Wayne Pacelle

Trump Administration Sued for Failing to Protect Whales From Deadly Fishing Gear

On January 18, the Humane Society of the United States, the Center for Biological Diversity and Defenders of Wildlife filed a legal complaint against the federal government for failing to protect North Atlantic right whales from painful and deadly entanglement in fishing gear.

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Animal Abusers Policing Themselves? That's Exactly What the USDA Wants to Do

After purging thousands of Animal Welfare Act inspection reports and violation notices that used to be available to the public and were searchable online, the political operatives who took over at the U.S. Department of Agriculture a year ago say they now want to turn over federally funded inspections of puppy mills, roadside zoos, and research labs to the very groups using the animals. 

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The Movement to End the Use of Wild Animals in Circuses Secures Its Biggest Win Yet

The movement to end the use of wild animals in circuses secured its biggest win yet, with New Jersey lawmakers, in the waning days of their lame-duck session, voting nearly unanimously yesterday to ban almost all wild animal acts in the Garden State. Assemblyman Raj Mukherji and Senator Raymond Lesniak sponsored the bill that would make New Jersey the first state in the nation to enact such a ban. It passed the Assembly by a vote of 66-2 with two abstentions, and the Senate by a vote of 31-0.

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California Ranks Again as the Nation's Most Humane State, While the Dakotas, Mississippi at Bottom of List

According to our Humane State rankings for 2017, California remains the most humane state in the nation, comfortably ahead of number-two finisher Oregon and then Massachusetts, which has held the third position since 2016 when it approved a sweeping measure to restrict factory farming and to forbid the sale of veal, pork, and eggs if they come from extreme confinement operations. 

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5 Animal Welfare Bills That Are Ripe for Being Incorporated Into the Farm Bill

Americans shouldn’t butcher dogs or horses, or enable the activity, and then sell the meat for human consumption, and Congress can make that the law of the land as it pieces together the far-flung provisions of the Farm Bill in the coming months. Our thriving agricultural sector is successful enough that we as a nation don’t have to resort to the desperate, deplorable strategy of killing dogs and horses to put food on the table or dimes in our pockets. These animals—our companions—have never been raised for food in the United States, and it’s a betrayal of our bond with them to steal, buy, or gather up these animals for the pot or the plate.

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The Tide Is Turning: Fashion Icon Michael Kors Goes Fur-Free

In the latest seismic shift in the industry, leading luxury fashion group Michael Kors (including its Jimmy Choo brand) has joined the fur-free movement by announcing today it is going 100 percent fur-free. The company will phase out all fur products by the end of 2018.

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The Trump Administration Has Hatched a Cruel, Illogical Plan to Kill America's National Mammal

The National Park Service—which has a shameful record of allowing the killing of bison who migrate outside of Yellowstone National Park and onto adjacent federal lands—is now planning to open up a second front against these great and lumbering beasts, the biggest mammals in North America. This time, NPS is impassively pursuing plans to kill hundreds of bison within the boundaries of Grand Canyon National Park. If it happens, NPS will not only be targeting the very symbol of the agency itself and our national mammal (as designated by Congress in 2016), but spilling their blood in or around yet one more jewel of our nation’s most beloved network of federal lands.

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A Giant Step Backward on the Treatment of Orcas in Captivity

It was my great hope that SeaWorld’s March 2016 decision to end its orca breeding and theatrical performance shows would be a catalyst prompting all other marine theme parks to get on board and move to the next, better chapter in our relationship with cetaceans. We imagined that the company’s commitment would close the chapter on the days of capturing or breeding them for public display and behavioral stunts. Once that chapter finally closed, future generations would look back with befuddlement that for so long human beings kept some of the most intelligent and awe-inspiring creatures on the planet in small pools, never intending to let them swim free again.

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A Radical GOP Bill Seeks to Eviscerate the Endangered Species Act

There are radical maneuvers among some Republicans in the House to eviscerate the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and to cherry-pick species from the list to enable trophy hunting or wildlife trafficking targeting the rarest of species. If any or all of these anti-wildlife provisions were to be adopted, animal species already at great risk will see the dangers to them compounded in life-threatening ways. Republicans and Democrats not aligned with these maneuverings need to stand against these efforts to enable the exploitation of rare species and defend one of the nation’s most popular and important animal protection laws.

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After Targeting Elephants, Trump Administration Puts African Lions in the Crosshairs

[Update 11/18/17: On Friday, President Trump tweeted: "Put big game trophy decision on hold until such time as I review all conservation facts. Under study for years. Will update soon with Secretary Zinke. Thank you!" Grateful to President Trump for reassessing elephant and lion trophy hunting imports. This is the kind of trade we don't need.]

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Trump Administration Again Delays Implementation of Organic Animal Welfare Standards for Millions of Farm Animals

After eight months of repeated delays, the USDA has kicked the can down the road even further on the Organic Livestock and Poultry practices rule (“organics rule”) and delayed its implementation for at least another six months. In doing so, the agency has again poked a thumb in the eye of thousands of family farmers and millions of consumers who want the upgraded standards and enhanced authenticity of the organics label. This series of deferrals is nothing but a sop to big agricultural interests threatened by the notion that “organic” products will be perceived as superior to conventionally produced animal products.

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Time to Ban Horsemeat Trade in All of North America, as Investigation in Mexico Uncovers Horse Sold as Beef

Mexico is forging ahead on animal protection. Earlier this year, its Congress made dogfighting a felony throughout the nation. Mexico City adopted an extraordinary charter on animal protection. A number of major food retailers in Mexico have said they will change their purchasing practices to stop buying eggs and pork from operations that confine hens and pigs in small confinement cages and crates. Our Humane Society International/Mexico office and partner organizations are working hard to keep this important and strategic country trending in the right direction and to also crack down on other abuses of animals.

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In Ongoing Criminal Enterprise, Horses Are Being Tortured, Just So Humans Can Win Prizes

The “big lick” faction of the Tennessee Walking horse industry is engaged in an ongoing criminal enterprise. Many of the top winners in the industry knowingly injure horses as a customary practice in order to induce an exaggerated gait for the purpose of winning prizes—a practice known as “soring,” where trainers injure the feet or legs of horses to cause excruciating pain when the animals step down, so they will fling their front legs high in response.

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Cockfighting in America Has Found a Refuge in Puerto Rico, but That Could Change

When Hurricane Maria scoured the landscape of Puerto Rico, it killed people. It flattened and swallowed structures. It cut off power and left people in the dark and without refrigeration or air conditioning. It killed a lot of animals. We know, because our teams were there after the storm hit, providing humanitarian assistance and animal care, conducting animal transports, and delivering supplies.

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Bestiality Isn't a Federal Crime, but That Could Change Thanks to Bipartisan Bill

Last month, the Kansas City Star reported that an elementary school worker in Springfield was being investigated by federal authorities for pornography involving sexual acts between that individual, a four-year-old child, and a dog.

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Wildlife Killing Contests Are Sick, Cruel and Have No Place in Civilized Society

In October and November, participants in two gruesome wildlife killing contests in Nevada compete to claim the most coyote carcasses for cash or other prizes. The town of Austin recently held its annual Coyote Derby in early October, and next month the Nevada Predator Hunters will hold the 8th Annual Nevada Coyote Calling Championship in Las Vegas.

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The Global Anti-Ivory Movement Just Got a Major Boost From One of the World's Leading Conservatives

“On animal welfare we will take the tough action necessary to deal with those whose callousness or greed inflicts pain and suffering on innocent creatures. At the moment the maximum sentence for animal cruelty is just six months. I believe that when we face deliberate, calculating and sadistic behavior, we need to deploy the full force of the law to show we will not tolerate evil. Which is why we will bring forward legislation to increase punishments for the most horrific acts of animal cruelty to five-year sentences. Animals are sentient beings, they are in our care, they deserve our protection.”

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Fashion World Shaken Up as Gucci Announces Fur-Free Future

In what is perhaps the most meaningful fur-free announcement worldwide to date, luxury fashion brand Gucci has proclaimed that its future is fur-free. After working with The HSUS and the Italian-based animal welfare group LAV (a member, with The HSUS, of the Fur Free Alliance), Gucci’s president and CEO Marco Bizzarri shared the news today during the 2017 Kering Talk at the London College of Fashion. The policy begins with the brand’s spring/summer 2018 collection.

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America's Wild Horses Face Their Most Severe Political Threat in Nearly Half a Century: Here's How You Can Help

Today, we face the most severe political threat to wild horses since the enactment of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971, which Congress passed in response to the random and methodical killing of horses and burros on our western lands by ranchers and others who considered the animals trespassers. Now some players involved in the ongoing debate plan to have the government conduct this mass killing. Either way, people are targeting healthy horses, and that should never be allowed to happen. Not next month. Not next year. Not ever.

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Japan Deserves Worldwide Condemnation for Commercial Whaling Masquerading as Science

In a flouting of international conservation values, Japan just announced that its latest hunt, which concluded Tuesday, has claimed the lives of 177 minke and sei whales—adding to the toll of thousands that its whalers have claimed in an era when just about the entire civilized world has abandoned the practice.

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Radical GOP-led Bill Promotes Killing of America's Threatened Wildlife

Last week, the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources passed the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act—the so-called SHARE Act—with votes coming only from Republican members of the committee.

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Trump Administration and Key House Republicans Push for Aerial Gunning of Grizzly Bears and Wolves

In April, President Trump signed a resolution, enabled by the Congressional Review Act and passed by Congress on a near party-line vote, that repealed a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) rule restricting particularly brutal and unsporting methods of killing grizzly bears, wolves and other predators on national wildlife refuges in Alaska.

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How the USDA Protects Animal Abusers by Hiding Data From the Public

When animal advocates received a bulletin from the U.S. Department of Agriculture in mid-August claiming that it had restored additional animal welfare inspection data to its website, it was clear that the agency intended to give the impression to lawmakers and others concerned about its massive information take-down that it had remedied the problem. Nothing could be further from the truth. What the agency did has accomplished nothing to address the core concerns at issue.

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Activists Are Working With Chinese Authorities to Shut Down Barbaric Dog Meat Trade

As we build momentum for U.S. legislation to ban the trade in dog and cat meat in the United States (H.R. 1406 now has 150 cosponsors in the U.S. House), Humane Society International and its partners on the ground in Asia continue to save dogs and build the case for ending the entire miserable trade.

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Big Progress for the Welfare of Chickens, Even as Some in the Poultry Industry Attempt to Dig In

Last week, the national fast-food chain Sonic has announced new policies to bring about better conditions for the chickens in its supply chain. The Oklahoma-based company serves food to more than three million customers each day at its 3,500 locations, so this announcement will surely reverberate through the poultry sector.

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U.S. House Votes to End VA's Painful Experiments on Dogs

On Wednesday, I called on you to take action to support a bipartisan amendment to a defense spending bill to halt federal funding of painful experiments on dogs at Veterans Affairs (VA) facilities for the upcoming fiscal year. So many of you responded, and Congress listened. The House passed the amendment last night by voice vote. We are grateful to Reps. Dave Brat, R-Va., Dina Titus, D-Nev., Ted Poe, R-Texas, Ro Khanna, D-Calif., Brian Mast, R-Fla., and Ted Lieu, D-Calif., for sponsoring the amendment and shepherding it to passage. We thank the White Coat Waste Project for leading the charge on the issue.

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Some Government Programs Are Basically Slush Funds for the Beef and Pork Industries: Now Some Lawmakers Are Cracking Down

To its credit, the California Senate Judiciary Committee stopped a bill to expand the state tax on cattle and dairy farmers to the tune of millions of dollars—a plan to put the funds into a “commission” that would be authorized to use the money for lobbying against animal welfare and family farmers. The bill was principally backed by the California Cattlemen’s Association, and the bill’s author withdrew the bill from the docket after he realized that The HSUS, legislators, and our farmer allies were poised to kill it.

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Trump Administration Puts Yellowstone Grizzlies in the Crosshairs

Despite having received more than half a million citizen comments opposing the action, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced on June 22 that it is removing federal Endangered Species Act protections for grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and effectively transferring management authority over these bears to Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. State authorities and wildlife managers have already signaled their plans to allow trophy hunting of America’s greatest carnivores. If their plans are realized, it will be the first time grizzlies have been legally hunted in the lower 48 states in decades.

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Trump Administration Says 'No' to Protecting Endangered Whales, Dolphins and Sea Turtles

The Trump administration has announced it is canceling plans that would have protected whales, dolphins, and endangered sea turtles from high levels of drowning deaths in drift gillnets set off the California coast. The most puzzling thing about this announcement is that the fishery itself had supported the plan. It’s yet one more example of politicians taking more extreme positions than industry—akin to the case of several farm-state attorneys general fighting California’s anti-confinement laws for laying hens even after the egg industry recognized that it must transition to a cage-free future.

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How a Federal Anti-Animal Cruelty Statute Will Also Help Human Victims of Violence

In 2014, South Dakota became the 50th state to adopt felony-level penalties for malicious cruelty to animals. That action puts an exclamation point on the notion that opposition to the worst forms of cruelty is a universal value in the United States and that people who commit such acts deserve punishment by the state.

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The Largest Cockfighting Bust in U.S. History Just Happened in California

Yesterday, we worked alongside the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to conduct the largest cockfighting bust in U.S. history, with a staggering 7,000 fighting roosters at a single location. Early yesterday morning, more than 100 deputies from the sheriff’s office, along with large contingents from the HSUS Animal Rescue Team, SPCA-LA and the Los Angeles County’s Department of Animal Care and Control, descended on a property in a remote canyon in Val Verde, California, in the northern part of Los Angeles County, after a tip came in to The HSUS about the vast enterprise.

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