This month nine states are considering legislation to criminalize the documentation of animal abuse on farms. “Ag-gag” or anti-whistleblower bills prevent the exposure of photos or video showing the unethical and often highly unsafe practices that all too often occur on industrial farms. This kind of evidence has recently led to cruelty prosecutions, massive food recalls and industry reform. The ASPCA is working hard to make sure these dangerous bills do not become law and you can help by reaching out to your representatives.
There is a reason that footage of farm animals is controversial. The vast majority of U.S. farm animals are raised on factory farms in filthy, overcrowded ammonia-filled sheds. They lead short lives full of suffering and frustration, are bred for unnaturally excessive growth and production, and are regularly dosed with antibiotics to compensate for their wretched surroundings. They also, way too often, are subject to cruel and depraved acts of violence.
The good news is that awareness of farm animal welfare is on the rise in all sectors: among consumers, farmers, legislatures, retailers, prosecutors and even food corporations. Better treatment of farm animals has simply become an ethical imperative, and the ASPCA is on the scene, educating the public, fighting for stronger laws and supporting more humane farming practices.
Great news! This week members of Congress reintroduced legislation to establish greater federal oversight of puppy mills and online dog sales.
The Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety (PUPS) Act would require commercial breeders who sell their puppies directly to the public, sight unseen, including via the web, to be licensed and inspected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Currently, only breeders who sell dogs to pet stores or to puppy brokers are subject to federal oversight.
Many puppies sold online come from puppy mills and are commonly bred in unsanitary, overcrowded and often cruel conditions without sufficient veterinary care, food, water or socialization. While facilities that breed puppies for commercial resale through pet stores are required to be licensed and inspected, breeders who sell directly to consumers, via the Internet, newspaper classifieds or other outlets, are exempt from any federal oversight.
“As the ASPCA has seen firsthand, the photos of happy, healthy puppies posted on a breeder’s website often grossly misrepresent what conditions are really like for these puppies and their parents,” says Nancy Perry, Senior Vice President of ASPCA Government Relations. “Puppy mills are able to completely evade federal oversight by taking advantage of a pre-Internet loophole in current law, but the PUPS Act would change that.”
As mentioned in USA Today, the PUPS Act will require that any breeder who sells more than 50 dogs each year to pet stores or online must meet federal standards.
“The current loophole has allowed too many dog breeders to get away with abusive behavior for far too long,” adds Cori Menkin, Senior Director of the ASPCA’s Puppy Mill Campaign. “We encourage Congress and the USDA to take meaningful steps to protect dogs in commercial breeding facilities.”
To learn more about the ASPCA’s efforts to eradicate puppy mills, and how you can help, please visit www.nopetstorepuppies.com.
Horses are frequently the victims of cruelty and neglect, but their suffering sometimes fails to grab headlines. In honor of National Horse Protection Day, we’d like to share just one horse rescue we’ve had the opportunity to support.
Last month, 13 emaciated horses were found living on a rural farm in Vermilion County, Illinois. The horses were all skin and bones. Two were blind, and a third was found deceased on the property.
Luckily, the Society for Hooved Animal Rescues and Emergencies (S.H.A.R.E) stepped in and began the long process of rehabilitating the horses. As soon the ASPCA heard about S.H.A.R.E’s incredible work, we gave the organization a $6,500 grant to help pay for veterinary care and food for the rescued equines.
We’re so glad to assist S.H.A.R.E in its efforts to help horses! Find out how you can get involved and be a hero for horses by reading our top 10 ways to help equines.
Have you stood up for horses? Tell us about it in the comments!
We can feel it in the air—spring is just around the corner! What’s a better way to celebrate the return of warm weather than to lace up your running shoes and hit the trail for some fresh air? Whether you prefer to run, walk or ride your bike, there’s a unique way you can put your time outdoors to good use—join Team ASPCA!
Presented by Subaru, Team ASPCA is a national endurance training and fundraising program dedicated to helping animal lovers walk, run or cycle toward helping the save animal lives nationwide. Team ASPCA members participate in major endurance events such as marathons, half-marathons, and cycling events.
In addition to helping us do our life-saving work for animals, there are other benefits to joining the Team. You’ll receive professional training, weekend travel accommodations at the time of the event, guaranteed race entry, official Team ASPCA gear and access to exclusive race weekend events and parties.
When Midnight, a six-year-old Labrador Retriever mix, came to us, he suffered from severe skin disease and ear infections and looked emaciated. He underwent treatment at the ASPCA Animal Hospital and slowly began to recover. When he was ready, Midnight stayed for months in our Adoption Center, waiting patiently for someone to take him home.
In February, Victoria D'Asto and Michael Pisula did just that, giving Midnight a new life as part of their family.
“My husband and I waited a year and a half after the passing of our last dog before visiting the ASPCA in Manhattan,” Victoria says. “After looking at all the dogs and meeting several of them, we settled on Midnight, now known as Harley.”
Harley has come a long way, but he still suffers from chronic ear infections. With medication and TLC, Harley’s ear infections are manageable.
“Even with his health issues and difficult past, we felt that he would be a great addition to our family,” Victoria says.
And they were right. Harley is thriving in his new home.
“It turns out that we really lucked out—Harley is so well trained and sweet with everyone he meets,” Victoria says. “He seems to enjoy his new diet and exercise program as he gains those last five pounds to bring him back up to a healthy weight.”
Victoria tells us that Harley loves to go for walks in Manhattan’s Riverside Park, on shopping trips, and enjoys romping around at Victoria and Michael’s country home on the weekends.
“He loves destroying his toys, fighting for the peanut butter in his new Kong toy and lounging by the fireplace,” she says. “It's been almost two weeks, and he's already become our best friend! Thanks, ASPCA!”