Guest blog post from Suzanne McMillan, ASPCA Director of Farm Animal Welfare
Nine out of 10 land animals killed for food in the U.S. are poultry. Unfortunately these chickens, turkeys and other birds have no protection under federal animal welfare laws—not even during slaughter.
Now the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) wants to allow faster line speeds in poultry slaughterhouses. From an animal welfare perspective, this raises red flags: We all know that when you rush, mistakes happen. Workers need to be as careful as possible when handling live birds to ensure proper procedures are followed.
This Memorial Day, as we remember all the brave men and women who have given their lives to protect our freedoms, let’s not forget the sacrifices of the military dogs who have served alongside them.
Much of the world cheered when 80 members of an American commando team captured and killed Osama bin Laden a little more than a year ago. One of these American heroes was Cairo, the dog who played an integral part in Bin Laden’s capture. Because so much of that mission remains top secret, we haven’t been able to see a picture of Cairo, but we know that he was one of the team members responsible for closing off the perimeter of the home where Bin Laden was hiding.
Not all dogs have had the opportunity to help capture the world’s most wanted fugitive as Cairo did, but every military dog is saving lives through detecting explosives, conducting searches and patrols, and working on specialized missions. Beyond that, though, these dogs are also extremely loyal to their handlers and are willing to do anything to protect them. For example, CNN reported the heartbreaking story of Cpl. Dustin Lee, who was badly injured in an insurgent attack while he was on patrol in Iraq. His canine partner, Lex, also suffered shrapnel injuries, but pushed himself through his pain to lie over his human partner in an attempt to protect him. Tragically, Cpl. Lee did not survive his injuries, but his dog Lex did. Lex was adopted by Cpl. Lee’s family and was then recognized by Members of Congress for his exceptional service.
Classified as Equipment Military dogs have died, been maimed and suffered to save our military service members, yet they are currently defined as mere “equipment” under federal law. Defining military dogs as equipment is shameful. It trivializes all that dogs do, but even more important, it makes it more difficult to return retired dogs to the United States for adoption. Dogs are sometimes stuck in far away locales while those wanting to adopt them must pay large fees to transport them. Old equipment may be left behind, but retired military dogs never should be.
Please Take Action for Military Dogs The Canine Members of the Armed Forces Act, introduced in the House by U.S. Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) and in the Senate by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), reclassifies military dogs as “canine members of the armed forces” instead of equipment. The bill also streamlines the adoption process for retired military dogs and directs the military to set up a program for retired dogs’ veterinary care, at no cost to the taxpayer. It also directs the Secretary of Defense to create a decoration or other recognition for military dogs that are killed in action or perform an exceptionally meritorious or courageous act in service to their country.
We need your help to build Senate support for the bill. For the sake of our canine heroes, please contact your U.S. senators and ask them to cosponsor S. 2134, the Canine Members of the Armed Forces Act. Like their human counterparts, our military dogs deserve a happy retirement from service.
Grab some iced tea and put on some tunes—it’s time to cozy up on the couch and do some online shopping! Right now, ALL clearance items are up to 50% off! We’ve got pet toys, travel gear and books for animal lovers of all ages. Don’t miss the jewelry selection.
Plus, purchase one of our cute and sassy message tees now through May 31, and shipping on your entire order is only $2.99!
Best of all, you can feel good about shopping with us—all proceeds from your purchases go to support our life-saving programs all over the country. So what are you waiting for? Visit the ASPCA Online Store, open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
To mark the first anniversary of the Joplin tornado, the ASPCA's National Spay/Neuter Project is returning to the once-devastated community. Teaming up with Joplin Humane Society, the team will host a low-cost spay/neuter and vaccine clinic from June 1 to June 3.
"Last year, the ASPCA was one of the first responders on the scene, and we witnessed first-hand the devastation that the tornado caused," says Shelby Davis, Director of ASPCA Spay/Neuter Operations. "We have returned to Joplin to offer much-needed animal services to pet parents who may still be struggling to make ends meet."
Appointments must be made in advance for the spay/neuter surgery, and the vaccine clinic will run from noon to 3:00 P.M. each day. For more information or to make an appointment for spay/neuter, Joplin-area residents should call (877) SPAY-NYC.
Who says you can’t teach an adopted pet new tricks? Certainly not Uggie! Ten years before capturing the hearts of moviegoers around the world, The Artist's Uggie was a shelter pup. Yep! In fact, he was returned by two guardians who were unprepared for the little Jack Russell's boundless energy. But dog trainer Omar Von Muller saw something special in the playful pup. He fell in love with Uggie’s outgoing, mischievous behavior—and it’s been a perfect match ever since.
Enter Your Pet in Our Talent Contest! We know talent comes in many shapes and sizes…and species. Whether your pet is a dog who can high-five or a cat who can sing, we want to see your furry, feathered or finned family member looking like a star. Submit your pet's best trick on video and you’ll be entered to win an Artist poster signed by Uggie! Plus, winners will be featured on the ASPCA website.