Sunday, November 30, 2014

Friday, November 28, 2014

News Briefs and Updates November 28, 2014

Dear SAOVA Friends,

Have you visited the SAOVA website recently?  We would like to remind you that our website has a variety of information, data, and tools to assist your research and work on legislation.  Each year we track and analyze a number of bills at both the Federal and State level.

As part of the effort to monitor and expose the animal rights agenda, we have the HSUS TAFA Conference Special Report posted as a page which can be shared or downloaded as a PDF file.  The HSUS Timeline not only outlines the history of HSUS and its many radical campaigns, but includes links to samples of the propaganda aimed at our children, court cases including the Feld Entertainment RICO lawsuit, and other documentation of the HSUS agenda.

Extensive information is posted exposing the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), their non-stop lawsuits and long campaign to establish animal abuser registries.

The site includes a “Hound Hunting Fact Sheet” and a new 2-page handout “HSUS – The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing” for your use and distribution.

In the SAOVA Archives, we have tracked the history of HSUS federal legislation to license in-home, retail dog breeders and sellers, beginning with former Senator Rick Santorum’s Puppy Protection Act 2001 and continuing through the Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety Act (PUPS) 2013.

We plan to make a number of additions to the site in the coming year.  SAOVA works for you; remember to visit the site occasionally to see what is new.

Thank you for reading.  Best Wishes to you and your families for a Happy Thanksgiving weekend.

Susan Wolf
Sportsmen's and Animal Owners' Voting Alliance
Working to identify and elect supportive legislators

REQUIREMENTS FOR IMPORTATION OF LIVE DOGS
There are new rules in place for importing live dogs from any part of the world into the continental United States or Hawaii for purposes of resale, research, or veterinary treatment. The dog must be accompanied by an import permit issued by APHIS and be imported into the continental United States or Hawaii within 30 days after the proposed date of arrival stated in the import permit. The final rule went into effect Nov. 17, 2014. USDA Animal Care posted a new factsheet that explains the requirements for individuals seeking to import live dogs into the United States.  http://tinyurl.com/lwrkvx3

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also has regulations on the importation of dogs and cats into the United States. Importers who bring dogs to the United States must make sure that their dogs are adequately vaccinated against rabies before arrival. In general, dogs must be vaccinated against rabies at least 30 days prior to entry, except for dogs originated or located for 6 months in areas considered to be free of rabies. Puppies must not be vaccinated against rabies before 3 months of age, so the youngest that a puppy can be imported into the United States is 4 months of age.  Importers may need to obtain a confinement agreement from the CDC, for puppies prior to U.S arrival.  Entry may be refused if dogs/puppies arrive without this agreement or vaccination.  Visit the CDC web site at http://tinyurl.com/33r65xu for more information on their regulations.

USFWS EVALUATING NORTH CAROLINA RED WOLF PROGRAM
A report on the Red Wolf Recovery Program in eastern North Carolina is highly critical of various aspects of the nearly 30-year old effort to re-introduce the endangered animal into the wild. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) contracted out the report to evaluate the program. Currently about 100 red wolves live in a five-county area in and around the Alligator River National Wildlife refuge. The USFWS spends more than $1 million per year on the Red Wolf Recovery Program. The report is part of a larger effort to evaluate it and determine its future. Coyotes have interbred with the wolves and some wolves, mistaken for coyotes, have been shot. A ban on hunting coyotes in the five-county area was recently lifted. A decision on the fate of the program is expected in early 2015.  Report: http://www.fws.gov/redwolf/evaluation.html

ALDF FILES LAWSUIT AGAINST MENDOCINO COUNTY CA
The ALDF, Center for Biological Diversity, Project Coyote, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Animal Welfare Institute, and a local Mendocino resident filed a lawsuit against Mendocino County in the Superior Court of California, County of Mendocino, for violating the California Environmental Quality Act. The lawsuit challenges the county’s failure to conduct the legally-required environmental review of its $142,356 taxpayer-funded contract with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Wildlife Services. The contract authorizes use of the Wildlife Services lethal predator control program to address livestock-predator issues.

KIDS NATIONWIDE REJECT BLACKFISH
When a kid in Malibu, California forced the rest of her classmates to miss out on a day at SeaWorld because she was misled by Blackfish, it made national news.  Awesome Ocean, a group of educators, Marine Mammal veterinarians and trainers, are learning that children of all ages are rejecting the radical agenda being shoved in their faces and asking for alternatives. Not only are they analyzing the source material the school is presenting to them, they're demanding they be allowed to think critically by hearing both sides of the issue, which is a victory for anyone interested in education.

Their website has stories of kids who are standing up to radical activists and demanding that they hear the full story and learn the truth. 

AUSTIN, TX.  When one of Austin's teachers announced that they would be required to watch Blackfish in school, Austin stood up and demanded that they allow a SeaWorld trainer from SeaWorld San Antonio to come in afterwards to comment about the film. The teacher responded, "We don't have time for that." Austin quickly countered, "Then we don't have time for Blackfish." The teacher agreed and the class was spared 80 minutes of out-of-context YouTube clips and propaganda.  Read more at Awesome Ocean http://tinyurl.com/ol5mkdt

CONGRESSMAN ED WHITFIELD ETHICS INVESTIGATION
An independent investigation into Kentucky Representative Ed Whitfield found there is “substantial reason to believe” that the legislator unethically facilitated the lobbying efforts of his wife, who is a registered lobbyist for the legislative arm of the Humane Society of the United States.

The House rules prohibit this brand of spousal scheming, explicitly forbidding lawmakers’ staff “from making any lobbying contact…with that individual’s spouse if that spouse is a lobbyist…for the purpose of influencing legislation.” But accusations against Rep. Whitfield contend that the Congressman and his wife violated these guidelines.

According to a report by the Board of the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE), Connie Harriman-Whitfield allegedly contacted her husband’s congressional staff “on numerous occasions,” scheduling “as many as 100 meetings with other congressional offices” through his staff. The 26-page OCE report quotes email exchanges in which Harriman-Whitfield appears to use her unique access for calculated professional gain. In one such email, for example, Harriman-Whitfield details the legislative advantages of her marital situation: “Neither HSUS or HSLF [the legislative arm of HSUS] will be able to do well setting up meetings with Republican offices…That is why Ed’s office was so crucial in setting up meetings between Republicans and third parties.” According to the Board Report, this use of “Ed’s office” was particularly important in gaining Republican support for HSUS-backed anti-horse soring legislation—a bill sponsored, incidentally, by Rep. Whitfield. More at Humane Watch http://tinyurl.com/mcnovax

Whitfield’s chief of staff Cory Hicks, who navigated the delicate ethics issue involving his boss' wife, resigned to take a communications and public affairs position at a Fortune 500 company. Hicks left Whitfield's office this month amid the probe over interaction between the office and the congressman's wife, a registered lobbyist. He had served as chief of staff since January 2013 and moved up through the ranks of Whitfield's office starting with an internship in 2003. (Source: Legistorm)

ELECTION CONTRIBUTIONS TO CAMPAIGNS
The Humane Society Legislative Fund (HSLF) reported total contributions of $125,500 to House Democrats and $74,000 to House Republicans this election cycle.  Recipients receiving the highest donations were Jeff Denham (R, CA) and Tony Strickland (R, CA) with $10,000 each.  Strickland did not win election.  Second highest donation of $7,500 went to Nancy Pelosi (D, CA).   Direct campaign contributions to Senate Democrats were $63,000 and to Senate Republicans $17,000.  HSLF Independent Expenditures to date total $1,018,108 with an amazing $640,923 going to support the campaign of Gary Peters (D, MI) and $133,301 to Jeff Merkley (D, OR).


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Don't Believe Everything You See


The animal rights extremist group Mercy For Animals is known for making false accusations against farmers and agri-businesses. With their “undercover investigations,” they typically lie to gain employment and then secretly film ordinary farm operations. After a little time spent editing and doctoring their footage to make normal animal care look like abuse, they announce to the world that they have discovered another farm that abuses animals. Their goal is always to try to deter people from using animals. Their ideal of “compassionate food choices” means they don't want you to eat meat. That's why they have a vegan Thanksgiving menu  headlining their web site at the moment.
The group recently released one of their videos attacking the broiler chicken industry and Koch Foods. According to MFA and their video, screened for reporters in Mercy For Animals' hometown of Chicago, “live chickens were slammed into crates, dumped in scalding hot water to remove their feathers, and killed by having their chests and throats cut open.”

The video is introduced and narrated by Sam Simon, creator of “The Simpsons,” who has established an animal rights foundation bearing his name. In the video, chickens seem to be mishandled by employees (kicked, thrown into crates), and the narration claims that the birds are regularly bled out and scalded while still conscious and sentient at the Koch processing plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Other shots purport to show that the barn and processing facilities are filthy and infested with maggots and cockroaches.

A spokesman for Mercy for Animals said, “This is sickening animal abuse that no company with morals should support,” and they denounced Chick-fil-A for buying their chicken from Koch.

There are just a few problems with the narrative that Mercy for Animals is selling here.

First, Chick-fil-A hasn't bought chickens from Koch Foods since April of 2013. Whoops. Second, we happen to have firsthand knowledge of some of the farms that raise chickens for Koch Foods and they are nothing like the scenes presented in this video. Koch Foods has strict inspection practices and requirements regarding feed, facilities, and their birds. We have visited one of the farms dozens of times and found it clean and well-run. There has never been any sign of animal abuse or anything like what is suggested in Mercy for Animals' video.

Third, we have even been to the processing plant in Chattanooga a couple of times and, while a processing plant may not be a fun place to visit, it's run professionally and efficiently and does what it is supposed to do without abuse.

According to the National Chicken Council, animal welfare expert Temple Grandin reviewed the footage in this particular video and said there was “no overt animal abuse” at the plant.

Koch Foods replied to the video:


The hidden-camera video released Wednesday by the Mercy for Animals organization is an example of “inaccurate and out-of-context depictions of its chicken processing plant” in Tennessee, Koch Foods said in a statement.
“The chicken processing business is a highly regulated industry … and our company works hard every day to ensure our employees and contractors follow strict regulations … and guidelines from the National Chicken Council (NCC),” said CEO Joe Grendys.
The statement noted that the company has been in the poultry business for more than 25 years and that the Tennessee facility featured in the video has 16 inspectors on each production shift. Independent contract chicken catchers the company uses also must adhere to the NCC’s Animal Welfare Guidelines, the same standard for the Chicago-based company's employees.
“Koch Foods is also regularly audited on its animal welfare practices by an independent auditor. The Chattanooga facility last completed such an audit in September of this year. The auditor found no violations of animal welfare practices in the live or processing operations for the Chattanooga complex,” the statement said.
“As the CEO of the company, I take these allegations very seriously, as I should. The company will not stand for a violation of the important processes and standards that we have in place. Koch Foods will remain vigilant to ensure it continues to operate in a humane, clean, and safe manner,” Grendys is quoted as saying.


I don't have any problem eating chicken after I visit the farm where they are raised. If anything, I have a greater appreciation for what goes into raising the birds.

Mercy for Animals has harassed Butterball Turkeys (multiple times), dairy farmers (multiple times), hog farmers, duck farmers, and many other farmers over the years. The next time they announce to the world that they have found horrendous animal abuse at a farm, stop and consider the source before you believe them.