Bills introduced in Congress to end U.S. trade in live wild animals for food

By on September 30, 2020 with 0 Comments

The coronavirus pandemic has revealed the terrible consequences of keeping live wild animals in cruel, unhealthy and unsuitable confinement in wildlife markets that slaughter and sell them for food. Bills introduced in Congress this week would position the United States as a global leader in ending such animal mistreatment and the resulting risk to human health by prohibiting certain trade in live wildlife for human consumption on our soil.

The Preventing Future Pandemics Act of 2020, S. 4749/H.R. 8433, introduced in the Senate by Sens. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Cory Booker, D-N.J., and in the House by Reps. Mike Quigley, D-Ill., and Fred Upton, R-Mich., would end all import, export and sales of certain live wildlife for the primary purpose of human consumption and medicine in the United States. The bills would also build support for international efforts to halt the trade around the world.

While the world’s attention has mostly focused on the wildlife trade in China, where the novel coronavirus is believed to have originated at a live wildlife market, there is a need for prompt action in other nations too, including the United States. It is not unusual, for example, to find live pigeons, turtles and frogs, including red eared slider turtles and bullfrogs imported from China, being sold at food markets in San Francisco and New York City as well as other U.S. communities. 

Wherever they exist, live wildlife markets tend to be filthy, crowded places where sick, injured and anxious animals are displayed in small cages. Once purchased, they are often slaughtered on-site, creating a perfect breeding ground for the transmission of disease from animals to humans.

The bills introduced yesterday also target the use of wildlife in traditional medicine, which propels demand for the capture, trade and slaughter of live animals and is a significant driver of trafficking in some of the world’s most imperiled species such as pangolins and tigers.

Health authorities and animal protection groups like ours have long cautioned the world about the risks that wildlife trafficking and live wildlife markets pose to human health. Besides the novel coronavirus, wildlife markets have been implicated in the spread of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), bird flu and Ebola, among others.

In February, China’s Standing Committee of the National Peoples’ Congress banned wild animal consumption for human food. Moving forward with a ban in the United States would place our nation in a strong position to influence the global fight against future pandemic spread, both by setting a strong precedent for other countries to adopt and through more dedicated strategies to address the problem worldwide.

The Preventing Future Pandemics Act would include:

  • Funding for USAID programs related to biodiversity, wildlife trafficking, sustainable landscape, and global health, food security and resilience to address the threats and causes of zoonotic disease outbreaks. This includes programs to support shifts to diversified alternative sources of food and protein in communities that rely on the consumption of wildlife for food security.
  • Collaboration with international partners to end commercial wildlife markets and the international trade in terrestrial wildlife for human consumption, and to disrupt and ultimately eliminate wildlife trafficking associated with the operations of wildlife markets.
  • Further facilitation of law enforcement operations and enactment of economic, diplomatic or other penalties for countries that continue to facilitate wildlife markets or wildlife trafficking. This includes mobilizing 50 new United States Fish and Wildlife Service attachés to combat wildlife trafficking in countries that are known to facilitate or host wildlife trafficking operations.

We simply cannot afford more delay in eliminating these risky, inhumane forms of wildlife exploitation and crime. More than a million people have died worldwide due to the coronavirus, including nearly 206,000 in the United States. Add to this the terrible toll this pandemic has taken on domestic and wild animal populations, and there is more than enough incentive for the passage of this sensible measure.

Please join us and urge your U.S. Senators and Representative to support the Preventing Future Pandemics Act. Passing these bills into law will ensure that our nation—and our world—are kinder, safer and healthier, for people and for animals.

Bill introduced in Senate to end worst practices in puppy mills

By on September 30, 2020 with 2 Comments
Bill introduced in Senate to end worst practices in puppy mills

A bill introduced in the Senate yesterday would prohibit some of the cruelest practices in puppy mills that are licensed to sell to pet stores and online, like stacking cages of dogs on top of each other, using wire flooring in cages, and leaving dogs . . . 

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Breaking news: Horse racing reform gallops to victory in U.S. House

By on September 29, 2020 with 0 Comments
Breaking news: Horse racing reform gallops to victory in U.S. House

The U.S. House has just voted to protect racehorses from dangerous but widespread practices within the racing industry, including the rampant use of performance-enhancing drugs and poor attention to racetrack safety. The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (H.R.1754), led by Reps. Paul Tonko, D-N.Y., and . . . 

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Breaking news: Nordstrom to stop selling products made with fur and exotic animal skins

By on September 29, 2020 with 12 Comments
Breaking news: Nordstrom to stop selling products made with fur and exotic animal skins

Nordstrom, one of the country’s largest luxury fashion retailers, will stop selling products made with fur and exotic animal skins at all of its U.S. locations by the end of next year. Nordstrom joins a growing number of retailers like Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s that have . . . 

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Actor Daniel Henney adopts HSI rescue from South Korean dog meat farm

By on September 25, 2020 with 2 Comments
Actor Daniel Henney adopts HSI rescue from South Korean dog meat farm

It is a beautiful scene that never gets old no matter how many times we watch it: a dog who has endured a life of extraordinary suffering meeting her new parent at her new home for the first time and bonding instantly. But Korean-American actor . . . 

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French bulldogs abandoned in airport warehouse highlight need for stronger enforcement against illegal puppy imports

By on September 24, 2020 with 16 Comments
French bulldogs abandoned in airport warehouse highlight need for stronger enforcement against illegal puppy imports

It was a heartbreaking incident, by any measure. In August, authorities found more than a dozen dogs, mostly French bulldogs, stranded for three days in their crates inside a warehouse at Chicago’s O’Hare airport. They had no food and water and the crates, witnesses say, . . . 

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China urged to protect rhinos by ending trophy imports

By on September 23, 2020 with 0 Comments
China urged to protect rhinos by ending trophy imports

In 2016, China made a historic decision to ban the trade in ivory and other elephant body parts, claiming a spot on the frontlines of the global war to end the trafficking of threatened species. But China is still the world’s second largest importer (after . . . 

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New Jersey prepares to open a gruesome black bear trophy hunt

By on September 22, 2020 with 12 Comments
New Jersey prepares to open a gruesome black bear trophy hunt

New Jersey is poised to allow trophy hunters to kill the state’s beloved black bears starting next month using barbaric methods like baiting the animals with piles of rotting sugary food. The plan would also allow hunters to chase bears off state lands, where bear . . . 

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HSUS responders transport dogs and cats, bring food to pets in hurricane-hit Florida

By on September 21, 2020 with 1 Comment
HSUS responders transport dogs and cats, bring food to pets in hurricane-hit Florida

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sally, our Animal Rescue Team, working with other responders in Escambia County, Florida, has transported 46 adoptable cats and dogs out of the local animal shelter there. They have also taken dog and cat food to families with pets and . . . 

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200-plus wild animals removed from notorious Indiana roadside zoo

By on September 18, 2020 with 2 Comments
200-plus wild animals removed from notorious Indiana roadside zoo

An Indiana roadside zoo whose owner’s federal license was revoked for numerous violations of the Animal Welfare Act, including beating a leopard to death with a baseball bat and swinging monkeys around by their tails, has closed its doors. The animals are being moved to . . . 

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HSUS Animal Rescue Team deploys in hurricane-ravaged Florida

By on September 17, 2020 with 0 Comments
HSUS Animal Rescue Team deploys in hurricane-ravaged Florida

Our Animal Rescue Team is on the ground in Escambia County, Florida, helping local authorities find and transport animals affected by flooding from Hurricane Sally to safety. The scenes on the ground are devastating. Diane Robinson, program manager for disaster services, was among those staff . . . 

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A U.S. Senator attacks states’ efforts to end ivory trafficking, but progress continues on many fronts

By on September 16, 2020 with 2 Comments
A U.S. Senator attacks states’ efforts to end ivory trafficking, but progress continues on many fronts

Since 2017, U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan has introduced a bill that would undermine America’s war on ivory trafficking by hindering the ability of states to create laws fighting this illegal trade. The full Senate did not consider the bill the last time, and more Americans . . . 

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