The length to which some people will go to eat “adventurously” has us shaking our heads in disbelief.
In recent years, there’s been a bump in consumer demand for exotic meats—including lion meat. Surprisingly, most lion meat seems to be supplied by businesses in the state of Illinois.
Where do the slaughtered lions come from? No one is really sure. One Illinois supplier claims the meat is the byproduct of a separate venture that sells the animals’ skins, while many restaurateurs who offer lion meat are under the impression that there’s a USDA-inspected “lion farm” outside of Chicago (not true). Whether the lions are actually coming from African poachers, or are discards from private owners and inhumane roadside zoos in the U.S., this is a problem.
Due to hunting and habitat loss, the planet’s African lion population has been reduced by half in the past 20 years, and there’s a strong case for adding lions to the federal Endangered Species List. The last thing anyone should want to do is glamorize lion meat and increase demand for it.
An Illinois state representative, Rep. Luis Arroyo, has taken action by introducing the first-ever state bill to ban possessing, breeding, buying or selling lions for their meat. The Illinois Lion Meat Act will soon by voted on by the state’s House of Representatives—if you live in Illinois, please help the lions by asking your state representative to vote for it.
Last week, the Internet exploded over a widely shared video of a New Mexico man, Tim Sappington, shooting a seemingly healthy, young horse between the eyes while cursing out “animal activists.” The video is horrifying, and Sappington is under investigation by the New Mexico Livestock Board for animal cruelty.
Sappington worked for the Valley Meat Company in Roswell, New Mexico—the same slaughterhouse that has an application pending with the USDA for permission to slaughter horses for human consumption.
While we mourn Sappington’s victim, this callous fan of horse meat may have actually helped our mission more than he harmed it by exposing horse slaughter for what it is: cold and cruel. The video generated a firestorm of public and media criticism about the ongoing efforts to reopen horse slaughter plants in the U.S., as well as interest in the related legislative efforts to prevent it.
It’s about time. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced its intention to ban the slaughter of veal calves who are too sick, injured or weak to stand.
Many experts believe “downer” adult cattle are at higher risk of having Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), also known as mad cow disease. For that reason, the USDA has already banned the slaughter of adult downer cattle, requiring that they be promptly and humanely euthanized. However, downercalves may be kept alive indefinitely in slaughter facility pens, leaving them vulnerable to cruel mistreatment.
“This decision should close a loophole that has allowed sick calves to be roughly handled, neglected and left to suffer,” says Suzanne McMillan, ASPCA Director of Farm Animal Welfare.“We hope the agency will enact these changes quickly to protect calves and consumers.”
Nearly 700,000 veal calves are slaughtered annually in the U.S.—many are under three weeks of age.
While the USDA has committed to changing its policy on downer calf slaughter, the agency still needs to issue a new rule to formalize the change and put it into effect.
Take Action! Please tell the USDA to prioritize protecting calves from cruelty. Email U.S. Agriculture Secretary Vilsack and Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) Administrator Almanza today and urge them to change regulations on downer calves immediately.
We already knew that Greyhounds at racetracks suffer immensely. But today, Greyhound advocate group GREY2K USA released a report that shows just how bad things are for dogs forced to race in Texas.
The report, produced with funding from the ASPCA, showed that at Texas racetracks:
• Greyhounds are forced to live in confined, stacked cages, with large Greyhounds being unable to stand fully erect in their cages. • In 2012, six Greyhounds died at Gulf Greyhound Park from a form of canine influenza, often a recurring epidemic in cramped living situations. • In 2011, a Texas Greyhound trainer failed to obtain veterinary care for an injured Greyhound until two days after the injury occurred. • Greyhounds are fed 4-D meat from diseased animals to reduce costs.
The report also showed that1,507 greyhound injuries were reported at Texas racetracks from January 2008 through December 2011. Fifty-six of these injuries were fatal or required euthanasia, with the most commonly reported injury being broken legs. Other serious injuries reported included torn muscles, puncture wounds, a fractured skull and paralysis.
Frankly, we don’t see why the Texas dog racing industry doesn’t just throw in the towel—Lone Star State residents are way over dog racing. The report shows that gambling on dog racing and dog race attendance are way, way down.
We’ve known for years that horse slaughter is an exceptionally cruel practice—whether it happens in the U.S. or elsewhere. Due to their biology and their psychology, horses cannot be slaughtered in a commercial setting without tremendous suffering and fear.
We also know that horse meat is not even safe to eat! Horses are fed de-wormers and other toxic drugs that can cause terrible reactions—including death—in people who eat their tainted meat. Consumers in the E.U. are just discovering the dangers they have unwittingly been exposed to, and the scandal grows daily.
In spite of this mountain of damning evidence, the USDA is currently processing an application for a horse slaughter operation here in the United States. Roswell, New Mexico, may soon become ground zero for horse suffering.
The ASPCA has worked closely with federal legislators and other advocacy groups to develop the SAFE Act. This bill will stop the pain and the suffering of equines caught up in this grisly business. Please visit the ASPCA Advocacy Center to take action nowto urge your U.S. senators and representative to cosponsor the SAFE Act.