On Your Mark, Get Set, Go! Congress Green-Lights Mobile Veterinary Clinics to Expand Services

Have you ever seen a mobile veterinary clinic? Most people would answer, “yes.” Did you know that the services veterinarians at those clinics can legally perform is severely limited? My guess is most people would answer, “no.”

Presently, under the Controlled Substances Act—enforced by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency—the transportation and administration of “controlled” drugs by veterinarians outside of a registered location is prohibited.  In essence, a licensed veterinarian cannot take a majority of his or her lifesaving medicines to animals in need.  Instead, the animals have to be brought to a stationary facility.

That is all about to change thanks to the bi-partisan support of the U.S. Congress.  On July 8, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed the Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act, which mirrors the U.S. Senate version passed on January 8.

The bill allows a veterinarian to “transport and dispense controlled substances in the usual course of veterinary practice at a site other than such veterinarian’s principal place of business or professional practice, as long as the dispensing site is located in a state where the veterinarian is licensed to practice.”

Once signed into law by the President, the Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act will allow veterinarians to provide much-needed care to a host of animals in desperate need—from dogs and cats in rural areas of the country to ranchers who cannot feasibly transport livestock to stationary clinics. The greatly-expanded suite of services that veterinarians will be able to administer without fear of retribution will go a long way in the humane treatment of animals by paving the way for sick animals to receive care that might not otherwise be feasible.  Passage of the Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act is a common-sense solution that should be applauded.

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No Happy Ending for Foxes in Louisiana

#savethefox - American Humane Association

If you’ve ever watched the movie, “The Fox and the Hound,” you’ll remember when Tod the fox and Copper the hound agreed, “We’ll always be friends forever!”

American Humane Association, a national non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring the welfare, wellness, and well-being of children and animals sent thousands of signatures to Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal in hopes that he would veto House Bill 390, which declares inhumane fox pen hunting  “part of folklife heritage of the state.”

Instead, HB 390 was signed into law, preserving the state’s connection to an inherently cruel blood sport.

There is plenty that the citizens of Louisiana should rightly be proud of as it relates to their rich heritage, and those things should be recognized and celebrated. However, publicly recognizing and preserving brutal fox pen hunts is inappropriate, uncompassionate, and inhumane. In addition, the practice of penning can lead to increased disease transmission, posing a risk to public health and safety.

HB 390 runs counter to the best interests of the public and the animals of Louisiana, and is out of step with the growing numbers of states, municipalities, and everyday citizens who believe in preserving the positive parts of their heritage.

Just recently, the Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia signed into law a bill that will restrict and, over time, phase out this cruel practice. It was American Humane Association’s hope that Louisiana would have joined Virginia in moving forward, rather than backward, in the treatment of its beloved animals.

Sadly, however, it seems that while Tod had friends in the Virginia legislature, he surely didn’t have them in Louisiana.


American Humane Association is the country’s first national humane organization and the only one dedicated to protecting both children and animals. Visit American Humane Association at www.americanhumane.org and remember to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

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Animal welfare: There are three humane choices for egg-laying hens

The egg has always generated conversation, beginning with its debatable role preceding the chicken. Recent news and legislation advance the chicken-egg relationship further by defining space requirements and additional welfare considerations for egg-laying hens and other farm animals.

Unfortunately, some important issues have been lost in the debate.

Many egg producers, retailers and consumers are concerned that mandating only one type of egg production as meeting humane standards could create serious issues. For example, mandating cage-free eggs as the only type of humane eggs could increase the cost of eggs to the point of being unaffordable for many people.

Consumers should have food choices that are safe, affordable and humane. American Humane Association certifies 90 percent of all cage-free eggs in the United States; however, we support — and certify — three kinds of egg production that meet rigorous humane standards, as defined by independent leading scientific experts.

Although cage-free eggs are one of the humane choices, the new enriched colony housing system provides a reasonably priced, humane alternative to conventional caged eggs. Other humane egg-production systems provide free range and pasture access for laying hens.

In each certified housing system, hens move about freely, engage in natural behaviors and have enrichments such as nest boxes, perches and scratch areas, allowing a chicken to be a chicken.

  • Enriched colony housing provides a small flock of birds room to move about freely and express their natural behaviors. More and more farmers are converting from old cramped cages to this humane housing for hens as retailers and consumers expect higher animal-welfare standards.
  • Cage-free systems give hens room to roam around on litter, elevated perches, nest boxes and areas to peck and scratch. Hens in cage-free housing may have access to the outdoors.
  • Free-range and pasture systems provide birds with daytime access to outdoor areas. The hens have access to sheltered areas at night and during inclement weather. Eggs that have the American Humane Certified label “free-range” require at least one acre per 2,000 hens. Eggs that have the American Humane Certified label “Raised on Pasture” require at least two and a half acres per 1,000 hens. Pastures must be rotated regularly. Hens must be provided water, shade and shelter from predators and wild birds.

American Humane Association is the only animal-welfare organization certifying three different humane choices for eggs, recognizing that retailers and consumers should have humane egg choices that are not only safe and affordable, but ethical and defensible. We expect all producers who raise hens for eggs to prioritize the care of their birds in order to achieve the finest quality eggs.


This article originally appeared on The National Provisioner on June 14, 2014.

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American Humane Association opposes inhumane fox pen hunting in Louisiana

American Humane Association vehemently opposes the recent vote by the Louisiana House of Representatives that would allow inhumane fox pen hunting. Here is the letter we sent political leaders there. Please join us by adding your name!

savethefox

American Humane Association opposes inhumane fox pen hunting in Louisiana. Join the cause!

American Humane Association adamantly opposes the vote by the Louisiana House of Representatives in favor of House Bill 390, which would declare fox pen hunting – an inhumane practice – as "part of the folklife heritage of the state." We urge the Louisiana Senate to stand up for animal welfare and not to follow in the path of its brethren in the Louisiana House.

Such an affirmation by the state's legislature, which should be promoting public health and safety as well as the humane treatment of animals, clearly sends the wrong message to the public.

There is plenty that the citizens of Louisiana should be rightly proud of relating to their rich heritage and those things should be recognized appropriately. However, publicly recognizing and preserving brutal fox pen hunts is inappropriate, uncompassionate, and inhumane. In addition, the practice of penning may lead to increased disease transmission.

Just last month, the Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia signed into law a bill that will restrict and, over time, phase out this practice. It is American Humane Association's sincere hope that Louisiana joins Virginia in electing to move forward, rather than backward, in the treatment of its beloved animals.

American Humane Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring the welfare, wellness, and well-being of children and animals, and to unleashing the full potential of the bond between humans and animals to the mutual benefit of both. We would be pleased to discuss this or any related matters with you or any other members of the Louisiana State Legislature.

Dr. Robin Ganzert
President and Chief Executive Officer
American Humane Association

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3,725 signatures

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American Humane Association opposes inhumane fox pen hunting in Louisiana

American Humane Association vehemently opposes the recent vote by the Louisiana House of Representatives that would allow inhumane fox pen hunting. Here is the letter we sent political leaders there. Please join us by adding your name!

savethefox

American Humane Association opposes inhumane fox pen hunting in Louisiana. Join the cause!

American Humane Association adamantly opposes the vote by the Louisiana House of Representatives in favor of House Bill 390, which would declare fox pen hunting – an inhumane practice – as "part of the folklife heritage of the state." We urge the Louisiana Senate to stand up for animal welfare and not to follow in the path of its brethren in the Louisiana House.

Such an affirmation by the state's legislature, which should be promoting public health and safety as well as the humane treatment of animals, clearly sends the wrong message to the public.

There is plenty that the citizens of Louisiana should be rightly proud of relating to their rich heritage and those things should be recognized appropriately. However, publicly recognizing and preserving brutal fox pen hunts is inappropriate, uncompassionate, and inhumane. In addition, the practice of penning may lead to increased disease transmission.

Just last month, the Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia signed into law a bill that will restrict and, over time, phase out this practice. It is American Humane Association's sincere hope that Louisiana joins Virginia in electing to move forward, rather than backward, in the treatment of its beloved animals.

American Humane Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring the welfare, wellness, and well-being of children and animals, and to unleashing the full potential of the bond between humans and animals to the mutual benefit of both. We would be pleased to discuss this or any related matters with you or any other members of the Louisiana State Legislature.

Dr. Robin Ganzert
President and Chief Executive Officer
American Humane Association

[signature]

3,725 signatures

Share this with your friends:

   

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Animal Welfare Engendered by the Honeybee

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Much has been written recently about the plight of the honeybee.  The apocalyptic-sounding “colony collapse disorder” (CCD) has been anointed as the universally accepted term to describe the demise of between thirty and fifty percent of all honeybee colonies over the past decade. The problem is, scientists haven’t yet pinpointed the singular reason or amalgamation of reasons underpinning CCD.

As the son of a beekeeping enthusiast, I applaud the attention that honeybees have garnered.   Growing up in rural Michigan, my father would don his beekeeping veil and head out weekend after weekend to lovingly tend to the bees residing in the waist high stacks of boxes nestled into ten acres behind our home among tangles of wild blackberries, sumac bushes, and chokecherry trees. We’d give jars honey as holiday gifts to bus drivers, teachers, postal workers—almost anyone who crossed our paths. Several members of my extended family member still raise bees, on an even larger scale.  They, like many in the field, are concerned about what the future holds for these hardworking insects.

The importance of honeybees to American agriculture is well documented—an estimated $15 Billion in U.S. crops are pollinated annually by bees.  They have been called not only the “unsung, unpaid laborers of the American agricultural system” (Time Magazine) but fundamentally “the glue that holds our agricultural system together” (The Beekeeper’s Lament by Hannah Nordhaus).  I prefer to see them as more generally as pillars of the pollinating community.

Pollination is the lifeblood of plant growth—in its simplest form, pollination is the transfer of pollen (a sticky powder produced by the stamens of flowers) from one plant to another to effect fertilization. While some plants rely on wind to provide pollination and others are self-pollinating, most flowering plants require the services of an expert pollinator such as the honeybee to effect “cross-pollination” (pollination from one flower of a species to another). [1]

While countless words have been written on the results that a depletion of bees could have on the backbone of America’s agricultural system, an additional and under-appreciated — but invaluable —”product” of honeybees is the positive impact they make on animal welfare: in particular, the welfare of herbivores living in the wild. It has been estimated that cross-pollination helps up to ninety percent of wild plants to thrive.  Without bees, not only would wild plant life suffer and expire, but so would many of the animal species that depend on these very plants for their own survival.  It is axiomatic that the welfare of every animal is dependent on the availability of food and water.  Without bees and the plants they pollinate, the resulting scarcity of plant life available to herbivores surviving and thriving across our lands would plummet, with catastrophic results for the welfare of these animals.

So the next time you think about why the honeybee’s plight is so important, don’t just think of the agricultural and economic hardships that will result, but keep top of mind the welfare of our animal brethren dependent on the land and our industrious pollinating dynamos.


[1] Bees are powerful pollinators, but their work is quite unintentional.  Bees require significant quantities of nectar to feed themselves and a nectar/pollen mixture to feed their larvae, and they visit large numbers of flowers regularly to obtain these foods.  During these visits, their hairy bodies trap pollen and carry it between flowers, effecting pollination.

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