This summer, the Governor of New Jersey vetoed an ASPCA-backed bill to ban the use of gestation crates. Gestation crates are small cages (about 2' × 7') industrialized farms use for confining pregnant pigs.
We were very disappointed by Governor Christie’s veto, but we were also shocked. It doesn’t often happen that 91% of a state’s residents and an overwhelming majority of a state’s legislators—Democrats and Republicans alike—agree on anything. But in New Jersey, the plight of pregnant pigs gave rise to an overwhelming consensus that no animal should be confined in this intolerably cruel manner.
Thankfully, there is still an opportunity to pass the bill to ban gestation crates: State Senator Raymond Lesniak is spearheading an effort to override the governor’s veto.
The override effort has been endorsed by New Jersey’s leading animal protection groups, national groups, industry experts, and major New Jersey news outlets. Press of Atlantic City called gestation crates “the very definition of cruelty.” Banning them, in the words of the Star-Ledger, is “basic decency.” The Times of Trenton asked us to “imagine the outcry if dogs and cats were subjected to such treatment.”
The ASPCA is saddened by the loss of one of Congress’ most dedicated animal welfare advocates: Representative C.W. Bill Young (FL-13). As the longest serving Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Young led a career filled with compassionate actions for animals.
Rep. Young was well known for his dedication in the fight to stop the brutal practice of horse slaughter. In addition to his consistent support of authorizing legislation, like the SAFE Act, to ban horse slaughter, Rep. Young was also a staunch ally to horses on the House Appropriations Committee. In June of this year, Rep. Young cosponsored an amendment to the Agriculture Appropriations bill for 2014 that would prevent federal dollars from being spent on horse meat inspections, language that would keep horse slaughter plants from reopening in the United States. Thanks to his leadership, the amendment was swiftly adopted into the FY 14 Agriculture Appropriations bill by the committee.
Rep. Young, a member of the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus, advocated for many animal welfare issues during his 42-years of service in Congress. A longtime leader on legislation to combat puppy mills, Rep. Young joined as an original cosponsor of the PUPS Act this Congress, legislation that would close loopholes in the existing law and improve conditions for dogs in commercial breeding establishments.
In addition to his leadership on these key efforts, Rep. Young supported many other animal welfare initiatives over the course of his career, including legislation to combat animal fighting, stop horse soring, and protect America’s wild horses.
The ASPCA is grateful to Rep. Young for his many years of compassionate service in Congress, and remembers him for standing up in defense of our nation’s animals. His memory and legacy will long be cherished.
Here’s one more example of how human health and animal welfare are inseparable: On October 7, the USDA announced that 278 people across 18 states have contracted salmonella from eating chicken from a certain West Coast poultry processor. Reports indicate that about 42% of the people infected have been hospitalized—about double the normal rate of hospitalization for Salmonella infections—because this strain of salmonella is resistant to several commonly prescribed antibiotics.
In a recent U.S. News & World Report story, Dr. Marc Siegel, an associate professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center, explained how this life-threatening outbreak is linked to the common industry practice of feeding chickens low doses of antibiotics to compensate for the sickening conditions on factory farms:
"It's not an accident that this particular strain is resistant," he said. "I suspect it's resistant because of the overuse of antibiotics among farm animals."
Chicken live in squalor, Siegel said: "Ninety-five percent of chickens are grown in such horrific conditions that they're standing in poop and they end up infected with salmonella. If one chicken gets it, they all get it."
On top of poor living conditions on farms, most modern chickens are bred to grow so fat, so fast, that many collapse under their own weight and spend much of their lives lying in their own waste, with open sores and wounds.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Chickens deserve better, and so do we. The ASPCA is urging the chicken industry to switch to slower-growing breeds raised in better conditions. Learn more and take action at TruthAboutChicken.org.
“I am interested in long-term humane solutions to manage our horse populations. Our land is precious to the Navajo people as are all the horses on the Navajo Nation. Horses are sacred animals to us.” – Ben Shelly, president of the Navajo Nation
Phenomenal news! Horse-welfare advocates just gained an important new ally in the fight to stop the brutal practice of horse slaughter. As reported earlier this week in TheNew York Times, Ben Shelly, president of the Navajo Nation, announced that the Nation opposes the practice of horse slaughter and has stopped all horse round-ups on the reservation.
This statement follows two important developments for horses on Navajo lands. In September, a coalition of Navajo elders and medicine people passed a resolution to oppose horse slaughter, and a Navajo Nation chapter opted to suspend round-ups in its territory for fear the horses would be sent to slaughter.
The ASPCA applauds President Shelly’s announcement, which underscores the fact that the inherently cruel practice of horse slaughter is never an acceptable end for a horse.
President Shelly’s message on behalf of the Navajo Nation confirms the building momentum for the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act, which would forbid the slaughter of horses in the U.S. and end the current export of American horses for slaughter abroad.
Just take a quick look at these distressing photos, and it’s obvious: Many puppy mill dogs clearly do not receive adequate veterinary care. The dogs in these photos are suffering from symptoms of grave neglect—emaciation, severe matting, advanced dental disease, eye and ear infections, skin diseases and mammary growths—that indicate a lack of regular, preventive veterinary care. This is especially true of adult breeding dogs, who typically are bred at every opportunity regardless of their health.
Why does this happen? Part of the problem is that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the enforcement agency for dog breeding requirements outlined in the Animal Welfare Act, recommends that facilities have veterinarians visit a minimum of once a year. An annual veterinary exam may be sufficient for a well-cared-for pet, but for dogs living in crowded, filthy enclosures and enduring frequent pregnancies—which vets consider a state of “accelerated starvation” because it is so physically taxing—annual vet visits are simply not enough.
Take Action! The USDA is accepting comments on its veterinary care policy until Friday, October 11. Please tell the agency to revise its policy to recommend twice-a-year vet exams for animals, especially breeding animals. Submit your comments directly on this government webpage—we’ve provided talking points you may use (below), but your message will be more powerful if you tell the USDA how you feel in your own words.
The USDA’s Policy #3 on veterinary care falls short of common professional standards. The recommendation that veterinary visits occur “at least annually” is not sufficient to protect animals. -Breeding dogs frequently suffer from emaciation, severe matting, advanced dental disease, eye and ear infection, skin diseases, and mammary growths that indicate a lack of regular, preventive care. -Organizations including the Association of Shelter Veterinarians, the American Kennel Club, the American College of Theriogenologists and the Society for Theriogenology recommend semiannual veterinary exams and veterinary exams prior to breeding. -Please revise Policy #3 to recommend a hands-on veterinary exam at least twice annually for all animals, particularly those bred more than once a year.
On behalf of the puppy mill dogs, thank you for your help.