Don’t let ideology trump reason on federal animal welfare rules

By on February 2, 2017 with 26 Comments By Wayne Pacelle

Even with so much other political activity in Washington, it’s hard not to notice the anti-regulatory rhetoric streaming out of the White House and Congress in the new political setup, and wonder where the balance is. President Trump has frozen many new regulations, including one to crack down on horse soring (which the Obama administration failed to publish). Given his allegiance to the NRA, Trump may also nix a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service order to phase out lead ammunition on national wildlife refuges and allow the resumption of ruthless predator control activities on millions of acres of federal lands in Alaska. Alaska Rep. Don Young and Sen. Dan Sullivan have already introduced resolutions urging a repeal of the Alaska rules that forbid aerial gunning of wolves and trapping of grizzly bears.

Trump announced this week that for every new regulation taken up, he wants to repeal two. On top of that, the Republican-controlled House is eagerly invoking the Congressional Review Act, which would allow some late-term Obama administration regulations to be reversed with simple majorities in the House and Senate. And the House passed the REINS Act a couple of weeks ago, which would require congressional approval of all “major” regulations, with the intent of keeping new rules to a trickle. It also passed the “Midnight Rules” Act, which would allow the House and Senate to bundle together regulations and repeal the entire roster all at once.

Sure, there are times in which government overreaches. But many rules and regulations that once seemed jarring to some businesses and private citizens are now viewed as essential safeguards in our society. It’s a regulation to have car manufacturers build automobiles with greater fuel efficiency so we are not so dependent on foreign oil. It’s a regulation to do random testing for salmonella bacteria or E. coli before food gets to the supermarket or the table. And it is a set of federal regulations that help assure safety in the airline industry.

Regulations to crack down on animal cruelty, for example, aren’t a cost to business, but a reflection of our deepest values. The only people who should despise that kind of rulemaking are the perpetrators of animal abuse. Good businesses embrace these rules, and understand it will help the bottom line when their customers know that they are adhering to standards.

When the U.S. Department of Agriculture says that horse show trainers shouldn’t torment horses by intentionally injuring their feet just to produce an artificial, prize-winning show gait known as the “big lick” – a practice known as “soring” — that’s a regulation, and a good and overdue one. When the USDA says that the term “organic” should mean that animals are not confined in small cages or mutilated as a routine husbandry practice, that’s a common-sense regulation, benefiting family farmers who can sell their products at a higher rate in return for their sustainable husbandry practices. What decent person wouldn’t agree with these rules, or begrudge the horsemen or farmers doing things the right way and not cutting corners?

We live in a society that observes standards of regulated capitalism. A purely free market is an illusion in a representative democracy. It’s an American value for business to operate with tremendous freedom and latitude, but businesses must also be subject to reasonable guidelines, which are a blend of self-restraint and the application of law.

So, by all means, stop government waste and overreach – particularly where it favors special interests at the expense of the public. But don’t accept the notion that eliminating regulations is good for its own sake, without examining the merits. We need the government to shield us from bad actors. That’s why the Senate should reject the REINS Act and the Midnight Rules Act. And both chambers should take a look at the merits of the regulations that they are considering for repeal. Cut the ones that don’t work and run against the grain of our values. But defend the ones that protect the public and that require businesses to play by a fair set of rules.

In the workings of government, and through the pressure applied to government, we seek to find that sweet spot where private industry can flourish and private citizens and animals and the environment are protected. That’s the essence of a regulated capitalism and a civil society. And that’s where we’ll always take our stand.

Equine, Farm Animals, Public Policy (Legal/Legislative)

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  1. heather tisdale says:

    horse soring & torture to any animals & the keeping of wild animals in zoos must be STOPPED I have seen what poor horses have gone thru in soring & its pure evil & in humane & this too should be illegal, those who put any wild animals thru HELL must be made to pay the penalty let the punishment fit the crime or sent to Alcatraz . I request that Donald Trump do something about all animals that suffer at the hands of evil beast & that includes farm animals, pets, bulls in Spain, & Mexico, France too, who kill bulls These evil vermin who make animals suffer at their hands should have a very heavy fine & not a slap on the wrist ,no pets to be returned to owners when they have abused them no heavy rods or metal ones used on farm animals nor hung up by one leg in slaughter houses by spineless nutters. All animal cruelty must stop Now & if I can say, that includes the killing of wild animals by certain family members.

    • Kelcia R Wheeler says:

      Heather your post is a great tribute to the Animal Kingdom and I thank you for summing up animal cruelty into a honest assessment of the human atrocity that happens in our World. We need to change the laws locally and Federally to stop all cruelty to the Animal Kingdom. You have definitely summed up the spirit of our animals and ways to address solutions to their treatment of man. Thank you for caring and sharing your beautiful view on the lives that need protecting and rescuing. We will prevail the money making horrific attitude of man toward our precious animals in the World.

  2. Stephanie Chirigotis says:

    Hi Wayne –

    I’m a monthly supporter of HS and am thankful your organization exists and am happy to support it. I also voted for Trump. He does some things I do not support (environment, Twitter), but have high hopes he’ll support animal rights legislation. He’ll lose a lot of support, including mine, if he does not.

    Keep up the good work!

    • DenniA says:

      hate to rain on your parade but the latest on Trump and his administration is
      they are scrubbing the USDA website of all animal welfare records.

      source huffpost:
      The U.S. Department of Agriculture has removed a slew of animal welfare data — including inspection records for institutions like zoos, laboratories and commercial breeders — from its website.

      Previously, anyone could use a search tool on the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service website to look up such information. The general public, as well as animal advocacy groups and journalists, could use the search function to see whether facilities had violated animal welfare regulations.

      who will watch out for the animals the next 4 years.

      • Chris Varoutsos says:

        Every President that takes office scrubs almost every government site then as the dept heads get approved and take over their departments they will repopulate the sites with the info that they deem is relevant. Because the info is gone off the sites does not mean that the regulation is abolished. Please do your research. btw Soreing is still illegal

    • PamS says:

      Stephanie, I’m curious — what has Trump said or done to make you think he would support animal rights legislation? For me, when he talked about tossing out environmental regulations and bringing back coal, I knew he was someone who didn’t care about the environment or animals.

      Now that the USDA has scrubbed animal welfare data from its website, giving breeders, puppy mills, circuses, zoos, etc. the ability to abuse animals and hide the abuse, what else needs to happen to convince you that he won’t support animal rights?

      It’s really important that people speak up and let family, friends and legislators know that this isn’t what they wanted. Millions – billions? – of animals depend on us humans to speak up for them. Silence enables animal suffering.

      Thanks for listening.

      • Tiff says:

        I know it’s not made public so people don’t realize. But before trump was president and also during now, he has donated to local communities rescue groups to help them save animals. One i personally do some volunteer work with. In long island. He gave 15,000 to @rsvp. So this is all very upsetting to me. I know quite a few rescues that he has helped. I can’t understand this. Im very upset and hope this is fixed right away!

    • Susan says:

      I am hopeful he will stick with animal rights. He does have some compassion. People make him out to be a ruthless murderer sometimes. I like how he tweets. This is awesome! He is speaking directly to the people and not relying on news stations to put a twist on it. This way we hear it straight from the horses mouth, so to speak!

    • Kelcia R Wheeler says:

      Stephanie I also voted for Trump and I am hoping that his attitude toward animals will support our rights and Animal rights. I think if we continue to fight for the Animal Kingdom against cruelty we may get through to the Government now. If not my support will be the same as your.

  3. Sally Palmer says:

    This was an excellent expression of the need to strike a sane balance between protection and freedom that the majority of us want. Thank you for your leadership in continuing to seek this balance and reminding us of the critical role regulations play in helping assure that truth is not twisted for money or madnesss and that cruelty for profit and pleasure is never right or “ok”.

  4. Michelle Messina says:

    Hello Wayne and HSUS, I am a HSUS supporter. We have a petland store that sells puppy mill dogs in our area. I know that because I purchased a dog at the store 6 years ago. I looked up the name of the breeder that was on the dogs certificate from the store and the breeder was listed as one of the puppy mills on your website. There are numerous complaints on the dogs purchased at Petland, Naples Fl. Many of the dogs are very sick when they are purchased. My dog was sick as well when he was purchased. I did not know of puppy mills when I purchased the dogs. We have a college that purchases many of the dogs because the students do not know about puppy mills. I have been trying to get the work out to some of the students to start spreading the word. What can we do as a community to stop these stores from selling puppy mill dogs. What legislation can we get passed to help in the process of shutting puppy mills down. This matter is very close to my heart and I would like to help.

  5. Michelle Messina says:

    Im sorry I posted a tweet earlier about Petland, Naples Fl. When it is actually in Ft. Myers FL.

  6. DenniA says:

    Montana just announced hundreds of Bison to be slaughtered. the Trump Administration is now on a rampage against the environment and wildlife.
    the animals have no one on their side to help them. time for HSUS members and other animal orgs to organize, mobilize, protest and resist.

  7. Marleen Brannan says:

    We have a long nightmare ahead of us with Humpty Trumpty & his butt kissing minions running our country. They have no ethics, no conscience, no morals & they lie. Trump’s own sons go to Africa to kill for “Trophies” – where does this leave us? We need to raise the roof, raise our voices, raise the stakes, or raze this government! I completely agree that a “Civilized Society” does not & will not refuse to do the right thing when dealing with animals, children, the elderly, the environment, but unfortunately white rust belt idiots believed Trump would FIX EVERYTHING and they got DUPED! So now we have to fight, worry & cry over what is happening. There is not enough money, not enough Democrats in the Congress or the Senate to stop this juggernaut & all the letters, calls, emails, protests in the world by average citizens will not stop this.
    I just want to die & leave this intolerable world – maybe whatever God there is will help me & all of his special creatures whom I cherish.

    • Deb says:

      Keep calling and writing to your senators and congress people !!
      It does make a difference!
      Don’t be silent!
      Write and call, I feel the same way!

  8. laura says:

    I’ve been very worried about the Trump administration. He’s not a friend to the animals. I did my homework before voting across the board. When you have sons who as recent as last year went trophy hunting in Africa and bragged about it on social media, the animals are going to have a rough time as we know how close they are in advising their father. I’m sorry to say it. I’d like to be wrong, but I doubt it. I’ve been following this stuff too long. The horses we saved, the animals who are getting increasingly more rights, the puppies being spared……it really is a sad time for the animals. Perhaps it makes people feel better to donate to the HSUS but the best thing y’all could have done is not for him.

  9. Richard W says:

    Trump has no intention of causing harm to animal rights legislation. There isn’t even a hint of evidence that such is the case. The “freeze” on the new regulations against soring, for example, is just one of about ten thousand pending regulations that were temporarily frozen so that his “add one, remove two” policy can be sanely implemented.

    This article is just fear mongering, as are the other commenters living in nightmares of their own creation.

  10. Henrietta KOmras says:

    My parents lived through Hitler’s rise to power. Trump is a fanatic who has no use for women, animals and those not on a huge power trip of wealth and arrogance like himself and his hunting, meat eating “buddies” he has appointed.

    The real people of this country who have a heart and a conscience (which he does not) must march in the streets and voice our rejection of his non existent values or everyone but the rich and powerful will suffer.

    He is a hideous non-human.

  11. lucy taylor says:

    I voice my opinion with those here who have hit the nail on Trumps head he will not help any animals my heart knows this by his sons cruelty to animals killing on safari laughing of the suffering animals do before dying how can anyone have feelings in such ways they torture and kill wanton trump and his son’s are only for themselves not people not animals one day I hope and pray they get paid back by animals ripping them apart The dentist letting a guide lead the Lion out of bush for the dentist to kill him so easily should have been punished more but money talks animal’s DIE

  12. Jackie Checketts says:

    It is both scary and crazy how fast the Trump administration is trying to turn back time and reverse animal and human rights that have been decades in the making. Is the Human Society and others creating documents for us to sign digitally that can be sent to Congress, etc.? I don’t think Trump cares but hopefully there are enough people in Washington that care about being re-elected and will begin to stand up to the insanity.

  13. Lisa says:

    That was so articulately and eloquently said. This article should be sent to all representatives, congressmen, etc. It all seems so common sense, but unfortunately, caring for animals properly and humanely is not common sense to everyone, and it is the government’s duty to pass laws that protect them. Animals did not ask for humans to take control over them, but when we domesticate them to the point where they depend on us, it is everyone’s responsibility to do right by them.
    The really scary thing is that trump is such an evil, cold-hearted person who doesn’t do anything that doesn’t benefit himself. I feel that if trump ever does do the right thing, it is only because he benefits in some way, be it monetarily or so that his poll numbers, that he is so obsessed with, will go up or the like. But like Jackie stated, hopefully enough people in Washington care enough about being re-elected that they grow a backbone and stand up to this insanity!
    By the way, does anyone know why trump ordered the USDA to take down public records that document animal abuse at research labs, zoos, companies, etc, as well as inspection reports for horse abuse from the Horse Protection Act? The only reason I can think of is that he maybe owns stock in some companies that do research on animals or something. To make this one of his first executive orders, he must have really wanted it done. For what? It’s just plain cruel! Of course, look at the sickening pictures of his disgusting son showing how “manly” he is by shooting a gorgeous leopard or holding up the tail of an elephant that he just cut off after shooting it. Maybe trump just ordered those records down because he’s just evil.

  14. gottahavehopehope says:

    I agree with most in this site. But as atrocious as Tru nay be . I am %200 sure whatever happens will be better than what Clinton would of done! Hope we have better choices next time .

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