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Posts Tagged With "Brandi Grubbs"

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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.

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.

Saturday November 10, 2012

How to Talk to Your Legislators About Animal Issues

Brandi Grubbs -

Brandi Grubbs

Topics: 83rd Legislative Session, Legislation, Legislators

With the 2013 legislative session coming up, several of you may be interested in talking to your legislators about animal issues. Luckily, my husband has worked for a United States congressman and has given me a few tips you can use when contacting your local legislators.  If you don't already know who your legislators are, please find out by clicking here.

First and foremost, you need to be aware of the issue you are going to address. You need to know the facts and be able to speak confidently and knowledgably. Make sure you know if it is a federal, state, or local issue. Federal issues should be addressed to your United States congressman or senator. State issues should be directed to your state legislators. Local issues need to be directed to your city council person or mayor. Legislators have to deal with hundreds of issues over the course of a legislative session and if you cannot identify precisely the issue you are concerned about, it is likely your call or letter will not be taken seriously. You need to have clear and concise points you want to address so that you not only appear prepared, but do not take up any more of the legislator's time than is necessary.  Familiarize yourself with the history of the issue you are concerned about. It is better to know "too much" than not enough. It's always beneficial to leave a handout /fact sheet on the issue(s) along with your name and contact information.

Secondly, make sure you are polite. This goes for whether you contact the legislator's office via telephone, written letter, or email. An ounce of kindness goes a long way and it is very easy for someone to not take you or your concerns seriously if you are impolite or discourteous. When contacting a legislator's office, you most likely won't  speak directly to the legislator, but to one of his or her staff members. The rules of politeness go for these staffers as well. Many staff members have significant influence in their offices, so be sure to get to know them!

Many organizations use form letters to contact legislators about issues. This is a common and legitimate practice. However, you are more likely to get noticed by a legislator if you can distinguish yourself from the rest of those sending form letters by sending a  personalized letter with specific facts that are important to you..  And remember, if you are sending a postal letter, whether it be printed or handwritten, you will likely not receive a response quickly.

There will likely be several issues coming up in the next legislative session that will require contacting your legislators. Knowing your legislators and their staff is extremely important for contacting them during the busy session with your concerns.  Make sure that you are knowledgeable, polite, and patient. Preparing yourself will go a long way in helping ensure humane legislation for animals in Texas and across the United States. Thank you ahead of time for your much needed help!!!

Friday October 19, 2012

Prepare yourself for the 2013 legislative session!

Brandi Grubbs -

Brandi Grubbs

Topics: 83rd Legislative Session, Conference, Legislation, Donations

With the 2013 legislative session rapidly approaching, there are several important things you can do to prepare to help animals across our state.

The most important thing you can do is to start getting to know your state legislators now. You can find out where your legislators stand on animal issues and, to help make yourself personally known to them and their staff, visit with them, share interests, and offer to help candidates prepare for the general election on November 6th.  You can offer to help with phone banks, literature distribution, signage, and more. This way, once the legislative session begins, you will comfortably be able to contact your legislators on animal welfare issues and they will know who you are! If you don't already know who your state representative and senator  are, you can find out by clicking here. Begin developing a relationship with current legislators and candidates that support animal welfare today!

Another way you can prepare is to get involved with THLN. If you haven't done so already, the easiest way to get involved is to sign up for our action alerts.  Ask your friends and family to sign up also!  By signing up, you will be notified via email of important animal issues and concerns.  Sometimes we'll ask you to take action to help animals with details on who to contact!  You can also follow THLN news and updates on Facebook and Twitter. To get directly involved with THLN, you can join a local chapter. As always, you can also help us continue our mission of animal friendly legislation by donating to our cause.

Each legislative session in Texas is crucial - because legislators only meet five months out of every two years - which means we have much to do to protect animals in a short period of time!  So please help us help the animals!  It's never too early to prepare: start today!

Click here for THLN's 2013 legislative agenda.

Wednesday September 19, 2012

How humane has the Obama Administrationís decisions been this last year and a half?

Brandi Grubbs -

Brandi Grubbs

Topics: HSLF, Sea Lions, Humane Society Legislative Fund, Wildlife, Elections, Humane, Chimpanzees, Puppy Mills, Farm Animals, President, Horses, Whales, Obama, Horse Slaughter, Legislation, Michael Markarian

Michael Markarian of the Humane Society Legislative Fund has posted a detailed rundown of the current administration's track record regarding animal-related legislation over the past nine months. We'll summarize some of the good and bad points here, but please feel free to read Markarian's report here.

As you know, the subject of puppy mills has been a big part of THLN's focus. The administration put forth a proposal against puppy mills that run without any "public oversight." While this is definitely a step in the right direction, the administration failed to support the ban of importing puppies from puppy mills outside of the United States. However, the current legislation has also proposed the expansion of animal-reporting requirements by air carriers and has forced a New York company to stop selling items made from the fur of domestic dogs.

This administration seems to support the end of using chimpanzees in medical research; it has considered listing captive chimps on the endangered species list and has put together a group to investigate a report that chimps are not necessary for biomedical research. Unfortunately, President Obama's administration has also seemed to complicate the adoption of the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act that would effectively end the use of chimpanzees in "invasive research" and send all chimps owned by the federal government to sanctuaries.

The Obama Administration is hit or miss when it comes to farm animals. It has made it easier for employees and stakeholders to report the inhumane handling of farm animals and investigated a Florida company that was inhumanely slaughtering pigs; that company was then indicted. On the negative side, this administration has given hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies to meat producers without including any animal welfare conditions and, after three and a half years, has still not taken a stance on the Humane Society's "downer calf petition". This administration is also so/so regarding wildlife as it cracked down on illegal trade in animals and animal parts on the black market, but still continues to use inhumane methods to control wild predators.

Marine life has seen more positives than negatives from this administration. Protections for manatees have been improved. The administration has proposed a rule to help conserve sharks across the world and has tried to help protect dolphins from getting caught in mesh netting. Sea lions and whales have not been so lucky under the current administration, however. It approved more than four hundred sea lions to be killed at the Bonneville Dam and has not revised the critical habitat for North Atlantic right whales.

Horses have also been a major THLN focus recently. Horses have perhaps seen the most positives under the current administration's legislation. Minimum penalties for Horse Protection Act violations have been set. Horse slaughter plants have not been authorized. A fertility control vaccine for wild horses has been improved and other fertility control measures will be investigated. And, thankfully, Obama's administration has proposed a very large eco-sanctuary for wild horses. This administration's one negative regarding horses: it has allowed the use of problematic round-up procedures for over seven thousand horses.

Markarian has also posted a blog about how our legislators have voted regarding animal-related issues this legislative session. You can read the blog and link to a preview of HSLF's scorecard here. There are still four issues that need attention before Congress breaks until after the election. One, S. 3239 and H.R. 3798, will provide uniform standards for the treatment and housing of egg-laying hens. S. 810 and H.R. 1513, the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act, mentioned above, will help to end the practice of using chimpanzees in "invasive research". H.R. 2492 will create penalties for attending organized animal fights. And S. 707 and H.R. 835 will help to reform conditions in puppy mills. You can take action now by contacting your legislators and urging them to support these bills. Do you know who your legislators are? If not, click here to find out!

How do you feel about government's performance in animal-related issues? With the Presidential election coming up in only a couple of months, it will be interesting to see what changes may come with animal-related legislation. And no matter who wins that election, THLN will continue to push for humane legislation for all of the animals across Texas and the United States. Are you interested in helping us? Donate now or consider joining a local chapter! And don't forget about our Fourth Annual Conference coming up on September 28th and 29th! Register today to attend and click here for more information.

Tuesday September 04, 2012

Paul Ryan, where does he stand?

Brandi Grubbs -

Brandi Grubbs

Topics: Animal Welfare, Animals, Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney

Paul Ryan has just arrived in the national spotlight by being named Mitt Romney's vice presidential candidate. While THLN and other animal welfare organizations have not yet officially taken a stance when it comes to this year's election, Michael Markarian of the Humane Society Legislative Fund has posted a blog detailing some of Ryan's highs and lows when it comes to animal welfare.

Paul RyanRyan has supported bills in Congress to raise federal penalties for dogfighting and cockfighting and ban trade in crush videos, films that show the torture of innocent animals for the sexual gratification of those who watch them. He has supported conservation funding for cranes, the inclusion of pets and service animals in disaster panning, and limitations to the exotic pet trade (for some species). Ryan has also voted to put a cap on agricultural subsidies and to limit funding for people and organizations that use poisons, traps and other inhumane ways of capturing animals on wildlife refuges and controlling predators that threaten ranchers.

Unfortunately, Ryan has also supported some legislation not in line with our animal-friendly views. He approved the use of tax dollars to hunt Yellowstone Bison, supported trophy hunting on federal lands, wanted to allow polar bear trophies to be imported from Canada, and to allow American horses to be slaughtered for consumption in Europe.  Ryan also wanted to limit the Endangered Species Act, to allow primates to be sold across state lines, to allow wild horses and burros to be slaughtered commercially, and to allow fishing nets to be used that are deadly to dolphins. He also approves of drilling in the Arctic.

So, where does he stand? The truth is, we don't know. He's supported some things while opposing others and a clear trend has not been established. His score on the Humane Scorecard has also been dropping since the 106th Congress, with a modest boost of eight percent in the 109th. His last two rankings have been at 13%! We certainly don't want to see a downward trend when it comes to animal-friendly legislation. Hopefully, Ryan will have a chance to show us his stance before the election in November.

Do you want to know what's going on and how you can gear up for the 2013 legislative session? Click here to learn more.

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