Tuesday, July 28, 2015

News Briefs and Updates July 28, 2015

SAOVA Friends,

The Congressional Animal Protection Caucus is a collaboration between the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA); Animal Welfare Institute (AWI); The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS); and the Humane Society Legislative Fund (HSLF). Representatives Mike Fitzpatrick (R, PA) and Earl Blumenauer (D, OR) were named as the new co-chairs for the 114th Congress. They have previously introduced a bill to prohibit interstate commerce in primates for the pet trade and have supported legislation to block USDA funding for horse slaughter inspection. Other Caucus members have introduced Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act [HR1998] to prohibit private possession and breeding of big cats, and the Egg Products Inspection Act [H.R. 1731] to set federal housing standards for egg-laying hens. In the 113th Congress, members of the Caucus hosted briefings on a diverse range of animal-related topics, including increased protections for African lions, the use of antibiotics in industrial agriculture operations, and preventing soring of Tennessee Walking Horses. 

The caucus co-chairs have a history of supporting HSUS initiatives. Rep. Fitzpatrick received an HSUS legislative leader award for support and co-sponsorship of bills in the 112th Congress such as Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety (PUPS) Act [HR835] to regulate dog breeders and American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act [HR 2966] to prohibit the transport (including export) of horses for slaughter for human consumption.  In 2007 Rep. Blumenauer received a Humane Legislator of the Year award for his support of HSUS initiatives. In 2014 Fitzpatrick received $6,000 and Blumenauer received $5,000 in donations from the Humane Society Legislative Fund (HSLF), placing them in the top 11% of House recipients.

In a press release Fitzpatrick stated, “This Congress I am honored to take on a leadership role in promoting animal protection alongside my trusted colleague, Earl Blumenauer. I look forward to building upon the achievements of the 113th Congressional Animal Protection Caucus and continuing to foster bipartisan support for common-sense animal welfare laws.”

A listing of Animal Protection Caucus members can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/njbqxsm

Thank you for reading. Cross posting is encouraged.

The world not only belongs to those who show up, it's controlled by the best informed and most motivated.

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


SAN DIEGO, July 24, 2015. Animal-rights activists Joseph Buddenberg and Nicole Kissane were arrested by the FBI today and charged with terrorizing the fur industry during cross-country road trips in which they released thousands of mink from farms around the country and vandalized various properties. According to a federal grand jury indictment unsealed today, Buddenberg and Kissane caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage during the nationwide spree in the summer of 2013. The indictment alleges that the pair snuck onto farms and freed minks and destroyed breeding records in Idaho, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania during multiple trips, and in one case they released a bobcat from a farm in Montana.

The defendants were charged under the Conspiracy to Violate the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act. They were arrested in Oakland this morning by agents from the FBI’s San Francisco field office. The government will seek the removal of Buddenberg and Kissane to the Southern District of California to face charges.

In one instance described in the indictment, the defendants traveled from Oregon to San Diego in their 2012 Honda Fit on July 15, 2013 and used paint, paint stripper, a super glue-type substance, butyric acid, muriatic acid and glass etchant to vandalize Furs by Graf, a retail furrier located in San Diego, as well as the Spring Valley and La Mesa residences and personal property of the current and former owners of the business.

To publicize their crimes, the defendants drafted “communiqu├ęs” describing their conduct and posted them on websites associated with animal rights extremists, the indictment said.
Among some of the incidents of vandalism cited in the indictment: The defendants slashed tires of a meat distributor’s truck in San Francisco; smashed windows and glued the door locks at a furrier business in Minneapolis, Minnesota; vandalized and attempted to flood the Sun Prairie, Wisconsin home of an employee of the North American Fur Auctions.
“Today’s indictment represents the collective efforts of several FBI Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTF) around the country,” said Eric S. Birnbaum, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s San Diego Field Office. “The FBI and our JTTF partners will continue to investigate and seek the prosecution of those who engage in similar criminal conduct for the purpose of advancing their own personal agenda.” Source: FBI Press Release: http://tinyurl.com/qx8e3kq

HR 3136, sponsored by Rep. Rod Blum (R‐IA), would require the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to post on USDA.gov its table of penalty guidelines for violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act. USDA acknowledged creation of this table in a 2010 press announcement but has not released it to the public or Members of Congress.

Several Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for the table from interested stakeholders were denied by USDA. USDA also refused to provide the information when requested by Members of the Senate and House.

While an overwhelming majority of the regulated community (researchers and veterinarians at colleges, universities, pharmaceutical companies, hospitals) have a strong record of compliance, they and the public have a right to know what penalties can be levied by USDA for non‐compliance with the AWA. This right to know is the soul of open, transparent government, especially when the issuance of financial penalties could impact American competitiveness. If the general public can have knowledge of other penalties like littering, jaywalking, or speeding, the same should apply to laws enforced by USDA.

Publication of the table does not affect the deliberative process of USDA's enforcement of the AWA. The table is intended to be a simple guide to issue a specific dollar amount, where no debate or deliberation is required. USDA, at this point, would have already determined that an institution was not in compliance with the AWA. In fact, USDA claims in the May 2010 press release that the table is meant to serve as a deterrent to violating the AWA. Knowledge of potential penalties could certainly serve as a deterrent and bring trust, clarity and understanding to USDA's enforcement actions. But only if released.

USDA has denied the public access to these documents because it has said it allows the regulated community to weigh the estimated cost for violation of the AWA. This is an instant and unfair assumption that research institutions choose noncompliance. Nearly 80% of USDA's inspections of animal research facilities receive a passing inspection. Additionally, no research program, private or federal, has budget items designed specifically to address levied fines.

Please use NABR’s Capwiz site to send a prewritten email directly to your Member of Congress and urge them to support the ETA. This quick and easy‐to‐use tool can be found at http://tinyurl.com/q6tnl2m

A professor at the University of North Georgia is asking “every friend of animals” to contribute money for the upkeep of a violent animal rights extremist, Campus Reform reports.

Professor Barry Friedman has a day job teaching political science, but he’s also a full-time animal lover, which one could deduce from the fact that his professor page is topped by five different cat photos. As a result, he begs those visiting his professor page to send money and any other support they can to jailed animal rights activist Camille Marino. Friedman asks for money to go to Marino’s jail commissary account, so she can “pay for food that is compatible with her vegan diet, clothing, toiletries, postage, and telephone calls.”

Marino has been jailed since February, not for her animal rights activism, but rather because she violated a protective order following a domestic violence accusation coming from fellow animal activist Steven Best, a professor at the University of Texas at El Paso. Friedman describes Best as a “rival” to Marino, using a protective order to sabotage her, while Best has described Marino as a “sick individual, dangerous sociopath, and utter fraud who is stalking me and the animal rights movement as a whole.”

Marino is the founder of the group Negotiation Is Over (NIO), which advocates the use of violence to liberate animals used for laboratory testing. The group’s Strategies and Tactics section includes a page that appears to endorse violent assaults against not only college students involved with animal testing, but also their friends and families. Read more at the Daily Caller http://tinyurl.com/n9qls9d

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