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192 posts from Talk Back

June 28, 2012

Talk Back: There’s Still Hope for Hens

I wrote recently about an important lost opportunity in the Senate as certain lawmakers, working on behalf of the meat industry, worked to block our egg industry reform amendment from consideration when the farm bill came to the Senate floor. The Senate did ultimately allow consideration of an amendment―from Sens. David Vitter, Maria Cantwell, and Richard Blumenthal―to criminalize attending or bringing children to an animal fight, with the Vitter amendment passing by an overwhelming count of 88 to 11.

White and black hen

The action on the farm bill now moves to the House of Representatives, where it becomes all the more urgent that we get a favorable vote on the legislation to begin the phase-out of barren battery cages in America. (We’ll also seek to attach the animal-fighting amendment to the House farm bill, and given that the House animal fighting bill, H.R. 2492, has 200 cosponsors, we’re confident we’ll win a vote if one is allowed). If the House approves the egg industry reform amendment, we’d hope that lawmakers in a House-Senate conference committee would agree to keep the House-passed egg provisions in the final bill. Again, it’s important to remember that the Senate did not reject the amendment―a few key lawmakers did not allow it to come up for a vote, so we don’t have a measure of where the full Senate stands on the issue.

A lot of you asked how the egg industry reform amendment was excluded from consideration, and there’s no easy way to explain that. Senate procedure can be very complicated and subjective. The key point is, we must succeed in attaching the amendment to the House bill, or we’ll lose a very logical vehicle (the 2012 farm bill) for consideration of this issue. We now have nearly 100 co-sponsors on the House bill, H.R. 3798, and we are encouraging our supporters to contact their Representatives and to urge them to co-sponsor the underlying bill, as a way of building support for the amendment.

We have more than 1,000 farmers who have endorsed the legislation, and newspapers throughout the country have weighed in and urged support for the landmark agreement from two long-time adversaries. Here are a few of your comments about the battery-cage reform being excluded from the farm bill:

Many thanks for continuing to fight the good fight and know there are millions of us who stand with HSUS on this. I live in North Carolina (where factory farming continues to have an iron-clad grip) and am reminded of the legendary Jim Valvano's iconic words from 1993: “Don’t give up, don’t ever give up!” For those of us who care, that will never be an option. ―Julie Griffith

Very sad news, and it once again proves that Congress is dominated by "people of power and money," rather than "people of conscience and compassion." I hope that HSUS can somehow "inflame" the American public about this issue, and have them cry "UNACCEPTABLE" at the travesty that the Senate has underwritten on behalf of the cattle and pork lobbies. DISGUSTING! ―Craig Cline

Thanks for all that you and The HSUS do. Without you, I cringe to think of how far we would be in our efforts! As a consumer, I speak with my wallet and encourage others to do the same. I just wish it could do more, faster, to overcome the strength of politics. ―Kim

Are any of these politicians shown actual pictures of the conditions of these factory farms? They should be required to walk through that has NOT been cleaned up for the surprise visit. ―Marilyn Morgan Holzerland

How did our country become so corrupt that a handful of big meat industries can lay down the law and our Senate bows under it? This is shameful. The only way they can keep winning this is to keep the majority of the American people in ignorance of their inhumane factory farming systems. This is where HSUS comes in―getting the word out. I am truly ashamed and disappointed today but I have NO DOUBT that we will prevail on the side of right and compassion in the end. ―Ann Nevans

At the same time, many of you were happy to hear that the animal fighting measure did pass as part of the Senate farm bill:

My admiration for your/ HSUS's energy and focus to keep up these battles runs deeper than I can express. Thank you for keeping us informed and part of process. I was pleasantly surprised that my two senators from Georgia voted for the amendment! I even emailed them a thank you… ―Ellen

This is great news! It's nice to see the good guys win for a change. ―Anthony S. Andrews

No important and significant reform ever comes easily. Our negotiation with the United Egg Producers was very challenging, and now our work with Congress comes with its challenges. But we are steadfast in knowing that this pathway is best for hens and for the country. We need to let the American public know what’s at stake, so they demand the right response from their lawmakers.

April 06, 2012

Talk Back: Watershed Moments for Animal Protection

Pit bull dog rescued from fighting in Florida
Kathy Milani/The HSUS

In the past week, I’ve written about two incidents that had a transformative effect on our movement: the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina that spurred advances in disaster planning for pets as well as bringing a newfound understanding of the power of the human-animal bond, and Michael Vick’s conviction for dogfighting that drew nationwide attention to the scourge of animal fighting and gave us an opportunity to fortify the nation’s laws to crack down on dogfighting and cockfighting. In both cases, we’ve tried to turn tragedies into opportunities to help animals, and to prevent such tragedies from happening again.

Since the Vick case in 2007, we've helped to upgrade more than 40 state and federal laws on animal fighting, and we continue to press for stronger laws at the state and federal levels. It’s been more controversial, among some of our supporters, to work with Vick to speak to kids in urban communities about the evils of dogfighting. While many of you think we’ve made the right tactical move in reaching these young people through such an unlikely ambassador, others still can’t stomach the idea of us working with him. I give readers the floor with a sampling of comments.

Several readers wrote in about their personal experiences with pets after Katrina:

I was in Austin, Texas when Katrina hit and we were flooded with evacuees that had made the trek to our city with their pets and valuables in tow. I remember the rally in order to find temporary homes for people with pets by the city and how difficult it was to have places change their policy to become more pet-friendly in order to address this emergency situation. You bring up a valid point; we have more love and appreciation than ever, but there is still so much misunderstanding and rejection that takes place… ―Michelle

I was one of hundreds of volunteers to drive from across the country to help pull animals out of damaged structures in the days after Katrina. I saw firsthand how The HSUS took the lead, and worked with other agencies like AHA [American Humane Association] and ASPCA to deal with that GIGANTIC problem. Thank God you guys were there. Thank God you're still there, fighting the good fight for animals. ―Joy Falk

And many readers wrote in with strong feelings about Michael Vick’s work to speak out against dogfighting:

The video was extremely heartwarming watching the children learn the importance of respecting God's precious creatures, as well as learning the valuable life lesson of forgiveness. Vick is right, "We've got to face all our demons then put them in the past..." Amen! ―Pj Bertsch

I pray to God that Michael Vick is actually being truthful with every word he spoke. I love the part when he said he made a vow to help more dogs than the number of dogs he brought harm to. I choose to believe he has a change of heart and really does realize that dogs have feelings. ―Vicki Wisehart

…I’m all for forgiving and using Michael Vick to deter dog fighting, but WHEN has he ever shown any remorse[?] You forget, he’s sorry because he got caught. ―Connie

I confess that when the Vick story first broke, I was very angry. And I carried my anger for a long time. But I'm not angry today, and I can see the good that Vick's partnership with HSUS is bringing to animals. It also opened my eyes to the reality of the animal welfare community. It makes me sad that people who cannot forgive are causing rifts in our community. If they were only hurting themselves it would be bad enough, but they are also hurting the cause. I pray that healing can come for them. ―‘RumpyDog’

Continue reading "Talk Back: Watershed Moments for Animal Protection" »

March 14, 2012

Talk Back: Horse Soring Investigation Shines a Light on Abuse

In the mid-1960s and early 1970s, there was a wave of federal lawmaking for animals, including such well-known statutes as the Animal Welfare Act (1966), the Marine Mammal Protection Act (1972), and the Endangered Species Act (1973). In 1970 came the Horse Protection Act. That law was designed to end the practice of horse “soring,” in which horses’ hooves and lower leg areas are intentionally injured in order to cause them pain and distress so that they step higher and more dramatically in shows, exaggerating their natural high-stepping gait and giving their trainers and owners an advantage. In spite of the law forbidding their conduct, too many trainers kept on with their abusive and now illegal practices, and law enforcement did not put a stop to it. And within the last 40-plus years, there hasn’t been a single upgrade of the law—either to strengthen penalties or to fortify the prohibitions on the underlying criminal behavior.

Walking horseEarlier this month, I wrote about a groundbreaking horse soring investigation by our HSUS undercover team that led to federal criminal indictments of a kingpin within the industry, along with the rescue of eight horses. Our undercover footage is truly shocking stuff, but federal prosecutors have asked us not to release it yet. When it is released for viewing by the public, there will be a new level of awareness in the nation, because the intentional cruelty involved is undeniable. The perpetrators of this particular cruelty are every bit as bad as cockfighters or dogfighters, with the only difference being that they operate within a business enterprise that has enjoyed some social sanction, and that gives them the patina of legitimacy.

I described some of the instances of cruelty our investigator found in my announcement of the indictments, and the cruel practice of soring shocked many of you. I heard from a few people with firsthand knowledge of the horse show industry and its abuses, and they were especially glad to see the prosecution of a high-profile trainer such as Jackie McConnell, who has won countless awards in the field, while presumably relying on the very practice this nation sought to prohibit more than forty years ago.

The HSUS has uncovered a lawless, cheating subculture of cruelty within this industry, and it’s time for a renewed effort to crack down on this unconscionable mistreatment of horses, through stronger enforcement, better legislation, and serious self-regulation by the industry, among other remedies. There are a lot of good people in the industry, and we want to work with them, with the USDA, and with the Congress to stamp out the rampant abuses that have gone on for too long.

Here are a few of your comments:

Thank you for helping horses. As a horse owner (one of which is part Tennessee Walker) and lifetime horse lover, these practices sicken and anger me to the point of rage. I wish these trainers could feel how these horses feel, though I know that will never be possible. Keep shining the spotlight on abusive practices and working to make things better. ―Anne Foster

I used to own, train and breed Tennessee Walking Horses for pleasure riding. I went to many shows as a spectator and often hoped that the trainers that I knew did not sore the horses. They are truly a beautiful breed flat-shod and it saddens me to think of the pain and suffering they endure from trainers who care nothing about the horse and are in it for the money and recognition. Good work, HSUS! ―Debbie Clay

I never knew what horse soring was until now. It's amazing how sneaky people can be when it comes to making the almighty dollar. Thank you for exposing the brutality behind the soring... ―Joan

Continue reading "Talk Back: Horse Soring Investigation Shines a Light on Abuse" »

February 29, 2012

Talk Back: Celebrating McDonald’s Move to Help Pigs


Earlier this month, I shared the news that McDonald’s, the largest restaurant chain in the world, announced its intention to acquire pork for its U.S. locations only from pigs who weren't bred using gestation crates. Just a few days later, Bon Appétit Management Company announced that it will reach that goal by 2015. Major suppliers Smithfield Foods and Hormel had committed publicly and to The HSUS that they’d phase out the crates in company-owned facilities by 2017, and it has seemed like a real moment of change on what had been an intractable issue in the realm of factory farming.

While many of you wished the elimination of the crates would be overnight, rather than phased out over a few years, there was elation that we are making progress on this issue:

Great news! Way to go McDonald's. These wonderful creatures of God deserve the most respectful and humane treatment. Thank you for this move towards that end. ―Carolyn Allen

I agree. I would gladly pay a little more for my meals if the livestock is raised and treated in humane manner. It is the right thing to do. ―Doug Richard

Thank you HSUS for all the tireless work that has been done for animals who suffer mercilessly on factory farms. I have not eaten pork in 20 years because of the cruel treatment and confinement of these hapless, sorrowful beings with no voice of their own. ―Denise

Unfortunately most of us Americans have been unaware of the cruelties toward animals that we eat. Up to now most animal humane groups have zeroed in on cats and dogs. It is time for the American public to become educated on the abuses toward…cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys, horses and to work toward more humane treatment of these creatures who have but one life to live as well. ―Bonnie Kohleriter

Thank GOD for this move. I live in the middle of pork-producing Iowa and it makes me sick to see the trucks packed full of hogs and the many, MANY hog confinement buildings popping up all over the place. Not to mention, some hobby farmers will put today's enormous-sized sows into old vintage gestation crates made for the past generation sows that were much smaller. It made me want to cry. People have no idea how bad this is until they see it for themselves. The legislators in Iowa protect the hog farmers and allow this abuse. The best way to vote is through your consumer dollar and do not re-elect the senators and representatives who cave in to special interests. ―S.Z.

I am absolutely thrilled by today's news about McDonald's! They have the power alone to overturn the worst abuses in the animal supply food chain, and I commend the company for making the right choice. Dittos for Hormel and Smithfield Foods to also do right for the animals. I only wish that the abuses could be abolished tomorrow. ―Mark Reed

This is positive news! I'd like to know that this will be an immediate and definite action of getting out of the business of using gestation crates for breeding sows, not just an intention! Yet, meanwhile these sows will still have to endure this cruelty until it's phased out. I hope that many more people will become aware of the horrible suffering these sows and other farm animals endure. This has to stop! ―Tatijana M. Grk

Great news, very exciting. My 13-year-old dog loves the McDonald burgers for a buck. I buy them because she is aging and fussy. Anyway, it's exciting news about the gestation crates. I will feel better about buying the burgers for her. Way to go! Congratulations! ―Carol Penner

This is an excellent beginning for pigs, as well as for other animals. Thank you again for informing me of this. This is terrific! Thank you again so much! I am grateful. It is one small step, but we will make it! ―Melissa G. Tipton

Thank you HSUS and to all the people who spoke up for those poor pigs who are confined in unbearable conditions. Progress is being made thanks to people becoming aware and speaking up! ―Rob Anderson

February 15, 2012

Talk Back: Working Together to Help Hens

Yesterday, the New York Times joined the Los Angeles Times, The Oregonian, and other major newspapers in urging Congress to enact a federal bill to phase out barren battery cages for egg-laying hens and make other important animal welfare improvements for these animals. This bill is the result of an agreement between The HSUS and the nation’s largest egg industry group, the United Egg Producers—two long-time adversaries that have found some common ground.

White and black hen

This legislation is historic because it offers the opportunity not just to help chickens in one state, but hundreds of millions of birds at once, including in major egg production states without the ballot initiative process―where we are unlikely to be able to provide any relief at all for hens otherwise.

The agreement isn’t perfect, but it is a practical way of relieving suffering for hundreds of millions of hens―and it’s a case of adversaries coming together to improve the lives of animals. With the suffering of so many animals at stake, we cannot turn away from this reform, since there is no other logical or practical pathway to drive positive change at this scale. In a measure that asks for less than the ideal, there are concerns, and whenever and wherever I have spoken about the agreement, I have asked to hear from advocates and get their take.

Here are a few of your comments:

Hurrah for the hens! —Valerie Vierk

I love how JS West, the company featured in the NPR story you linked to, allows the cameras in to take pictures of its enriched cage facility. Can you imagine any [barren] battery cage operation doing that? I can't. A penny per egg is a tiny amount to pay for such improved welfare for hens. ―Amy K.

I wish we had the same law in Canada. I won't eat pork or eggs for that reason. Sick of the cruelty to our farm animals... ―Maureen Wheeler

There is nothing wrong with the HSUS trying so hard to work with the egg producing industry. The issue is that after all of the HSUS's battles they are willing to roll over to industry on a bill that does very little to improve the life's of the actual "egg producers," the chickens themselves! If the HSUS had agreed to a deal that was a win for the animals, and not extremely lopsided toward the industry, then people wouldn't be so outraged... ―Kyle Vitale

I just wanted to ask about...the 15-18 year phase-in of getting rid of battery cages, and it also states that it would supersede Proposition 2 in California. Could you please clarify this point? I really want to do what's best for the animals. ―Alokananda Ghosh

I want to take such concerns head-on. Above all, I want to make it clear that this is multi-pronged legislation and we do not have to wait 15 years for its provisions to go into effect. To start, the labeling requirements in the legislation, H.R. 3798―labeling all eggs as either from hens in cages, enriched cages, cage-free, or free range—would take effect one year after passage of the bill; this provision has the potential to move the market almost immediately and dramatically, in the direction of more space and more extensive systems for hens.

It’s also important to note that the phase-in of the larger space requirements for the birds―ultimately essentially doubling the space for most of the birds―would be staggered. One-quarter of the industry (equaling 70 million birds) would be required to start converting away from barren battery cages within 6 years, 55 percent (150 million birds) within 12 years, and the entire industry within 15 to 18 years (all 280 million birds). H.R. 3798 would ban construction of new battery cage facilities 6 months after enactment. In short, this bill will have a major impact immediately. This is critical since there are tens of millions of birds in the most severe and extreme confinement―48- or 52-inch space allotments per animal―meaning that they don’t even get the inadequate 67 square inches called for in pre-existing UEP voluntary standards.

The legislation would also make other improvements like requiring nests and perches for hens, banning forced starvation molting, and prohibiting excessive ammonia levels in henhouses. Ultimately, the bill would nearly double the space most of these birds have now—a major improvement welcomed by a broad coalition of animal protection groups.

H.R. 3798
And all the major backers of Proposition 2, California’s voter-approved initiative to ban extreme confinement of farm animals, support this federal hen bill (The HSUS, Farm Sanctuary, ASPCA, Mercy For Animals, and more). These groups and others recently released a joint ad on why H.R. 3798 is so important. The biggest critic of the legislation, the so-called Humane Farming Association, sat on the sidelines and didn’t even endorse Proposition 2 in California. It is critical to note that there is also a special rule in H.R. 3798 that requires that the federal changes happen in California on the same time frame called for in Prop 2; in short, California will go first, precisely because of Prop 2.

If you haven’t already, please take action today to support this important reform to help millions of chickens.

January 30, 2012

Talk Back: Saving Tigers and Defending Wolves

Rescued tiger at Black Beauty Ranch
Kathy Milani/The HSUS
A rescued tiger at Black Beauty Ranch.

Lions, chimps, Burmese pythons, and other large, powerful wild animals do not belong in our basements or our backyards. We’ve been saying that for a long time, but after the bizarre and reckless release of more than 50 dangerous exotics at Zanesville, Ohio, by their owner Terry Thompson, there’s a newfound understanding of the urgency of this problem across the country. This year, we’ll be concentrating energy on public education and legislation in the seven states that place no restrictions on wild animal ownership for use as pets, and we’ll be working to plug gaps in other state laws.

Last week, The HSUS rescued 11 large exotics from a squalid zoo in Mississippi and transported five of them to our Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch (see our new video of the rescue). It underscores for me how critical it is that we have strong policies to prevent the need for rescue and long-term care of animals like these. Our movement spends tens of millions of dollars every year caring for discards from the exotic animal industry, and policy-makers must understand this is an unfunded burden placed on the philanthropic community.

Many of you see the importance of balancing rescue work with policies to prevent these problems from occurring in the first place:

I have personally been to that "zoo" as a child; it is god-awful. They were supposed to close it down. But as seen, that never happened. They think they are doing a good thing but they are not. It’s sad. ―Kat Edwards

Glad those animals [three tigers and two wolf-hybrids] are headed to Black Beauty, where I know they will be very well looked after. I've been there a few times, and am very impressed with the facility and staff. ―Chemyn Reaney

Thank you, thank you for rescuing these beautiful animals from the horrid living conditions...cramped cages...not being fed properly or proper care. I pray these animals can live the rest of their lives in a happy environment. They deserve it.―Cindy Errington

I just don't even know what to think or say anymore! This is just plain idiotic that people are even allowed to have these types of animals. This has got to stop! These animals need to be left where they the wild! PERIOD! Please thank the above-mentioned sanctuaries for helping these animals. Also, thank your rescue team too, they are always so amazing! May God bless all of you and the animals too! ―Karen Wagner


You also had a lot to say about my harsh review of "The Grey," which demonizes wild wolves and paints a false portrait of these animals. The issue is not that wolves molest or harm us, but that we are molesting and harming them, whether it’s aerial gunning, trapping, or sport hunting of these predators. Except for the cast of “The Grey,” people don’t eat wolves. The killing is driven by our irrational fear and hatred of these animals:

Continue reading "Talk Back: Saving Tigers and Defending Wolves" »

January 11, 2012

Talk Back: Taking Action to Help Seals

Baby harp seal
Marcus Gyger

I wrote last week about the growing momentum to end the Canadian seal slaughter as Russia and other nations have announced bans on seal products and a new report highlights the threat to seals from the loss of sea ice. This has been a top-tier campaign for The HSUS and HSI, and it’s not surprising that there’s so much passion on this issue among our supporters.

Take a look at our guide on how you can help protect seals, or our action guide for residents of Canada and elsewhere. Thank you for supporting the international campaign to stop this cruelty.

The barbaric slaughter of helpless baby seals must stop. I would never ever visit Canada or buy anything Canadian. Money talks! If everyone that is against the killing of baby seals boycotted anything that is Canadian, these killings may stop. Canada may think twice before allowing this heartless, barbaric, boorish act to continue. —Vasilis Alekos Korallis

Well, most Canadians are against this, myself included. It’s disgusting. —Renée Erdman

Wayne, I look forward to the day this barbaric murder spree ends and I honestly think it may be on the horizon. The Canadian Prime Minister and Fisheries Minister really have no leg to stand on now. It breaks my heart every year when I hear about it. I still protest eating any seafood from Canada and will not eat at any restaurant that gets its seafood from there. I actually protest anything and everything from Newfoundland until they stop this insanity… —Desiree Reid

Please keep working on this issue and keep the pressure on Canada. I've been waiting all of my life for the seal hunts to end and it seems like we are getting really close. I won't even travel to Canada until the seal hunts stop. —Sharon Ponsford

…As you suggest, only a compensation for the fishing industry by the government could make a difference. And on our part a vocal boycott of Canadian seafood or any product for that matter. Here in Manhattan, each time I buy fish or eat in a restaurant, I ask whether the fish comes from Canada. They must have heard the question so often, that they usually answer "Oh, no!" How to be sure? —Dr. Ch. de Lailhacar

P.S. You can find out which U.S. restaurants and businesses have joined our Protect Seals boycott using our locator map, or view Canadian and European restaurants that are participating. And we’ll be sharing an action alert soon to thank the Russian government for its seal product ban.

January 04, 2012

Talk Back: Victories and Continuing the Fight against Horse Slaughter

Rescued horses - Kathy Milani/The HSUS

I’ve said many times before that our cause needs a strategic, powerful organization that can take on the big fights for animals. That’s exactly what you get in The HSUS, and why it’s so critical to continue to grow our strength.

At the end of the year, I wrote about some accomplishments, and so many of you took heart from this:


Thank you for sharing this wonderful, hopeful list of victories. Even five years ago, each of these accomplishments seemed out of reach, so it's important to note how much progress we are making. I am so grateful for The HSUS. May your power and influence continue to grow in the new year and beyond. —Tai

Congratulations to the HSUS for another victorious year of animal welfare awareness campaigns and laws to eliminate cruelties and abuses to all animals. You have my support 100 percent. I will sign petitions and write letters on behalf of animal welfare issues whenever I can.  —Ann Whittaker

Day after day I can't understand the mentality of people who abuse, mistreat, neglect, and abandon animals. It sickens me when I read and hear about it. Thank you HSUS and the other organizations for doing all you can do on a daily basis to bring attention to these practices and change them. God Bless! —Paula Sklar

You also were deeply distressed by some of the setbacks. And one that really struck a chord was the effort in Congress to nix a provision to ban horse slaughterhouses on U.S. soil. You had a lot to say. I agree with these sentiments, but it’s also a reminder that this issue had never truly been solved, because American horses have still been going to slaughter every year in Canada and Mexico. The only way to stop the problem is to pass the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act.

Several years ago, I took in a wild mustang who was on her deathbed. Today, she's so full of life, it's nearly impossible imagining her having suffered. Seeing the footage of what's happening to our American horses is more than I can bear. I've shared Wayne's link to my Facebook page and will now contact the appropriate person in Congress. —Deborah Gilson

Continue reading "Talk Back: Victories and Continuing the Fight against Horse Slaughter" »

December 14, 2011

Talk Back: Purebred Health and Beloved Mutts

150x150 bulldog stockI've blogged recently about three major dog welfare issues: puppy mills and the treatment of dogs like commodities, the problem of breeding purebred dogs for appearance instead of health and welfare, and the campaign to end euthanasia of healthy and treatable animals by promoting adoption.

Many of you wrote in to echo concerns about purebred welfare and puppy mills, as well as to sing the praises of your shelter pets. In response to my post on the New York Times article on bulldogs:

I read the article on bulldogs, and I'm so glad you're standing up against irresponsible breeding. I'm a retired vet tech, and I've watched breeds change just in my lifetime—like the German shepherd, which was a healthy-looking robust dog and now looks like a slinking, crippled caricature of itself. Please keep up the good work! —Rebecca Oglesby

While I love my Bully and he is still going strong at 10 years of age, I think I could have put a child through Harvard for the vet bills I have paid over the past 10 years! I love him like crazy, but the unscrupulous breeding of this dog needs to be addressed. Especially since so many people are breeding this dog due to their popularity. —Linda Jo Harless-Marinella

Why do you say that purebred dog breeding is here to stay? I agree that it probably is due to wealth and politics. But is that a good thing given dog overpopulation? My wish is that all breeding be outlawed until supply and demand even out and euthanasia is something of the past...I work at a shelter and see litters of puppies brought in routinely—it makes no sense at all. —Paula Banks

Continue reading "Talk Back: Purebred Health and Beloved Mutts" »

December 02, 2011

Talk Back: Our Work for Pets and Farm Animals

Orange cat in Shelter Pet Project TV PSA
Watch this funny PSA.

When General Motors or Ford does national advertising, it builds awareness for the cars sold by local dealers all over the country. That’s what we’re doing with the Shelter Pet Project, a national advertising campaign to promote pet adoption. In the first two years of the project, we’ve generated more than $49 million in advertising. And with our clever and fun new spots, which are already a YouTube sensation, I think we’ll add another $50 million in advertising for the awareness campaign—to help drive down and ultimately eliminate euthanasia of healthy and treatable dogs and cats.

On top of that, there’s our general advertising, which is spreading the broader anti-cruelty message. It all adds up to building the brand of the humane movement, and it helps us all. It lifts all boats.

A lot of you share my excitement about the latest round of Shelter Pet Project ads or have shared your own stories about adopting a pet:

I love all four of them! Well, maybe the cat watching his new human kid play in the sandbox is my favorite. —Lily Horstmann

I adopted my beloved 'Mugsy' from the Benton Franklin Humane Society, Wash., in 2002. He had been dumped by the side of the road during one of the hottest months of summer. After months of good food and loving, Mugsy's health was restored, he learned to trust again and he became one of the best parts of my life. ADOPT, ADOPT, ADOPT a pet [in] need and you will rewarded with unconditional love and devotion. —Gloria Reynolds

My daughter and I are fosters with the Wilson County Humane Society, and many of our fosters come from the local shelter. There are so many wonderful pets hoping to find their forever homes...all they need is a chance. Too many animals and not enough good homes for them. Please spay and neuter your pets! —Lisa Anderson Price

But The HSUS is about more than just pets. It’s about all animals. And that’s why we conduct hard-hitting campaigns to combat all forms of cruelty, including in industrialized agriculture. We’ve been critical of Smithfield hedging on its original commitment to phase out gestation crates. And we’ve asked that McDonald’s live up to its own words and stop supporting gestation crate confinement. You appear to agree wholeheartedly about the extreme confinement of farm animals:

It isn't just Smithfield. This is how pigs are raised now. Pig farmers cannot be competitive without resorting to this (and chicken farmers). Laws need to be passed that require humane conditions for the animals, and level the playing field so that farmers, once again, CAN humanely and profitably raise their pigs and chickens, and compete. —Chris Willey

I boycott all Smithfield products after watching a poor pig being waterboarded down Interstate 95 on its way to slaughter in Virginia. As I sobbed, we tried to get the truck drivers attention to no avail. The conditions these poor pigs are in [are] way far from having their every need met! As the holiday season approaches, please remind everyone to boycott Smithfield…they treat the humans that work for them poorly as well. —Mary Harper

I've always looked forward to McRib season at McDonald's. No more. I am not going to contribute one cent to the abuse of these animals. Smithfield pork products are often cheaper than some other brands at the grocery store. I've stopped buying Smithfield products and consider any extra grocery money spent an investment in stopping animal abuse. Thanks HSUS for keeping meat consumers informed. —Hetty

I would no more eat pork than I would a dog. Did you know that tests have shown pigs are smarter than dogs? Corporate greed is behind factory farms like Smithfield Foods, and consumers are in denial. We can all do our part and I am doing mine—won't you join me? Make a statement in your circle of family and friends! —Mari Rodriguez

Some time ago I started buying eggs from chickens that are cage-free. I have no problem paying an extra $1 or 2 for a dozen eggs if I know the chickens are healthy and happy. To cause pain to an animal just for lower cost is sinful. I live on my social security check. I may not be rich but no animal is abused to fill my stomach. Bless you for the work that you do. —Patricia Barger