Natural Bridge Zoo Closes to the Public

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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

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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.

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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.

 

 

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When you think about it…can you trust animal-based product labels?

Find vegan and vegetarian versions of popular foods at http://www.nhes.org/articles/view/588 .

Find vegan and vegetarian versions of popular foods on the NHES website.

We are bombarded by advertisements encouraging us to buy the latest and greatest, the biggest and best. Many of these products come with labels using words we think we understand but do we? For instance, when grocery shopping, do we know what “cage free” means when referring to eggs, or even what “humane” means when referring to farmed animals?

“Although USDA  [U.S. Department of Agriculture] regularly approves claims related to animal welfare, no legal definitions exist for the terms ‘animal welfare,’ ‘humane,’ or ‘animal care.’” So if there are no legal definitions, how are we as consumers to know how well, or ill, treated the animals are who produce food for our table? Sadly, we have no way of knowing.

We can, however, avoid the issue altogether. We can shop vegan. Vegans  eat no animal flesh or animal products thereby avoiding the issue of what exactly animal-based product labels mean. For, when you think about it…can you trust animal-based product labels?

 

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When you think about it…killing at any speed is hazardous to one’s health.

The USDA may allow poultry companies to increase the amount of chickens processed per minute. View our list of vegan/vegetarian options that support a humane diet.

The USDA may allow poultry companies to increase the number of chickens processed per minute. View our list of vegan/vegetarian options that support a humane diet.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is putting the final touches on a proposal that would allow poultry companies to accelerate poultry processing lines. Translation: the companies can increase the speed at which they can kill animals from 140 to 175 chickens a minute and from 45 to 55 turkeys a minute.

The obvious hazard is to the birds—more will be slaughtered a minute, an hour, a day at these plants. At current “line speeds,” many birds are not dead before they enter tanks of scalding water. They are, in essence, boiled alive. With more rapid line speeds, more chickens and turkeys may die horrific deaths. Ironically, birds who die this way must be discarded. If a bird hasn’t completely bled out prior to being dragged through the scalding water, the bird’s flesh becomes saturated with blood, which can carry pathogens, thereby making the flesh unusable.

There’s another group who will suffer, too—the workers in these factories. Injuries to slaughterhouse workers can be career ending and sometimes life-threatening. Workers are dealing with frightened animals, they are handling sharp objects, walking around on slimy floors, and generally moving faster than any of us can comprehend, all to take the lives of innocent animals.

So, whether a human or a nonhuman animal, when you think about it…killing at any speed is hazardous to one’s health. Chose a vegan/vegetarian diet instead and end the killing.

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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

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