Yesterday, Foster Farms—one of the country’s largest chicken producers—announced that it is aiming to remove from its chicken flocks all antibiotics that are also used in humans (barring exceptional cases). This follows similar announcements by other companies like Tyson, Perdue and McDonald’s.
While chickens sometimes need antibiotics to overcome illness, the chicken industry relies far too heavily on antibiotics as a crutch to compensate for the crowded, unsanitary, and stressful conditions that, sadly, are standard on today’s chicken farms. You can learn more about this, and take action, through our Truth About Chicken campaign.
Some companies are removing all antibiotics, some just those used on humans, and some only those used for certain purposes. But while each case differs, the overall principle remains the same: Removing antibiotics without improving underlying conditions is like taking off a bandage and leaving a wound exposed. As chicken companies reduce or remove antibiotics, they must improve the animal welfare problems that often lead to antibiotics use in the first place.
Luckily, the ASPCA has a set of recommendations to improve the welfare of all chickens, no matter the antibiotics policy. These include common-sense practices like offering more space, better sanitation, enrichment, more natural lighting, and healthier genetics. Learn more and take action here.
In honor of National Adopt a Shelter Cat Month, the ASPCA conducted a survey to identify what makes a cat the purrfect pet. The results showed that while those with cats have overwhelmingly positive experiences with their feline friends, non-pet owners lack an understanding of the benefits of having cats as pets.
Of the American adults surveyed, only 47% of non-pet owners believe cats make great companions, compared to 73% of cat owners. Additionally, fewer than half (46%) of non-pet owners agree that cats are low-maintenance, compared to an overwhelming 82% of cat owners. The survey also found that a vast majority of cat owners believe that cats are intelligent (77%), quiet (77%) and independent (71%).
“This survey further confirms what many of us already know—cats are intelligent animals that make excellent companions,” says Dr. Emily Weiss, ASPCA Vice President of Research & Development. “We hope that the public learns from the experiences of current cat owners that there are many benefits of welcoming a cat into your home.”
With 3.4 million cats entering shelters every year, we also hope that these survey results encourage the public to consider adopting a feline friend of their own. To find out how else you can make a difference during Adopt a Shelter Cat Month, check out our list of ways to get involved
After a shocking New York Times exposé on the USDA’s U.S. Meat Animal Research Center (USMARC) unearthed extreme cruelty to animals and an atmosphere devoid of compassion and oversight, the ASPCA has been pressing for congressional reforms.
Our efforts received a huge boost recently from a respected elder statesman. Former U.S. Senator Bob Dole (R-KS), a key architect of federal protections for animals in institutional research, spoke out in favor of the AWARE Act (H.R. 746/S. 388). This legislation, which was introduced in direct response to the USMARC scandal, would require USMARC and similar facilities to comply with the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). The AWA, which sets minimum standards for other kinds of animal research, currently contains an exemption for “agricultural” research. The AWARE Act would close this gaping loophole for federally run facilities.
Among his many achievements during 35 years in Congress, Senator Dole introduced the Improved Standards for Laboratory Animals Act. A key provision of that legislation, enacted in 1985, mandates that research facilities establish internal animal welfare oversight committees to review research using animals and make suggestions to reduce the number of animals used, to improve welfare for those used, and to avoid duplication. In the USMARC case, the USDA’s own investigation revealed that the facility’s oversight committee was inactive and severely negligent in its duties.
Senator Dole voiced his support for reform at USMARC by writing letters to the two current U.S. senators from Kansas, Senators Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran, both of whom chair committees with jurisdiction over USMARC funding.
The summer forecast at the ASPCA is cats, cats and more cats! Monday, June 1, not only kicks off Adopt a Shelter Cat Month—it also marks the height of kitten season, which is the time of year when felines breed. The ASPCA Animal Hospital and kitten nursery are are preparing for a massive influx of homeless and newborn cats, while the ASPCA Adoption Center is hoping to find more forever homes for felines than ever before. If you’re looking to make a difference for cats during this critical time of year, here are some ways you can get involved:
Adopt. Kitten season creates a tremendous population explosion, and animal shelters around the country will soon be flooded with cats in need of a home. You can make a major difference this season by adopting a new feline friend. At our Adoption Center in New York City, we are waiving adoption fees for cats over three years old, and we will waive one adoption fee for adopters who bring home two kittens. If you’re not in New York, you can use our handy database to find adoptable cats in your area.
Take our Pledge. In honor of Adopt a Shelter Cat Month, we also teamed up with Jackson Galaxy, host of Animal Planet’s My Cat from Hell and creator of the Jackson Galaxy Foundation, to promote the awesomeness of rescued kitties. You can help show the world how great rescued cats are by signing our pledge to make adoption your only option and sharing your cat’s most adorable or wacky photo on social media using the hashtag #MyRescueCat.
Make a Gift. Kitten season is one of the most dangerous times of year for homeless cats and kittens. During this season, resources like food, money and space are stretched to the brink and virtually overnight, the number of cats begins to outweigh the number of available homes. The ASPCA is determined to make a difference, but your most generous donation today can support our efforts to curb kitten season and find a home for every animal. To help us save lives during kitten season and all year long, please consider making a gift to the ASPCA today.
We’re excited to announce that A Fair Shake For Youth, a nonprofit group that offers underserved middle schoolers the opportunity to work with therapy and rescue dogs, is expanding its educational program thanks to a $10,000 grant from the ASPCA. The program helps children learn respect for animals, empathy and self-esteem by forming relationships with dogs and practicing positive reinforcement training.
Program participants interact and build relationships with various therapy and rescue dogs on a weekly basis. As the program progresses, the children learn compassion and appreciation for animals while forming the social and emotional skills necessary for building relationships with animals and humans alike. Each week, the children learn to train the dogs with positive reinforcement, starting with basic commands and building up to agility games. The children also learn about animal welfare issues, such as animal homelessness, and tour the ASPCA Adoption Center.
“The connection between some forms of animal cruelty, domestic violence, and child abuse is clear,” says Stacy Wolf, Senior Vice President of the ASPCA’s Anti-Cruelty Group. “Learning to care for animals and treat them with respect reduces the likelihood of cruelty and neglect and also sets the framework for positive relationships with people and the community.”
The ASPCA has donated a total of $30,000 to A Fair Shake for Youth since 2013, helping the program reach over 700 children in 26 public schools throughout the New York City area. The organization has also supplied therapy dog programs for children at domestic violence shelters.
We can’t wait hear about the children and animals who will benefit as a result of this exciting program expansion.