HSI helps more than 1,300 animals in Mexico after first earthquake, while Hurricane Maria scours Caribbean islands

By on September 20, 2017 with 0 Comments

Today, we are consumed with thoughts of anguish and sorrow for the people and animals in a half-dozen nations – for 3.5 million Americans in Puerto Rico; for the already battered people in the British Virgin Islands, Dominica, and other island inhabitants of Caribbean countries; and for the people of Mexico, who’ve now been rocked by a second massive earthquake that has claimed the lives of hundreds of people. The images coming out of Puerto Rico are chilling, with animal shelters destroyed and people and animals in dire circumstances. There’s nothing fair or easily explained about this series of explosively powerful hurricanes and seismic events.

I’ve written recently on the blog about our organizations’ responses in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, and in the British Virgin Islands, where two Humane Society International Animal Rescue Team members sheltered in place last night as the Category 5 hurricane rolled over. They wanted to be there to respond immediately once the storm had passed. Before Maria hit, the team managed to evacuate nine dogs from the Humane Society of the British Virgin Islands, which had already been destroyed by the hit from Irma, with no roof and just a few walls standing. The dogs were taken to a local clinic where they could safely ride out the storm. Other team members are ready to dispatch to Puerto Rico as soon as possible.

Before Maria hit, the HSI team managed to evacuate nine dogs from the Humane Society of the British Virgin Islands, which had already been destroyed by the hit from Irma. The dogs were taken to a local clinic where they could safely ride out the storm. Photo by HSI

I also want to tell you about our work in Mexico, where HSI opened an office 18 months ago in Mexico City. HSI’s team there is doing some remarkable, life-saving work, and it’s just today that we can report on it in some detail and convey the scale of the work.

Veterinarians and others on HSI’s team have been working in Juchitán (in the state of Oaxaca) to provide emergency animal rescue and treatment to victims in the wake of the September 7th earthquake. In Juchitán, the team set up an emergency clinic, and provided treatment for 1,350 animals, mainly cats and dogs, and one parrot. The earthquake in Juchitán was a powerful one that left a hundred people dead and thousands of people affected in Oaxaca and the neighboring state of Chiapas. The devastation is felt even more deeply because this is a region that has been prone to natural disasters and where so many residents already live on a knife’s edge.

Some members of HSI’s team are rushing back to Mexico City, after it sustained a 7.1 scale quake there yesterday. There will be an animal toll there to match or exceed the terrible human suffering that the quake produced, with news reports of pets roaming the streets, separated from their families. The team is assessing the need on the ground and will work with local groups and shelters to provide assistance in days to come.

But even amidst all the devastation, we have witnessed a deep expression of the bond between humans and their animals. Dr. Claudia Edwards, program director of HSI/Mexico, who led the veterinary team on the ground, said hundreds of people showed up from afar with injured dogs. Some even brought stray dogs from the area, along with their pets, like Juchito, a stray dog who was severely wounded. He had been suffering silently on the streets until a local child spotted him and brought him into the clinic. Juchito was sent to Oaxaca City for emergency treatment and his health has now stabilized.

Juchito, a stray dog who was severely wounded, was brought into the HSI clinic in Juchitán in Mexico. He had been suffering silently on the streets until a local child spotted him. Juchito was sent to Oaxaca City for emergency treatment and his health has now stabilized. Photo by Felipe Marquez/HSI

Besides the clinic, HSI/Mexico has also helped distribute more than seven tons of animal food collected under the platform Ayudemos a México, reaching more than 2,000 animals.

Hurricane Harvey would have been enough to keep us busy for months. Then Irma hit, followed by Maria. And now two quakes. It’s so much to bear for the tens of millions of people affected.

We have a rich and meaningful set of programs in Puerto Rico, and we are getting the first reports of immense damage and loss. Already, we know that all power has been lost in Puerto Rico. We are thinking about all the people and animals there and in other hard-hit areas. We’ll put the full force of our organizations behind the rescue and relief efforts in coming days.

P.S. Please donate to HSI’s International Disaster Relief Fund to support its lifesaving rescue and relief efforts in response to hurricanes, earthquakes, and all other natural disasters.

Donate to HSI’s International Disaster Relief Fund »

HSUS calls on L’Oréal to embrace a global ban on animal testing for cosmetics

By on September 19, 2017 with 2 Comments
HSUS calls on L’Oréal to embrace a global ban on animal testing for cosmetics

Some years ago, a handful of companies rejected animal testing as a research and development practice and chose to only market products known to be safe to consumers. As a nod to the growing ranks of consumers concerned about animal cruelty, they affixed a symbol on their packaging to signal “No Animal Testing.” Over time, . . . 

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California leads again – this time, in fighting puppy mills

By on September 18, 2017 with 3 Comments
California leads again – this time, in fighting puppy mills

California is set to enact a statewide law that would ban the sale of puppy mill dogs in pet stores and require that stores instead source dogs, cats, and rabbits from shelters and rescues. The Senate recently passed the measure with not a single legislator dissenting, and the Assembly concurred in overwhelming fashion, delivering the . . . 

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Breaking news: Court reinstates California law banning foie gras, affirms states’ rights

By on September 15, 2017 with 7 Comments
Breaking news: Court reinstates California law banning foie gras, affirms states’ rights

In a major ruling with significant implications for the principle of the right of states to crack down on animal cruelty in agriculture, a unanimous panel of judges from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has reinstated California’s law banning the sale of foie gras. California had made it clear that the cruelty of foie . . . 

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House and Senate should reject radical anti-wildlife bill passed by key committee

By on September 14, 2017 with 6 Comments
House and Senate should reject radical anti-wildlife bill passed by key committee

This week, the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources passed the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act, with votes coming only from Republican members of the committee. Democrats recognized that this bill has little to do with rank-and-file sportsmen’s issues, and saw it for what it is: a grab bag of shameful provisions aimed . . . 

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HSUS, HSI rescue teams rush into Florida, British Virgin Islands

By on September 13, 2017 with 1 Comment
HSUS, HSI rescue teams rush into Florida, British Virgin Islands

The endangered key deer used extraordinary swimming and other survival skills to weather Irma’s assault on the Florida Keys. Greyhound owners gambled by hunkering down with thousands of the dogs in kennels at or near their racetracks, and apparently made it through. The HSUS affiliate, the South Florida Wildlife Center, in Fort Lauderdale – from . . . 

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Trainer of winning horse at national Tennessee walking horse show suspended from competition for illegal activity

By on September 12, 2017 with 83 Comments
Trainer of winning horse at national Tennessee walking horse show suspended from competition for illegal activity

A few days ago, I wrote about plummeting attendance at the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration, with the stands thin or bare on the most important nights of the two-week-long event – a resounding rejection by the public of the soring cruelty inflicted on horses in the big lick faction of this industry. There’s a . . . 

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HSUS, top zoos can together be a force for good

By on September 11, 2017 with 12 Comments
HSUS, top zoos can together be a force for good

As if there isn’t enough misunderstanding in the world nowadays, a few voices in the zoo community have scolded the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) for inviting me to give a keynote presentation at the opening session at the group’s annual conference that kicked off today in Indianapolis – a gathering that attracted about . . . 

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HSUS deploying in Florida even as we deliver new services on the ground in Texas

By on September 9, 2017 with 5 Comments
HSUS deploying in Florida even as we deliver new services on the ground in Texas

Special report: Late tonight, the United States mainland faces the second punch from storms of abnormal intensity. The HSUS Animal Rescue Team’s fleet of vehicles is at the ready to deploy to areas in Florida that sustain the brunt of Irma’s fury. We’ve already conducted a number of transports of animals from communities in the . . . 

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Compass, Aramark work with The HSUS to introduce plant-based options at universities, hospitals

By on September 8, 2017 with 1 Comment
Compass, Aramark work with The HSUS to introduce plant-based options at universities, hospitals

The food service sector is playing a positive role in improving the way animals are treated in American agriculture. Whether by establishing policies to eliminate the confinement of calves in veal crates, mother pigs in gestation crates, or hens in battery cages, or to vastly improve the lives of broiler chickens and to stipulate more . . . 

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