Gulf Coast Transformation Gains Even More Momentum

By on March 30, 2015 with 0 Comments

Today, at a jam-packed Animal Care Expo in New Orleans, The HSUS announced $1 million in grants to animal welfare groups, prisons, and vet schools to advance life-saving programs for pets in the Gulf Coast. The announcement is one part of our bigger, week-long, 10-year look-back on the transformational impact of Hurricane Katrina not only on disaster planning for animals in the region, but on animal welfare policies throughout the nation and the dramatic strengthening of the humane infrastructure in the Gulf Coast. We promised to leave the region better and stronger than it was before Katrina hit, and we’re delivering on that promise. It’s so exciting to see the changes throughout the Gulf Coast states.

Today’s grant recipients include:

  • the Louisiana SPCA, which has just completed Phase II of its quest to construct one of the nation’s best animal care facilities, building upon its outstanding achievements in the wake of the disaster. We’ve made a $250,000 pledge, on top of about $4 million we’ve already donated to this important organization.
  • the Mississippi State University and Louisiana State University shelter medicine programs, which directly support the care of companion animals at shelters throughout the region, and are introducing hundreds of new veterinarians to the sheltering community and giving these medical personnel practical experience that benefits both animals and people. We’ve committed $300,000 to each vet school, bringing our commitment to the two veterinary schools in the Gulf Coast to more than $1 million each.
  • Pen Pals, Inc., of Jackson, Louisiana, which supports the nation’s only animal shelter operating behind prison walls, at the Dixon Correctional Institute, a direct result of a pioneering collaboration between The HSUS and the Louisiana Department of Corrections in the challenging days after Katrina struck. We’ve committed an additional $150,000, on top of more than $600,000 already donated to build a local pet shelter at the prison.
  • Jefferson SPCA, a superb partner of the HSUS Pets for Life program in the region, which is bringing needed services to a once devastated community that is still recovering, in a model program directly inspired by some of the insights we gained as a result of follow-up work carried out after Katrina. We’ve committed $22,500, on top of $150,000 that we’ve worked with PetSmart Charities to deliver to this populous parish. The Jefferson SPCA Pets for Life program is one of about 25 communities selected across the nation to conduct this innovative work under HSUS guidance and mentorship.

Out of the wreckage and tumult and pain and death wrought by Katrina, we’ve seen a remarkable rebuilding and remaking of the humane movement. The legal framework against cruelty has been strengthened, consciousness and awareness has been raised, and the infrastructure for animals has been rebuilt.  Today, at our welcome session, I showed a video of a man named Donald Harris, who was caught in the storm because he wouldn’t leave his dog behind. Donald and his dog, 10 years later, showed up to celebrate the incredible rescue mission and thank the organizers and rescuers for being there a decade ago, an amazing and heartwarming moment for all of us.

It’s exciting that this round of grant-making has taken place at the start of Animal Care Expo, the world’s preeminent conference for animal sheltering and rescue professionals and advocates. During this week, with 2,500 attendees, we’ll have animal advocates from about 40 countries in attendance, and it’s part of our commitment to teaching and re-energizing the leadership of the global animal protection movement.

Of course, Katrina was more than a regional event. It became a national rescue operation, and Americans opened their hearts to people and animals in distress. It’s forever changed our perceptions of the power of the human-animal bond, and it elevated the prestige and relevance of our great cause. We’re committed to turning that awareness into lasting change.

Animal Welfare is Brewin’ at Dunkin’ Donuts

By on March 30, 2015 with 1 Comment
Animal Welfare is Brewin’ at Dunkin’ Donuts

I’m excited to share with you another big step away from the cruelty of cage confinement of hens. Dunkin’ Donuts, one of the world’s top fast-food chains, is exploring the feasibility of transitioning to cage-free eggs globally for use in all of its food products. Even as it works toward this goal, as an immediate . . . 

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The Other Guys Seeking Rhino Horns and Elephant Tusks

By on March 27, 2015 with 14 Comments
The Other Guys Seeking Rhino Horns and Elephant Tusks

Yesterday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife made two important announcements about trophy hunting. The good news is that the Service extended a ban on imports of sport-hunted elephant trophies from Zimbabwe, where an autocratic ruler has made a mess of the resource-rich nation’s wildlife management program. Extending the ban is the right move, not only . . . 

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Federal Anti-Cruelty Law Stands

By on March 26, 2015 with 4 Comments
Federal Anti-Cruelty Law Stands

Without much of anybody but The HSUS and the participants in the case noticing, we gained a major victory this week in our decades-long quest to assert and defend the federal government’s right to crack down on animal abuse. The U.S. Supreme Court elected not to hear an appeal of a federal appellate court ruling upholding . . . 

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American Sniper – Humane Society style

By on March 25, 2015 with 20 Comments
American Sniper – Humane Society style

Today, I am in Hastings-on-Hudson, a bedroom community about a half hour north of New York City, on a deer hunt. The weapon of choice is a dart gun, and it’s one of the key tools in our collaborative experiment  with the town to vaccinate Hastings-on-Hudson’s deer and prevent the treated animals from reproducing, as . . . 

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Cutting off Markets, Not Fins

By on March 24, 2015 with 10 Comments
Cutting off Markets, Not Fins

Shark finning, as is customarily done, requires that a fishermen haul a shark from the ocean, slice its fin off, and then throw the rest of the shark – often still alive – back into the ocean. This leaves the shark not only with gaping, mortal wounds, but also with no ability to swim. The creature . . . 

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The Sparrow Fund – A Lifeline for Those in Greatest Need

By on March 23, 2015 with 5 Comments
The Sparrow Fund – A Lifeline for Those in Greatest Need

Clayton Van Wert was throwing out trash at a dump site on the edge of the Red Lake Indian Reservation in Minnesota last month when he heard whimpering and banging coming from a burning dumpster nearby. “I looked in and I could see this figure of a dog that was coming through the flames,” said . . . 

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The South Korean 57 – Delivered From the Clutches of the Dog Meat Trade

By on March 20, 2015 with 11 Comments
The South Korean 57 – Delivered From the Clutches of the Dog Meat Trade

This week, we turned around the fortunes of 57 dogs set to be butchered after a short, brutish life on a dog meat farm in South Korea, and shepherded them to the United States. They’ll be treated and cared for at the East Bay SPCA, Marin Humane Society, Sacramento SPCA, and San Francisco SPCA, before . . . 

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New Orleans Convention to Show How Katrina Changed Disaster Planning for the Nation

By on March 19, 2015 with 2 Comments
New Orleans Convention to Show How Katrina Changed Disaster Planning for the Nation

On March 31, nearly 2,500 animal welfare experts and other enthusiasts from around the world will converge in New Orleans for our 24th HSUS Animal Care Expo, the world’s largest educational conference and trade show for animal shelter and rescue professionals and advocates. This Animal Care Expo promises to be our biggest ever, and its . . . 

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Major Companies Showing the Way on Animal Protection

By on March 18, 2015 with 2 Comments
Major Companies Showing the Way on Animal Protection

In addressing issues ranging from the humane treatment of animals raised for food to curbing the trade in shark fins to moving away from puppy mills and toward shelter pet adoption, Nestlé, Starbucks, Target, Jet Airways, and Alsip Home & Nursery are the winners in 2014 of our Henry Spira Corporate Progress Awards – having . . . 

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