Puerto Rico sets the stage for long-term veterinary support, as HSUS programs to help underserved communities thrive

By on August 6, 2020 with 0 Comments

The Humane Society of the United States and its affiliates have been pressing hard and with steady success to reduce companion animal overpopulation since the 1970s. Lately, we’ve done so with a special focus on underserved communities and constituencies through our Rural Area Veterinary Services, Pets for Life and Spayathon™ for Puerto Rico initiatives. These programs have targeted situations in which the animal overpopulation challenge has proved more intractable and the managers of these programs have met that challenge with creative, well-designed and properly resourced approaches.

Yesterday, Governor Wanda Vázquez Garced signed into law a measure that cleared both chambers of the Legislative Assembly of Puerto Rico a few weeks ago. The passage into law of Senate Bill 1621 resolved an ambiguity hanging over the HSUS-led Spayathon initiative, which has since 2018 provided high-volume spay/neuter and vaccination services on the island. The new law creates a framework for temporary licensure. This approach will permit U.S. and Canadian-licensed veterinarians to continue helping to meet the needs of animals in underserved communities on the island. It also sets the stage for future efforts carried out by the HSUS and other organizations to extend their work to end animal overpopulation there.

In many jurisdictions throughout the world, local and national laws frequently limit or prohibit the practice of veterinary medicine by foreign or out-of-state veterinarians who lack a locally valid practitioner’s license. Thankfully, Puerto Rico’s legislature agreed with us that such regulations, sensible in many cases, would impede ongoing efforts to address the island’s chronic homeless animal population challenge. There are only about 300 veterinarians registered to practice in Puerto Rico (whose current population is 3.2 million people). However, many of them reside and work on the U.S. mainland, so the number of practitioners in Puerto Rico may be as low as 200. Moreover, there are only a handful of low-cost veterinary clinics on the island, and with median household income at $20,166 and per capita income $12,451 (in 2018 dollars), a large percentage of the population effectively has no access to veterinary care for their pets.

Previously, we had been carrying out our work on the island through executive orders signed by the governor that authorized outside veterinarians to participate in Spayathon, which has helped more than 53,000 animals with lifesaving surgeries and vaccinations across the island, at no cost to owners. Now, we’ll be able to attract and deploy veterinary personnel more efficiently, with tangible benefits flowing to the people and animals of Puerto Rico.

The common denominators of RAVS, PFL and Spayathon are a commitment to top-notch animal care, meaningful engagement with local partners and a respect for the many wonderful people trying to take good care of companion animals in their communities, whether they be pets or strays. These programs rely on the love and goodwill that people have for animals, and they help to remove the barriers and obstacles to related services, supplies and expertise that can make a world of difference for animals. I am so proud of my colleagues and their partners for their contributions to these worthwhile efforts, just as I am grateful to our donors for their generous commitment to sustaining these programs.

Virtually the best conference ever: registration open for Taking Action for Animals Online 2020

By on August 5, 2020 with 0 Comments
Virtually the best conference ever: registration open for Taking Action for Animals Online 2020

The fundamental purpose of our marquee advocacy training event, Taking Action for Animals Online, occurring on September 19 and 20, is to support greater political and social engagement by those who care about animals. COVID-19 hasn’t changed a thing in that regard, and TAFA 2020 . . . 

Read More

Attorney for USVI speaks out on animal fighting as HSUS plans trainings on Guam and in USVI

By on August 4, 2020 with 1 Comment
Attorney for USVI speaks out on animal fighting as HSUS plans trainings on Guam and in USVI

We were pleased with today’s news that U.S. Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert of the U.S. Virgin Islands has reminded Virgin Islanders that animal fighting is now illegal there under federal law. Shappert’s announcement reflected not simply her strong grasp of the connections between animal fighting . . . 

Read More

Utah’s wildlife agency goes trigger happy with cougar killing quota increase

By on August 4, 2020 with 4 Comments
Utah’s wildlife agency goes trigger happy with cougar killing quota increase

For the better part of a decade, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) has proposed annual increases to the number of cougars that trophy hunters can kill in that state, despite widespread public opposition. Now, DWR is looking not merely to increase hunting quotas, . . . 

Read More

Breaking news: Parent company of Giant Food, Food Lion and Stop & Shop to eliminate cruel cages for egg-laying hens, mother pigs

By on July 31, 2020 with 1 Comment
Breaking news: Parent company of Giant Food, Food Lion and Stop & Shop to eliminate cruel cages for egg-laying hens, mother pigs

Ahold Delhaize, the company that owns some of the largest grocery chains in the United States, including Food Lion, Giant Food, the GIANT Company, Hannaford and Stop & Shop, has announced it will only sell eggs from cage-free chickens across all its stores by 2025 . . . 

Read More

House passes second funding package with welcome news for chimpanzees, right whales and farm animals

By on July 31, 2020 with 2 Comments
House passes second funding package with welcome news for chimpanzees, right whales and farm animals

The U.S. House has just approved additional help for animals, including right whales, chimpanzees and farm animals, as it continues the process of appropriating funds for federal agencies and departments for FY2021. The provisions that passed the full floor today by a vote of 217 . . . 

Read More

Risk of coronavirus among pets remains low, health officials say

By on July 30, 2020 with 1 Comment
Risk of coronavirus among pets remains low, health officials say

We received the sad news today that Buddy, the first dog in the United States known to have contracted the novel coronavirus, passed away on July 11. We share in the grief Buddy’s family is no doubt feeling over the loss of their beloved companion . . . 

Read More

Industry support for Humane Cosmetics Act grows, with 900 companies supporting an end to animal testing

By on July 29, 2020 with 7 Comments
Industry support for Humane Cosmetics Act grows, with 900 companies supporting an end to animal testing

Momentum for passing a federal law against animal testing for cosmetics continues to grow, with some of the strongest support coming from the industry that makes and markets these products. This week, we reached an important milestone with 300 independent companies now officially endorsing the . . . 

Read More

Bills introduced in Congress to stop faster speeds at slaughterhouses

By on July 28, 2020 with 3 Comments
Bills introduced in Congress to stop faster speeds at slaughterhouses

Slaughterhouses have emerged as hotspots for the coronavirus pandemic in the United States, with more than 37,000 cases tied to meatpacking plants and more than 160 workers dead. But instead of curtailing practices that put workers at greater risk, like fast slaughter speeds that require . . . 

Read More

Missouri moves to close down a puppy mill that appeared five times in our Horrible Hundred report

By on July 27, 2020 with 6 Comments
Missouri moves to close down a puppy mill that appeared five times in our Horrible Hundred report

Missouri has finally moved to close down a puppy mill owner who’s been on the radar of federal and state inspectors for more than two decades for serious neglect of animals in her facility. Marilyn Shepherd (a.k.a. Marilyn Williams) and her Cedercrest Kennel (a.k.a. Pup . . . 

Read More

Vietnam cracks down on wildlife trade in wake of pandemic

By on July 24, 2020 with 2 Comments
Vietnam cracks down on wildlife trade in wake of pandemic

Vietnam’s prime minister has issued a directive that will ban most wildlife imports into the country and crack down on the illegal wildlife trade there. The directive from Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, which will go into effect immediately, comes in response to concerns about . . . 

Read More

Breaking news: U.S. House approves key animal reforms, including combating wildlife trafficking, preventing cruel hunting practices and enforcing animal cruelty laws

By on July 24, 2020 with 7 Comments
Breaking news: U.S. House approves key animal reforms, including combating wildlife trafficking, preventing cruel hunting practices and enforcing animal cruelty laws

The U.S. House today approved many key animal protection reforms, including measures designed to rein in horse soring, combat wildlife trafficking and help enforce animal cruelty laws, as part of Congress’s annual appropriations process. Members also prohibited the use of federal funds for implementing cruel . . . 

Read More

Top