Guest blog by ASPCA President & CEO Matt Bershadker
This week, The New York Times published a comprehensive investigation into deplorable animal treatment at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Meat Animal Research Center (USMARC), a sprawling complex of laboratories in Nebraska with the overarching mission to help meat producers make more money.
There, according to the Times’ exposé, newborn piglets are accidentally crushed to death by their mothers, who have been scientifically bred to give birth to unnaturally large litters. Weakened and deformed calves are born to cows “retooled” to have twins and triplets when they usually bear only one calf at a time. And lambs born in open fields were left to die excruciating deaths during an experiment to see if their mothers, normally dependent on human help, would nurture their babies despite severe weather and predators.
This barbaric animal “experimentation” is not only cruel, but wildly out of step with modern sensibilities and ethical standards. It’s even more appalling that such activities—conducted with the goal of helping a private-sector industry turn a higher profit—are subsidized by U.S. taxpayers.
You’d think we’d have laws protecting animals from such abject abuse. But farm animals—both in agricultural research and in on-farm production—are indefensibly excluded from the Animal Welfare Act, which sets standards for other kinds of animal research.
The problem doesn't stop there. This research feeds a larger agricultural system that treats animals like widgets—constantly striving to produce more, bigger, faster—with little regard for their pain. According to the Times, most of the research at USMARC is being done to help beef, pork, and lamb producers make up for an increased consumer interest in alternatives, like poultry. But widespread cruelty and genetic manipulation to speed the process are also rampant in chicken production. Most chickens raised for eating are bred to grow so huge, so fast, that they can barely stand up. Many collapse under their own weight and spend much of their lives lying in their own waste, with open sores and wounds. That’s why the ASPCA is actively involved in improving those conditions.
It doesn't have to be this way. More humane alternatives are available, and consumers are demanding better. If we are to live up to the ideal of a humane society, Congress must close the legal loopholes that allow such abject suffering, consumers must vote with their wallets, and the animal agri-business industry must respond.
What You Can Do Now Please take action: Use the form below to tell Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to halt all research at the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center and conduct an immediate investigation into the atrocities committed there.
After receiving reports on Monday of a dog wandering on New York City’s Grand Central Parkway in Queens, NY, two New York City Police Department (NYPD) officers responded and found an injured pit bull puppy sitting in the middle lane of the busy roadway. The officers carried the 6-month-old pup, first called “Rocky” and now named “Huxley,” to safety, and transported him first to the ASPCA’s office in Queens, and then to the ASPCA Animal Hospital in Manhattan.
ASPCA veterinarians performed surgery on Huxley’s broken leg, and he is expected to make a full recovery. We’d like to ask anyone who has information about Huxley to please come forward. Thanks to the NYPD officers who rescued this brave dog!
Curious pup Otis leaves no stone unturned! This inquisitive guy loves to sniff around and explore his surroundings—there’s nothing he’d like more than a Saturday by your side roaming Central Park. This funny guy will keep you laughing with his playful antics, but, like most city dwellers, he’s in a rush to get to where he’s going!
At times, Otis will bark to let you know he wants something and may be protective of his food, but our Behavioral team is available to give you tips on how to control this behavior. Otis would do best in an adults-only household with an experienced adopter who can give him lots of exercise and playtime. Adopt Otis today!
Otis is available for adoption at the ASPCA Adoption Center. If you are interested in adopting, please call our Adoptions department in New York City at (212) 876-7700 ext. 4120. To learn more about Otis, please visit his profile page.
Assisted more than 1,200 animals through the ASPCA Safety Net program, designed to keep pets in their homes and out of shelters by providing services to pet owners at risk of giving up their pets.
Relocated more than 500 animals from overcrowded Los Angeles County shelters to communities where they have a better chance of being adopted.
Distributed more than $1.3 million in grants to local animal welfare organizations and partners.
We’ve also worked to form relationships with Los Angeles pet parents, ensuring that they are aware of our services:
At a neighborhood event, ASPCA Community Advocate Elizabeth Gamboa met Carmen and her 11-year-old son. Elizabeth learned that the family’s four-year-old terrier mix, Chico, was not neutered, soon a follow-up visit to Carmen’s home, she provided a voucher for a free neuter, as well as a free ID tag, collar and leash. Chico was neutered at the ASPCA spay/neuter clinic. The family is now an ambassador for the ASPCA.
Maria brought her Chihuahua, Fanny, to our Baldwin Park shelter on a hunch that Fanny was ill. Maria could not afford veterinary services but loves 10-year-old Fanny, whom she’s had since she was a puppy. Erica Macias, the ASPCA’s Baldwin Park Safety Net manager, provided a voucher for a check-up for Fanny at a nearby clinic. The ASPCA covered her veterinary bill, which included treatment and medication for ear and skin infections, as well as vaccines.
We can’t wait to help more animals like Chico and Fanny in 2015! We plan to add staff and increase surgeries performed at our spay/neuter clinic, expand our Safety Net initiative and increase the capacity of our transport program. Stay tuned for more updates to come as we continue our work in Los Angeles!
Thank you to our partners on the ground in Los Angeles, including Los Angeles County Animal Care Foundation, L.A. Animal Services, County of Los Angeles Department of Animal Care & Control, Downtown Dog Rescue, The Amanda Foundation, Stray Cat Alliance, Fix Nation, The Jason Debus Heigl Foundation, Found Animals Foundation, and the Spay Neuter Project of Los Angeles (SNP LA).
Kittens and puppies are cute as can be, but there’s something about senior pets that is undeniably special. Older animals often have a calm wisdom that their younger counterparts lack—but their age can make it more difficult to find them a home. Such was the case with Adrienne, a sweet senior cat who was adopted and returned to the ASPCA after eight years. Though it’s heartbreaking to see an animal lose their family, it made us that much more determined to find her a home that would last. Fortunately, Katherine D. showed up and gave her the “Happy Tail” she deserved.
Adrienne was adopted in 2005 when she was a little over one year old. In September 2014, after eight years together, her previous owner returned the fetching feline because she was moving to a place that didn’t allow animals. Adrienne was now ten years old—officially a “senior”—and in need of a new home. She was diagnosed with untreated asthma and bronchitis and began a steroid prescription to alleviate her discomfort. After five weeks of treatment, she was ready for adoption, and luckily, Katherine D. walked through our door at just the right moment.
Katherine grew up with many pets from shelters like the ASPCA, but it had been a number of years since she herself had been a pet parent. Once her son grew up and moved into his own apartment, the timing finally felt right for her to adopt. “Now that things are calmer, I thought it would be nice to have a pet again,” she said, so she began browsing adoptable cats on the ASPCA website. That’s when she spotted Adrienne.
“I saw Adrienne on the ASPCA website and I loved the way her face looked,” Katherine recalls. “She looked mellow and sweet and had beautiful eyes.” Katherine was also drawn toward Adrienne’s age, thinking that an older cat might enjoy lots of petting and be a good lap-cat. So she headed to the ASPCA Adoption Center with Adrienne “at the top of her list.”
Katherine’s first meeting with Adrienne did not disappoint. She recalls, “I could tell she was calm when we opened her habitat. She had the sweet face I’d seen on the website, and she didn’t seem jumpy or nervous.” Vets at the adoption center informed Katherine of Adrienne’s asthma and told her that she would need a once-daily pill for the foreseeable future. Adrienne said, “I was happy to look after her and give her medicine, and since she was older and had been returned, I knew she really deserved a quiet home where she could rest and be un-stressed.” She adopted Adrienne that day.
At Katherine’s Brooklyn apartment, Adrienne settled in right away. “When she came out of her carrier, she didn’t even try to run and hide,” Katherine recalls. “I just sat on the floor with her and she immediately wanted me to pet her…a lot.” It was the perfect fit, and in the weeks that followed, Katherine and Adrienne’s bond only grew. She now often calls her “Lady Adrienne,” as she acts very regal and thinks she’s a Queen!
“I think Adrienne is happy in her new home,” Katherine says. “She sleeps in the sun, hops up to come see me when I get home and basically sits near me wherever I am. She’s the perfect cat for me.” Though it took Adrienne eight years to find Katherine, we’re pretty sure this is one “forever home” that will truly last forever.
If you’re interested in adopting a senior pet, check out the ASPCA’s dogs and cats over the age of three.