- 1. U.S. Factory Farm Practices Threatening Human Health
- 2. 50 Shelters Win Slots in the $100K Challenge
- 3. ASPCA Pet of the Week: Happy-Go-Lucky
- 4. ASPCA Happy Tails: Long-Term Relationship
- 5. Find Gifts Mom Will Love at the ASPCA Online Store
1. U.S. Factory Farm Practices Threatening Human Health
For over a decade, various members of Congress on both sides of the aisle have attempted, without success, to pass federal legislation that would rein in the widespread practice of adding antibiotics to the feed and water of animals raised for meat. The ASPCA supports the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (PAMTA) of 2011, which would phase out this animal-care shortcut within two years of enactment—and we hope we can count on our members to support it as well.
It’s no secret that large-scale American livestock and poultry producers (commonly known as factory farms) have become overly reliant on feeding their animals antibiotics—not to treat illnesses, but to prevent them and accelerate growth. An estimated 70 percent of antibiotics and related drugs produced in the United States are used in animal agriculture for non-therapeutic purposes. This is a problem for two major reasons: It’s a human health concern because continually feeding antibiotics to animals results in the development of antibiotic-resistant infections; and it’s an animal cruelty issue because keeping animals constantly on antibiotics allows factory farms to become ever-more overcrowded and unsanitary.
This crisis is not just theoretical in nature—after years of consuming antibiotic-laden meat and poultry, the chickens are coming home to roost. At the beginning of April, Jennie-O, a division of Hormel Foods, recalled nearly 55,000 pounds of turkey burgers after 12 people in 10 states became ill. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Salmonella Hadar strain found in the contaminated turkey is resistant to many commonly prescribed antibiotics. And last week, an impartial biomedical research group released the findings of its study of meat and poultry from U.S. grocery stores. Analyzing samples of 80 brands of beef, chicken, pork and turkey obtained from 26 retail grocery stores around the country, scientists discovered unexpectedly high rates of dangerous disease-causing bacteria. Almost half of all meat and poultry samples tested were contaminated with Staphylococcus aureus, the most common cause of staph infections—and 52 percent of the contaminated meats contained “superbugs” (bacteria resistant to multiple classes of antibiotics).
“Antibiotics are the most important drugs that we have to treat Staph infections; but when Staph are resistant to three, four, five or even nine different antibiotics—like we saw in this study— that leaves physicians few options,” stated a doctor who participated in the project. “[This] demands attention to how antibiotics are used in food-animal production today.”
Passage of the PAMTA is critical if we want to keep antibiotics working for us. In March, Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY)—a microbiologist with a master's degree in public health—introduced PAMTA in the House of Representatives, where it has attracted 42 cosponsors. The ASPCA’s Legislative Affairs team has been informed that PAMTA’s introduction in the Senate is imminent. We will soon be asking the animal advocates in our Advocacy Brigade to contact their House and Senate members on the bill’s behalf. Make sure you don’t miss our call to action: Please sign up for the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade today.
2. 50 Shelters Win Slots in the $100K Challenge
After 12 days of spirited online voting by more than 200,000 supporters, the ASPCA is thrilled to announce the 50 shelters that will compete in the 2011 ASPCA $100K Challenge.
“We were blown away by the outpouring of support and by the number of votes cast for local shelters in the qualifying heat,” says Bert Troughton, ASPCA Vice President of Community Outreach.
The 50 contenders now will gear up for a three-month competition to save at least 300 more animals—during the months of August, September and October 2011—than they did over the same three-month period in 2010.
The agency with the highest increase in animals saved will win $100,000. The agency that gets the most community members involved in saving animals will win a $25,000 grant, and those organizations that do the best in their regions will be eligible for between $5,000 and $25,000 in grants.
“If the buzz created during the voting is any indication of how much energy and passion we’ll see for these 50 contestants during the contest, then I think we’re in for a really inspiring 2011 ASPCA $100K Challenge,” says Troughton.
Select your region on the U.S. map to find out which shelters near you are set to compete in the ASPCA $100K Challenge:
3. ASPCA Pet of the Week: Happy-Go-Lucky
Who’s a good girl? Who’s a good girl? No question about it, it’s Ruffles, a bouncy, eight-month-old puppy! This hilarious hound mix is tons of fun and can’t wait to go home with some active folks who’ll take her running and to puppy obedience classes. (And don’t forget the dog park—Ruffles will love it.)
“Ruffles is a young pup who’s full of life!” says Marny Nofi, ASPCA Assistant Behavior Manager. “A happy-go-lucky dog, she is a fan of meeting everyone and everything—especially dogs! She'll need some basic training for manners, but she's a fast learner and already knows how to sit and lie down on command! She'll fill any household with lots of love and laughter.”
Ruffles loves absolutely every person she meets (and who couldn’t love her right back?) and like most hounds, she can be a little talkative. If you don’t have kids under 10 (she might knock over little people until she learns not to jump up!), and you’re ready to add 50 pounds of pure joy to your home, come meet Ruffles!
If you’re interested in adopting her, please contact our Animal Placement department in New York City at (212) 876-7700, ext. 4120. To see other animals looking for homes, visit our Adoption Center online.
****Got Facebook? Won’t you please donate your status to Ruffles today? Just copy and paste the following message onto your profile status to help spread the word that this baby girl needs a home!
[Name] is donating my status to Ruffles http://www.aspca.org/ruffles, a puppy at the ASPCA who needs a new home.
4. ASPCA Happy Tails: Long-Term Relationship
Debra Davis wasn’t looking to adopt a pet when she visited our New York City headquarters in late March 1993. Davis, a television producer, was attending a meeting about an upcoming ASPCA event she had agreed to film.
But then she saw Jojo, a cute little five-month-old calico.
“I just took one look at her and thought, ‘That’s my cat,’” Davis says. She soon found herself filling out adoption paperwork and on her way to becoming a pet parent. “Just bringing her home in that little box in the subway—it was just one of the greatest times of my life.”
At home, Davis put Jojo on her bed and said, “OK, be a cat. Do whatever cats do.” Before long, Jojo simply rolled over, and Davis was in awe. “I remember thinking, here’s this tiny little thing who could be damaged so easily. But she was just so trusting and loving, and it was so amazing to me to see that kind of trust. It made me a kinder, nicer person.”
Since then, Davis has relocated to her home state of Texas, where Jojo keeps a close eye on five rescue dogs and a rotating cast of foster animals. (“She completely dominates them,” Davis reports.) Jojo no longer loves to flush the toilet and watch what happens, but she does still sleep in the sink—a habit she’s had since the beginning.
Jojo was diagnosed with diabetes in 2002, and she’s slowed down quite a bit in her golden years, but she’s still as curious, gregarious and loving as ever, Davis says. “She’s been with me through everything—I just can’t imagine a time without her. She is by far my longest relationship.”
For more stories of furry fate, visit the Happy Tails Archive.
5. Find Gifts Mom Will Love at the ASPCA Online Store
Mother’s Day is just around the corner on May 8, and we’ve got great gift ideas for the animal-loving moms in your life—including pet parents! (And if your mama taught you to love all creatures great and small, here’s your chance to say thank you with an animal-themed gift.) Plus, Mom’s bound to give you some brownie points for shopping at the ASPCA Online Store, since every purchase helps support our life-saving work!
For the Proud ASPCA Member
Jewelry is a classic Mother’s Day gift, and with this sterling silver pendant, Mom can show her ASPCA pride in style.
For Your Favorite Pet Parent
Honor Mom’s relationship with her special furry friend by giving this elegant, customizable necklace.
For Every Animal-Loving Mom!
Help your favorite mom stand up for animals—whatever her style—with our latest ladies’ T-shirt designs.
Right now, orders of $55 or more receive free shipping. Happy shopping, and happy Mother’s Day!