Ag-gag Laws Create Moral Compass Confusion

Dairy cows spend most of their lives producing milk, which means they must be continually pregnant.

We are taught at an early age the difference between right and wrong, and as we grow our knowledge increases of what is right and what is wrong. Our nation was founded by a set of rules that denotes this fact. When did that line start to blur? Money has played a key role in causing confusion in our moral compass. No one seems to be safe from its tantalizing grasp. Ag-gag laws are on the rise and with it confusion starts to form between what is right and what is wrong. This law punishes people for reporting illegal or unethical acts that occur in factory farms.

Factory farms are prevalent in the United States due to the high consumption of animal products. Our society highly values ease and accessibility. Because of the nature of our society we have created a need for factory farming especially through fast food chains. Animals in these farms are not treated with respect. They are treated as if they have no feelings. Ag-gag laws were created not to protect animals or the public interest but to keep businesses safe from regulations. Animals are not able to voice how they are being treated in these places. We, as animal welfare advocates, cannot be their voice when we will be punished by a law that states we are in the wrong as whistleblowers. Where do we draw the line?

Posted in Our 2 Cents Monthly Blog. Tags: , , . Comments Off on Ag-gag Laws Create Moral Compass Confusion

Natural Bridge Zoo Closes to the Public

PD_Black_Bear

Exotic animals deserve to live free in their natural environments.

Paws Up!

pawsupTo Rockbridge County Circuit Judge Michael Irvine for upholding the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries’ decision to revoke the Natural Bridge Zoo’s state permit.

How many of you visited a roadside zoo when you were a child? Lions, tigers, and elephants who seemed untouchable in movies could now be seen up close. As a child, you may not have given much thought to the animals’ daily lives, just the awe-filled memory of seeing exotic animals in real life.

Throughout the years, more people have come to realize that these majestic animals should not be imprisoned in cages for our enjoyment, but rather they should be allowed to live in their own environments—free. According to a recent news story, the Natural Bridge Zoo has been operated by Karl Mogenson for over thirty years in Rockbridge County, VA. Whereas some establishments improve over time, management of the Natural Bridge Zoo has worsened over the past three decades to the point that it has now become a place of deep sorrow and profound suffering for the animals there. Thankfully, concerned citizens have given these beloved animals a voice. Recent inspections by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) uncovered as many as forty-four animal welfare violations. Upon learning of the USDA inspection report, which cited numerous instances of inadequate veterinary care and inhumane practices, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries suspended the zoo’s permit to showcase wild animals. In a recent ruling, Rockbridge County Circuit Judge Michael Irvine upheld the state agency’s decision. Thanks to this ruling, the zoo will not be allowed to reopen in the foreseeable future. However, despite numerous citations, the zoo still holds a federal license under the USDA.

Take Action: Please contact the USDA APHIS to encourage the agency to permanently revoke the Natural Bridge Zoo’s federal license.
USDA, APHIS, AC
920 Main Campus Drive,
Suite 200, Unit 3040
Raleigh, NC 27606
Telephone: (919) 855-7100
Fax: (919) 855-7123

Posted in Paws Up/Paws Down. Tags: , , , , , , . Comments Off on Natural Bridge Zoo Closes to the Public

Why You Should Report Animal Cruelty

Photo by The National Humane Education Society

Photo by The National Humane Education Society

If you are reading this, chances are you care about animal welfare and take excellent care of your own pets. All the same, would you know what to do if you suspected someone in your community of animal abuse or neglect? While many of us wouldn’t hesitate to rescue a stray, situations in which an animal technically has a legal owner can feel tricky. Even when we know that something we’ve witnessed constitutes animal cruelty, some of us may still feel ambivalent about involving law enforcement. We don’t want to be seen as snoops, nor do we want to be seen as making frivolous complaints on behalf of a “mere animal”. Furthermore, the last thing we want is to create turmoil in our communities and social circles. Due in part to worries like these, far too many witnesses don’t report animal cruelty when they see it. However, every person should know when and how they should contact law enforcement to report animal cruelty.

First, if you see an animal in immediate physical danger, it is time to call law enforcement. Start dialing any time you see an animal trapped inside a hot car, in danger of freezing to death, or involved in a violent situation. If you do not know the number of the local animal control office, call the local sheriff’s office. If you cannot reach the sheriff’s office, call 911. You will not get in trouble for making a truthful report in good faith, and you could very well save a life. In other cases, the situation you’re witnessing may not be considered an emergency, but problematic nonetheless.

While you may not call 911 to report a continuously tethered dog, you may still be able to recruit help from animal control. In this case, it can be helpful to know about your county’s animal cruelty laws and ordinances. The website of your county commission or local humane society can help you learn the laws of your area. That said, even if you are unsure of the law as it pertains to the situation you’ve witnessed, you can still contact your local animal control or sheriff’s office, report what you’ve seen, and request that a “welfare check” be conducted at the address in question. Officers may not impound the animal, but they are likely to educate the owner. Rest assured that requesting a welfare check is not the same as filing a complaint or asking to press charges. A request for a welfare check is simply a request for officers to visit the property. You can also request that your identity not be revealed to the owner.

Unfortunately, many cases of animal abuse and neglect are resolved too late or not at all, simply because witnesses only came forward in the form of gossip or long after the fact. While advocating for abused animals can feel stressful at times, in many cases, the difference between a miserable death and a long, happy life is a single phone call. For more information on how to report animal cruelty, visit http://nhes.org/sections/view/283.

Posted in Our 2 Cents Monthly Blog. Tags: , , , , , . Comments Off on Why You Should Report Animal Cruelty

USDA Imposes Health and Age Requirements On Puppies Entering U.S. For Commercial Sale

pawsupPaws Up!
To the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) for increasing restrictions on live canine imports into the United States.

The USDA now requires age limits and vaccinations for puppies imported into the United States for sale.

The USDA now requires an age minimum and proof of current vaccinations for puppies being imported into the U.S. for sale in the pet trade.

In September 2014, APHIS  amended the Animal Welfare Act to increase health requirements of canines entering the U.S. from  for the purpose of commercial resale in the pet trade. Under this amendment, all dogs entering the U.S. border for sale in the pet trade must be up-to-date on vaccines, at least 6 months of age and in good health.

Previously, thousands of young puppies from as far away as South Korea were coming into the U.S. without these vital health and safety requirements. Young puppies may be popular with consumers, but they are also immunologically vulnerable and may only be partially weaned. At the very least, this amendment will help safeguard the health and well-being of animals in transit and could possibly even reduce the influx of puppy mill “inventory” into the U.S.

Take Action: Contact the USDA  to express your support of tighter regulations on the international pet trade and  approval of this amendment.

 

 

Posted in Paws Up/Paws Down. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Comments Off on USDA Imposes Health and Age Requirements On Puppies Entering U.S. For Commercial Sale

Update on Jambbas Ranch Tours, Inc.

PD_Black_Bear

The U.S.D.A has temporarily suspended Jambbas Ranch Tour’s license for 4 months due to repeated violations of the Animal Welfare Act.

Last year, we urged readers to contact the U.S. Department of Agriculture and ask the department to revoke the license of Jambbas Ranch Tours, Inc. for violations of the Animal Welfare Act. While the license hasn’t been revoked, it has been suspended for at least 4 months. Please contact the secretary of Agriculture and urge him to close Jambbas Ranch Tours and have the animals relocated to appropriate sanctuaries for them to live out their lives in peace.

The Honorable Tom Vilsack
Secretary
U.S. Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Ave., S.W.
Washington, DC 20250

Posted in Action Letters. Tags: , , , , , , . Comments Off on Update on Jambbas Ranch Tours, Inc.

Protecting Puppies

The USDA has closed a loophole that previously allowed owners of puppy mills to sell puppies over the Internet and through newspaper ads.

The USDA has closed a loophole that allowed owners of puppy mills to sell puppies over the Internet and through newspaper ads.

PPawsUpaws Up!
To USDA for protecting puppies.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has closed a loophole in regulating puppy mills. The revised ruling will now regulate the sale of puppies over the Internet or through newspaper ads.

Prior to adopting the ruling, people selling over the Internet or through newspaper ads could claim to be pet stores, which are exempt from the standards of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). However, now those so-called stores are no longer exempt and must meet the standards set forth in the AWA.

Puppy mills are nothing more than breeding grounds for disease, despair, and death. Until we stop buying puppies from millers, we will need to be vigilant in protecting the puppies and their parents living in these mills.

Take Action: NEVER purchase a pet over the Internet or through a newspaper ad unless you are able to visit the breeder who is offering the animal for sale. Make sure you are able to meet at least the mother of the animal if not the father as well. Additionally, NEVER purchase an animal from a pet store. Adopt your next companion animal. Rescue him or her from a shelter or nonprofit rescue group. If you’re looking for a specific breed of dog, breed rescue groups exist for almost all pure bred dogs; so you never have to shop if you want a specific breed.

USDA and Jambbas Ranch

Jambbas Ranch tours has been cited several times by the USDA.

Jambbas Ranch Tours has been cited several times by the USDA.

It’s a year later and still the Jambbas Ranch Tours is in operation. Jambbas Ranch Tours has been repeatedly cited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for violations of the Animal Welfare Act. The animals who are imprisoned at this ranch need to be protected by the agency responsible for their welfare. It’s time that agency revoked Jambbas’ license to exhibit animals. As noted last year, the ranch has been cited for having animals living in unsanitary conditions and in hazardous enclosures. Jambbas has also been cited for failure to provide adequate veterinary care and failure to supply sufficient quantities of food and potable water.

Let the secretary and the general counsel of the USDA know that it is time to revoke Jambbas’ license.

The Honorable Tom Vilsack
Secretary
The Honorable Ramona Romero
General Counsel
U.S. Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Ave., S.W.
Washington, DC 20250

%d bloggers like this: