Monday, August 25, 2014

Ex-ASPCA CEO Disowns ASPCA “Puppy Mill” Campaign

August 25, 2014  Humane Watch

We announced our skepticism last week over the appointment of Ed Sayres, former CEO of the ASPCA, as head of the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC), the pet industry’s trade group. Notably, Sayres’ tenure at ASPCA and his statements about pet breeding were cause for concern. Given that the PIJAC board’s vote was 9-7 to offer him the job, there was a bit of concern among members of the industry, as well.

Sayres has issued an “open letter” stating the following, in part:

The current [pet store] retail bans generate theatrics, but not solutions, about how more people can enjoy the benefits of dog ownership. If regulations are too stringent, they will drive breeding to the unregulated underground. If they are too lax, they will allow substandard operators to stay in business. I believe my professional experience makes me well qualified to lead the discussions around these issues and find common ground. […]

In retrospect, given the nature of the ASPCA’s mission, I had a rather limited view during my tenure as the organization’s CEO, responding in the field to horrific substandard operators who represent a small minority of breeders — not the majority. My view in light of those circumstances formed the basis for the statements I made during that period and campaigns that were developed under my leadership. I know now that I was misinformed about the majority of breeders who work diligently to raise puppies humanely and to find lifetime homes through retail channels. While many in the animal welfare field still want to paint all breeders with the same low standards brush, I look forward to opening their eyes to the true nature of the breeding business.

That’s a very telling comment. Sayres says the ASPCA campaign overstated the problem. (Probably for PR and fundraising purposes, we’d wager.) No doubt, he would have the same words for HSUS’s campaign.

Meanwhile, Bob Baker, formerly an ASPCA investigator and HSUS employee, is lashing out, calling Sayres a “fake animal welfare person” who wasn’t respected in the animal rights movement. Baker was a proponent of “Prop B” in Missouri in 2010, which sought to increase restrictions on dog breeders. It’s an entirely predictable reaction from the animal rights community.

Sayres has a choice.  He’s not going to please the animal rights campaigners, who want to put the pet industry out of business and who Sayres now says operate with a skewed version of the facts.

If Sayres wants to be a good leader for the pet industry, then he has to prove himself and be proactive. If he is truly a convert then it will be obvious from his agenda, which should be shared with the industry. Goals will be a start but not enough to be convincing. Founders of both Greenpeace and MADD eventually broke with their organizations and have actively spoken out against their former organization agendas. Sayres has the same opportunity to lobby aggressively against HSUS and ASPCA and make his views known that they aren’t telling the full story. In particular, he also has to work to reverse the retail bans that have taken effect in some localities—not simply stop new bans.

Sayres has an “insider’s” perspective on animal-rights campaigns and could use it effectively, if he chooses to. We’ll be watching to see if he does. As Ronald Reagan said, “Trust, but verify.”


What Were They Thinking?
What Were They Thinking? (Part Deux)

Friday, August 22, 2014

PETA video relied on fear-mongering tactics

Aug 17, 2014. The Mountaineer

The PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) video taken at a small Haywood County dairy farm and released last week is the latest prop being used to advance the animal rights organization’s agenda.

It is an agenda that is pretty clear and prominently displayed on the organization website: “Animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use for entertainment, or abuse in any other way.”

While it is to be expected that promotional events and materials would illustrate points that underscore its mission, it shouldn’t be expected that misinformation would be widely circulated.

That appears to be the case with the dairy video released by the organization last week.

PETA claimed the cattle were emaciated and forced to remain in a several-inch deep pool of their own waste. However, the Haywood County Animal Control department found that cattle were pastured in a clean area next to the barn and a pasture across the road when they weren’t being milked. There was no evidence the cattle were either emaciated or in poor health, said animal control officer Jean Hazzard, a county official who has come down hard on those who abuse animals in the past.

In an email Hazzard wrote, “I have responded to the dairy and met with the owner and reviewed the alleged deplorable confinement and living conditions, which were unfounded.”

The news release also claimed that regional grocer Harris Teeter was receiving milk from the dairy — a fact the grocer denied and demanded to be retracted.

Full article at link

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

New Agency Rules Published August 2014

SAOVA friends,
Two new agency rules are now in effect.  It is important for you to review the rules and determine any potential impact on your breeding program or business.
The rule currently gathering the most publicity is the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) regulation for importing young dogs.  HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle is boasting that this rule is a blow against puppy mills abroad.  It is not surprising that he would work this to his advantage for publicity without mentioning the same rule also impacts rescue imports.  The new rule will slow the importation of foreign strays and street dogs for resale in U.S. shelters.
We find it interesting that after Congress directed this import rule in 2008 APHIS spent six years finalizing it.  In 2006 Congress enacted the PETS Act which directed State and local emergency preparedness plans to include household pets and service animals. In response, APHIS initiated a rule making process for licensed entities to also develop emergency contingency plans.  APHIS issued a final rule December 2012; however in July 2013 USDA issued a stay of the Animal Welfare Act Contingency Plan Regulation.  Moving forward to 2012, HSUS submitted a petition to APHIS requesting revision of the retail pet rule to include licensing small breeders inside their homes and all sight-unseen sales.  APHIS managed to accomplish the entire rule making process between May 2012 and September 2013.  
Thanks for reading. Cross posting is encouraged.
 Susan Wolf
Sportsmen's & Animal Owners' Voting Alliance
Monday, August 18, 2014 Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) issued a final rule for Importation of Live Dogs which goes into effect November 17, 2014.   In the 2008 Farm Bill Congress added a section to the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) which would restrict the importation of certain live dogs.  APHIS began the rule making process in September 2011 and received over 74,000 comments. 
The rule prohibits the importation of dogs, with limited exceptions, from any part of the world into the continental United States or Hawaii for purposes of resale, research, or veterinary treatment, unless the dogs are in good health, have received all necessary vaccinations, and are at least 6 months of age.
The term ‘‘resale’’ includes, but is not limited to, any transfer of ownership or control of imported dogs to another person, for more than de minimis consideration.  The term de minimis has the standard dictionary meaning, which, according to Merriam-Webster, is “lacking significance or importance; so minor as to merit disregard.”  The term ‘‘consideration’’ has the standard dictionary meaning, which is defined by Merriam-Webster as ‘‘the inducement to a contract or other legal transaction; specifically:  an act or forbearance or the promise thereof done or given by one party in return for the act or promise of another.”  The rule does not consider an “adoption fee” to be de minimis consideration and therefore there is no exemption for dogs rescued in other countries and brought to the U.S. for resale.
This rule does not apply when there is no transfer of ownership or control of a dog to another person after the dog’s importation into the United States. Therefore, dogs imported by a person who will use the dog as a personal pet, for sport, for shows or competitions, breeding or for training as working dogs do not fall under this rule.
Under this rule, dogs may be imported for veterinary treatment without meeting all of the age, health, and vaccination requirements only if a licensed veterinarian in the country of export certifies that the dog is in need of veterinary treatment that cannot be obtained in the country of export.
Dogs imported for use in research, tests, or experiments at a research facility are exempt provided that satisfactory evidence has been submitted to APHIS along with import permit application.
Dogs must be accompanied by an import permit issued by APHIS and imported into the continental United States or Hawaii within 30 days after the proposed date of arrival stated in the import permit.
Each dog must be accompanied by an original health certificate issued in English by a licensed veterinarian with a valid license to practice veterinary medicine in the country of export stating that the dog is at least 6 months of age and has been vaccinated in the past 12 months for distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvovirus, and parainfluenza virus at a frequency that provides  continuous protection of the dog from those diseases and is in accordance with currently accepted practices as cited in veterinary medicine reference guides.  The health certificate must also state that the dog is free of infectious disease that would endanger the dog or public health. Each dog must also be accompanied by a valid rabies vaccination certificate.
Any dog may be refused entry for noncompliance with the requirements of the rule or may be seized and the person intending to import the dog will be required to provide care at his or her expense. The AWA provides for both criminal and civil penalties for violations, including civil penalties of up to $10,000 for each violation. Any person who violates the regulations will be subject to these penalties.
All dogs imported into the U.S. may be subject to other laws and regulations. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also has requirements for imported dogs that must be met.
The complete rule may be viewed at the Federal Register:
The Department of Transportation (USDOT) issued a final rule to amend the requirement for air carriers to report incidents involving the loss, injury, or death of an animal during air transport. The final rule will expand the reporting requirement to U.S. carriers that operate scheduled service with at least one aircraft with a design capacity of more than 60 seats. The rule also expands the definition of animal to include all cats and dogs transported by covered carriers, regardless of whether the cat or dog is transported as a pet by its owner or as part of a commercial shipment shipped by a breeder, trainer, or handler. This rule goes into effect January 1, 2015.

Carrier reports will include carrier and flight number; date; time; description of the animal; name and contact information of owner, representative, or shipper of the animal; and a narrative of the incident and action taken.  Carriers must file monthly and annual reports and report “0” if there were no reportable incidents.
In August 2010, the Department received a petition for rulemaking from the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) requesting the reporting of loss, injury, or death of animals in air transport be revised to require airlines to report any such incident involving any animal they carry.  ALDF maintained that whether an animal is shipped as a pet or as an item of commerce has no bearing on its ability to suffer.
HSUS, ASPCA, Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association (HSVMA), Animal Welfare Institute, and other animal rights groups requested the airlines account for incidents involving all species of animals regardless of intended use.  Senator Richard Durbin and former Senators Bob Menendez and Joe Lieberman supported the ALDF petition and requested that the Department consider pursuing a comprehensive study on what animals are traveling in plane cargo holds and how the Department could further expand the definition of "animal" without placing undue burden on air carriers.
USDOT received 5,414 comments including airlines, six animal rights organizations, The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and the National Association for Biomedical Research (NABR). USDOT also received 5,403individual comments. While the individual comments also urged expanding the definition of animal to all species, the majority appeared to be form letters from members of the animal rights advocacy groups.
Airlines for America (A4A) opposed expanding the definition of animal on the basis that doing so would conflict with Congressional intent that the term animal in the original regulations meant pets.

AZA also commented that the Congressional intent of the underlying authorizing legislation was to focus on the loss, injury or death of family pets and that the proposed rule could not effectively and efficiently be applied to the entire animal kingdom.  AZA further noted that if the definition of animal were expanded to include all species, it is conceivable that the burden placed upon the airlines could effectively force air carriers to completely discontinue the transport of all animals. This would create catastrophic consequences for the AZA zoo and aquarium community and the sustainability of the animal collections in their care.
USDOT declined to expand the definition of animal to cover all species of animals stating, “We believe it would be unduly burdensome to require covered carriers to report the death, loss, or injury of all species of animals because there potentially could be thousands of individual animals such as fish, rodents, and insects that are transported by air carriers in a single commercial shipment.”
The complete rule may be viewed at the Federal Register

Monday, August 18, 2014

A tarnished animal rights movement

August 15, 2014 By Steve Kopperud

The animal rights movement isn’t having a good year, mainly because the 800-lb. gorillas of the movement aren’t having a good year.  Despite lots of noise and heavy spending, there have been no congressional or state victories of any note, and generally speaking, very little media attention.

A glance at the HSUS website shows press statements boasting cat and horse rescues and urging the residents of Hawaii, as two hurricanes bore down on the islands, “to prepare.”  New Jersey bans ivory and rhino horn, federally illegal for decades, and HSUS portrays the move as monumental.  PETA continues the tired old “girl-in-a-lettuce-leaf-bikini” publicity stunts, trumpeting endorsements by minor Hollywood types, but to the public and the media, such stunts are becoming so much white noise.

In March, Oklahoma attorney general Scott Pruitt opened an investigation into HSUS fundraising in the state connected to the Moore, Oklahoma, tornado relief effort last year and issued a “consumer alert” relative to national animal charities.  Pruitt is talking to other states about conducting similar investigations, according to  Oklahoma is one of several states suing California over its egg production law – heavily supported by HSUS – and the state House approved a “right-to-farm” constitutional amendment.