Farm Animals https://hslf.org/ en Chaos at the post office hurts animals and democracy alike https://hslf.org/blog/2020/08/chaos-post-office-hurts-animals-and-democracy-alike <span>Chaos at the post office hurts animals and democracy alike</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/135" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">kblocher@hslf.org</span></span> <span>Mon, 08/31/2020 - 13:20</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><em>By Brad Pyle</em></p> <p> The problems at the United States Postal Service have already had dire consequences for animals, and now they risk doing the same to the upcoming election. President Trump and the U.S. Congress must act to ensure that the postal system is operating at full capacity and with competency before the General Election to ensure the integrity of the outcome. </p> <p> There’s cruel irony for us in the recent news reports highlighting the thousands of baby chicks arriving dead to farmers across the United States. Alligators, turkeys, bees, and a multitude of other species are also shipped through the USPS, and there is no doubt that animals are suffering as a result of unnecessary delays, disorganization and the political controversy that has now beset the agency. </p> <p> We have spent a lot of our time in recent weeks in efforts to encourage voter registration in anticipation of the November election. With the coronavirus pandemic forcing most states to increase citizens’ access to voting by mail, it’s simple. The 2020 Election depends on a functioning postal system. What we have just now is complete chaos. The removal of sorting machines, the reduction of overtime hours, and extensive confusion over mailing deadlines have all contributed to this problem. The USPS has even warned the states that mail-in ballots may not be delivered in time to be counted. We cannot let that happen.</p> <p> We at the HSLF know that for animals to win in our democracy our voting process must be fair and open to all, and it must have the confidence of the public. A strong, robust democracy in which every American can make their voices heard benefits our nation and all its citizens. It’s also good for animals, who rely on our protection and whose interests we have continuously sought to integrate into public policy at all levels. Every year we encourage voters to support our endorsed humane candidates for office, to help us push for the passage of legislation and the adoption of animal-friendly regulations and rules, to vote for humane ballot measures, and more. If our voices are silenced, so is our cause. </p> <p> If we want lasting and meaningful progress for animals, we need fair and safe elections, and we need to make sure that every animal-friendly vote gets cast and counted. Millions of Americans, of all political persuasions, share our goal of protecting animals from cruelty, suffering and abuse, and they want to exercise their rights as voters. Any obstacles to efficient, timely and lawful voting is not good for our cause. And it’s certainly not good for American politics and society. Voting is a right for which countless Americans have struggled and died over nearly 250 years of nationhood. For that and other reasons, we have a burden of responsibility to sustain the institutions that make it possible in good times and bad, and that certainly includes the Post Office.</p> <p> To elect humane candidates, every humane voter must have the opportunity to cast their vote in the upcoming election, by mail or in person. We’re very supportive of mail-in balloting in the current context, one of pandemic risk that has already claimed 180,000 American lives. And for mail balloting to work, we need effective governance and sound practices at all agencies that might be involved, including the USPS. The mission of the Humane Society Legislative Fund is to give animals voice and presence in our electoral process, and that means ensuring humane voters know with certainty that their voices will be heard. For the animals’ sake, and for our own, we are working tirelessly to ensure this, and every election is a fair one – and that humane voters can participate to the fullest.</p> <p> <em>Brad Pyle is political director of the Humane Society Legislative Fund.</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/29" hreflang="en">In the News</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/176" hreflang="en">Blog</a></div> Mon, 31 Aug 2020 13:20:44 +0000 kblocher@hslf.org 21461 at https://hslf.org Virtually the best conference ever: registration open for Taking Action for Animals Online 2020 https://hslf.org/blog/2020/08/virtually-best-conference-ever-registration-open-taking-action-animals-online-2020 <span>Virtually the best conference ever: registration open for Taking Action for Animals Online 2020</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/135" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">kblocher@hslf.org</span></span> <span>Wed, 08/05/2020 - 19:44</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 fundamental purpose of our marquee advocacy training event, Taking Action for Animals Online, occurring on September 19 and 20, is to support greater political and social engagement by those who care about animals. COVID-19 hasn’t changed a thing in that regard, and TAFA 2020 features one of the strongest speaker and topic rosters in years, with nearly two dozen exciting sessions.</p> <p>The only difference is that this year TAFA will be a virtual event. We think that’s an asset, because it promises to make the basic experience available to the largest possible audience in TAFA’s long history. We hope that you’ll choose to be a part of it. <a href="https://web.cvent.com/event/c3b0e6bc-5b5a-4df0-9f95-f24b2d6272c0/summary">You can register here</a>, and early bird registration is just $15.00. For an additional preview, check out the <a href="https://web.cvent.com/event/c3b0e6bc-5b5a-4df0-9f95-f24b2d6272c0/websitePage:645d57e4-75eb-4769-b2c0-f201a0bfc6ce">scheduled sessions</a> and <a href="https://web.cvent.com/event/c3b0e6bc-5b5a-4df0-9f95-f24b2d6272c0/websitePage:4a9f1ae7-fd5e-40ea-a47b-8748de11f650">speakers</a> in advance.</p> <p>What can you expect from the conference? You’ll learn about core campaigns focused on cruelty-free testing, puppy mills, factory farming, the fur industry, equine welfare and trophy hunting, in the United States and abroad. You’ll attend expert-level presentations on the consequences and implications of the COVID-19 pandemic for key concerns like intensive animal confinement and the wildlife trafficking industry. You’ll hear from experts on the Animal Welfare Act and the contemporary policy-making landscapes at the state and federal levels. You’ll be able to strengthen your grasp of current legislative priorities and perfect your lobbying, coalition-building and election engagement skills in order to advance animal protection. </p> <p>Finally, you’ll have a chance to interact with like-minded advocates from around the country, chat with presenters and sponsors and explore the virtual exhibit hall to see what the organizations you support are doing to help animals. And the conference website will feature on-demand content available through December 31.</p> <p>You can follow the action and help to spread the word by checking in at the <a href="https://web.cvent.com/event/c3b0e6bc-5b5a-4df0-9f95-f24b2d6272c0/summary">Taking Action for Animals Online website</a> and on <a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/online/taking-action-for-animals-online/440219549994753/">Facebook</a>. Please do participate, and we look forward to working with you to take on the biggest fights for animals, and to make a genuine difference in their protection.</p> <blockquote><p><a href="https://web.cvent.com/event/c3b0e6bc-5b5a-4df0-9f95-f24b2d6272c0/summary"><strong>Register today for Taking Action for Animals Online 2020 &gt;&gt;</strong></a></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/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, 05 Aug 2020 19:44:16 +0000 kblocher@hslf.org 21441 at https://hslf.org House passes second funding package with welcome news for chimpanzees, right whales and farm animals https://hslf.org/blog/2020/07/house-passes-second-funding-package-welcome-news-chimpanzees-right-whales-and-farm <span>House passes second funding package with welcome news for chimpanzees, right whales and farm animals </span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/135" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">kblocher@hslf.org</span></span> <span>Fri, 07/31/2020 - 16:28</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 U.S. House has just approved additional help for animals, including right whales, chimpanzees and farm animals, as it continues the process of appropriating funds for federal agencies and departments for FY2021. </p> <p>The provisions that passed the full floor today by a vote of 217 to 197 are included in the House’s second minibus, a package of appropriations bills, and they build on wins we helped secure in the <a href="https://hslf.org/blog/2020/07/breaking-news-us-house-approves-key-animal-reforms-including-combating-wildlife">first such package that passed last week</a> for wildlife, companion animals and wild horses and burros. The minibus approved today funds departments including Commerce, Health and Human Services, Transportation and the U.S. Postal Service. </p> <p>Following are some of the reforms in this package addressing key animal welfare issues: </p> <p><strong>More funding for research on North Atlantic right whales:</strong> These <a href="https://hslf.org/blog/2020/07/right-whales-are-now-critically-endangered-just-step-away-extinction">critically endangered animals</a> are just a step away from extinction, with fewer than 400 individual whales left in the seas off the U.S. and Canadian coast. House members approved an amendment that would provide an additional $1.5 million to the Department of Commerce (on top of the $5 million already in the base bill) for research and monitoring of these whales to help reduce entanglements and vessel collisions, both among the chief causes of mortality. Reps. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., Jared Golden, D-Maine, Bill Posey, R-Fla., and John Rutherford, R-Fla., offered this amendment.</p> <p><strong>Retiring chimpanzees to sanctuaries:</strong> The committee report accompanying the appropriations bill funding the Department of Health and Human Services directs the National Institutes of Health to promptly transfer <a href="https://hslf.org/blog/2019/10/breaking-news-nih-reneges-promise-will-not-send-44-research-chimpanzees-sanctuary">approximately 40 retired chimpanzees</a> now languishing at the barren Alamogordo Primate Facility in New Mexico, as well as chimpanzees at two other research centers, to retirement at Chimp Haven, a federal sanctuary based in Louisiana.  Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Calif., successfully prevailed on the appropriations committee to include this humane and cost-effective provision.</p> <p><strong>Continuing a crucial funding source for wildlife conservation efforts:</strong> To date, sales of the Save Vanishing Species first class stamp have raised more than $5.9 million for the conservation of some of the world's most imperiled species, such as elephants, tigers and sea turtles, and supported 99 conservation projects in 35 countries, at no cost to U.S. taxpayers. Although 50 million more of these stamps remain in stock, they will no longer be sold past 2020 unless Congress approves an extension. The House already passed H.R. 1446 (introduced by Reps. William Lacy Clay, D-Mo., and Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb.) to authorize the USPS to continue selling these stamps, but the Senate has not acted on it or the companion bill, S. 652 (introduced by Sens. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Tom Udall, D-N.M.), so the minibus provides an alternate path to fix the problem. Appropriations subcommittee chairman Mike Quigley, D-Ill., championed inclusion of this language to permanently extend sales of the stamp for as long as copies remain, with support from Rep. José Serrano, D-N.Y. </p> <p>In other good news, the House Rules Committee, under the leadership of Chairman Jim McGovern, D-Mass., prevented floor consideration of a harmful amendment that would have worsened transport conditions for farm animals. The amendment, filed by Reps. Roger Marshall, R-Kan., Greg Gianforte, R-Mont., and Collin Peterson, D-Minn., would have imposed a one-year delay on the implementation of a Department of Transportation rule to ensure that livestock haulers take adequate sleep breaks. Truck driver fatigue and resulting crashes are a major public health and safety problem, and this amendment would have drastically expanded already excessively long driving shifts and increased the risk of crashes. Longer trips without rest periods could also increase disease risk because there’s evidence that animals packed closely together under such difficult conditions can easily get and spread pathogens like influenza and salmonella. </p> <p>We are excited about these wins. Along with the reforms announced last week, they help ensure that our country continues to make progress on key animal welfare issues that the Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society Legislative Fund have been fighting for over a long time. We now urge the Senate to quickly take up, and approve, these crucial reforms. As the appropriations process continues in coming months, we’ll keep you informed on these issues and more. </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/35" hreflang="en">Farm Animals</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, 31 Jul 2020 16:28:19 +0000 kblocher@hslf.org 21436 at https://hslf.org Bills introduced in Congress to stop faster speeds at slaughterhouses https://hslf.org/blog/2020/07/bills-introduced-congress-stop-faster-speeds-slaughterhouses <span>Bills introduced in Congress to stop faster speeds at slaughterhouses </span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/135" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">kblocher@hslf.org</span></span> <span>Tue, 07/28/2020 - 20:32</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>Slaughterhouses have emerged as hotspots for the coronavirus pandemic in the United States, with more than <a href="https://thefern.org/2020/04/mapping-covid-19-in-meat-and-food-processing-plants/">37,000 cases tied to meatpacking plants</a> and more than 160 workers dead. But instead of curtailing practices that put workers at greater risk, like fast slaughter speeds that require them to work closer together at a breakneck pace, the Trump administration has pandered to the industry by quietly issuing a record number of waivers that allow slaughterhouses to operate their lines at a faster rate than they already did. This not only exacerbates the disease risk for workers, but it also creates an animal welfare catastrophe. </p> <p>Today, Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., introduced a bill in Congress, the Safe Line Speeds During COVID-19 Act, that would require the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) to suspend all waivers for increased line speeds it has issued to chicken and cattle slaughterhouses during the pandemic, and stop issuing any new waivers. It would also suspend, during the pandemic, implementation of a <a href="https://hslf.org/blog/2019/09/breaking-news-usda-eliminates-speed-limits-killing-pigs-slaughterhouses">recent rule</a> that allows certain pig slaughterhouses to operate without any restrictions on line speeds. The bill, if it becomes law, would address many pressing animal welfare, worker safety and public health concerns caused by increased slaughterhouse line speeds.</p> <p>Earlier this month, Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, introduced a similar bill in the House, H.R. 7521. </p> <p>Just between March 26th and April 20th this year, FSIS approved waivers for 17 slaughterhouses to operate at faster speeds than they already did. This includes 16 chicken plants, which were allowed to speed up slaughter lines from an already lightning-fast 140 birds killed per minute to 175 per minute. FSIS also granted a waiver to a cattle plant, allowing the company to increase slaughter speeds and shift inspection duties from its own inspectors to untrained plant employees.</p> <p>The waivers, oddly enough, were handed out even as federal agencies, including the USDA, acknowledged slower speeds could be necessary in the midst of the pandemic. A report from the <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6918e3.htm">Centers for Disease Control</a> and Prevention recommended that facilities reduce their rates of animal processing to allow for critical social distancing measures. And the Occupational Safety and Health Administration called upon slaughterhouses to modify production lines to minimize the spread of the virus and allow time for workers to wash their hands with soap and sanitize equipment.</p> <p>Such breakneck line speeds benefit no one other than the corporations, which, according to media accounts, continue to look out for their long-term investments during the global health crisis while misleading the American public. The <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/16/business/meat-industry-china-pork.html">New York Times</a> reported that even as meat companies warned Americans that the pandemic was pushing the United States “perilously close to the edge in terms of our meat supply,” they exported record amounts of meat to China.</p> <p>The animals pay a heavy price for this greed, enduring tremendous suffering in their final moments. At chicken slaughterhouses, for instance, workers struggling to keep up with the rapidly moving slaughter lines grab the chickens and slam them into shackles, injuring the animals’ fragile legs. Some birds miss the throat-cutting blade and enter the scalder—a tank of extremely hot water—alive and fully conscious, resulting in a terrible death. Dialing up line speeds only further increases the risk for more animal suffering.</p> <p>The conditions at crowded slaughterhouses also compromise the safety of the food placed on American dinner tables because cruel handling during slaughter increases the risk of food contamination, for example from birds defecating in the scalder tank.</p> <p>We applaud Sen. Booker and Rep. Fudge for their leadership in introducing the Safe Line Speeds During COVID-19 Act and their efforts to protect animals, consumers and workers from the dangers posed by higher-speed slaughter systems. We are also grateful to the original cosponsors of the bill in the House (Reps. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., and Bennie Thompson, D-Miss.) and in the Senate (Sens. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.).</p> <p>The HSUS and HSLF have been at the frontlines of the fight to end high speed slaughter: we are challenging these systems in court, we are pressing Congressional leadership to act to end it with urgency through the <a href="https://hslf.org/blog/2020/07/house-subcommittees-boost-funds-key-animal-protection-measures-wildlife-trafficking">appropriations process</a>, and we will support this bill wholeheartedly until it becomes law. Big Ag has a century-long history of ignoring worker safety and animal suffering to safeguard its profits, and we will not stand by silently while our government facilitates such bald-faced greed, especially during a pandemic.  </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/35" hreflang="en">Farm Animals</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, 28 Jul 2020 20:32:00 +0000 kblocher@hslf.org 21432 at https://hslf.org Sen. Booker introduces federal bill to stop high-speed animal slaughter and meat processing during COVID-19 https://hslf.org/press-release/2020/07/sen-booker-introduces-federal-bill-stop-high-speed-animal-slaughter-and-meat <span>Sen. Booker introduces federal bill to stop high-speed animal slaughter and meat processing during COVID-19</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/135" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">kblocher@hslf.org</span></span> <span>Tue, 07/28/2020 - 20:31</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">Sen. Booker introduces federal bill to stop high-speed animal slaughter and meat processing during COVID-19</div> <h3 class="subhead major">The Safe Line Speeds During COVID-19 Act would slow down line speeds to protect workers, animals and consumers; Sens. Blumenthal, Feinstein, Harris, Merkley, Sanders and Warren sign on as original cosponsors</h3> <p>WASHINGTON (July 28, 2020)—A coalition of animal welfare, consumer safety and worker rights organizations commend U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, D-NJ, for introducing the Safe Line Speeds During COVID-19 Act, which would protect workers, animals and consumers from the dangers posed by higher line speeds in poultry, pig and cattle slaughter and processing. Cosponsored by Sens. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.; Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.; Kamala Harris, D-Calif.; Jeff Merkley, D-Ore.; Bernie Sanders, I-Vt; and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., this bill would prohibit meat processing and slaughter facilities from operating at dangerously high speeds that prevent social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.</p> <p>A companion bill, <a href="https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/7521?s=1&amp;r=2">H.R. 7521</a>, was <a href="https://hslf.org/press-release/2020/07/new-federal-bill-seeks-stop-high-speed-animal-slaughter-and-meat-processing">introduced</a> in the House by Reps. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio; Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn.; and Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., earlier this month. The Safe Line Speeds During COVID-19 Act is supported by a diverse coalition of groups including: the <a href="https://www.afge.org/">American Federation of Government Employees</a>, <a href="https://www.nelp.org/">National Employment Law Project</a>, <a href="http://www.ufcw.org/">United Food &amp; Commercial Workers International Union</a>, <a href="https://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/">Food &amp; Water Watch</a>, <a href="https://consumerfed.org/">Consumer Federation of America</a>, <a href="https://www.cspinet.org/">Center for Science in the Public Interest</a>, <a href="http://www.aspca.org/">American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®</a>, <a href="https://animalequality.org/">Animal Equality</a>, <a href="https://www.farmsanctuary.org/">Farm Sanctuary</a>, <a href="https://hslf.org/">Humane Society Legislative Fund</a>, <a href="http://www.humanesociety.org/">Humane Society of the United States</a>, and <a href="https://mercyforanimals.org/">Mercy For Animals</a>.</p> <p>Regular line speeds are already dangerously fast and slaughter and processing workers and inspectors face many heightened job risks that can lead to severe injury, illness and death. Increasing line speeds benefits meatpacking corporations at the expense of both animals and people, undermining necessary animal welfare and workforce protections that should be followed particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Slaughterhouses and processing plants have failed miserably to protect workers from the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus, resulting in more than 37,000 workers testing positive for the virus and over 160 workers and four inspectors having already died from COVID-19. Hyper-fast slaughter line speeds make it even harder for workers to maintain distance from each other and must be blocked immediately.</p> <p>"Since mid-March, outbreaks of COVID-19 have continued to surge in meatpacking plants across the country, infecting tens of thousands of workers and tragically killing more than 168. The majority of these workers are from immigrant communities and communities of color," said Sen. Booker. "The situation has only worsened since the USDA has approved nearly 20 requests from meatpacking plants to exceed regulatory limits on line speeds despite the risks posed to workers, consumers, and animal welfare. The USDA should be in the business of prioritizing worker and consumer safety over the profits of large multinational meatpacking corporations, not the other way around. The Safe Line Speeds in COVID-19 Act will rein in the USDA’s reckless oversight by limiting its ability to grant dangerous line speed waivers."</p> <p>COVID-19 has had a particularly severe impact on workers at slaughterhouses, where the virus has spread quickly and caused some plants to close temporarily. In the midst of the pandemic in April, the <a href="https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/188bf583-45c9-4837-9205-37e0eb1ba243/waiver_table.pdf?MOD=AJPERES">USDA approved a record number of waivers</a> for poultry plants to start operating at breakneck line speeds, allowing them to slaughter up to 175 birds per minute, instead of the previously-allowed 140 birds per minute. A <a href="https://www.nelp.org/publication/usda-allows-poultry-plants-raise-line-speeds-exacerbating-risk-covid-19-outbreaks-injury/">recent analysis</a> by the National Employment Law Project found that the plants that received these waivers have all had records of severe injuries, have been cited for worker safety violations and/or have become COVID-19 hotspots.</p> <p>In addition to prohibiting heightened line speeds during the COVID-19 crisis, the Safe Line Speeds During COVID-19 Act would also require the Government Accountability Office to conduct a review of actions by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Labor in response to the pandemic to determine effectiveness of such actions in protecting animal, food and worker safety.</p> <p>The coalition encourages members of the public to contact their U.S. senators and representatives to urge them to cosponsor the Safe Line Speeds During COVID-19 Act to protect animals, workers and the safety of our food system, and also contact the USDA to voice their opposition to higher line speeds.</p> <p>Commentary from coalition members can be seen below:</p> <p>"Under these new ‘modernized’ meat inspection systems, line speeds are increased and federal inspectors are removed from the slaughter lines while their duties are turned over to company employees. This puts meat companies in charge of their own food safety inspections, which is a recipe for disaster,” said Paula Schelling, Acting Chairperson of the National Joint Council of Food Inspection Locals, American Federation of Government Employees. “Make no mistake, this isn’t about meeting higher food safety standards. It’s about moving product faster and cutting cost for the meat companies. This puts the safety of our food and the safety of employees at risk. We applaud Senator Booker, Blumenthal, Feinstein, Harris, Merkley, Sanders, and Warren for their leadership to put safety first during the COVID-19 pandemic."</p> <p>"Faster slaughter speeds put animals at greater risk of being conscious as they are slaughtered, making it nearly impossible for plants to avoid horrific animal pain and suffering. These increased speeds also jeopardize worker and consumer health—all in the callous interest of profit at any cost," said Matt Bershadker, ASPCA president and CEO. "By prohibiting extremely irresponsible speeds and requiring an official review of the USDA and Labor Department’s pandemic responses, the Safe Line Speeds During COVID-19 Act would better protect animals, workers, and the safety of our food system. We thank Senators Booker, Blumenthal, Feinstein, Harris, Merkley, Sanders, and Warren for their leadership on the line speed issue, and we urge Congress to pass this bill."</p> <p>"In quintessential Orwellian doublespeak, the USDA claims speeding up slaughter lines has no impact on animal welfare or worker safety, when all evidence and common sense indicates the opposite is true," said Sarah Hanneken, legal advocacy counsel at Animal Equality. "This bill is crucial to stop the USDA from gaslighting the public in service of the meat industry."</p> <p>"The USDA has done too little to protect federal inspectors and workers during the coronavirus pandemic. Rather than slow the slaughter lines to reduce worker crowding, the agency has pressed forward with programs allowing for even higher speed slaughter," said Sarah Sorscher, deputy director for regulatory affairs at Center for Science in the Public Interest. "This bill takes the reasonable step of hitting ‘pause’ on the agency’s high-speed slaughter initiatives at least until the COVID-19 public health emergency has been brought under control."</p> <p>"USDA itself has acknowledged that higher line speeds contribute to more foodborne illness risk," said Thomas Gremillion, director of food policy at Consumer Federation of America. "While COVID-19 is posing an unprecedented challenge to the workers and inspectors responsible for keeping food safe, slower line speeds are critical."</p> <p>"Speeding up the slaughterhouse assembly line exacerbates intolerable animal suffering, and threatens both consumer and worker health. The factory farm system needs to be held to account, and we are grateful for Senators Booker, Blumenthal, Feinstein, Harris, Merkley, Sanders, and Warren, and Representatives Fudge, DeLauro and Thompson’s efforts to curtail their inhumane and irresponsible conduct," said Gene Baur, president and co-founder, Farm Sanctuary.</p> <p>"This bill will address several concerns that we at Food &amp; Water Watch have had with recent actions taken by USDA. We have had strong reservations about the New Swine Slaughter Inspection System that reduces government oversight of hog slaughter; we have long opposed the increase in line speeds in all meat and poultry facilities; we have advocated for an independent investigation into the haphazard approach USDA has taken to its response to the COVID-19 pandemic which has placed facility workers and its own employees at great risk. We applaud Senator Booker and his Senate colleagues who have joined Representative Marcia Fudge and 25 House members -- who have introduced similar legislation in the House -- for taking the leadership on this issue and we will work for this important bill’s provisions enactment into law," said Tony Corbo, senior government affairs representative for Food &amp; Water Watch/Food &amp; Water Action.</p> <p>"In an abrogation of duty unimaginable to Americans seeing a surge in coronavirus cases, USDA increased slaughterhouse line speeds, putting workers, consumers and animals at even greater risk in a shameless sop to industrial agriculture," said Sara Amundson, president of Humane Society Legislative Fund. "The bill sponsors are right to shine a spotlight on what can only be characterized as abject cruelty, and we urge Congress to swiftly enact their critical legislation."</p> <p>"Even before the COVID-19 crisis, slaughter facilities were among the most dangerous places to work in America, and the extreme pressure of the production line yielded unacceptable cruelties and contamination," said Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States. "Dialing up line speeds that are already lightning fast is a recipe for disaster for workers, food safety and animal welfare."</p> <p>"High speed slaughter systems – which allow for line speeds as fast as 175 chickens killed per minute at poultry plants and an estimated 1,300 pigs killed per hour at pork plants -- put profits over animal welfare, worker safety, and human health. Now is the time to look ahead, and we commend Senator Booker and Representatives Fudge, DeLauro and Thompson for their leadership to address this long overdue problem," said AJ Albrecht, director of government affairs at Mercy For Animals, which recently released hidden camera footage, recorded by a Mercy For Animals investigator, that reveals the dangers of high-speed live-shackle slaughter: <a href="http://www.highspeedcruelty.com">www.highspeedcruelty.com</a>.</p> <p>"More than 37,000 meat and poultry workers have already been infected with COVID-19, and overwhelming evidence shows that allowing meat and poultry processing plants to operate with faster line speeds will dramatically worsen the already unsafe working conditions in these plants," said Shayla Thompson, government affairs manager with the National Employment Law Project. "Meat and poultry workers are disproportionally Black people, Latinx people, and immigrants, and employers’ failure to ensure workers’ safety means that COVID-19 is needlessly spreading through communities of color at rapid rates. This bill will ensure that the USDA stops enabling the exploitation of these essential workers, and instead prioritizes their health and safety during this devastating pandemic."</p> <p>"America's meatpacking workers have been on the frontlines of this pandemic since day one, putting themselves in harm's way to make sure our families have the food we need. As COVID-19 continues to put our country's meatpacking workers at risk, we must take action to reduce line speeds in these plants to ensure workers can maintain social distancing and stay safe on the job," said United Food and Commercial Workers International Vice President Ademola Oyefeso. “This bill is a critical step to reining in the dangerously fast line speeds at so many meatpacking plants and will put the safety of workers and our country's food supply first. Congress must pass this vital legislation immediately."</p> <p><strong>Media contacts:</strong><br /> <strong>American Federation of Government Employees:</strong> Tim Kauffman, <a href="mailto:tim.kauffman@afge.org">tim.kauffman@afge.org</a>; 202-374-6491<br /> <strong>ASPCA:</strong> Maureen Linehan, <a href="mailto:maureen.linehan@aspca.org">maureen.linehan@aspca.org</a>; 646-628-0006<br /> <strong>Animal Equality:</strong> Ollie Davidson, <a href="mailto:ollied@animalequality.org">ollied@animalequality.org</a>; 424-251-2217<br /> <strong>Center for Science in the Public Interest:</strong> Jeff Cronin, <a href="mailto:jcronin@cspinet.org">jcronin@cspinet.org</a>; 202-421-8911<br /> <strong>Consumer Federation of America:</strong> Thomas Gremillion, <a href="mailto:tgremillion@consumerfed.org">tgremillion@consumerfed.org</a>; 202-939-1010<br /> <strong>Farm Sanctuary:</strong> Meredith Turner-Smith, <a href="mailto:mturner-smith@farmsanctuary.org">mturner-smith@farmsanctuary.org</a>; 646-369-6212<br /> <strong>Food &amp; Water Watch:</strong> Seth Gladstone, <a href="mailto:sgladstone@fwwatch.org">sgladstone@fwwatch.org</a>; 917-363-6615<br /> <strong>HSLF/HSUS:</strong> Emily Ehrhorn, <a href="mailto:Eehrhorn@humanesociety.org">Eehrhorn@humanesociety.org</a>; 202-779-1814<br /> <strong>Mercy For Animals:</strong> Diane May, <a href="mailto:dianem@mercyforanimal.org">dianem@mercyforanimal.org</a>; 317-292-2922<br /> <strong>NELP:</strong> Norman Eng, <a href="mailto:neng@nelp.org">neng@nelp.org</a>; 646-693-8219<br /> <strong>United Food and Commercial Workers Union:</strong> Abraham White, <a href="mailto:awhite@ufcw.org">awhite@ufcw.org</a>; 202-341-1899</p> <p class="press-release-footer"> </p> <p style="text-align: center;">##</p> <p style="text-align: left;"><em>The <strong>Humane Society Legislative Fund</strong> is a social welfare organization incorporated under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code and formed in 2004 as a separate lobbying affiliate of The Humane Society of the United States. The HSLF works to pass animal protection laws at the state and federal level, to educate the public about animal protection issues, and to support humane candidates for office. Visit us on all our channels: on the web at <a href="/">hslf.org</a>, on our blog at <a href="https://hslf.org/blog" target="_blank">hslf.org/blog</a>, on Facebook at <a href="https://www.facebook.com/humanelegislation" target="_blank">facebook.com/humanelegislation</a> and on Twitter at <a href="https://twitter.com/HSLegFund" target="_blank">twitter.com/HSLegFund</a>.</em></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><em>Founded in 1954, the <strong>Humane Society of the United States</strong> and its affiliates around the globe fight the <a href="https://hsus.link/qt7a2q">big fights</a> to end suffering for all animals. Together with millions of supporters, the HSUS takes on puppy mills, factory farms, trophy hunts, animal testing and other cruel industries, and together with its affiliates, rescues and provides direct care for over 100,000 animals every year. The HSUS works on reforming corporate policy, improving and enforcing laws and elevating public awareness on animal issues. More at <a href="https://hsus.link/mlqx0u">humanesociety.org</a>. Subscribe to Kitty Block’s blog, <a href="https://hsus.link/lrltdn">A Humane World</a>. Follow the HSUS Media Relations department on <a href="https://twitter.com/HSUSNews">Twitter</a>. Read the award-winning <a href="https://hsus.link/uqll6w">All Animals magazine</a>. Listen to the <a href="https://hsus.link/bwih2u">Humane Voices podcast</a>.</em></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><em>The <strong>American Federation of Government Employees</strong> (AFGE) is the largest federal employee union, representing 700,000 workers in the federal government and the government of the District of Columbia.</em></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><em>Founded in 1866, the <strong>ASPCA®</strong> (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the first animal welfare organization in North America and serves as the nation’s leading voice for animals. More than two million supporters strong, the ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. For more information, please visit <a href="http://www.aspca.org/">www.ASPCA.org</a>, and be sure to follow the ASPCA on <a href="https://www.facebook.com/aspca">Facebook</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/aspca">Twitter</a>, and <a href="https://instagram.com/aspca">Instagram</a>.</em></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><em><strong>Animal Equality</strong> is an international animal protection organization advocating for the interests of farmed animals across the globe. Animal Equality uses legal advocacy, undercover investigations, and corporate pressure campaigns to achieve its vision of a world where all animals are protected and respected. More information is available at <a href="https://animalequality.org/">animalequality.org</a>.</em></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><em><strong>CSPI</strong> is America’s food and health watchdog. More information is available at <a href="http://www.cspinet.org/">www.cspinet.org</a>.</em></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><em>The <a href="http://www.consumerfed.org/"><strong>Consumer Federation of America</strong></a> is a nonprofit association of more than 250 consumer groups that was founded in 1968 to advance the consumer interest through research, advocacy, and education.</em></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><em>Founded in 1986, <strong>Farm Sanctuary</strong> works to change how our society views and treats farm animals through rescue, education and advocacy. The organization provides lifelong care for animals rescued from abuse at sanctuary locations in New York and California; promotes compassionate vegan living; and advocates legal and policy reforms. To learn more about Farm Sanctuary, visit <a href="http://www.farmsanctuary.org/">www.farmsanctuary.org</a>.</em></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><em><strong>Food &amp; Water Watch</strong> mobilizes regular people to build political power to move bold &amp; uncompromised solutions to the most pressing food, water, and climate problems of our time. F&amp;WW works to protect people’s health, communities, and democracy from the growing destructive power of the most powerful economic interests.</em></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><em><strong>Mercy For Animals</strong> is a leading global nonprofit working to end the exploitation of animals for food and construct a compassionate food system. Active in the United States, Mexico, Brazil, and India, the organization has conducted more than 70 investigations of factory farms and slaughterhouses, moved more than 300 food companies to adopt animal welfare policies, and helped pass historic legislation to ban cages for farmed animals. Join us at <a href="http://mercyforanimals.org/">MercyForAnimals.org</a>.</em></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><em>The <strong>National Employment Law Project</strong> is a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization that conducts research and advocates on issues affecting low-wage and unemployed workers. For more about NELP, visit <a href="http://www.nelp.org/">www.nelp.org</a>. Follow NELP on Twitter at @NelpNews.</em></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><em>The <strong>UFCW</strong> is the largest private sector union in the United States, representing 1.3 million professionals and their families in grocery stores, meatpacking, food processing, retail shops, and other industries. Our members help put food on our nation’s tables and serve customers in all 50 states, Canada and Puerto Rico. <a href="http://www.ufcw.org/">www.ufcw.org</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/29" hreflang="en">In the News</a> <a href="/taxonomy/term/35" hreflang="en">Farm Animals</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> Tue, 28 Jul 2020 20:31:08 +0000 kblocher@hslf.org 21433 at https://hslf.org Breaking: HSUS/HSLF report identifies key U.S. policy changes needed to avoid another pandemic https://hslf.org/blog/2020/07/breaking-hsushslf-report-identifies-key-us-policy-changes-needed-avoid-another <span>Breaking: HSUS/HSLF report identifies key U.S. policy changes needed to avoid another pandemic</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/135" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">kblocher@hslf.org</span></span> <span>Mon, 07/13/2020 - 18:42</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>Recently, the <a href="https://wedocs.unep.org/bitstream/handle/20.500.11822/32316/ZP.pdf?sequence=1&amp;isAllowed=y">United Nations</a> identified some of the top drivers of zoonotic diseases, like COVID-19, that spread from animals to humans. Not surprisingly, the top three factors specified align exactly with issues the Humane Society family of organizations named in May in our own global policy plan for preventing future pandemics: the increasing demand for animal products, unsustainable agricultural practices like keeping farm animals in close confinement, and the exploitation of wildlife.</p> <p>Our report advanced an <a href="https://hslf.org/blog/2020/05/breaking-hsus-hslf-hsi-release-policy-plan-wildlife-markets-factory-farms-companion">11-point policy plan</a> to reduce animal suffering and help prevent future pandemics. Today, the Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society Legislative Fund are releasing a<a href="https://hslf.org/sites/default/files/2020-07/HSLF-HSUS-COVID19-Policies-2020_0.pdf"> more in-depth version of that report</a> identifying specific actions U.S. lawmakers, as well as the private sector, can take to change how we treat animals and make our world less vulnerable to another disease outbreak.</p> <p>These are problems the Humane Society family of organizations has already been calling attention to and working on for many years now, and we have made tremendous progress. But with our world upended by a pandemic such as one we have never seen before in our lifetimes, there is a pressing need to accelerate the pace of reform.</p> <p>Following are the key areas where we are calling for change, along with solutions U.S. lawmakers and other stakeholders need to urgently implement:</p> <p><strong>Ending wildlife markets:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Pass state laws prohibiting live wildlife markets and banning the intrastate transport of wildlife for human consumption.</li> <li>Create a federal ban on live wildlife markets selling wildlife for human consumption and further regulate live wildlife imports into the United States.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Ending the wildlife trade:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Pass state and federal bans on both live wildlife imports and the keeping of exotic pets, which would reduce the risks of zoonotic diseases caused by the commercial wildlife trade.</li> <li>End traveling shows and close encounters with wildlife, including at zoos, fairs and circuses.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Ending fur farming and trade:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Ban the trade in animals like foxes, raccoon dogs and mink who are used for fur and are common transmitters of zoonotic diseases.</li> </ul> <p>We are also calling on apparel companies, governments and other entities to take steps to eliminate both the fur farm industry and demand for animal fur.</p> <p><strong>Ending the intensive confinement of farm animals:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Pass laws ending the intensive confinement of farm animals, particularly for egg-laying hens in cages, mother pigs in gestation crates and baby cows in veal crates.</li> <li>Create federal economic incentives to assist farms transitioning from cage confinement systems to cage-free production.</li> <li>Ensure that bailouts and stimulus funds only go to producers that have eliminated—or have plans to eliminate—cages and have committed make other animal welfare improvements that lead to safer systems.</li> </ul> <blockquote><p><a href="https://hslf.org/sites/default/files/2020-07/HSLF-HSUS-COVID19-Policies-2020_0.pdf"><strong>READ THE REPORT: The Animal Connection: Policies to prevent another global health crisis</strong></a></p> </blockquote> <p>We are urging food companies in the private sector to make and fulfill animal welfare pledges to stop purchasing eggs from caged hens, pork from operations that cage mother pigs and veal from caged calves. We are also asking financial institutions, both public and private, to only support cage-free production systems, and investors to hold food companies accountable for mandating that suppliers shift to cage-free production methods.</p> <p><strong>Developing alternative proteins in the food industry:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Require public institutions to offer plant-based meals to consumers.</li> <li>Provide governmental financial support for the research and development of plant-based and cultivated meat technologies.</li> </ul> <p>Additionally, food manufacturers should invest in creating more plant-based protein offerings, restaurants should offer more plant-based menu items, and grocery stores should provide more shelf space—specifically in the “meat” section— for plant-based proteins.</p> <p><strong>Developing alternatives to animal testing:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Prioritize state and federal funding for continued development and application of human cell-based, nonanimal approaches to address solutions for COVID-19.</li> <li>Prioritize the application of existing human-relevant, nonanimal approaches for COVID-19 research by government and the private sector.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Ending sales of dogs from puppy mills, where infectious diseases can breed and spread:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Create strict veterinary oversight for all commercial pet breeders and dealers</li> <li>Ban all sales of commercially raised puppies in pet stores.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Enforcing cockfighting laws:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Enforce federal laws banning the transport and sale of fighting birds.</li> <li>Ban all possession and sale of birds for cockfighting in all U.S. states and territories.</li> </ul> <p>With more than half a million people dead globally, and many times more infected by the novel coronavirus, maintaining status quo on how things are done is simply not an option. To move toward a pandemic-free world, we have to reevaluate our relationship with animals and treat them with the compassion and kindness they deserve. By mapping out the specific areas where reform is needed, our report provides U.S. lawmakers with a valuable guide for how they can begin to make our nation, and our world, a healthier place for all. And with your support we will be pushing with all our might to ensure these reforms are considered and implemented in days to come.</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/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, 13 Jul 2020 18:42:54 +0000 kblocher@hslf.org 21423 at https://hslf.org New federal bill seeks to stop high-speed animal slaughter and meat processing during COVID-19 https://hslf.org/press-release/2020/07/new-federal-bill-seeks-stop-high-speed-animal-slaughter-and-meat-processing <span>New federal bill seeks to stop high-speed animal slaughter and meat processing during COVID-19</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/135" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">kblocher@hslf.org</span></span> <span>Thu, 07/09/2020 - 19:03</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">New federal bill seeks to stop high-speed animal slaughter and meat processing during COVID-19</div> <h3 class="subhead major">The Safe Line Speeds in COVID-19 Act would slow down line speeds to protect workers, animals, consumers</h3> <p>WASHINGTON (July 9, 2020)—A coalition of animal welfare, consumer safety and worker rights organizations commend U.S. Reps. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio,, Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., and Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., for introducing the Safe Line Speeds in COVID-19 Act, which would protect workers, animals, and consumers from the dangers posed by higher line speeds in poultry, pig and cattle slaughter and processing. This bill would prohibit meat processing and slaughter facilities from operating at dangerously high speeds that prevent social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.</p> <p>The diverse coalition supporting the bill includes the <a href="https://www.afge.org/">American Federation of Government Employees</a>, <a href="https://www.nelp.org/">National Employment Law Project</a>, <a href="http://www.ufcw.org/">United Food &amp; Commercial Workers International Union</a>, <a href="https://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/">Food &amp; Water Watch</a>, <a href="https://consumerfed.org/">Consumer Federation of America</a>, <a href="https://www.cspinet.org/">Center for Science in the Public Interest</a>, <a href="http://www.aspca.org/">American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®</a>, <a href="https://animalequality.org/">Animal Equality</a>, <a href="https://www.farmsanctuary.org/">Farm Sanctuary</a>, <a href="https://hslf.org/">Humane Society Legislative Fund</a>, <a href="http://www.humanesociety.org/">Humane Society of the United States</a>, and <a href="https://mercyforanimals.org/">Mercy For Animals</a>.</p> <p>Regular line speeds are already dangerously fast and slaughter and processing workers and inspectors face many heightened job risks that can lead to severe injury, illness, and death. Increasing line speeds benefits meatpacking corporations at the expense of both animals and people, undermining necessary animal welfare and workforce protections that should be followed particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Slaughterhouses and processing plants have failed miserably to protect workers from the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus, resulting in more than 32,000 workers testing positive for the virus and over 120 workers and 4 inspectors having already died from COVID-19. Hyper-fast slaughter line speeds make it even harder for workers to maintain distance from each other and must be blocked immediately.</p> <p>“The meat and poultry processing industry has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic, with infection hotspots appearing in plants across the country,” said Rep. Fudge. “Fast line speeds make the dangerous conditions workers at these plants already face even worse by packing them closer together and placing them at greater risk of contracting or spreading the virus. Waiving limits on processing speeds also threatens the safety of our food supply. As COVID-19 cases continue to soar at processing plants, we must prioritize worker, food, and animal safety over increased production and profits.”</p> <p>“For years, USDA has been complicit in the consolidation of the meat processing industry by gifting line speed waivers to corporate meatpackers at the expense of worker safety, the livelihoods of farmers and ranchers, and the safety of the nation’s meat supply,” said Rep. DeLauro. “The high-profile COVID-19 outbreaks at meat packing plants have raised questions of the safety of the conditions inside these plants. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, these workers experienced injuries at a higher rate than comparable occupations. And now, faster line speeds make it impossible for workers to practice social distancing and to comply with safety guidelines. That is why I am proud to join the leadership shown by Rep. Fudge in introducing this legislation that will rein in these reckless line speed waivers for the duration of the COVID-19 public health emergency.”</p> <p>"It is imperative that we ensure worker safety on slaughter lines," said Rep. Thompson. "Safety cannot be exchanged for high production. During this unprecedented time of COVID-19, we should take the necessary precautions to ensure employees are safe while working at meat and poultry establishments."</p> <p>Sen. Cory Booker, D., N.J., who plans to introduce a companion bill when the Senate is in session, also hailed introduction of the Safe Line Speeds in COVID-19 Act:</p> <p>“Since mid-March, outbreaks of Covid-19 have continued to surge in meatpacking plants across the country, infecting tens of thousands of workers and tragically killing more than 100. The majority of these workers are from immigrant communities and communities of color,” said Sen. Booker. “The situation has only worsened since the USDA has approved nearly 20 requests from meatpacking plants to exceed regulatory limits on line speeds despite the risks posed to workers, consumers, and animal welfare. The USDA should be in the business of prioritizing worker and consumer safety over the profits of large multinational meatpacking corporations, not the other way around. The Safe Line Speeds in COVID-19 Act will rein in the USDA’s reckless oversight by limiting its ability to grant dangerous line speed waivers.”</p> <p>COVID-19 has had a particularly severe impact on workers at slaughterhouses, where the virus has spread quickly and caused some plants to close temporarily. In the midst of the pandemic in April, the <a href="https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/188bf583-45c9-4837-9205-37e0eb1ba243/waiver_table.pdf?MOD=AJPERES">USDA approved a record number of waivers</a> for poultry plants to start operating at breakneck line speeds, allowing them to slaughter up to 175 birds per minute, instead of the previously-allowed 140 birds per minute. A <a href="https://www.nelp.org/publication/usda-allows-poultry-plants-raise-line-speeds-exacerbating-risk-covid-19-outbreaks-injury/">recent analysis</a> by the National Employment Law Project found that the plants that received these waivers have all had records of severe injuries, have been cited for worker safety violations and/or have become COVID-19 hotspots.</p> <p>In addition to prohibiting high-speed slaughter during the COVID-19 crisis, the Safe Line Speeds in COVID-19 Act would also require the Government Accountability Office to conduct a review of actions by the USDA and the U.S. Department of Labor in response to the pandemic to determine effectiveness of such actions in protecting animal, food and worker safety.</p> <p>The coalition encourages members of the public to contact their U.S. representatives to urge them to cosponsor the Safe Line Speeds in COVID-19 Act to protect animals, workers and the safety of our food system, and also contact their U.S. Senators and the USDA to voice their opposition to higher line speeds.</p> <p>Commentary from coalition members can be seen below:</p> <p>“Under these new ‘modernized’ meat inspection systems, line speeds are increased and federal inspectors are removed from the slaughter lines while their duties are turned over to company employees. This puts meat companies in charge of their own food safety inspections, which is a recipe for disaster,” said Paula Schelling, acting chairperson of the National Joint Council of Food Inspection Locals, American Federation of Government Employees. “Make no mistake, this isn’t about meeting higher food safety standards. It’s about moving product faster and cutting cost for the meat companies. This puts the safety of our food and the safety of employees at risk. We applaud Representatives Fudge, DeLauro and Thompson and Senator Booker for their leadership to put safety first during the COVID-19 pandemic.”</p> <p>“Faster slaughter speeds put animals at greater risk of being conscious as they are slaughtered, making it nearly impossible for plants to avoid horrific animal pain and suffering. These increased speeds also jeopardize worker and consumer health—all in the callous interest of profit at any cost,” said Matt Bershadker, ASPCA president and CEO. “By prohibiting extremely irresponsible speeds and requiring an official review of the USDA and Labor Department’s pandemic responses, the Safe Line Speeds in COVID-19 Act would better protect animals, workers, and the safety of our food system. We thank Representatives Fudge, DeLauro, and Thompson, and Senator Booker for their leadership on the line speed issue and we urge Congress to pass this bill.”</p> <p>“In quintessential Orwellian doublespeak, the USDA claims speeding up slaughter lines has no impact on animal welfare or worker safety, when all evidence and common sense indicates the opposite is true,” said Sarah Hanneken, legal advocacy counsel at Animal Equality. “This bill is crucial to stop the USDA from gaslighting the public in service of the meat industry.”</p> <p>“The USDA has done too little to protect federal inspectors and workers during the coronavirus pandemic. Rather than slow the slaughter lines to reduce worker crowding, the agency has pressed forward with programs allowing for even higher speed slaughter,” said Sarah Sorscher, deputy director for Regulatory Affairs at Center for Science in the Public Interest. “This bill takes the reasonable step of hitting ‘pause’ on the agency’s high-speed slaughter initiatives at least until the COVID-19 public health emergency has been brought under control.”</p> <p>“USDA itself has acknowledged that higher line speeds contribute to more foodborne illness risk,” said Thomas Gremillion, director of food policy at Consumer Federation of America. “While COVID-19 is posing an unprecedented challenge to the workers and inspectors responsible for keeping food safe, slower line speeds are critical.”</p> <p>“Speeding up the slaughterhouse assembly line exacerbates intolerable animal suffering, and threatens both consumer and worker health. The factory farm system needs to be held to account, and we are grateful for Representatives Fudge, DeLauro and Thompson and Senator Booker’s efforts to curtail their inhumane and irresponsible conduct,” said Gene Baur, president and co-founder, Farm Sanctuary.</p> <p>“This bill will address several concerns that we at Food &amp; Water Watch have had with recent actions taken by USDA. We have had strong reservations about the New Swine Slaughter Inspection System that reduces government oversight of hog slaughter; we have long opposed the increase in line speeds in all meat and poultry facilities; we have advocated for an independent investigation into the haphazard approach USDA has taken to its response to the COVID-19 pandemic which has placed facility workers and its own employees at great risk. We applaud Representatives Fudge, DeLauro, and Thompson and Senator Booker for taking the leadership on this issue and we will work for this important bill’s enactment into law,” said Tony Corbo, senior. government affairs representative for Food &amp; Water Watch/Food &amp; Water Action.</p> <p>“In an abrogation of duty unimaginable to Americans seeing a surge in coronavirus cases, USDA increased slaughterhouse line speeds, putting workers, consumers and animals at even greater risk in a shameless sop to industrial agriculture,” said Sara Amundson, president of Humane Society Legislative Fund. “Representatives Fudge, DeLauro and Thompson and Senator Booker are right to shine a spotlight on what can only be characterized as abject cruelty, and we urge Congress to swiftly enact their critical legislation.”</p> <p>“Even before the COVID-19 crisis, slaughter facilities were among the most dangerous places to work in America, and the extreme pressure of the production line yielded unacceptable cruelties and contamination,” said Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States. “Dialing up line speeds that are already lightning fast is a recipe for disaster for workers, food safety and animal welfare.”</p> <p>“High speed slaughter systems—which allow for line speeds as fast as 175 chickens killed per minute at poultry plants and an estimated 1,300 pigs killed per hour at pork plants—put profits over animal welfare, worker safety, and human health. Now is the time to look ahead, and we commend Representatives Fudge, DeLauro and Thompson and Senator Booker for their leadership to address this long overdue problem,” said AJ Albrecht, director of Government Affairs at Mercy For Animals, which recently released hidden camera footage, recorded by a Mercy For Animals investigator, that reveals the dangers of high-speed live-shackle slaughter: <a href="http://www.highspeedcruelty.com">www.highspeedcruelty.com</a>.</p> <p>“More than 30,000 meat and poultry workers have already been infected with COVID-19, and overwhelming evidence shows that allowing meat and poultry processing plants to operate with faster line speeds will dramatically worsen the already unsafe working conditions in these plants,” said Shayla Thompson, government affairs manager with the National Employment Law Project. “Meat and poultry workers are disproportionally Black people, Latinx people, and immigrants, and employers’ failure to ensure workers’ safety means that COVID-19 is needlessly spreading through communities of color at rapid rates. This bill will ensure that the USDA stops enabling the exploitation of these essential workers, and instead prioritizes their health and safety during this devastating pandemic.”</p> <p>"America's meatpacking workers have been on the frontlines of this pandemic since day one, putting themselves in harm's way to make sure our families have the food we need. As COVID-19 continues to put our country's meatpacking workers at risk, we must take action to reduce line speeds in these plants to ensure workers can maintain social distancing and stay safe on the job," said United Food and Commercial Workers International Vice President Ademola Oyefeso. “This bill is a critical step to reining in the dangerously fast line speeds at so many meatpacking plants and will put the safety of workers and our country's food supply first. Congress must pass this vital legislation immediately."</p> <p><strong>Media contact:</strong><br /> <strong>American Federation of Government Employees:</strong> Tim Kauffman, <a href="mailto:tim.kauffman@afge.org">tim.kauffman@afge.org</a>; 202-374-6491<br /> <strong>ASPCA:</strong> Maureen Linehan, <a href="mailto:maureen.linehan@aspca.org">maureen.linehan@aspca.org</a>; 646-628-0006<br /> <strong>Animal Equality:</strong> Ollie Davidson, <a href="mailto:ollied@animalequality.org">ollied@animalequality.org</a>; 424-251-2217<br /> <strong>Center for Science in the Public Interest:</strong> Jeff Cronin, <a href="mailto:jcronin@cspinet.org">jcronin@cspinet.org</a>; 202-421-8911<br /> <strong>Consumer Federation of America:</strong> Thomas Gremillion, <a href="mailto:tgremillion@consumerfed.org">tgremillion@consumerfed.org</a>; 202-939-1010<br /> <strong>Farm Sanctuary:</strong> Meredith Turner-Smith, <a href="mailto:mturner-smith@farmsanctuary.org">mturner-smith@farmsanctuary.org</a>; 646-369-6212<br /> <strong>Food &amp; Water Watch:</strong> Seth Gladstone, <a href="mailto:sgladstone@fwwatch.org">sgladstone@fwwatch.org</a>; 917-363-6615<br /> <strong>HSLF/HSUS:</strong> Emily Ehrhorn, <a href="mailto:Eehrhorn@humanesociety.org">Eehrhorn@humanesociety.org</a>; 202-779-1814<br /> <strong>Mercy For Animals:</strong> Diane May, <a href="mailto:dianem@mercyforanimal.org">dianem@mercyforanimal.org</a>; 317-292-2922<br /> <strong>NELP:</strong> Norman Eng, <a href="mailto:neng@nelp.org">neng@nelp.org</a>; 646-693-8219<br /> <strong>United Food and Commercial Workers Union:</strong> Abraham White, <a href="mailto:awhite@ufcw.org">awhite@ufcw.org</a>; 202-341-1899</p> <p class="press-release-footer"> </p> <p style="text-align: center;">##</p> <p style="text-align: left;"><em>The <strong>Humane Society Legislative Fund</strong> is a social welfare organization incorporated under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code and formed in 2004 as a separate lobbying affiliate of The Humane Society of the United States. The HSLF works to pass animal protection laws at the state and federal level, to educate the public about animal protection issues, and to support humane candidates for office. Visit us on all our channels: on the web at <a href="/">hslf.org</a>, on our blog at <a href="https://hslf.org/blog" target="_blank">hslf.org/blog</a>, on Facebook at <a href="https://www.facebook.com/humanelegislation" target="_blank">facebook.com/humanelegislation</a> and on Twitter at <a href="https://twitter.com/HSLegFund" target="_blank">twitter.com/HSLegFund</a>.</em></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><em>Founded in 1954, the <strong>Humane Society of the United States</strong> and its affiliates around the globe fight the <a href="https://hsus.link/qt7a2q">big fights</a> to end suffering for all animals. Together with millions of supporters, the HSUS takes on puppy mills, factory farms, trophy hunts, animal testing and other cruel industries, and together with its affiliates, rescues and provides direct care for over 100,000 animals every year. The HSUS works on reforming corporate policy, improving and enforcing laws and elevating public awareness on animal issues. More at <a href="https://hsus.link/mlqx0u">humanesociety.org</a>. Subscribe to Kitty Block’s blog, <a href="https://hsus.link/lrltdn">A Humane World</a>. Follow the HSUS Media Relations department on <a href="https://twitter.com/HSUSNews">Twitter</a>. Read the award-winning <a href="https://hsus.link/uqll6w">All Animals magazine</a>. Listen to the <a href="https://hsus.link/bwih2u">Humane Voices podcast</a>.</em></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><em>The <strong>American Federation of Government Employees</strong> (AFGE) is the largest federal employee union, representing 700,000 workers in the federal government and the government of the District of Columbia.</em></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><em>Founded in 1866, the <strong>ASPCA®</strong> (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the first animal welfare organization in North America and serves as the nation’s leading voice for animals. More than two million supporters strong, the ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. For more information, please visit <a href="http://www.aspca.org/">www.ASPCA.org</a>, and be sure to follow the ASPCA on <a href="https://www.facebook.com/aspca">Facebook</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/aspca">Twitter</a>, and <a href="https://instagram.com/aspca">Instagram</a>.</em></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><em><strong>Animal Equality</strong> is an international animal protection organization advocating for the interests of farmed animals across the globe. Animal Equality uses legal advocacy, undercover investigations, and corporate pressure campaigns to achieve its vision of a world where all animals are protected and respected. More information is available at <a href="https://animalequality.org/">animalequality.org</a>.</em></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><em><strong>CSPI</strong> is America’s food and health watchdog. More information is available at <a href="http://www.cspinet.org/">www.cspinet.org</a>.</em></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><em>The <a href="http://www.consumerfed.org/"><strong>Consumer Federation of America</strong></a> is a nonprofit association of more than 250 consumer groups that was founded in 1968 to advance the consumer interest through research, advocacy, and education.</em></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><em>Founded in 1986, <strong>Farm Sanctuary</strong> works to change how our society views and treats farm animals through rescue, education and advocacy. The organization provides lifelong care for animals rescued from abuse at sanctuary locations in New York and California; promotes compassionate vegan living; and advocates legal and policy reforms. To learn more about Farm Sanctuary, visit <a href="http://www.farmsanctuary.org/">www.farmsanctuary.org</a>.</em></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><em><strong>Food &amp; Water Watch</strong> mobilizes regular people to build political power to move bold &amp; uncompromised solutions to the most pressing food, water, and climate problems of our time. F&amp;WW works to protect people’s health, communities, and democracy from the growing destructive power of the most powerful economic interests.</em></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><em><strong>Mercy For Animals</strong> is a leading global nonprofit working to end the exploitation of animals for food and construct a compassionate food system. Active in the United States, Mexico, Brazil, and India, the organization has conducted more than 70 investigations of factory farms and slaughterhouses, moved more than 300 food companies to adopt animal welfare policies, and helped pass historic legislation to ban cages for farmed animals. Join us at <a href="http://mercyforanimals.org/">MercyForAnimals.org</a>.</em></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><em>The <strong>National Employment Law Project</strong> is a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization that conducts research and advocates on issues affecting low-wage and unemployed workers. For more about NELP, visit <a href="http://www.nelp.org/">www.nelp.org</a>. Follow NELP on Twitter at @NelpNews.</em></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><em>The <strong>UFCW</strong> is the largest private sector union in the United States, representing 1.3 million professionals and their families in grocery stores, meatpacking, food processing, retail shops, and other industries. Our members help put food on our nation’s tables and serve customers in all 50 states, Canada and Puerto Rico. <a href="http://www.ufcw.org/">www.ufcw.org</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/29" hreflang="en">In the News</a> <a href="/taxonomy/term/35" hreflang="en">Farm Animals</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, 09 Jul 2020 19:03:49 +0000 kblocher@hslf.org 21420 at https://hslf.org House subcommittees boost funds for key animal protection measures on wildlife trafficking, slaughterhouse kill speeds and horse soring and slaughter https://hslf.org/blog/2020/07/house-subcommittees-boost-funds-key-animal-protection-measures-wildlife-trafficking <span>House subcommittees boost funds for key animal protection measures on wildlife trafficking, slaughterhouse kill speeds and horse soring and slaughter</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/135" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">kblocher@hslf.org</span></span> <span>Tue, 07/07/2020 - 14:52</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>Congress has begun its annual process of funding federal departments, agencies and programs, and last night two House subcommittees voted to include several crucial provisions benefiting animals in their FY2021 appropriations bills.</p> <p>The Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee bill presented by Chairman Sanford Bishop, D-Ga., included vital funding increases and language covering many priority issues involving the U.S. Department of Agriculture, including horse soring, horse slaughter, the welfare of animals in puppy mills and roadside zoos, and the treatment of farm animals in slaughterhouses and USDA research facilities.</p> <p>The State-Foreign Operations Subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., included new resources in its bill to help imperiled wildlife and safeguard biodiversity around the world.</p> <p>Key provisions in the agriculture subcommittee bill include: </p> <ul> <li><strong>Doubling of funds to crack down on horse soring.</strong> The bill increases funding to enforce the Horse Protection Act from the current $1 million in FY2020 to $2 million in FY21. Weak oversight of this law has allowed the cruel practice of “soring” to persist—with unscrupulous trainers continuing to deliberately inflict pain on the hooves and legs of Tennessee Walking Horses and related breeds to gain an unfair competitive advantage at horse shows.</li> <li><strong>More funding to expand domestic violence shelter options for people with pets.</strong> The bill includes $3 million—up from $2 million in FY2020—for a grant program that provides emergency and transitional shelter options for domestic violence survivors with companion animals. Only 10 percent of domestic violence shelters currently allow pets. Rep. Katherine Clark, D-Mass., who introduced the PAWS Act, led efforts to secure this funding.</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> Facilities that use animals will be required 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 bill directs the USDA to lift the stay on its final rule. Reps. Dina Titus, D-Nev., and Peter King, R-NY, championed this provision.</li> <li><strong>Permanently requiring that USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) facilities receive inspections. </strong>The bill mandates that ARS laboratories housing animals be inspected for compliance with the Animal Welfare Act.</li> <li><strong>Ending higher-speed slaughter lines during the pandemic.</strong> As slaughterhouses have emerged as coronavirus hotspots, the USDA has made the situation even worse for workers, animals and food safety by granting industry requests to increase line speeds that were already excessive. The bill directs the USDA to revoke any line speed waivers issued to slaughter plants since the pandemic began and not issue any new waivers for the duration of the crisis, unless the assistant secretary of labor for Occupational Safety and Health certifies that line speed increases at a particular plant would have no adverse impact on worker safety. Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, plans to introduce the “Safe Line Speeds in COVID-19 Act” soon with Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., to protect workers, animals and consumers from the dangers posed by higher line speeds in poultry, pig and cattle slaughter plants.</li> <li><strong>Preventing government spending on horse slaughter inspections.</strong> This language in the measure would effectively prevent horse slaughter in the United States for human consumption. Such “defund” language has been enacted nearly every year since 2005. Reps. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., and Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., led a letter signed by 113 Representatives seeking this provision.</li> <li><strong>Enforcing humane slaughter requirements.</strong> The bill maintains staffing for inspections and enforcement related to the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, to prevent the mistreatment and suffering of farm animals in USDA-inspected slaughter plants.</li> <li><strong>Renewing the prohibition on licensing Class B dealers.</strong> The bill prevents the USDA from using funds to license “Class B random source” dealers, who are notorious for obtaining cats and dogs through fraudulent means, including pet theft, holding them in awful conditions and then selling them into research. Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Calif., requested this language once again this year.</li> </ul> <p>The State-Foreign Operations appropriations bill includes provisions that would:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Combat wildlife poaching and trafficking around the world.</strong> The bill provides dedicated funding to the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to combat the transnational threat of wildlife poaching and trafficking through international security assistance. It also provides dedicated funding to invest in the Global Environment Facility, an independent financial institution with projects in 183 countries, including programs that combat wildlife poaching and trafficking.</li> <li><strong>Protect global biodiversity.</strong> The bill provides bilateral economic assistance funding for USAID biodiversity conservation programs that help protect some of the largest, most at-risk natural landscapes and the wildlife and millions of people who depend on them for survival.</li> </ul> <p>We are immensely grateful to committee leaders and members, including Agriculture subcommittee Chairman Bishop, subcommittee Ranking Member Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb., all the legislators who championed the pro-animal USDA measures, and Reps. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., and Christopher Smith, R-N.J., for their outstanding bipartisan mobilization of a record-breaking <a href="https://drive.google.com/file/d/1h96t5yZFsEV2YtQ4KbIEdTGdRrbOhIEa/view?usp=sharing">207 Representatives</a> who requested many of these animal protection provisions. We also thank Reps. Grace Meng, D-N.Y., Peter King, R-N.Y., and all of the legislators who advocated the pro-wildlife language in the State-Foreign Operations bill, and Chairwoman Lowey for including these critical provisions in her subcommittee’s bill.</p> <p>We are off to a tremendous start in our efforts to help animals through the annual appropriations process. In the coming months our Humane Society Legislative Fund staff, which fought to get these provisions included, will continue to work closely with our allies in Congress to ensure they become law. The annual appropriations process has yielded many key reforms for animals in past years, and we’ll leave no stone unturned to ensure that the FY21 package takes our cause even further.</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> Tue, 07 Jul 2020 14:52:40 +0000 kblocher@hslf.org 21418 at https://hslf.org Good riddance to Steve King: Iowa primary voters dump U.S. congressman who supported horse slaughter, dogfighting and factory farming https://hslf.org/blog/2020/06/good-riddance-steve-king-iowa-primary-voters-dump-us-congressman-who-supported-horse <span>Good riddance to Steve King: Iowa primary voters dump U.S. congressman who supported horse slaughter, dogfighting and factory farming </span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/135" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">kblocher@hslf.org</span></span> <span>Wed, 06/03/2020 - 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>There is perhaps no one in the recent history of Congress who, during his term in office, has attempted to wreak more havoc on animals than Steve King. The Iowa Republican has supported killing horses for human consumption; opposed including pets in disaster planning; defended dogfighting and cockfighting, including  allowing children to attend such fights; and attempted to block states from making commonsense reforms for animals by repeatedly advocating for the infamous King amendment in the <a href="https://hslf.org/blog/2018/12/farm-bill-mission-accomplished">Farm Bills</a>. </p> <p>He usually didn’t get his way on these matters, but it would be fair to say that if there was an animal welfare issue under consideration in Congress, King was most likely on the wrong side of it.</p> <p>That’s why we couldn’t be happier that Iowa voters handed King a clear defeat in their state’s primary yesterday.</p> <p>King was the worst kind of politician: one who worked against the interests of animals and the nation itself at the behest of special interests. His district included one of the highest concentrations of egg-laying hens in the country, and this may explain some of his hostility toward animal welfare issues. Over the years he launched multiple volleys against some of the most important reforms the Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society Legislative Fund championed—volleys we successfully deflected. </p> <p>Among his most vicious attacks were his proposed amendments to the Farm Bill, the omnibus bill that covers everything from farm safety nets to land conservation programs to nutrition programs for low-income citizens.  In 2014, and again in 2018, King tacked on to the Farm Bill the Protect Interstate Commerce Act, which came to be known as the King amendment, that threatened immeasurable harm to animals, by nullifying state and local laws that address, among other issues, the consumption of horse and dog meat, ending the slaughter of horses, the extreme confinement of farm animals, shark finning and animals in puppy mills.</p> <p>The King amendment also threatened to undermine the work carried out by states and localities to protect their citizens in a broad range of policy areas, including food safety, child labor, opioids, pesticide exposure, fire-safe cigarettes, manure management and handling of diseased livestock. Fortunately, it was defeated both times, with HSLF leading the lobbying effort to defeat it.</p> <p>To cite just a few more examples of his shameful efforts, King voted against the Animal Fighting Enforcement Prohibition Act, which was signed into law in 2007, and strengthened penalties for illegal dogfighting and cockfighting, making it a felony to transport animals across state lines for these gruesome and barbaric fights. He repeatedly voted for legislation that undermines the Endangered Species Act, removing critical protections for native American carnivores like grizzly bears and wolves. Last year he voted against the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act, H.R. 693, a bill to crack down on the practice of “soring,” in which trainers deliberately inflict pain on the hooves and legs of Tennessee walking horses and related breeds to force them to perform an unnaturally high-stepping gait for competitions. That bill <a href="https://hslf.org/blog/2019/07/breaking-news-congress-moves-make-horse-soring-thing-past">passed the full House</a> by a bipartisan majority of 333-96—a measure of just how out of step he is with his own colleagues.</p> <p>King’s positions, especially in the proposed Farm Bill amendments, were often at odds with core Republican Party values, like respecting states’ rights and reinforcing local government, and it was a wonder he lasted as long as he did. As he limps through the final months of the 116th Congress and makes his ignominious exit, we couldn’t be more excited to see the last of him. With countless millions of Americans focusing on making the world a better place for animals and for all people, there is no room left for someone who has so consistently displayed the worst of human instincts. </p> <p>Goodbye, Steve King, and good riddance.</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/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, 03 Jun 2020 20:00:35 +0000 kblocher@hslf.org 21394 at https://hslf.org BREAKING: HSUS, HSLF, HSI release policy plan on wildlife markets, factory farms, companion animals and more to avoid another global health crisis https://hslf.org/blog/2020/05/breaking-hsus-hslf-hsi-release-policy-plan-wildlife-markets-factory-farms-companion <span>BREAKING: HSUS, HSLF, HSI release policy plan on wildlife markets, factory farms, companion animals and more to avoid another global health crisis</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/135" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">kblocher@hslf.org</span></span> <span>Thu, 05/14/2020 - 22:50</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 coronavirus pandemic has prompted the world to acknowledge the pressing need to change our relationship with animals. From the wildlife markets implicated in the origin of the novel coronavirus to the <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/18/business/coronavirus-meat-slaughterhouses.html">slaughterhouses</a> that have become clusters for its spread, we now know only too well that our uncaring attitudes and indifferent practices toward animals can have grave consequences for human health.</p> <p>Health experts already agree that <a href="https://hslf.org/blog/2020/04/world-health-organization-says-nations-should-end-wildlife-trade">wildlife markets need to close</a> wherever they exist because of the role they have played in this and past pandemics. But fur farms, puppy mills and factory farms are known breeding grounds for viruses and drug resistant bacteria too, because of the terrible conditions in which the animals raised are kept. If we are to avoid another pandemic, we need to address the inherent problems of these sites of animal use and abuse with urgency as well.</p> <p>Today, the Humane Society family of organizations is advancing an <a href="https://hslf.org/sites/default/files/2020-05/FINAL%20Global%20COVID-19%20Policy%20Recommendations%20May2020.pdf">11-point policy plan</a> to reduce animal suffering and help prevent future national and global pandemics. These are our recommendations:  </p> <p><strong>Shut down wild animal markets permanently around the world</strong><br /> At these markets, live and dead wild animals are kept in extremely close proximity. Blood, urine, feces and other bodily fluids from the animals mix, creating the perfect environment for pathogens and disease spread. </p> <p><strong>End the trade of live wild animals</strong><br /> Whether captive-bred or wild-caught, wild animals bought and sold for the exotic pet trade or other commercial purposes can spread a variety of viral, bacterial, fungal, and parasitic infections that pose serious health risks to humans.</p> <p><strong>Ban close encounters with wild animals and their use in traveling shows</strong><br /> Animals stressed by transport, confinement, crowding and handling—conditions common in traveling shows—are more likely to shed pathogens that cause disease.</p> <p><strong>End fur farming and the fur trade</strong><br /> Animals killed for their fur, like raccoon dogs and foxes, have been known to carry the SARS virus and are often sold and killed on-site at live animal markets like the one in Wuhan, China, tied to the COVID-19 outbreak.  </p> <p><strong>End intensive confinement of farm animals</strong><br /> Intensive confinement of farm animals, including the use of cages for hens and gestation crates for mother pigs, has substantial links to the origin and spread of diseases because of the sheer number of animals that are packed together in unsanitary and pathogenic environments. </p> <p><strong>Shift the global food industry focus to plant-based proteins</strong><br /> Since most zoonotic diseases—diseases that spread from animals to humans—can be traced to farm animals, including chickens, cows, pigs and goats, state and federal governments should fund research to develop more plant-based and cultured meat technologies and global food companies should offer more plant-based options. </p> <p><strong>End the sale of dogs from puppy mills</strong><br /> The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more than once implicated puppy mills, and pet stores that sell them, as <a href="https://hslf.org/blog/2019/12/breaking-news-cdc-ties-petland-outbreaks-superbug-illnesses-13-states-0">sources of disease outbreaks</a>, including recent multistate outbreaks of drug-resistant campylobacter that sickened almost 150 people and sent some of them to the hospital. </p> <p><strong>End the dog and cat meat trade</strong><br /> The dog and cat meat trade poses a significant risk of rabies transmission throughout countries where these animals are consumed.</p> <p><strong>Effectively manage street dog populations</strong><br /> Free roaming dogs are the lead vector of rabies transmission to humans. Fear of rabies often causes humans to mistreat street animals, increasing conflict and bite incidence which can in turn lead to rabies transmission and death.</p> <p><strong>End cockfighting</strong><br /> The World Health Organization has said cockfighting can be linked to the spread of deadly viruses like the bird flu. </p> <p><strong>Fund alternatives to animal testing to speed up treatment and vaccines</strong><br /> We are calling for increased investment and a focus on humane, non-animal methods, such as human lung tissue cultures, cell-based models and organ-on-a-chip technologies to help us better understand, prevent and treat diseases, including COVID-19. These methods are quicker, less expensive and more relevant than conventional animal testing.</p> <p>These are approaches we have long advocated, and we have successfully championed them in many parts of the United States and around the world. Now, even as we continue and expand our work globally to build a stronger animal protection movement, end the cruelest practices and care for animals in crisis, we’ll be pushing policymakers and business leaders to implement our policy recommendations to avoid another pandemic. Working together, we can make our world a safer, and healthier, place for both people and animals.</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/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, 14 May 2020 22:50:41 +0000 kblocher@hslf.org 21377 at https://hslf.org