Browsing "Animal Policy"
Sep 20, 2017 - Animal Policy    No Comments

The California Legislature and Governor Brown need to read this…

The State veterinarian in Rhode Island knows what is going on and has the integrity to write about it publicly. We sure hope the state veterinarian in California will be as candid in informing governor Brown, before signing on to AB 485 – a bill that is bound to set animal welfare back 50 years in California.

People will go to extraordinary lengths to bring home a puppy, even exchanging cash on the side of the road in the middle of the night when legitimate or affordable options are not available. Shady dealers, often posing as legitimate rescues, are more than happy to fill that market, which leads to suffering dogs and dog owners.

Although many pet lovers believe the problems with puppy mills have been largely solved by closing the pet stores that sold puppies, in reality, the problem’s become worse, he said. At least the brick and mortar stores could be inspected and regulated. They had to be licensed. They had to keep medical records, and their transporters could be inspected. It was not a perfect system admittedly, he said. But now it’s all being done underground behind a virtual curtain

To quote the title of a talk in our upcoming conference: to be kind, you need to know what is true. Having a good heart and desire to reduce suffering is great… but to truly solve social problems, you need an understanding of people, markets, and consequences.

NAIA at NCSL

For more than a decade, we have maintained a presence at the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). NAIA board members attend to the booth, conversations are had, connections are made, and perceptions are changed. This year, the event was held in Boston, Massachusetts.

From left: NAIA Board members Patte Klecan, Dr. Cindy Buckmaster, Nancy Fisk.

Why is this event important? Because the entire conversation surrounding human-animal interaction — policy positions, philosophical perspectives, even the language we use — has long been dominated by the ideology of the animal rights movement. Those of us who live, love, and work with animals who have hands-on experience and more mainstream positions on animal welfare and conservation issues are often drowned out. So this event gives us an opportunity to share our perspective and let legislators know that there are organizations out there who not only care deeply about animals, but also the human-animal bond, and positive outcomes that are driven by data. If you work with animals, we are here for you.

Even after all these years, it never ceases to amuse us how curious passersby will breathe a sigh of relief after a conversation or reading a brochure. “Oh, sorry. I was worried you were one of those groups.”

No. No we are not.


 

Oh, and speaking of making new friends…

 

NYCLASS subpoenaed

Surprise, surprise…

NYCLASS, a key de Blasio donor, hit with subpoena in mayor fund-raising probe

A key donor to Mayor de Blasio’s fund-raising was subpoenaed Thursday, as it became clear the growing investigation is zeroing in on whether his campaign broke rules pursuing checks from powerful interests seeking favors from City Hall, the Daily News has learned.

For those of you who are out of the loop: NYCLASS is an animal rights organization that has been running a smear campaign against the carriage horse industry for the last 8 years, while de Blasio is the mayor of New York City who came into office inexplicably obsessed with banning the city’s iconic carriage horses (horses that receive excellent care and are loved by the public, we would like to add!). A very, very interesting coincidence indeed…

This is one developing story that is definitely worth following and sharing widely!

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Maryland Legislation: Anti-Research Wolf in Beagle’s Clothing

Unfortunately, due to legislation that is currently being considered, the state of Maryland may place onerous mandates on how institutions handle the adoption of dogs and cats following the completion of research studies.

HB 594

This legislation is duplicative of what is already required by the federal government, creating unnecessary hurdles in the path of the research community and their widely embraced practice of adopting out post-study animals.

Beagle

This legislation is also duplicitous. It is alarming that this legislation is being put forward by activist animal rights groups, such as the Beagle Freedom Project — the kind of groups whose threats have forced research institutions to shut down their adoption programs in the past due. This is not about animal welfare. What is happening here, is groups that want to end animal-based research are trying to write themselves into the adoption process as a way to use these animals as props, control the narrative, to pat themselves on the back and raise funds while “forcing” researchers to do something they are already doing! Hey, as long as we’re playing this game, why not pass a law that “forces” Five Guys to sell cheeseburgers?

Research with animals is critical for saving and improving human and animal lives, and helps us understand and treat a variety of cancers and disorders. This is why NAIA partners with Homes for Animal Heroes, which works with the research community to foster, train and place research animals in permanent, loving homes.

Learn more about this dangerous legislation in Maryland that would hinder the research community’s advancement in discovering important cures for our pets and families:

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NY City Council Will NOT Vote to Restrict Carriage Horses Tomorrow.

Great news out of New York City: the Teamsters have pulled their support for a bill restricting carriage horses to Central Park, and there will be no vote on it tomorrow.

Predictably, Mayor Bill de Blasio shows no signs of giving up his quest to eradicate these majestic and well-cared-for animals (as well as the jobs and tourism revenue they generate), and has said he is looking for a “new path.”

But with no vote tomorrow and opposition to his plans only growing, things are not looking good for de Blasio. As lovers of carriage horses and the people who work with and care for them, this is news we can cheer!

 

CarriageHorse

 

Jan 28, 2016 - Animal Policy    No Comments

Congratulations, Dr. Goldman!

NAIA board member Dr. Arnold L. Goldman, DVM, MPH was recently presented with the 2015 Bebout Memorial Award for his groundbreaking work in advocating for the rights of responsible breeders and dog owners. In addition to being a proven leader in the veterinary field, Dr. Goldman developed legislation addressing retail pet sales and consumer protection that serves as a model for communities nationwide. All of this while owning and working in his own animal hospital. He is as active and engaged as anybody in the world of animal health and welfare — we are lucky he’s on our side! Please join us in congratulating him on this well deserved honor!

From Left: AKC Gov’t Relations Director Sheila Goffe, Dr. Arnold Goldman, CT Federation’s Laurie Maulucci, AKC President/CEO Dennis B. Sprung

From Left: AKC Gov’t Relations Director Sheila Goffe, Dr. Arnold Goldman, CT Federation’s Laurie Maulucci, AKC President/CEO Dennis B. Sprung

Learn more about Dr. Goldman’s exceptional work in animal welfare policy:

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Apr 23, 2015 - Animal Policy    134 Comments

Irresponsible Dog Importation and Illness: an Expert Speaks Out

In the wake of the Midwest canine flu outbreak that has sickened more than 1,100 dogs, we are getting the straight talk we need about dog importation from a canine influenza expert:

“We have absolutely, without a shadow of a doubt, proof that a foreign animal disease has been imported into the U.S.,” Dr. Ed Dubovi said. “I don’t think anyone can look at this situation and say we’re protecting our animal population the best we can.”

[…]

“My concern all along was that someday this virus might make its way here,” he said. “We don’t know how it happened, but it certainly could have come from a dog or a cat. There are multiple international groups who are rescuing dogs from the meat market in Korea and shipping them into the U.S., and we have sketchy quarantine requirements if any at all. Restrictions on the movements of companion animals across borders are somewhat nonexistent.”

Irresponsible importation is an issue we have been concerned about for years. For those who have dismissed or downplayed this threat, the statements from Dr. Dubovi should serve as a wake-up call.

Now the question is: how can these words translate into action?

Saving the lives of dogs is a noble goal, nobody will argue with that. But when good intentions lead to illness and even death, you’re doing it wrong. Try telling somebody who lost their beloved pet that “it’s the thought that counts.”

Humane rescue operation importing large numbers of dogs from the Middle East, 2006. Photo courtesy of Sheryl Shapiro, CDC New York Quarantine Station.

Humane rescue operation importing large numbers of dogs from the Middle East, 2006. Photo courtesy of Sheryl Shapiro, CDC New York Quarantine Station.

Apr 15, 2015 - Animal Policy    2 Comments

Asian Canine Influenza Outbreak: A Reminder of the Importance of Responsible Animal Transport

An outbreak of canine influenza* in the Chicago area has killed six dogs and sickened 1,300. It comes from a strain of the virus that has previously only been seen in Korea and China.

We do not yet know the specific source or the scenario that led to this outbreak, but regardless, it is a painful reminder of the importance of responsible animal transport (especially in regards to importation), and why we support it so strongly at NAIA.

Of course there are no guarantees in life, no way to ensure that your pet will never come down with an illness, but employing responsibility and accountability when transporting animals — something that is, unfortunately, not always standard operating procedure — is a great way to improve those odds for everybody’s pets.

Our hearts go out to the families who lost pets due to this illness, and we wish a speedy recovery to all who were affected!

 

 

*while this is referred to as “Asian Dog Flu” it can affect cats too!

Apr 10, 2015 - Animal Policy    No Comments

Academic Study: NY Carriage Horses are Stress-Free

So did you read the news that an expert in equine medicine tested New York’s carriage horses, and discovered their stress levels are probably lower than yours or mine? That work doesn’t raise the stress or angst of these magnificent animals — that they are living pretty darn contented lives?

If not, hopefully you have now!

Of course this won’t affect the opinion of anybody in the anti-carriage horse brigade — their minds are made up and impervious to dissent (and when faced with irrefutable facts, they’ll just move the goalpost). This information won’t affect the opinion of anybody who supports carriage horses, either — it merely confirms something we have long known:

“Like many New Yorkers I could see that joy and vigor in their eyes. Now we have scientific proof as well.”

But for everybody else, studies like this are meaningful. Horses and humans have been partners for thousands of years, and most people can look at a carriage horse and just know on a general level that the animal is content. But without data to back up our perceptions, it can be written off as just that: a perception — a feeling. Well, here comes the back up!

Anti-carriage horse activists have been telling the public and legislators to “ignore your lyin’ eyes” for years — that we need to trust them when they insist these animals are miserable and unhealthy. And unfortunately, along the way, they have managed to convince some people that they are right. Data like this lets us respond with authority; it lets us say “Sorry guys, but our eyes were working just fine all along… these carriage horses are indeed happy, healthy animals!”

The carriage driver appears to have remarkably low stress levels as well.

The carriage driver appears to have remarkably low stress levels as well.

 

 

Apr 1, 2015 - Animal Policy    4 Comments

Placing Dangerous Dogs Undermines Everybody

From an alarming article by the Albuquerque Journal:

In more than 100 cases last year, the Albuquerque Animal Welfare Department has allowed [aggressive] dogs to be adopted by families or returned to their owners even though they flunked nationally recognized standardized tests that showed the animals had dangerous tendencies.

One dog was so aggressive he couldn’t be tested, but was still adopted out. Some volatile dogs were even taken to the Lucky Paws adoption site in Coronado Center.

These are among the explosive allegations in a complaint filed with the city’s Office of Inspector General by the Animal Welfare Department’s second-in-command and its behavior specialist, who said Monday she has resigned out of frustration and alarm for the community.

Go ahead and read the entire article then come back. It’s important. We’ll still be here.

UnfriendlyPup

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We have written about mission creep in dog rescue and sheltering before, and its unintended consequences (disease, dog bites, how it actually enables irresponsible breeding practices, etc.), and this is as prime an example as any.

These allegations are simply stomach churning. When ideology trumps duty like this, it undermines everybody: the public, responsible rescues and shelters, behaviorists and others who work to rehabilitate dogs (done responsibly, many dogs with behavioral problems can be rehabilitated and placed with appropriate owners), and of course the dogs themselves. In the end, it always comes back to the dogs. If we had a dollar for every time good intentions untethered from knowledge (or basic reality) ended up hurting the dogs they were meant to save, we’d have more funding than HSUS…

So just how on earth is the public going to trust an Animal Welfare/Animal Services/Animal Control department if it has a record of adopting out vicious dogs that lunge after children or kill other pets? Dogs that were too aggressive to even take behavioral tests? Who, exactly, are they looking out for by allowing these dogs to be adopted? Certainly not the people whose communities they are being trusted with!

But they are also doing an incredible disservice to dogs and the rescue community, as well. Shelters and rescues have done a great job over the last few decades of marketing themselves as the place to get your next pet. Numbers from one of our recent surveys show that respondents believe the healthiest, best-tempered dogs come from rescues or shelters, and list them as first choice among people expecting to acquire dogs in the next 5 years. Do you think these people would be so quick to choose rescues and shelters as their top choice if the first thought that pops into their mind isn’t “saving the life of a great dog” but rather “will the dog we find be safe for the family?” Is it so hard to see how adopting out just a few aggressive dogs in order to “save them all,” or improve euthanasia numbers can hurt the prospects of all dogs in need of a home?

Anybody who adopts out an aggressive dog is abdicating their responsibility to public safety and undermining literally decades of hard work improving the image of and outcomes for shelter dogs.

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