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549 posts from Actions to Help Animals


June 14, 2014

Poached Poodle or Baked Bichon?

This week, Peter Li, China specialist with Humane Society International (HSI), arrived in Yulin in China’s Guangxi province – a city that is about to host an infamous annual event where thousands of dogs are slaughtered for meat. He found the town uneasy and alert to growing concerns at home and abroad about this culinary monstrosity. All signs in restaurants advertising dog meat have been removed and dishes featuring dog meat have been taken off the menu. A slaughterhouse Peter visited had no dogs around, although there was evidence of dog slaughter, principally in the form of hair left behind after the clean-up operation.

Yulin dogs
Small cages packed with frightened dogs are arriving in Yulin, China, for the dog meat festival. Sign this petition to express your outrage.
Photo: Humane Society International

“Local authorities,” Peter wrote, “are under tremendous pressure…activists and journalists are converging in Yulin from across the country.”

It’s better than it was in 2012, when the killing was all out in the open and the streets of Yulin were painted red with the blood of dogs. Thousands of dogs crammed in cages and transported over great distances arrived at the Yulin dog meat festival that year– traumatized, sick, exhausted, hungry and dying. In the end, they were bludgeoned to death, in front of other dogs.

Although the festival is still slated to take place, there has been a change in attitude, particularly among the public and Chinese media, and it’s got the dog meat traders and the authorities in Yulin on the defensive.  A lot of that is due to the work being done by HSI partner groups on the ground in China such as Vshine, Shoushan of Guangdong, Xi’An Xijin, Capital Animal Welfare Association and Animals Asia Foundation. 

Our partner groups have mobilized thousands of Chinese in a series of public protests held at key venues, sending a strong message to local authorities that brutality brings no tourists or economic profit—only shame and stigma.

Last year, 46,000 supporters from around the world signed our pledge against the cruelty, and our campaign continues to grow. This month alone, more than 100,000 people have signed on to express their outrage, and we’re letting authorities know the spotlight is on them. HSI partner groups have joined activists and protestors to rally against the festival, including at a recent event in Dalian in northeast China, where more than 1,000 supporters and dozens of dogs represented Vshine to protest the Yulin event. Yesterday, HSI partner groups in China held a protest in front of the mayor’s office in Yulin, and instantly images of the protest swept across Chinese media.  

Our partners met with Yulin's Food Safety Office and submitted an investigative report  on shocking violations by dog meat traders, including fake certificates issued in provinces thousands of miles north of Guangxi that illustrate how far the dogs must travel under terrible conditions.

If you haven’t already signed the petition, please do so here. Or you can contribute toward ending the brutal dog meat trade here.

The dog meat festival culminates on June 21 in Yulin, much to the horror of dog lovers in China and the world over. Small cages packed with frightened dogs, carried on the backs of motorcycles, are already arriving in the city. But we can also confront this reality knowing that Peter and HSI and our friends in China are there to bear witness, to ensure that international attention remains focused on Yulin, and to continue our efforts to convince Chinese authorities that this barbaric trade in dog meat has to stop once and for all.

The HSUS and HSI want the dog meat trade ended in China and in any other place where it finds any favor, whether out in the open at a festival or in some dark, dingy corner. 

June 11, 2014

URGENT ACTION: Need Your Help to Prevent Horse Slaughter in the U.S.

I need you to make a phone call today to your U.S. Representative in Washington, D.C.  Please call the Congressional switchboard at 202-225-3121 and urge your Member of Congress to vote “NO” on any amendments that would promote horse slaughter for human consumption.  Specifically, you can say you oppose the “Mullin” amendments and any others to open up horse slaughter plants.

HORSE_SLAUGHTER
Take action now to stop horse slaughter in the United States.
Photo: Kathy Milani/The HSUS

Recently, I reported that the House and Senate Appropriations committees included a provision defunding horse slaughter on U.S. soil in their pending FY15 Agriculture Appropriations bills. This is the same provision that Congress enacted as part of its final FY14 Omnibus Appropriations bill. 

The horse slaughter industry is a predatory, inhumane enterprise. It doesn’t “euthanize” old horses, but precisely the opposite: “killer buyers” purchase young and healthy horses, often by misrepresenting their intentions, and kill them to sell the meat to Europe and Japan. Americans do not consume horse meat, and our nation’s limited agency resources and inspectors should not be diverted from the important current duties of protecting the food supply for U.S. consumers.

The votes are expected early this afternoon. Please call right away and please spread the word to other animal-friendly advocates throughout the nation. The vote is expected to be close, so your involvement is especially important and critical.

Click here to take action now.

May 13, 2014

Animal Welfare Monsoon in India

About 18 months ago, His Holiness the Dalai Lama was the headliner for the official launch of Humane Society International – India, at a jam-packed event in Mumbai.  Since that time, under the leadership of HSI-India director N.G. Jayasimha, our Asian director Rahul Sehgal and the rest of our staff, we’ve seen a raft of gains for animal protection:

Bunnies
Dmitry Kalinovsky/iStock
India has banned animal testing and proposed a ban on the import of cosmetics tested on animals. 

The latest advance, driven by the Blue Cross of India and other animal protection organizations, came last week when India’s Supreme Court issued a ban on the use of bulls in entertainment. It was a landmark verdict that will put an end to bullock cart races, horse and bull races, and a cruel event called Jalikattu, held annually in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu. During Jalikattu, crowds of men pursue and taunt bulls by throwing chilli powder in their eyes, hitting them with nail-studded sticks, and pouring alcohol down their throats. The bulls are wrestled to the ground and their tails are twisted and often broken by the frenzied crowds.

We are now working on the next step on the animal testing front, by seeking to ban imports of cosmetics into India that were tested elsewhere – just as the European Union did last year at our urging.  We’re gathering signatures to support a draft rule just published by the Indian Health Ministry, and in a few months we hope to report India as South Asia’s first cruelty-free cosmetics zone.

INDIA_DOG
Erin Van Voorhies
HSI recently started using a mobile app to count street dogs in India.

India has a large population of street animals and HSI, through a street dog welfare program, has been providing expertise and guidance to create programs that focus on sterilization and vaccination. A recent innovation was the use of a mobile app for completing a census. Every day, each of our teams was given a mapped area with assigned roads to cover. Using a tracker application downloadable from Google, they tagged each dog observed: female or male ear-notched (i.e. sterilized) or un-notched, lactating female, unknown adult or puppy. Then, they submitted a file to be analyzed with all the other teams’ data. The technology, which allowed surveyors to be more efficient and access more locations, showed that more than 75 percent of dogs observed in the study area were ear-notched—a good marker of success. We are also innovating with our humane handling techniques, which involve catching street dogs by hand instead of with nets.

India has pretty remarkable religious and cultural traditions when it comes to animals—something I was struck by when I traveled throughout the country and joined His Holiness and our HSI team for the launch of our offices in the subcontinent.  As the Dalai Lama said, We must know their pain. We should nurture this compassion through education.”  And that’s exactly what we are seeking to do in the biggest democracy in the world.  

May 01, 2014

Droning On, Droning Off

Wildlife
The HSUS
Some states have outlawed the use of drones for hunting and others are considering similar regulations.

The HSUS is calling on all 50 state wildlife agencies to adopt rules to prohibit drone-assisted hunting before this method of spotting wildlife and then chasing them down becomes the rage with people who’ve never contemplated the notion of hunting ethics.  Drone hunting would allow hunters to use remote-controlled, camera-equipped aircraft to locate wildlife in order to shoot and kill them for sport.

This shocking issue came to light in Alaska after wildlife officials there learned that a moose was killed by a hunter using a drone. This incident prompted the Alaska Board of Game to propose and unanimously pass a regulation outlawing this practice. Two other states, Colorado and Montana, also have recently outlawed the use of drones for hunting, while two other states, Idaho and Wisconsin, have already included prohibitions in existing regulations on the use of aircraft to hunt wildlife.  Three more states, New Mexico, Vermont and Wyoming, have pending rule-making petitions before their respective wildlife commissions to ban the practice.  Other states should follow suit, and promptly.

We’ve been down this technology-gone-amok road before.  In 2005, the operator of a Texas-based captive hunting facility developed an Internet-hunting capability, where a “hunter” could go online, spot an animal with a remote-controlled camera, and then shoot the quarry with a remote-controlled firearm.  It was a bizarre and frightening example of innovative technologies being used for evil purposes.  I didn’t think canned hunting could get any worse, until someone sought to layer Internet hunting on top of it.  In that case, The HSUS – and some of our strongest adversaries in the hunting community – worked to ban this pay-per-view killing in 40 states.  (Some of those state bans, which forbid remote-assisted forms of hunting, might forbid using drones, too.)

I am not surprised by the opportunists who would use drones to make the odds even more lopsided in favor of the hunter.  Now some hunters employ laser rangefinders, thermal night-vision cameras for hunting at dawn or dusk, motion detectors, GPS trackers for dogs, sophisticated ATVs for the toughest terrain, and much more. 

Obviously, our standards must reflect an awareness of technologies that turns hunting into slaughter.

Already there are important rules forbidding hunting from aircraft or motorized vehicles, restricting baiting for most species, outlawing jacklighting or spotlighting animals or running down animals with snowmobiles, and other standards that seek to prevent slaughter and uphold “fair chase” standards.  Of course, there are big gaps in the law, since about half the states still allow hunting of captive mammals behind fences, in pay-to-slay schemes where the outcome is guaranteed.

Unmanned drones have some beneficial uses for wildlife – from anti-poaching surveillance to protect elephants in Africa to the study of wildlife populations.  But using them to spot game – or one day to spot and shoot animals – is beyond the pale. Responsible hunters and The HSUS agree that there’s no place for this remote-controlled killing. In cases like this, the law must speak.  There’s no time to waste.

April 23, 2014

Creating Safer Communities for Cats and Wildlife

Every year, spring delivers babies. And these newborn birds and mammals are particularly vulnerable to predators, including outdoor cats. Too often, folks have lined up on one side or the other – for feral cats or for wildlife. 

Yellow warbler
John Harrison
Whether you’re a 'bird-person' or a 'cat-person' there is a common ground that will create safer communities for all animals.

Here’s where we stand: We’re for both.  All animals deserve protection. And in terms of the debate and on-the-ground care of cats and wildlife, we have experts and professional staff in both realms dedicated to finding humane solutions.

Our broad engagement for all species is one reason we’re involved in a broad public debate over outdoor cats, as in a recent op-ed exchange in the San Diego Union-Tribune that included a submission by The HSUS’ Wildlife Scientist John Hadidian and San Diego Humane Society CEO Gary Weitzman, and another by a representative of the San Diego Audubon Society. 

The HSUS aggressively promotes public education programs and humane management practices, including spay-and-neuter programs for owned cats as well as colony management programs like Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR).  These programs reduce the number of outdoor cats by urging people to keep pet cats indoors, thereby cutting down on reproduction among free-roaming or community (feral and stray) cats and stabilizing and reducing their numbers over time.  This, we believe, is the only positive way forward, since the vast majority of citizens will never accept mass round-ups and euthanizing of feral cats.  Our approach is the best practical option. 



Cat
iStockphoto
Indoor cats can live long, healthy, happy lives and keeping your cat indoors can save the lives of other animals.

The outdated strategy of trapping and killing feral cats is generally ineffective. Moreover, if that were the only alternative, we’d lose overnight the enormous investments in cat management made by TNR practitioners and cat lovers.  And they would never participate in a round-up and kill approach, so there’s no way such a round-up could ever succeed.

While TNR and other sterilization projects may not produce substantial results overnight, they can reduce impacts over time.  What’s more, the vast national community of cat lovers can make the largest possible difference of all to help baby wildlife– simply by keeping their cats indoors or safely confined to their property.

There are more than 70 million owned cats in the United States but only 60 percent of these live safely indoors. Indoor cats can live long, happy, healthy lives, and keeping your cat indoors can also save the lives of other animals. Getting cats spayed or neutered and keeping collars and visible identification on them at all times can help decrease the overall population of community cats, keeping both your cat and wildlife safe.   If your cat really wants to explore the great outdoors, consider building or buying a catio or screened-in porch area for them to relax and bird-watch at their leisure.  Many adventurous cats can also be trained to enjoy walks on a harness and leash.  

Even if you don’t live with cats, there are many things you can do to protect all animals. These include:

  • Getting involved with a local effort to boost indoor cat programs.
  • Promoting the use of collars and visible ID.
  • Supporting programs that work to manage community cat populations.
  • Spaying and neutering any unowned cats that you or your neighbors may be feeding.
  • Subsidizing the cost of spaying or neutering for cat owners who cannot afford it.
  • Supporting local wildlife rehabilitation facilities to help injured birds and other animals.
  • Making your backyard safer for wildlife by using humane deterrents to keep outdoor cats out of your yard.

Whether you’re a “bird-person” or a “cat-person” there is a common ground that will create safer communities for all animals. An easy first step is to sign The HSUS’ pledge to keep cats and wildlife safe. 

April 18, 2014

Discover Multiple Ways to Help The HSUS Fly

So many people support The HSUS because we are the top animal-care provider in our field and also the most influential and impactful advocacy organization, battling against dogfighting, puppy mills, the trade in ivory and rhino horn, commercial whaling, factory farming, and so many other problems.

Puppy Mill
Skymiles donations have helped staff travel on critical animal rescue missions, including puppy mill rescues

But in addition to making a gift to The HSUS, you can help bolster programs with our corporate supporters.

Over the past year, donations of Delta Airlines Skymiles have helped our staff travel on critical animal rescue missions, including puppy mill rescues that saved the lives of thousands of dogs. Surveys you took on SurveyMonkey have so far contributed nearly $800,000 to help the vast spectrum of animal protection programs we work on here at The HSUS, from farm animal protection to companion animal welfare to wildlife protection.

Now, we have new arrangements with Amazon and Discover that make it easier than ever for you to support animals without making too much of an effort. Here’s a short inventory of some easy ways to help:

    ● The new HSUS Discover it® credit card: Every time you use this card, Discover contributes a portion to The HSUS. But with this customized credit card you benefit too, with cash rewards and the ability to see your FICO credit score for free on each monthly statement. Visit Discover.com/HSUS to learn more and apply. Current Discover cardholders can easily convert their existing card by calling the number on the back of their card and requesting the new HSUS card.

    ● Delta SkyMiles Skywish program: This program makes it easy for you to donate your miles to a charity of your choice, and The HSUS is one of the charities featured in the SkyWish program. Visit Delta.com/SkyWish to donate your miles.

    ●AmazonSmile: Amazon.com’s charitable arm donates 0.5 percent of the purchase price of qualifying items to The HSUS when you select it as the charity of your choice. To sign up, visit Smile.Amazon.com and select The Humane Society of the United States.

    ● SurveyMonkey Contribute: By signing up to be a panel member, you will receive surveys from SurveyMonkey clients who need your opinion. For every survey you take, SurveyMonkey will donate 50 cents to help animals in need and you'll be entered to win a $100 Amazon gift card. Sign up here for SurveyMonkey Contribute.

    ● Vehicle Donation: This program turns your used car, van, truck, RV, motorcycle, boat or even airplane into a charitable contribution for The HSUS. Proceeds from the sale of donated vehicles pump much-needed dollars into our programs. Donate your used vehicle today.

As I travel around the country, so many people ask me how they can help. I tell them that becoming a dues-paying member of The HSUS and its affiliates is an essential step. They can also volunteer in numerous ways, from assisting with disaster response, building humane communities in cities around the country, grassroots activism and direct care at our animal care centers. In addition, they can apply to become a District Leader or an intern with The HSUS. But by getting the Discover Card, takings surveys through SurveyMonkey, donating accrued Delta miles, shopping through AmazonSmile, or donating an old vehicle, you can magnify your impact.

I hope you’ll think about doing one or more of these actions today. Every small step makes a big difference for animals and for The HSUS.

April 15, 2014

Seal Slaughter Resumes in Canada

Canada’s bloody commercial seal slaughter resumed yesterday, although with many fewer boats and participants than in past years. The offseason fishermen who seek to kill seals do so only because the federal government provides subsidies to help buy up the pelts. But their actions lead to an extraordinary loss of life in this seal nursery.  Today, I offer my latest video blog and commentary.  

You can help stop Canada’s senseless seal slaughter by making a donation to The HSUS’ Protect Seals campaign, which is hard at work to shut down the commercial sealing industry.

April 07, 2014

See World From Orca’s Eyes

It’s been just a little over four years since the captive orca whale Tilikum killed SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau in Orlando. But largely due to a powerful documentary, “Blackfish,” so many Americans now see the issue of cetaceans in captivity from a different perspective, and there are serious questions about whether a business model built around captive display of orcas is either economically sustainable or morally acceptable.

OrcaiStockphoto. 
Orcas are noted for their striking appearance, their intelligence, and their very strong social bonds

The HSUS has long opposed the display of captive whales and other marine mammals for entertainment, and in the early 1990s we created a program to make our case to the public. Orcas, in particular, are noted for their striking appearance, their intelligence, and their very strong social bonds, which rival those of elephants and higher primates.

Yet we could not have imagined the sequence of events that has unfolded since Brancheau’s tragic death in February 2010. In May 2012, a federal judge affirmed the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) determination that SeaWorld had exposed its trainers to a hazardous environment, violating federal law, and affirmed OSHA’s recommendation that trainers never again be allowed in close contact with the animals unless protected by a physical barrier.

In 2012, St. Martin’s Press published the riveting book “Death at Sea World” by David Kirby, who spoke around the nation about the hazards for trainers and orcas at SeaWorld. “Blackfish” added the visual details to the narrative, and when it aired on CNN a number of times during 2013, it drew huge audiences, especially among young people. When I spoke just a month ago at the University of Oklahoma’s business school, it seemed as if all the students had seen the film.  The film had become a cultural phenomenon, and we recognized its director, Gabriela Cowperthwaite, at our Los Angeles 60th anniversary gala a little more than a week ago.

We believe the book and the film provided an important backdrop as The HSUS and other groups pushed the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in 2013 to reject a bid by the Georgia Aquarium and SeaWorld to import 18 wild-caught beluga whales from Russia.  And they also set the stage for the introduction of legislation to end the captive display and performance of orca whales in California. 

In fact, on Tuesday, California state lawmakers serving on the Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee in Sacramento will conduct a hearing on AB 2140, the Orca Welfare and Safety Act, introduced by Assemblyman Richard Bloom, to phase out orcas in captivity in California.  Assemblyman Bloom’s legislation, if approved, would end the captivity of orcas for the purpose of entertainment in California. The HSUS supports AB 2140, and California residents can use our online alert to contact their Assembly members.

Scientific opinion over the last two decades or so has coalesced behind the case against keeping orcas and other marine mammals in captivity. We are too aware now of their intelligence, social needs, longevity, ranging habits and size, and it’s just harder and harder to accept their turning tricks for audiences day after day.

A few days ago, there were news accounts that attendance at SeaWorld facilities is down 13 percent. The company’s owner since 2009, The Blackstone Group, is filing to sell another 15 million of its shares in SeaWorld (SEAS), after selling off 18 million in December 2013.  That would make Blackstone a minority shareholder, which must make its ownership feel better given the run of events.  In the meantime SeaWorld is acquiring some of those shares, in effect trying to buy itself.  At this point, that may be the only option, since I cannot imagine many companies investing in an enterprise built around the controversial practice of captive display of orcas.  I don’t expect the public will want much to do with such an industry in the years ahead, and the sooner SeaWorld embraces a new model for doing business, the better.

March 21, 2014

Spring Forward -- for Wildlife

The calendar says spring, but winter doesn’t seem to want to release its hold in some parts, with snow forecast again for next week in Washington, D.C.. But rising temperatures and other signs of spring cannot be held off for many more days. 

Squirrel
The first two baby squirrels of the season arrive at the Cape Wildlife Center. These two were brought in after someone found them and disturbed their nest and was not able to reunite them with their mom. See a slideshow of the spring animals at the animal care centers here.

As the air and soil warm, animals also get more active, bringing life with a new season. At our wildlife care centers, that means babies, and lots of them.  In March, April and May last year, our three affiliated wildlife care centers  (in California, Florida, and Massachusetts) took in more than 1,600 animals – from barn owls to turtles to foxes. To help animals at this time of year, there are some ways you can help, or some rules to pass on to neighbors and friends.

Ten Ways to Spring for Wildlife this Spring

  • Create a Humane Backyard. Perhaps the best way to help wildlife this spring is to create your own sanctuary for them in your own backyard, patio, or balcony.

  • Postpone your spring tree cutting. Squirrels and raccoons den in tree hollows with babies, and trees become nest sites for woodpeckers and all manner of songbirds. Your trees may be occupied, so before cutting, survey as best you can for active dens or nests. Learn more about humane spring cleaning here.

  • Scrap the trap. Spring and summer is when wild animals search out secluded dens and nest sites for raising young – and some of those sites may be in your attic, chimney, or under your deck. Whether you are having issues with prairie dogs, skunks, or pigeons, there are resources available to help you and them.

  • Re-nest baby birds. It’s a myth that if you touch a baby bird, the parents will abandon their baby. There are signs to look for to see if they need help here.

  • Don’t kidnap fawns. People don’t realize that it’s entirely normal for deer to “park” their fawns in yards or other “hiding” spots.  The doe will only visit and nurse her fawn a few times a day to avoid attracting predators to her scent.  Unless you know that the mother is dead, or if the fawn has been crying and wandering around all day, leave him or her alone. 

  • Leave baby rabbits. If the nest is intact and the babies are not injured, leave them be. Mother rabbits only visit their young 2-3 times a day. If you’re concerned, you can put an “X” of sticks or yarn over the nest to assess if the mother is returning to nurse them. If the X stays perfectly in place for 12+ hours, they may be orphaned and need to go to a wildlife rehabilitator.

  • Put up your woodchuck fence. Set up protection for your vegetable garden now - see our tips for preventing conflicts with woodchucks here.

  • Contain your trash. Many wild animal “problems” are actually created by poor garbage disposal practices. Keep trash indoors until the morning of pick-up, use an outdoor storage container (available at home building stores), or use Animal Stopper garbage cans, which have built in bungee cords and are virtually raccoon proof.

  • Don’t rush to judgment about rabies . It’s false that seeing raccoons, foxes, or coyotes active during daylight means they have rabies.  Only if they are acting strangely --- circling, dragging themselves, acting injured or unusually aggressive or tame, should you call an animal control officer for assistance.

  • Support your local wildlife rehabilitator and follow our animal care centers. In addition to volunteering or providing financial support, you can help by donating towels and blankets and other items to wildlife care centers. You can get other tips and learn of rescues and release stories by liking Humane Wildlife Services and our affiliated animal sanctuaries and rehabilitation centers on Facebook: South Florida Wildlife Center, The Fund for Animals Wildlife CenterCape Wildlife CenterDuchess Sanctuary, Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch and Doris Day Equine Center.

The HSUS is our nation’s largest animal care provider, and much of that work involves protecting wildlife. Wildlife need our help, especially during the spring.

March 18, 2014

Sounding the Alarm on Horse Soring

 

2013_NationalCelebrationShelbyville
A horse at the National Celebration in Shelbyville in 2013, one of many wearing chains and stacks.

This week, The HSUS rolled out a new television advertisement calling on lawmakers to crack down on the illegal, unethical, and inhumane practice of horse “soring” – where trainers injure the feet and legs of horses by mechanical or chemical means to force them to perform an exaggerated high-stepping gait (known as the “Big Lick”) at competitive shows. The ads started running in Kentucky this week, and urge viewers to call on Sens. Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul to support the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act, which has 51 cosponsors and was introduced by their Republican colleague Kelly Ayotte. (The House bill, introduced by Kentucky Republican Ed Whitfield and Tennessee Democrat Steve Cohen, has a remarkable 268 cosponsors.) We’ll be expanding the reach of these advertisements to other media markets around the country in the coming weeks.

Sen. Paul sounded off recently in a news story and said he was considering introducing a companion to Tennessee Republican Marsha Blackburn’s pro-soring bill, H.R. 4098, which would put authority to oversee the practice of soring under the control of the very people engaging in criminal conduct. The Blackburn bill is sham reform, and it would make enforcement of the current weak rules even more difficult.

Sen. Ayotte’s bill, on the other hand, would end the failed industry self-policing system; ban the show-ring use of chains, stacks, and excessively heavy shoes (devices that are part and parcel of the soring process); and increase penalties for violators.

MasterStreakerLiftingHoof
Footage from the undercover investigation revealing shocking abuse. You can ask your legislators to support the PAST Act here.

Sen. Paul would only bring shame on himself to stand in the way of legislation to root out this form of illegal, malicious and intentional cruelty to horses. It’s my hope that he sees that the industry is attempting to deny that abuses are widespread and to protect the “Big Lick” scofflaws. No one should be able to get away with burning chemicals on the legs of horses to cause them pain and misery in order to win ribbons for themselves.

The entire issue was thrust into the spotlight after a 2011 HSUS investigation into Tennessee walking horse trainer Jackie McConnell’s (no relation to the Senator) stable in Collierville, Tenn. The investigator recorded horses being whipped, kicked, shocked in the face and intentionally burned with caustic chemicals. The new commercial shows footage from this investigation.

McConnell is not just one bad apple. He was a leader in the industry and a Hall of Fame trainer, and insiders have said that just about everybody in the “Big Lick” segment of the industry is abusing horses. If they don’t, they feel the other trainers will have an unfair advantage. The rot within the industry has set in for decades, and they are fighting this effort to clean out the decay and criminal subculture.

If they weren’t doing it, why would they fear the PAST Act? And why are they saying the PAST Act would destroy their industry? If there were just a handful of bad operators, they would have nothing to worry about.

The PAST Act is endorsed by the American Veterinary Medical Association, every state veterinary medical association (including the Kentucky Veterinary Medical Association), the American Association of Equine Practitioners, and the American Horse Council, along with a host of other national animal protection, veterinary and horse industry organizations.

It is noteworthy that such a diverse and powerful array of organizations have come together to call for a legislative solution to a problem – and some of these groups disagree on other welfare issues, such as horse slaughter. But all of them see soring as torture, and agree that the law must speak and it must be enforced.

Watch the ad below, and then take action by contacting your legislators here