Breaking: New developments in key U.S. Supreme Court case for animals

By Kitty Block and Sara Amundson

By on August 8, 2022 with 0 Comments

Those who follow this blog know about the impending lawsuit in front of the United States Supreme Court, which will have immense consequences for animals. The case centers around Proposition 12, California’s landmark law to address animal cruelty and public health issues stemming from the worst factory farming practices.

In June, we told you about the initial round of briefs in this case, filed by the National Pork Producers Council and amicus groups supporting this petitioner. Just minutes ago, respondents including the Humane Society of the United States—along with our allied animal welfare organizations—and the state of California submitted responses laying out strongly and clearly why Proposition 12 should be upheld by the nation’s highest court.

Proposition 12 was spearheaded by the HSUS in 2018, with support from hundreds of volunteers and leading organizations focused on animal welfare, the environment, responsible farming, food safety and the safety of farm workers. The measure prohibits the in-state production and sale of eggs, pork and veal from facilities that lock animals in cages so small they can barely move. Voters passed the measure in a landslide, with 63% in support.

Proposition 12 is considered by many to be the strongest law for farm animals in the world—and it is also vital for human health. Extensive research has shown that the extreme confinement of farm animals facilitates the spread of pathogens that can cause dangerous foodborne illness or potentially lead to future pandemics.

While the constitutional law issues in this case can seem dense, the pork industry is essentially arguing they have a constitutional right to raise pigs in cruel conditions outside California, and then sell pork into the state, disregarding California’s humane standards.

Fortunately for the public as well as animals, a long history of judicial decisions have concluded that states have the right to prohibit the sale of products within their borders, including those that run counter to the ethics of their citizenry, or that threaten public health and safety. With our briefs, the HSUS, our animal protection partners and the government of California have laid out this history for the Court and respectfully urge the justices to maintain this important precedent.

Public sentiment strongly supports improved welfare standards for farm animals, as well. A new national survey from the highly respected polling firm Data for Progress found: 80% of respondents believe that preventing cruelty to farm animals is a “matter of moral concern” to them. Furthermore, the results show that 80% of Americans are in favor of the sales standards set forth by Proposition 12 and would support similar laws being enacted in their own states. The opinions are shared and virtually identical across Republican and Democrat respondents, signaling true bipartisan agreement.

Just as we built a massive coalition to secure Proposition 12’s passage, we’re anticipating an impressive alliance to defend Proposition 12 in court. Next Monday, a wide variety of entities—including nonprofits, economists and academic scholars, with backgrounds in public health, veterinary medicine and constitutional history—will be submitting additional briefs in support of Proposition 12. Stay tuned: We will update you on this blog next week with highlights from those briefs, and we remain confident that we will prevail.

Sara Amundson is president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund.

How we work to save animals (part 2): Yes, there should be a law

By on August 5, 2022 with 2 Comments
How we work to save animals (part 2): Yes, there should be a law

Note: This blog is part of a series highlighting how we fight—and win—for animals. For this post, I join with Sara Amundson, president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund, to tell the story about how we tackle institutionalized animal suffering by changing laws and government . . . 

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How we work to save animals (part 1): Behind-the-scenes

By on August 2, 2022 with 3 Comments
How we work to save animals (part 1): Behind-the-scenes

If you follow our stories here on this blog or on our social platforms or email lists, you are probably familiar with the central calling that keeps us working day after day: to stand up and fight for all animals who are suffering. You’ve probably . . . 

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Meet the interns creating a better world for animals: Inside our internship program

By on July 28, 2022 with 2 Comments
Meet the interns creating a better world for animals: Inside our internship program

Just recently, I had the pleasure of meeting virtually with our organization’s summer intern cohort and the opportunity to meet several interns in person at our Taking Action for Animals conference. I look forward to these meetings in every internship cycle, and so do the . . . 

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Victory in court for horses who need protection from cruel practice of ‘soring’ 

By on July 27, 2022 with 4 Comments
Victory in court for horses who need protection from cruel practice of ‘soring’ 

Some really good news from a federal courtroom on a fight we’ve long been waging for horses: Last Friday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that the United States Department of Agriculture had unlawfully withdrawn a 2017 rule designed . . . 

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In pictures: Hundreds of beagles spared from animal testing arrive in our care to start new lives

By on July 26, 2022 with 17 Comments
In pictures: Hundreds of beagles spared from animal testing arrive in our care to start new lives

Last week, we along with several of our shelter and rescue partners embarked on a historic operation and removed the first 432 of approximately 4,000 beagles from Envigo RMS LLC’s facility in Cumberland, Virginia, which bred dogs to be sold to laboratories for animal experimentation. I was . . . 

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How to make Shark Week good for sharks

By on July 25, 2022 with 2 Comments
How to make Shark Week good for sharks

Sharks have been around for 450 million years, outliving the dinosaurs and surviving mass extinctions. But now, out of the 500 or so species (that we know of), a third of all sharks and shark-like species are threatened with extinction due to human activity. Some . . . 

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Congress poised to vote! Contact your Reps to help captive big cats in the US

By on July 22, 2022 with 5 Comments
Congress poised to vote! Contact your Reps to help captive big cats in the US

Update: We are delighted to report that the U.S. House passed the Big Cat Public Safety Act, H.R. 263, by a strong bipartisan vote of 278 to 134. Thank you for helping us achieve this win by advocating for the bill to your Representative. Now . . . 

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Forty years ago, the world did something amazing for whales

By on July 20, 2022 with 3 Comments
Forty years ago, the world did something amazing for whales

This week marks the 40th anniversary of the global moratorium on commercial whaling, a momentous achievement that turned the course for long persecuted cetacean species. Slow to reproduce, whales were nearly wiped out altogether in the 20th century, with an estimated three million killed for . . . 

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Breaking: Historic transport of approximately 4,000 beagles spared from animal testing

By on July 18, 2022 with 84 Comments
Breaking: Historic transport of approximately 4,000 beagles spared from animal testing

You may have seen in the news that our Animal Rescue Team was approached by the U.S. Department of Justice to remove roughly 4,000 beagles from a breeding facility that supplied laboratories that test on animals. We are honored to have been chosen to lead . . . 

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Rescuers arrive for 21 dogs left behind at dog meat farm in South Korea

By on July 15, 2022 with 1 Comment
Rescuers arrive for 21 dogs left behind at dog meat farm in South Korea

Recently, I told you about promising developments in the fight against dog meat in China, where law enforcement, government and animal advocates worked together to shut down an illegal slaughterhouse and rescue the 126 dogs found alive inside. Now I want to take you to . . . 

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One brave chimp’s story shows the many threats facing the species today

By on July 14, 2022 with 3 Comments
One brave chimp’s story shows the many threats facing the species today

Every animal has a story, and for World Chimpanzee Day, I want to tell you David’s. David is a chimp who now lives at Second Chance Chimpanzee Refuge, our sanctuary in Liberia. Fiercely loyal to his friends (fellow chimpanzees Rose, Jiminy Cricket and Tipsy), David . . . 

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