L.A. Unleashed

All things animal in Southern
California and beyond

Category: 5 Questions

July in animal news: Five questions with Best Friends Animal Society co-founder Francis Battista

We're asking experts in the animal-protection community to offer their insights on the latest animal news and fill us in on what their organizations are working on. Here, Best Friends Animal Society co-founder Francis Battista shares his take on a large-scale rescue of beagles from a medical-testing facility, the effort to increase adoptions of pit bulls and pit mixes, Best Friends' upcoming Strut Your Mutt fundraising walks in L.A. and New York and the rescue dog that inspired him to help homeless pets everywhere. Battista's responses represent his own views and not necessarily ours.

Francis Battista and Teddy Unleashed: What do you view as the most important development in animal news to happen in July?

Francis Battista: The appointment of Brenda Barnette as the new general manager of Los Angeles Animal Services.

Unleashed: What were Best Friends' biggest projects in July?

Battista: The Great Beagle Escape: Best Friends teamed up with Pets Alive of Middletown, N.Y., to save 120 beagles from a medical laboratory after the facility went bankrupt.

Unleashed: What will Best Friends be working on in August?

Battista: Developing a shelter partnership to increase the number of pit bulls and pit bull mixes that are adopted through a program involving training and special promotions. This August we will also have rescued our 1,000th puppy mill survivor from Midwest puppy mills....[Survivors are] transported to new homes in the Northeast.

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July in animal news: Five questions with International Fund for Animal Welfare leader Fred O'Regan

We're asking experts in the animal-protection community to offer their insights on the latest animal news and fill us in on what their organizations are working on. Here, International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) President and Chief Executive Fred O'Regan shares his take on protecting wild tigers, helping Haiti's companion animals and addressing the threats facing whales, wild cats and wolf species. O'Regan's responses represent his own views and not necessarily ours.

Fred-&-Zeke Unleashed: What do you view as the most important development in animal news to happen in July?

Fred O'Regan: During July, officials from 13 nations that are home to the world’s last wild tigers met in Bali, Indonesia, along with the World Bank's Global Tiger Initiative and partner organizations including IFAW, to develop a concrete plan to reinvigorate the tiger population, pledging to double it by 2022. The plan is expected to serve as a road map for tiger conservation to be adopted by world leaders at the first global summit on tigers this September in St. Petersburg, Russia.

In a global assessment of transnational organized crime, including wildlife trade, the U.N. Office of Drugs and Crime reported last month that tigers are on the verge of being poached into extinction in the wild. Fueled by an international black market in tiger body parts, poaching threatens to eliminate 5% of the remaining wild tiger population each year. Tigers have experienced a 97% decline in population since 1900, when 100,000 roamed the earth. As few as 3,000 wild tigers survive today. The pledge by these governments to crack down on poaching and wildlife trafficking will help us make strides in tiger conservation.

 

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July in animal news: Five questions with PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman

Prominent members of the animal-protection community are sharing their insights into the latest animal-related news and what their organizations are up to. Here, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman offers her take on Catalonia's recent bullfighting ban, bringing vegan hot dogs to Capitol Hill, keeping dogs safe during the summer and the chicken that changed her life. Reiman's responses represent her own views and not necessarily ours.

Tracy-Reiman Unleashed: What do you view as the most important development in animal news to happen in July?

Tracy Reiman: The biggest news of the month has to be Catalonia's ban on bullfighting. Catalonia is the first mainland Spanish region to ban bullfighting (It has already been banned in the Canary Islands and in several Spanish cities), and this news shows that the tide has finally turned.

PETA and our sister groups in Spain and throughout Europe have been campaigning hard against bullfighting for several years. Early in July, PETA's U.K. affiliate teamed up with the Spanish group AnimaNaturalis to hold a huge protest in Pamplona against the Running of the Bulls and the daily bullfights that are part of the San Fermin Festival. During the protest, demonstrators lay down and formed a bull with their bodies. A couple of weeks before that, Charo led an anti-bullfighting rally in Los Angeles and debuted her new video for PETA. We're now calling on people to write to Spain's prime minister and ask him to ban bullfighting nationwide.

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July in animal news: Five questions with American Humane Assn. Vice President Debrah Schnackenberg

We're asking experts in the animal-protection community to offer their insights on the latest animal news and fill us in on what their organizations are working on. Debrah Schnackenberg, vice president of the American Humane Assn.'s Animal Emergency Services division, offers her take on the importance of planning for animals' safety in the event of emergencies, a huge effort to find new adoptive homes for needy cats in Pennsylvania and how her own search-and-rescue dog inspires her. Schnackenberg's responses represent her own views and not necessarily ours.

DebrahSCropped Unleashed: What do you view as the most important development in animal news to happen in July?

Debrah Schnackenberg: There are two that come to mind. On July 28, Michigan's House of Representatives passed landmark legislation authored by American Humane to effectively end the 30-year practice of pound seizure -- pet dealers taking shelter dogs and cats for sale to research facilities.

If you can imagine the horror of having your family pet wind up in a shelter and then be sold to a dealer for scientific experiments before it can be picked up or find a new home, you can imagine the importance of this legislation. HB 4663 (also known as Koda's Law in honor of a dog that died after being a victim of pound seizure) would prevent Class B dealers (named after their type of U.S. Department of Agriculture license) from engaging in the practice of providing shelter animals around the nation to research laboratories for experimentation. There are currently nine Class B dealers that broker live animals for experimentation in the United States; three are located in Michigan.

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July in animal news: Five questions with Found Animals executive director Aimee Gilbreath

We're asking experts in the animal-protection community to offer their insights on the latest animal news and fill us in on what their organizations are working on. Here, Aimee Gilbreath of the L.A.-based Found Animals Foundation Inc., which works to minimize animal shelter euthanasia rates, gives us her take. Gilbreath's responses represent her own views and not necessarily ours.

AimeeGilbreath Unleashed: What do you view as the most important development in animal news to happen in July?

Aimee Gilbreath: The best news for pets and families in the Los Angeles area is the launch of a new high-quality, low-cost spay/neuter facility at the East Valley shelter in Van Nuys. Getting a pet sterilized through spay/neuter surgery is safe for your pet, will help minimize certain health problems and unwanted behavior and avoid unwanted litters of puppies and kittens that crowd the shelters. This new clinic is on the grounds of the East Valley shelter and run by Clinico, a wonderful nonprofit that Found Animals helps fund.

Clinico offers low-cost sterilization as well as vaccinations and microchipping to everyone -- and special below-cost pricing for low-income pet owners thanks to the generous support of donors. As part of the grand opening festivities, Found Animals is sponsoring free surgeries for cats, pit bulls and pit mixes, and Chihuahuas and mixes belonging to low-income pet owners in Pacoima (91331), Reseda (91335), Van Nuys (91406) and North Hollywood (91605). This is a limited-time offer -- so call (818) 849-6373 for more details and to make an appointment. Clinico also has locations in Pico Rivera and Harbor with great prices and special offers so check out Clinico.org or call (888) WE-SPAY-LA.

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July in animal news: Five questions with Farm Sanctuary president and co-founder Gene Baur

Prominent members of the animal-protection community are sharing their insights into the latest animal-related news and what their organizations are up to. Here, Farm Sanctuary president and co-founder Gene Baur offers his take on the summer's most important animal updates and what you can do to help this month. Baur's responses represent his own views and not necessarily ours.

GeneAndJohnny Unleashed: What do you view as the most important development in animal news to happen in July?

Gene Baur: The most important development in July was the passage of AB 1437 in California. This legislation will make it illegal to sell eggs in California from hens who are packed in battery cages. California is the most populous state, with the largest number of consumers, so this law will have a wide-ranging impact beyond the state’s borders.

Unleashed: What were Farm Sanctuary's biggest projects in July?

Baur: Farm Sanctuary supported AB 1437 and urged Gov. Schwarzenegger to sign it. We also hosted many visitors at our sanctuaries in Watkins Glen, N.Y., and Orland, Calif., including at our July 4 Pignics, which attracted hundreds of guests who had an opportunity to connect with farm animals and enjoy vegan food.

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July in animal news: Five questions with ASPCA Chief Operating Officer Dr. Steven Hansen

We're asking experts in the animal-protection community to give us their takes on the latest news involving animals and fill us in on what their organizations are working on. Here, Dr. Steven Hansen, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals' Chief Operating Officer, gives us his insights. Hansen's responses represent his own views, not necessarily ours.

Dr.-Steven-Hansen Unleashed: What do you view as the most important development in animal news to happen in July?

Dr. Steven Hansen: H.R. 5566 was drafted in response to the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in April to overturn a ban on the sale of animal 'crush videos,' which are sexual fetish videos that depict a woman's feet crushing to death small animals such as kittens and rodents. The narrowly tailored bill specifically addresses 'crush videos,' and hunting, fishing and trapping videos are exempt, along with videos depicting customary veterinary and animal husbandry practices.

While we're pleased that the House of Representatives is moving forward in order to protect animals from such egregious acts of torture and cruelty, we urge the Senate to quickly take up the bill.  This important humane legislation must be passed by both chambers of Congress for it to become a law.

For more information on H.R. 5566, please visit ASPCA.org/HR5566.

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June in animal news: Five questions with American Humane's Amy McCullough

We recently introduced a new feature here at Unleashed: Five questions with prominent members of the animal protection community. Here, Amy McCullough, an expert in animal-assisted therapy and the human-animal bond with the American Humane Assn., shares her take on the most important news stories for animals in June and what American Humane will be doing on behalf of animals in July. McCullough's responses represent her own views and not necessarily ours.

AmyAndBailey Unleashed: What do you view as the most important development in animal news to happen in June?

Amy McCullough: June has proved that animals, both domesticated and wild, are helpless victims in all kinds of disasters, whether they be natural or man-made. From catastrophic environmental disasters like the Gulf oil spill, to wildfires in Arizona that threaten animal shelters, to heartbreaking situations like the one we recently responded to in Pennsylvania, where nearly 400 cats were being housed in overcrowded, unsanitary conditions, American Humane stands ready to help protect, rescue and care for these vulnerable members of our society.

Unleashed: What were American Humane's biggest projects in June?

McCullough: American Humane's volunteer animal-assisted therapy teams completed a successful pilot program that provided animal-assisted therapy to military veterans experiencing homelessness. We also launched our biggest effort to date for Adopt-A-Cat Month®, to encourage cat adoption during "kitten season" and help reduce the tragedy of pet overpopulation.

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June in animal news: Five questions with Humane Society of the United States leader Wayne Pacelle

We're asking leaders in the animal protection movement to give us their insights into current issues affecting animals. Here, Humane Society of the United States president and chief executive Wayne Pacelle shares his take on the month of June in animal news and what animal lovers should watch for in July. Pacelle's responses represent his own views and not necessarily ours.

WaynePacelle Unleashed: What do you view as the most important development in animal news to happen in June?

Wayne Pacelle: A landmark agreement for the benefit of animals was reached in Ohio. Signature-gatherers for Ohioans for Humane Farms were certain to qualify a ballot measure to curb some of the most abusive practices on factory farms, similar to the ballot measure that California voters approved in November 2008.

Gov. Ted Strickland is a friend to animal protection and agriculture groups, and he pulled us together to try to reach an agreement. The agreement was driven by HSUS's reform agenda, and in the end, we settled on eight landmark reforms in the state in exchange for us holding off on submitting our measure for 2010. (Signatures do not expire in Ohio, so if the agreement is not honored, the signatures we've collected remain valid and we can pursue the measure next year.)

Californians are familiar with the basic issues, since Proposition 2 in 2008 received more "yes" votes than any other citizen initiative in state history. That ballot measure set in motion a phase-out of some abusive confinement practices on factory farms -- an idea that is widely supported by food retailers and family farmers in addition to consumers and animal advocates.

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June in animal news: Five questions with PETA Vice President Kathy Guillermo

We're asking prominent members of the animal-protection community to tell us what they think about the latest animal news in a feature called Five Questions that debuted on Unleashed last month. Here, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals vice president of laboratory investigations, Kathy Guillermo, shares her take on what mattered for animals in June and what's on tap for PETA in July. Guillermo's answers represent her own views and not necessarily ours.

Kathy-Guillermo Unleashed: What do you view as the most important development in animal news to happen in June?

Kathy Guillermo: In June, we learned that animal experimenters at the University of Wisconsin-Madison may face criminal penalties for violating the state's "Crimes Against Animals" law by killing sheep in excruciatingly painful decompression experiments.

The ruling, which opened the door for a possible future injunction to halt the experiments, came in response to a legal petition filed by PETA and Wisconsin's Alliance for Animals. As far as we know, this is the first time that a judge has found probable cause for criminal charges related to the abuse of animals in a laboratory since PETA's landmark Silver Spring monkeys case in 1981.

Unleashed: What were PETA's biggest projects in June?

Guillermo: PETA's Laboratory Investigations Department has been focused on trying to convince NASA to ground its misguided plans to spend nearly $2 million to fund a cruel and archaic radiation experiment on monkeys. In the proposed project, up to 30 squirrel monkeys would be exposed to a harmful dose of space radiation and then locked up in labs for the rest of their lives and used in years of experiments.

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