Pets &amp; Cruelty https://hslf.org/ en Slow pace of state and federal inspections during pandemic makes things worse for dogs in puppy mills https://hslf.org/blog/2021/04/slow-pace-state-and-federal-inspections-during-pandemic-makes-things-worse-dogs-puppy <span>Slow pace of state and federal inspections during pandemic makes things worse for dogs in puppy mills</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/135" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">kblocher@hslf.org</span></span> <span>Mon, 04/12/2021 - 16:48</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>State and federal inspections of puppy mills have been scaled back or, in some cases, have ground to a halt during the pandemic. As a result, dogs in these operations have been left without the most basic protections under the law.</p> <p>This is even more disturbing because dog sales in pet stores have been booming since lockdowns began last year. That could result in even more suffering for breeding animals at puppy mills who are already treated like puppy-production machines.</p> <p>According to our research, some states that require inspections of large-scale dog breeders, including Wisconsin and Texas, appear to have paused their routine inspection programs almost entirely. Others, like Kansas and Missouri, have decreased the number of inspection visits. Many states do not require inspections at all.</p> <p>On the federal level, the USDA, which is in charge of inspecting breeders and dealers that sell puppies and kittens to pet stores or online, has <a href="https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/newsroom/stakeholder-info/stakeholder-messages/animal-care-news/ac-inspections-during-covid">cut back its already weak inspection program</a> significantly. In a March 2020 notice to licensees, the USDA said it was “limiting routine inspections based on our assessment of the risk to the inspectors and facility personnel.”</p> <p>The letter described a process where breeders were given significant control over determining how and when, and if, they could be inspected. “In the event that we do request an inspection, we understand that you may have exposure concerns or be dealing with very limited staff. Our inspectors will work with you to address the specific concern, use video or photos, or simply come back another time. This will not be considered a refusal to allow inspection,” it said.</p> <p>While we understand that some measures are necessary to protect inspectors from COVID-19 risks, routine inspections are necessary to ensure the safety of dogs—and more than a year after that notice went out, <a href="https://aphis-efile.force.com/PublicSearchTool/s/inspection-reports">online records</a> show that many large-scale breeders have not been inspected since 2019. To complicate matters further, the USDA has noted <a href="https://www.aphis.usda.gov/publications/animal_welfare/sop-for-remote-routine-inspections.pdf">they are not indicating</a> on their inspection reports if an inspection was virtual, meaning it was <a href="https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/newsroom/stakeholder-info/stakeholder-messages/animal-care-news/status-of-ac-inspections-during-covid">conducted by phone or email</a> rather than a standard in-person visit. This is confusing for people who buy dogs from pet stores and are told that the breeder of the puppy they are buying has “passed” a USDA inspection.</p> <p>The Humane Society of the United States last year sent <a href="https://hslf.org/blog/2020/11/hsus-undercover-investigation-shows-dogs-dismal-conditions-puppy-mills-while-usda">undercover investigators</a> to visit and photograph dozens of puppy mills that the USDA has not recently inspected or has listed as compliant with Animal Welfare Act regulations. We found that at puppy mills the USDA did not cite for violations, dogs were living in puppy mill-like conditions, confined to small, stacked wire cages and with scant shelter from the elements. Some of these breeders <a href="https://www.humanesociety.org/sites/default/files/docs/REPORT_Midwest-Puppy-Mills-and-Pet-Store-Connections 11-20.pdf">have sold puppies</a> to dozens of pet stores across the country, including Petland, the largest national pet store chain that sells puppies.</p> <p>The cessation of court proceedings as a result of the pandemic have also created problems. This meant many animal shelters found themselves needing to hold large numbers of dogs seized from puppy mills for much longer than expected, as trials and hearings were repeatedly delayed. For instance, an animal shelter in Breckinridge County, Kentucky, run by one of our Stop Puppy Mills Hero award winners, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/HSUSPuppyMills/photos/3892247274128870">Kala Hardin</a>, has been holding 42 dogs from a puppy mill case for more than a year due to court delays.</p> <p>We have been focusing attention on these ongoing problems and attending virtual meetings with enforcement agencies and policymakers to find solutions. We also continue to conduct law enforcement trainings to help localities recognize puppy mills and understand the laws they can use to shut them down. And more than <a href="https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1ST__hm2bc5_CRCcOgNxjHuPs7dHoBRbPBIiSfc3y4pw/edit#gid=0">380 localities</a> and three states have ended the sale of commercially raised puppies in pet stores; seven such local laws passed in the first quarter of 2021 alone, and more are pending on both the state and local level.</p> <p>We will be pushing for resuming more in-person inspections of puppy mills as states reopen, and we will keep up the pressure on the USDA to better enforce the Animal Welfare Act against commercial breeders who hurt the animals in their care. We will also be working with members of Congress to reintroduce the <a href="https://hslf.org/blog/2019/05/bill-congress-would-require-better-veterinary-care-other-reforms-dogs-puppy-mills">Puppy Protection Act</a>, which will strengthen protections for dogs in federally licensed facilities.</p> <p>You are our most important ally in the fight against puppy mills: If you or someone you know purchased a sick puppy, <a href="http://www.humanesociety.org/puppycomplaint">please tell us your story</a>. And if you are in the market for a puppy, please don’t buy one from a pet store or Internet site, which often source dogs from puppy mills. The best option is to adopt from an animal shelter or rescue group. You can also check out our <a href="https://www.humanesociety.org/sites/default/files/docs/find-responsible-dog-breeder.pdf">responsible breeder checklist</a> for characteristics to look for in a small home breeder. Together, we can end the scourge of puppy mills in the United States.</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> Mon, 12 Apr 2021 16:48:13 +0000 kblocher@hslf.org 21647 at https://hslf.org Require emergency plans to protect animals during disasters https://hslf.org/action-center/require-emergency-plans-protect-animals-during-disasters <span>Require emergency plans to protect animals during disasters</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/1" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">admin_hsl</span></span> <span>Fri, 02/26/2021 - 20:29</span> <div class="field field--name-field-everyaction-embed field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><link rel='preload' href='https://d3rse9xjbp8270.cloudfront.net/at.js' as='script' crossorigin='anonymous'> <link rel='preload' href='https://d3rse9xjbp8270.cloudfront.net/at.min.css' as='style'> <script type='text/javascript' src='https://d3rse9xjbp8270.cloudfront.net/at.js' crossorigin='anonymous'></script> <div class="ngp-form" data-form-url="https://advocator.ngpvan.com/https%3a%2f%2fsecure.everyaction.com%2fv1%2fForms%2f7wNhImtv9kKhtfKa542FWQ2/ngpForm" data-fastaction-endpoint="https://fastaction.ngpvan.com" data-inline-errors="true" data-fastaction-nologin="true" data-databag-endpoint="https://profile.ngpvan.com" data-databag="everybody" data-mobile-autofocus="false"> </div></div> Fri, 26 Feb 2021 20:29:54 +0000 admin_hsl 16936 at https://hslf.org Puppy-selling pet stores like Petland have made consumers sick. HSUS/HSLF petition asks feds to require health risk warnings at outlets. https://hslf.org/blog/2021/02/puppy-selling-pet-stores-petland-have-made-consumers-sick-hsushslf-petition-asks-feds <span>Puppy-selling pet stores like Petland have made consumers sick. HSUS/HSLF petition asks feds to require health risk warnings at outlets.</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/135" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">kblocher@hslf.org</span></span> <span>Wed, 02/17/2021 - 19:24</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>U.S. health authorities have conclusively linked numerous human cases of campylobacteriosis—a bacterial infection with often severe and debilitating symptoms—to infected puppies sold in several Petland pet stores. Today we <a href="https://blog.humanesociety.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/CPSC-petition-for-rulemaking-re-Campylobacter-as-Filed-2-17-21.pdf">filed a petition</a> with the Consumer Product Safety Commission asking it to require that pet stores selling dogs post signs warning consumers about the potential health risk they could face from handling or purchasing puppies at these stores.</p> <p>The Centers for Disease Control has already been investigating two multi-drug-resistant <a href="https://hslf.org/blog/2019/12/breaking-news-cdc-ties-petland-outbreaks-superbug-illnesses-13-states">campylobacter outbreaks at Petland pet stores </a>and has recommended that Petland and other pet industry players implement reforms to decrease the risk of puppies getting sick with the bacteria and transmitting it to people. We have heard from consumers who had to be hospitalized after contracting campylobacter from an infected puppy they bought at Petland and two of our own investigators contracted the bacteria while working undercover at Petland. The industry has largely declined to act on the recommendations, however, keeping consumers in the dark about the campylobacter risk, which could be particularly dangerous for those who are immuno-compromised.</p> <p>Our <a href="https://www.humanesociety.org/petland?credit=blog_post_021721_id12079">eight undercover investigations of Petland stores</a> unearthed more evidence of the national puppy-selling pet store chain’s refusal to act to prevent more outbreaks or improve the level of veterinary care at their stores, despite the campylobacter outbreaks traced to their stores. Our investigators found that:</p> <ul> <li>Instead of providing noticeably ill puppies with professional veterinary care, Petland managers often had staff with no apparent veterinary training “treat” the puppies, without the benefit of any diagnosis.</li> <li>Petland staff were captured on camera explaining that antibiotics are given to puppies who are not sick, which is the very behavior that leads to the more dangerous antibiotic-resistant bacterial strains.</li> <li>Petland did not routinely test sick puppies for campylobacter or other parasites or diseases, even after the CDC traced an outbreak to Petland dogs. A store manager told our undercover investigator that the store does not routinely test dogs for campylobacter because she claimed that most of them would test positive for it.</li> <li>At a Florence, Kentucky, Petland store, the manager falsely told our secret shopper that a goldendoodle—who had been suffering for weeks with diarrhea and lethargy—was perfectly healthy and had been tested for campylobacter. Immediately after purchasing Jasper, our secret shopper took him to an independent veterinarian who diagnosed him with campylobacter, giardia and other ailments.</li> </ul> <p>This is unacceptable: the Consumer Product Safety Commission is the federal agency charged with protecting the public from risks of injury or death associated with consumer products, and it must do its job and ensure pet stores are warning consumers about the risks associated with handling or purchasing pet store puppies.</p> <p>Dogs are not industrial products but sentient companion animals. Unfortunately, pet stores and the <a href="https://www.humanesociety.org/all-our-fights/stopping-puppy-mills?credit=blog_post_021721_id12079">puppy mills</a> they often source from consider them products and treat them like inanimate, profit-making objects. Breeding dogs and their litters are locked up in small cages in unsanitary, overcrowded conditions, with little opportunity for exercise or play. The dogs churn out as many puppies as possible until they are no longer able to do so.</p> <p>Not surprisingly, diseases thrive under such conditions. Puppies born in these facilities are frequently sick with contagious or congenital illnesses, are loaded with strong antibiotics as a shortcut for proper sanitation and health care and then are transported to pet stores across the country in crowded trucks where they can transmit disease to other puppies. The blanket use of strong drugs, whether the puppies need it or not, is believed to be linked to drug-resistant strains of disease, like the one the CDC has studied.</p> <p>Once they arrive at pet stores, puppies are frequently denied proper veterinary care, and often plied with even more antibiotics to mask their symptoms despite not having a veterinary diagnosis.</p> <p>It is clear by now that we cannot expect pet stores to act proactively to reduce the disease risk, so we need our federal government to use its power to ensure these stores are not endangering consumers and the animals in their care. Once warning signs are posted, consumers can decide for themselves whether they want to handle a puppy who may or may not be infected. We urge the CPSC to step in swiftly and decisively to require pet stores to post campylobacter warnings. No one wants a trip to a pet store to turn into a trip to the doctor or hospital and no one should be kept in the dark about a known health risk that could endanger their life.</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, 17 Feb 2021 19:24:44 +0000 kblocher@hslf.org 21602 at https://hslf.org 2020 in review: How did your Members of Congress score on animal protection issues? https://hslf.org/blog/2021/01/2020-review-how-did-your-members-congress-score-animal-protection-issues <span>2020 in review: How did your Members of Congress score on animal protection issues?</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/135" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">kblocher@hslf.org</span></span> <span>Fri, 01/29/2021 - 16:09</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>With our final <a href="http://www.hslf.org/our-work/humane-scorecard.html">2020 Humane Scorecard</a> now online, we invite you to check out how your federal legislators stood on a range of key issues. Please share this scorecard with family, friends, and fellow advocates and help spread the word!</p> <p>In a year marked by a global pandemic and high partisan tensions on Capitol Hill, HSLF worked harder than ever to keep animal protection on legislators’ radars. With support from congressional allies, we forged ahead and won crucial gains for animals during the second session of the 116th Congress.</p> <p>Many of our biggest victories, including the enactment of historic horse racing legislation, came in the <a href="https://hslf.org/blog/2020/12/breaking-news-congresss-omnibus-package-includes-big-wins-animals">“omnibus” appropriations bill</a> that funds federal agencies for fiscal year 2021. Here are highlights of that legislation, signed into law as P.L. 116-260 in December 2020:</p> <p><strong>Equines</strong></p> <ul> <li>Includes the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act to address the widespread doping of racehorses and unsafe track conditions that have been key contributing factors in frequent equine fatalities on American racetracks.</li> <li>Renews the annual provision to “defund” U.S. Department of Agriculture inspections at U.S. horse slaughter plants, effectively preventing those plants from reopening.</li> <li>Provides an increase of more than $14 million for the Bureau of Land Management to implement nonlethal management of wild horses and burros, featuring PZP, a humane, reversible fertility control vaccine. Renews language preventing horses under the care of the BLM and U.S. Forest Service from being sent to slaughter for human consumption.</li> <li>Doubles funding to $2.09 million for USDA enforcement of the Horse Protection Act (HPA) to better curb cruel “soring” of Tennessee walking horses and related breeds. House report language (deemed adopted in the final package) calls for the agency’s inspector general to audit the HPA enforcement program and makes it clear that the authority of USDA inspectors supersedes that of industry inspectors. It also urges the agency to reinstate the HPA rule—which was finalized but shelved in January 2017—to end the failed system of industry self-policing and use of devices integral to soring.</li> <li>Provides $1.5 million in the National Veterans Sports Program for equine therapy to help address PTSD and other mental health conditions.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Companion animals</strong></p> <ul> <li>Provides $2.5 million—up from $2 million in FY 2020—for the Protecting Animals with Shelter (formerly known as the PAWS Act) grant program to expand shelter options for domestic violence survivors with pets.</li> <li>Encourages the USDA to vigorously enforce license requirements for dog dealers selling over the internet.</li> <li>Urges the USDA to move forward with an international agreement to ban the trade of dog and cat meat worldwide.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Animal welfare enforcement</strong></p> <ul> <li>Directs the USDA to consider lifting the stay on a rule requiring puppy mills, roadside zoos and other facilities regulated by the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) to have emergency response plans for the animals in their care. The rule was issued in 2012 but indefinitely delayed in 2013.</li> <li>Through House report language, directs the USDA to ensure that its online databases of AWA and HPA records are at least as searchable—in function and content—as they were before these records were purged from the agency’s website in 2017. The Senate report also reminds the USDA that it must continue to comply with the transparency directives Congress enacted in 2019.</li> <li>Through House report language, directs USDA inspectors to document each observed AWA noncompliance on an inspection report.</li> <li>Provides an additional $500,000 for the USDA inspector general to better enforce the federal law against animal fighting and encourages an audit of the agency’s AWA enforcement.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Research and testing</strong></p> <ul> <li>Upholds mandate that the USDA inspect its Agricultural Research Service laboratories for compliance with the AWA.</li> <li>Renews the bar on the use of USDA funds to license “Class B random source” dealers, notorious for obtaining cats and dogs through fraudulent means to sell them for research.</li> <li>Directs the Department of Veterans Affairs to submit a plan to Congress by the end of 2021 for reducing or eliminating the use of dogs, cats and nonhuman primates in its research within five years.</li> <li>Encourages the use of nonanimal testing methods by the Food and Drug Administration for new drugs.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Farm animals</strong></p> <ul> <li>Directs the USDA to review the impacts of waivers it has granted to allow increased slaughter plant line speeds—the speeds at which animals are killed—and report back to Congress within 90 days.</li> <li>Promotes USDA-funded research into innovations in plant-based protein.</li> <li>Maintains current staffing levels for oversight of the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act to prevent animal suffering at USDA-inspected slaughter plants and calls for an inspector general audit to improve compliance.</li> <li>Increases monitoring of antibiotic overuse in animal agriculture (which props up inhumane, overcrowded and unsanitary conditions and spurs antibiotic resistance that hurts sick people and animals).</li> </ul> <p><strong>Wildlife</strong></p> <ul> <li>Increases funding for enforcement of federal wildlife protection laws, Endangered Species Act implementation and biodiversity conservation programs. Continues investment in international efforts against wildlife poaching and trafficking and in a domestic program that facilitates wolf coexistence with ranchers.</li> <li>Includes funds for a study on the connection between live wildlife markets and new zoonotic diseases (transmitted from animals to people). Increases funding for global health security programs to prevent, treat and control such diseases and to sustainably and ethically phase out the demand for wildlife as a food source.</li> <li>Requires the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to provide a briefing to Congress on its current policy for allowing imports of sport-hunted trophies of species such as lions and elephants and to explain how such imports benefit the survival of imperiled species whose populations, Congress noted, continue to decline. The briefing was mandated in the FY 2020 appropriations package, but the agency failed to complete it.</li> <li>Increases funding to protect critically endangered North Atlantic right whales and to strengthen the Marine Mammal Commission (a key independent oversight agency), and sustains a program that coordinates nationwide emergency response for stranded, sick, injured, distressed or dead marine mammals.</li> <li>Permanently authorizes sales by the U.S. Postal Service of remaining Save Vanishing Species stamps that fund conservation.</li> </ul> <p>In 2021, we will renew the fight on several bills that passed the House during the 116th Congress but didn’t get considered by the Senate. They include the Big Cat Public Safety Act, Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act, Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act, PAWS for Veterans Therapy Act, and provisions in the Moving Forward Act that would make highways safer for wildlife to cross and improve the safety of horse transport.</p> <p>Also poised for renewed action, the Driftnet Modernization and Bycatch Reduction Act would phase out large-mesh driftnets that kill dolphins, sharks and sea turtles. This bill passed the Senate and House but was unexpectedly vetoed by President Trump on December 30, 2020.</p> <p>On these and other measures, we look forward to new opportunities in the 117th Congress to press the case for animals. Your support and engagement are the keys to our success. Together, we can build on our victories and make even greater progress in 2021.</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> Fri, 29 Jan 2021 16:09:58 +0000 kblocher@hslf.org 21586 at https://hslf.org Our 100-day plan for animal protection under the Biden-Harris administration https://hslf.org/blog/2021/01/our-100-day-plan-animal-protection-under-biden-harris-administration <span>Our 100-day plan for animal protection under the Biden-Harris administration</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/135" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">kblocher@hslf.org</span></span> <span>Wed, 01/20/2021 - 16:05</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 inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris heralds a new beginning. Most Americans are looking forward to putting the challenges of last year behind them. But many are still facing the difficulties of illness, unemployment and economic uncertainty because of the global pandemic. While resolving these problems will understandably be at the top of the administration’s priorities, we look forward, with great optimism, to advancing our animal protection goals with the federal government in the coming weeks and months.</p> <p>Our program and public policy specialists have already been meeting with members of President Biden’s transition team to discuss our policy priorities. We have laid out a 100-day agenda that includes positive administration action on rules as well as enhanced funding for key animal welfare programs.</p> <p>Here are 10 actions we’re encouraging the Biden administration to take in its first 100 days. In most cases, these requests are tied to longer-term priorities for us, so we’re urging the administration to direct federal agencies to:</p> <ol> <li>Slow down <a href="https://blog.humanesociety.org/2020/04/even-as-slaughterhouses-emerge-as-pandemic-hotspots-usda-grants-record-number-of-waivers-to-dial-up-chicken-slaughter-speeds.html">line speeds</a> at slaughtering plants across the country in the interests of animal welfare, worker safety and public health (a subject on which President-elect Biden publicly <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-chicken-covid-coronavirus-biden/2021/01/03/ea8902b0-3a39-11eb-98c4-25dc9f4987e8_story.html">commented</a> in early January).</li> <li>Halt the <a href="https://blog.humanesociety.org/2020/12/in-2020-we-helped-disband-a-trophy-hunters-advisory-panel-retained-protections-for-grizzly-bears-and-ended-more-wildlife-killing-contests.html">import of trophies of ESA-listed species</a> like the African elephant, lion and leopard, all currently threatened with extinction (a topic President-elect Biden <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=913&amp;v=QxhsV_6dWVs&amp;feature=youtu.be">discussed</a> on the campaign trail).</li> <li>Reinstate a 2017 rule that strengthens Horse Protection Act enforcement to <a href="https://hslf.org/blog/2020/11/new-administration-swift-reinstatement-2016-horse-soring-rule-right-call">end horse soring</a>.</li> <li>Redirect the <a href="https://hslf.org/blog/2019/04/preventing-lethal-control-and-slaughter-americas-wild-horses-and-burros">Bureau of Land Management, Wild Horse and Burro Program’s</a> focus toward humane, long term, sustainable management approaches with fertility control vaccines, an approach we have long championed.</li> <li>End <a href="https://www.porkbusiness.com/news/ag-policy/meat-institutes-challenge-californias-prop-12-receives-key-support">direct and indirect federal support</a> for legal challenges to <a href="https://www.humanesociety.org/news/california-voters-overwhelmingly-pass-historic-proposition-12-ballot-measure-law">Proposition 12</a>, the groundbreaking 2018 California ballot initiative that established minimum requirements for confining certain farm animals and prohibit sales of meat and egg products from animals confined in noncompliant systems.</li> <li>Implement necessary protections to prevent <a href="https://hslf.org/blog/2020/12/commercial-fishing-gear-has-driven-right-whales-brink-extinction-we-are-asking-us">fishing gear entanglement</a> and <a href="https://hslf.org/press-release/2020/08/vessel-speed-limits-sought-protect-endangered-north-atlantic-right-whales">vessel strikes</a> from exacerbating the plight of the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale.</li> <li>Support <a href="https://hslf.org/blog/2019/09/breaking-news-epa-moves-end-animal-testing">renewal of the Environmental Protection Agency’s commitment</a> to ending all animal testing on mammals for chemicals and pesticides by 2035 through focus on non-animal technologies.</li> <li>Adopt the recommendations of the nation’s top science panel <a href="https://hslf.org/blog/2020/07/breaking-news-nations-top-science-panel-recommends-va-should-stop-most-research-dogs">to stop most research on dogs</a> at the Department of Veterans Affairs.</li> <li>Reissue a 2017 rule to <a href="https://blog.humanesociety.org/2018/03/breaking-news-usda-abandons-rule-higher-welfare-standards-animals-raised-organics-label.html">strengthen housing, husbandry and management standards for animal welfare on organics farms</a>.</li> <li>Declare an immediate commitment to increased enforcement efforts pertaining to puppy mills, roadside zoos, and research facilities that violate the Animal Welfare Act.</li> </ol> <p>With respect to COVID-19, we’ll continue to emphasize the important connections we have been making between our work and the larger public interest. In July 2020 we released a <a href="https://hslf.org/sites/default/files/2020-07/HSLF-HSUS-COVID19-Policies-2020_0.pdf">policy report</a> identifying specific actions that lawmakers and private sector interests can take, actions that are good for animals, people, and the planet. These include:</p> <ul> <li>Stricter regulation of wildlife imports and the closure of U.S. mink fur farms.</li> <li>An end to wildlife markets and the wildlife products trade.</li> <li>Incentives for farmers to transition away from intensive confinement of farm animals.</li> </ul> <p>Our gains in Congress’s <a href="https://hslf.org/blog/2020/12/breaking-news-congresss-omnibus-package-includes-big-wins-animals">omnibus bill for 2021</a> offered powerful evidence of our expanding power to secure funding for key animal protection programs under federal agencies, and we intend to do still better the next time around. For the president’s fiscal year 2022 budget request, we’ll pursue the following priorities, among others:</p> <ul> <li>Increased support for enforcement of animal welfare laws.</li> <li>Largescale transition from intensive confinement systems to cage- and crate- free housing for farm animals.</li> <li>Program grants to assist domestic violence victims and their pets.</li> <li>Additional funding for combating wildlife trafficking initiatives.</li> <li>Development and implementation of non-animal testing methods.</li> <li>Research to further the progress of cultivated and plant-based meat alternatives.</li> </ul> <p>We are excited about the prospect of working with a federal government more favorable to our goals for animal welfare, but we aren’t taking anything for granted. While President Biden and Vice President Harris have strong individual track records on animal protection issues, bringing about regulatory change is always a challenge. We’ll also be working with a new Congress and seeking to strengthen and expand the wonderful bipartisan support for animal welfare that we’ve helped build in recent years.</p> <p>We hope you’ll join us in supporting those efforts. You can rest assured we will continue to bring our best energy, talent and resources to the mission of securing positive actions by our federal government—for all animals—in 2021 and beyond. </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/83" hreflang="en">Elections</a> <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> Wed, 20 Jan 2021 16:05:07 +0000 kblocher@hslf.org 21582 at https://hslf.org A photo finish for our animal protection agenda as the 116th Congress comes to a close https://hslf.org/blog/2020/12/photo-finish-our-animal-protection-agenda-116th-congress-comes-close <span>A photo finish for our animal protection agenda as the 116th Congress comes to a close</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/135" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">kblocher@hslf.org</span></span> <span>Wed, 12/23/2020 - 18:59</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>It is your support and engagement that makes it possible for the Humane Society Legislative Fund to carry the banner for animals in the U.S. Congress and in state legislatures; secure passage of animal protection statutes at every level; mobilize a healthy grassroots movement to press for good laws, regulations, and enforcement; and do what’s needed to elect humane-minded candidates. That’s why, on behalf of my colleagues, and with the deepest gratitude, I want to assure you that this year—as always—we were at the center of every pro-animal fight there was. </p> <p>This included approval of the <a href="https://hslf.org/blog/2020/08/sen-mitch-mcconnell-will-introduce-bill-reform-horse-racing">Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act</a>, a historic measure tackling the challenges of doping and racetrack safety that have jeopardized the health and lives of racehorses and jockeys for many years. We made its passage the centerpiece of our federal lobbying in 2020, and we’re confident that it will spare thousands of horses from unnecessary injury and death on the tracks.</p> <p>We were hard at work through year’s end because the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act was one of the many components of our 2020 agenda included in the completed <a href="https://hslf.org/blog/2020/12/breaking-news-congresss-omnibus-package-includes-big-wins-animals">Fiscal Year 2021 appropriations package</a>. There were other important successes, too, as we made the case for millions of dollars to support implementation and enforcement of federal animal protection laws. The package includes more than $14 million for non-lethal management of wild horses and burros featuring PZP, the humane, reversible fertility control vaccine we have long championed; $2.5 million to fund shelter and transitional housing services for domestic violence survivors and their pets; nearly $2.1 million to curtail the soring of Tennessee walking horses; $1.5 million for PTSD-related animal-assisted therapy for veterans; and $500,000 for more effective enforcement of laws against dogfighting and cockfighting. </p> <p>In addition, we achieved our funding goals for international wildlife and biodiversity conservation initiatives to combat wildlife poaching and trafficking and protect imperiled species, including critically endangered North Atlantic right whales. We also secured provisions to prevent transmission of diseases from live wildlife markets and to permanently authorize U.S. Postal Service sales of vanishing species stamps to fund conservation efforts.</p> <p>We made particularly strong gains with  respect to an agency of paramount concern for our work, as the omnibus package directed the United States Department of Agriculture to take steps to require regulated facilities to maintain emergency response plans for animals, properly document Animal Welfare Act noncompliance, reinstate the 2017 Horse Protection Act rule, ensure full searchability for AWA and HPA records purged from its website, vigorously enforce licensing requirements for dog dealers selling over the Internet, conduct research on the future of plant-based proteins, increase monitoring of antibiotic overuse in animal agriculture, and review the impacts of its slaughter plant line-speed waiver policies. </p> <p>In other positive developments, the package directed the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to provide Congress with an explanation of its current policies for allowing imports of sport-hunted trophies of species like lions and elephants into the United States. On laboratory animal issues, it directed three agencies to develop a plan to reduce or eliminate the use of dogs, cats and non-human primates in research (Department of Veterans Affairs), to embrace non-animal testing methods for new drugs (FDA); and to uphold the bar on licensing “Class B random source” dealers of dogs and cats and inspect its own laboratories housing animals for compliance with the Animal Welfare Act (USDA).</p> <p>Taking account of successful legislation in the 116th Congress as a whole, we helped to secure passage (and an expected signature by the President) of the Driftnet Modernization and Bycatch Reduction Act, to phase out large-mesh driftnets that kill dolphins, sharks, and sea turtles. In 2019, in the first session of the Congress, we helped to achieve the passage into law of the <a href="https://hslf.org/blog/2019/11/breaking-news-president-trump-signs-pact-act-law-will-crack-down-some-worst-animal">Protecting Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act</a> and the <a href="https://hslf.org/press-release/2019/09/senate-committee-targets-wildlife-traffickers-through-rewards-program">Rescuing Animals with Rewards (RAWR) Act</a>.</p> <p>We made progress in the House this year with respect to at least a few pro-animal measures that did not make it into the appropriations package. The most significant example was the passage of the <a href="https://hslf.org/blog/2020/12/us-house-passes-bill-prohibit-keeping-big-cats-pets-and-public-contact">Big Cat Public Safety Act</a>, H.R. 1380, to prohibit public contact with big cats as well as ban the possession of these animals as pets. The House also <a href="https://hslf.org/blog/2020/07/breaking-news-us-house-passes-major-infrastructure-package-key-provisions-wildlife">approved provisions</a> to make highways safer for wildlife to cross and create safer conditions to transport horses as part of the Moving Forward Act. Finally, the House passed the <a href="https://hslf.org/blog/2020/02/breaking-news-us-house-approves-bill-pair-veterans-service-dogs">PAWS for Veterans Therapy Act</a>, creating a pilot program at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to pair individuals with post-deployment mental health conditions with dogs to train as service animals. We helped build bipartisan support for each of these measures, just as we did in the case of two that passed the House in 2019, the <a href="https://hslf.org/blog/2019/07/breaking-news-congress-moves-make-horse-soring-thing-past">Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act</a> and the <a href="https://hslf.org/blog/2019/11/breaking-news-house-votes-end-shark-fin-sales-us">Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act</a>.</p> <p>Working together with the administration, we secured important gains via positive federal agency actions, too. The USDA finalized a rule to require all dealers and exhibitors, including puppy breeders and roadside zoos, <a href="https://hslf.org/blog/2020/05/breaking-news-usda-finalizes-reforms-animals-puppy-mills-roadside-zoos-and-research">to apply for a new license every three years</a> and pass a scheduled pre-license inspection, and the agency upgraded a few care standards for dogs. The Department of Transportation <a href="https://hslf.org/blog/2020/12/victory-new-department-transportation-rule-says-airlines-cannot-ban-certain-breeds">issued a final rule</a> prohibiting airlines from banning breeds of service dogs and prohibiting exotic species from being used as service animals. The Department of Justice awarded $2.2 million in grants to organizations to increase shelter beds and transitional housing options for domestic violence victims and their companion animals. And the Department of State <a href="https://www.state.gov/new-visa-restrictions-for-wildlife-and-timber-traffickers/">instituted a policy</a> to <a href="https://hslf.org/blog/2020/11/us-will-deny-visas-wildlife-traffickers">restrict visas for wildlife traffickers</a>, putting them into the company of money launderers, arms runners and drug traffickers. </p> <p>Our 2019-2020 election commitments showed us to be the boldest and most influential animal-focused 501(c)(4) organization in the country. In the <a href="https://hslf.org/blog/2020/11/2020-election-very-good-one-animals">November 2020 election cycle</a>, we made unprecedented investments in electing pro-animal candidates, both Democrats and Republicans. We played a role in nearly two dozen congressional races and produced more than 300,000 pieces of mail, 125,000 text messages and a slew of digital advertisements, many featuring commentary by HSLF supporters. We made contributions of nearly half a million dollars to candidates of both parties who stood up for animals. </p> <p>Finally, we were the only animal protection political entity to take a position in the presidential race, <a href="https://hslf.org/blog/2020/10/endorsing-joe-biden-and-kamala-harris-animals">endorsing Joe Biden and Kamala Harris</a> based on their individual records and the poor performance of the incumbent administration in critical areas of concern. The other 501(c)(4) organizations in the humane sector took a pass, but we gave it to you straight. We have a substantial number of Republican supporters and we work closely with Republican officials who have been among our most staunch and faithful allies. But we felt the moral and political obligation to speak the truth about how bad things have gotten for animals at the federal level during the last four years. Now, we’re fully engaged in discussions with the incoming administration to establish and shape its animal protection priorities, and we’re doing the same thing with the leadership of both parties in the U.S. Congress.</p> <p>That’s where you come in. You support us because you know that HSLF has always delivered the political outcomes you want for animals at risk of suffering and cruelty. And we count on you to engage your government, your elected officials and your family members, friends and fellow citizens. When we speak for animals, advocate for animals, and win for animals, we do it because of you, and we do it for you. But most of all, we do it for them. And in 2021, we’ll do it again.</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> <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> Wed, 23 Dec 2020 18:59:18 +0000 kblocher@hslf.org 21554 at https://hslf.org USDA directed to reconsider dormant rule requiring disaster plans for animals https://hslf.org/press-release/2020/12/usda-directed-reconsider-dormant-rule-requiring-disaster-plans-animals <span>USDA directed to reconsider dormant rule requiring disaster plans for animals </span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/135" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">kblocher@hslf.org</span></span> <span>Wed, 12/23/2020 - 18:22</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">USDA directed to reconsider dormant rule requiring disaster plans for animals</div> <h4 class="subhead minor"><em>Rule would protect millions at puppy mills, roadside zoos and other enterprises</em></h4> <p>WASHINGTON (December 23, 2020)—The Humane Society Legislative Fund (HSLF) celebrates the approval by Congress of a provision to help ensure needed care for millions of animals at puppy mills, roadside zoos, and other facilities in the event of an emergency, such as a natural disaster or pandemic. The provision is part of the omnibus package funding the federal government, which is awaiting President Trump’s signature into law.</p> <p>The provision directs the U.S. Department of Agriculture to start the rulemaking process on lifting its stay on a long-dormant final rule requiring facilities regulated by the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) to have emergency response plans for the animals in their care. The USDA issued the rule in 2012, but then indefinitely delayed its implementation in 2013.</p> <p>HSLF worked with U.S. Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., to press for a directive on this in the appropriations legislation, and mobilized <a href="https://drive.google.com/file/d/1h96t5yZFsEV2YtQ4KbIEdTGdRrbOhIEa/view?usp=sharing">207 Representatives and 41 Senators</a> to join in the request. Rep. Titus also introduced the Providing Responsible Emergency Plans for Animals at Risk of Emerging Disasters (PREPARED) Act, H.R. 1042, which has 222 cosponsors and would essentially codify the USDA rule.</p> <p>“Animals held by puppy mills, roadside zoos, and other commercial enterprises deserve protection in the face of a natural disaster or pandemic,” said HSLF Director of Federal Affairs Mimi Brody. “It’s long past time for USDA to reinstate this common-sense requirement. We are grateful to Representative Dina Titus for being a tireless champion of this cause and to the many other legislators who helped secure this important win.”</p> <p>“The lives of animals are too precious to leave to chance,” said Rep. Titus, D-Nev.. “I’m pleased that the public will once again have an opportunity to make it clear that zoos, commercial breeders, research facilities, and the like must be prepared to keep their animals safe when disaster strikes. Sadly, we’ve learned that if these entities do not have a plan in place when an emergency hits, it is already too late.”</p> <p><strong>Background: </strong>The USDA originally proposed this common-sense rule in 2008, published the final rule in 2012, and it went into effect on January 30, 2013, requiring facilities to have their plans in place by July 29, 2013. However, USDA issued an indefinite stay of implementation on July 31, 2013 in response to concerns about very small businesses being covered. Congress addressed these concerns by including a provision in the 2014 Farm Bill directing USDA to establish a de minimis exemption in the AWA for licensees with only a few non-dangerous animals. Conference Managers noted that the de minimis exemption would free up agency resources and that they expected the agency to lift the stay on the contingency rule “without delay.” USDA set the de minimis exemption in June 2018 but has not yet lifted the stay.</p> <p>Given the increasing frequency and intensity of weather-related events due to climate change, as well as the potential for serious staffing shortages due to COVID-19, AWA-regulated facilities must think through how to handle tasks such as evacuation, shelter-in-place, provision of backup food and water, sanitation, ventilation, and veterinary care. In addition to raising serious animal welfare concerns, a lack of planning poses safety risks and an undue burden on local first-responders, non-governmental organizations, and members of the public who respond to save animals in times of crisis. Facilities doing NIH-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 International and by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. This rule will level the playing field to ensure that puppy mills, roadside zoos, and other outliers also have disaster plans.</p> <p><strong>Media contact:</strong><br /> <strong>Anna West:</strong> (240) 751-2669, <a href="mailto:awest@humanesociety.org">awest@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/35" hreflang="en">Farm Animals</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> Wed, 23 Dec 2020 18:22:23 +0000 kblocher@hslf.org 21555 at https://hslf.org Breaking news: Congress’s omnibus package includes big wins for animals https://hslf.org/blog/2020/12/breaking-news-congresss-omnibus-package-includes-big-wins-animals <span>Breaking news: Congress’s omnibus package includes big wins for animals</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/135" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">kblocher@hslf.org</span></span> <span>Mon, 12/21/2020 - 23:07</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 appropriations bill and accompanying coronavirus relief/stimulus package for fiscal year 2021 now advancing through Congress will bring critical and much-needed support to millions of Americans. We are also pleased to report that the package, which funds federal agencies, includes a number of wins for animals, including horses, wildlife, companion animals and animals in research.</p> <p>We’ve advocated for these and other items throughout 2020. Here, in brief, are key measures in the package that benefit animals:</p> <p><strong>Horse racing:</strong> The package includes the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (S. 4547/H.R. 1754) introduced by Sens. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Martha McSally, R-Ariz., and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Reps. Paul Tonko, D-N.Y. and Andy Barr, R-Ky., to address the widespread doping of racehorses and unsafe track conditions that have been key contributing factors in frequent equine fatalities on American racetracks.</p> <p><strong>Horse slaughter:</strong> It renews the annual provision that “defunds” USDA inspections at domestic horse slaughter plants, effectively preventing those plants from reopening in the United States.</p> <p><strong>Wild horses and burros:</strong> It provides an increase of more than $14 million for the Bureau of Land Management to implement non-lethal management of wild horses and burros, featuring PZP, a humane, reversible fertility control vaccine. It also renews language preventing horses under the care of the BLM and the U.S. Forest Service from being sent to slaughter for human consumption.</p> <p><strong>Horse soring:</strong> It doubles the FY 2020 funding level for the U.S. Department of Agriculture to enforce the Horse Protection Act to $2.09 million to better curb cruel “soring” of Tennessee walking horses and related breeds, and it calls for the agency’s Inspector General to audit the HPA enforcement program. The package makes it clear that the authority of USDA inspectors supersedes that of industry inspectors and urges the agency to reinstate the HPA rule that was finalized but shelved in January 2017. The rule would end the failed system of industry self-policing and use of devices integral to soring.</p> <p><strong>Wildlife trafficking and Endangered Species Act:</strong> It increases investment in key Department of Interior law enforcement and wildlife and biodiversity conservation programs and continues investment in international conservation efforts to combat the transnational threat of wildlife poaching and trafficking and to protect imperiled species.</p> <p><strong>Live wildlife markets and disease spread:</strong> It includes a study on the impacts of wildlife markets on the emergence of new diseases, as well as increased funding to prevent the transmission of diseases from animals to humans (known as zoonotic diseases), through key global health security programs to build the capacity of public health institutions and organizations in developing countries for the prevention, treatment and control of zoonotic diseases.</p> <p><strong>Trophy hunting: </strong>It requires the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to provide Congress with the briefing mandated in the FY 2020 appropriations package, which the agency failed to complete, on its current policy for allowing imports of sport-hunted trophies of species like lions and elephants into the United States and to explain how these imports benefit the survival of these imperiled species after Congress expressed doubt due to continuing population declines.</p> <p><strong>Marine mammals and right whales:</strong> It increases funding to protect critically endangered North Atlantic right whales, to sustain the Marine Mammal Commission, a key, independent oversight agency, and to fund a program that coordinates nationwide emergency response for stranded, sick, injured, distressed or dead marine mammals.</p> <p><strong>Disaster plans:</strong> It directs the USDA to start the rulemaking process on lifting the stay on the rule requiring facilities regulated by the Animal Welfare Act, such as puppy mills and roadside zoos, to have emergency response plans for the animals in their care.</p> <p><strong>Animals in research:</strong> It directs the Department of Veterans Affairs to submit a plan to Congress by the end of 2021 on how it plans to reduce or eliminate the use of dogs, cats and non-human primates in its research within five years; encourages the use of non-animal testing methods by the Food and Drug Administration for new drugs; directs that USDA-run laboratories housing animals be inspected for compliance with the Animal Welfare Act; and renews the bar on licensing “Class B random source” dealers, who were notorious for obtaining cats and dogs through fraudulent means such as pet theft to sell them into research.</p> <p><strong>Domestic violence shelters:</strong> It provides $2.5 million—up from $2 million in FY 2020—to expand the PAWS grant program that provides funding for shelter and transitional housing services for survivors of domestic violence and their companion animals.</p> <p><strong>Slaughter plant line speed:</strong> It directs the USDA to review the impacts of waivers granted for increasing line speeds—the speeds at which animals are killed—at slaughter plants and report back to Congress within 90 days. It also requires that the USDA consult with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration on any future line speed increases.</p> <p><strong>Plant-based protein research:</strong> It promotes USDA-funded research into innovations in plant-based protein.</p> <p><strong>Animal fighting:</strong> It provides an additional $500,000 for USDA’s Inspector General to better enforce federal law against dogfighting and cockfighting.</p> <p><strong>Dog and cat meat:</strong> It urges USDA to move forward with an international agreement to ban the trade of dog and cat meat worldwide.</p> <p><strong>Equine therapy:</strong> It provides no less than $1.5 million in the National Veterans Sports Program for equine therapy to support veterans’ mental health and help reduce PTSD-related anxiety.</p> <p><strong>Animal Welfare Act enforcement:</strong> It directs USDA to ensure that each AWA noncompliance observed by an inspector is documented on an inspection report, and to make sure, as it restores AWA and HPA records purged from the agency’s website in 2017, that databases are at least as searchable—in function and content—as they were before the purge It also encourages USDA to conduct robust enforcement to ensure that online dealers selling dogs have the necessary license under the Animal Welfare Act.</p> <p>These provisions are a sign of genuine progress in our work to push the frontiers of animal protection, and we are grateful to the members of Congress and our partners who worked with us to ensure they were included in the appropriations package. However, some provisions included in the bill, like one that urges the National Institutes of Health and the Air Force to seek  “alternative arrangements for housing” of retired research chimpanzees currently residing on Alamogordo Air Force Base, but does not explicitly require those chimpanzees be transported to sanctuary, highlight that Congressional oversight will be needed to ensure that the right steps are taken for animals as the new administration steps into place. We hope the Biden administration will move more expeditiously to transfer these chimpanzees to sanctuary. And we will work hard to ensure that all these measures are approved this week.</p> <p>P.S. The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society Legislative Fund are committed to ending the cruel practice of horse soring. Fortunately, the omnibus/coronavirus package did not include a retrogressive measure on soring that was ill-conceived, ill-timed and ineffectual. Virtually all other stakeholders working to end soring agree with us that this proposal would have seriously set back anti-soring efforts, including the American Association of Equine Practitioners, American Horse Council and its 30 groups, American Veterinary Medical Association, Animal Welfare Institute, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Friends of Sound Horses and Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association. We and these groups will instead push for the Biden administration to swiftly reinstate the final rule on soring that was put on hold at the beginning of 2017 and which will end the use of devices integral to soring and the conflict-ridden industry self-policing scheme. We will also continue to press Congress to codify those essential reforms and add stronger penalties and even more robust enforcement funding to finally end this scourge. </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/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> Mon, 21 Dec 2020 23:07:11 +0000 kblocher@hslf.org 21553 at https://hslf.org HSUS undercover investigation shows dogs in dismal conditions at puppy mills while USDA turns a blind eye https://hslf.org/blog/2020/11/hsus-undercover-investigation-shows-dogs-dismal-conditions-puppy-mills-while-usda <span>HSUS undercover investigation shows dogs in dismal conditions at puppy mills while USDA turns a blind eye </span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/135" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">kblocher@hslf.org</span></span> <span>Tue, 11/17/2020 - 01:47</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>An HSUS undercover investigator has recorded video footage of animals living in dismal conditions at puppy mills in the Midwest that have never or only rarely been cited for neglecting the animals in their care by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the federal agency whose job is to ensure these operations abide by the Animal Welfare Act.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXebWP6G-yc&amp;feature=youtu.be">images you will see are heartbreaking</a>: day after day, dogs held in cramped, rickety cages and pens gaze longingly at green, grassy land they might never set foot on. Some dogs circle and pace in their cages repeatedly—a surefire sign of psychological deterioration. At some of these federally licensed mills, the animals have nothing but blue plastic barrels for shelter.</p> <p>Our investigator visited dozens of USDA-licensed dog breeders in the Midwest and found conditions were a far cry from the roomy, home-like environments that pet stores selling dogs from puppy mills claim to source their animals from. The video we are releasing was shot outside puppy mills in Arkansas, Kansas and Missouri.</p> <p>We followed up our investigations by <a href="https://blog.humanesociety.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/REPORT-Midwest-Puppy-Mills-and-Pet-Store-Connections-FINAL-PDF-11.15.20.pdf">reviewing three years of USDA inspection reports for each of the breeders we visited</a>, and by studying recent shipping documents that show which pet stores some of the breeders were selling to.</p> <p>Our research presented additional proof of what we and the <a href="https://hslf.org/blog/2019/08/washington-post-reveals-white-house-may-have-meddled-stop-usda-inspectors-helping">news media</a> have been reporting for the last several years: that the USDA is utterly failing to protect animals in puppy mills. While all of the mills we investigated have a license from the USDA, almost none had been cited for recent “critical” or “direct” violations by USDA inspectors, even though many appeared to be dismal operations. “Critical” and “direct” USDA violations are some of the most serious citations the USDA can apply but in recent years, the USDA has rarely issued such citations and as of Nov. 1, 2020, it had not revoked a single dog breeder license in more than two years.</p> <p>We also found that documented USDA violations at pet breeding facilities have plummeted more than 60% since 2016, and <a href="https://www.humanesociety.org/sites/default/files/docs/puppy-mills-awa-booklet-lores_0.pdf">enforcement actions have declined</a> by about 90%.</p> <p>Among our other noteworthy findings:</p> <ul> <li>At least two of the breeders we visited sold to a total of three <a href="https://www.humanesociety.org/petland">Petland</a> stores in 2020, including stores in Florida, Kansas and Missouri. Petland claims only to buy from breeders with no critical or direct USDA violations, but since the USDA has virtually stopped issuing such violations in recent years, almost any USDA breeder can claim this distinction.</li> <li>Eight of the breeders we visited sold to a total of 20 pet stores in New York within the last two years. New York state has the largest number of pet stores in the nation.</li> <li>The breeders sold to more than 50 pet stores in all. In addition to the 20 pet stores in New York, they also sold to 18 pet stores in Florida, and two each in Connecticut, Illinois and New Jersey.</li> <li>Four breeders we investigated had already appeared on our annual <a href="https://blog.humanesociety.org/2020/05/dogs-shot-starved-and-neglected-hsuss-eighth-horrible-hundred-report-delves-into-the-cruel-world-of-puppy-mills.html">Horrible Hundred</a> reports between 2013 and 2020, and conditions at their operations don’t seem to have improved much; despite this, most of them did not receive any recent significant USDA violations or penalties.</li> </ul> <p>Clearly, the USDA is sleeping on the job, but fortunately there is hope. Thanks to efforts made by animal advocates and the Humane Society of the United States, more than 360 localities have cut off the puppy-mill-pet-store pipeline so far. California, Maryland and Maine have passed similar laws statewide that, we hope, will accelerate an end to the problem of puppy mills, and New York is considering such a bill right now. We will be fighting for every U.S. state to pass a similar law.</p> <p>At the federal level, we are pushing for passage of the <a href="https://hslf.org/blog/2019/05/bill-congress-would-require-better-veterinary-care-other-reforms-dogs-puppy-mills">Puppy Protection Act</a>, which will ban the use of stacked cages and wire flooring at USDA-licensed puppy mills, require breeders to protect dogs from harsh weather, mandate veterinarian care for significant illness or injury, and give them access to attached exercise runs. With a new administration about to take office, we are hopeful that the USDA will dust itself off and get back to the job of ensuring—on behalf of American taxpayers—that those responsible for the neglect and suffering of animals in puppy mills are held  fully accountable for their actions. </p> <blockquote><p><strong><a href="https://hslf.org/action-center/protect-dogs-cruel-puppy-mills">Please take a moment to contact your U.S. Representative and two U.S. Senators and ask them to support the Puppy Protection Act &gt;&gt;</a></strong></p> </blockquote> <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/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> Tue, 17 Nov 2020 01:47:02 +0000 kblocher@hslf.org 21521 at https://hslf.org Senate appropriations package has both good and bad news for animals https://hslf.org/blog/2020/11/senate-appropriations-package-has-both-good-and-bad-news-animals <span>Senate appropriations package has both good and bad news for animals</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/135" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">kblocher@hslf.org</span></span> <span>Wed, 11/11/2020 - 00:52</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 Senate Committee on Appropriations today released a package of 12 appropriations bills for fiscal year 2021, and it is a mixed bag for animals.</p> <p>The House has already approved its appropriations bills, which fund federal government agencies, and they include significant protections for animals, including funding to address <a href="https://hslf.org/blog/2020/07/house-subcommittees-boost-funds-key-animal-protection-measures-wildlife-trafficking">wildlife trafficking, slaughterhouse kill speeds, horse soring and slaughter</a>, <a href="https://hslf.org/blog/2020/07/spending-bills-move-congress-provisions-gray-wolves-non-animal-testing-methods-and">animal testing alternatives and wildlife markets</a>, and to help <a href="https://hslf.org/blog/2020/07/house-passes-second-funding-package-welcome-news-chimpanzees-right-whales-and-farm">chimpanzees, right whales and farm animals</a>. While the Senate version includes some strong reforms on wild horses and burros, phasing out the use of dogs in testing, and funding for marine mammal conservation efforts, among many others, it also includes calls for an increased focus on the use of nonhuman primates and farm animals, particularly pigs, in testing, and would make the roads less safe for people and animals, among other concerns. It also leaves out key provisions included in the House bill, including defunding language to effectively prevent horse slaughter in the United States for human consumption.</p> <p>The two chambers must now reach an agreement on their respective versions by December 11 to avoid a government shutdown, and we’ll be working to make sure that we get the best possible outcomes for animals.</p> <p>Here’s a rundown of some of the top provisions for animals in the Senate:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Humane management of wild horses and burros</strong> by giving the Bureau of Land Management an additional $15 million to implement a non-lethal management program. The Senate package also  renews necessary protections to ensure that healthy horses under the care of the BLM and the U.S. Forest Service are not sent to slaughter for human consumption.</li> <li><strong>More funding for marine mammal conservation efforts</strong> to protect critically endangered North Atlantic right whales; to sustain the Marine Mammal Commission, the independent agency tasked with oversight on any federal action impacting marine mammals; and fund the John H. Prescott Marine Mammal Rescue assistance grant program that supports the country’s marine mammal stranding response network.</li> <li><strong>Phasing out dog testing</strong> by directing the Department of Veterans Affairs to reduce the use of dogs in research.</li> <li><strong>Oversight of online dog sales.</strong> The committee, concerned about dog dealers who are selling dogs over the Internet without the necessary Animal Welfare Act (AWA) license, is requesting that the U.S. Department of Agriculture conduct robust oversight and enforcement of a 2013 rule on Internet sales.</li> <li><strong>Renewing the prohibition on licensing Class B dealers</strong>, which would prevents the USDA from using funds to license “Class B random source” dealers, notorious for acquiring cats and dogs for research through fraudulent means including pet theft.</li> <li><strong>Expanding the ban on dog and cat meat</strong> by urging the USDA to move forward with an international agreement to ban the trade of dog and cat meat worldwide.</li> <li><strong>Encouraging implementation of non-animal testing methods</strong> by the Food and Drug Administration for new drugs.</li> <li><strong>Requiring transparency from the USDA</strong> by directing it to comply with the FY20 requirement to post on its website inspection reports and enforcement records under the AWA and the Horse Protection Act.</li> <li><strong>Promoting research into plant-based protein alternatives</strong> by the USDA.</li> <li><strong>Cracking down on animal fighting</strong> with funds for enforcement by the USDA’s Inspector General.</li> <li><strong>Increasing investments to protect wildlife around the world</strong>, such as through the USAID biodiversity programs that help protect some of the largest, most at-risk natural landscapes and wildlife. The Senate package also maintains funding for the Multinational Species Conservation Fund and for federal international security assistance, Global Environment Facility projects, and Department of Interior conservation and enforcement activities to combat wildlife trafficking.</li> <li><strong>Focusing on protecting people and animals from zoonotic diseases and exploitation</strong> by encouraging prioritization of activities to address zoonotic disease spillover, including in wildlife markets in Africa and Asia, and commissioning a U.S. Government Accountability Office study on this urgent issue.</li> </ul> <p>Unfortunately, the package includes some  provisions that would impact animals negatively. These include:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Calls for increased animal testing</strong>, specifically an increased focus on the use of nonhuman primates and farm animals, particularly pigs, for use as research models for biomedical testing.</li> <li><strong>Making the National Institutes of Health’s policy on post-research adoption of research animals voluntary</strong>.</li> <li><strong>Making roads less safe for people and animals </strong>by exempting livestock haulers from the electronic logging device rule, which will lead to greater truck driver fatigue and resulting crashes that endanger everyone on the road and the animals being hauled. Longer trips without rest periods also facilitate the spread of diseases and pathogens like influenza and salmonella.</li> </ul> <p>The Senate bills did not include some key pro-animal provisions that were approved by the House, including:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Preventing government spending on horse slaughter inspections:</strong> The Senate package does not contain “defund” language that has been enacted nearly every year since 2005.</li> <li><strong>Restricting trophy hunting:</strong> The U.S. Fish &amp; Wildlife Service is not prohibited from allowing the import of lion or elephant trophies from Zambia, Zimbabwe or Tanzania, where the populations of these animals have declined to unsustainable levels. Senate report language also omits the House’s concern and directives relating to the FWS’s failure to reevaluate their trophy import permitting scheme as required under the enacted FY20 appropriations package.</li> <li><strong>Requiring facilities regulated by the Animal Welfare Act, such as puppy mills and roadside zoos, to have emergency response plans for the animals in their care:</strong> The Senate language does not require AWA facilities to have disaster plans in place. USDA required this in a final rule issued in 2012, but then indefinitely delayed its implementation in 2013. The House bill directs the USDA to lift the stay on its final rule.</li> <li><strong>Retiring research chimpanzees to Chimp Haven:</strong> Recognizing the clear animal welfare benefits of retiring former research chimps to sanctuary, the House made it clear that government supported and owned surplus chimps are required to be transferred and retired to the federal sanctuary, Chimp Haven, as mandated under the CHIMP Act. The Senate language could be read to suggest that NIH may continue violating that mandate by keeping surplus chimps in the laboratory setting at Alamogordo Primate Facility until they die.</li> <li><strong>Making key funding increases to help pets and horses:</strong> While the Senate bill sustains funding for two key programs—PAWS grants that provide shelter options for domestic violence survivors with pets and enforcement of the federal law against horse soring—it doesn’t increase funding as the House bill does.</li> </ul> <p>As the Senate and House negotiate these bills over the next few weeks, we’ll urge Congress to include all possible protections for animals from both the House and Senate versions, and to keep out the more harmful provisions. Animal protection is not a partisan issue, most Americans support funding the commonsense reforms wholeheartedly, and they want their lawmakers to do the same.</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/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> Wed, 11 Nov 2020 00:52:35 +0000 kblocher@hslf.org 21509 at https://hslf.org