Thumbs up to Rhode Island for enacting two critical measures to protect farm animals. The new laws ban the intensive confinement of veal calves and female breeding pigs and prohibit the inhumane tail-docking of cows.
"These two new measures are a significant step toward improving the lives of farm animals in Rhode Island, who all too often endure lives of agony and frustration on factory farms," says Suzanne McMillan, ASPCA Director of Farm Animal Welfare. "All animals, including those raised for food, deserve to be treated humanely."
S.2191/H.7180 prohibits two of the most horrible factory farming abuses: veal crates for calves and gestation crates for female breeding pigs. Veal calves and female breeding pigs on factory farms are often confined in crates so tiny that they are unable to lie down, stand up or turn around freely. Eight other states have already passed similar humane legislation, and 16 Rhode Island farms came forward in support of the state ban.
S.2192 prohibits the inhumane practice of "tail-docking" cows. This process involves the partial amputation—typically without pain killers—of up to two-thirds of a cow's tail. Despite claims from some in the dairy industry that tail docking is needed to help ensure cow cleanliness and udder health, the scientific evidence shows that tail docking creates no benefit to the cow or quality of milk produced. Instead, the practice causes cows pain and distress and often results in increased fly attacks. The American Veterinary Medical Association, theNational Milk Producers Federation, and numerous dairy industry representatives are highly critical of the practice and oppose routine tail docking of dairy cows.
"We thank Governor Chafee for protecting Rhode Island's animals from some of the worst factory farm abuses," says Debora Bresch, Esq., ASPCA Senior Director of Government Relations for the Eastern Region.
Horse lovers across America can celebrate a big victory. The U.S. House Appropriations Committee just approved an amendment that will prevent taxpayer dollars from being used by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to inspect U.S. horse slaughter facilities. By blocking this federal funding, the House has taken its first step to ensure that horse slaughter facilities cannot legally operate on U.S. soil. We will need your help to ensure this provision gets through the whole House and the Senate, so stay tuned for upcoming advocacy alerts.
While our current Congress has prided itself on reducing government spending, last year's agriculture funding bill actually omitted this provision—opening the U.S. market to the horse slaughter industry.
"Using taxpayer dollars to fund this abhorrent industry is a wildly unpopular decision," says Nancy Perry, ASPCA Senior Vice President of Government Relations. "At a time when funding for many vital programs is being cut, it is imperative that Congress not use $5 million of taxpayers' money to fund horse slaughter, a cruel practice that benefits only foreign interests."
Take Action! Rep. Moran’s amendment to the Agriculture Appropriations bill protects American communities from the devastating environmental and economic impact of horse slaughter facilities, but the bill still has to pass the full House of Representatives. The House will vote on the bill on Tuesday, June 26.Please contact your U.S. representative today and urge him or her to pass the bill with the Moran Amendment intact and reject any attempts to fund horse slaughter during fiscal year 2013!
Guest blogpost from Suzanne McMillan, ASPCA Director of Farm Animal Welfare.
Last week, I attended a meeting of the National Organic Standards Board—the body that advises the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)on organic standards—to suggest stronger protections for animals living on organic farms. Animals who are raised organically are not necessarily raised humanely. In fact, many organic farms are still factory farms, often confining animals indoors using severe devices for most of their lives.
My efforts focused on the welfare of chickens, turkeys and ducks. Specifically, I asked the board to urge the USDA to adopt rules addressing some of the worst industry practices, including beak trimming, force feeding, crowding, failing to maintain clean air and unnaturally accelerating animals’ growth rates. Along with detailed written recommendations, I delivered a three-minute oral summary of our suggestions, which you can watch here:
Guest blog post from Suzanne McMillan, ASPCA Director of Farm Animal Welfare
Nine out of 10 land animals killed for food in the U.S. are poultry. Unfortunately these chickens, turkeys and other birds have no protection under federal animal welfare laws—not even during slaughter.
Now the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) wants to allow faster line speeds in poultry slaughterhouses. From an animal welfare perspective, this raises red flags: We all know that when you rush, mistakes happen. Workers need to be as careful as possible when handling live birds to ensure proper procedures are followed.
Have you heard the news? The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is finally planning to crack down on Internet puppy sales! Why, you ask? Well, believe it or not, buying a puppy online is just as bad as buying one from a pet shop—maybe even worse!
Currently, the federal Animal Welfare Act—passed 40 years ago, before the Internet even existed—only requires breeders who sell dogs to pet stores or to puppy brokers to be licensed and inspected by the USDA. The USDA has just released proposed regulatory language to close this loophole.
Don’t Be Fooled! Many puppies sold online come from puppy mills. Most websites that sell puppies online claim to be good dog breeders—they even use fancy terms like “certified kennel”, “AKC-registered”, “pedigree” and “health certified,” and include photos of cute puppies frolicking in ideal settings. The truth is that many of these breeders are really puppy mills in disguise. Trust us, no truly responsible breeder would ever sell their dogs online and have them shipped to your doorstep.