Bipartisan voices urge USDA to implement puppy mill reforms

By on April 23, 2019 with 0 Comments

With one month to go before public comment closes on a federal rule that would curb some of the worst practices at puppy mills, some prominent voices are making the case for why the U.S. government needs to finalize this proposal and go even further to protect dogs from problem breeders who exploit and mistreat the animals in their care.

In a Washington Examiner op-ed today, Lara Trump, an adviser to President Trump, U.S. Reps. Matt Gaetz and Brian Mast, both Florida Republicans, and former Florida Attorney-General Pam Bondi, urge the U.S. Department of Agriculture to finalize the rule with its “commonsense measures” that would prevent dog dealers and other licensees with terrible animal care violations from obtaining new licenses. The proposal would also require commercial breeders and other facilities regulated by the USDA to obtain annual hands-on veterinary examinations and life-saving vaccinations for dogs, and provide them with a continual source of fresh water.

The rule is a good first step, but, as the authors argue, it does not go far enough to ensure a decent quality of life for dogs in federally licensed commercial breeding operations. The USDA’s rules still allow commercial breeders to keep hundreds of dogs in small, stacked wire cages for their entire lives. “Dogs in commercial breeding operations deserve a decent quality of life, not just a clean bowl of water and an annual vet exam. They also deserve room to run, fresh air, and spacious, comfortable housing,” the op-ed states.

Recently, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., called for reform on another puppy-mill-related issue of major concern to us here at the Humane Society of the United States: the USDA sliding back on its job of going after some of the worst Animal Welfare Act violators.

In his letter to the USDA sent last week, Sen. Durbin cites a case in Georgia where a breeder was arrested after he had amassed more than 700 dogs and had been keeping them in filthy and uninhabitable conditions. The USDA had failed to require the breeder to get a license, even though he was openly selling online and had been identified in the HSUS’s Horrible Hundred report on problem puppy mills. The USDA, the Senator wrote, “must ensure breeders… are adhering to animal welfare rules and are being regularly inspected. I ask USDA to review the use of its resources and focus more attention on large, problematic dealers.”

As we have been reporting, over the past year, the USDA has also backpedaled on issuing citations to puppy mills, zoos and other licensed facilities that are mistreating animals. In fact, our own research has found that certain dog dealers cited for very severe animal welfare violations on their state inspection reports, including violations for filthy conditions, injured animals and emaciated dogs, somehow managed to receive a clean report from the USDA during the same month that state inspectors documented severe violations.

It is clear that we cannot allow this state of affairs to continue. Comments on the USDA rule close May 21, and we need your help. Please tell the USDA you support the improvements, but that they will mean nothing without strong enforcement and better standards. You can add your comment here (please personalize it) and we will deliver it to the USDA, along with the comments of other concerned citizens who want to wipe out the scourge of puppy mills for good.

Proposal offers brighter future for wild horses and burros

By on April 22, 2019 with 0 Comments
Proposal offers brighter future for wild horses and burros

By Kitty Block and Sara Amundson The Bureau of Land Management’s Wild Horse and Burro Program is broken. Since inception of the program, the BLM has removed approximately 270,000 wild horses and burros from our public lands, without any significant use of fertility control tools, . . . 

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Earth Day, plant-based eating, and the future of our planet

By on April 19, 2019 with 2 Comments
Earth Day, plant-based eating, and the future of our planet

I’m a mom and an animal protection advocate, and when I think about the health of our planet I can’t help but do so as someone who wants the best for my child and the billions of other young people whose lives depend on better . . . 

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Animal care expo captures spirit, vitality of humane work today

By on April 17, 2019 with 2 Comments
Animal care expo captures spirit, vitality of humane work today

Animal Care Expo 2019 in New Orleans has been a booming success, with record attendance, an increased pool of scholarship participants and an expanded menu of presentations for both domestic and international attendees, including nine daylong learning labs. The energy, the spirit and the power . . . 

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The people have spoken: No more puppy mill dogs in pet stores

By on April 16, 2019 with 5 Comments
The people have spoken: No more puppy mill dogs in pet stores

The pursuit and promotion of humane business models for pet stores carries so much promise in our work, and we’re gaining ground in our campaign to halt the sale of puppy mill puppies in retail settings. To date, 300 local governments—cities, towns and counties—of all . . . 

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HSUS Animal Care Expo puts access to care on the agenda

By on April 15, 2019 with 1 Comment
HSUS Animal Care Expo puts access to care on the agenda

Our Animal Care Expo 2019 in New Orleans has attracted a record 2800 participants from the United States and around the world, with some 226 attendees from 53 different countries in attendance. We’re so proud of what this event has become; the premier educational conference . . . 

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Canada resumes bloody seal slaughter despite crashing demand for seal products

By on April 12, 2019 with 9 Comments
Canada resumes bloody seal slaughter despite crashing demand for seal products

Canada this week once again turned its peaceful ice floes into an open-air slaughterhouse, with the reopening of the annual commercial seal hunt. Sealers are expected to club and shoot tens of thousands of harp seal pups in coming weeks, despite the fact that more . . . 

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Lawmakers, businesses honored for their work to help animals

By on April 11, 2019 with 1 Comment
Lawmakers, businesses honored for their work to help animals

Each year, the Humane Society of the United States recognizes lawmakers and corporations who support and adopt humane principles in their work. This week, I was on Capitol Hill with colleagues from the Humane Society Legislative Fund to honor 173 lawmakers with our Humane Awards, . . . 

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HSI responders helping animals in Mozambique, Malawi in wake of Cyclone Idai

By on April 10, 2019 with 1 Comment
HSI responders helping animals in Mozambique, Malawi in wake of Cyclone Idai

Our Humane Society International responders are on the ground in Malawi and Mozambique, providing emergency aid to animals affected by Cyclone Idai, a monster storm that has wreaked destruction across multiple African countries with a death toll numbering in the hundreds. Dispatches from our team . . . 

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Breaking: Beagles freed from pesticide testing arrive at Michigan Humane Society

By on April 9, 2019 with 13 Comments
Breaking: Beagles freed from pesticide testing arrive at Michigan Humane Society

The beagles who were undergoing pesticide testing at a Michigan lab have been released to the care of the Michigan Humane Society, where they will be prepared for adoption. We are thrilled and excited to report this outcome that our staff and you, our supporters, . . . 

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Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo ends program allowing direct contact with wildlife

By on April 8, 2019 with 4 Comments
Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo ends program allowing direct contact with wildlife

Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago says it has ended a program where visitors were allowed to touch or interact with wildlife, including reptiles and small mammals, following research that shows such encounters can be stressful to the animals. The Humane Society of the United States . . . 

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More Yellowstone grizzly bears are dying at human hands than ever before; HSUS, allies suggest common-sense solutions

By on April 5, 2019 with 5 Comments
More Yellowstone grizzly bears are dying at human hands than ever before; HSUS, allies suggest common-sense solutions

The past four years have seen a tragic, record-breaking spike in the numbers of grizzly bears killed in conflicts with humans in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. In fact, more than 70 percent of grizzly bear deaths in this region are now caused by human activity, . . . 

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