India adopts remarkable set of new animal protection policies

By on May 26, 2017 with 1 Comment

The Government of India has announced sweeping new regulations that are expected to end the suffering of dogs bred indiscriminately and without basic needs like food, water, and shelter; improve conditions for animals sold in livestock markets; and ensure that fish sold in aquariums and fish stores are not caught using destructive fishing practices, or taken from protected areas. It’s one of the biggest packages of animal welfare reforms ever adopted by a major nation, and it’s going to be implemented on a subcontinent with more than a billion people and countless millions of animals at risk.

These are just the latest advances in our work to protect animals in India. Since opening our offices there five years ago – with the Dalai Lama joining me in the packed celebration in Mumbai of this new capacity and our new initiatives – the Humane Society International/India team has succeeded in ending the biggest animal sacrifice on earth at Gadhimai in Nepal, helped end the imports of fur and exotic skins into India, and made significant gains on ending animal fighting and cosmetics testing.

The new regulations are expected to improve the lives of millions of companion animals, farm animals, and marine animals who, until now, had no protections under the law. They prescribe a comprehensive procedure for the care, cost, maintenance, veterinary treatment, and overall well-being of animals seized from markets and from cases of animal cruelty. Confiscated animals will be seized and handed over to an animal welfare organization until there is a verdict for the owner. Any person convicted for cruelty will be barred from owning that or any animal in the future.

Breeding dogs in India typically live in deplorable conditions. The vast majority of puppies sold in pet stores in India come from breeders who do not provide the animals with the most basic necessities. Unweaned puppies less than two months old are sold to consumers without any registration or records. Whelping mothers are impregnated continuously, resulting in harm to the mothers and the well-being of the puppies. The animals are deprived of the most basic necessities, including food, water, and veterinary care.

Under the new rules, all dog breeders must now be registered, and the facilities being used to house the dogs will be open for state inspections which, we hope, will reduce the abuse and suffering of the dogs and force breeders to provide at least the most basic care. The new regulations will also set age and sterilization requirements before dogs are sold, and will regulate the number of litters each female dog can produce.

The rules concerning livestock animals are a direct result of our work in Gadhimai, where our team found that nearly 80 percent of the animals being brought into Nepal came from India.

It is estimated that each year hundreds of thousands of cows, bulls, buffaloes, horses, goats, sheep, donkeys, camels, and birds are transported to the markets. Once conscripted into the trade, they have no access to food, water, or rest. This is considered cruelty under an Indian prevention of cruelty law already in existence, but that law was not being properly enforced. Under the new rules, animal market monitoring committees will ensure that markets provide housing, sufficient food and water, feed storage areas, water troughs, ramps, enclosures for sick animals, veterinary care, lighting, bedding, toilets, proper drainage, and other facilities for the animals.

Aquariums and fish shops will be banned from sourcing fish caught using destructive fishing practices, like bottom trawling, cyanide fishing, use of explosives or dynamite to kill or stun fish, or the use of fish trapped from coral reefs or from other protected areas. Aquariums will be required to be registered with the Animal Welfare Board of India. The rules also prohibit the display and trade of cetaceans, penguins, otters, and manatees, among other sea creatures. These are among the strongest fish and aquarium standards in the world, and we are proud to have played a role in their passage.

Let’s take a moment today to celebrate these important victories in India, to thank political and judicial leaders in India, and to send thanks for the determined efforts of our extraordinary staff in the world’s second most populous nation.

Federal legislation introduced to ban doping of horses

By on May 25, 2017 with 2 Comments
Federal legislation introduced to ban doping of horses

Today, two lawmakers from Congressional districts with major horse hoofprints – Reps. Andy Barr, R-Ky., and Paul Tonko, D-N.Y. – introduced legislation to end any doping of Thoroughbreds, Standardbreds, and Quarter horses in the business of pari-mutuel racing. This legislation seeks to launch a new era in the racing industry, which for decades has resisted . . . 

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Finding a common trail to help working horses on tribal lands in Arizona

By on May 24, 2017 with 5 Comments
Finding a common trail to help working horses on tribal lands in Arizona

The Havasupai Reservation village of Supai, Arizona, located just outside the boundaries of Grand Canyon National Park but sharing the extraordinary beauty of the region, is in its own right a popular and scenic tourist destination. Its waterfalls and swimming opportunities draw tourists and motivate them to descend a lengthy and tortuous eight-mile trail to . . . 

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Helping the police, and helping dogs in the process

By on May 23, 2017 with 5 Comments
Helping the police, and helping dogs in the process

Last July, Vickie Malone hosted kids at her home in Wynnewood, Oklahoma, to celebrate her five-year old son’s birthday. Eli and the other kids were about to get ice cream and cake when they heard a shot ring out. Opie, the boy’s pit bull mix, was gasping for air after a local police officer in . . . 

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Digging into gopher tortoise protection

By on May 22, 2017 with 1 Comment
Digging into gopher tortoise protection

At The HSUS, we work to save animals. But we also work to spare them from cruelty and suffering. If someone is to kill an animal – and that outcome cannot be avoided or prevented — we do our best to see that the killing doesn’t amount to torture, and that death comes swiftly. There . . . 

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Shark Week in the U.S. Senate

By on May 19, 2017 with 0 Comments
Shark Week in the U.S. Senate

The practice of slicing fins off live sharks and throwing them back into the water to bleed to death took a big hit yesterday when a key Senate committee passed a bill that would end any trade of shark fins in the United States. The Senate Commerce Committee passed the Shark Fin Trade Elimination Act, . . . 

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HSUS investigation pulls the curtain back on tiger abuse by traveling circus trainer

By on May 18, 2017 with 6 Comments
HSUS investigation pulls the curtain back on tiger abuse by traveling circus trainer

A new HSUS undercover investigation reveals the mistreatment of eight tigers featured in Ryan Easley’s ShowMe Tigers act – a traveling circus gig that is contracted out to branded circuses. It’s painful to watch a grown man whipping a majestic tiger as the world’s most powerful predator flinches and cowers in fear. It’s a coercive . . . 

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Breaking news: Dog meat sales at China’s Yulin festival likely banned for 2017

By on May 17, 2017 with 45 Comments
Breaking news: Dog meat sales at China’s Yulin festival likely banned for 2017

Humane Society International and Duo Duo Animal Welfare Project (DDAWP) have learned from sources that the Yulin government is set to ban restaurants, street vendors, and market traders from selling dog meat at its summer festival. This is one of the most symbolically significant animal cruelty festivals in the world, and the southwestern Chinese town . . . 

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Breaking news: The HSUS assists with largest-ever cockfighting bust in U.S. history

By on May 16, 2017 with 6 Comments
Breaking news: The HSUS assists with largest-ever cockfighting bust in U.S. history

Yesterday, we worked alongside the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to conduct the largest cockfighting bust in U.S. history, with a staggering 7,000 fighting roosters at a single location. Early yesterday morning, more than 100 deputies from the sheriff’s office, along with large contingents from the HSUS Animal Rescue Team, spcaLA, and the Los Angeles . . . 

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Deliver us from the evils of bestiality

By on May 15, 2017 with 16 Comments
Deliver us from the evils of bestiality

Last week, West Virginia law enforcement officials, with an assist from The HSUS, arrested Victor Zandlo and charged him with suspected abuse of dogs. It was a particularly vicious case of bestiality. Local rescue groups did their best to help all eight dogs in the house, but they were too late for one member of . . . 

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