Guest blog post from Nancy Perry, Senior Vice President of ASPCA Government Relations.
Sure the U.S. Secret Service is responsible for the safety of our nation’s leaders and foreign dignitaries. However, their duties apparently don’t end there—as one “lucky duck” and her babies learned firsthand.
Yesterday, the mother duck and babies decided to pay a visit to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. In order to reach the White House garden, the mother had no trouble hopping over a short curb. To the tiny ducklings, however, it might as well have been Mount Everest. They huddled together, unable to hurdle the barrier.
As a crowd of tourists and onlookers gathered, two uniformed Secret Service officers standing nearby decided to help out. First, they tried to construct a makeshift ramp, but the skittish babies preferred to hide underneath it. Finally, the officers took direct action, carefully scooping up the ducklings and reuniting them with their mother while the audience cheered.
While the ASPCA works hard on local and nationwide efforts to improve the treatment of animals, this simple act of kindness serves as a reminder that each of us is capable of making a difference. The ASPCA thanks these two officers for exemplifying that potential.
Sure, National Puppy Day is the perfect time to celebrate the super-cuteness of puppies…but it’s also the time to speak out about the cruelties associated with puppy mills and further our mission for a nation of puppy-free pet stores. To help you celebrate, we’ve come up with a few actions you can take today to help end puppy mill abuse:
Take the Puppy Mill Pledge That puppy who charmed you through the pet shop window most likely came from a puppy mill. Please sign our pledge against puppy mills and promise not to buy your next pet or any pet supplies from retail stores that sell puppies.
Join the Fight Inform your state and federal legislators that you are disturbed by the inhumane treatment of dogs in puppy mills, and would like to see legislation passed to protect these dogs. Keep up to date on legislation to ban puppy mills by joining the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade.
Speak Out If someone you know is planning on buying a puppy, please direct them to our puppy mill information page. Let them know that there are perfectly adorable dogs—of all breeds and sizes—waiting to be adopted at shelters across the nation.
Donate Your Facebook Status or Tweet Give your status update or tweet to an adoptable dog. It’s the best way to help animals find the forever homes they deserve.
Can we say victory!? In response to concerns raised by the ASPCA and our “No Pet Store Puppies” campaign, measures will be put in place to ensure that puppy mill dogs will no longer be sold on Marketplace on Facebook. The ASPCA is working with Facebook and Oodle, the online classifieds service that powers Marketplace on Facebook, to restrict the sale of puppy mill dogs on the social media site. The ads placed by puppy mills have already started coming down.
You may not know this, but many puppies sold online come from puppy mills where dogs are often kept in filthy, overcrowded and cruel conditions. Plus, puppy mills that sell directly to consumers via the Internet are exempt from any federal oversight! The Internet Crime Complaint Center notes that hundreds of complaints are filed every year from victims who are scammed when buying a dog online.
Take Action Want to help stop cruel puppy mills? Sign our online pledge not to buy any items—including food, supplies or toys—from stores or websites that sell puppies. To learn more about the ASPCA’s campaign to eradicate puppy mills, please visit www.NoPetStorePuppies.com.
Americans overwhelmingly believe that food from our farms should be safe to eat and that farm animals should not be abused for its production. So it is disturbing that legislators in a number of states throughout the country are considering—and passing—legislation known as “Ag-Gag” bills that would cripple the ability of investigators to expose animal abuse and food safety concerns. Many Ag-Gag bills criminalize taking photos or videos on farms to expose problems such as animal cruelty, environmental and labor violations, and other illegal or unethical behavior. Simply put, Ag-Gag legislation poses a danger to the American public as well as to animals.
Four years ago, undercover video led to the largest beef recall in U.S. history. The video, taken at Hallmark Meat Packing Co. in Chino, California, revealed workers at the slaughter plant kicking sick cows, ramming cows with the blades of a forklift, and torturing crippled cows to force them to walk to slaughter. In that case, the slaughterhouse that was shut down was also the second largest beef supplier to the National School Lunch Program, so these irresponsible and inhumane acts endangered the health of scores of American schoolchildren.
Legislators bent on suppressing exposés through the passage of Ag-Gag legislation are not only harming animals, but putting all of us—including our children—in jeopardy by preventing our access to critical information about our food supply. They also threaten our constitutional rights by stifling dissemination of information and chipping away at our First Amendment protections.
It’s ironic when you think about it. The individuals targeted by Ag-Gag laws are not the criminals who are beating or stabbing animals (as seen on some undercover videos). Instead, the bills would punish the whistleblowers, the people who dare to lift the veil on these oft-hidden cruelties. The language in the bills varies somewhat state to state, but in many cases the penalties for exposing cruelty may be harsher than those for the actual commission of cruelty. In a number of states the proposed legislation would prevent documenting not only the abuse of farm animals, but also could prohibit investigations of puppy mills and dog racing.
Lawmakers who support Ag-Gag bills do so because they are accommodating the agribusiness lobby, not because it is in the interest of their constituents. In fact, a recent national poll by Lake Research Partners found that 71% of Americans support undercover investigative efforts to expose farm animal abuse on industrial farms.
According to the Lake Research poll, opposition to Ag-Gag legislation is steadfast across demographic, geographic and partisan lines. A majority of Republicans, Democrats and Independents agree that banning undercover investigations is wrong. Likewise, a majority of respondents in all regions (Northeast, Midwest, South and West) oppose the criminalization of undercover investigations at farms. No matter the demographics, Americans don’t want to be deemed criminals for exposing wrongdoing.
Twenty-seven national organizations and experts—from animal welfare groups to civil liberties, public health and workers’ rights associations—have united to oppose Ag-Gag bills. These groups, including the ASPCA, have signed a letter stating, in part:
. . . These bills represent a wholesale assault on many fundamental values shared by all people across the United States. Not only would these bills perpetuate animal abuse on industrial farms, they would also threaten workers’ rights, consumer health and safety, and the freedom of journalists, employees and the public at large to share information about something as fundamental as our food supply. We call on state legislators around the nation to drop or vote against these dangerous and un-American efforts.
Ag-Gag laws are an affront to many values Americans hold dear. If you live in Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Tennessee or New York, you should be especially concerned since Ag-Gag laws are now pending in your state legislatures. Please contact your legislatorsto let them know that Ag-Gag laws are dangerous for people and animals.
On Friday, March 16, ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement Agents arrested a Queens man in the deadly beating of a cat. Richard Ferrugio, 49, is suspected of using a tire iron to bludgeon a black-and-white cat to death on the sidewalk in front of several witnesses—including children—then driving away from the scene.
The ASPCA investigated a call about the beating on March 8 and, after a thorough investigation, identified Ferrugio as the suspect. Ferrugio has been charged with one count of felony animal cruelty and one count of criminal possession of a weapon. If convicted, Ferrugio could face up to two years in prison on the animal cruelty count.
This alleged animal abuser is now facing the consequences thanks to a citizen who took action. If you suspect an animal may be the victim of neglect or abuse, don’t wait—report it!