HSUS leader Wayne Pacelle reviews results for 2014

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In his A Humane Nation blog this week, Humane Society of the United States leader Wayne Pacelle reviewed the organization’s “Top Transformational Results of 2014.”

The list features:

South Dakota becoming the 5oth US state to adopt a felony animal-cruelty law.

It is now a federal crime to attend or bring a child to a dogfight or cockfight.

The truly idiotic and evil “King Amendment” was tossed out of the Farm Bill.

A federal appellate court rightfully overturned a horrible ruling from a lower that might have tossed out the animal crush video law. If I recall, the lower court tried to claim that torturing and brutally killing animals was protected free speech. That’s one for the Moronic Court Ruling Hall of Fame.

So arguably the current leader for the Moronic Court Ruling Hall of Fame is Citizens United.

A number of countries have agreed to end the use of gestation crates for pigs.

Three horse-slaughter plants were blocked from opening this year.

A new U.S. Department of Agriculture rule blocks the importation of puppies for sale. This means at least foreign puppy mills can’t sell here.

Internet sellers of puppy now have to follow USDA guidelines. The HSUS helped to block a legal challenge to this ruling.

Better protections are in place for animals suffering through experiments in labs.

The World Trade Organization is thankfully supporting European Union’s ban on products resulting from the horrific Canadian seal hunts.

The wolf hunts were stopped in Michigan.

New York and New Jersey became the first states to banned the sale of Ivory. This one should become a federal ban.

And Pacelle states the “…  International Court of Justice ruled that Japan’s Southern Ocean whaling program violates the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling’s ban on commercial hunting.”

Read Pacelle’s full rundown at the link above.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

BREAKING GOOD NEWS: Federal court tosses lawsuit that challenged new crackdown on puppy mills

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The Humane Society of the US just released a statement concerning the actions of a federal court. A lawsuit that challenged the USDA’s new rules directed to the Internet sales of puppy mill puppies, was shut down by the court.

“We are delighted the court has thrown out this baseless lawsuit challenging USDA’s new rule cracking down on Internet sellers of puppy mill dogs,” said Jonathan Lovvorn, senior vice president of animal protection litigation and investigations for the HSUS, in the press release.

“In a detailed opinion, the court concluded that the breeders ‘are barking up the wrong tree’ because ‘their complaints are more policy disagreements with APHIS’s regulatory approach than they are valid legal objections to APHIS’s authority.’

“Dismissing the breeders’ legal claims as ‘a dog that won’t hunt,’ the court granted judgment in favor of USDA and the HSUS – which intervened to help defend the rule because every large-scale operation should be inspected and every dog provided a bowl of clean water and enough space to move around.”

Add me to the list to animal-welfare advocates who are grateful to the court for flushing this nasty lawsuit down the toilet, where it belongs.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

No Surprise – Petland CEO doesn’t like bans on puppy sales in stores

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There is a lot to pick on in this story. The CEO of Petland – a company well-known for selling puppies – doesn’t want to see bans on the sales on puppies in stores. The city ordinances in question are designed to shut down the sale of puppy mill dogs.

Joe Watson claims only two percent of puppies are even sold in stores, as reported by the Lancaster Eagle Gazette.

The Lancaster Eagle Gazette also notes almost 50 cities around the nation have banned puppy sales in retail outlets. (Although the publication incorrectly states the bans have “effectively outlawed retail pet shops.” – No the pet shops can stay open. They just can’t sell dogs.)

And get this from the article:

Petland defends its sourcing of puppies, saying they come from U.S. Department of Agriculture-licensed breeders and distributors, with no direct violations on their latest inspection report …

Oh … so it’s no violations from “their latest inspection report.” What about the prior reports? And really, this “we sell puppies from USDA licensed breeders” just isn’t saying much at all. That defense just doesn’t hold water. The regulations and punishments are far too weak from the USDA.

And of course, as is the case in my home city, all of our pet stores are doing great – without selling dogs and cats. The national chains are hosting adoption events each weekend.

Any suggestion that Petland has to sell puppies is just not based in reality.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Some dog breeders file lawsuit to block regulations

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Apparently, some dog breeders do not want to engage in even minimal welfare standards for welfare practices. As the USDA proposed a move of covering commercial breeders who sell directly to the public under the Animal Welfare Act, some breeders made it clear they do not want to fall under these minimal standards.

They have filed a lawsuit to block expansion of the rules.

Other breeders already fall under the act. But the system needs a upgrade, as too few inspectors are on the job to enforce the regulations, as they they stand now.

In reality, breeders who refuse to house and care for animals under these current, less-than-stringent guidelines should not be allowed to operate at all. Those who refuse proper veterinary care and those who house their dogs or cats in tiny cages 24/7 and those who never allow their animals time for play or exercise or proper food and water should be shut down – today.

It is difficult to understand how anyone could suggest all breeders should NOT be covered under at lease these very minimum standards of care in the Animal Welfare Act. If we shut down the puppy mill operators for good, the costs of enforcing the act will go down. If we shut the puppy mills down and slap some real punishment for the offenders, the penalty will be too great and the risk will be too big for other puppy mill operators.

It is time to see real action against puppy mills.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Animal welfare protests at Georgia Regents University

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The Humane Society of the US alleges, through video, that dogs are being abused during research studies at Georgia Regents University. With the release of this news, a group of animal-welfare advocates protested this past weekend at the Augusta, Ga. campus.

A response from Dr. Christopher Cutler and Dr. Mark Hamrick of the university ran on the WRDW-TV website. In the editorial, the two state the HSUS is claiming abuse where no such abuse is occurring. They support their position – in part – with the following:

Dogs are used infrequently in research conducted at the university. In this and every study at GRU, they are only obtained from vendors licensed and inspected by the USDA.

Puppy mill supporters use this same excuse, and it’s not a good one. The USDA is extremely short-handed with inspectors and we know puppy mills are operating unimpeded across the nation. And we know the regulations are extremely weak, as even puppy mills that are finally raided have often been allowed to stay in operation despite a history of infractions.

I would feel better to hear school officials were visiting the breeders on a regular basis for full tours, to ensure the parent dogs are being treated humanely. Are the breeders allowing the dogs regular, daily time for exercise and play? If not, these dogs are not being treated humanely.


PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Reopening the door to horse slaughter plants an idiotic move

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Late last month, the US Department of Agriculture granted an application in New Mexico to open a horse-slaughter plant. And the same thing could happen in Iowa and Missouri.

It is still possible the USDA might not be granted the funding to inspect the plants, which would block the move.

An Associated Press article posted June 28 offered this tidbit:

The decision comes more than six months after Valley Meat Co. sued the USDA, accusing it of intentionally delaying the process because the Obama administration opposes horse slaughter.

I think arguments such as this fall under the category of “Crybaby.” So it’s no fair that someone disagrees with them on the issue? Is that a legal argument? Will “Waaaah, Mommy, they don’t think the way I think” stand up in court?

Thankfully, the USDA reports the Obama administration has asked Congress to reinstate the ban on horse slaughter.

The article also cites a 2011 Government Accountability Office report suggesting the abuse and abandonment of horses has been rising since the ban on slaughter went on the books in 2006.

So I’ll ask this extremely important question: It is right to punish the horses because they are being abused and abandoned by people and because they are being over-bred to levels that are leading to increased populations of homeless horses?

What kind of illogical thought leads some people to want to punish the victims?


PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Members of Federal Wildlife Services routinely engaged in acts of animal cruelty

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A Fox News story published Tuesday reports on routine acts of animal cruelty, by individuals working in the USDA’s Wildlife Services department. One person quoted in the article explains it is part of the job to have dogs attack wolves held in leg-hold traps.

Thankfully, two US Congressman – Rep. John Campbell (R-Calif.) and Rep. Peter Defazio (D-Ore.) are speaking out against these acts of torture to animals.

Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack was quoted in response to the reports:

USDA does not condone any form of animal cruelty and holds all employees responsible for adhering to Departmental and Agency standards and directives.

If Vilsack is true to his words, he will immediately ban the use of leg-hold traps and of course ban the use of dogs to attack wolves. And he should realize that there is a balance of nature to be addressed and killing off segments of the chain of life is no way to oversee ecosystems.

PUPS Act – to close the Internet loophole for dog breeders – was introduced on Wednesday

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Great news today. The Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety Act (The PUPS Act) was introduced Wednesday in the US Congress. And in equally good news, it is a bipartisan effort. The bill’s sponsors, as reported by the USA Today, are Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and David Vitter, R-La., and Reps. Jim Gerlach, R-Pa., Sam Farr, D-Calif., Bill Young, R-Fla., and Lois Capps, D-Calif.

Online puppy sellers are slipping around USDA regulations and inspections, because the Animal Welfare Act became the law of the land before the Internet rolled around. So the USA Today story notes

The PUPS Act will require all breeders who sell more than 50 dogs annually — whether through pet stores or online — to undergo inspections and meet U.S. Department of Agriculture standards for caring for the dogs.

This should be a sweep in both the House and Senate, but I can image a few uneducated elected officials voting with their special interests puppet masters and against this important legislation.

If passed, we need to see funding made available to the USDA for inspections and more enforcement.