Nearly a decade ago the State of California took a bold stand to ban the production and sale of foie gras, a luxury food item produced by shoving pipes down birds’ throats several times a day to force-feed them until their livers become fatty and diseased.
Major retailers including Safeway, Target and Costco refuse to sell foie gras and, according to one poll, nearly three-quarters of Americans want to see it banned nationwide. But as the implementation date of the California ban neared, it was not surprising that some groups rose up to challenge the law, taking their case all the way to federal court.
Thankfully, this week we were greeted with the news that theFederal Appeals Court decided unanimously to uphold the lower court’s support of the foie gras ban. The three- judge panel recognized that California’s ban was not unconstitutional, as foie gras producers claim. This decision is a big win for the victimized birds and for animal advocates.
After the ruling, foie gras producers defiantly insisted that “nobody is being harmed by foie gras” and announced they will continue their fight to end the ban. But for the time being, California’s ban on foie gras remains happily and firmly in place.
In New York State, local governments are not permitted to regulate commercial dog breeders and pet stores—only the state Department of Agriculture and Markets can do that under New York’s “pet dealer” law. This is highly unusual: We don’t know of any other state that expressly forbids its towns from having higher animal-care standards or holding pet stores more accountable for their practices.
Unfortunately, a decade’s worth of evidence overwhelmingly shows that New York State cannot adequately monitor pet dealers—especially breeders doing “business” in their homes and over the Internet. State officials struggle even to locate commercial breeding premises, much less inspect them!
Fortunately, a bill (A.740-A/S.3573-A) passed by the Legislature in June will allow commercial pet breeders and pet stores to come back under local oversight! This bill is a win for New York’s animals and for you; it’s your tax dollars that foot the bill for the investigations, animal cruelty seizures, sheltering costs and legal proceedings that are often the fallout from allowing New York’s pet industry to go practically unregulated.
Take Action! If you live in New York, please take a moment to call Governor Cuomo at (518) 474-8390 and urge him to allow local governments to protect themselves against unscrupulous dog sellers and breeders by signing A.740-A/S.3573-A into state law. New Yorkers should also email the governor from our Advocacy Alert.
The pet industry is hard at work urging him to veto the bill, so your voice must be heard now! Thank you, New York!
BSL is counterproductive. Rather than give up their beloved pets, owners of restricted breeds often attempt to hide their “outlaw” dogs by restricting time outdoors and even limiting vet visits. Actions like these, taken to avoid detection, can have negative consequences for both public and canine health.
Studies have concluded that correctly identifying a dog’s breed based on looks alone is a hit-or-miss proposition—and the confusion only grows when dealing with mixed breeds, so these laws are difficult to enforce. Additionally, animal control officers in jurisdictions with BSL end up spending too much time enforcing breed bans instead of routine enforcement of dog licensing laws, leash laws and other regulations that require owners to control their dogs−regardless of breed.
The ASPCA is currently fighting breed discrimination in Massachusetts and Maryland. On the national scale, residents of public housing funded by the federal government are often impacted by rules that unfairly restrict the breeds they may own. The Obama Administration’s statement should instruct federal agencies to review their policies to be sure they don’t allow flawed regulations and breed bans. Join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade to help fight BSL in your area!
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By joining the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade, you will receive important alerts from us when we need your help to fight for laws against animal cruelty.
The First Family, heeding President Truman’s maxim that if you want a friend in Washington, you should get a dog, did just that—they’ve added Sunny, a second Portuguese Water Dog, to their home in the White House! The family made a donation to the Washington (D.C.) Humane Society in Sunny’s honor, a lovely gesture that recognizes the important work shelters do for our communities and animals.
With Sunny and Bo, President Obama is able to make a difference in the lives of two dogs. However, the President has an opportunity to make an even bigger difference for thousands of dogs living in our country’s many large-scale, commercial breeding facilities. Last year, the USDA proposed a rule that, for the first time, would require large-scale commercial breeders that sell pets over the Internet (or conduct other sight-unseen sales) to be licensed and inspected under the federal Animal Welfare Act. Many of these commercial breeders are puppy mills—large-scale breeding operations that place profit over the well-being of their dogs.
Even though the ASPCA and our partners helped deliver 350,000 public comments in support, the Obama Administration has been slow to release the final rule. Another regulation preventing the importation of young puppies from foreign puppy mills has been in the pipeline for several years, and we urge the President to implement this new law immediately as well. By ensuring that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) releases its final rules on puppy importation and domestic puppy mills/online dog sales, President Obama can help protect dogs who aren’t as lucky as Bo and Sunny.
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!