THLN Blog


Sunday June 02, 2013

THANK YOU FOR A SUCCESSUL SESSION

Gigi Ray - Secretary

Gigi Ray
Secretary

Topics: 83rd Legislative Session, Gas Euthanasia, Kempís Ridley Sea Turtle, Dangerous Wild Animals Act

dog with thank you signThe 83rd Texas Legislative Session has ended and we wanted to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of our members, friends and supporters. You are the ones who called, wrote, emailed and faxed your reps when asked. You went to visit your legislators when we needed you to. You reached out to your neighbors, co-workers and friends and told them their help was needed for the animals in Texas. You dropped what you were doing and ran up to the Capital to sign a card for or against a bill when asked. You, our members, were the boots on the ground, the front lines in the war for the animals of Texas.

There were, of course, wins and losses for the animals of our great state... so our work will be cut out for us in the 2015 Legislative Session.  A few of the wins and losses are listed below. Click here for a full detailed report.

  • Gas chambers will soon become a thing of the past  
  • Our dangerous wild animal bill remains intact 
  • The Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle is now the Official State Sea Turtle of Texas
  • Strengthening of the Protective Order Bill is awaiting the Governor's signature
  • Mandatory Animal Encounter Training for all peace officers failed
  • Shark finning did not pass; thus, allowing a person to possess, sell, offer for sale, trade, purchase or transport shark fins to remain legal

Take a break this summer, raise a toast to yourselves and pat yourself on the back because we aren't there to do it. But, know that without each and every single one of you, THLN cannot do what we do. We look forward to working with all of you again in 2015.

Friday May 17, 2013

Let's Kill SB 1395 and Help Keep Texans Safe From Dangerous Wild Animals

Brandi Grubbs -

Brandi Grubbs

Topics: 83rd Legislative Session, SB 1395, Dangerous Wild Animals Act, Wild Animals, Exotic Pets, DWAA

Texas has the second-largest tiger population, just behind India. There are more than two-thousand tigers living in Texas alone. In 2001, THLN helped to pass the Dangerous Wild Animals Act (DWAA), which requires these and other wild, exotic animals to be registered in the state. Further, the DWAA provides for inspections by local authorities, allows the public to know where these animals are being kept, and provides information to authorities for public safety regarding these animals.

A special  interest group composed of breeders, roadside zoos, and private animal collectors  has proposed State Bill 1395, which will effectively render the DWAA useless. State Bill 1395 will exempt many facilities where the large majority of these wild  animals are kept. No inspections will be required. No one will be able to make sure that the animals are being kept in safe and secure enclosures. The public safety and the safety of these animals will be endangered. 

Between 1990 and 2006 alone, across the country four children were killed and forty-three children were mauled by big cats. Seven of these horrific incidents occurred in Texas. More than eighty-percent of the incidents across the country did not occur at the child's home. It is imperative that we protect children and others from the dangers associated with these animals and keep the DWAA alive and strong. SB 1395 cannot be allowed to get to the floor.

Read our Action Alert on this subject here to find out what you can do to help!

Thursday May 02, 2013

The American Kennel Club Linked to Puppy Mills

Brandi Grubbs -

Brandi Grubbs

Topics: 82nd Legislative Session, Puppy Mills, Breeders, AKC, American Kennel Club

A recent report by the Today Show has connected the "dog friendly" American Kennel Club to the inhumane puppy mill industry. According to the Humane Society of the United States' Wayne Pacelle, the AKC has financial stakes in puppy breeders, with nearly seventy-five percent of its registration program participants being breeders. Because of this, the AKC is virtually beholden to puppy breeders and thus has no reason to promote legislation that cracks down on breeders. A startling report shows that in just the last five years, the AKC has turned its back on nearly one hundred local, state, and federal bills that would combat the inhumane breeding standards present in so many breeders today. When asked whether or not limits should be placed on breeders, the AKC's Lisa Peterson said that they opposed limits on breeders because it shouldn't matter how many dogs you have, just the conditions in which they're kept.  Pacelle also discovered that the AKC's "A-rated inspection program" has only nine inspectors to cover the entire country. AKC inspectors have signed off on breeding facilities that have been raided, had dogs rescued, and have sold sick dogs to hopeful buyers. It doesn't look like they care too much for the conditions those dogs are kept in, now does it?

The good news is that with exposure like this, more and more people are becoming aware of the puppy mill problem. THLN was instrumental in passing HB 1451 in 2011 to help regulate and keep track of large scale commercial breeders. Several pet stores have taken the pledge not to sell puppies and some stores that did continue to sell puppies have seen their profits drop and have decided to abandon the practice all together. More and more people are turning to shelter adoptions and other means of acquiring new pets. While all of this is good news, our fight is not over. We need to urge our legislators to continue to support legislation that provides for breeding standards, online breeder regulations, and humane standards of care. Don't know who your legislators are? Click here to find out.

Thursday May 02, 2013

Horse DNA Found in Beef Products

Brandi Grubbs -

Brandi Grubbs

Topics: Horsemeat, Europe

THLN has been actively talking and writing on the topics of horse slaughter in the United States. Americans have overwhelmingly come out against horse slaughter plants in the U.S. and exporting horsemeat overseas for human consumption. Unfortunately, the horsemeat "scandal" doesn't stop there. Michael Markarian of the Humane Society Legislative Fund posted a blog discussing recent revelations out of the European Union concerning horse DNA appearing in so-called beef products.

According to Markarian's blog, seven thousand tests conducted across all of the European Union have revealed that five percent of "beef" products in those countries contain horse DNA. In France and Greece, the results were worse: more than twelve percent of beef products in those two countries actually contained horsemeat. While this is disturbing in itself, what's worse is that this horsemeat can actually cause risks to human health. In Britain, two percent of the products tested contained a painkiller that is used on horses that is "banned from the human food chain." And these studies only tested for one particular drug. There are countless other veterinary drugs used on horses that could appear in these meats and potentially harm humans. Plus, there is no way to safeguard horsemeat from entering the American food supply.  And do you know where twenty percent of European horsemeat comes from? North America.

These are just more reasons for us to ensure that horse slaughter plants never open in the United States. Markarian suggests Congress pass the "Safeguard American Food Export Act." And we do too. We need to safeguard America's horses and make sure that potentially harmful horsemeat does not enter our food chain. Do you want to support the effort against horse slaughter for human consumption? Contact your representatives and ask them to support our efforts. Don't know who your representatives are? Click here to find out.

Monday April 01, 2013

THLN Blog Suspended for Current Legislative Session

Gigi Ray - Secretary

Gigi Ray
Secretary

Topics: 83rd Legislative Session

While we focus our attention on the 2013 Legislative Session, updates to our blog will be suspended. Please check out our blog after the 2013 Legislative Session has ended for updates. Thank you for your understanding.

Tuesday February 05, 2013

The Time Has Come for Texas to Eliminate Gas Chambers as a Form of Euthanasia for Shelter Dogs and Cats

Shelby Bobosky - Vice-President

Shelby Bobosky
Vice-President

Topics: 83rd Legislative Session, Sodium Pentobarbital, Animal Shelter Facilities, Gas Chamber, HB 858, Euthanasia, Carbon Monoxide

Over one hundred thousand homeless pets are euthanized every year in Texas shelters. Despite the overwhelming stance that euthanasia by carbon monoxide is cruel and inhumane, unsafe for workers and costly, it is still used to end their lives in approximately thirty shelters in this state. Representative Eddie Lucio III (D) recently filed a bill (HB 858) to end shelter euthanasia of dogs and cats by carbon monoxide and it is time Texans tell their legislators that using carbon monoxide in a shelter is unacceptable.

There has been a recent nationwide trend to get rid of this outdated method of euthanasia. Virtually every shelter agency agrees that euthanasia by injection (EBI) is the preferred and humane method for euthanasia. U.S. Congressman Jim Moran (D-Va) introduced House Resolution 736 in July of 2012, which opposes the use of gas chamber euthanasia and supports state laws that replace them with lethal injection. Pennsylvania banned gas chambers in October 2012 and Louisiana did so as well in January of 2013. In fact, over thirty Texas cities have stopped the use of carbon monoxide euthanasia within the last five years ranging from larger cities like Sherman ending gas chamber euthanasia in March of 2012 to small cities like Terrell, ending in 2010. This switch from carbon monoxide to sodium pentobarbital with Texas cities large and small demonstrates an overwhelming change in attitude towards shelter euthanasia.

The word euthanasia means "good death" and death by gas chamber does not meet this definition. With the continued advocacy of our THLN members, we can put an end to this outdated method and help restore the name.

To learn more, please click here to read our EBI Fact Sheet.

To find out who represents you, please click here.

 

Friday February 01, 2013

THLN VICTORY FOR DOGS AND CATS Ė RPOA AND BREEDERS FAIL IN ATTEMPT TO STOP PUPPY MILL LAW

Shelby Bobosky - Vice-President

Shelby Bobosky
Vice-President

Topics: 82nd Legislative Session, Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, TDLR, Humane Society of the United States, Breeders, Puppy Mills, RPOA, Attorney General of Texas, Texas Animal Laws, HSUS, Commercial Breeding

On January 31, 2013, a federal judge in Austin, Texas rejected a request for an injunction filed by Texas breeders in order to overturn the Texas puppy mill law. The lawsuit, filed by three Texas breeders and RPOA, was a last ditch attempt to block enforcement of the state's new puppy mill law, which went into effect on Sept. 1, 2012. The new law requires the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation to inspect and license large-scale commercial dog and cat breeders with 11 or more breeding females and who sell 20 or more puppies or kittens each year. Along with requiring a license and inspection, it also establishes minimum standards for the humane handling, care, housing and transportation of dogs and cats by commercial breeders.

RPOA and the breeders attempted to argue that the court should stop enforcement because the law was unconstitutional. They stated that despite being in favor of ridding Texas of its "puppy mills," they simply "cannot live with this law." The court found this argument, among others used, were not the basis of any constitutional rationale. The Office of the Attorney General of Texas defended the law before the court and THLN and The Humane Society of the United States supported the Attorney General's position by filing an amicus brief asking the court to uphold the law. The lawsuit will continue, but the denial of the injunction is a crucial victory for the puppy mill law and a positive sign of what is to come.

THLN would like to give a special thanks to the law firm of Hunton & Williams, LLP for its excellent legal representation in this matter.

Tuesday January 29, 2013

How did Texas do in the New Humane Society State Rankings for 2012?

Brandi Grubbs -

Brandi Grubbs

Topics: Animal Fighting, Legislation, HSUS, Puppy Mills, 2012, Humane Society of the United States

The Humane Society recently released its state rankings for humane legislation in 2012. Of all fifty states and D.C., California came in at number one with the best performance in humane legislation. Other states that performed particularly well in 2012 include Washington, Oregon, Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Virginia, New York, Maine, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. The worst performing state of all was South Dakota. it is hard to believe that South Dakota still has no felony penalties for extreme acts of cruelty.

What about Texas? Unfortunately, Texas ranked 28th overall. Despite its successes in 2011 with the passage of the puppy mill bill, including pets in protective orders and strengthening the penalties in animal blood sport fighting, Texas ranked middle of the road with several states taking the lead. This is precisely why we need help from you -- our members -- this legislative session! We have the opportunity to turn Texas around and bring our ranking up to par with the nation's other states taking humane animal welfare seriously.

How can we improve Texas' rankings for next year? First, please find out who represents you. If you do not know who represents you, can find out by clicking here. Once you determine your legislators, you can begin to develop a relationship with them. Contact them and let them know that our poor ranking will not stand and explain THLN's legislative agenda. Let them know that you support animal legislation and as our representatives, you hope they do as well!

Tuesday January 15, 2013

2012 Legislative Scorecard - Thank You, Silvestre Reyes of the 16th District!

Brandi Grubbs -

Brandi Grubbs

Topics: Animal Fighting, Legislation, Michael Markarian, Puppy Mills, 112 Legislative Session, Humane Society Legislative Fund

Michael Markarian recently posted the Humane Society Legislative Fund’s 2012 Legislative Scorecard on his website. Click here to read the full article and see the Scorecard itself!

In short, the 112th Congress made some gains in regards to humane legislation, but also left many unfinished items.  A third of the Senate and a quarter of the House of Representatives scored perfect scores on this scorecard – and that includes bipartisan support for many bills concerning animal fighting, chimps in research labs, egg-laying hens, and puppy mills!

How did our Texas Representatives do? Unfortunately, our senators both scored a 42 out of 100. Senators John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison both voted pro-animal in regards to putting a cap on agricultural subsidies, establishing misdemeanor penalties for attending animal fights and removing profits from these fights, and voted against the Sportsmens Act, which promotes hunting, but did not register an opinion or vote at all on the other five issues.

Unfortunately, our representatives in the House did not fare as well. Fourteen of our Representatives scored a zero out of 100. Only one of our Representatives scored a 100 – Silvestre Reyes of the 16th District. The House had even more opportunities to pass humane legislation and your Texas representatives failed to support any of the eleven issues on a wide scale. Additionally, our Representatives were not consistent on the issues they supported.

We cannot let our Senators and Representatives continue to earn such low scores during the legislative session. With the beginning of the new session, you have new opportunities to let your legislators know exactly what you want – humane legislation for animals across Texas and our country at large. Take the time now to familiarize yourself with who represents you and let them know that you support humane legislation.  Don’t know who represents you? Click here to find out.  Lastly, let Silvestre Reyes of the 16th District know how much you appreciate his voting record for the animals!

Monday December 17, 2012

U.S. Racehorses Refused for Use as Horsemeat

Brandi Grubbs -

Brandi Grubbs

Topics: Europe, Drugs, Racehorses, Horses, Doping, Mexico, Horse Slaughter, Canada

It might be strange for the average American to think about: horsemeat is a delicacy in other countries. Slaughtering horses for human consumption is currently illegal in the United States. However, that fact alone does not stop thousands of American horses from being shipped to other countries like Canada and Mexico to be slaughtered for human consumption. 

Lately, however, Europe's food safety officials have begun to have second thoughts about accepting United States racehorses for meat. Why? A veterinarian in the New York Times' article on this issue said that U.S. racehorses are "walking pharmacies" and adding the drugs racehorses are treated with to our "food chain" is not a good idea. 

These European officials have suggested that Canada and Mexico rethink accepting U.S. racehorses for slaughter.  The horses are required to be free from certain drugs for six months before slaughter, but the records testifying to that are easily forged. This issue with racehorses may soon result in European officials requiring lifetime medical records for any horse shipped for slaughter.  Additionally, Congress wants to crack down on the number of racehorses breaking down from drug use. According to the New York Times' article, state legislators are beginning to impose stricter rules on owners and trainers.

Hopefully the addition of legal red tape will further discourage other countries from choosing American horses for slaughter and Americans themselves for sending our beloved companions to such a harrowing fate.

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