News &amp; Commentary https://hslf.org/ en Netflix's 'Tiger King' is a wake-up call for ending private possession of big cats https://hslf.org/blog/2020/03/netflixs-tiger-king-wake-call-ending-private-possession-big-cats <span>Netflix&#039;s &#039;Tiger King&#039; is a wake-up call for ending private possession of big cats</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/135" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">kblocher@hslf.org</span></span> <span>Fri, 03/27/2020 - 20:58</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p class="x"><em>By Sara Amundson and Kitty Block</em></p> <p class="x">A decade ago, a Humane Society of the United States's undercover investigation delved into the bizarre world of Joseph Maldonado-Passage (aka Joe Exotic) and his roadside zoo, GW Exotics. For years, Joe and his band of untrained workers kept hundreds of big cats and other wild animals in captivity in barren conditions, bred them to provide infant animals for public photo shoots and “play time” sessions, and even shot animals dead when they were of no use to him anymore.</p> <p class="x">Now, weeks after he was sentenced to 22 years in prison for killing five tigers and hiring a hit man to kill the operator of a Florida big cat sanctuary, the nation is riveted by a new Netflix docuseries, “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness,” that takes a look up-close at the terror unleashed on animals by Joe Exotic and a notorious cast of characters, including roadside zoo owners Jeff Lowe, Kevin Antle and Tim Stark.</p> <p class="x">Joe Exotic had a long history of breeding and dumping large numbers of big cats and bears. At his facility, as HSUS's undercover investigator discovered, it was routine to pull newborn cubs, some just hours old, from their mothers to be hand-raised for handling by the public. Customers were allowed to keep handling tiger cubs, even when the infants cried uncontrollably. And as you can see in HSUS's <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qES_d8dHPzk&amp;feature=youtu.be">undercover video</a>, tiger cubs were “trained” by being punched in the face, dragged by leashes and hit with sticks. Sick and injured animals were routinely denied veterinary care.</p> <p class="x">Joe also sent animals to facilities with lengthy records of U.S. Department of Agriculture violations and paid hefty fines for violations. One of the facilities, to which Joe sent large numbers of lions and bears, was owned by Gregg Woody, an Illinois exhibitor who collected animals and then sent them to slaughter. </p> <p class="x">In 2016, Joe sold his zoo to Jeff Lowe, a big cat exhibitor plagued with controversy. Before acquiring GW Exotics, Lowe was exhibiting a dozen lions and tigers at his flea market, which was closed down by the South Carolina county he was operating in. As the documentary shows, Lowe smuggled tiger cubs into hotel rooms in Las Vegas. The <a href="https://www.ktnv.com/news/contact-13/cashing-in-on-exotic-cubs-unlicensed-las-vegas-businessman-arrested">city confiscated</a> a tiger cub, a liliger cub and a young lemur from him. Both cubs were underweight and suffering from several health conditions, including chronic diarrhea and urinary tract infections. </p> <p class="x">Another character featured on the documentary, who Joe describes as a “mentor,” is Kevin Antle (aka Bhagavan “Doc” Antle). Antle runs Myrtle Beach Safari in South Carolina and offers public contact with wild animals, including tiger cubs. Countless tigers have been bred at his facility over the years for use in close encounters with paying customers. Myrtle Beach Safari has numerous USDA citations for unsafe caging and handling as well as for failing to provide veterinary care for animals. In 2010, while exhibiting at Jungle Island in Florida, a 500-pound tiger provided by this zoo <a href="https://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/fl-xpm-2010-09-05-fl-tiger-escape-charges-20100905-story.html">escaped by jumping over a 14-foot-high fence</a>, coming within 10 feet of a toddler. </p> <p class="x">Finally, there’s Tim Stark, whose roadside zoo, Wildlife in Need (WIN) in Indiana, is now facing scrutiny from federal and state authorities. The U.S. Department of Agriculture revoked Stark’s exhibitor license and assessed a $340,000 civil penalty, and the <a href="https://apnews.com/346d4c1586614866d05af2971445c1af">Indiana attorney general</a> filed a lawsuit against WIN alleging the facility deceived consumers who made donations while keeping animals in deplorable conditions. The charges against WIN allege more than 120 Animal Welfare Act violations such as beating a leopard to death with a baseball bat, swinging monkeys around by their tails, sick and dying animals going without veterinary care, multiple unexplained animal deaths, including an ocelot who was apparently strangled and unsafe enclosures. </p> <p class="x">Another big cat exploiter, Bill Meadows of Tiger Safari in Oklahoma, is also tied to this group of tawdry exhibitors. Meadows obtained tigers from Antle and had ties to Joe Exotic as well. One tiger cub obtained from Antle during the HSUS investigation of Tiger Safari was  used for photo shoots with the public despite the fact that she arrived with a horrible case of ringworm. And both tiger cubs featured in our investigation died soon after the investigation ended.</p> <p class="x">All of this may sound outlandish, but the fact is dozens of other roadside zoos like these operate with impunity across the country, with thousands of big cats and other large wild animals held in captivity for public display and interaction. Although they have been raised in cages, these are by no means animals who should petted by anyone. The series, for instance, shows an incident where an employee’s hand was ripped off by a big cat at GW Exotics, and it shows other instances of the animals moving quickly—in their interactions with the humans, including Joe—from frisky and playful to powerful and violent: a natural instinct for any big cat.</p> <p class="x">In addition to being a public safety hazard and a cost to law enforcement and other public agencies that must respond when incidents occur at these facilities, roadside zoos are also a burden on animal protection organizations and sanctuaries who take in these animals when those who run these facilities don’t want them anymore. The docuseries includes the <a href="https://bigcatrescue.org/refuting-netflix-tiger-king/">Big Cat Rescue</a>, run by Carole and Howard Baskin, who do highly effective and tireless work to end abuses by people like Lowe, Stark and Antle. Big Cat Rescue has taken in dozens of abused tigers, lions and other wild animals over the years and is accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries. It is also an important partner of ours in the Big Cat Sanctuary Alliance, a membership organization dedicated to ending the private ownership and exploitation of wild cats, and in pushing for the passage of the Big Cat Public Safety Act in Congress.</p> <p class="x">This important bill would ban the possession of big cat species like tigers and lions by unqualified individuals, and it would prohibit poorly run animal exhibitions from allowing public contact with big cats, thereby halting the endless breeding of big cats for this harmful practice. The "Tiger King" is a reminder of why it is so crucial to get this bill signed into law this year. Please contact your lawmakers and ask them to cosponsor the <a href="https://hslf.org/action-center/protect-big-cats">Big Cat Public Safety Act</a>, S. 2561 and H.R. 1380. No one should keep wild cats as pets or patronize roadside zoos. Let's work together to end this madness.</p> <p class="x"><em>Kitty Block is President and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States.</em></p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden tags field--items"> <a href="/taxonomy/term/28" hreflang="en">Action Alerts</a> <a href="/taxonomy/term/197" hreflang="en">Film &amp; Television</a> <a href="/taxonomy/term/30" hreflang="en">Wildlife</a> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-type field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/176" hreflang="en">Blog</a></div> Fri, 27 Mar 2020 20:58:14 +0000 kblocher@hslf.org 20475 at https://hslf.org Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) passes with potential benefits for animal protection sector https://hslf.org/blog/2020/03/coronavirus-aid-relief-and-economic-security-act-cares-passes-potential-benefits <span>Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) passes with potential benefits for animal protection sector </span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/135" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">kblocher@hslf.org</span></span> <span>Fri, 03/27/2020 - 17:37</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><em>By Sara Amundson and Kitty Block</em></p> <p>The $2 trillion emergency stimulus bill that cleared Congress today carries important prospective benefits for the animal care and services sector. These include a temporary expansion of charitable deduction provisions, opportunities for business continuity loans to cover payroll, paid leave, health-insurance premiums, facilities costs, and debt service, and increased tax incentives for corporate giving.  </p> <p>From our perspective, such relief is urgent, and we’re pleased that the stimulus package will bring critical support to millions of Americans, including direct payments, child care credits, expanded unemployment aid, support for health care providers and hospitals under duress, and financial assistance for small businesses and distressed companies. These benefits will be of direct value to eligible individuals and entities, including many of our colleagues, partners and donors, and those of countless other humane organizations and businesses, including sanctuaries, humane societies, rescue organizations, and veterinary care providers around the country.</p> <p>Certainly, we worry that it’s not going to be enough for our sector, historically underfunded and now under significant stress and demands for service. When the COVID-19 crisis emerged, we were quick to urge key congressional leaders to take account of the important role that local and regional animal care organizations and providers play in helping to keep pets with their families and in making every American community better, kinder and safer for people and animals. There are an estimated 3,500 brick and mortar animal shelters and 10,000 rescue groups in the United States providing services for pets, and the need for resources and operational funds in the sector has never been greater. For that and other reasons, we’ll continue to press both the Congress and the federal government for more help for animal care and service entities and providers.</p> <p>The argument for <a href="https://blog.humanesociety.org/2020/03/fosters-step-up-as-shelters-around-the-country-struggle-to-cope-with-coronavirus-crisis.html">supporting humane organizations through this and subsequent stimulus packages</a> is self-evident. In times of calm or crisis, the organizations that care for, foster and place animals for adoption are the primary source of accurate information and counsel to citizens seeking to ensure the safety and well-being of animals in their homes and other animals in their communities. They also provide access to basic services, pet health and nutrition supplies, and veterinary care, and in this time especially, they are helping people whose lives have been disrupted by financial stress, job loss, school and business closures, and sickness.</p> <p>Like the food banks, houses of worship, domestic violence shelters, early childhood care and education centers, after-school facilities and senior centers that we cherish and support, animal care and service providers are the guarantors of public health and safety in communities across this nation. With these other entities and institutions, they are the compassionate face of a great nation. They are beacons of hope in a dark time. We’re inspired by them, and we’ll give them the full measure of our support and service in the months ahead.</p> <p><em>Kitty Block is President and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States.</em></p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden tags field--items"> <a href="/taxonomy/term/34" hreflang="en">Federal Legislation</a> <a href="/taxonomy/term/29" hreflang="en">In the News</a> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-type field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/176" hreflang="en">Blog</a></div> Fri, 27 Mar 2020 17:37:47 +0000 kblocher@hslf.org 20474 at https://hslf.org To prevent another pandemic, global leaders should crack down on wildlife trade https://hslf.org/blog/2020/03/prevent-another-pandemic-global-leaders-should-crack-down-wildlife-trade <span>To prevent another pandemic, global leaders should crack down on wildlife trade</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/135" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">kblocher@hslf.org</span></span> <span>Thu, 03/26/2020 - 22:24</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><em>By Sara Amundson and Kitty Block</em></p> <p>At the G20 coronavirus meeting today, global leaders, including President Trump, brainstormed on ways to control the coronavirus pandemic that is now ravaging dozens of nations, leaving a vast trail of human casualties in its wake. But one thing that didn’t come up was the reason why we are in this predicament in the first place: the unchecked trade, transport and consumption of wildlife.</p> <p>Scientists believe that the novel coronavirus originated in bats, who are natural hosts to coronaviruses and were also linked to the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2002. In that case the coronavirus was transmitted to palm civets—small, slender mammals with ferretlike faces—who were then sold at a wildlife market in Shenzhen, China. It is suspected that the current pandemic, traced to a wildlife market in Wuhan, China, may have originated in a similar way.</p> <p>China has since been under pressure to permanently close its wildlife markets: open-air markets where butchers slaughter wild and domestic animals on site. Last month, the <a href="https://blog.humanesociety.org/2020/02/breaking-news-as-coronavirus-spreads-china-bans-trade-in-wild-animals-for-food.html">nation announced a ban on buying and selling wild animals for food</a>. That ban has not yet been codified into law, and we hope the Chinese government will do so soon. We also hope the Chinese government will extend the ban to all wildlife trade, and not just animals used for food.</p> <p>But it is not just China that needs to fix this problem. Wildlife trade, transport and consumption occurs in countries around the world, including the United States, and we need our leaders to agree to end these high-risk practices if we want to prevent another pandemic from sweeping the globe. </p> <p>The United States also has a thriving exotic animal industry that often imports wild-caught species, including from China, and many facilities offer close encounters with wild animals that pose zoonotic disease risks. People buy exotic pets on a whim, then neglect the animal after they lose interest. Some unwanted exotic pets are turned loose where they pose a threat to native species. Many die prematurely due to improper care and many more die before even making it to the point of sale because of improper and grueling conditions during transport and grossly substandard conditions at dealer warehouses. Standard industry mortality rates at exotic animal wholesale facilities are as high as 70 percent due to poor sanitation, lack of food and water, improper temperatures, high stress levels, overcrowding and inhumane handling.</p> <p>This is a serious animal welfare problem, by any measure. But it is also an extremely serious public health concern.</p> <p>According to a 2007 <a href="https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/13/1/06-0480_article">article</a> published in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases that examined the risks posed by the wildlife trade and exotic pet industry, an estimated 75 percent of emerging infectious diseases among humans are zoonotic—meaning they are viral, bacterial, parasitic and fungal infections that spread between animals and people.</p> <p>A familiar example of this is rabies, which can be transmitted between mammals. Other zoonotic diseases that have emerged from various parts of the world include Ebola, HIV, SARS and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), all linked to contact with bushmeat (a term that encompasses meat from a range of wild animals, including chimpanzees hunted in tropical forests), civets and camels respectively. In a smart move, just last week, Malawi banned the sale and consumption of bushmeat.</p> <p>In 2003, the United States experienced a monkeypox outbreak, caused when Gambian pouched rats imported from Africa transmitted the virus to prairie dogs who in turn transmitted the virus to people who obtained the animals as pets.</p> <p>And we hear almost every year about E. coli and salmonella infections associated with petting zoos and county and state fairs.</p> <p>Zoonotic disease risks work both ways. Measles as well as the virus that causes cold sores in people can be deadly to some primate species. And big cats and bears can suffer from canine distemper, which could be transferred from a person with an infected dog at home. </p> <p>No matter how you look at it, plucking wild animals from their natural habitats and forcing them into lives of abuse and captivity causes more harm than good, both for animals and for people. The coronavirus crisis is a wakeup call to end all wildlife abuse wherever it exists. To truly prevent another global tragedy from ever recurring, we need our leaders to step up now and resolve to crack down on wildlife trade, transport and consumption with every tool at their disposal. </p> <p><em>Kitty Block is President and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States.</em></p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden tags field--items"> <a href="/taxonomy/term/29" hreflang="en">In the News</a> <a href="/taxonomy/term/30" hreflang="en">Wildlife</a> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-type field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/176" hreflang="en">Blog</a></div> Thu, 26 Mar 2020 22:24:56 +0000 kblocher@hslf.org 20473 at https://hslf.org In new role at the USFWS, trophy hunters’ lawyer will guide U.S. global policy on wildlife https://hslf.org/blog/2020/03/new-role-usfws-trophy-hunters-lawyer-will-guide-us-global-policy-wildlife <span>In new role at the USFWS, trophy hunters’ lawyer will guide U.S. global policy on wildlife</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/135" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">kblocher@hslf.org</span></span> <span>Thu, 03/26/2020 - 16:01</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><em>By Sara Amundson and Kitty Block</em></p> <p>The Trump administration’s course on wildlife policy, riddled with handouts to trophy hunters, took another wrong turn last week with the hiring of Anna Seidman, a litigator for Safari Club International, to head a key office of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.</p> <p>The <a href="https://hslf.org/blog/2020/02/sci-convention-trophy-hunters-rub-shoulders-donald-trump-jr-and-usfws-director">SCI is one of the world’s largest trophy hunting industry groups</a>, with members who kill hundreds of animals fast disappearing from earth each year and then import their heads and hides back to the United States and other nations to decorate their homes. As director of the SCI’s legal advocacy and international affairs arm until last year, Seidman spent 20 years working to make this carnage possible, by fighting U.S. laws and agency decisions that prohibit the killing of at-risk and endangered animals.</p> <p>Among other things, she led numerous lawsuits against the USFWS and other federal agencies, including one challenging a 2014 ban on the import of elephant trophies from Tanzania and Zimbabwe, and 2015 and 2016 Obama-era regulations that prohibited cruel predator control tactics in national preserves and refuges in Alaska.<br /> Now, as assistant director of the USFWS’s international affairs program, Seidman will lead a team responsible for implementing international conservation treaties and protecting at-risk wildlife populations and their habitats around the globe at the very agency whose policies she opposed.</p> <p>Talk of the fox guarding the henhouse.</p> <p>Seidman is completely unsuited for a job in which she’ll get to decide our nation’s wildlife policy on behalf of millions of American citizens who detest trophy hunting. But more disturbingly, her appointment offers further evidence of just how deep the nexus is between the Department of the Interior and trophy hunting interests.<br /> Although the president himself has decried trophy hunting as a “horror show,” his professed disgust has not reflected even remotely in the choices his administration has made since 2017.</p> <p>Ryan Zinke, the first secretary of the Department of the Interior named by Trump, was an avid trophy hunter himself, as is current Interior Secretary David Bernhardt. Zinke created the International Wildlife Conservation Council, a panel made up almost exclusively of trophy hunting and gun lobby interests, to advise the administration on its global wildlife policy. The <a href="https://blog.humanesociety.org/2018/08/lawsuit-seeks-to-evict-foxes-from-interiors-henhouse.html">IWCC was dissolved last year</a> because of a lawsuit we filed.</p> <p>In 2017, the Trump administration announced it would lift an Obama-era ban on the import of elephant trophies from Zimbabwe and allow elephant and lion trophy imports from Zambia. In 2019, the USFWS announced it would make all trophy import decisions without public input and <a href="https://blog.humanesociety.org/2019/09/lions-are-in-danger-of-extinction-but-the-u-s-will-reward-a-trophy-hunter-who-killed-one-with-an-import-permit-for-the-animals-body-parts.html">issued an import permit for a lion trophy</a> from Tanzania for the first time since the species was listed as threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act in 2016. The Trump administration also issued permits to three Americans to import trophies of <a href="https://blog.humanesociety.org/2019/09/u-s-says-michigan-businessman-who-killed-critically-endangered-black-rhino-can-bring-his-trophy-home.html">endangered black rhinos</a> they had killed.</p> <p>Last year, the administration gutted the Endangered Species Act, making it harder to grant and maintain federal protections for species that are fighting for survival.</p> <p>Now, Seidman’s appointment sends a pretty clear signal that U.S. wildlife policy for species here and abroad will continue to be made not with the interests of endangered and at-risk animals in mind, but for the benefit of trophy hunters who like to kill for fun.</p> <p>Luckily for the animals and the Americans who care about them, we’re doing something about it.</p> <p>We took on the IWCC and shut it down; we’re suing the Trump administration over its <a href="https://blog.humanesociety.org/2019/08/breaking-hsus-other-groups-sue-trump-administration-for-weakening-endangered-species-act.html">rollbacks to the ESA</a>; <a href="https://wildernesswatch.org/images/wild-issues/2017/02-08-2017-NPS-Predator-Regs-Suit-Intervention.pdf">we intervened in a lawsuit</a> to protect native carnivores on federal lands in Alaska; and we are <a href="https://blog.humanesociety.org/2018/03/breaking-news-hsus-hsi-sue-federal-wildlife-officials-stop-imports-elephant-lion-trophies.html">challenging trophy import decisions</a> by the USFWS. There is no justification for the administration and its appointees to allow a few outliers with deep pockets to hijack our nation’s wildlife policy for personal gain, and we will leave no stone unturned in our efforts to defend the world’s wildlife against this torrent of threats.</p> <p><em>Kitty Block is President and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States.</em></p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden tags field--items"> <a href="/taxonomy/term/29" hreflang="en">In the News</a> <a href="/taxonomy/term/30" hreflang="en">Wildlife</a> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-type field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/176" hreflang="en">Blog</a></div> Thu, 26 Mar 2020 16:01:56 +0000 kblocher@hslf.org 20472 at https://hslf.org Living, and voting, during the coronavirus crisis https://hslf.org/blog/2020/03/living-and-voting-during-coronavirus-crisis <span>Living, and voting, during the coronavirus crisis</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/135" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">kblocher@hslf.org</span></span> <span>Mon, 03/23/2020 - 19:25</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p style="margin-bottom:11px">Supporters of our work should know that the entire Humane Society Legislative Fund staff has transitioned to remote work. We’re working hard to call attention to the needs of local humane societies and other animal service agencies, and to make federal legislators mindful of the critical role these entities play. And we’re also continuing to advance our regular mission of giving animals the best possible representation in the nation’s capital. </p> <p style="margin-bottom:11px">Working from home, with companion animals at our side, my colleagues and I are as mindful as ever of what’s at stake for animals, not just in the immediate crisis but even a little further down the road. In just several weeks, COVID-19 has reshaped our social, economic, and political lives. And it promises to do the same for our elections too.</p> <p style="margin-bottom:11px">Already, the impacts of the coronavirus on America’s campaign season have been startling and dramatic. Several states have rescheduled their primaries, candidates now conduct their debates without in-person audiences, campaigns are canceling rallies, virtual town halls are the norm, and we’re witnessing fundamental changes to the structure and practices of voter engagement. COVID-19 is testing the very strength and resilience of the democratic process in the United States. And in the weeks ahead we will be monitoring any congressional efforts to further safeguard our ability to vote—and ensure the safety of our elections.</p> <p style="margin-bottom:11px">Elections have special importance for those of us who care about animals, because it’s the way in which we can directly shape the future for animal protection. Animals can’t vote, and we can, and we can change their circumstances by electing those who share our humane values. It’s just that simple, and just that important.</p> <p style="margin-bottom:11px">During this most uncertain of times, we at HSLF are as committed as ever to our mission of helping animals. At the same time, we want to ensure that the voice of every voter who wants to do the same will have his or her voice heard in our elections as well as in the broader political discourse. For that reason, we want to share a few suggestions about how voters can navigate an election season engulfed by the coronavirus pandemic.</p> <p style="margin-bottom:11px">The status of scheduled state and federal primary elections is one of the most confusing and unsettled issues. The good news is that our friends at vote.org have set up a resource with up-to-date election information for every state at <a href="http://www.vote.org/covid-19">vote.org/covid-19</a>.</p> <p style="margin-bottom:11px">As an individual voter, you should also consider the following steps:</p> <ul><li style="margin-bottom: 11px;">Many jurisdictions allow voters to vote by mail with an absentee ballot. If your state allows it, you can <a href="https://hslf.org/get-your-absentee-ballot">request an absentee ballot</a> and vote from home.</li> <li style="margin-bottom: 11px;">If you are obliged to vote in person, please follow <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/prevention.html">CDC recommendations</a>, take your own pen to use at the polling facility, and carry a bottle of hand sanitizer.</li> <li style="margin-bottom: 11px;">Many states are facing shortages of poll workers as a result of the pandemic. If you are healthy, consider volunteering for this critical role. Contact your local election officials to learn more of what that entails.</li> <li style="margin-bottom: 11px;">Take the time to research your choices in advance. You can check our <a href="http://www.elctions.hslf.org/">election site</a> and <a href="https://hslf.org/humane-scorecard">Humane Scorecard</a> to read about the candidates we believe will do good things for animals.</li> </ul><p style="margin-bottom:11px">Voting by mail is not a new concept in the United States, and the number of voters who vote by mail is significant and growing rapidly. Some states, including Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington, already conduct all of their voting by mail. Absentee ballots allow you to thoughtfully review your choices, research your candidates, and avoid crowds and lines. That’s why we’re so enthusiastic about this option. </p> <p style="margin-bottom:11px">If you’re a supporter of HSLF, you know that your investment makes all the difference. It means that we’re working hard in the nation’s capital every day, making the case for animals in Congress and with the agencies of our federal government. And it means that you play a crucial part in any success we achieve not merely by contributing your funds but by contacting legislators and government administrators on your own.</p> <p style="margin-bottom:11px">That’s worth repeating. We ask our supporters not only to back our lobbying efforts and ongoing campaigns, but to increase their personal engagement as citizen advocates, and, importantly, to make their votes count for animals.</p> <p style="margin-bottom:11px">That kind of engagement is always important but in a certain way, it matters now more than ever. Please remember to <a href="https://hslf.org/register-vote">update your voter registration</a>, <a href="https://hslf.org/get-your-absentee-ballot">request an absentee ballot</a> if your state allows, and take other steps to ensure that your voice is heard in our democracy.</p> <p style="margin-bottom:11px">You'll hear more from us about elections throughout the year, so do keep checking the blog for additional updates and information. We’ll also keep you apprised of our efforts in relation to COVID-19’s effects on animal protection and the humane sector. For now, please rest assured, we’ll be giving it our best in the nation’s capital and elsewhere when it comes to positive public policy outcomes for animals.<br />  </p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden tags field--items"> <a href="/taxonomy/term/83" hreflang="en">Elections</a> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-type field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/176" hreflang="en">Blog</a></div> Mon, 23 Mar 2020 19:25:22 +0000 kblocher@hslf.org 20466 at https://hslf.org Animal protection organizations call on nation’s governors to classify pet supply, veterinary practices and other businesses needed to sustain animals’ lives as essential https://hslf.org/press-release/2020/03/animal-protection-organizations-call-nations-governors-classify-pet-supply <span>Animal protection organizations call on nation’s governors to classify pet supply, veterinary practices and other businesses needed to sustain animals’ lives as essential</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/135" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">kblocher@hslf.org</span></span> <span>Mon, 03/23/2020 - 16:30</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div id="content-inner"> <div class="page-title">Animal protection organizations call on nation’s governors to classify pet supply, veterinary practices and other businesses needed to sustain animals’ lives as essential</div> <p>WASHINGTON (March 23, 2020)—The Humane Society of the United States, Humane Society Legislative Fund and Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association are calling on state and federal leaders to classify goods and services that are needed to provide for animals as essential when making emergency declarations to suspend operations. Pets, farm animals, animals in laboratories and animals in entertainment rely on caretakers for their survival, and the organizations are working to ensure no animals are neglected due to a lack of sufficient governmental emergency planning.</p> <p>The immediate effort focuses on operations including animal shelters, horse boarding and wildlife rehabilitation facilities, sanctuaries, veterinary practices, pet food and supply stores and feed stores.</p> <p>Across the country, HSUS state directors have been in contact with emergency managers and other state officials to ensure that these vital goods and services are available to people who are caring for animals.</p> <p>In Pennsylvania, the HSUS state director worked through the Department of Agriculture to clarify the critical nature of businesses such as animal shelters, sanctuaries and rescue groups. The department <a href="https://www.agriculture.pa.gov/Documents/Guidance for Pet Owners.pdf">issued guidance</a> for those businesses on ways they can minimize the risk to personnel and customers. In Illinois, veterinary practices are among only a few businesses that can stay open under Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s stay-at-home order. New York State has also categorized animal shelters and veterinary practices as essential.</p> <p>“These are trying times for everyone, and it’s gratifying to see that several states are including the needs of animals in determining how best to implement public health measures to keep everyone as safe as possible,” said Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States. “We have seen through natural disasters that people are more compliant if they are assured that the needs of their pets are included in government policies.”</p> <p>“While it is paramount that we come together to ensure that our human health interests are taken care of, we are also concerned about the welfare of pets and animals in laboratories, zoos and puppy mills, said Sara Amundson, president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund. “We urge Congress to quickly pass the <a href="https://hslf.org/blog/2020/03/congress-should-act-fast-protect-animals-puppy-mills-roadside-zoos-and-research-labs">PREPARED Act</a> to require regulated facilities to have a plan to address the needs of animals in disasters.”</p> <p>“The impact of this crisis on the veterinary profession is staggering,” said Pam Runquist, executive director of Humane Society Veterinarian Medical Association. “Many practices cannot get the supplies that they need for procedures and are scaling back services to emergency care. We urge all states to designate veterinary businesses as essential services so that they can continue to provide necessary medical care for pets and all animals.”</p> <p><strong>Media contact:</strong><br /><strong>Kirsten Peek; </strong>202-744-3875, <a href="mailto:kpeek@humanesociety.org">kpeek@humanesociety.org</a></p> <p class="press-release-footer"> </p> <p style="text-align: center;">##</p> <p style="text-align: left;"><em>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. Visit us on all our channels: on the web at <a href="/">hslf.org</a>, on our blog at <a href="https://hslf.org/blog" target="_blank">hslf.org/blog</a>, on Facebook at <a href="https://www.facebook.com/humanelegislation" target="_blank">facebook.com/humanelegislation</a> and on Twitter at <a href="https://twitter.com/HSLegFund" target="_blank">twitter.com/HSLegFund</a>.</em></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><em>Founded in 1954, the Humane Society of the United States and its affiliates around the globe <a href="https://www.humanesociety.org/all-our-fights?credit=HSLF_boilerplate" target="_blank">fight the big fights</a> to end suffering for all animals. Together with millions of supporters, the HSUS takes on puppy mills, factory farms, trophy hunts, animal testing and other cruel industries, and together with its affiliates, rescues and provides direct care for over 100,000 animals every year. The HSUS works on reforming corporate policy, improving and enforcing laws and elevating public awareness on animal issues. More at <a href="http://humanesociety.org">humanesociety.org</a>. </em></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><em>Subscribe to Kitty Block’s blog, <a href="https://blog.humanesociety.org/">A Humane World</a>. Follow the HSUS Media Relations department on <a href="https://twitter.com/HSUSNews" target="_blank">Twitter</a>. Read the award-winning <a href="https://www.humanesociety.org/all-animals-magazine">All Animals</a> magazine. Listen to the <a href="https://www.humanesociety.org/humane-voices">Humane Voices Podcast</a>.</em></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><em>Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association was formed as a home for veterinary professionals who want to engage in direct care programs for animals in need and educate the public and others in the profession about animal welfare issues. HSVMA uses its veterinary expertise and resources to advance animal welfare via leadership, advocacy, education and service. More at hsvma.org.</em></p> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden tags field--items"> <a href="/taxonomy/term/34" hreflang="en">Federal Legislation</a> <a href="/taxonomy/term/31" hreflang="en">Animals in Research</a> <a href="/taxonomy/term/32" hreflang="en">Pets &amp; Cruelty</a> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-type field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/177" hreflang="en">Press Release</a></div> Mon, 23 Mar 2020 16:30:39 +0000 kblocher@hslf.org 20467 at https://hslf.org As scandals in horse racing escalate, trainers join calls for reform https://hslf.org/blog/2020/03/scandals-horse-racing-escalate-trainers-join-calls-reform <span>As scandals in horse racing escalate, trainers join calls for reform</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/135" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">kblocher@hslf.org</span></span> <span>Fri, 03/20/2020 - 19:34</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><em>By Sara Amundson and Kitty Block</em></p> <p>The recent indictment of more than two dozen people, including racehorse trainers and veterinarians, in a widespread doping scandal has turned a red-hot spotlight on the horseracing industry. And in a welcome development, some long-overdue scrutiny is coming from stakeholders within the industry itself.</p> <p>In a <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/03/13/bob-baffert-horse-racing-is-crisis-we-need-immediate-drastic-federal-action-fix-it/">hard-hitting op-ed</a> last week in the Washington Post, two time Triple Crown winner and Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert called for the passage of the Horseracing Integrity Act, a bill that would create much-needed reform in an industry now beset by problems, including a tragic spate of racehorse deaths, in recent years.</p> <p>“Horse racing is experiencing the most profound crisis in the long history of the sport,” Baffert wrote. “To emerge stronger, we must act decisively to protect the horses who are the stars of the show; nothing else will restore the confidence of fans, gamblers and the general public. And that means federal action.”</p> <p>Baffert is the biggest name from within the industry so far to endorse change, but he is hardly the only one. In August, 50 horse trainers endorsed the Horseracing Integrity Act in a letter to members of Congress on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, citing “an ongoing crisis of confidence” in the sport.</p> <p>“We are ready for change and will embrace it for the greater good,” they wrote.</p> <p>Last year, in another positive move, the California Horse Racing Board launched an inquiry into 23 horse deaths at Santa Anita over a three-month period between 2018 and 2019, to see whether further safety improvements were warranted. Just last week, the board released a 77-page report that found nearly all the horses who died displayed evidence of preexisting conditions exacerbated by intense training, track surface, poor veterinary record keeping and oversight, and the prevalence of legal medication administered on or close to race day.</p> <p>The report recommends several steps be taken to protect racehorses, including continuing education for both trainers and veterinarians, compulsory testing and exams for racehorses, industry support for research to better understand the causes of injuries, veterinary procedures for safety, expanding the list of prohibited medications and practices, and improved oversight of training practices.</p> <p>Here is the nub. Around the nation today, public confidence in horse racing is at its lowest point. Reporting that an average of 10 horses die each week at the tracks, the Washington Post, in an <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/horse-racing-has-outlived-its-time/2020/03/12/5dd48e46-6476-11ea-acca-80c22bbee96f_story.html">editorial</a> published the same day as Baffert’s op-ed, called horse racing a “sport that has outlived its time.”</p> <p>If the horse racing industry wants to survive, it can start with strongly backing the passage this year of the Horseracing Integrity Act H.R.1754/S.1820 that would ensure that trainers in every state follow a uniform national standard regarding permissible drugs and stringent penalties for doping.</p> <p>The bill, sponsored in the House by Reps. Paul Tonko, D-N.Y., and Andy Barr, R-Ky., and in the Senate by Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and Martha McSally, R-Ariz., would both ban race-day medication and substantially increase out-of-competition testing.</p> <p>The bill would also grant independent control over rule-making, testing and enforcement oversight regarding drugs and medication to a new authority created by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), an independent entity that oversees testing of athletes at Olympic competitions and many other sporting events held in the United States. Finally, the bill would create a uniform national standard for drug testing overseen by USADA.</p> <p>Horseracing today is in dire need of reform. Whatever its long-term prognosis, passing the Horseracing Integrity Act now would help drastically improve the welfare of the animals central to this industry. <a href="https://hslf.org/action-center/end-doping-horse-racing-industry">Please contact your federal legislators today</a>. Urge them to cosponsor this important bill and do all they can to help secure its passage.</p> <p><em>Kitty Block is President and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States.</em></p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden tags field--items"> <a href="/taxonomy/term/28" hreflang="en">Action Alerts</a> <a href="/taxonomy/term/34" hreflang="en">Federal Legislation</a> <a href="/taxonomy/term/29" hreflang="en">In the News</a> <a href="/taxonomy/term/33" hreflang="en">Equines</a> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-type field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/176" hreflang="en">Blog</a></div> Fri, 20 Mar 2020 19:34:21 +0000 kblocher@hslf.org 20464 at https://hslf.org Humane Society Legislative Fund endorses Rep. Earl Blumenauer for Oregon’s 3rd Congressional District https://hslf.org/press-release/2020/03/humane-society-legislative-fund-endorses-rep-earl-blumenauer <span>Humane Society Legislative Fund endorses Rep. Earl Blumenauer for Oregon’s 3rd Congressional District</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/135" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">kblocher@hslf.org</span></span> <span>Thu, 03/19/2020 - 13:05</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div id="content-inner"> <div class="page-title">Humane Society Legislative Fund endorses Rep. Earl Blumenauer for Oregon’s 3rd Congressional District</div> <p>WASHINGTON (March 19, 2020)—Today the Humane Society Legislative Fund, the nation’s leading political advocacy organization for animal welfare, announced its endorsement of Rep. Earl Blumenauer for Oregon’s 3rd Congressional District.</p> <p>Rep. Blumenauer is the Democratic co-chair of the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus, a bipartisan entity committed to passing commonsense federal animal protection legislation. He also received a perfect score of 100+ on HSLF’s 2019 <a href="https://hslf.org/current_scorecard?ln=blumenauer" target="_blank">Humane Scorecard</a>. The roster of issues on which he has led in the 116th Congress includes efforts to ensure the enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act, the Horse Protection Act, the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, and federal animal fighting laws. Blumenauer also led efforts to prevent the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from issuing permits for the importation of elephant or lion trophies from Zimbabwe, Zambia or Tanzania.</p> <p>“Earl Blumenauer never stops working for commonsense, federal animal protection measures and the people who care about animals,” said Sara Amundson, president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund. “His unwavering record of leadership speaks for itself and we strongly urge Oregonians in the 3rd Congressional District to vote for Congressman Blumenauer.”</p> <p>Among his other efforts in the 116th Congress, Rep. Blumenauer has:</p> <ul><li>Cosponsored and voted for the Prevent Animal Cruelty and Torture Act (<a href="https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/724">H.R. 724</a>) to make malicious animal cruelty a crime on federal property and in interstate commerce, and complement state anti-cruelty laws, which was signed into law.</li> <li>Cosponsored the Big Cat Public Safety Act (<a href="https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/1380" target="_blank">H.R. 1380</a>) to reduce the number of tigers, lions, and other big cats living in substandard conditions and protect public safety by banning public contact activities with these animals and prohibit their procession by individuals and entities lacking a USDA license.</li> <li>Cosponsored the Safeguard American Food Exports Act (<a href="https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/961" target="_blank">H.R. 961</a>) to prohibit the slaughter and export of horses for human consumption overseas.</li> <li>Cosponsored the Horse Racing Integrity Act (<a href="https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/1754" target="_blank">H.R. 1754</a>) to address widespread doping—a key contributing factor to frequent fatalities on American racetracks—by banning race-day medication, increasing out-of-competition testing and establishing uniform national rules governing use of drugs in racehorses.</li> <li>Cosponsored the Welfare of Our Friends Act (<a href="https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/1002" target="_blank">H.R. 1002</a>) to address significant deficiencies in USDA oversight of commercial dog breeding facilities.</li> <li>Cosponsored the Providing Responsible Emergency Plans for Animals at Risk of Emerging Disasters Act (<a href="https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/1042" target="_blank">H.R. 1042</a>) to require facilities regulated under the AWA to submit annual contingency plans for the animals in their care during natural disasters, power outages and other crises.</li> <li>Voted against an amendment (<a href="https://www.congress.gov/amendment/116th-congress/house-amendment/411" target="_blank">H.Amdmt. 411</a>) to H.R. 3055 to prohibit the National Marine Fisheries Service from implementing science-based consensus recommendations to save the North Atlantic right whale, a critically endangered species.</li> <li>Voted for an amendment (<a href="https://www.congress.gov/amendment/116th-congress/house-amendment/435" target="_blank">H.Amdmt. 435</a>) to H.R. 3055 to prevent funds from being used by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to issue permits for the importation of elephant or lion trophies from Zimbabwe, Zambia or Tanzania, where these threatened and endangered populations urgently need additional protections.</li> <li>Voted for U.S. Senator Joseph D. Tydings Memorial Prevent All Soring Tactics Act (<a href="https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/693" target="_blank">H.R. 693</a>) to strengthen the federal law against the “soring” of Tennessee Walking horses in shows—using caustic chemicals and other painful substances to injure the horses’ hooves and legs to induce a high-stepping gait.</li> <li>Voted for the Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act (<a href="https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/737" target="_blank">H.R. 737</a>) to prohibit the trade of shark fins for which sharks are hunted and their maimed bodies returned to the ocean.</li> </ul><p><strong>Media Contact:</strong> <a href="mailto:press@hslf.org">press@hslf.org</a></p> <p class="press-release-footer"> </p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>###</em></p> <p><em>HSLF is a nonpartisan organization that evaluates candidates based only on a single criterion: where they stand on animal welfare. HSLF does not judge candidates based on party affiliation or any other issue.</em></p> <p><em>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. Visit us on all our channels: on the web at <a href="/">hslf.org</a>, on our blog at <a href="https://hslf.org/blog">hslf.org/blog</a>, on Facebook at <a href="https://www.facebook.com/humanelegislation">facebook.com/humanelegislation</a> and on Twitter at <a href="https://twitter.com/HSLegFund">twitter.com/HSLegFund</a>.</em></p> <p><em>Paid for by Humane Society Legislative Fund and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee. HSLF, 1255 23rd Street, NW, Suite 455, Washington, DC 20037.</em></p> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden tags field--items"> <a href="/taxonomy/term/83" hreflang="en">Elections</a> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-type field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/177" hreflang="en">Press Release</a></div> Thu, 19 Mar 2020 13:05:38 +0000 kblocher@hslf.org 20461 at https://hslf.org Humane Society Legislative Fund endorses Rep. Vern Buchanan for Florida’s 16th Congressional District https://hslf.org/press-release/2020/03/humane-society-legislative-fund-endorses-rep-vern-buchanan <span>Humane Society Legislative Fund endorses Rep. Vern Buchanan for Florida’s 16th Congressional District</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/135" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">kblocher@hslf.org</span></span> <span>Thu, 03/19/2020 - 13:01</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div id="content-inner"> <div class="page-title">Humane Society Legislative Fund endorses Rep. Vern Buchanan for Florida’s 16th Congressional District</div> <p>WASHINGTON (March 19, 2020)—Today the Humane Society Legislative Fund, the nation’s leading political advocacy organization for animal welfare, announced its endorsement of Rep. Vern Buchanan for Florida’s 16th Congressional District.</p> <p>Rep. Buchanan is the Republican co-chair of the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus, a bipartisan entity committed to passing commonsense federal animal protection legislation. He also received a perfect score of 100+ on HSLF’s 2019 <a href="https://hslf.org/current_scorecard?ln=buchanan">Humane Scorecard</a>. Buchanan was a lead sponsor of the Prevent Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act which authorizes the FBI and other federal law enforcement agencies to prosecute malicious animal cruelty, including crushing, burning, drowning, suffocating and impaling live animals, and other abuses. Buchanan also led efforts to prevent the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from issuing permits for the importation of elephant or lion trophies from Zimbabwe, Zambia or Tanzania.</p> <p>“Vern Buchanan has already championed the successful passage of two consequential animal protection laws to crack down on animal cruelty and wildlife trafficking in the 116th Congress,” said Sara Amundson, president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund. “We urge voters in Florida’s 16th district to join us in enthusiastically supporting his re-election.”</p> <p>Among his other efforts in the 116th Congress, Rep. Buchanan has:</p> <ul><li>Sponsored and voted for the Prevent Animal Cruelty and Torture Act (<a href="https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/724" target="_blank">H.R. 724</a>) to make malicious animal cruelty a crime on federal property and in interstate commerce, and complement state anti-cruelty laws, which was signed into law.</li> <li>Sponsored and voted for the Rescuing Animals With Rewards (RAWR) Act (<a href="https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/97" target="_blank">H.R. 97</a>) to authorize the State Department to offer financial rewards for information that leads to the disruption of wildlife trafficking networks, which was signed into law.</li> <li>Cosponsored the Big Cat Public Safety Act (<a href="https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/1380" target="_blank">H.R. 1380</a>) to reduce the number of tigers, lions, and other big cats living in substandard conditions and protect public safety by banning public contact activities with these animals and prohibit their procession by individuals and entities lacking a USDA license.</li> <li>Sponsored the Safeguard American Food Exports Act (<a href="https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/961" target="_blank">H.R. 961</a>) to prohibit the slaughter and export of horses for human consumption overseas.</li> <li>Cosponsored the Horse Racing Integrity Act (<a href="https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/1754" target="_blank">H.R. 1754</a>) to address widespread doping—a key contributing factor to frequent fatalities on American racetracks—by banning race-day medication, increasing out-of-competition testing and establishing uniform national rules governing use of drugs in racehorses.</li> <li>Cosponsored the Welfare of Our Friends Act (<a href="https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/1002" target="_blank">H.R. 1002</a>) to address significant deficiencies in USDA oversight of commercial dog breeding facilities.</li> <li>Cosponsored the Providing Responsible Emergency Plans for Animals at Risk of Emerging Disasters Act (<a href="https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/1042" target="_blank">H.R. 1042</a>) to require facilities regulated under the AWA to submit annual contingency plans for the animals in their care during natural disasters, power outages and other crises.</li> <li>Voted against an amendment (<a href="https://www.congress.gov/amendment/116th-congress/house-amendment/411" target="_blank">H.Amdmt. 411</a>) to H.R. 3055 to prohibit the National Marine Fisheries Service from implementing science-based consensus recommendations to save the North Atlantic right whale, a critically endangered species.</li> <li>Sponsored and voted for an amendment (<a href="https://www.congress.gov/amendment/116th-congress/house-amendment/435" target="_blank">H.Amdmt. 435</a>) to H.R. 3055 to prevent funds from being used by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to issue permits for the importation of elephant or lion trophies from Zimbabwe, Zambia or Tanzania, where these threatened and endangered populations urgently need additional protections.</li> <li>Voted for U.S. Senator Joseph D. Tydings Memorial Prevent All Soring Tactics Act (<a href="https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/693" target="_blank">H.R. 693</a>) to strengthen the federal law against the “soring” of Tennessee Walking horses in shows—using caustic chemicals and other painful substances to injure the horses’ hooves and legs to induce a high-stepping gait.</li> <li>Voted for the Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act (<a href="https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/737" target="_blank">H.R. 737</a>) to prohibit the trade of shark fins for which sharks are hunted and their maimed bodies returned to the ocean.</li> </ul><p><strong>Media Contact:</strong> <a href="mailto:press@hslf.org">press@hslf.org</a></p> <p class="press-release-footer"> </p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>###</em></p> <p><em>HSLF is a nonpartisan organization that evaluates candidates based only on a single criterion: where they stand on animal welfare. HSLF does not judge candidates based on party affiliation or any other issue.</em></p> <p><em>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. Visit us on all our channels: on the web at <a href="/">hslf.org</a>, on our blog at <a href="https://hslf.org/blog">hslf.org/blog</a>, on Facebook at <a href="https://www.facebook.com/humanelegislation">facebook.com/humanelegislation</a> and on Twitter at <a href="https://twitter.com/HSLegFund">twitter.com/HSLegFund</a>.</em></p> <p><em>Paid for by Humane Society Legislative Fund and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee. HSLF, 1255 23rd Street, NW, Suite 455, Washington, DC 20037.</em></p> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden tags field--items"> <a href="/taxonomy/term/83" hreflang="en">Elections</a> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-type field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/177" hreflang="en">Press Release</a></div> Thu, 19 Mar 2020 13:01:52 +0000 kblocher@hslf.org 20462 at https://hslf.org Congress should act fast to protect animals in puppy mills, roadside zoos and research labs during coronavirus crisis https://hslf.org/blog/2020/03/congress-should-act-fast-protect-animals-puppy-mills-roadside-zoos-and-research-labs <span>Congress should act fast to protect animals in puppy mills, roadside zoos and research labs during coronavirus crisis</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/135" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">kblocher@hslf.org</span></span> <span>Thu, 03/19/2020 - 01:04</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><em>By Sara Amundson and Kitty Block</em></p> <p>As the COVID-19 crisis escalates, we are asking Congress to act quickly on an important bill that would ensure that millions of animals held in research laboratories and enterprises like puppy mills and roadside zoos across the country are not forgotten.</p> <p>The Providing Responsible Emergency Plans for Animals at Risk of Emerging Disasters (PREPARED) Act, H.R. 1042, introduced last year by Reps. Dina Titus, D-Nev., and Peter King, R-N.Y., is ripe for passage, with more than 200 bipartisan cosponsors. The bill would require all facilities regulated under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), including commercial animal dealers, exhibitors and research labs, to have emergency response plans for the animals in their care when disaster strikes.</p> <p>This commonsense idea has been on the table for many years, but the urgency to pass it is greater today than ever before. With cities and states imposing quarantines and curfews, and businesses shuttering their doors and asking employees to stay home, animals in institutional settings are extremely vulnerable to neglect and/or abandonment. Our federal government has a responsibility to protect them, and to hold such facilities accountable.</p> <p>The PREPARED Act would require regulated facilities to submit plans that identify emergency situations, including human and natural disasters (pandemics, hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, etc.), power outages and animal escapes, and institute specific policies and protocols to respond to these emergencies. Plans would need to include instructions for evacuating the animals, shelter-in-place, provision of backup food and water, sanitation, ventilation, bedding and veterinary care.</p> <p>We already know that not including animals in disaster plans can lead to terrible outcomes. After Hurricane Katrina, more than 600,000 animals were abandoned. Some people refused to evacuate and lost their lives because they couldn’t bear to abandon their pets. At our urging, Congress then went on to pass the PETS Act, which required state and local authorities to take into account—and to plan for—the needs of individuals with household pets and service animals before, during and after a disaster. Unfortunately, the law did not cover commercially owned animals, which is the reason the Humane Society Legislative Fund has been pushing for the PREPARED Act.</p> <p>Not requiring commercial facilities to have a plan in place also places undue burden on first responders, the local community and nongovernmental entities involved with rescue efforts. Because of Katrina and many other deployments, the Humane Society of the United States knows firsthand the difficulties of providing care for thousands of animals in a significant disaster, and the COVID-19 crisis is a disaster of a greater scale than our country has ever experienced.</p> <p>Facilities doing National Institutes of Health-funded research are already required to have disaster plans for their animals, as are those accredited by the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC) International and by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The PREPARED Act would simply level the playing field to ensure that puppy mills, roadside zoos and other regulated facilities also have emergency response plans. It’s a win-win for the businesses too, because it helps them safeguard their activity while ensuring animals they use are not abandoned without care in a time of crisis.</p> <p>The world around us is <a href="https://blog.humanesociety.org/2020/03/with-a-crisis-unfolding-lets-keep-animal-protection-on-the-agenda.html">changing every day</a>. As we focus on keeping ourselves and our loved ones safe, we cannot and should not forget the millions of voiceless animals in puppy mills, roadside zoos and research labs. They need our help now, more than ever. Please take a moment to <a href="https://hslf.org/action-center/require-emergency-plans-protect-animals-during-disasters">contact your federal legislators</a> and urge them to cosponsor the PREPARED Act if they haven’t yet, and do all they can to get this bill passed immediately.</p> <p><em>Kitty Block is President and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States.</em></p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-blog-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden tags field--items"> <a href="/taxonomy/term/28" hreflang="en">Action Alerts</a> <a href="/taxonomy/term/34" hreflang="en">Federal Legislation</a> <a href="/taxonomy/term/31" hreflang="en">Animals in Research</a> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-type field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/176" hreflang="en">Blog</a></div> Thu, 19 Mar 2020 01:04:37 +0000 kblocher@hslf.org 20460 at https://hslf.org