Guest blog post from Suzanne McMillan, ASPCA Director of Farm Animal Welfare
As many of you know, animals raised on factory farms often receive antibiotics in order to remain healthy in an otherwise harmful environment as well as to promote growth. But there are dangers involved for both humans and animals! Antibiotic resistance in humans is a very big concern, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been under increasing pressure to do something about it.
Last week the FDA finally responded, releasing three documents addressing the use of antibiotics in livestock. While it’s great that the FDA is acknowledging a problem, these documents are extremely disappointing. Producers are simply asked to voluntarily curb their use of antibiotics, and pharmaceutical companies are asked to voluntarily stop labeling certain antibiotics as useful for livestock growth. All of this despite a federal court ruling just last month that ordered FDA to stop relying on voluntary programs to curb the use of certain antibiotics. Further, these programs focus only on using antibiotics for growth promotion—not on the similarly common practice of feeding animals antibiotics to prop up their already weak immune systems.
The coalition Keep Antibiotics Working, of which the ASPCA is a member, calls the FDA’s new plan an “inadequate response” and urges it to, at the very least, establish “an enforcement mechanism and timeline” for achieving the voluntary protocols it proposes.
On any given Friday afternoon across America, most of us are likely to utter a variation of the same phrase: “Have a great weekend!” A good weekend may be one in which we are able to relax, but I believe that a truly great weekend is one in which something meaningful is accomplished. By that standard, thousands of Americans started April with an amazing weekend during which they saved thousands of animals during the ASPCA’s first-ever Mega Match-a-thon.
Animal shelters and rescue organizations recognize that weekends are of prime importance for the adoptable animals in their care, as potential adopters are more likely to look for companion animals to adopt on days when they do not have to work. Some creative people who work on the ASPCA’s Community Outreach team spend a lot of time brainstorming ways to create excitement around animal adoption events. This year, they proposed and implemented a dramatic idea: concurrent Mega Match-a-thon events to be held throughout the country, which would be subsidized by the ASPCA to support high-volume community adoption events.
The ASPCA granted nearly $500,000 to be shared among 53 animal welfare organizations. Each grant recipient had made a thoughtful proposal detailing how it would use the funds we provided to create successful weekend adoption events. The Mega Match-a-thon weekend was a huge success—and 6,144 animals found loving homes.
Happy stories poured into us throughout the weekend adoption event:
Riverside County Department of Animal Services in Riverside, California, adopted out 400 animals over the weekend;
Staff and volunteers at Bangor Humane Society in Bangor, Maine, closed up early and went home after running out of animals;
The Humane Society for Southwest Washington in Vancouver, Washington, broke its own record for the most adoptions (44) in a single day within the first two hours of its event;
Rubbles, a 12-year-old blind Shih Tzu, was adopted from the Humane Society of Greater Miami in Miami, Florida, by a local soldier, and as soon as Rubbles got to his new home, his proud dad shared photos of Rubbles finding his way to the kitchen; and
Wisconsin Humane Society spent a lot of time preparing for its 24-hour adoption event, including posting a Paw-jama Puppy Parade on its website; their hard work paid off with 156 animals adopted during the event.
While the immediate and wonderful result of the Mega Match-a-thon events held throughout the country was the thousands of lives saved, the excitement these events elicited in their communities will hopefully lead to an enduring legacy of more people saving lives by adopting homeless animals in their local shelters.
Hey folks, anyone else in the mood for a little spring cleaning? There’s something so refreshing about emptying out the closets—but before you toss your dusty treasures, give your local shelter a call. It likely could use old towels, bedding, plastic bags, office supplies…and much more!
What better feeling than knowing a homeless pet is snuggled up on that old comforter you no longer use or that your old printer is now helping to make adoption flyers? Plus, items don't need to be in tip-top shape—just clean!
Gee, that sure is a lot of candles on our cake. Yep, today marks the 146th birthday of the ASPCA, the oldest humane organization in the Western Hemisphere (but we’ve been told we don’t look a day over 100!).
When our founder Henry Bergh first spoke up for animals in Civil War-era New York, America was not a very animal-friendly place—but Bergh rallied people to the cause and succeeded in getting the New York State Legislature to pass a charter incorporating the ASPCA on April 10, 1866. Nine days later, the first anti-cruelty law was passed and, with a team of three, the ASPCA began working to enforce it.
Within five years, SPCAs had sprung up in cities including Boston, Buffalo and San Francisco. By 1888, 37 of the 38 states in the Union had passed anti-cruelty laws! We’re proud of the ASPCA’s role in changing the way people think about animals, and even prouder of you, our supporters, for helping us do such great work. In celebration, please join us this month in going orange for animals!
Want to Donate Your Birthday to the ASPCA? Henry Bergh spent his life helping to fight animal cruelty—think of how proud he would be if you donated your birthday to help animals. It’s easy. Just set up your own special ASPCA birthday page and watch as your family and friends donate critical funds to animals in your honor.
Talk about teamwork! More than 200 animal welfare groups from 53 communities found homes for 6,144 animals during the first-ever ASPCA Mega Match-a-thon, held March 30 to April 1.
“It really was inspiring to watch the collaboration among the different rescue organizations,” says ASPCA President & CEO Ed Sayres. “They reached out to their local media, spread the word to their supporters through social media, and showcased the amazing animals they have up for adoption. And over the three-day event, they got together and saved a record number of lives.”
In total, the ASPCA granted $492,250 to support the nationwide adoption event. A portion of the funds came as a result of the ASPCA’s participation in the fourth annual Subaru “Share the Love” event. The ASPCA received $1.4 million in funding from Subaru of America—62% has already been earmarked for the ASPCA’s “Share the Love” Grant Program. So far, approximately $884,000 has been distributed to local shelters.