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Friday, February 20, 2009

Talk Back: Primates, Palin, Fur Sellers, and Pet Dealers

Today I’d like to post a selection of comments that have come into the blog. Even before Travis the pet chimp critically mauled a Connecticut woman this week, I’d written about the need for Congress to pass the Captive Primate Safety Act, and many of you responded:

It always surprises me when common-sense legislation for animal welfare is shot down. Shame on Westmoreland and Bishop who won’t even stand up to fight our closely related “cousins” who grow more endangered every day. I hope that a more liberal America will allow more animal friendly legislation into Congress.—Sara N.

In addition to the primate legislation, Congress is considering a raft of other wildlife protection bills, including the Shark Conservation Act:

As a surfer I am no fan of sharks, I am actually quite terrified of them after seeing one swimming below my board once in Waikiki. But finning is so cruel and I can’t believe that it has only been illegal since 2000.—T.

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has been in the news again, defending her state’s unsporting and inhumane program of shooting wolves from helicopters:

Gov. Palin’s agenda is archaic and despicable and you can’t make a wrong become a right until everyone is involved. I am not an American citizen. I am an international citizen and I strongly disagree that “culling” Alaskan wolves so that “sport hunters” have more moose to kill is the weirdest line of thought I’ve ever encountered. Obviously Gov. Palin needs to be stopped and hopefully “we” of the world can stop her. I give her a “thumbs down.”—MicHale K.

We also received comments in response to the new HSUS investigation revealing that major department stores are violating a New York state law on fur labeling:

When one finds out the truth of the suffering of helpless animals for fashion or otherwise, who endure for the sake of fashion or profit, unspeakable pain and torture, it simply sickens one to their core. No fashion is worth the pain and suffering of any creature.

Would anyone allow their dog, cat, bunny, horse, etc. to ever suffer such abuse/torture? I think not. Do we really believe that any animal should??

All living creatures feel pain, fear and helplessness. Can you imagine the pain they are feeling? We only fool ourselves to think that any one of them does not suffer profound intense pain, or that it is not important that they suffer for our vanity!!—Katherine N.

Some blog readers were also interested to learn what they can do to help with the pet overpopulation problem in this country:

How can we coordinate a spay and neuter campaign across the U.S.? We volunteer in shelters and cannot make a dent in the problem, working night and day. Can you please help?—Stacey

Stacey, you’re in luck, because next Tuesday, February 24, is the 15th Annual Spay Day USA. More than 500 events in all 50 states and the District of Columbia are taking place on Spay Day and throughout the month of February, shining a spotlight on spay and neutering as a humane and effective means of reducing pet overpopulation. Click here to find local events in your area.

More animals are entering U.S. shelters than there are people willing to adopt and provide them with loving homes. As a result, nearly 4 million cats and dogs must be euthanized each year. Millions of pet deaths each year is a tragedy—but it can be solved. By spaying or neutering your pet, and encouraging others to participate, you can be an important part of the solution.

And finally, many blog readers were excited about the formation of the new Congressional Animal Protection Caucus, and offered their kudos. Here’s a comment and a question from Mary:

Thanks for the news—making it an entry in my blog tonight. On another matter, what’s happening with federal laws regulating the sale of animals from animal care and control agencies to research facilities and Class B dealers? Many thanks.—Mary H.

Mary, we had hoped that the issue of Class B dealers—those who sell “random source” dogs and cats to research, and often scoop up people’s pets and obtain animals fraudulently through flea markets and “free to a good home” ads—would have been addressed in last year’s Farm Bill. There was tremendous support for legislation to phase out these unscrupulous pet dealers, and it was championed by Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii) and Reps. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.), Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), and Phil English (R-Pa.) in the last Congress.

The House version of the Farm Bill included an immediate ban and the Senate version included a five-year phase-out, but unfortunately the conference committee scrapped the provision altogether. Instead, they substituted language calling for a study on the use in research of random source dogs and cats from Class B dealers, and we hope that study will ultimately lead to the end of this practice. We will be watching the issue closely, and urging the new leadership at the U.S. Department of Agriculture to put an end to this practice of funneling pets to research.


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