Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Jolley: Five Minutes With Sarah Hubbart

Jolley: Five Minutes With Sarah Hubbart, Communications Coordinator, Animal Agriculture Alliance & The Animal Rights Movement

CattleNetwork 08/27/2010

I bet you’re looking for the usual picture of the person being interviewed. You won’t see it and that’s a decision I made for security reasons. Sarah is a perfectly normal human being who should be able to drive home at the end of the day without worrying if someone tampered with her car or booby-trapped her front door. If you think I’m kidding, let me reproduce a statement sent to me by a good friend. He found it on an animal rights blog:

“It's time to stop waving signs at cars or trying to enlighten the apathetic. The fight for the rights of non-human people is urgent and requires us to act outside the box. Being vegan is the first step in being an ethical human being. Beyond that, I believe that negotiating with abusers is an exercise in futility. While education is a key factor in any social revolution, civil disobedience, sabotage and militant direct action are equally important; I embrace & defend all effective avenues. We need to tear down the hierarchical structures and the capitalist system, all of which demand exploited classes to perpetuate themselves. We need to take veganism out of the domain of the lily-white middle class and make it accessible. There is no weaker segment of society than the nonhuman animals who’s voices have been silenced. NIO seeks to address the scope of issues that foster classism, exploitation, slavery and, obviously, the holocaust. I am philosophically a Militant Abolitionist/Animal Liberationist.”

I don’t know about you but that kind of rhetoric scares the hell out of me. And when I read about what people of that mind set are prepared to do, I fear for the life and property of anyone involved in animal agriculture.

The reason I posed a few questions to Ms. Hubbart, was a press release issued by the Animal Agriculture Alliance about two conferences that took place in Washington this summer. The Animal Rights 2010 Conference and HSUS’ Taking Action for Animals was an opportunity for their leaders to drop their public posturing and really bare their teeth. And what they showed were some pretty fearsome canines and bicuspids; ready to tear the heart out of animal agriculture first, animal ownership second. Make no mistake; cows and chickens are their primary targets, cats and dogs are next.

Read more of this excellent and informative interview at the link

Monday, August 30, 2010

AgNetwork: Standing Up To The HSUS Agenda

August 30, 2010. With the recent publicity over Ohio’s agreement to work with the Humane Society of the United States to implement a series of on-farm animal welfare rules, new energy has been injected into grassroots efforts to prevent similar incursions by HSUS into other states.

In Missouri, for example, a new organization, The Alliance for Truth, has been formed to educate consumers about the ultimate goals of HSUS. The Alliance members include the American Pet Registry and the Sportsmen and Animal Owners Alliance, along with several state legislators and Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.). The group is opposing Prop B, a state ballot measure to regulate dog ownership that is being actively funded by HSUS.

Prop B ostensibly would curtail abuses among so-called “puppy mills,” which no right-minded person opposes. But the Alliance is pointing out that even HSUS’s more innocuous-sounding objectives often make matters worse for animals, such as the banning of horse slaughter, which has resulted in thousands of horses left to die of starvation when their owners could not care for them and had no other options available, other than abandonment.
Read more

Saturday, August 21, 2010

CA SB 250 Revived- Action Needed Now

AKC Alert Thursday, August 19, 2010

California Senate Bill 250, which seeks to mandate the sterilization of a dog on a second animal control offense, has moved from the inactive file back to the Assembly floor and could be voted on any day. Amendments have been adopted, but they only modify the appeals process and do not alter our fundamental opposition to this legislation. It is imperative that California responsible dog owners and breeders immediately contact their Assemblymembers and Senators and ask them to oppose SB 250!

While the AKC strongly encourages all dog owners to abide the animal control laws and to be responsible owners, Senate Bill 250 is unreasonable. Two animal control violations may occur years apart and therefore not accurately reflect the true nature of the dog or the responsibility of the owner. Mandatory sterilization in these cases is an extreme punishment. Furthermore, the owner could be denied from ever owning an intact animal again.

How You Can Help

When SB 250 first came up for a vote in the Assembly in 2009, it was rejected due to the excellent education and grassroots efforts of concerned dog owners, exhibitors, and breeders in California. Your calls and e-mails do make a difference! Please take the time to contact your Assembly Member and Senator TODAY and ask them to oppose Senate Bill 250.

Click here to find the name and contact information for your legislators.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Missouri Animal Care coalition to discuss strategy

Brownfield Ag News. August 17, 2010 by Tom Steever

A coalition of Missouri pet breeding and animal agriculture groups plans to further discuss strategy following a judge’s ruling last week rejecting a challenge to the so-called puppy mill ballot measure to put restrictions on dog breeders.

Missouri Cattlemen’s Association Executive Vice President Jeff Windett says Missourians for Animal Care will meet next week. He says coalition members are disappointed that the court didn’t agree that language in the ballot summary is unfair. Windett says the coalition exists because of what’s happened with other state’s ballot issues sponsored by the Humane Society of the United States.

“We know it’s a history of HSUS to come back after agriculture, and more specifically the livestock industry, in other states and we expect them to do the same [in Missouri],” said Windett, during an interview with Brownfield Tuesday.

Aside from expecting further efforts from HSUS to restrict animal agriculture, Windett says the measure as written won’t fix problem dog breeders.

“This ballot initiative does nothing to identify some of the unlicensed breeders,” said Windett. “The only people that this ballot initiative is going to affect is the licensed dog breeders; those are the ones we know about and the unlicensed breeders are going to continue to operate.”

Karen Strange, president of the Missouri Federation of Animal Owners, filed the suit arguing that the measure unfairly describes a violation of the proposed restrictions as a misdemeanor called “puppy mill cruelty.”

Among other things, the measure restricts possession to no more than 50 breeding dogs.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

McDonald’s shareholders reject HSUS proposal

Brownfield Ag August 16, 2010 by Ken Anderson

Shareholders for McDonald’s have voted against a proposal to buy at least five percent of the restaurant chain’s eggs from cage-free facilities.

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), which owns 101 shares in the company, had sponsored the resolution. HSUS argued that cages are inhumane and pointed out that McDonald’s own European operations are transitioning toward purchases of cage-free eggs.

McDonald’s board of directors recommended that shareholders vote against the proposal, saying that the science was not there to support a switch. McDonald’s is part of a coalition involved in an ongoing study of hen housing.

Some major fast food companies, including Burger King, Subway and Wendy’s—and giant retailer Wal-Mart—have already made some level of commitment to purchasing or selling cage-free eggs.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Missouri Ballot Initiative cleared by judge

The Missouri ballot initiative filed by HSUS, approved for the ballot just 10 days ago by Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, cleared perhaps its final hurdle and is now almost certain to appear on the Nov. 2 ballot.

Karen Strange, a lobbyist for the commercial dog breeding industry, challenged the language of the petition summary that voters will read. The lawsuit held that the use of the term “puppy mill” or “puppy mill cruelty” is inherently prejudicial and misleading. “Puppy mill” is a derogatory term for dog breeders and is likely to incite prejudice in favor of the measure. While these terms appear in the Initiative Petitions, creative drafting on the part of the proponents does not alleviate Defendant Carnahan of her duty to write a fair and impartial summary statement.

Late this afternoon, a Cole County judge upheld the ballot title for the measure, ruling that the ballot summary drafted by Secretary Carnahan was "neither insufficient nor unfair."

The dog breeding industry is already regulated in Missouri; however the HSUS ballot initiative will place excessive regulation and limit the size of kennels. HSUS has a long history of opposing purposeful breeding of dogs.

Missouri voters should not be taken in by HSUS claims for the need to stop "puppy mills". In HSUS language, all dog breeders are puppy mills and no amount of regulation is ever sufficient.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Fate of HSUS Ballot Initiative Lies with Judge

USAgNet - 08/12/2010

Despite Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan verifying signatures for a ballot proposal initiated by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and other animal rights groups, the final determination of whether or not the initiative will be on ballots this November rests in the hands of a Cole County judge.

A legal challenge filed by the Missouri Federation of Animal Owners (MoFED), was heard by the judge earlier this week, with MoFED citing biased and unfair ballot language, an insufficient fiscal note estimate by the State Auditor and other technical and constitutional challenges.

While a decision could take up to two weeks, the final outcome could keep the deceptive initiative from being brought before voters who are being led to believe laws regulating dog breeders in Missouri are lacking, although that notion is far from the truth. The ballot initiative would provide a series of redundant mandates on kennel owners already covered by a litany of state and federal rules and regulations, reports the Missouri Corn Growers Association. Adequate rules and regulations are not the problem; funding and enforcement are, the group said. This initiative does nothing to address either issue.

With long-term implications to all agriculture producers, this is an issue in which Missouri Corn will remain engaged in working against the tactics of groups such as HSUS.

Read more about the ballot initiative on the SAOVA legislative pages

HSUS Clucks About Future Politicking

Center for Consumer Freedom. August 12, 2010.

In today’s New York Times, Humane Society of the United States CEO Wayne Pacelle adds two new states to his animal rights group’s hit list: Washington and Oregon. Add that to existing speculation about Nebraska and Minnesota also being in HSUS’s sights, and 2012 could be a big year for the group’s campaigns against America’s farmers. Pacelle has been forcing animal rights into the voting booth for most of his professional career, so this comes as no surprise. Also of note were Pacelle’s comments about a brewing fight over the interpretation of California’s “Proposition 2” requirements:

The breakthrough 2008 law said that animals could be confined only in ways that allowed them “to lie down, stand up, fully extend their limbs and turn around freely.” Egg producers and even some animal advocates say this may permit housing hens in larger “enriched cages,” with perches and nesting spots.

Mr. Pacelle asserts that no form of caging can meet a chicken’s needs for “running, flying and wing flapping” and that denying these impulses can cause a rise in stress hormones.

“There’s going to be a legal wrangle over this,” Mr. Pacelle predicted.

Pacelle is right about that last part: A legal tussle is surely forthcoming over enriched chicken cages that allow more space than conventional ones. They also permit the expression of some natural animal behaviors. But HSUS, with its fleet of in-house lawyers, is looking to muscle farmers around until they submit to 100 percent “cage free” production—or a slow death by lawsuit. (See Hudson Valley Foie Gras’ situation.)

Why? Because HSUS has a losing argument on animal welfare, and any legal setback would significantly slow down its march toward veganizing America. (What HSUS really wants is people eating fewer eggs—or no eggs at all. Forcing egg farmers to go “cage-free” is just one tiny step in that direction.) The regulations HSUS is currently pushing would impose high production costs as farmers change their facilities, and the resulting higher costs to consumers would drive down demand.

If HSUS were really interested in the welfare of hens, as opposed to the bankruptcy of egg farmers, it could start by fully recognizing that animal welfare relies on many different measures. It’s not a black-and-white measure. In fact, the American Humane Certified program (run by the American Humane Association) and animal welfare legend Temple Grandin both favor labeling “enriched” cage systems as “humane.”

But none of this matters to HSUS’s ideological hacks. When animal welfare science gets in their way, the odd lawyer (or 30) can come in handy. Will the activists beat the experts and farmers? Let’s hope not.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Why Are Puppy Mills Allowed to Operate?

Steve Dale writes an excellent, sensible commentary on the Durbin/Vitter/HSUS PUPS 2010 anti-dog breeder bill. He reinforces again SAOVA's position on this bill - enforce the current law and deal effectively with violators and do not try to punish the entire dog-breeding world with new expansive regulations.

Steve Dale on 05.26.10 at 7:54 AM
If puppy mills dogs are living in horrific conditions, conditions which are not anywhere nearly United States Department of Agriculture legal standards - how can these places operate?

Federal investigators have uncovered grisly conditions at puppy mills where dogs were infested with ticks, living with gaping wounds and in pools of feces, according to a disturbing new report that placed the blame on lax enforcement.

Duh -

We've known all this for years, decades maybe. From Oprah Winfrey show's report to dozens of other media reports, including stories I've written. YES! This is no secret - It's about time someone might be paying attention. Some say a part of the answer is to beef up legislation. Not necessarily - that could be a waste of time and money....though good PR for politicians. You see, in most places, they could enforce what's on the books right now. One big problem with new laws - some animal rights groups want to put all breeders out of business, placing legitimate and responsible breeders in the same basket as puppy mills and commercial operators. Not only is this unfair - it doesn't benefit anyone, consumers or dogs.

According to this new report, investigators say the Agriculture Department agency in charge of enforcing the Animal Welfare Act. those are state department of agriculture's, often ignores repeat violations, waives penalties and doesn't adequately document inhumane treatment of dogs. First time violators are often given a pass. Never mind, in many states, a lack of inspectors.

In one case cited by the department's inspector general, 27 dogs died at an Oklahoma breeding facility after inspectors had visited the facility several times and cited it for violations.

The review, conducted between 2006 and 2008, found more than half of those large kennels--known as puppy mills--had already been cited for violations flouted the law again.

The report recommends that the animal care unit at the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service immediately confiscate animals that are dying or seriously suffering, and better train its inspectors to document, report and penalize wrongdoing.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Tuesday the department takes the report seriously and will move to immediately improve enforcement, penalties and inspector training. He noted the investigation was conducted before his time in office and called it troubling.

Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and David Vitter, R-La., said Tuesday that they are introducing legislation to close the loophole in the law that allows breeders to operate online. That might not be good - depending on what they mean by breeders. Limiting bad guys, of course...but this could be what I mean by handcuffing the good breeders. Both Senators said they will work with USDA to ensure changes are made throughout the agency. But what kinds of changes?

As long as people want pedigreed dogs - and they do - then I don't seen any benefit to anyone to make life tough for responsible breeders. These breeders, who generally operate from homes, are not the problem. Drive these breeders away (which is now happening) and pure bred dog prices go up, and some breeds could even disappear. Consumers don't want that to happen - but they're sometimes fooled by legislation which sounds good because it is cleverly called 'a puppy mill law.'

You might be cheering - "Whooo-hoo" this will increase shelter adoptions - maybe...But in reality, in many places around America, there really isn't a dog over-population problem. That is a myth (depending on where you are), or fine - if you want a Pitbull-looking dog, or a larger sporting breed type dog.

No one wants puppy mills. However, I'm increasingly convinced the animal rights lawyers who write these bills want to see all breeders go away.

Let's just enforce the laws we already have. No one answer this question: "Why aren't we doing that?"

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Livestock Antibiotic Ban Ahead?

Read more on HR 1549 on the SAOVA federal legislation page.

Mike Wilson Missouri Ruralist
Published: Aug 4, 2010

A USDA official told a Congressional panel there is likely a link between agricultural antibiotic use and antibiotic resistance in humans.

"USDA believes that it is likely that the use of antibiotics in animal agriculture does lead to some cases of antibacterial resistance among humans and in the animals themselves, and it is important that these medically important antibiotics be used judiciously," Dr. John Clifford, APHIS's deputy administrator for veterinary services, told the House Committee on Energy and Commerce's Subcommittee on Health during a hearing last month.

Clifford also discussed the future of USDA's role, saying that USDA wants to expand current partnerships with other federal agencies—and develop new ones.

"We need to work together to conduct research and develop new therapies that protect and preserve animal health, without increasing the risk of resistance to medically important antibiotics," Clifford said in prepared testimony.

To date, there is no conclusive scientific evidence indicating that the judicious use of antibiotics in cattle contributes to antimicrobial resistance in humans.

In fact, the non-scientific removal of antibiotics in Europe actually led to increased animal disease and increased use of therapeutic antibiotics with no demonstrable improvement in human antibiotic resistance patterns.

Denmark banned sub therapeutic use of antibiotics in food animal production in 1998. In a column he wrote for Feedstuffs, Trent Loos, a rancher and farm advocate, described "an enlightening discussion" he had with two Danish veterinarians who told him that since 2002, the rate of Danish people who were found to harbor bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics has increased six-fold. They also indicated that antibiotic treatment in the human population has increased from 350 mg to 1,400 mg in order to overcome bacterial infections.

At the Congressional Panel, University of Minnesota Associate Professor of Epidemiology Dr. Randall Singer pointed out that it's better to prevent disease from happening in the first place, rather than having to treat animals after they get sick.

Several Republican members of the Committee reiterated this line of reasoning, pointing out the contradiction between efforts to ban antibiotics in livestock with the recently-passed health care bill, which focuses on the prevention of sickness before it starts.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

HSUS dog breeding act makes MO ballot

Brownfield AgNews. August 3, 2010 by Julie Harker

The initiative petition to place more restrictions on Missouri dog breeders has been certified by the Missouri Secretary of State’s office.

Missourians for the Protection of Dogs, a coalition of groups which includes the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), says enough signatures out of the 190,000 it submitted in May will put the issue before voters in November.

Karen Strange, the president of the Missouri Federation of Animal Owners (MO-Fed), one of the groups fighting “The Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act”, as it is named, says Missouri’s “legal licensed” dog breeders are already highly regulated and have to pass numerous inspections.

“This will eliminate many dogs from their kennels regardless of the excellent care,” said Strange.

The proposed changes to state law would limit breeders from having more than 50 breeding dogs, and, Strange says, wrongly places restrictions on how often licensed breeders can breed them.

“We don’t feel like a ballot initiative put forth by animal rights people should interfere with the relationship for the animals between the veterinarian and the breeder,” said Strange.

Mo Fed’s pending lawsuit against the proposal charges the ballot title is prejudicial and the summary misleading.

“The summary states that each animal will be provided with clean water and food and an exercise area and those are already required by state law,” said Strange.

The news release from Missourians for the Protection of Dogs says “lawmakers in Iowa and Oklahoma enacted puppy mill legislation in those states earlier this year, and after Missouri, they are the next largest dog breeding states in the nation.” Their release says 10 states approved legislation last year “to address puppy mill problems.”