This week, the National Chicken Council released its long-awaited revised guidelines [PDF] for the chicken industry. These guidelines are critical since much of industry looks to the NCC’s recommendations to set their own practices.
Unfortunately, while the NCC’s revised recommendations contain some positive steps forward on some welfare issues, they miss the mark on others and, like the previous guidelines, completely neglect to address the most fundamental problem: selective breeding for excessive growth, a cruel practice that causes massive suffering and may pose increased food safety risks to consumers. Until that is addressed, there is a ceiling on how much welfare can be improved.
As our Truth About Chicken campaign describes, most of today’s chickens are bred to grow so big, so fast, that many can barely walk and, weakened, spend much of their lives lying in their own waste with open sores and wounds. This might produce more efficiency and profit for industry, but it makes life more miserable for the almost 9 billion birds raised for food each year.
The new guidelines also continue to allow for much too little space for birds, and neglect to provide for natural light, enough hours of darkness or indoor enrichments such as straw bales for birds to perch on.
The revised recommendations do contain improvements to encourage natural behavior in chickens, increase employee training, and add requirements for animal welfare documentation, oversight and auditing. These are important and laudable steps.
The ASPCA, through its Truth About Chicken campaign, will stay on the case and continue to engage the public and to urge industry to reform its practices. Please join us in making life better for chickens and better for us.
Every day the ASPCA partners with committed individuals and groups working tirelessly to save the lives of more animals in need. Many of these heroes work behind the scenes, rarely getting the acknowledgement they deserve.
Today, however, we have a unique opportunity to not only publicly thank and recognize one of our closest partners, Jane Hoffman of the Mayor’s Alliance, but also help her organization win a $50,000 grant. Earlier this year, we nominated Jane, founding member of the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals and current president and chair of their board of directors, for a unite4:good humanitarian award. We were thrilled to learn recently that she was named a finalist, and as such will receive at least a $25,000 grant, but she is now relying on public votes to receive the top honor, the Unite4:Humanity Inspiration Award.
We nominated Jane because we are keenly aware of her hard work and unwavering dedication to the Mayor’s Alliance, which was established to apply creative, targeted solutions to NYC’s homeless animal crisis. Under Jane’s leadership, the Alliance is making strong headway on increasing adoptions; increasing access to spay/neuter, micro-chipping, and dog licensing services; and increasing awareness of animal shelters and rescue groups and the animals in their care. In other words, if New York animals are our best friends, Jane Hoffman may be theirs.
Happy Valentine’s Day! Here at the ASPCA, we’re excited to spend the day with our loved ones—with two or four legs! By now, most pet parents have heard that chocolate treats pose dangers to dogs, but we wanted to point out a few other tips to keep your pets happy and safe this Valentine’s Day.
Precautionary Petals: While flowers are a Valentine’s Day staple, there are a few types to be wary of. First, all species of lily are potentially fatal to cats. Check out our plant library to learn more about plants that are toxic to pets. Also, be mindful of rose stems with thorns attached—when pets bite step on or swallow them, they could develop an infection.
Careful with Cocktails: If you choose to celebrate Valentine’s Day with a bottle of wine or champagne, make sure your pet doesn’t try to join in. Even a small amount of alcohol can cause serious illnesses in pets, including vomiting, diarrhea, lack of coordination and other problems.
Don’t Share Your Sweets: In addition to chocolate, candies and gums that are sweetened with xylitol are unsafe for pets to consume. It’s important to keep sweet treats out of your pet’s reach.
Earlier this week, we told you about our support of a massive cockfighting bust that spanned three counties in New York State. At the request of the New York State Attorney General's Office, the ASPCA is still on the ground at an Ulster County farm, assisting with the removal, transport and sheltering of as many as 4,000 fighting roosters.
While our responders establish a temporary shelter, where the birds will be cared for and housed pending court disposition, law enforcement officers have arrested three individuals associated with the farm, where birds allegedly destined for cockfights, were bred and trained. The owner of the property was apprehended in south Florida, and according to investigators and an article in the New York Times, has operated an extensive cockfighting pipeline for years.
Several other arrests were made on Saturday night when investigators busted a cockfight in Queens and raided a pet shop in Brooklyn. Cockfighting is illegal in all 50 states. In New York, cockfighting and possession of a fighting bird at a cockfighting location are felonies, with each charge carrying a maximum penalty of four years in jail and a maximum fine of $25,000.
The ASPCA will assist these Albuquerque agencies with annual planning meetings to determine and monitor goals and strategies. The agencies will have the opportunity to apply for substantial ASPCA grant funding to address the community’s animal welfare needs. They will also have access to ASPCA resources, expertise and guidance, as well as strategic planning support, statistical analysis, training, and participation in ground-breaking research projects.
We’re looking forward to being part of Albuquerque’s great strides for animals in need!
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