The findings of a dairy farm investigation were released last week, and they aren’t pretty. Video footage reveals workers beating, kicking, jumping on and shocking cows at Bettencourt Dairies, a major Idaho dairy. In one appalling scene, a cow, apparently unable to stand, is dragged by her neck with a chain attached to a tractor. Five Bettencourt employees have been fired and three face charges of animal cruelty.
As hard as the video is to watch, these acts of cruelty are sadly not unusual. With every new investigation released, we learn that cruelty is rampant on factory farms all around the country. Some of the cruelty comes in the form of obvious violations like in this recent investigation, while some is inherent in the standard practices of factory farming. Unsurprisingly, cruelty and cleanliness are often linked, and raise food and worker safety issues: This video showed extremely unsafe and unsanitary conditions.
Farm investigations are one of the few tools animal advocates have to bring criminals to justice, and to pressure the food industry to adopt higher standards of animal welfare and food safety. Aware of the power of these videos, Big Ag lobbies to criminalize investigative workers and keep consumers in the dark. “Ag-gag” bills, introduced over the last few years in states around the country, attempt to make it a crime to document animal abuse on factory farms. Last year we fought hard to defeat these bills in many states. But this year will likely bring a fresh onslaught. Ag-gag bills will continue passing until every one of us stands up to the industry’s effort to block reforms for both consumer and animal welfare.
Fast. Fun. Exciting. Twitter parties are real-time conversations that involve a lot of people talking about the same thing. They’re an awesome way to learn about a specific topic, make new friends and win some pretty cool prizes! We know that joining a Twitter party can seem a bit complicated, but it’s kind of like riding a bike. It can be a little weird in the beginning, but once you get the hang of it, you feel like you've been doing it forever—and you don’t want to stop! These tips will help get you on the road to becoming a Twitter party expert in no time:
Step One: Get a Twitter account. Simply go to www.twitter.com and create a "handle" for yourself. The shorter the better since tweets are only 140 characters long.
Step Two: Follow the Twitter party hosts. If you’re planning to join an ASPCA Twitter party, make sure you’re following us on Twitter.
Step Three: Get yourself a fancy dashboard. Twitter parties are easier to follow if you use a platform like TweetChat, Tweetdeck, or Tweetgrid. But don’t let the names scare you—they each have easy tutorials to walk you through the setup. (If you’re new to Twitter, TweetChat is probably your best bet.)
Step Three: Use the party hashtag. Every Twitter party has a designated hashtag symbolized by the pound sign (#).Think of the hashtag kind of like the party invitation—you need it to get in. Follow the hashtag on your new dashboard and make sure to use it in every tweet you send or it won’t show up in the party conversation.
That’s it! Not so bad, right? Sure, it might take attending a Twitter party or two before you really get the hang of it. But that’s okay. Just sit back and enjoy the show.
Have some good tips on joining a Twitter party? Leave them in the comments section!
It’s confirmed: Michael Vick has a new dog. To truly become a model of the type of behavior Vick wishes to teach his children—that animals deserve to be treated with compassion and respect—Vick should take the opportunity to “break the cycle” and “be an instrument of positive change” by expressing remorse about the dogs he brutalized and killed with his own hands. This is something that we’ve never heard him do publically.
Because of this, we have serious concerns about Vick’s ability to be a responsible pet owner. We can only hope that he will set the right example for his children by teaching them to foster humane habits and a lifelong bond with their family pet.
Are you ready to party? We sure are! Join us on October 30 for a special Twitter party and livestream video event to help spread awareness about Adopt a Shelter Dog Month.
The hour-long Halloween-themed event will feature ASPCA experts answering all your questions live! From explaining the benefits of pet adoption to discussing the no-no’s of feeding Fido candy corn—they’re ready to tackle all your questions.
But the true highlight of this virtual party will be the Halloween costume contest featuring a few of our long-term shelter residents. Did we mention all the free giveaways?! The grand prize is an ASPCA diamond pendant from Zales!
Be sure to tune in to www.ustream.tv/aspca from 7:00 to 8:00 P.M. (EDT) on Oct. 30! Use the hashtag #AdoptDontShop—and don't forget to RSVP below to automatically be entered to win a party giveaway!
We’ve all had this conversation. A friend wants to bring home a new pet, and despite your best efforts, she’s set on buying from a pet store. How can you convince to her adopt, not shop? Here are four things we hear a lot, and how you can respond.
If I don’t buy that puppy in the pet store, who will? Pet stores usually sell their puppies quickly, and the store will slash the price on slow sellers until they’re bought. If people stop giving their business to pet stores that sell puppies by not purchasing puppies or anything else from them, ultimately, the puppy mills that they support will shut down from lack of demand. Hurray!
I want a purebred/a puppy, and they don’t end up in shelters. Some people want a Golden Retriever no matter what. Tell your pal that a one-of-a-kind mutt from a shelter is just as healthy and lovable, but that 25% of animals who enter shelters are purebreds, and that most breeds have a breed rescue—a group that re-homes dogs of a specific breed. Oh, and show them some videos of ASPCA puppies.
Shelter pets aren’t likely to be healthy. Explain to your pal the many physical and mental ailments puppy mill dogs—most of those in pet stores—can develop. Remind your pal that any animal can become sick or injured, regardless of where he came from, but that at a shelter you know up front if your new pet has any chronic health issues. Let your friend know that pet store dogs are actually somewhat more likely than shelter dogs to need vet care for an illness.
My friend has a shelter dog, and he’s hyper/destructive/scared/shy. Here’s where those of you with shelter pets can point to them and say, “Uh, what about Mr. Fluffy here? He’s a model dog and he came from a shelter.” Then point out that just like dogs from anywhere else, some shelter dogs have behavior issues to work on. Adopting from a shelter allows you to know exactly what you’re getting and whether you’re prepared to handle any issues that may arise.
Good luck! If you have other suggestions, share ‘em with us. And if you’ve persuaded someone to adopt, not shop, tell us about it.