA on August 17 with photo opportunities during cat drop-off (7:15 a.m. to 8:45 a.m.) and pick-up (2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.). 

SEAACA and Pet-Connections will offer a variety of services for owned free-roaming cats at absolutely no cost to cat owners. Services include spay or neuter, microchip ID (so cats have permanent ID in addition to a collar), vaccines (FVRCP and rabies), one month application of flea and tick control and basic health care at the time of surgery. 

The BIG MEOW is a significant step in improving cat health and curtailing overpopulation. Spayed or neutered cats tend to want to stay inside with their families. Cats that roam, however, can get lost, hit by passing cars, be exposed to pesticides, poisons or unhealthy plants and disturb neighbors. Moreover, an un-spayed female cat, her mate and all of their offspring, producing two litters per year, with 2.8 surviving kittens per litter, can result in thousands of cats (over 2,000 cats in four years and over 370,000 cats in seven years!).

“The BIG MEOW delivers monumental benefits for everyone,” noted SEAACA Executive Director, Dan Morrison. “It helps owned free-roaming cats lead safer, healthier lives. It also helps manage the surplus cat problem, and the no-cost element helps personal finances in tough economic times,” he added.

The Big Meow will result in over 50 surgeries at SEAACA on the “kick-off day” (August 17) with partner veterinarians in private practice performing another 100 to 150 surgeries on that day; the annual goal for SEAACA is 3,000 surgeries. The Inland Valley Humane Society is concurrently doing the same program. 

In order to participate in the BIG MEOW, cats must be four months to seven years of age. Only owned free-roaming cats are eligible (no feral or wild cats will be accepted). Additionally, cat owners must provide proof of residency in SEAACA service cities and each cat must be in a properly secured kennel or carrier.

For more information about the BIG MEOW or SEAACA, please visit, or call the appointment line at 562-803-3301 ext. 251.   


SEAACA (Southeast Area Animal Control Authority) provides animal care and control services for 14 cities in southeast Los Angeles County and northern Orange County, including Bell Gardens, Bellflower, Buena Park, Downey, Lakewood, La Palma, Montebello, Norwalk, Paramount, Pico Rivera, Santa Fe Springs, South El Monte, South Gate and Vernon. SEAACA's Animal Care Center located in Downey reunites pet owners with lost pets and assists new pet owners with pet adoptions. SEAACA’s Animal Wellness Clinic, also located in Downey, spays and neuters all adoption animals plus provides vaccinations and microchipping to the general public. For more information about SEAACA, please

About Pet-Connections

Pet Connections, Inc. is a national organization dedicated to developing coalitions between pet owners, community leaders and animal welfare organizations to reduce the number of stray and unwanted cats and dogs.
Saturday, 13 August 2011 18:34

Talkin' Pets News Featured

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Today is Saturday, Aug. 13, the 225th day of 2011.
There are 140 days left in the year.

Last modified on Saturday, 13 August 2011 18:38
Friday, 12 August 2011 04:49

Final Destination 5 Featured

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Warner Bros. Pictures, New Line Cinema, Jellystone Films and Practical Pictures present an R rated, 92 minute horror, thriller directed by Steven Quale, written by Eric Heisserer and Jeffrey Reddick with a release date of August 12, 2011.

Friday, 12 August 2011 04:42

30 Minutes or Less Featured

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Columbia Pictures, Media Rights Capital, Modern VideoFilm and Red Hour Films present an R rated, 83 minute action, adventure, comedy directed by Ruben Fleischer and written by Michael Diliberti with a release date of August 12, 2011.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011 16:09

More than 3,000 Pets Saved in First Week of ASPCA $100K Challenge Featured

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Shelters Competing to Save More Lives, Earn More Than $300,000 in Prize Grants

NEW YORK—The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today announced that more than 3,000 pets were adopted or reunited with their owners during the first seven days of the 2011 ASPCA $100K Challenge, a three-month competition where 49 shelters from 33 states and territories across the United States are working to increase lives saved in order to win some of the $300,000 in ASPCA prize grants, including a grand prize of $100,000.

During the first week of the ASPCA $100K Challenge, contestants held special adoption events around the country in an effort to kick off to a strong start in the competition. Many contestants stayed open around the clock for 24-hour adoption events, offered unique promotions and discounts on adoption fees, and more.

“Many shelters shattered their own records for most adoptions in a day or a week, and in so doing they used this contest to shatter the perception of what’s possible. Staff and volunteers are more energized than ever to keep saving more lives,” said Bert Troughton, vice president of community outreach for the ASPCA.

During the 2011 ASPCA $100K Challenge, contestants will compete to save at least 300 more animals—during the months of August, September, and October 2011—than they did over the same three-month period in 2010. The shelter with the biggest increase in animals saved will win a $100,000 grant. The agency that gets the most community members involved in saving animals will win a $25,000 grant, and those organizations that do the best in their regions will be eligible for between $5,000 and $25,000 in grants. In last year’s first-ever ASPCA $100K Challenge, contestants saved a total of 48,779 lives over three months – an increase of 7,362 lives over the same three months in 2009.

It has long been a priority of the ASPCA to create a country of humane communities where there is no more euthanasia of homeless animals simply because of a lack of space or the resources to adequately care for them. The ASPCA $100K Challenge builds on that goal by inspiring shelters and their communities to innovate and act to save more animals.

For more information about the contest, please visit To locate a 2011 ASPCA $100K Challenge contestant near you, please visit To see a complete list of 2011 $100K Challenge events as they are scheduled, please stay tuned to throughout the contest.

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. 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 To become a fan of the ASPCA on Facebook, go to To follow the ASPCA on Twitter, go to


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HSUS Grants to LSU Shelter Program Now Total $800,000

(August 10, 2011) BATON ROUGE—The Humane Society of the United States donated $200,000 to the shelter medicine program at the Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine. The LSU-SVM’s shelter medicine program gives veterinary students the opportunity to learn about medical care for dogs and cats in animal shelters and develop primary care and surgery skills while providing their services and expertise to animal shelters in south Louisiana. 

With the $200,000 grant from The HSUS, the LSU-SVM will extend its efforts to serve some of the shelters in areas outside of southern Louisiana, such as those in central and north Louisiana. The HSUS had previously given $600,000 to LSU-SVM in support of the shelter medicine program, which currently serves animal shelters or animal control centers in the parishes of Ascension, Calcasieu, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Iberville, Jefferson, Lafayette, Livingston, Orleans, Plaquemines, Pointe Coupee, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. John, St. Martin, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa and West Baton Rouge. 

“The HSUS grant will extend the reach of our program and allow our students and faculty  to engage with the community in service partnerships that will help make the shelters better, and most importantly help more homeless animals find good homes,” said Joseph Taboada, DVM, Dipl. ACVIM, associate dean for student and academic affairs at the LSU-SVM. “We are certainly grateful for the tremendous support of The HSUS in helping us to establish this program and for its ongoing commitment to sustaining excellence in this important program.” 

The primary purpose of the grant is to provide veterinary students at LSU-SVM surgical and hands-on experience while also contributing to the needs of animal control facilities and animal shelters in underserved communities in Louisiana.  Emphasis of this service learning initiative will be on animal wellness, pet population dynamics, disaster medicine, animal behavior and animal welfare. 

“Superior veterinary care at public and private community shelters in Louisiana, and better access to spaying and neutering services, are signature goals of The HSUS, and crucial elements of our broader initiative to improve the lives of dogs and cats in the state, and to end the euthanasia of healthy and treatable pets,” said Andrew Rowan, PhD, HSUS chief scientific officer. “A vibrant shelter medicine program at LSU-SVM, one that extends itself to underserved communities, is essential to those goals, and one of the most fundamental contributions we could hope to make to animal welfare in Louisiana.” 

The Shelter Medicine and Population Control rotation at LSU-SVM is an elective student rotation that can be taken by third- and fourth-year students during the clinical portion of the veterinary curriculum. The rotation was developed using grants from The HSUS and the American Kennel Club Companion Animal Recovery in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005 and has evolved into one of the most popular elective rotations offered at the LSU-SVM. The program has approximately 120 to 130 students enrolled in this curriculum each year. 

“This HSUS grant gives us funding for a shelter medicine fellowship position, which will help us expand into other parts of Louisiana,” said Wendy Wolfson, DVM (LSU-SVM 1986) veterinary surgery instructor and director of the shelter medicine program. “Our goal is to have decreased euthanasia rates in the shelters through better animal health care, provide healthier animals for adoption and encourage students to volunteer or seek employment in shelters once they graduate.”  

The shelter medicine program has now grown to include 23 shelters, in some instances providing consultation on an as needed basis, while in others serving as the main source of veterinary/spay/neuter care. Over the past two years, the students on the shelter medicine rotation have evaluated over 3,500 animals and participated in over 1,400 surgeries at shelters. Nearly 1,500 surgeries on shelter and feral animals have been performed at the LSU-SVM. These efforts have undoubtedly had a positive impact on adoptions in the shelters served, as well as on the primary care and surgery skills of the students involved. 

The Shelter Medicine and Population Control rotation has four main objectives: 

  1. Expose veterinary students to shelter medicine in a service learning setting in which they develop an understanding of the role of shelters in the community and how a veterinarian can have a positive impact on both the shelter and the community through their involvement with the shelters.  
  2. Supply veterinary care and consulting to shelters in south Louisiana and in doing so expose students to spay/neuter and other primary care learning opportunities.  
  3. Through a partnership with Louisiana State Animal Response Team (LSART), to supply the infrastructure to respond to emergency needs in the case of natural disasters affecting the region and to expose veterinary students to the role that a veterinarian can play in disaster response.  
  4.  Develop veterinary student communication skills through teaching opportunities with shelter personnel and local high schools.  


 LSU-SVM Mission:

The LSU School of Veterinary Medicine is a dynamic community dedicated to saving lives, finding cures, and changing lives through outstanding clinical and community service, educational excellence, and groundbreaking research. 

Twitter: LSUVetMed

Facebook Fan Page: LSU School of Veterinary Medicine    

Follow The HSUS on Twitter.

See our work for animals on your iPhone by searching “HumaneTV” in the App Store.

The Humane Society of the United States is the nation’s largest animal protection organization – backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty -- On the web at


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