American horses have quite literally dodged a bullet as a meat processing plant in Iowa has officially withdrawn plans to start slaughtering horses for human consumption.
While the struggle to prevent U.S. horse slaughter is far from over, this announcement is another victory resulting from a string of efforts by the ASPCA and other national and local organizations to ensure that the American people’s voices are heard: Opposition to horse slaughter for human consumption is broad and deep across every demographic.
A plant in New Mexico has also received a grant of inspection to slaughter horses, but it is on hold pending litigation and faces strong opposition from the state’s attorney general and governor. This means we have time to stop horse slaughter before it starts, and we implore you to join us today by urging your members of Congress to cosponsor the SAFE (Safeguard American Food Exports) Act.
Championed by Senators Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Lindsay Graham (R-SC) and Representatives Patrick Meehan (R-PA) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), to the SAFE Act would prevent the slaughter of American horses as well as their transport to other countries for this purpose.
We have been simultaneously pressing for protections in the FY2014 Agriculture Appropriations bill to prevent tax dollars from being spent on inspections for these plants—no inspections would amount to a de facto ban on horse slaughter on U.S. soil. We must now ensure this language remains in the final version, which Congress is likely to take up next month when it returns from recess.
We know that slaughter is no answer to the problem of horse neglect—that is a hollow argument used by the industry to cover up its greed and abuses (and we are working with a vast network of horse rescues all over the country to provide at-risk horses with safe havens from commercial slaughter). Every step we take together brings us closer to a real and lasting victory for horses! Please take action now!
We can’t tell you how many calls and emails we get here at the ASPCA from people who bought a puppy from a pet store and didn’t realize, until it was too late, that their puppy was born in a puppy mill. We know that most pet store puppies come from puppy mills, but we want to show people where their local pet stores are getting puppies before they buy! That’s where you come in!
If you bought a puppy from a pet store, you should have been provided with paperwork at the time of purchase that includes the name and USDA license number of the breeder who bred your puppy. Please find that paper and visit our No Pet Store Puppies website to share the information. The information you provide may help us connect your local pet stores to photos of the breeders who supply them.
No judgments here: we urge everyone to make adoption their first option—but if you bought a puppy, you can still assist the ASPCA with our efforts to shed a light on the link between puppy mills and pet store puppies. Thank you!
We did it! Today the North Carolina State Senate adjourned for the year without passing S.B. 648, an “ag-gag” bill that sought to keep the public in the dark about animal abuse and food-safety problems on factory farms. We are thrilled to announce that this means all 11 state-level whistleblower suppression bills proposed this year were defeated!
This huge victory is thanks to the hard work of a large coalition of interest groups and the actions of concerned citizens, like the dedicated members of the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade, who told their legislators that they want transparency and accountability when it comes to how farm animals are treated. With the defeats of these bills, we have shown the agriculture industry that suppressing investigations—and the hard truths they often uncover—is not an acceptable response to the real problem of abuse on factory farms.
Way to go, San Diego! On July 9, the City Council voted to ban the retail sale of dogs, cats and rabbits in pet stores. Effective 30 days from the vote—so, in early August—retailers may no longer source animals from commercial breeders (many of which are puppy mills). They are allowed to offer in-store adoptions of humanely sourced animals, such as those from shelters, which the ASPCA, of course, fully supports.
The new rule makes San Diego the second-largest city in California, behind Los Angeles, to ban retail sales of commercially bred animals—and you might be surprised to learn that a total of 32 cities in North America (including Austin, Albuquerque and Toronto) have similar ordinances in place!
At the ASPCA, we’re working from many angles to end puppy mill suffering. Encouraging stores to offer pet adoptions, rather than selling pets bred in questionable, often inhumane conditions, is one of our very top priorities. Please visit No Pet Store Puppies to learn more and to get involved.
Guest blog by Deborah Dubow Press, Regulatory Affairs Senior Manager, ASPCA Government Relations
It has been nearly eight years since Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast, forever changing the way America responds to natural disasters. The human and animal suffering wrought by Katrina and Superstorm Sandy should remain fresh in our minds as we enter another hurricane season, and preparedness should top the agendas of animal caretakers and policy makers.
That’s why yesterday we were shocked to learn that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) may be reconsidering the disaster plan rule requiring all facilities licensed under the federal Animal Welfare Act—this includes breeders, zoos, research facilities, dealers, and other exhibitors and intermediate handlers—to prepare emergency plans for protecting and caring for animals during disasters. Asking those who use animals commercially to demonstrate a level of readiness to protect animals in their custody is fair and reasonable. We are dismayed by the possibility that the USDA would waver on a rule that could save lives at such a small cost.
For the ASPCA responders who experienced Katrina, Sandy, and countless other disaster deployments firsthand, the horrors of these events have not faded from memory: dogs chained in yards and left to drown; cats starving to death in homes after evacuations dragged on and on; animals covered in oil and toxic sludge; dogs stranded on rooftops; animals wandering the streets malnourished, dehydrated, and frightened, many never to be reunited with their owners.
The more that pet owners and animal facilities prepare for emergencies, the better responders can focus their relief efforts when disaster strikes. We hope that ultimately the USDA will remember the heartbreaks of Katrina, Sandy, Joplin, and countless other disasters and renew its resolve to protect imperiled animals under its jurisdiction.