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British Veterinary Association warning on “Trojan dogs”

The United States is not the only country facing the burgeoning problems associated with unregulated international dog rehoming. Canada’s importation system has been described as little more than self-reporting, and has brought diseases that affect humans, pets, and wildlife into the country. Norway has gotten ahead of the issue and banned street dogs from entering the country. Now, the British Veterinary Association (BVA) is making its position on the issue clear, using the term “Trojan dogs” — apt and definitely not a phrase you’ll soon forget.

A ‘Trojan dog’ is a stray dog with an unknown health history that has been brought into the UK for rehoming. These dogs are of particular concern as they are very likely to be carrying infections which are common abroad, including in continental Europe as well as farther afield, but which we are free of in the UK. These infections may cause serious and fatal diseases in dogs which may affect not only the imported dog but could be transmitted to other untravelled dogs. In this way the owner of such a dog could unintentionally introduce a new and dangerous infectious disease into the UK to which our native dogs have no immunity. Moreover, some of these infections can infect humans.

The BVA, to its credit, recognizes both the kindness that inspires people to adopt dogs from abroad, while speaking in plain, no-holds language of the threats posed by this type of irresponsible rehoming.

The growing understanding of the dangers surrounding irresponsible pet importation make it a serious issue anywhere new (or previously conquered) infectious diseases can be introduced.

Diseases like brucellosis can be difficult to diagnose and are very contagious.


Jul 30, 2018 - Animal Law, Animal Policy    1 Comment

NAIA at NCSL: Opening Day

We’re all set up and ready to go at the 2018 National Conference of State Legislatures in Los Angeles!

This year, our booth is in a perfect position, seen by everyone as they walk in to the event. NAIA is proud to speak for (and with) everybody who loves animals, and to help preserve the human-animal bond.

NAIA’s booth. Hello, George!

 

Will will be back with a full recap later this week.

Big thanks to NAIA Board Member Patte Klecan for running our booth and helping to get our message out!

Foxhound Hunting Operation Vindicated in Colorado: a Roadmap for the Future

On Friday, July 13, Dr. Alison Brown, whose rural American foxhound hunting operation had been attacked and vilified by two county residents was awarded more than $550,000 in defamation, reputational damage, lost revenue, and additional security costs incurred due to threats she received after being defamed.

Based in rural Chaffee County, Colorado, Dr. Brown’s operation became the target of two other residents, Chris Vely and Laura Barton, who wanted Brown’s dogs either silenced or removed entirely. Vely and Barton filed civil suits and criminal complaints, handed out fliers, and posted a Change.org petition against Brown. The online petition and flier were the items containing false and defamatory claims.

Also important here, is that her operation was deemed agricultural in nature; while Brown’s pack of American foxhounds do not kill coyotes, their presence reduces the presence of coyotes, which is a service to local ranchers. Several ranchers also testified that Brown’s hounds were not detrimental to their livestock, contrary to claims made by her opponents. The reason this is important is that it protects Brown’s operation under Chaffee County’s Right to Farm and Ranch ordinances. It also led to one of the more humorously apt statements made during the case:

“People move to rural areas and then expect that the manure pile next door wouldn’t smell, the farm equipment should have mufflers, that farm dogs don’t bark – that kind of thing. Rural zones are expected to have rural uses.”

It is highly encouraging that the parties using lies and defamation didn’t simply fail to win: they were held accountable for their harmful statements and countersued. As more and more honest people stand up for themselves like this (something that, unfortunately, takes time and money), the fewer frivolous and opportunistic cases like Brown’s we will see. For too long, organizations like PETA and HSUS have happily painted their targets as nasty caricatures, while using grossly outdated and inaccurate information in their campaigns. And for too long, the targets of these organization have been left too financially and emotionally spent – and intimidated – to fight back. But the now very real threat of counter-litigation changes the playing field dramatically; at the very least, animal rights organizations will be forced to do some actual fact checking before attacking an individual, hobby, or industry. And this is a huge, and positive change.

Alison Brown’s American Foxhounds. Image used with permission.

Notes & Quotes

A few final notes: While Col. Dennis Foster, former executive director of Masters of Foxhounds and board member of NAIA Trust, doesn’t particularly like seeing his name praised in print, we are going to praise him anyway!  We are immensely grateful that Dennis recognized the importance of this case, felt compelled to get involved, and used his years of experience to support Dr. Brown, all at his own expense. His expert testimony was no doubt a huge factor in Brown’s victory, and for this, we can’t praise him enough!

We also contacted Dr. Brown, and she had this to add:

I also want to say how grateful I am to Col Foster and the many other witnesses who came forward to give testimony at this case. I am incredibly proud of my Chaffee County neighbors and friends in the foxhunting community who were appalled by the actions my neighbors took and who helped me fight and win this landmark case.

Click here for an interview with Dr. Brown offering more personal and detailed information of this case.

Apr 27, 2018 - Animal Policy    No Comments

Friday Kudos: Alaska Airline Adapts Its Emotional Support Animal Policy

Alaska Airlines, adapting to the realities of air travel in 2018, tightened its policy on emotional support animals this week. These changes come in the wake of poorly trained and disruptive animals, bites, and even tragic pet deaths occurring on flights.

“Most animals cause no problems,” said Ray Prentice, Alaska Airlines director of customer advocacy. “However, over the last few years, we have observed a steady increase in incidents from animals who haven’t been adequately trained to behave in a busy airport setting or on a plane, which has prompted us to strengthen our policy.”

Prentice is unfortunately correct about the issue being a growing problem. And as it only takes the actions of a few people to create a chaotic and/or unsafe environment for everybody, it has to be addressed to prevent further harm to people and animals.

Alaska’s policy on emotional support animals just got a little tighter.

 

Given how numerous recent headlines have left animal people involuntarily shuddering at the mere word “airline,” it is great to see the drafting of emotional support animal policy that we believe will ultimately be safer, fairer, and more humane. Kudos to Alaska Airlines.

 

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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