House committee votes to gut states’ rights to protect animals and citizens

By on April 20, 2018 with 3 Comments

The news that the House Committee on Agriculture has approved a version of the Farm Bill with an amendment by Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, that could gut states’ rights to protect animals and their citizens is infuriating. But the Farm Bill will go to the House floor for a vote soon, and the Humane Society of the United States and the Humane Society Legislative Fund will continue working day and night to rid the bill of this outrageous threat to animal protection.

King’s bill is the worst kind of special interest legislation. It’s specifically designed to undermine the authority of states to restrict the sale within their own borders of products of factory farms and battery cages, and it could also negate laws on puppy mills and the sale of dog and cat meat, among other important animal protection measures. King’s bill would also impact hundreds of laws outside of the animal welfare context, which in turn would undermine nearly every state’s ability to protect its citizens.

It’s no coincidence that King hails from a state loaded with industrial agriculture interests. Because his factory farming constituents are not able to compete against farmers who practice good animal stewardship, King is seeking to abolish essentially all state and local agricultural laws so a few industrial factory farming barons can flood other states’ markets with the products of animal cruelty.

King’s measure would also forbid states from regulating the quality and safety of food products imported from other states. There’s much we don’t know about the safety of certain pesticides and other dangerous chemicals, yet King’s bill would force each state to allow virtually any agricultural product, no matter how dangerous, into its market. This threatens the sanctity of the Tenth Amendment, which reserves rights unto the states, and it threatens our rights as citizens to protect ourselves from hazardous and irresponsible agribusiness practices.

It’s become a test. Will industrial-scale agricultural interests persuade enough members of Congress to preempt state regulation of animal cruelty, as a sop to Iowa factory farmers? Or will wiser minds prevail and stop this federal power grab led by King? We’re going with wiser minds, and we need your help.

The irony of the situation is that King, the front man in this shameless snatch-and-run gambit, is a self-described states’ rights champion. He claims to be a constitutional fundamentalist, a man who “listens to voters.” His website even says this: “I am a firm believer in states’ rights, which is why I am a proud member of the Tenth Amendment Caucus, which focuses on restoring the critical balance between the powers of the states and those of the federal government.”

Such lofty words, however, don’t amount to much when King and his factory farming backers dislike what legislatures in other states are doing. So now he’s pressing for heavy-handed government to impose its will from Washington.

It’s not too late for you to lend your voice and your muscle to the fight against this shameless power grab. Please contact your U.S. representatives and senators and ask them to reject the King amendment. And while you’re at it, please encourage them to sustain a provision that Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Calif., successfully included in the committee’s Farm Bill to prohibit the domestic slaughter, trade and import/export of dogs and cats for human consumption, and any other pro-animal amendments that may be offered on the floor.

Alert: Help us stop Wyoming and Idaho from opening trophy hunts on Yellowstone grizzly bears

By on April 19, 2018 with 14 Comments
Alert: Help us stop Wyoming and Idaho from opening trophy hunts on Yellowstone grizzly bears

Wyoming and Idaho’s aggressive plans for the trophy hunting of the remaining 700 or so Yellowstone-area grizzly bears this year are unscientific and – unless stopped — will set bear conservation back by decades. No one knows how many grizzlies are now living in the Yellowstone area, but we know how many have perished in . . . 

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Iceland to resume killing of endangered fin whales

By on April 18, 2018 with 5 Comments
Iceland to resume killing of endangered fin whales

Iceland seems to be the most confused of nations when it comes to whales. On the one hand it attracts international tourists from all over the world to go out and see whales as part of their encounters with Iceland’s many natural wonders. On the other hand it kills whales for profit, with some portion . . . 

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Breaking news: Florida residents can vote in November to end greyhound racing

By on April 17, 2018 with 21 Comments
Breaking news: Florida residents can vote in November to end greyhound racing

Florida voters can decide in November to extinguish the cruel greyhound racing industry in their state once and for all. Florida’s Constitution Revision Commission yesterday voted to place on the 2018 ballot a constitutional amendment that would phase out greyhound racing in the state by the end of 2020. This is a monumental step forward . . . 

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Hawaii’s tropical fish, under assault from aquarium collectors, win another reprieve in court

By on April 16, 2018 with 1 Comment
Hawaii’s tropical fish, under assault from aquarium collectors, win another reprieve in court

Hawaii is one of the world’s biggest suppliers of aquarium fish, with a vast aquarium industry that collects and sells nearly a million tropical fish from the state’s coral reefs each year. This industry is both cruel and unsustainable, and it has placed Hawaii’s coral reefs, already threatened by pollution, climate change and ocean acidification, . . . 

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EPA issues recommendation to reduce animal testing for pesticides

By on April 13, 2018 with 1 Comment
EPA issues recommendation to reduce animal testing for pesticides

The Environmental Protection Agency has released a draft interim policy recommending a move away from animal testing for pesticides and industrial chemicals. Specifically, the draft policy encourages the use of non-animal test methods to determine the likelihood of these chemicals to cause allergic skin reactions in humans. The traditional animal test for skin allergy involves . . . 

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Farm Bill should include key animal welfare reforms on horse soring, animal fighting and more

By on April 12, 2018 with 1 Comment
Farm Bill should include key animal welfare reforms on horse soring, animal fighting and more

As the U.S. House and Senate agriculture committees begin work on a new Farm Bill, the Humane Society of the United States and the Humane Society Legislative Fund are pressing for this legislation, which has the potential to affect the lives of millions of animals, to include key provisions on animal fighting, horse soring, the . . . 

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HSUS 2017 annual report: Driving change for all animals around the globe

By on April 10, 2018 with 0 Comments
HSUS 2017 annual report: Driving change for all animals around the globe

This week we release our 2017 annual report, an account of recent achievements in our broad-ranging mission to help all animals. The report is teeming with encouraging news about the advances we made on issues ranging from negotiating with corporations, to producing large-scale animal welfare reforms, to pressing for major legislative goals, to educating and . . . 

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Maryland poised to ban all puppy mill sales in pet stores

By on April 9, 2018 with 7 Comments
Maryland poised to ban all puppy mill sales in pet stores

The Maryland state legislature has voted overwhelmingly to pass a bill banning the sale of puppy mill dogs in pet stores. The bill now heads to Gov. Larry Hogan for his signature, and we are urging him to build on his strong animal welfare record and join the legislature in sending the message that Maryland . . . 

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HSUS, HSI work in Puerto Rico continues, with new project to spay/neuter 20,000 dogs and cats

By on April 6, 2018 with 2 Comments
HSUS, HSI work in Puerto Rico continues, with new project to spay/neuter 20,000 dogs and cats

In 2015, the Humane Society of the United States launched a program to turn around the fortunes of the animals of Puerto Rico. Despite many challenges, including Hurricane Maria, which devastated the island six months ago, we have stayed the course, putting substantial resources on the ground and targeting the island’s animal welfare challenges. Our . . . 

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