Talk Back: Safety for Baby Seals, Downer Cattle

By on March 20, 2009 with 0 Comments By Wayne Pacelle

From my perch at The HSUS, I see so much change for the good occurring for animals. Last week, I was beyond thrilled by the Russian government’s announcement to end the killing of baby seals in that country. Vladimir Putin the week before had signaled his disgust for the hunt, calling it a “bloody business,” so we knew the government was astir. This action is expected to result in 35,000 seals being spared.

Baby seal in Atlantic Canada
© Brian Skerry

It should be a jolt to the government of Canada that it is getting a lesson in ecology and humane treatment from Russia and Putin—who do not strike most people as particularly warm and fuzzy. The action by Russia further isolates Canada and its state-sponsored slaughter of baby seals. It is welcome news for seals, but also comes at a particularly opportune political moment, as the European Union considers a ban on the import of seal pelts into that massive economic market. With markets closing, and global economic climate discouraging luxury product purchases like seal-skin coats, Canada’s seal hunt is teetering.

And many of you were also elated by the news of President Obama’s announcement to ban downer cattle from getting into the food supply. The policy should have been in place during the Bush years, but leaders there did not complete the job, and actually retreated more than a couple of times on the issues. Here’s some of your feedback.

My heart celebrates this decision—it has been broken each time I would see the torment on the faces of downed cows being tortured to stand. Thank you HSUS for pushing the no-downer policy, and thank you President Obama for making this happen finally! Bravo to Wayne, and to our president and to all of us who refuse to sit by idly and watch inhumane treatment of innocent animals of any kind. —Barbara Burrows

It's about time! Much gratitude to Wayne and his wonderfully compassionate investigators who bravely brought the issue of the horrific and uncalled for inhumane treatment of sick cattle to the forefront. No animal, whether they are used for food, or otherwise, should have to suffer such barbaric and cruel treatment, only to be killed. Maybe there is hope for the United States to become a truly humane nation. Thank you for providing a voice to those who cannot speak. —Ihilani

I praise this new Administration's policy to ban downed animals from the food supply—let's keep it out of our pet food too! Furthermore, let's treat every sentient being, especially those who are raised for food, with dignity, respect, and compassion. After all they are dying to provide us with food—they are giving up their bodies to feed us. They deserve our humane care while living and a humane death when slaughtered for food. And if they are sick, they deserve to be treated with compassion. —Joan Benincasa

Congrats on all your hard work. It's about time these poor animals are exempt from the food chain and our meat-eating population isn't exposed to the archaic result of torment and whatever the meat retrieved from these animals contained. —Desiree Barbazon

I applaud President Obama and Secretary Vilsack for having the courage to put an end to the extreme cruelty inflicted on "downers". May this be the beginning of the end for all who engage in cruel acts against animals, whether they be farm, domestic or wildlife. —Regina Massaro

The undercover footage from the dairy cow slaughterhouse continues to have a far-reaching and resounding effect. Fantastic! —Susan Hargreaves

Congratulations HSUS, this is an outstanding accomplishment!!! I can't tell you how happy I am as the investigation (Hallmark/Westland) that started all this changed me forever. After the recall I researched and found out about farm to fork so to speak. Boy was I in for a surprise. The meat men won't be happy but the poor downers sure will. AMEN to that!!! I want to thank HSUS and other groups for helping me change my eating habits. I now practice the 3 Rs: reduce, refine and replace. —Leigh Anne Schmidt

Cruel people are everywhere. Thank you HSUS for being the good guys. Your animal protection endeavors also protect the health of the general population whether they know it or not. I am a medical caregiver and I believe that more people need to be made aware that animal cruelties exist and that they should not be tolerated. I was not aware until I read emails from HSUS forwarded by my friends. Now, I try to help in whatever small ways I can—by forwarding emails to my friends and by being a member of HSUS. "Every drop in the bucket counts." —Doris

I'm with you, Mr. Pacelle, this is indeed good news. It's also HIGH TIME this matter was properly resolved! It's also what I love so much about the Humane Society of the United States—you (we?) actually make changes at the legislative level, where it really counts. Hooray for us, and hooray for the cows! —Victoria

When I first heard about this "downer" loophole I felt helpless to do anything, but as part of the "voice" of the HSUS I felt I helped the cause. —Phil Giordano

Another victory, slow to come and hard-fought, but in the end worth it. It's one small step in the evolution of humanity, but one giant step for these gentle beasts and our public safety. Kudos to HSUS for your persistence and great communication with your constituents. We are listening. —Sondra White

What disturbs me about this "victory" is that it isn't about the treatment of the animals—it's about how those animals will affect the public should they be slaughtered in their weakened condition. Humane treatment doesn't appear to be a priority—it seems to be about "inferior product" being offered to the public, and never mind the inhumane handling of those poor animals. Okay, it's a victory, but a bittersweet one. —Cynaera

I want to say "THANK YOU" to President Obama and Secretary Vilsack. I am saddened that food safety was the motivation and animal welfare was secondary, if at all. However, whatever it takes to stop the inhumane treatment of our precious animals … I AM ALL FOR IT!!! Way to go HSUS … I am very grateful for this victory. —Denise Fox, R.N.

Congratulations! Now let’s enforce this one! Thank you for all that you do for the animals. —MA

This is a great victory! Thank you HSUS and Mr. Pacelle. The next step should be addressing the conditions in which animals are raised on farms, and making minimal welfare standards way, way higher. Time for the words "animal welfare" to mean just that—animal welfare. I am thinking that if Obama's daughters saw some of the undercover footage, their father would have no other choice but to overhaul the cruel industry. —A New Yorker

Farm Animals, Humane Society International, Wildlife/Marine Mammals

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