Alaska’s Wildlife Refuges Under Attack

Until last week, hibernating bears with their cubs, and wolves and their pups in Alaska were protected by a U.S.  Fish and Wildlife  Service (FWS) rule from being hunted and trapped with steel-jawed leghold traps and neck wire snares. Now, thanks to a former board member of the NRA and licensed trapper,  Rep. Don Young of Alaska, those protections no longer exist. Congress passed H.J. Res. 69 that will now allow some of the worst wildlife management practices in a century.

Now hunters can shoot shoot bears from airplanes, land and water,  trap them using inhumane and cruel snares, and kill wolf pups in their dens.

Apparently, the State of Alaska had trophy hunters and state agents kill grizzly bears, black bears and wolves in order to create more moose and caribou for hunters to shoot. The NRA and Safari Club are powerful lobbies. This happened even though a 2016 poll showed that Alaskans oppose denning of wolves by more than a 2-1 margin.  Furthermore, more than a dozen wildlife biologists from Alaska wrote letters to Congress opposing this terrible resolution.

The debate is now going to the Senate. If you agree that this is a travesty for these innocent, defenseless animals, you can help by calling your Senator and asking him/her to oppose   S. J. Res. 18 asap.  Click  here for your Senator’s name.  If it is helpful, here is some text you may want to use:

“Please oppose Senators Sullivan and Murkowski’s Joint Resolution 18 which would revoke the FWS rule protecting wildlife on Alaska national wildlife refuges from cruel hunting methods.”


What is the USDA Hiding?

The United States Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) upholds the Animal Welfare Act and the Horse Protection Act, and with that mandate, protect millions of animals nationwide through inspections, enforcement and education.  In an unprecedented move last week, it took down all information on its’ website without any notice to anyone. These databases and public records are necessary to ensure that animals are not cruelly treated or abused.

The only way now to access this information now is through sending a bureaucratic, time-consuming written Freedom of Information Act request.  This step makes it very challenging to anyone who wants to investigate whether animals are being properly cared for. This action, in effect, now protects animal abusers. I have personally investigated records and found several puppy mill breeders with repeat offenses. Now, they and others can continue to abuse with impunity.

Your and my tax dollars pay for this organization and it is an outrage that such an action has been taken. It smacks of totalitarianism. I have called my politicians and aired  my anger with them asking them to demand the restoration of this information. If you feel the same, please call your politicians and tell them.  Please also sign this petition.


Trump and De-Regulation

As a business person I appreciate the drive to de-regulate. Businesses are the engines of growth in our economy and it is important to ensure that there is an environment where they can thrive. This translates to high employment and better living standards for all. The problem now, though, is that in our President’s thrust for de-regulation, many things have gone on hold and are likely to be rolled back. One of them is the protection against Horse Soring.

Horse Soring is one of the most cruel abuses against horses in the name of profit. It includes placing shards of glass, nails and burning chemicals such as acid in the hoofs of Tennessee walking horses, and related breeds, to cause them to lift their legs high in an unnatural gait, called The Big Lick. The horses are then forced them to walk on four-inch stacks while chains bang against their sores to them to exaggerate their steps in front of judges of the shows.

Congress, in 1970, passed the Horse Protection Act in an attempt to outlaw this barbaric practice, but there were so many loopholes that it didn’t protect them. The HSUS, and veterinarian organizations everywhere, have been fighting this practice since the 1950s.

Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration

In 2010 the USDA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) released a two-year study that exposed how trainers in the industry evade detection and continue to use horrific practices to attain the Big Lick. It concluded that stiffer penalties were necessary for offenders and an overhaul of the USDA’s regulations were necessary. The self-policing system in place clearly did not work. There was enormous bi-partisan support in the House and the Senate.

As a result of bureaucratic bungling, the Office of the Federal Register failed to publish the rule in a timely manner  and the rule got swept up in a broader Trump administration policy to freeze any rulemaking actions still in progress.  The USDA has now withdrawn this rulemaking action and the horse abusers are free to continue the abuses. This rule would have saved the horse by eliminating the failed system of industry self-policing.

This is a good example of why waving a wand of de-regulation does not work in every instance. There are too many unscrupulous animal abusers who can only be stopped by enacting laws to prevent their actions. If you agree, please call your Senator to let him/her know that you want Horse Soring stopped and to support any rules that would make this  happen. These beautiful creatures need us to protect them. Click here to find your Senator’s contact information to make a quick call:  Senator List