According to news reports, Smithfield’s new ownership is primarily intended to export pork products to China, which is prohibited from sending its pork and beef to the U.S due to food safety concerns for both humans and companion animals. Increasingly, American consumers are concerned with the conditions in which their food is produced. Smithfield is one of many companies phasing out gestation crates, horrendous metal-barred cages that keep breeding sows in spaces so tight they cannot even turn around. It had pledged to remove these archaic cages from its international operations by 2022, and we are encouraged to hear the company state that it plans to keep this commitment.
What You Can Do
What can consumers do when faced with difficult issues surrounding food safety and the welfare of animals? Animal health and consumer safety can be encouraged through expanded education. If meat is part of your diet, there are several product-labeling programs that require higher standards of care for farm animals. They include:
Similarly, the government is increasingly responding to consumer demand for more transparency around the conditions in which our food is produced. Just last week, the US Department of Agriculture approved mandatory country-of-origin labeling on steaks, ribs and other cuts of meat that will indicate where the animal was born, raised and slaughtered. This is a huge step in the right direction and will help consumers make informed choices when shopping for their families.
Last weekend as part of the ASPCA Animal Relocation program, 68 lucky dogs took to the skies, leaving Southern California for the Pacific Northwest via plane and even helicopter. They were all headed to areas where we knew they’d be in great demand, giving them the best possible chance at adoption.
But that was only Part One of this transport project. Part Two came yesterday, when 113 dogs—and four raccoons S.T.A.R.T.’s driver happened to find—were loaded into transport vehicles. After dropping off the raccoons at a wildlife rescue, S.T.A.R.T. and the dogs headed for Oregon and Washington.
Riverside County Department of Animal Services waved good-bye to the 113 dogs, and S.T.A.R.T Rescue (Shelter Transport Animal Rescue Team) began the journey up the West Coast.
Today, the dogs arrived in Washington and Oregon, and we’re so excited for them to begin this new chapter of their lives. To see our photos of this transport, check out our Facebook album.
And if you live in Oregon or Washington, be on the lookout for Cali dogs at the following shelters:
Heartland Humane Society in Corvallis, OR
Luv A Bull in Eugene, OR
My Way Home Dog Rescue in Sandy, OR
Safe Haven Humane Society in Albany, OR
Smidget Rescue in Auburn, WA
Snipped in Coos Bay, OR
Willamette Humane Society in Salem, OR
Hopes Haven in Salem, OR
Puget Sound Rescue in Auburn, WA
R.A.I.N. (Rescuing Animals in Need) in Federal Way, WA
Dogs transported Saturday are settling in at Kitsap Humane Society and Seattle Humane Society. Thanks to everyone involved in the successful transport of these pups!
West Coast dogs are on the move! On Saturday, 68 adoptable dogs traveled from Southern California to shelters in Washington where they’ll have a better chance to find loving homes. The dogs traveled by plane, car—and even helicopter!
The dogs left Los Angeles Animal Services’ West Valley Shelter and Best Friends Pet Adoption & Spay Neuter Center on Saturday morning and headed for the Long Beach airport! They were loaded onto 22 planes flown by volunteer pilots with Pilots N Paws, sponsored in part by Subaru, and began their voyage north. In Fresno, California, the dogs boarded a second set of planes, and Pilots N Paws volunteer pilots flew them the rest of the way to Northern California.
After landing at the airport in Redding, the dogs were met by vans funded by the ASPCA and driven by volunteers and staff from Kitsap Humane Society in Silverdale, Wash. After receiving walks, dinner and fresh water, the dogs were driven overnight to Kitsap Humane Society and Seattle Humane Society (in Bellevue, Washington), where they will eventually be available for adoption.
About 100 more Southern California dogs are awaiting their rides tomorrow. Stay tuned to ASPCA.org for updates!
Earlier this year, we invited animal welfare organizations to apply for one of three $10,000 Volunteer Appreciation Program grants to be awarded during National Volunteer Week—which is happening right now! We couldn’t believe the response we got from more than 140 groups eager to brag about their amazing volunteers. Our experts winnowed the impressive list down to a few finalists, and we asked our own volunteers to vote on the three winners.
In the end, the rockstar grantees were:
• Ark-Valley Humane Society (Buena Vista, CO) • Mayport Cats (Jacksonville, FL) • Foothills Humane Society (Tryon, NC)
Each group will receive a $10,000 grant in recognition of their volunteers’ amazing work for animals. Congratulations, guys!
If you’d like to volunteer, check out our Top 10 Ways to Help Your Local Shelter. If you already volunteer for animals, tell us about it in the comments, or tweet us @ASPCA using the National Volunteer Week hashtag, #NVW!
Tana, a two-year-old filly, at the time of rescue (top) and after rehabilitation (bottom).
When several horse lovers in rural Carbon County, Montana, noticed more than a dozen starving, neglected horses on two local ranches, they did what we hope everyone who witnesses animal suffering will do: They spoke up.
Local law enforcement was eager to take on the case. But, like most law enforcement agencies, they didn’t have the facilities or resources necessary to build a successful case against the owners and nurse dozens of horses back to health. So, officers reached out to the county’s only animal welfare group, Beartooth Humane Alliance, for help.
Diane Zook, Beartooth’s tenacious executive director, jumped at the chance. The only problem: Beartooth works mainly with cats and dogs. In fact, it had never assisted with an equine cruelty situation before.
Zook was unfazed. She called on experts including ASPCA Equine Initiatives Manager Stacy Segal for help. “Stacy is my hero!” Zook tells us. “Without her guidance, I really did not know how to go about this process.”
Segal drew on her wealth of experience investigating equine cruelty to help Zook and local police create a strong case against the owners of the starving horses. The hard work paid off: In July, both cases were settled in court, and Beartooth was awarded custody of many of the horses. For Zook, her greatest challenge was just beginning: Beartooth would need to find permanent placement for these deserving horses.
Segal immediately facilitated an ASPCA grant for the removal and care of the horses at a short-term foster home. Zook and her volunteers began the work of medically and behaviorally rehabilitating the horses, many of whom were undersocialized.
Meanwhile, Segal and Zook called on other equine rescues to see if they could take in and rehome these resilient equines, and the horse welfare community responded with an outpouring of generosity: Seven rescues from all over the country took in Beartooth’s horses, until there were just eight left. Zook prepared to care for the horses through the winter. And then, on Thanksgiving, Zook got an amazing surprise: Blaze’s Tribute Equine Rescue in Jones, Oklahoma, had an opening for the last eight horses. By December, every horse had been placed.
Today, many of these horses are in loving homes, while others are in sanctuaries. One is now a trail horse, two were adopted out together to be well-loved companion animals, and still another is a working cow horse. This spring Hazel, a mare who went to Zuma’s Rescue Ranch in Littleton, Colorado, gave birth to a foal. Hazel and baby will remain on the ranch as a part of its humane education program.
Should equine cruelty occur in Carbon County again, Segal notes, the police and Beartooth are now ready to confidently take on the case. We’re thrilled to have helped.
“The best part is that these horses have found a better tomorrow,” Zook tells us.