Guest blog by Jessica Johnson, Senior Manager of Grassroots Advocacy for ASPCA Government Relations.
Are you interested in learning more about key animal-protection issues? Want to find out how you can do more to help the animals in your area? If so, please join me and my fellow ASPCA experts for our free December Webinar Series, where we will discuss several important areas of animal legislation, what has been accomplished, and what work still needs to be done!
Cost of Care Legislation: Empowering Rescue Agencies and Getting Animals Out of Limbo Wednesday, December 10 6:30 P.M. ET (1 hour) Presenters: Debora Bresch, Senior State Legislative Director, Mid-Atlantic Region; Chloe Waterman, Senior Manager, State Legislative Strategy
One of the largest obstacles facing abused animals today is that it costs so much to care for them while cruelty charges are pursued following their rescue. Law enforcement may be reluctant to assume this burden, and local shelters with limited resources may be forced to. Animal victims can remain in shelters for months—or even years—as their cruelty cases wind through the court system. Through this Cost of Care Legislation webinar, you’ll learn how the ASPCA is addressing these problems through the legislative process so that abused animals can be rescued but not left in legal limbo, and shelters can afford to serve other animals in need.
Puppy Mill Laws: How YOU Can Make a Difference for Dogs Wednesday, December 17 3:00 P.M. ET (1 hour) Presenters: Bill Ketzer, Senior State Legislative Director, Northeast Region; Cori Menkin, Senior Director, Puppy Mills Campaign
Dogs in puppy mills spend their entire lives housed in tiny cages, often stacked on top of each other, forced to produce countless puppies all for the sake of a dollar. The ASPCA is working to guard animals against this despicable industry, but we can’t do it without you! By attending this Puppy Mill Laws webinar, you’ll learn the ins and outs of the federal, state and local laws that help crack down on puppy mills, including all the new and innovative approaches that advocates are using to address this horrific problem.
Federal Legislation Wrap-Up: Looking Back at the 113th Congress and Its Impact on Animals Thursday, December 18 6:30 P.M. ET (1 hour) Presenters: Andrew Binovi, Federal Legislative Manager; Carolyn Schnurr, Federal Legislative Manager
The ASPCA works with Congress—100 U.S. Senators and 435 U.S. Representatives—to provide stronger legal protections for animals across the country. But before the 114th Congress convenes in January 2015, let’s review what the 113th Congress did to help animals! In this Federal Legislation Wrap-Up webinar, the ASPCA’s federal lobbyists will discuss what animal-related initiatives have been considered by Congress over the past two years and which bills we should expect to see next year!
Registration for December’s Animal Legislation Webinar series is now closed. Couldn't make it? Join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade to stay up-to-date on fun and informational events.
During the holidays it can be difficult to make it out of stores alive, never mind navigating the confusing labels around farm animals’ welfare. If you eat meat, eggs or dairy, look for certifications that require better treatment and independent farm audits, specifically Certified Humane, Animal Welfare Approved and GAP (Levels 2+ for turkeys and 3+ for chickens). Unfortunately, common terms like “humane,” “hormone-free,” and “natural” can be meaningless when it comes to animals’ welfare. Take our label guide with you so you’re armed with facts.
2. Beware of Cheap Meat
Holidays can be expensive, so it’s especially tempting to go for money-saving promotions at the supermarket. But both consumers and animals can pay a steep price for cheap meat, eggs and dairy—in the form of poor animal welfare, poor quality and potential human health risks. Animal products often cost less because companies cut corners with welfare, but all things considered, choosing higher-welfare animal products is a much better deal.
3. Go to the Source
Whether you’re a city mouse or a country mouse, there’s bound to be a farmer’s market in your vicinity. Use this search engine to locate one. There you can often talk directly to people who work on or for the farms to learn how they raise animals. Start by asking about the farm’s policies on cages, debeaking, feedlots and antibiotics. Farmers tend to appreciate an informed consumer, so don’t be shy.
4. Plant Power
Try adding more vegetables to your holiday meal. Veggies are super healthy, look beautiful, and tons of recipes exist to make them taste delicious. You might also try some of the ever-more-available and tasty plant-based alternatives for meat, egg and dairy products. Testing out plant-based versions of old favorites or bringing in new veggie-based dishes is an exciting opportunity to develop new family traditions. Let us know your favorites in the comments section!
5. Ask and Receive
Above all, don’t forget that you have the power to demand more humanely raised products in your stores. This holiday season and going forward, you can impact which brands your grocery store carries. Start by demanding more humanely raised chicken in your stores with our supermarket request letter.
With so many critical issues facing our country, making sure your voice is heard at the ballot box tomorrow is more important than ever. On November 4, Americans will be electing all 435 Members of the U.S. House of Representatives and 36 U.S. Senators, as well as many governors, state senators and representatives, and local elected officials. These individuals will be making policy that will have tremendous impact—for better or worse—on the lives of our nation’s animals for the next two to six years. It is crucial that you take this opportunity to put elected officials into office who will fight for what you believe in.
Voters in Michigan and Maine will have an especially critical opportunity to protect animals at the ballot box by directly weighing in on two forms of cruelty to wildlife and dogs. We are urging Michigan voters to say no to the trophy hunting of wolves by voting NO on Proposals 1 and 2. Mainers have the chance to end three intolerably cruel and unsporting bear hunting practices by voting YES on Question 1.
With so much at stake, please research your candidates’ positions and voting records on the issues that matter most to you. Many of tomorrow’s elections will be won by tiny margins, so please get out and vote!
National Pit Bull Awareness Day, which takes place on October 25, was created to bring positive attention to the Pit Bull Terrier. By combating myths about the breed, we have the power to restore its good reputation and save thousands of lives. Here’s how you can help:
Become a myth-buster and breed advocate: Did you know that famous figures like President Theodore Roosevelt, Helen Keller and Fred Astaire all shared their homes with Pit Bulls? Read more true facts about Pit Bulls and stand up against dangerous myths.
Consider adoption or fostering: Thousands of Pit Bulls end up in shelters every year due to abuse, over-breeding and abandonment. Pit Bulls can make very sweet, loyal family dogs and provide a lifetime of joy. Check out 10 Tips for Adopting a Pit Bull to find out if this breed is right for you!
Make your Pit Bull an ambassador. The best way to combat negative stereotypes is for you and your Pit to set a positive example! Take your well-trained dog with you to the park, store, and for long walks to show people the peaceful, gentle side of Pits. Additionally, consider having your dog earn an AKC Canine Good Citizen certificate, which may come in handy when facing breed bias from people who don’t understand the good the Pits truly can do.
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the agency responsible for protection of wild horses and burros as cultural icons, is considering a plan to ship many of these burros to Guatemala to become working animals. Once off of U.S. soil, the fate of these animals becomes largely unknown. What’s more, if carried out, this plan establishes a dangerous precedent for other federally protected equines.
The proposed taxpayer-funded plan is in direct conflict with the BLM’s mission of protecting these cultural treasures. Additionally, this plan is a waste of critical resources and fails to address the agency’s on-going problem of unsustainable wild horse management.
Currently, the BLM has over 50,000 wild horses and burros—who have been rounded-up and removed from public lands—in their holding facilities. Yet, despite this, no comprehensive on-range population management plan has been adopted. Shipping these animals to other countries to suffer undetermined fates is not the answer. The BLM should instead implement a long-term strategy that prioritizes on-range management tactics including fertility control, a method recommended recently by the National Academy of Sciences.
Action must be taken to stop this misguided plan in its tracks and safeguard the welfare of our wild horses and burros. We urge concerned readers to stand up for these wild equines by visiting the ASPCA Advocacy Center today.
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