USDA Orders Pittsburgh Zoo to Stop Using Dogs to Control Elephants

elephant (15)pawsupPaws Up!

To the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for enforcing humane handling of captive elephants.

According to a recent news article, USDA inspectors visited the Pittsburgh Zoo in January 2015. During the visit, a zoo manager was asked to demonstrate how the zoo uses Australian cattle dogs to control the zoo’s elephants. After the inspector observed an elephant’s distressed reaction to one of the dogs, the USDA issued a report with specific orders stating that the zoo must control the elephants without causing them behavioral stress. The zoo was ordered change “from this point forward” in regard to employing cattle dogs to control elephants.

Take Action: When viewing wildlife, support reputable wildlife sanctuaries and visit parks and refuges where animals can be seen in their natural habitats.

New Bill Aims to Clean Up Great Lakes

If passed, H.R. 223 would allow for the cleanup and restoration of degraded habitats in the Great Lakes region.

If passed, H.R. 223 would allow for the cleanup and restoration of degraded habitats in the Great Lakes region.

Last month, H.R. 223: Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act of 2015, was introduced and sponsored by Representative David Joyce (R) of Ohio. If passed, this bill would address the water quality of the Great Lakes, which contains 1/5 of the world’s fresh-water supply. The Great Lakes region provides fresh drinking water to over 40 million people, and provides jobs to approximately 1.5 million people. This water supply is undoubtedly an important resource to the community, but is also home to many species of wildlife and other living species that are suffering from pollutants.

If passed, H.R. 223 would allow Federal and non-Federal partners to work together to prevent and control existing invasive species, such as Asian carp, restore habitats in areas polluted by nutrient runoff and algal blooms, and reestablish healthy wetlands. Funding for this initiative would allow 300 million dollars annually through 2019, which, according to Joyce, would not add debt to the federal budget. This bill would promote a healthier ecosystem and support commerce, tourism, transportation, and agriculture in the Great Lakes region.

Take Action: Residents of the Great Lakes region, contact you legislators and urge them to support H.R. 223 for the sake of healthy habitats and a growing economy.

New KY Bill Targets Dogfighting


Paws Up!
To Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo (D) for introducing a bill that would make activities related to dogfighting Class D felonies.

A new bill would make the breeding, selling, and training of dogs for fighting purposes felonies in KY.

A new bill would make the breeding, selling, and training of dogs for fighting purposes felonies in KY.

Organizing a dogfight is already a felony in Kentucky, as it is in every state. However, unlike other states, Kentucky’s dogfighting laws don’t include certain activities related to dogfighting as felony offenses. If passed, House Bill 154, introduced by House Speaker Greg Stumbo (D), aims to change that. According to a recent news article, HB 154 would make the possession, training, breeding, and selling of dogs for the purpose of dogfighting Class D felonies. In the bill’s current form, the provisions would also include protections for other four-legged animals, such as pigs, who have historically been involved in violent “hog-dog” fights for entertainment or betting purposes. The bill has already been approved by the House Judiciary Committee.

Take Action: Kentucky residents, contact your representatives and ask him/her to support HB 154.

Don’t Wait For A Ban – Stop Buying Animal-Tested Cosmetics Today

albino rabbitsNational bans on animal testing for cosmetics are gaining momentum. The European Union, Norway, Israel, and India have all passed national legislation to inhibit animal testing in the creation of cosmetics. In recent years, some legislators have even made attempts to phase out animal testing for cosmetics in the United States. These are undoubtedly promising developments in the global animal welfare movement. However, enactment of legislation to limit or prohibit testing on animals for cosmetics and other products in the U.S. may be years away. In the meantime, countless rabbits, beagles, guinea pigs, rats, mice, and other animals are languishing in laboratories around the country. Americans must support legislation to stop these nightmarish and unnecessary tests, but everyone living in the United States can stop purchasing animal-tested cosmetics and personal care products now. Rejecting personal care products sold by companies that still use animal testing conveys to those companies that now is the time to end animal testing.

As consumers, finding products that satisfy our preferences, budgets, and consumer ethics can seem like a daunting task. Even the most conscientious consumers may have only a vague understanding of how business, science, and law intersect in regard to animal testing. To add to the confusion, some companies attempt to attract consumers with a “cruelty-free” label without actually abiding by cruelty-free guidelines.

Fortunately, there are resources that make cruelty-free shopping enjoyable and accessible. Thousands of safe and high-quality products are available through companies that don’t test on animals. There are at least three ways consumers can support these companies:

•    An organization known as the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics (CCIC) administers a cruelty-free standard in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, and parts of the European Union. Companies listed by the CCIC meet the standards set by the Leaping Bunny Program, which according to the CCIC website guarantee that “…no new animal testing is used in any phase of product development by the company, its laboratories, or suppliers.” To use this resource, visit
•    When shopping for a new cosmetic or personal care product, you can visit the company’s website to learn the company’s policy on animal testing.
•    For spur-of-the-moment purchases, download an app to your smartphone. Many apps are now available that help users discern if animal testing was used with a quick scan of the item’s barcode.

As citizens concerned about animal welfare, we send messages to our lawmakers with pens and paper. As consumers, we communicate with our dollars, and these are messages that no business can ignore.

Sea World Won’t Phase Out Business of Captive Orcas, Dolphins

pawsdownPaws Down!
To SeaWorld San Diego for continuing its captive orca exhibit and dolphin shows.

Dolphins deserve the freedom to live out their lives in the wild.

Dolphins deserve  to live out their lives in the wild.

In the wake of documentaries such as “The Cove” and “Black Fish,” many tourists no longer wish to see captive orcas and dolphins perform for crowds. Some major tourist attractions currently in possession of cetaceans like orcas and bottlenose dolphins have responded by reconsidering the concept of cetaceans in captivity. For example, the Baltimore Aquarium still holds captive dolphins, but ended its dolphin shows in 2012. Furthermore, Baltimore Aquarium CEO, John Racanelli, announced last summer a plan to potentially build an off-shore dolphin sanctuary  where the center’s eight captive dolphins could retire in peace. Meanwhile, SeaWorld San Diego has responded to emerging public concern and dropping attendance by implementing public relations damage control measures. In December 2014, SeaWorld demoted CEO Jim Atchison  to Vice President and instituted lay-offs to cut operation costs. According to a recent news article, the company is attempting to warm public opinion by enlarging the aquatic enclosure for the company’s eleven captive orcas. However, SeaWorld San Diego has not expressed any intention to end or phase out the attraction’s orca exhibit or dolphin shows. Both orcas and bottlenose dolphins are extremely intelligent, long-lived, and social animals who form close-knit family bonds. Both species have strong instincts to hunt as well as migrate. No fish tank, no matter the size, is an appropriate setting for these magnificent animals.

Take Action: Contact  Sea World San Diego and express your desire to see bottlenose dolphins and orcas in the wild.
Sea World San Diego
500 Sea World Drive
San Diego, CA 92109

California Bans Confinement Crates for Hens and Other Animals

California has banned the use of confinement crates for egg-laying hens and other farm animals.

California has banned the use of confinement crates for egg-laying hens and other farm animals.

Paws Up!
To California legislators for passing a statewide ban on confinement crates.

As of January 1, 2015, California has banned the use of confinement crates for egg-laying hens and other farm animals under Proposition 2. This law, initiated in 2008, has given egg producers six years to comply with the new standards, which requires hens to be able to “stand up, lie down, turn around and fully extend their wings.” Calves raised for veal and pregnant sows are also included in Proposition 2, which states “a person shall not tether or confine any covered animal on a farm, for all or the majority of any day, in a manner that prevents such animal from lying down, standing up, and fully extending his or her limbs.” Furthermore, veal and sow gestation crates are now banned in the state of California. Companies such as Burger King, Kroger, Safeway, and McDonald’s have also joined in phasing out the use of these gestation crates.

Take Action: California residents, thank your legislators for passing a law that will end the use of inhumane cages and crates for farmed animals. Residents of other states, contact your legislators to express your support of laws that require humane care of farmed animals.

Fairfax, Virginia, Passes City-Wide Ban on Continuous Dog Chaining

pawsupPaws Up!
To Fairfax City Council in Virginia for passing an ordinance that dramatically limits dog tethering.

All dogs require daily exercise and interaction with their owners.

All dogs require daily exercise and interaction with their owners.

According to a recent news article, Fairfax, VA, recently passed a city ordinance to set strict limitations on dog chaining. The new city ordinance stipulates that companion animals can’t be tethered or chained for more than one hour per day. Residents are not permitted to tether any animal who is sick, injured, or under the age of 4 months. Tethering and chaining is also prohibited when the temperature is above 90 degrees or less than 32 degrees. Penalties for chaining a companion animal outside of these stipulations range between $50 and $250.

Dogs who are chained continuously face daily threats to their physical and psychological well-being. In addition to the dangers posed by extreme weather and disease-carrying insects, chained dogs are also vulnerable to attacks by wild or roaming animals. Furthermore, dogs who are chained continuously suffer from extreme frustration and lack of socialization, which can make some dogs more likely to bite.

Take Action: Contact your city council or county commission and express your support for an ordinance prohibiting the continuous chaining of pets. Residents of Fairfax, contact your city council and thank them for passing this important ordinance.


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