Monkey Business at Labs and Roadside Zoos Must End

By on April 20, 2015 with 6 Comments

The HSUS’ undercover investigations have revealed primates in psychological distress at research facilities and roadside zoos, and it’s time to do something comprehensive about the problem. Today, we submitted a legal petition to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) asking the agency to provide regulatory guidance directing research facilities, exhibitors, and dealers that breed and use primates on how the animals should be properly housed and cared for, since the current plan isn’t working and primates are suffering.

For example, at a laboratory in Louisiana, we saw primates engaging in self-mutilation due to extreme stress, tearing at gaping wounds in their arms and legs. At Texas Biomedical Research Institute, we documented abnormally high levels of aggression in primates kept in poorly managed social groups. At a roadside attraction in Collins, Miss., we found a monkey living alone in a barren enclosure, pacing incessantly due to boredom and anxiety. And at the unaccredited Natural Bridge Zoo, whose permit was recently suspended by the state of Virginia, our investigator witnessed newborn monkeys being taken away from their frantic mothers to be sold into the exotic pet trade.

The USDA has a legal responsibility to provide oversight of care of primates — 30 years ago, Congress amended the Animal Welfare Act to specifically require that monkeys and apes, including chimpanzees, macaques, capuchins, and marmosets, be provided with enriched environments to promote the “psychological wellbeing” of these highly intelligent creatures. Over 100,000 primates are kept in laboratories and exhibition facilities in the United States. But the USDA’s regulations have long failed to prevent unnecessary suffering in captive primates and the agency’s own inspectors called for guidance over 15 years ago, conceding that current regulations are too difficult to enforce.

Central to this essential reform is the need to prohibit the premature separation of mothers and infants, which experts agree causes long-term behavioral abnormalities and even changes the structure of an infant primate’s brain. We don’t doubt the importance of the maternal bond and social development in our own species, and we shouldn’t be surprised that disregarding the similar needs of our primate cousins leads to significant psychological distress.

The USDA is responsible for setting minimum standards to ensure the welfare of captive primates, and the action requested in our petition is long overdue. The National Institutes of Health recently instituted new requirements for keeping captive chimpanzees in ethologically appropriate environments, and the USDA should follow that example to develop meaningful criteria to improve the lives of captive primates.

Humane Hurricane Hits Puerto Rico

By on April 17, 2015 with 49 Comments
Humane Hurricane Hits Puerto Rico

If you knew that there were tens of thousands of street dogs roaming a jurisdiction in the United States and a 95 percent euthanasia rate for the dogs and cats entering the shelters in the area, what would you do? Well, that is the reality in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, which is part of . . . 

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Time for FTC to Crack Down on Retailers Peddling Real Fur as Faux

By on April 16, 2015 with 4 Comments
Time for FTC to Crack Down on Retailers Peddling Real Fur as Faux

Following prior investigations by The HSUS, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) ordered Neiman Marcus in 2013 to stop falsely advertising animal fur as “faux”, or be subject to serious civil penalties. And yet, as recently as Tuesday, Neiman Marcus was still at it. We have now submitted another legal petition to the FTC seeking enforcement . . . 

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Major Seal Buyer Says No Mas to More Seal Pelts

By on April 15, 2015 with 16 Comments
Major Seal Buyer Says No Mas to More Seal Pelts

Yesterday Carino Processing Ltd – Canada’s oldest and largest seal fur buyer – stated that the company has turned down $1 million in government funding for seal pelt purchases, noting that it already has pelts in storage that it cannot sell. This is a very significant and forbidding development for the sealers, in the wake . . . 

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Ex-d-Con: Getting Poisons Off the Market

By on April 14, 2015 with 1 Comment
Ex-d-Con: Getting Poisons Off the Market

Today, I want to celebrate the removal from the marketplace of one of the most toxic, indiscriminate, and dangerous rat and mouse poisons. On April 1, Reckitt Benckiser Inc., the manufacturer of d-Con brand mouse and rat poisons – and the sole holdout against U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requirements to forbid the most harmful of poisons widely . . . 

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Reynolds Rap  

By on April 13, 2015 with 8 Comments
Reynolds Rap   

Come meet a remarkable woman: Holly Reynolds, a 96-year-young resident of Baton Rouge, La.  Holly has so much to commend her as a stalwart animal advocate, but there’s one part of her biography that is absolutely startling: she attended the first HSUS annual meeting in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1955. She’s probably the only surviving . . . 

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In Oklahoma, A Right to Harm?

By on April 10, 2015 with 5 Comments
In Oklahoma, A Right to Harm?

We all know about the effort by some agribusiness interests to make it a crime for whistleblowers to take photographs or videos that document the suffering animals on a factory farm, or for an animal advocate to apply for a job at one of these facilities. These “ag-gag” laws have been widely condemned in the media . . . 

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Fortune-Teller: Big Gains on Animal Welfare

By on April 9, 2015 with 7 Comments
Fortune-Teller: Big Gains on Animal Welfare

Fortune has just published a pretty extraordinary round-up of our high-impact work with the world’s largest food retail corporations. The piece details the work of Josh Balk, Matt Prescott, and other members of  the HSUS Farm Animal Protection team who have worked so expertly with more than 100 of the biggest names in food retail . . . 

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California Not Dreamin’ as It Moves to Ban Bullhooks

By on April 8, 2015 with 4 Comments
California Not Dreamin’ as It Moves to Ban Bullhooks

In a move closely related to the epochal March 5th announcement from Ringling Bros. that it plans to phase out the use of elephants in its traveling shows, California state Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) has introduced SB 716, a bill to prohibit the use of bullhooks on elephants in California. The cities of Los Angeles . . . 

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Hilton: No Room at the Inn for Cages

By on April 7, 2015 with 5 Comments
Hilton: No Room at the Inn for Cages

I’m excited to announce today that Hilton Worldwide is going to switch to buying exclusively cage-free eggs and gestation crate-free pork after working with The HSUS. This is another major step forward in our efforts to eliminate cage confinement for laying hens and mother pigs. And it’s the latest in a cascade of major announcements . . . 

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