Pets &amp; Cruelty https://hslf.org/ en ‘Increasing public health threat’ from disease found in pet store puppies https://hslf.org/blog/2021/09/increasing-public-health-threat-disease-found-pet-store-puppies <span>‘Increasing public health threat’ from disease found in pet store puppies</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/135" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">kblocher@hslf.org</span></span> <span>Mon, 09/20/2021 - 20:00</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>By selling puppy mill dogs, some pet stores are spreading severe diseases that are dangerous to the public. We’ve been saying this for years. And now <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2784113">a new scientific investigation published this month by the Journal of the American Medical Association Network</a> reinforces this fact. The pet industry is actively avoiding taking responsibility for this threat.</p> <p>The authors surveyed “168 cases from public health reports” from 2011 to 2020 of patients suffering from Campylobacter infections and found that 97% of patients reported contact with a dog; of those, 88% had had contact with a pet store puppy specifically.</p> <p>Called “extensively drug-resistant,” this strain of Campylobacter jejuni “cannot be treated with any commonly recommended antibiotics.” This poses “an increasing public health threat,” according to the report. About one-fourth of the victims studied were so sick they had to be hospitalized.</p> <p>The report found that the “extensively drug-resistant strains have been associated only with dogs.” Further, only dogs from the commercial pet breeding industry, not shelter dogs, were implicated in the outbreak. The report concluded that the commercial dog industry “needs to take action to help prevent the spread of extensively drug-resistant C jejuni from pet store puppies to people.” Given the link to pet store puppies, in February 2021 we petitioned the Consumer Product Safety Commission to require warnings about the <a href="https://hslf.org/blog/2021/02/puppy-selling-pet-stores-petland-have-made-consumers-sick-hsushslf-petition-asks-feds">risks from handling pet store puppies</a>.</p> <p><a href="https://www.humanesociety.org/petland">Petland</a>, the only national puppy-selling pet store chain in the U.S., is alluded to in the report as “a national pet store chain based in Ohio.” <a href="https://www.humanesociety.org/petland">The HSUS’s hidden-camera investigations of Petland stores</a> have revealed that Petland has been aware for years that its puppies are linked to the dangerous disease, but it is not doing enough to keep puppies and the public safe. Petland has continued to spread misinformation about the specific strain of C jejuni linked to some of its puppies, implying that the treatment-resistant, dog-linked strain is the same as the more treatable form of Campylobacter that can come from undercooked food, and even <a href="https://petland.com/information-center/cdc-to-report-on-campylobacter-test-results-from-january-2019-to-date/">seeming to blame the outbreak on the victims’ hygiene</a>. Even after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged the company and its puppy suppliers to take action, Petland has done little to address the problem.</p> <p>Our <a href="https://hslf.org/blog/2021/02/puppy-selling-pet-stores-petland-have-made-consumers-sick-hsushslf-petition-asks-feds">investigations into Petland</a> have also shown that Petland stores’ owners and managers failed to test symptomatic puppies, delayed taking visibly ill puppies to a veterinarian, deceived customers and even did little to protect their own workers from becoming ill. At least <a href="https://www.wsbtv.com/news/local/gwinnett-county/teen-contracts-dangerous-germ-from-puppy-bought-at-petland/697311073/">one teenager who worked at a Georgia Petland store was hospitalized for four days</a> with a fever of almost 105 degrees F and suffered lasting effects. Our undercover investigators spoke with other Petland staff members who also admitted to contracting Campylobacter, and two of our HSUS staff who investigated the stores also became infected.</p> <p>During one of our investigations, a Kentucky Petland manager told our secret shopper, who was buying a puppy, “<a href="https://www.humanesociety.org/sites/default/files/docs/FlorenceKY%20Petland%20Investigation%20Report.pdf">this puppy has had diarrhea [but] that’s not Campylobacter,” falsely claimed the puppy was “perfectly healthy</a>” and had been tested for the disease. But investigation footage showed that the same puppy had been sick inside the Petland store for weeks, often refusing to eat and suffering from frequent diarrhea. This puppy had not been adequately treated or tested for his illness. Our secret shopper took the puppy to a veterinarian immediately after purchase, where he tested positive for Campylobacter.</p> <p>Our undercover investigator also found the same Petland manager telling a different undercover employee days later that they do not test most of the puppies in the store for the disease because most of them would test positive. <a href="https://www.humanesociety.org/petland">Our investigations of eight different Petland stores</a> showed similar attitudes, with none of the stores we visited appearing to have a regular testing protocol to screen puppies for the disease, even if they had warning signs such as diarrhea and lack of appetite.</p> <p>Petland’s typical response to any criticism of their puppies’ care is to change the subject, pointing a finger at animal shelters and implying that purchased puppies are superior to those from a shelter. But the new JAMA report tells another story: “To our knowledge, the extensively drug-resistant strains were only found in the commercial dog industry and have not been associated with exposure to dogs from animal shelters, indicating these strains might have a niche in commercial breeding and distribution of pet store puppies.”</p> <p>Pet stores are not the only sources for potential threats to public health. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is responsible for inspecting and regulating <a href="https://www.humanesociety.org/all-our-fights/stopping-puppy-mills">puppy mills and brokers who sell to pet stores</a>, but during the last administration, the enforcement actions to shut down bad breeders were significantly reduced. Additionally, we’ve seen cases where federal inspectors did not require a puppy mill owner to have a sick or emaciated dog examined or tested by a veterinarian. Instead, they sometimes allowed the licensees to call a veterinarian for advice during the inspection instead of requiring that that animal be seen by a veterinarian. We are hopeful that under this new administration the USDA will prioritize Animal Welfare Act enforcement and will penalize bad breeders for violations of the act. We are also encouraging the agency to update their policies to ensure that there is a requirement sick dogs are promptly treated by a licensed veterinarian.</p> <p>Public health is one urgent reason among many to change the puppy mill industry—and you can help take a stand against the industry for the sake of human and animal health. We have been working state by state to <a href="https://blog.humanesociety.org/2021/09/massive-blow-to-puppy-mills-illinois-ends-sale-puppies-pet-stores.html">change the practice of selling puppy mill puppies in pet stores</a>; and we rejoiced last week when a federal judge upheld <a href="https://blog.humanesociety.org/2020/01/new-maryland-law-heralds-progress-against-puppy-mills-nationwide.html">Maryland’s law</a>. <a href="https://hslf.org/action-center/protect-dogs-cruel-puppy-mills">You can ask your lawmakers to support the Puppy Protection Act</a>, now in Congress, which would require the USDA to change its rules by insisting the dog breeders provide dogs “prompt treatment of any disease, illness or injury by a licensed veterinarian,” among many other improvements in animal care.</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/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/176" hreflang="en">Blog</a></div> Mon, 20 Sep 2021 20:00:20 +0000 kblocher@hslf.org 21801 at https://hslf.org From “pet” cougars to flooding victims, animal rescue requires preparation https://hslf.org/blog/2021/08/pet-cougars-flooding-victims-animal-rescue-requires-preparation <span>From “pet” cougars to flooding victims, animal rescue requires preparation</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/135" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">kblocher@hslf.org</span></span> <span>Tue, 08/31/2021 - 16:36</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>On Sunday, Hurricane Ida slammed into the Gulf Coast, 16 years to the day after Hurricane Katrina’s landfall. Our Animal Rescue and Response team moved toward the strike zone, ready to assist animals in need. Bringing together supplies, equipment and personnel to support emergency response agencies in their relief efforts, we operate within a web of agreements that bind us to disaster response entities at all levels. It’s critical for us to be ready to go the moment authorities ask for our help.</p> <p>Hurricane Ida grew in intensity quickly, but as it formed and approached, we worked with Greater Good Charities to co-sponsor a flight taking homeless shelter animals in Louisiana out of the storm’s path before it hit. We brought the animals to the San Diego Humane Society, a member of our shelter and rescue partner program. Such pre-storm response helps ensure the safety of animals awaiting adoption in threatened areas while freeing up space, shelter staff members and resources that organizations require to respond to their community’s needs during and after a storm—which often includes providing a temporary home for pets while their guardians secure a safe living situation.</p> <p>When it comes to disaster, everyone knows to expect the unexpected. Those who rescue animals do more than simply expect it—they plan for it. They train, they mobilize resources, they collaborate. That critical preparation is the foundation for the flexibility that each new crisis requires.</p> <p>The preparation principle has shaped the work of our Animal Rescue and Response team, which responds to hurricanes, wildfires, floods, and other dangerous situations, along with cases of cruelty and endangerment involving individual animals. The HSUS has been doing such work since the 1970s, and over the past five years alone, <a href="https://www.humanesociety.org/news/safe-hands">we’ve deployed well over 100 times</a>.</p> <p>The past week has seen our teams helping in critical situations far beyond the Gulf Coast. In Tennessee, <a href="https://www.humanesociety.org/news/disaster-preparedness-plans-become-increasingly-critical-worldwide">our team provided supplies and caring hands</a> to help the animals and the overwhelmed staff at the Waverly Animal Shelter who were affected by deadly floods. In New York City, the team helped a cougar being kept as a “pet.” We received a request to help remove an 11-month-old, approximately 80-pound, female cougar from a home in the Bronx. That required a complex collaboration with authorities, including the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the New York City Police Department, and the Bronx Zoo. Our team was at the scene when the homeowner surrendered the cougar, helped coordinate her safe removal and ensured her safe transportation to the Bronx Zoo, where she received excellent care from veterinarians and caregivers. The cougar is now on her way to Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, an accredited sanctuary in Arkansas, where she will receive lifelong care in an environment more suited to her needs. (Her situation was <a href="https://hslf.org/blog/2021/05/texas-tiger-arrives-black-beauty-ranch-were-focused-protecting-other-big-cats">another reminder</a> of why we’re also fighting to pass the <a href="https://hslf.org/blog/2021/04/bill-end-keeping-big-cats-pets-cub-petting-reintroduced-us-senate">Big Cat Public Safety Act</a>.)</p> <p>Whether it’s helping one animal in a Bronx home, or hundreds of animals in the wake of a hurricane, the key to success is being prepared. That’s why, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the forced abandonment of animals that was imposed by authorities at that time, we led the campaign to pass the Pet Evacuation and Transportation Safety (PETS) Act to require that disaster response agencies seeking federal funds prepare disaster plans encompassing the needs of animals. We’re still working to strengthen the capacity of those agencies through our partnerships and we’re pressing for passage of the <a href="https://hslf.org/action-center/require-emergency-plans-protect-animals-during-disasters">Providing Responsible Emergency Plans for Animals at Risk of Emerging Disasters (PREPARED) Act</a> (H.R.1442) and USDA’s issuance of <a href="https://hslf.org/blog/2021/06/animals-deserve-disaster-preparedness-plans-too-heres-how-you-can-help">the emergency contingency rule</a>. Both this bill and USDA’s proposed regulations would ensure that commercial animal dealers, exhibitors and research facilities who are regulated under the Animal Welfare Act develop contingency plans for the animals in their care during disasters. During Congress’ August recess, we worked with Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., to mobilize a <a href="https://drive.google.com/file/d/11ag0wLuc5XRY9TqMmv7vN2nnl88wg_Ad/view?usp=sharing">bipartisan letter signed by 115 representatives</a> urging USDA to reinstate its long-delayed rule.</p> <p>Even if all such agencies were fully prepared, however, there would still be a role for our Animal Rescue and Response Team. Disasters and emergencies are unpredictable, and it’s our job to respond effectively. We’re grateful to supporters and allies who stand with us as we try to help animals and people through some of the toughest moments they’ll ever go through—and we’re grateful to be able to make a difference in these crises.</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> <a href="/taxonomy/term/32" hreflang="en">Pets &amp; Cruelty</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> Tue, 31 Aug 2021 16:36:29 +0000 kblocher@hslf.org 21778 at https://hslf.org Senate Ag Approps package preserves key gains on horse slaughter, soring, and Animal Welfare Act enforcement https://hslf.org/blog/2021/08/senate-ag-approps-package-preserves-key-gains-horse-slaughter-soring-and-animal <span>Senate Ag Approps package preserves key gains on horse slaughter, soring, and Animal Welfare Act enforcement</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/135" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">kblocher@hslf.org</span></span> <span>Thu, 08/05/2021 - 21:58</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Yesterday, the Senate Appropriations Committee advanced its version of the Fiscal Year 2022 Agriculture Appropriations bill following the <a href="https://hslf.org/blog/2021/07/us-house-passes-minibus-package-chock-full-animal-protection-measures">House passage of its version last week</a>. The Senate bill and accompanying committee report contain some important highlights for animals, notably for enforcement of laws including the Animal Welfare Act, Horse Protection Act and the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act. They also contain measures or language designed to sustain vital protection for horses from slaughter, prevent dogs and cats from being stolen and sold into research, increase veterinary loan repayment support, along with funds to provide shelter options for domestic violence survivors and their pets, and to combat zoonotic diseases. Many of these provisions were requested by a <a href="https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ChqjW7EslmbV8jf59wSu-ue-Q5uObFic/view?usp=sharing">bipartisan group of 43 Senators</a> led by Sens. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and John Kennedy, R-La.</p> <p>The Senate committee bill preserves the de facto ban on horse slaughter in the United States by renewing the annual provision that bars the U.S. Department of Agriculture from inspecting such plants. It provides an increase of $300,000 to clamp down on horse soring, not as much as the $1 million boost in the House bill but valuable nonetheless. The committee notes the need for USDA to invest more in technologies such as swabbing and radiology to detect soring. The bill also retains the prohibition on use of USDA funds to license “Class B random source” dealers, a category associated over the years with pet theft.</p> <p>The Senate calls attention to the <a href="https://hslf.org/blog/2021/04/slow-pace-state-and-federal-inspections-during-pandemic-makes-things-worse-dogs-puppy">steep decline in Animal Welfare Act enforcement</a> by the Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service in recent years. The committee report directs USDA to institute inspection-related reforms, specifically calling for consistent, thorough, unannounced inspections and documentation of each failure to comply or to allow access for inspection. The report highlights that online dog dealers are continuing to sell animals without the required USDA license and encourages the agency to prioritize robust enforcement on that. The committee also encourages USDA to support plant-based protein research projects for their use in food products. In another positive move, Senate report language directs the Agricultural Research Service to coordinate with academic partners to develop technology-driven systems that will study humane poultry stunning practices.</p> <p>In addition, the Senate bill provides an increase of $1.5 million for the veterinary student loan repayment program that helps bring needed veterinary care to underserved areas. It also provides a slight increase over FY2021 levels to $19.7 million for USDA to address zoonotic disease spread in animals, although we will continue to push for the full $24.2 million proposed by the House.</p> <p>We appreciate the Senate’s inclusion of a number of positive animal welfare provisions. While the Appropriations Committee didn’t include all the pro-animal provisions approved by the House, we will be pressing hard for the best of both versions to make it into the final appropriations package. </p> <blockquote><p>“The enforcement of animal welfare laws not only reflects on our collective humanity, it’s in our self-interest as people to better enforce everything from ensuring the highest food safety standards to prohibiting the sale of unhealthy pets,” Sen. Wyden said. “I’m proud that the agriculture appropriations package making its way through the Senate right now contains key animal welfare provisions. I look forward to casting my vote in support of this bill when it comes to the Senate floor.”</p> </blockquote> </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/33" hreflang="en">Equines</a> <a href="/taxonomy/term/35" hreflang="en">Farm Animals</a> <a href="/taxonomy/term/32" hreflang="en">Pets &amp; Cruelty</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, 05 Aug 2021 21:58:16 +0000 kblocher@hslf.org 21764 at https://hslf.org What ending the eviction moratorium could mean for families with pets https://hslf.org/blog/2021/08/what-ending-eviction-moratorium-could-mean-families-pets <span>What ending the eviction moratorium could mean for families with pets</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/135" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">kblocher@hslf.org</span></span> <span>Wed, 08/04/2021 - 15:02</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><em><strong>Update 8/27/21:</strong>  the Supreme Court issued an opinion yesterday ending the CDC order which extended the eviction moratorium in areas of substantial and high transmission of COVID-19 until October 3, 2021. The Humane Society family of organizations remains concerned about what this could mean for millions of Americans and their pets and will continue to urge elected officials to pass immediate measures to keep protections in place for these households.</em></p> <p>On July 31, millions of Americans and their pets suddenly faced the terrifying possibility of losing their homes, as the <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/31/us/politics/eviction-moratorium-biden-housing-aid.html">federal eviction moratorium expired</a>. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s eviction moratorium began in September 2020 after studies found that COVID-19 cases increased when tenants were evicted and forced to move in with other families or into crowded shelters. But <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/07/31/us/covid-delta-cases-deaths.html">COVID-19 cases are on the rise across the U.S.</a>, as the Delta variant rapidly spreads, and the moratorium is essential to help ensure that renters and their companion animals have a roof over their heads.</p> <p>On August 3, there were <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/us-policy/2021/08/03/white-house-evictions-democrats/">indications that the Biden Administration is working on an action to extend the eviction ban</a>, and in the evening, the CDC issued an eviction moratorium in areas of substantial and high transmission of COVID-19. This order will expire on October 3, 2021.</p> <p>We believe that further action to extend the eviction moratorium can’t come soon enough. <a href="https://blog.humanesociety.org/2020/10/as-millions-of-pet-owners-grapple-with-evictions-hsus-steps-in-with-resources-to-ease-the-struggle.html">Roughly 72% of renters have companion animals</a>, which means that in the next two months upwards of 2.5 million dogs, cats and other companion animals may also be at risk of losing their families during evictions. Because of preventable evictions, millions of animals are at risk of potentially being heartbreakingly relinquished to shelters, many of which are already overburdened. Some families, <a href="https://www.ktnv.com/13-investigates/pet-owners-facing-eviction-often-face-devastating-choice-between-housing-their-animals">faced with the impossible choice of their home or their pet</a>, become homeless and live on couches or in their cars rather than giving up the pets they love.</p> <p><strong>How to help impacted families with companion animals</strong></p> <p>The lives of people and animals are inextricably intertwined, and this is especially true during times of crisis. Despite federal and state moratoria, <a href="https://evictionlab.org/eviction-tracking/">evictions have been filed continuously</a>, impacting people, pets and our already under-resourced animal shelters. Approximately <a href="https://www.census.gov/data/tables/2021/demo/hhp/hhp33.html">3.6 million families reported being unable to pay rent and possibly facing eviction within the next two months</a> and more than <a href="https://www.aspeninstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/AI-017-FSP-Report_Eviction-Report_r4.pdf">15 million families owe an estimated $20 million in back rent across the country</a>. At the same time, as of July 31, only <a href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/biden-asks-congress-to-extend-federal-eviction-moratorium-11627571409">roughly $3 billion of the almost $47 billion</a> in federal housing aid allocated as part of the U.S. Treasury’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program has reached tenants and landlords needing assistance—leaving millions of tenants without any ability to pay back rent. <a href="https://www.aspeninstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/AI-017-FSP-Report_Eviction-Report_r4.pdf">Families of color are more likely to face eviction in the coming months</a>.</p> <p>We recognize the need to protect the bond between people and their pets, especially during times of crisis. That’s why we advocate for stronger protections for companion animals and people at local, state and federal levels, and it’s also why the HSUS and a coalition of organizations collaborated to create the <a href="https://humanepro.org/page/eviction-response-toolkit">Eviction Response Toolkit</a>. This resource offers animal shelters, municipalities and advocates creative strategies in helping keep families and their pets together, which any animal person knows is especially valuable during times of uncertainty, as it’s so often our pets who offer us stability and companionship.</p> <p>In addition to the toolkit, the HSUS has supported impacted families and pets by supplying pet food and resources through our <a href="http://humanesociety.org/issues/keeping-pets-life">Pets for Life</a> and <a href="https://www.ruralareavet.org/">Rural Area Veterinary Services (RAVS)</a> programs, bringing vital veterinary services to communities without robust pet wellness services, and advocating for affordable, pet-inclusive housing.</p> <p>Now as housing insecurity undoubtedly rises and more people are displaced, pet-owning renters will have even fewer options, and will face even more challenges to keep their families together. So, what can we do to help alleviate unnecessary pet relinquishment and support stable, affordable pet-inclusive housing?</p> <ul> <li>Encourage federal lawmakers to pass legislation that would extend the eviction moratorium until all of the federal aid has been distributed and COVID-19 Delta cases are under control.</li> <li>Encourage state and local lawmakers to pass their own emergency eviction moratoriums and to prioritize spending federal aid to assist families in need.</li> <li><a href="https://humanepro.org/page/eviction-response-toolkit#support">Encourage shelters and rescues</a> to provide for emergency fostering placement for people experiencing evictions and housing insecurity.</li> <li><a href="https://humanepro.org/sites/default/files/documents/Pets%20Are%20Welcome%20Guide_the%20HSUS_3-5-2021.pdf">Support laws</a> advocating for pet-inclusive subsidized housing.</li> <li>Write to your local news outlet and highlight the impact of these important policies and their effect on the people and animals in your community.</li> </ul> <p>Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the animal welfare community has worked tirelessly to ensure that families and their pets have access to the resources needed to remain together. Whether through advocating for tenant protections and eviction moratoria or providing food, veterinary care and other supplies, our movement has taken a strong stance on the absolute necessity of protecting family bonds with their pets—regardless of income, race, ethnicity or socioeconomic status.</p> <p>Now, on the cusp of a massive wave of preventable evictions, and the enormous associated costs to both human and animal health and wellbeing, we encourage lawmakers to further extend the eviction moratorium until stronger tenant protections are in place.</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/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/176" hreflang="en">Blog</a></div> Wed, 04 Aug 2021 15:02:51 +0000 kblocher@hslf.org 21762 at https://hslf.org U.S. House passes minibus package chock full of animal protection measures https://hslf.org/blog/2021/07/us-house-passes-minibus-package-chock-full-animal-protection-measures <span>U.S. House passes minibus package chock full of animal protection measures</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/135" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">kblocher@hslf.org</span></span> <span>Thu, 07/29/2021 - 20:56</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Today’s approval of H.R. 4502, a package of <a href="https://hslf.org/blog/2021/07/congressional-budget-leaders-ramp-animal-protection-funding-fy2022">appropriations</a> <a href="https://hslf.org/blog/2021/07/house-moves-fund-more-animal-protection-measures">bills</a> funding key federal agencies, offers dramatic evidence of the success we’ve achieved through our laser-like focus on the federal budgeting process. The results include directives for improved law enforcement concerning horse soring and other animal cruelty, the expansion of sheltering options for survivors of domestic violence and their pets, and measures to prevent horse slaughter on U.S. soil, limit higher-speed slaughter lines, enhance animal welfare compliance in USDA laboratories, reduce animal testing, and advance egg farmers’ transition to cage-free operations.</p> <p>Other provisions we championed include funding increases for the humane, long-term management of wild horses and burros and the protection of wildlife species on our federal lands, more resources for the worldwide struggle to end wildlife trafficking and live wildlife markets that increase the risk of zoonotic disease spillover, and a directive to promote design strategies for federal buildings to reduce bird mortality from collisions.</p> <p>We fought hard in support of a measure to prevent the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) from using any funds to issue permits for the import of sport-hunted elephant or lion trophies taken in Tanzania, Zambia or Zimbabwe, countries where their populations are in severe decline. It passed after sympathetic legislators defeated a hostile amendment introduced on behalf of the trophy hunting industry.</p> <p>The House also authorized $2 million for a FWS study of dangers besetting the West Indian manatee in Florida and potential remedies (championed by Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla.), and directed the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to use $5 million for equine assisted therapy within the VA's Adaptive Sports Program (advanced by Rep. Andy Barr, R-Ky.)</p> <p>On Wednesday night, as we reported, the House passed a separate appropriations bill, H.R. 4373, that adds tens of millions of dollars and key provisions focused on the combined threats to human health and animal welfare worldwide from <a href="https://hslf.org/blog/2021/07/congress-raises-ante-fight-against-wildlife-markets-and-trafficking">wildlife trafficking and live wildlife markets</a> that are associated with <a href="https://hslf.org/blog/2020/05/breaking-hsus-hslf-hsi-release-policy-plan-wildlife-markets-factory-farms-companion">zoonotic disease transmission</a>. During debate on that bill, which funds the State Department, U.S. Agency for International Development, and other agencies, the House approved a good amendment to combat the trafficking of endangered species (offered by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas).</p> <p>As a central feature of our work, we recruit sponsors for specific bills to help animals, and we support legislators who want to introduce such bills on their own initiative. When they’re in play, we do our best to see those bills passed. But we’re also on the hunt for opportunities to advance needed reforms through the annual appropriations process, and the members of our team work with single-minded intensity to keep our priority concerns alive in the budget debates, just as they do their best to exclude the many bad measures proposed by other groups.</p> <p>This time around, our strategy and execution have produced a bounty of good news. But we aren’t done yet. With this historic package approved, we’ll move right into gear to press the Senate to approve these life-saving measures. Together, they will bring immediate benefits to a host of animal species in the United States and abroad, and we’ll work equally hard to ensure their implementation by the federal agencies concerned.</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/31" hreflang="en">Animals in Research</a> <a href="/taxonomy/term/33" hreflang="en">Equines</a> <a href="/taxonomy/term/35" hreflang="en">Farm Animals</a> <a href="/taxonomy/term/32" hreflang="en">Pets &amp; Cruelty</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, 29 Jul 2021 20:56:40 +0000 kblocher@hslf.org 21755 at https://hslf.org United States House passes funding package with multitude of pro-animal provisions https://hslf.org/press-release/2021/07/united-states-house-passes-funding-package-multitude-pro-animal-provisions <span>United States House passes funding package with multitude of pro-animal provisions</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/135" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">kblocher@hslf.org</span></span> <span>Thu, 07/29/2021 - 19:23</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">United States House passes funding package with multitude of pro-animal provisions</div> <p>WASHINGTON (July 29, 2021)—The Humane Society Legislative Fund commends the U.S. House of Representatives for passing an appropriations package that features numerous animal protection provisions, including directives for better enforcement of laws that target horse soring and other animal cruelty, expanded shelter options for domestic violence survivors with pets, and measures to prevent horse slaughter on U.S. soil, enhance U.S. Department of Agriculture laboratories’ compliance with animal welfare standards, and encourage the transition of egg farmers to cage-free operations.</p> <p>Other animal welfare provisions approved include funding increases to implement a humane, long-term management regime for wild horses and burros on federal land, combat wildlife trafficking, protect endangered and threatened species, and address the dangers of live wildlife markets and zoonotic disease spillover, along with directives to reduce animal testing and to promote federal building designs and materials that reduce bird mortality from collisions.</p> <p>“These extraordinary gains are a testament to the power of the purse, and the clearest possible indication that animal protection enjoys strong support from the majority of House members,” said Sara Amundson, president of Humane Society Legislative Fund. “We’ll move right into gear to press the Senate to follow suit, because these are all important measures that deserve to be enacted.”</p> <p>The bill also prohibits funds from being used by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to issue permits for the import of a sport-hunted trophy of an elephant or lion taken in Tanzania, Zambia or Zimbabwe – three countries where the species populations are in severe decline. Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., <a href="https://drive.google.com/file/d/1pfmaBIsRyUpye7hMNWmn1GpUBC0eNYLv/view?usp=sharing">led a letter seeking this prohibition</a> signed by a bipartisan set of 33 representatives. An amendment to strike this important provision was defeated.</p> <p>Additional amendments approved by a vote of 371 to 55 authorize the transfer of $2 million to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to study the plight of the West Indian manatee in Florida and potential remedies, championed by Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., and direct the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to use $5 million for equine assisted therapy within the VA's Adaptive Sports Program, which was advanced by Rep. Andy Barr, R-Ky.</p> <p>The measures are part of H.R. 4502, “Minibus #1”, which passed by a vote of 219 to 208. This package of seven appropriations bills funds several federal departments including Agriculture, Interior, and Health and Human Services, and contains many pro-animal provisions approved by earlier committee action, highlighted <a href="https://hslf.org/blog/2021/07/congressional-budget-leaders-ramp-animal-protection-funding-fy2022">here</a> and <a href="https://hslf.org/blog/2021/07/house-moves-fund-more-animal-protection-measures">here</a>.</p> <p>House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Sanford Bishop, D-Ga., proved a strong champion of animal provisions in his bill, many of which were requested by a bipartisan set of <a href="https://drive.google.com/file/d/1aX5Y68Tf1CF6kIe1iG_ymKgSwFrPqEVR/view?usp=sharing">204 Representatives and 43 Senators</a> led in the House by Reps. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., and Christopher Smith, R-N.J. Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., led a committee amendment to limit higher-speed slaughter lines.</p> <p>“The way we treat animals reflects the values we hold. I’m thrilled to see so many of our bipartisan animal welfare provisions reflected in the appropriation bills moving forward in Congress,” said Rep. Earl Blumenauer, co-chair of the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus. “From supporting cage-free egg laying facilities to strengthening the humane handling requirements for poultry plants to stopping horse soring, we are taking critical steps to ensure better treatment of wild and domestic animals.”</p> <p>By a vote of 217 to 212, the House also passed a separate appropriations bill, H.R. 4373, funding the State Department, U.S. Agency for International Development, and other agencies that adds tens of millions of dollars and key provisions to tackle the combined threats to human health and animal welfare worldwide from <a href="https://hslf.org/blog/2021/07/congress-raises-ante-fight-against-wildlife-markets-and-trafficking">wildlife trafficking and live wildlife markets</a> that are associated with zoonotic disease transmission. During debate on that bill, the House approved a good amendment on combatting the trafficking of endangered species, which was offered by Rep. Jackson Lee, D-Texas.</p> <p><strong>Media contact:</strong><br /> <strong>Emily Ehrhorn</strong>, (202) 779-1814, <a href="mailto:eehrhorn@humanesociety.org">eehrhorn@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> </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/33" hreflang="en">Equines</a> <a href="/taxonomy/term/35" hreflang="en">Farm Animals</a> <a href="/taxonomy/term/32" hreflang="en">Pets &amp; Cruelty</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/177" hreflang="en">Press Release</a></div> Thu, 29 Jul 2021 19:23:40 +0000 kblocher@hslf.org 21754 at https://hslf.org The House moves to fund more animal protection measures https://hslf.org/blog/2021/07/house-moves-fund-more-animal-protection-measures <span>The House moves to fund more animal protection measures</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/135" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">kblocher@hslf.org</span></span> <span>Tue, 07/20/2021 - 14:25</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>The U.S. House of Representatives is moving forward on more of the bills funding various federal departments, and we are happy to report there are additional boosts for priority animal protection goals. Last week, the House Appropriations Committee approved bills covering the Departments of Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Commerce, and Justice, among others. Next week, the House is expected to bring these pending bills, along with those <a href="https://hslf.org/blog/2021/07/congressional-budget-leaders-ramp-animal-protection-funding-fy2022">considered in committee a few weeks ago</a>, to the floor in a package known as a “minibus.” We will be working hard to support and protect these measures, several which are highlighted below.</p> <p><strong>Chimpanzee retirement</strong><br /> Congress mandated more than a decade ago that federally owned and supported chimpanzees previously used in animal testing be retired to the national chimpanzee sanctuary system once they were considered “surplus”—meaning they were no longer needed for research. In 2015, the National Institute of Health announced that it would no longer be using chimps in research, making all its owned and supported chimpanzees “surplus” and therefore eligible for retirement.</p> <p>This move to a safe, enriching and comfortable environment—at Chimp Haven in Louisiana—has resulted in better lives for some of these deserving animals, and also saved taxpayer dollars. However, in a troubling development, the <a href="https://hslf.org/blog/2019/10/breaking-news-nih-reneges-promise-will-not-send-44-research-chimpanzees-sanctuary">NIH announced in 2019</a> that it would not transfer the remaining chimps at the Alamogordo Primate Facility (APF) in New Mexico to Chimp Haven. Thankfully, report language accompanying the House Labor-Health and Human Services (Labor-HHS) Appropriations bill directs NIH to finally transfer and retire all of its chimps—starting with the chimps left at APF.</p> <p><strong>Alternatives to animal testing</strong><br /> With advances in science, there is little need for arcane and inhumane animal tests that are costly, time consuming, cruel, and unsuited to provide sufficient data to prove whether or not an ingredient or chemical is safe for human use. Recognizing the value of cutting-edge technology to produce human-relevant information, the Labor-HHS committee report notes that its bill does not increase funding for additional non-human primate research as the administration requested. The committee also directs NIH to create a Center for Alternatives to Animals in Research and Testing.</p> <p><strong>Dog imports</strong><br /> To provide a safeguard for animals, especially dogs, being brought into the United States, the House Homeland Security Appropriations committee report urges U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to collaborate with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to create guidelines on how to house live animals once they have entered the country and are waiting to be cleared for the final leg of their journey to forever homes.</p> <p>The language also voices concern that CBP lacks adequate facilities to respond to the substantial increase in imported animals (there is only one airport—JFK in New York—that has a CBP-bonded facility capable of safely handling live animals). The Labor-HHS committee report echoes these concerns about the welfare of live animals, particularly dogs, being imported into the U.S. and urges the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to inspect cargo containing live animals as quickly as possible.</p> <p><strong>North Atlantic right whales</strong><br /> The House Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations committee report provides critical funding to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, nearly $17 million—a significant increase from last year—for North Atlantic right whale conservation efforts. These efforts may include research into new gear that will reduce fishing entanglements and regulatory mechanisms to reduce vessel strikes, which are the two largest threats to these animals.</p> <p><strong>Animal cruelty enforcement</strong><br /> We staunchly support efforts to upgrade the government’s ability to prosecute animal cruelty cases and have worked for more than 20 years through Congress and the Executive branch to strengthen enforcement of federal laws against animal fighting, horse soring, crush videos, wildlife trafficking and other forms of cruelty, and implementation of requirements in key laws such as the Animal Welfare Act.</p> <p>In 2014, with our strong encouragement, the Department of Justice (DOJ) established an <a href="https://www.justice.gov/enrd/animal-welfare">Animal Welfare unit</a> within its Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD) that plays a central role in prosecuting animal cruelty cases. The DOJ attorneys who work on cruelty cases have expertise concerning environmental protection and animal welfare. For example, the DOJ successfully prosecuted Jeffrey Lowe and Tiger King LLC in a case pursued under both the Animal Welfare Act and Endangered Species Act.</p> <p>Rep. Mike Garcia (R-Calif.) offered an amendment to the Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations bill that would have carved into DOJ’s existing funds rather than providing an additional $2 million, and “silo” personnel in ways that could inadvertently force it to limit its animal cruelty enforcement work. We raised concerns based on statements from DOJ that requiring it to establish a separate animal cruelty crimes section within ENRD would impede the department’s efforts to expand its animal cruelty work. This amendment was defeated by voice vote. We will continue to work with Congress and DOJ to provide needed tools to actually strengthen enforcement efforts.</p> <p>The power of the purse holds a lot of promise for animals, and for that reason we’re engaged with the budget deliberations of virtually every federal agency with jurisdiction that touches on animal welfare. Like an authorizing bill that passes, or an administrative rule that takes effect, the funding commitments Congress makes to these agencies can make a world of difference for animals. So we make congressional budgeting a priority focus in our work. These animal protection advances do not occur by chance or accident. They are the result of deliberate, thoughtful and engaged advocacy, the kind of advocacy you make possible as a supporter of the HSLF.</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/31" hreflang="en">Animals in Research</a> <a href="/taxonomy/term/32" hreflang="en">Pets &amp; Cruelty</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> Tue, 20 Jul 2021 14:25:51 +0000 kblocher@hslf.org 21741 at https://hslf.org Almost half of puppy mill complaints handled inappropriately, USDA internal audit finds https://hslf.org/blog/2021/07/almost-half-puppy-mill-complaints-handled-inappropriately-usda-internal-audit-finds <span>Almost half of puppy mill complaints handled inappropriately, USDA internal audit finds</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/135" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">kblocher@hslf.org</span></span> <span>Mon, 07/12/2021 - 21:03</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>For the first time in more than a decade, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has released an internal audit of its Animal Care program that licenses and inspects puppy mills that sell to pet stores and online. And the most significant finding is a disturbing one: the auditors found that the program “did not consistently address or adequately document 145 of the 322 complaints we reviewed,” indicating that almost half of the complaints about dog breeders were handled inappropriately, if at all.</p> <p>Unfortunately, the <a href="https://www.usda.gov/sites/default/files/audit-reports/33601-0002-31_final_distribution.pdf">overall report</a> is extremely limited due to the pandemic. Auditors said they had originally planned to visit 120 dog breeding sites in 15 states, but due to the pandemic, only six breeder facilities were visited, leaving out critical information about whether licensed facilities are taking proper care of dogs, how inspectors are carrying out inspections and whether inspectors are accurately documenting violations. The report notes that because of these limitations, inspectors were unable to ensure breeder compliance with the Animal Welfare Act. At least 2,422 dog breeders are currently licensed by USDA, and insufficient oversight could leave hundreds of thousands of dogs to suffer. (USDA breeder numbers reported by the Humane Society of the United States are often higher, because their estimates include licensed dog brokers who also breed.)</p> <p>The USDA is responsible for ensuring the health and welfare of dogs raised for commercial sale “sight unseen,” which means the agency licenses and inspects commercial dog breeders who sell puppies through pet stores, brokers, by mail and online. But the lack of meaningful USDA enforcement at puppy mills has led to complaints of sick puppies and cruel conditions, and, as the HSUS has documented every year in their <a href="http://www.humanesociety.org/100puppymills">Horrible Hundred reports</a>, the USDA often fails to take strong action against breeders who keep dogs in unacceptable conditions, or who fail to obtain a license at all.</p> <p>Findings of the internal audit report included:</p> <ul> <li>USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service “did not consistently address complaints it received or adequately document the results of its follow-up.” This means that some complaints about puppy mills were not being properly investigated, if they were investigated at all. As a result, the agency showed an inability to “ensure the overall health and humane treatment of animals at these facilities.”</li> <li>“Data reliability issues” have impeded the APHIS’s ability to properly monitor the agency’s own dog breeder inspection program, to identify how many inspections have been completed or to measure patterns and trends in the violations documented.</li> <li>Some dog breeders are selling puppies without a license and without inspections, and the agency is not assertively going after these unlicensed dealers. This leaves thousands of dogs unprotected and no government oversight to ensure their health and humane treatment.</li> </ul> <p>After its prior audit in 2010, the USDA’s internal Office of Inspector General made numerous recommendations, suggesting that the USDA require pet breeders who sell puppies, kittens, and certain other mammals as pets online to obtain the same kind of USDA oversight and licensing as those who sell to pet stores. In 2013, that rule, known as the Retail Pet Stores Rule, was finalized. <a href="https://hslf.org/blog/2020/12/breaking-news-congresss-omnibus-package-includes-big-wins-animals">Congress expressed a desire for USDA to take this rule seriously</a>, including language in the FY21 Appropriations bill encouraging the USDA to conduct robust enforcement to ensure that online dealers selling dogs have the necessary license under the Animal Welfare Act. But this year’s report indicates complete failure in this regard.</p> <p>APHIS replied to the 2021 audit’s findings by accepting its recommendations. We urge anyone with knowledge of an unlicensed breeder who falls under the requirements for licensure to report any concerns to USDA <a href="https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/animalwelfare/complaint-form">using their online form</a>.</p> <p>Even if USDA acts on the audit’s findings in a meaningful way, we still have a long way to go when it comes to regulating puppy mills. Under current USDA regulations, puppy mills can keep hundreds of dogs in small, stacked wire cages for their entire lives, with very little in the way of comfort or quality care. That's why we’re supporting the changes included in the Puppy Protection Act (H.R. 2840/ S.1385), which was introduced in the House by Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa, and Charlie Crist, D-Fla., and in the Senate by Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. This bill would require prompt, professional veterinary care for any dog’s illness or injury, ban stacked cages and wire flooring at puppy mills, and would require other improvements to the outdated regulations.</p> <p>We often claim dogs as our best friends, but you wouldn’t know that by the way we are allowing puppy mills to neglect their animals. These dogs deserve so much better. <a href="https://hslf.org/action-center/protect-dogs-cruel-puppy-mills">Please take a moment to urge your lawmakers to cosponsor the Puppy Protection Act to help improve the lives of the dogs at these federally-licensed facilities</a>. </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/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/176" hreflang="en">Blog</a></div> Mon, 12 Jul 2021 21:03:51 +0000 kblocher@hslf.org 21738 at https://hslf.org Congressional budget leaders ramp up animal protection funding for FY2022 https://hslf.org/blog/2021/07/congressional-budget-leaders-ramp-animal-protection-funding-fy2022 <span>Congressional budget leaders ramp up animal protection funding for FY2022</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/135" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">kblocher@hslf.org</span></span> <span>Thu, 07/01/2021 - 20:03</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>One of our primary responsibilities as a leading voice for animals in the nation’s capital is to influence congressional deliberations concerning the annual budgets for federal agencies where animal welfare is in play. We’re off to an outstanding start for 2022! This week, the House Appropriations Committee approved a number of our priority requests in its Fiscal Year 2022 bills covering the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, State, Interior and other agencies.</p> <p>In the Agriculture bill and committee report, we secured striking gains, in great measure a result of subcommittee chairman Sanford Bishop’s, D-Ga., dynamic support for our priorities. We are also grateful to Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., and Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., who mobilized <a href="https://drive.google.com/file/d/1aX5Y68Tf1CF6kIe1iG_ymKgSwFrPqEVR/view?usp=sharing">strong bipartisan support</a> for animal welfare provisions. The report includes language encouraging the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to provide financial assistance to producers shifting to cage-free egg laying facilities. The committee approved an amendment offered by Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., to <a href="https://hslf.org/blog/2021/03/bill-congress-would-reverse-dangerous-increases-slaughterhouse-line-speeds">limit higher-speed slaughter lines</a> instituted during the pandemic. Reinforcing the committee’s concern for the suffering of animals in slaughter, the committee also calls for robust training of inspectors on Humane Methods of Slaughter Act requirements and directs USDA to brief the committee on poultry plants that failed to meet Good Commercial Practices on humane handling.</p> <p>There’s great news for horses in the budget, too. The bill provides $3 million—a $1 million increase—to clamp down on horse soring through better enforcement of the Horse Protection Act, and the report strongly urges <a href="https://hslf.org/blog/2020/11/new-administration-swift-reinstatement-2016-horse-soring-rule-right-call">USDA to reinstate the 2017 final rule</a> that would strengthen oversight by eliminating the failed system of industry self-policing and the use of devices integral to soring. In addition, the bill renews the annual provision to “defund” USDA’s inspections of U.S. horse slaughter plants, effectively preventing those plants from reopening.</p> <p>The committee addresses concerns about the steep <a href="https://hslf.org/blog/2021/04/slow-pace-state-and-federal-inspections-during-pandemic-makes-things-worse-dogs-puppy">decline in Animal Welfare Act enforcement</a> of late, directing USDA to institute inspection-related reforms, to prioritize enforcement of the 2013 rule requiring licenses for dog dealers who sell online, to strengthen collaboration with the Department of Justice concerning access to evidence for use in prosecutions, and to step up the agency’s efforts to combat animal fighting.</p> <p>Other funding items of note: the bill provides $3 million (a $500,000 increase) for grants to expand shelter options for domestic violence survivors with pets, and $9.5 million (a $1 million increase) for the student loan repayment program that encourages veterinarians to practice in underserved areas.</p> <p>With respect to animal use in research, testing and education, the bill permanently requires that USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) laboratories be inspected by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to ensure compliance with Animal Welfare Act standards, and directs ARS to post inspection reports online without redactions. The bill also permanently bars the use of USDA funds to license “Class B random source” dealers,  frequently associated over the years with pet theft. </p> <p>The Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies bill and committee report also produced tangible wins on concerns for which we have long advocated. The bill prohibits importing sport-hunted trophies of African lions and elephants from Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Zambia, a significant step toward ending American trophy hunters’ slaughter of these most imperiled populations. The committee reiterated its concern that the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) trophy import permit process for African lions and elephants is inadequate to protect these animals as required under the Endangered Species Act.</p> <p>In other good news for wildlife, the bill contains an increase of more than $8 million for FWS law enforcement activities to combat wildlife trafficking globally, including through law enforcement capacity building in other countries and detecting, deterring, and stopping illegal imports and exports of wildlife in the U.S. In addition, the bill proposes  an increase of more than $4 million for FWS’s Multinational Species Conservation Fund and the Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund, which facilitate domestic and international imperiled species recovery and conservation.</p> <p>Importantly, the bill provides a $46.4 million increase for the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Wild Horse and Burro Program to implement a humane, long term management regime using proven, safe and humane growth suppression strategies, <a href="https://hslf.org/blog/2019/04/proposal-offers-brighter-future-wild-horses-and-burros">just as we advocated</a>. There is $11 million directed toward research on longer lasting fertility control vaccines, and the committee has called for a Task Force to coordinate efforts across the Department of Interior to address wild horse and burro management. The bill includes prohibitions on sending to slaughter animals under the care of BLM and the U.S. Forest Service, as well as a directive to investigate possible abuses in the BLM’s Adoption Incentive Program. </p> <p>The Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies report also encourages the Environmental Protection Agency to reduce animal testing, increase its commitment to New Approach Methodologies (NAMs), and expedite its timeline for ending mammalian testing.</p> <p>In its State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs bill, the committee tackles the nexus between wildlife trade and zoonotic disease, <a href="https://hslf.org/blog/2020/07/breaking-hsushslf-report-identifies-key-us-policy-changes-needed-avoid-another">another focus for our family of organizations</a>. The bill significantly boosts support for global health programs, biodiversity conservation, and programs to combat wildlife trafficking and poaching across multiple agencies. This includes monitoring of live wildlife markets and the illegal wildlife trade; prioritization of wildlife laws and law enforcement related to the commercial trade in live wildlife for human consumption; directives for Department of State collaboration with other countries, the United Nations, and international organizations to discourage commercial wildlife markets and the wildlife trade for human consumption; and increased federal agency collaboration across environment, health, governance, and agriculture programs to prevent zoonotic disease spillover at key human-wildlife interfaces.</p> <p>Priorities of ours also appear in other appropriations bills. The bill dealing with veterans programs renews prior calls for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to advance its study on providing service dogs to veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and recommends that the VA use no less than $1.5 million for its adaptive sports program for equine therapy. The general government bill directs the federal government to use <a href="https://hslf.org/blog/2021/05/improved-federal-bird-policies-poised-take-flight">bird-friendly designs and materials</a> in General Services Administration buildings, with the goal of reducing bird mortality from collisions.</p> <p>As a supporter of our organization, you know that we often call upon you to contact public officials about important measures. In answering that call, you provide crucial reinforcement to the advocacy of our staff in Washington. Together, we ensure congressional decision-makers are aware of animal welfare issues, and we raise their commitment to advance them through annual funding packages. This year, it has really paid off; this is a remarkable set of provisions that will benefit animals and people for a long time to come. We commend the House Appropriations Committee for its embrace of animal protection, and we make you this promise: we will do our best to see these measures enacted into law.</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/31" hreflang="en">Animals in Research</a> <a href="/taxonomy/term/33" hreflang="en">Equines</a> <a href="/taxonomy/term/35" hreflang="en">Farm Animals</a> <a href="/taxonomy/term/32" hreflang="en">Pets &amp; Cruelty</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, 01 Jul 2021 20:03:25 +0000 kblocher@hslf.org 21735 at https://hslf.org Animals deserve disaster preparedness plans, too. Here’s how you can help. https://hslf.org/blog/2021/06/animals-deserve-disaster-preparedness-plans-too-heres-how-you-can-help <span>Animals deserve disaster preparedness plans, too. Here’s how you can help.</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/135" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">kblocher@hslf.org</span></span> <span>Thu, 06/24/2021 - 15:26</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 past few years have shown how suddenly natural disasters and other emergencies can upend our lives. Take, for instance, recent <a href="https://www.nyu.edu/about/news-publications/news/2017/september/researchers-work-to-save-monkey-island-damaged-by-hurricane-mari.html">severe hurricanes</a> and wildfires, the early 2021 <a href="https://hslf.org/blog/2021/02/pet-tiger-rescued-freezing-san-antonio-gets-forever-home-black-beauty-ranch">deep freeze in Texas</a> or the ongoing worldwide Covid-19 crisis. Families everywhere have seen how crucial it is to have disaster plans in place for their loved ones.</p> <p>Animal lovers have always been aware that human beings aren’t the only ones in need of disaster preparedness plans, and in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina, the rest of society caught on. Within a year of that disaster, Congress passed the PETS Act, mandating that state and local response agencies receiving federal funds institute emergency preparedness plans that take into account the needs of companion animals.</p> <p>Unfortunately, more than fifteen years after Katrina, there is still no federal requirement for facilities regulated by the Animal Welfare Act to have such plans in place for the animals in their care. The increasing frequency and intensity of weather-related events due to climate change makes the need even more urgent. In the event of a disaster, anything might happen to animals at these facilities. When Hurricane Michael descended on Florida in October 2018, two big cats at ZooWorld died because of the storm. The year before, during Hurricane Irma, two greater kudu at another zoo died. When Hurricane Katrina hit a Gulf Coast aquarium, eight dolphins, 19 sea lions and a seal were left to weather the storm on their own. Six sea lions died, and the seal disappeared forever.</p> <p>The animal care centers the HSUS runs have long had disaster plans in place—it’s just the responsible thing to do. We have been encouraging the U.S. Department of Agriculture for years to require that facilities regulated by the Animal Welfare Act have disaster plans, and today, the agency took a crucial step toward achieving that.</p> <p>This comes after years of delay. In 2012, the USDA finalized regulations that required all facilities regulated by the Animal Welfare Act—such as research facilities, puppy and kitten mills and roadside zoos—to have emergency response plans by the end of July 2013 for the animals in their care in the event of a disaster situation. But just two days after facilities were supposed to have their plans in place, the agency abruptly decided to “stay” the rule, delaying its implementation indefinitely.</p> <p>We never stopped pushing for this common-sense reform. We raised the issue over and over with USDA officials, while working closely with congressional allies on parallel tracks. We worked with the House Agriculture Committee to secure a provision in the 2014 Farm Bill encouraging the agency to reinstate the rule, but the agency disregarded the request. We strongly support the <a href="https://hslf.org/action-center/require-emergency-plans-protect-animals-during-disasters">PREPARED</a> (Providing Responsible Emergency Plans for Animals at Risk of Emerging Disasters) Act, led by Reps. Dina Titus, D-Nev., and Rodney Davis, R-Ill. And fortunately, thanks to the leadership of House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Sanford Bishop, D-Ga.—who responded to appeals by Rep. Titus and a bipartisan set of <a href="https://drive.google.com/file/d/1h96t5yZFsEV2YtQ4KbIEdTGdRrbOhIEa/view?usp=sharing">207 Representatives and 41 Senators</a>—the omnibus appropriations package signed into law in December 2020 set a timetable for the USDA to reexamine the effects of delaying its 2012 rule and consider implementing a disaster plan requirement for all entities regulated under the Animal Welfare Act. Today, the USDA followed that statutory directive by announcing a new proposed rule. This first step could result in requiring disaster plans for animals at these facilities with respect to both natural and manmade disaster situations. <a href="https://hslf.org/action-center/require-emergency-plans-protect-animals-during-disasters-0">Now the public will need to take action to show their support for this rule</a>.</p> <p>With this proposal, the USDA demonstrates that it too understands what animal advocates have long known, that animal-related disaster readiness is good for everyone—animals, society and the regulated enterprises. We commend Secretary Vilsack for his willingness to move this rule forward, and it comes not a moment too soon. Any additional delay in this emergency planning requirement—as the threat of hurricanes, wildfires, droughts, tornadoes, pandemics and other disasters grows—puts animals in AWA-regulated facilities at further risk of injury, suffering and death. (Sadly, because farm animals are not covered under the Animal Welfare Act, animals owned by big agriculture, including the meat industry, will not be included in the rule. We must prioritize another pathway to help these deserving animals.)</p> <p>Now we need your help to carry this promising progress for animals over the finish line. Promoting disaster preparedness for facilities that keep animals for commercial or scientific reasons is an appropriate role for the USDA as a regulatory agency, and <a href="https://hslf.org/action-center/require-emergency-plans-protect-animals-during-disasters-0">we hope you’ll join us in urging the government to quickly lift the stay on this rule and put it back on track</a>.</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/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/176" hreflang="en">Blog</a></div> Thu, 24 Jun 2021 15:26:54 +0000 kblocher@hslf.org 21728 at https://hslf.org