Archive for the ‘Wayne Pacelle’ Tag

Budget Bill Won’t Have Wolf Management Returning To Minnesota   Leave a comment

December 16, 2015

(credit: Jupiter Images)

(credit: Jupiter Images)

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A proposal that would have taken gray wolves in the western Great Lakes region and Wyoming off the endangered list did not make it into a massive year-end congressional tax and spending package, an omission that surprised its backers but was welcomed Wednesday by groups that support maintaining federal protections for the predators.

U.S. Reps. Collin Peterson, D-Minnesota, Reid Ribble, R-Wisconsin, and some other lawmakers had hoped to attach a rider to return management of wolves in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Wyoming to the states, which could have opened the door to a resumption of wolf hunting in those places. The provision would have undone federal court decisions that restored the animals’ protected status in the four states despite repeated efforts by the federal government to remove them from the list.

Peterson said budget negotiators dropped the provision from the final bill, which was unveiled late Tuesday, because the White House had threatened a veto if the bill contained any changes to the Endangered Species Act.

“Obviously I’m disappointed,” Peterson said. “We thought it wasn’t going to be a problem because the Fish and Wildlife Service was supporting it.”

Peterson, the ranking Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee, said supporters will have to regroup and decide on their next step. He said a stand-alone bill probably could pass the House but he’s not sure about the Senate. It’s also possible an appeals court could overturn the lower court decisions, he added.

While livestock interests supported removing federal protections for wolves, wildlife groups lobbied against it.

“It certainly was a pleasant surprise,” said Brett Hartl, endangered species policy director with the Center for Biological Diversity.

Backers of the rider were trying to use a tactic that succeeded in 2011 when Congress removed wolves in Idaho, Montana and sections of Utah, Washington and Oregon from the list.

“Cooler heads prevailed in Congress,” said Wayne Pacelle, CEO of the Humane Society of the United States. He said a letter written by Sens. Cory Booker, D-New Jersey, and Barbara Boxer, D-California, and signed by 23 other senators including Gary Peters, D-Michigan, helped make the difference.

The combined wolf population in the western Great Lakes region is estimated at 3,700, including about 2,200 in Minnesota, while Wyoming has around 333.

U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell ruled last December that the western Great Lakes states didn’t have suitable plans to safeguard wolves, and that the animals haven’t come close to repopulating their former range. Her decision prevented Minnesota and Wisconsin from holding sport wolf hunting and trapping seasons this fall. Michigan hasn’t held a hunt since 2013. Another federal judge issued a similar decision in September 2014 in a Wyoming case.

The Obama administration, Michigan, Wisconsin and Wyoming are appealing the two decisions. Minnesota is not formally a party to the Midwest case, but the state attorney general’s office filed an amicus brief Tuesday supporting a reversal.

The brief says Minnesota’s wolf management plan will ensure the animals continue to thrive in the state. It says Minnesota’s wolf population and range have expanded to the point of saturating the habitat in the state since the animals went on the endangered list in 1973, creating “human-wolf conflict that is unique in its cost and prevalence.”

A similar appeal is pending in the Wyoming case. Pacelle said his group, which filed the lawsuit in the Midwest case, will keep up the fight.

“This is not the end of the process, but it’s a good outcome because Congress is showing restraint and not trying to cherry-pick a species and remove it from the list of endangered animals,” Pacelle said.

Source / CBS Minnesota

 

 

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Europeans Suspend Horsemeat Imports From Mexico – Deal Huge Blow to North American Slaughter Operations   1 comment

From:  The Humane Society of the United States

Dec 8, 2014 by Wayne Pacelle

The horse slaughter industry has been dealt the biggest blow since The HSUS led the fight in Congress, the states, and federal courts to shut down the three operating horse slaughter plants in the United States in 2007. Today’s game-changing news: the European Commission has suspended the import of horsemeat from Mexico to the European Union (EU) due to food safety concerns.

Mexico accepts tens of thousands of American horses for slaughter and shipment to Europe. Photo: The HSUS

HSI EU executive director Jo Swabe and I have personally appealed to senior EU regulatory leaders multiple times on this issue. I have long wondered how the Europeans could tolerate the rampant abuse and drugging of horses endemic to the North American trade, given their rigorous adherence to humane food safety standards for other species. The regulatory correction to the situation in Mexico has now finally occurred.

The suspension follows a series of audits by the Commission’s Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) – the most recent one was published last week. The audit is a shocking account of significant animal welfare concerns that riddle the entire horse slaughter pipeline, from the United States to Mexico. The audit also details serious concerns about the traceability of horses slaughtered in EU-certified equine slaughterhouses in Mexico; 87 percent of these animals originate from the United States.

The Commission’s decision reflects exactly what The HSUS and HSI have been saying for years – there are serious food safety issues regarding horsemeat that originates from U.S. horses because they are not raised as food animals. Horses are our companions and partners in work and sport. As a result, horses are commonly treated with drugs such as phenylbutazone and other substances long deemed unfit for human consumption. And, as the audit shows, American horses lack lifetime medical records and do not meet EU food safety regulations.

While the audit focused on food safety, it also documented appalling suffering in the United States and Mexico. It details downed, sick horses slaughtered for human consumption despite being ill, horses suffering in export facilities on U.S. soil, and horrific welfare problems during transport. The audit confirms the cruelty of the horse slaughter pipeline that The HSUS has repeatedly exposed through undercover footage. The FVO even acknowledges that the information received from groups such as The HSUS and HSI accurately depicts the extremely poor conditions in which horses are transported. Special thanks to Animals Angels for its tireless work to document this trade.

The predatory horse slaughter industry is singularly concerned with making a buck, by snatching up young and healthy horses at auction, often outbidding legitimate horse owners and rescues. For these interests, it’s never been about euthanizing old, sick horses – that’s been a fiction since the start of this debate. This lust for profit is precisely why the industry and its legions of lobbyists have fought so hard to block federal legislation that would end horse slaughter.

We’ve long argued that Congress should enact the SAFE Act (Safeguard American Food Exports Act), to halt the transport of horses for slaughter within the United States and also to our North American neighbors. With Congress last year defunding slaughter in the United States, and the EU’s action to shut down imports from Mexico, there really is no rationale for not banning this trade.

The people of the United States do not see horses as a source of food, and despite all the scrutiny and pressure coming to bear on the horse slaughter industry, it has shown itself to be consistently reckless, unsafe, and inhumane. There’s no redeeming it, and the details documented in the European Commission announcement make that plain.

**

Ask your legislators to help protect our nation’s horses through the SAFE Act.

 

USDA Announces Landmark Rule to Crack Down on Online Puppy Mills   42 comments

USDA Announces Landmark Rule to Crack Down on Online Puppy Mills.

September 10, 2013

USDA Announces Landmark Rule to Crack Down on Online Puppy Mills

Tens of thousands of dogs suffering in substandard, filthy, and overcrowded cages for years on end will finally get the protection they deserve as a result of a rule the U.S. Department of Agriculture will formally adopt today. This change, a long-held aspiration for The HSUS, the Humane Society Legislative Fund, and the Doris Day Animal League, is decades in the making and will extend federal oversight to thousands of puppy mills that do business online.

Of the dozens of puppy mills that The HSUS has assisted in closing down over the past five years, the vast majority were selling puppies online and escaping any federal oversight because a loophole in federal Animal Welfare Act regulations exempts Internet sellers. Because large-scale dog breeders who sell animals to pet stores are regulated, but breeders who sell directly to the public are not, there has been a massive migration of breeders to the latter sales strategy within the last decade or so. If they could sell dogs and escape any federal oversight, why not get in on that act and continue to cut corners on animal care?

Ricky Bobby
Meredith Lee/The HSUS
Ricky Bobby was among 58 dogs The HSUS rescued
from a North Carolina puppy mill in February 2013.
The operator was selling puppies over the Internet.

The HSUS, HSLF, and DDAL pointed out that it was fundamentally unfair that people involved in the same underlying business enterprise (breeding dogs to sell for profit) would face entirely different regulatory standards. It was a circumstance ripe for fraud and misrepresentation. Internet sellers of puppies often displayed images of puppies frolicking in open fields. In reality, the dogs were languishing, crammed inside feces-encrusted cages, receiving no protection from the elements and no veterinary care whatever. And until the legal standard was modified, the federal government couldn’t take action because none of these mills required federal licensing and inspection.

Due to pressure from The HSUS and DDAL, the USDA’s inspector general looked into enforcement of the rules governing dog breeding, finding appalling abuses of the dogs, deficient exercise of authority by USDA where it had authority, and identification of this glaring gap in the law that allowed Internet sellers to evade any federal oversight whatever. It was that OIG report, combined with our advocacy efforts in Congress and with the Obama administration that finally compelled federal action.

We thank the Obama administration and the USDA for bringing new standards of care to thousands of puppies, but also to kittens, rabbits and other warm-blooded animals who are often raised in inhumane facilities and sold as pets over the Internet, by mail or by phone, sight-unseen.

The HSUS and HSLF called on supporters to act in 2011, and 32,000 people signed a petition urging the Obama administration to crack down on unregulated puppy mills. When the USDA proposed an actual change in its regulations in 2012, HSUS members and other animal advocates generated 350,000 public signatures and comments in support.

There has been strong bipartisan support in Congress for closing the “Internet loophole” in the Animal Welfare Act regulations. Federal legislation, S. 395 and H.R. 847 – known as the PUPS Act, or “Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety Act” – sponsored by Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. and David Vitter, R-La., and Reps. Jim Gerlach, R-Pa., Sam Farr, D-Calif., Bill Young, R-Fla., and Lois Capps, D-Calif., galvanized members of Congress in support of efforts to finalize and implement the rule.

Puppy mills aren’t going away overnight, and it’s still important for any potential puppy buyer to meet the breeder in person at his or her facility to see how and where a puppy was born and raised. But this rule has the potential to allow federal inspectors to peer behind the closed doors of puppy mills and improve the lives of tens of thousands of animals. That is a change worth celebrating, and we thank our supporters, the USDA, and our allies in Congress for supporting this significant step.

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