September 2012 Blog Home November 2012


23 posts from October 2012


October 31, 2012

On the Ground to Care for Animals Affected by Hurricane Sandy

The images of the devastation wrought by Sandy, especially on Long Island and on the New Jersey coast, are firmly fixed in our minds. While the hurricane itself has moved on, communities are still very much in the throes of dealing with its terrible effects. So many lives are turned upside down, and that includes animals.

Today, our HSUS Animal Rescue Team staff, along with disaster-trained volunteers, are in New York and New Jersey to help animals in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. In Monmouth County, N.J., our staff members are on-site at an emergency animal shelter, and more are on their way to help care for animals there. PetSmart Charities is donating essential pet supplies for Monmouth County. In Nassau County on Long Island, N.Y., we’ll be helping to care for animals at another emergency shelter where evacuating families brought their pets before the storm. Both areas were hit hard by the hurricane, and we expect to see more people and pets in need in the coming days, especially with more than 6 million people still having no power and with many communities flooded and uninhabitable for the near future.

In New Jersey, a large percentage of the evacuees are senior citizens or have disabilities, so we’re especially glad that we’re able to help care for their pets, including some dogs with special medical needs. And in both locations, the evacuation shelter for people is located right near the pet shelter, so that families can visit their pets and the animals can see a familiar face.

Rescued storm petrel at Cape Wildlife Center
A rare storm petrel recovering at Cape Wildlife Center.

In New York City, The HSUS’s Patrick Kwan, Brian Shapiro, and Michelle Icahn have all served at the city’s hurricane operations center helping to coordinate response to meet the needs of pets and pet owners, as well as advocating for pets and their owners, and Patrick is taking calls on the 24-hour hotline established to report pets left behind after evacuations (347-573-1561). We urge evacuees who were unable to bring their pets with them before Hurricane Sandy hit to call this hotline (hosted by the New York City's Office of Emergency Management Animal Planning Task Force) for assistance with reuniting with their animals.

Meanwhile, in Massachusetts, Hurricane Sandy’s winds blew an unusual species to our Cape Wildlife Center—a storm petrel, one of the rarest and smallest seabirds in the United States. Last night, a rescuer found the bird close to shore, upside-down and struggling in the water. Cape Wildlife Center staff stabilized the small petrel overnight, then set up a special habitat in a saltwater-filled bathtub until the animal is well enough to move to the center’s 3,500-gallon saltwater aviary. The bird is underweight and exhausted, but otherwise healthy, and we hope to be able to return the animal to the wild after recovery.

This was an enormous and deadly storm, and we’ll all be dealing with its negative impact upon people and animals for weeks and months to come. You can find the latest news about our Hurricane Sandy deployment on our Twitter feed, and I hope you’ll help support our disaster relief efforts. Or you can donate $10 to our Disaster Relief Fund by texting ANIMALS to 20222 (message and data rates apply).

October 30, 2012

Using Social Media to Help #SandyPets

I wrote yesterday about the work of The HSUS's disaster team and state directors to coordinate with emergency officials and ready our equipment and resources to deploy in the wake of the storm. But there’s so much more to a disaster response than just the professional corps of disaster planners and responders. Rank-and-file citizens have to make the right choices to protect themselves and their animals, and that’s why our communications staff have also been working nonstop to get out crucial information about pet preparedness through social media, our website, and press releases.

Dog photo from Twitter during Hurricane Sandy
Photo credit: Lauren Sands
A dog safe with her owner during Hurricane Sandy.

Social media has become especially useful during disasters to distribute information quickly and respond to specific questions from animal lovers. We've been connecting pet owners with the information and resources they need to keep their animals safe. 

Our staff were continuously monitoring storm-related tweets and Facebook posts over the weekend. On Saturday, our staff noticed a tweet about an agency in Connecticut that advised residents to leave their pets at home on the second floor if evacuating--when in fact The HSUS and most agencies strongly discourage leaving your pets behind (since home damage or mandatory evacuation orders can lead to a terrible outcome for your animals). Our state director and disaster team spoke with officials, reminding them to retool the message about evacuating with pets. And they did.

In many instances, communities are doing the right thing, and public officials are correctly advising people on how to take care of their pets in a time of crisis. This is a dramatic shift in public attitudes and the emphasis on the human-animal bond from just a few years ago, and a marker that our movement has made great strides by raising public awareness and collaborating with planning agencies and other stakeholders. For example, our staff in New York City serve on the local animal planning task force and have been working with coalition partners and municipal agencies for years to prepare for an event just like Sandy. 

After Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast, we worked to pass the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards (PETS) Act in Congress and to pass laws in 16 states on pets in disasters, and those efforts have paid off.

Over the last few days, we've used Twitter and contacts with local animal control agencies to help many people find pet-friendly shelters in their areas, as well as providing information about how to help feral cats and other non-companion animals during the storm. We followed up with local authorities about reports of dogs left outside, and we're helping to publicize requests from local shelters in need of supplies.

Each of these questions we answer about pet-friendly shelters, or each phone call we make to alert authorities about an animal in need, adds up and can mean a lot to someone. One woman in New York contacted us to say she needed to evacuate with her dog, but she didn't have a car, and the subways were slated to close early. We let her know that taxis and buses were required to accept pets during the storm and what time public transportation would be closing. She later sent us a photo of her dog cuddled up safely from the storm. 

Communications is vital on the front end of a natural event, and during. We’ll continue to emphasize this work, as well as have our first responders ready to help whenever and wherever animals and people are in crisis. Follow us on Twitter (@HumaneSociety) for up-to-the-minute information on pet-friendly shelters, organizations in need of assistance, and other disaster-related resources. You can also donate $10 to our Disaster Relief Fund by texting ANIMALS to 20222 (message and data rates apply).

October 29, 2012

On Call to Help Pets and Wildlife as Hurricane Sandy Hits

Hurricane Sandy is moving faster than expected and is threatening to cause havoc in a vast swath of the heavily populated Mid-Atlantic and Northeast Corridor. By all indications, it’s a monster of a storm, and while we don’t yet know how many animals will be affected in the end, we are preparing for a massive impact.

Brown and white dog in the rain
Jacquelyn Pyun/The HSUS

The HSUS has been getting the word out about preparedness, with a focus on the communities in the heart of the projected path of Sandy. Our emergency response staff members are tracking the storm and working with emergency management offices, while our state directors and other colleagues are spreading information through multiple channels concerning pet-friendly shelters, assisting local shelters with their plans, and working with public officials to sound the alarm about including pets in their disaster planning and response.

In Massachusetts, our Fund for Animals Cape Wildlife Center is battening down the hatches for the oncoming storm, and also preparing for an influx of sea birds and other storm victims that will be delivered to the center in the wake of the event. This morning, a large tree fell just outside the facility, but everyone is unharmed and staff members are unrelenting in their effort to prepare and make ready.

In New Jersey, our state director helped coordinate the rescue of a deer in danger of drowning in the ocean. A good Samaritan pulled the exhausted buck from the surf, and the Associated Humane Societies and Monmouth Beach police officers worked together to tranquilize the animal and carry him to safety.

In Maryland, our animal sheltering trailer and rescue equipment are on standby at HSUS headquarters, and our Animal Rescue Team is on alert to respond to requests for help as this huge storm continues to churn and move up the coast and then inland. It’s a blend of ferocious wind, big waves and storm surge, massive volumes of rain, and even snow in higher elevations.

Stay safe and make sure to take your pets if you have to evacuate. You can find more news about animals and the storm on our Twitter feed and at humanesociety.org, and please consider supporting our disaster response work with a donation.

October 26, 2012

Campaign against Gestation Crates is Right on Target

I’ve said a few times before on this blog that there’s no future for gestation crate production in the pork industry. With today’s announcement that Target is planning a phase-out of gestation crates, that’s more evident than ever.

270x224 a pigs tail still

Target is the nation’s fourth-largest food retailer with nearly 1,800 locations in 49 states, and this announcement—along with those by Costco, Kroger, and Safeway earlier this year—means that we have four of the top five food retailers in the United State on board with our campaign. In all, just this year, nearly 40 major U.S. food companies have enacted such policies, including McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, ConAgra, Oscar Mayer, and Jimmy Dean.

In the face of this demand by its institutional customers, the pork industry seems utterly, and self-destructively, recalcitrant. While television manufacturers went from black-and-white screens to high-definition color, and camera makers went from film to digital, the pork industry continues its refusal to innovate and to see and acquiesce to the changes that consumers are demanding.

“It is getting a little embarrassing,” wrote the editors at Meatingplace, an industry trade journal. “While some in the [pork] industry hold out that science hasn't determined whether one housing method for sows is better than the other, HSUS is kicking down crates left and right—not to mention doors.”

This week, The HSUS unveiled a new strategy to drive forward the inevitable transition away from crates: a short, animated film for children called A Pig’s Tailfeaturing the voices of James Arnold Taylor and Catherine Taber and original music by Steven Delopoulos. We teamed up with Academy Award-winning Aardman Studios (creators of Wallace and Gromit, and Chicken Run) to create a film about a baby pig’s perspective of factory farming. It also highlights a farmer’s awakening to the idea that extreme confinement is no longer acceptable. He decides to throw open the crate and warehouse doors at the factory farm and to let pigs be pigs in a pasture.

This is part of our organizational priority to inspire people of all ages to consider where their food comes from. “Most children are captivated by animals and have the potential to care about how they are treated,” says Christine Gutleben, The HSUS’s senior director of Faith Outreach. “Through this film, they will see farm animals as creatures capable of suffering and farm workers as often caught up in an abusive system along with the animals.”

Watch the video here and forward it on to your friends.

October 25, 2012

Our Commitment to End Dogfighting

For those of you who follow this blog, you know that public-relations hit man Rick Berman has raised a lot of money from animal-abuse groups to conduct a brand attack on The Humane Society of the United States through his spider web of front groups, including the Center for Consumer Freedom. We’re not alone among nonprofits in being a target. He’s attacked anti-smoking groups on behalf of Big Tobacco. He works for the alcohol industry. For junk food makers. For tanning bed companies. But given the focus he has on The HSUS, some of his most lucrative work is no doubt on behalf of animal abusers.

Michigan dogfighting rescue 2012
Kathy Milani/The HSUS
One of many dogs we've helped rescue from fighting.

Let’s face it: it’s perfectly logical that a guy like Berman would attack The HSUS. We are the greatest threat to animal cruelty. And the people who profit from cruelty don’t want us to make progress. This just comes with the territory.

While not unexpected, we won’t hesitate to call him out, or anyone else who stands in the way of progress for animals. Berman has taken out dozens of full-page ads in national newspapers and in other publications attacking us, under the banner of the Center for Consumer Freedom and its HumaneWatch project (spending millions in the process). It’s all been very lucrative for Berman, who lives in an enormous mansion and siphons off a huge share of funds directed to his phony “nonprofits” for himself and his for-profit PR company, Berman and Company.

So today one of Berman’s groups dropped another $100,000 or so to attack us for putting Michael Vick to work against dogfighting. He could have put that money into rewards programs for dogfighting, or rehabilitating fighting animals, or paying for investigations of illegal animal fighting operations–as The HSUS does every day. But helping animals isn’t his thing–in fact, it’s just the opposite. 

Three years ago, I knew it would be controversial to enlist Michael Vick in our outreach work in inner-city schools. But today this is hardly news, since I’ve talked about it on 60 Minutes and ABC's Nightline, wrote a chapter on it in The Bond, and discussed it in so many other platforms, as a way to raise awareness of the problem of dogfighting in our society. Since Vick's case came to light, we’ve upgraded laws against animal fighting in 40 states, and passed a new federal law to ban possession of fighting animals and to make it a federal felony.

I’ve also spoken, together with Vick, to thousands of inner-city kids about the evils of dogfighting. The point was to have a guy like Vick, who grew up on inner-city streets and got drawn into the world of dogfighting, warn these kids away from the activity. His target was not our base of supporters, but kids and others who don’t normally get exposed to our messages. Now those kids have become converts to our cause, and many of them are speaking out against dogfighting in inner-city neighborhoods and starting animal protection clubs at their schools.

Now Berman is trying to make an issue of Vick acquiring a dog for his daughters. The HSUS had nothing to do with Vick getting a dog, and we didn't know about it until it was reported in the media. But Vick’s probationary period is over, so he is legally allowed to get a dog.

There are thousands of dogs still suffering in fighting pits who need our attention. The HSUS works every day to put dogfighters in jail and to protect tens of thousands of dogs chewed up in this industry, pulling dogs out of fighting rings and working with our partners in the pit bull rescue community to give them care and new homes. We work to protect millions of dogs suffering in the puppy mill trade. And we are working to end euthanasia of dogs by promoting spay-and-neuter and shelter adoption.

There are millions of dogs at risk, and we need to focus on them. It’s understandable to be upset about Vick’s crimes that led to his arrest. What he did was terrible. We were also outraged, and that’s why we demanded his prosecution. There is nothing more that can be done with regard to Vick’s crimes, and we need to refocus our anger and turn our attention to efforts to help the millions of animals still at risk due to the ongoing issues of animal cruelty in our nation.

Rick Berman has opposed our campaigns to end seal clubbing, factory farming, puppy mills, and just about everything else we do. He’s shilling for corporate entities that don’t like our agenda to take on the biggest forms of animal cruelty in the world.

No discerning person should get caught up in his con or masquerade. Join us in fighting ongoing abuses that matter and kick him and his silly little stunts to the curb. 

October 24, 2012

55 Actions to Help Animals and The HSUS

HSUS volunteer at North Carolina puppy mill rescue
Photo: Diane Lewis
Volunteer with The HSUS.

Perhaps the number-one question I get in my travels and meeting with our supporters is, “How can I get more involved with The HSUS and with the cause of animal protection?” Today, here’s an updated and expanded guide to help you or people you know get involved.

By taking some of the following actions, you can exert a tremendous, beneficial impact on the lives of animals. And when lots of people take the actions, we become an even more powerful collective force in our communities, in the political arena, and in the marketplace.

Please take some time in the days, weeks, and months ahead to make your way through as many items as you can. And as you do, let me add an item—please share this list or any specific elements with friends or family members who are also interested in advocating for animals.

Get involved in your community:

Help animals in your everyday life:

Participate in trainings and events:

Gray squirrel at the Cape Wildlife Center
Heather Fone/The HSUS
Volunteer at a wildlife center, animal shelter, or rescue.

Volunteer to help animals:

Get political:

Reach out to youth and schools:

Help animals while you shop:

  • Shop at Humane Domain—our online store—for pet products, Cause Gear that supports our campaigns and programs, and unique gifts for animal lovers.
  • Orange cat named Ella with collar
    Liz Bergstrom/The HSUS
    Get pet health insurance from Petplan.

  • Purchase pet health insurance from Petplan and receive a 5 percent discount—and with each completed application, Petplan will make a $20 donation to our Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association's Rural Area Veterinary Services program. Use code HSUS20.
  • Purchase or renew your subscriptions at The HSUS Magazine Store for up to 80 percent off newsstand prices, order personal checks through our website, and create custom gifts from Zazzle, including stamps and cards.
  • Shop with other HSUS Corporate Supporters and help animals with every purchase—coffee, flowers, wine, jewelry, skins for electronic devices, and more.
  • When searching or shopping online, use the GoodSearch toolbar; if you shop on eBay, check out what people are selling to benefit us.

Help fundraise and spread the word:

 

October 23, 2012

Saving Pets in Pennsylvania and Beyond

I’m in Pittsburgh today, and the day started on the CBS television affiliate with me and former Survivor winner and HSUS spokesperson Jenna Morasca talking about animal issues in the community and the nation. Jenna has recorded PSAs for us about the importance of including pets in disaster planning, and we’re hoping to see her at our To the Rescue gala in New York City on Nov. 2.

Staff of the Animal Rescue League in Pittsburgh with Wayne Pacelle and Gizmo
Gizmo with his adopter, Wayne Pacelle, and
representatives from ARL and the mayor's office.

I toured two shelters here in Pittsburgh doing life-saving work—the Animal Rescue League Shelter and Wildlife Center and Animal Friends. These groups and so many others are working hard to drive down euthanasia rates in Allegheny County and the surrounding counties that constitute the biggest human and animal population center of western Pennsylvania.

It is a particularly exciting day to be in Pennsylvania, with Gov. Tom Corbett expected to sign an HSUS-backed bill today or tomorrow to ban the use of carbon monoxide gas chambers for animal euthanasia in the state. I got a chance to see Rep. John Maher, the author of the bill and a stalwart HSUS ally who we named Pennsylvania Humane Legislator of the Year in 2012. He toured the Animal Rescue League shelter with me, where I also met a dog named Gizmo who The HSUS helped rescue from a dogfighting ring in 2011. After care at an emergency shelter from HSUS staff and Hello Bully, the Animal Rescue League (an HSUS Emergency Placement Partner) took Gizmo in and found him a great home.

We all want the day to come soon when no healthy and treatable pets are euthanized in shelters—and that can only be accomplished with an increase in adoptions and spay and neuter surgeries, along with a host of other community-wide programs to save the lives of dogs and cats. But until then, The HSUS is determined to end euthanasia via carbon monoxide gas chambers, which are inhumane, outmoded, and unacceptable. Pennsylvania will be the 20th state to ban these devices. We’ve also supported similar bans in Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, and other states. To help phase out this method, The HSUS offers training and assistance to shelters committed to switching away from these chambers.

We’re making progress on this issue, and meanwhile shelters like the Animal Rescue League and Animal Friends are helping to get us closer to our broader and more lasting goal: an end of euthanasia and a home for every dog and cat. It’s always inspiring for me to see how many people are working so hard to achieve this goal, which is within our reach if we focus on the goal and make the right moves in the months and years ahead.

October 22, 2012

Rising Meat Consumption Threatens Animals and Our Environment

We know that China is the biggest consumer of wild animals and their parts in the world—driving the killing of wildlife by buying up rhino horn, ivory, and tiger parts, just to name a few products—but it’s now also the undisputed top consumer of domesticated animal products. A recent report in the UK’s Telegraph notes that China now eats twice as much meat as the United States, even though per capita consumption there is half what it is in the U.S.

Nursing sow in crate in China
Humane Society International

If this trend continues, driven by increased economic security and opportunity, billions more animals will be caught up in industrial food production systems—in China and throughout the world. The United States already exports billions of animals a year, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture has been actively promoting U.S. beef, pork, and other animal products abroad.

This is why our movement against factory farming must be a global one. Even when we succeed in banning extreme confinement of farm animals in the United States, we also need to achieve these same gains worldwide—especially in China and Brazil, which together with the United States account for almost half of total global meat production. We need to do all that we can to support farmers committed to high animal welfare practices, and to create a marketplace that puts more value on improving conditions for animals. And in the broadest sense, we must encourage people to eat lower on the food chain, for reasons of animal welfare, environment, resource conservation, human health, and climate impacts.

Americans are eating less meat than we were just five years ago, representing the first significant decline in domestic meat consumption in decades. Meat consumption at current levels is just not sustainable, and that’s one of the reasons The HSUS is promoting Meatless Mondays, to accelerate this positive trend. Americans simply don’t need to eat such a high volume of animal products—it’s bad for their health, for the local and global environments, and it’s not good for farmers or for animals. 

With demand for meat so great, it creates pressure to opt for bigger, more industrialized production systems, where farmers lose touch with the animals and where animals are moved to more extreme methods of confinement. In the United States, while total production has increased, the nation has lost more than 95 percent of its egg farmers, 90 percent of its pig farmers, and 40 percent of its cattle farmers in the last 30 years. We see the same trend towards consolidation and concentration in the meat industry around the world, with small farmers increasingly being pushed out of the market in developing countries.

Our international affiliate, Humane Society International, is not only working against confinement, but also talking about the benefits of diets that include more plant-based foods. Our planet has finite resources, and we’ve got to be mindful of how every citizen of the world has an impact on the creatures who share our planet.

October 19, 2012

The Empire (State) Strikes Back – Against Animal Fighting

New York officially closes a major loophole in its animal fighting laws this week, and it comes months after The HSUS and our friends at the New York State Humane Association partnered to enact legislation to strip animal fighters of the necessary tools for their sickening enterprise. In effect now, the new law provides misdemeanor penalties for violators with imprisonment of up to one year and/or a fine of up to $1,000 for the possession, use, and trafficking of animal fighting paraphernalia such as specially designed, razor-sharp knives known as “slashers” that are affixed to the heels of roosters in cockfights.

Rooster seized from suspected cockfighting operation in New York
Kathy Milani/The HSUS
At a cockfighting rescue in New York in 2011.

This is the latest victory in The HSUS’s effort to combat the cruel and criminal enterprise of animal fighting on every front—from lobbying for stronger laws to crack down on animal fighters, to rescuing animals, to educating youth, to providing support and training prosecuting attorneys, judges, and other law enforcement.

It is the second upgrade of the New York’s law in two years. The HSUS led a four-year effort to increase penalties—from a traffic ticket-style violation to a misdemeanor crime punishable by up to one year in prison and a $1,000 fine—for animal fight spectators. Signed into law by Gov. Cuomo in 2011, it was the first major upgrade in New York’s animal fighting laws in nearly 30 years.

As the tougher law took effect, we conducted a training on investigating animal fighting and cruelty and to highlight the new law at the New York State Sheriffs’ Association Institute’s 10th annual “Law Enforcement Supervisors' Training Conference” for dozens of top New York law enforcement professionals from more than 30 counties.

Meanwhile, in Congress, we have legislation to make it a federal crime to attend or bring a child to an animal fight. The Senate approved this measure as an amendment to the farm bill by a vote of 88 to 11, and the House Agriculture Committee backed a similar amendment. We are hoping to complete the job in the lame-duck session of Congress, which resumes on Nov. 13. The underlying House bill has 226 cosponsors—more than half the membership of the U.S. House.

October 18, 2012

One Year After Zanesville Tragedy, Humane Groups Ask USDA to Ban Public Contact with Dangerous Wild Animals

One year ago today, in Zanesville, Ohio, Terry Thompson released nearly 50 tigers, lions, bears, primates, and other animals from cages at his private menagerie, and then he took his own life—leaving a scene of chaos and confusion for law enforcement officials. With dusk approaching, the local sheriff made a decision to authorize the killing of the free-roaming animals, as a matter of protecting human safety. Professionals did tranquilize a half-dozen animals.

Tiger cub
Please sign our petition. »

That awful drama was just one in a string of horrible incidents involving powerful wild animals being kept as pets in Ohio in recent years. But it was so over the top and so tragic that Ohio lawmakers could no longer turn down our pleas to enact a comprehensive statewide statute to forbid private citizens from acquiring these animals as pets or roadside attractions. The legislature, prodded by Gov. John Kasich, passed a strong law, and that statute took effect in September. 

Alabama, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, and Wisconsin are now the only remaining states that have no rules on keeping dangerous animals.  And many other states have loopholes that allow private citizens to keep dangerous wild animals for a variety of purposes.

Nationwide, The HSUS has uncovered evidence that at least 70 exhibitors currently or recently engaged in the harmful practice of allowing the public to handle big cats, bears, and/or primates. Records also show that extraordinarily young animals, such as tigers who are only a few days old, are being transported to and by exhibitors for purposes of public handling.

For fees ranging from $10 to $500, members of the public can pet, feed, train, pose with, play with, and even swim with wild and exotic animals. After just a few months, many of the animals are discarded at poorly run roadside zoos, pseudo-sanctuaries, or the exotic pet trade. Some animals used temporarily for public handling, such as black bears and African lions, may even be slaughtered for the exotic meat market. Breeders and dealers keep churning out babies to fuel this business.

Today, The HSUS, World Wildlife Fund, International Fund for Animal Welfare, The Fund for Animals, Born Free USA, Big Cat Rescue, and the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries filed a legal petition asking the U.S. Department of Agriculture to prohibit public contact with big cats, bears, and primates under the Animal Welfare Act, regardless of the animals’ age. While exhibition is regulated by the USDA, public handling of these animals is largely unmonitored. USDA enforcement policies currently allow the harmful practice of handling infant animals to flourish.

To facilitate public handling, the animals are separated from their mothers shortly after birth—a cruel and unhealthy practice that can lead to lifelong physical and psychological problems and even death. Young animals with weak immune systems may be exposed to deadly diseases and subjected to stressful conditions associated with transport, rough and excessive public handling, as well as physical abuse from handlers attempting to keep animals under control.

This practice puts animals at risk, endangers the public, and creates a burden for both law enforcement and sanctuaries. Accredited sanctuaries for wild animals are shouldering the burden created by an industry that continuously breeds and dumps long-lived animals with specialized, costly needs. For example, it may cost up to $10,000 per year to provide food and veterinary care for a single tiger. The total costs adds tens of millions of dollars for the animal welfare community to bear. This is an unfunded burden, and it’s just one more reason why the states and the federal government need strong policies to prevent the trade and private ownership of dangerous exotics.

Please sign our petition urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture to act quickly on our proposed changes to federal rules that would put an end to the harmful practice of allowing the public to handle big cats, bears, and primates.