In the wake of important victories for horses, we are dismayed to learn that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today approved an application for horse slaughter inspections at Valley Meat Company LLC in Roswell, New Mexico, and will issue horse slaughter permits in Missouri and Iowa on Monday.
The inherent cruelty of horse slaughter is reason enough for our government to prevent this practice, but the dangers to consumers, the clear public opposition to slaughtering our horses for foreign diners, and the harm we know this will cause our communities make this a reckless and hazardous move by the USDA.
These plants are now slated to be the first facilities in the U.S. to slaughter our horses for human consumption since 2007, when the few remaining plants closed after states took action to shutter them and Congress voted to eliminate funding for horse meat inspections. The two Agriculture Appropriations bills that will eliminate the possibility of horse slaughter in the U.S. are expected to be voted on by the full House and Senate in July—today’s announcement is a serious federal bureaucratic misstep that defies common sense.
“Moving ahead with the costly proposition of funding horse slaughter inspections is wasteful, cruel and reckless,” says Nancy Perry, Senior Vice President of ASPCA Government Relations. “Recent polling shows that 70% of New Mexicans, 70% of Missourians and 71% of Iowans, along with the overwhelming majority of Americans, oppose the slaughter of U.S. horses for human consumption. Given the recent outrage over horse meat entering the food supply in Europe, this decision is irresponsible. The USDA is knowingly diverting tax dollars from programs that protect American consumers to programs that jeopardize them. It is time for Congress to take action to prevent American horses from suffering this terrible fate and stop horse slaughter in the U.S. once and for all.”
Now that school’s out for summer, why not spend a bit of extra time with your pooch? By working with your dog to teach her new tricks or by providing her with some TLC, you’ll strengthen the bond between you two. Summer is the perfect time to take your dog on a hike, or to bring her along on your next road trip.
As temperatures rise, it’s a good idea to brush up on hot weather safety tips. And, for some additional guidance, Houlton Institute is launching its Fundamentals of Dog Care course on July 15, developed in collaboration with ASPCA experts. The first online course of its kind, which will run for six weeks, is designed to provide pet parents with knowledge and competencies necessary to navigate the responsibilities of caring and creating a proper environment for a dog. There’s still time to register for the course. Check out what one attendee had to say about it!
“This course really CHANGED things for me. I feel like this course gave me a new set of eyes, a new set of skills, and a real sense of responsibility! I am always sharing things that I learned from this class. I have already told everyone I know about it! In other words, this course basically blew my mind!”
Whether you’re an experienced dog guardian or a new pet parent, we find that there’s always more to learn about caring for our canine companions. For a complete list of tips for dog guardians, visit our Pet Care page.
Guest blog by Nancy Perry, Senior Vice President of ASPCA Government Relations
Last week proved quite a week for animal issues in our nation’s capitol. The U.S. House of Representatives took up the Farm Bill, a large agriculture-policy bill passed by Congress every five years. The ASPCA has worked hard to ensure that the bill contained priority language to make it illegal to bring children to, or be a spectator at, organized animal fights (it is spectators who fuel the market for these disgusting events).
Unfortunately, the Farm Bill also included several troubling provisions for animals.
The worst of these was a provision authored by Rep. Steve King (R-IA) that sought to gut state and local laws that improve conditions for farm animals and any other animals that might fall under the vague “agricultural product” label. It could have invalidated important state laws that ban gestation crates and battery cages, and even undermine laws regulating puppy mills, preventing the killing of dogs or cats for food, and protecting consumers from dangerous food products.
An amendment was proposed to remove and replace this terrible provision with standards to improve the lives of egg-laying hens. Unfortunately, House leadership ruled against consideration of this amendment, as well as amendments to ban horse slaughter and clamp down on the practice of horse soring.
In a bittersweet twist of fate, the House Farm Bill was ultimately defeated on the floor last Thursday afternoon. It failed under the weight of all-too-familiar Washington gridlock. As the House of Representatives goes back to the drawing board with the Farm Bill, the ASPCA will work to make sure the bill includes animal welfare reforms and that Congress allows fair and open debate on issues like horse slaughter, horse soring and the treatment of our nation’s egg-laying hens.
On a more positive note, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed an amendment sponsored by Senators Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Lindsay Graham (R-SC) to prevent horse slaughter from returning to the United States. Stay tuned for more information about that important development for our nation’s horses.
Summer road trip season is in full swing, and we think vacations are more fun when you bring your pets! No matter where you’re headed, it’s important to consider your pet’s safety before you load up the car. Did you know that unrestrained pets cause more than 30,000 auto accidents each year?
Before you hit the road, make sure you stock up on a few travel essentials. You can keep your dogs safe in the backseat with our auto barrier or car harness. It never hurts to be prepared—plan to bring along our pet first aid kit in case of emergencies. Plus, don’t forget to stock up on hats and tote bags for the whole family!
During a trip to New York City, Bill H. and his family decided to adopt a dog at the ASPCA Adoption Center. Lex, now named Sandy, was one of many animals rescued in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in October 2012. Bill shared the following story with us about Sandy’s happy new life in Pennsylvania:
Adopting Sandy was a product of luck, timing and coincidence. Denise, my wife, and I were visiting New York City with our daughter Amanda, and stayed at a hotel next door to the APSCA. As we walked by, Amanda’s first question was, “Can we get another cat?”
We saw a couple of dogs that Amanda and I liked, but Denise was not sold—that is until she saw Sandy. Our introduction to Sandy involved a great deal of barking, but she became very happy and her tail began wagging like crazy upon seeing ASPCA staff. A potential adopter was visiting with Sandy, so we decided to come back the next day. We decided that Sandy was a good fit for us, and we hoped we were a good fit for her.
From that point on, Sandy has been nothing but happy surprises. She got into our car and sat on Denise’s lap for the whole ride back to Pennsylvania. We learned at the Adoption Center that Sandy might take a little longer to warm up to men. When we got home, I was sitting on our deck while Sandy explored. After a few minutes, she walked up to me, licked my face, and then rolled over and sprawled out, waiting for her me to pet her belly. Sandy also became fast friends with my 20-year-old son, Zack.
We have had a few people in and out of the house since Sandy's arrival, and she has reacted to them with varying degrees of wariness, but has warmed up to each. We host a large deck party every year, and struggled with what to do with Sandy during the party. We decided if she became uncomfortable, we would put her in our room. The best part of the party was how Sandy handled everything. In the beginning, she stuck by me or Zack. By the end of the night Sandy was "working" the party, "introducing" herself to various guests and letting them know she expected to have her belly rubbed if they were deemed lucky enough to get the "rollover."