As this Year of the Horse comes to a close, we are thrilled to share two huge pieces of news related to horse slaughter:
Congress: Slaughter Funding Ban Included in Omnibus Proposal Update—December 17, 2014: Great news! This bill passed both chambers and was signed into law by President Obama on December 16. No horse slaughter plants will open on U.S. soil for at least one more year!
First, the Fiscal Year 2015 omnibus federal spending bill put forward by congressional negotiators this week includes the vital amendment that continues to block the use of federal funds to inspect horse slaughterhouses. The renewal of this all-important spending ban will prevent horse slaughterhouses from opening in the United States for at least one more year! Congress is once again sending a clear message: Our tax dollars should not enable the predatory and inhumane horse slaughter industry.
House and Senate leadership expect to pass this comprehensive spending bill within days, and then send it to the President for his signature. Strong bipartisan votes in House and Senate committees in support of the Moran (D-VA) Amendment and the Landrieu (D-LA)-Graham (R-SC) Amendment this summer helped secure this recent success. Special thanks go to the horse advocates nationwide who contacted their Member of Congress to ensure this amendment’s inclusion in the final spending bill. We will charge ahead as the FY2016 bills are formulated this spring and keep you posted on their progress.
Europe to Ban Horse Meat from Mexican Facilities A second monumental announcement rocked horse slaughter proponents this week: The European Union (EU) announced that a ban on imports of horse meat from Mexico to the EU is imminent. This announcement comes on the heels of the EU’s release of a scathing audit of EU-certified Mexican horse slaughter plants, which kill tens of thousands of American horses each year. The report repeatedly criticizes the Mexican horse slaughter industry for its blatant animal cruelty, and emphasizes the inability of the Mexican government to ensure the safety of horse meat. The report stresses that because horses are not raised as food-producing animals in Mexico or the United States, but are instead considered companion animals and partners in work and sport, they are routinely given many medications that are illegal for use in food animals. There is no practical way to protect consumers from the toxic health risks of American horse meat.
Since the audited Mexican plants are backed by many of the same businesses pushing to open plants in the U.S., we could expect that the same brutality would befall horses if slaughtered in the U.S. Regardless of geographic location, horse slaughter is inherently cruel to horses, inherently dangerous to people, and must not be tolerated.
Join us as we build on these advances and push the new 114th Congress to take the final step: A permanent ban on the slaughter of American horses here and abroad. Please sign up below to join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade and help us make this ban a reality—the new session of Congress starts next month, and we’re ready to hit the ground running!
Guest blog by ASPCA President & CEO Matt Bershadker
Like many, we’ve been watching the situation in Moreauville, Louisiana, where a local “vicious dog” ordinance threatened the lives of innocent pit bulls and Rottweilers—including one serving as a loyal therapy dog for O'Hara Owen and her family. We’re relieved to hear local leaders say they have repealed the unjust law.
The ASPCA has long opposed legislation that targets specific breeds of dogs, because all dogs need to be judged on the merits of their individual behavior, not stereotyped based on misperceptions about their breed. Fortunately, many state legislatures agree. Currently, there are no state-level laws that discriminate against certain dog breeds, though a number of cities and municipalities do have breed-specific laws in place. Eighteen states have taken the extra step to ban breed-specific legislation altogether.
When safety is a community issue, we support laws that focus not on breed but on individual dog behavior, including those prohibiting prolonged chaining and tethering.
But behind this unfair law and its nearly tragic consequences is another story that’s just as important: the story of how a community’s voice—whether it’s a geographical community or one united by common values—can create meaningful change, save lives, and reverse something as seemingly untouchable as established law.
We applaud local decision-makers for listening, and extend our services to help craft new ordinance language that will offer the intended protections to Moreauville while avoiding the tragic pitfalls of breed-specific legislation.
This ordinance—and the fate of Moreauville pets—only got a second look when individual voices online, and later, news media brought it to light. As a result, our culture is a little more humane and a little more civilized today than it was yesterday. That may sound like a tiny difference to some, but to families like the Owens and to those of us dedicated to this cause, it’s life-changing.
Chicken Scratch is an ASPCA Blog feature that highlights interesting news about farm animals and farm animal welfare.
“They’re not happy. And they’re definitely not healthy.” These are the words of one fed-up contract farmer who allowed cameras into his barn to reveal exactly how factory-farmed chickens live. Watch the video and be sure to sign our petition calling on the chicken industry to improve their standards.
In January 2014, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed milestone legislation to allow local governments to regulate pet dealers for the first time in almost 15 years. We are thrilled to announce that the New York City Council has risen to the occasion and is currently considering three pieces of ASPCA-supported legislation that would lay down new rules for city stores that sell puppies and kittens.
While there are very few puppy mills within the five boroughs, there are over 70 stores that sell puppies and kittens, and they obtain their “stock” from breeders all over the country. While the Council can’t regulate breeders outside of the city, it can make sure that New York City pet stores don’t support the cruel treatment of these pups or their parents, who never get out of the puppy mills.
The three proposals currently under consideration:
Intro. 55-A would help ensure that NYC pet shops do not sell dogs and cats from breeders who fail to meet even the most basic care standards—those with certain violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act on their records—and would prohibit stores from doing business with Class B dealers, animal brokers notorious for obtaining animals from disreputable, difficult-to-trace sources. Intro 55-A would also require NYC pet shops to disclose critical information to customers about the origins of the dogs and cats they sell.
Intros. 136-A and 146-A would require that any dogs and cats sold at city pet shops are spayed/neutered and microchipped and all dogs are licensed prior to sale. Spaying and neutering animals sold in pet shops is critical to reducing pet homelessness; microchipping is essential to reuniting lost pets with owners; and licensing not only helps ensure the safety of pets and the public, but also generates much-needed revenue for the New York City’s shelter system.
If passed, these measures would take effect on June 1, 2015.
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.