Animal Advocacy

ANIMAL WELFARE DATA

posted February 8th, 2017 by
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ANIMAL WELFARE DATA

USDA SENDS ANIMAL WELFARE DATA INTO DARK HOLE

 

Kirkpatrick Foundation Renounces USDA Action that Removes All Animal Welfare Protection Data

Animal experts, advocates, and researchers underscore the need for continuing the USDA’s decades-long transparency.

 

Last Friday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that inspection reports, annual reports, and other information on facilities holding animals protected under the Animal Welfare Act and the Horse Protection Act will no longer be available through searches of Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s (APHIS) online database. These files have been available for easy and ready research for decades until last Friday’s swift action to hide them.

Kirkpatrick Foundation strongly repudiates this action and urges the USDA to return all data to online access, believing animal welfare reports on the USDA’s online database are essential to maintaining transparency in the interest of animal welfare. The foundation is concerned that the USDA will issue further orders to remove data on the humane handling of livestock compliance and enforcement actions and food safety violations.

This action essentially eliminates the public’s ability to know what is occurring in nearly 9,000 facilities across the U.S. including animal breeders, dealers, exhibitors, transporters, and taxpayer-funded animal research facilities. These reports will now be accessible only through Freedom of Information Act requests, which can take years for approval.

In Oklahoma, more than 260 facilities and individuals have licenses or registrations under the Animal Welfare Act including dog and cat breeders, zoos, exotic animal parks, and research institutions. Information obtained through searches of APHIS’s online database was an essential component of research gathered for The Oklahoma Animal Study, published by Kirkpatrick Foundation in 2016. Principal Investigator Kristy Wicker says that there would have been no way to determine the number, location, and status of animals located in the state or even fact-check information without access to the database. http://kirkpatrickfoundation.com/uploads//the-oklahoma-animal-study-final.pdf

Louisa McCune, editor of the report and executive director of Kirkpatrick Foundation, concurs. “The Oklahoma Animal Study is a landmark report on the condition of Oklahoma animals that would have been impossible to achieve given this new action by the USDA. Anti-humane corporate interests who wish to shield information about these practices are undoubtedly behind this government action.”

Adds Wicker, “This information is vital to understanding the welfare of animals in our state. Without it we would have no way to respond quickly and effectively to reports of animal abuse such as those that came to light in recent years at Oklahoma research labs and roadside zoos. The public cares about these issues, but without ready access to this information, there is little accountability and much would go undetected.”

Kirkpatrick Foundation program associate Manda Shank, co-author of The Oklahoma Animal Study, attended the Animal Welfare Act at 50 Conference at Harvard University two months ago in December 2016. The federal law, signed by Lyndon Johnson in 1966, is the only law that regulates the treatment of animals in research and exhibition. “Friday’s action contradicts the spirit of the Animal Welfare Act,” she says. “ The AWA is designed to protect animals and this shadowing of data does just the opposite.”

The foundation echoes the statement of National Geographic: “These records have revealed many cases of abuse and mistreatment of animals, incidents that, if the reports had not been publicly posted, would likely have remained hidden. This action plunges journalists, animal welfare organizations, and the public at large into the dark about animal welfare at facilities across the country. The records document violations of the Animal Welfare Act, the federal law that regulates treatment of animals used for research and exhibition. The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), which has maintained the online database, cites privacy concerns as justification for the removal. Critics question that reasoning. The agency has long redacted sensitive information from these records, and commercial facilities do not necessarily have the same right to privacy as private individuals.”

 

You can access a PDF of the 2.8.17 press release, here. Also please visit our Kirkpatrick Foundation’s webpage for more information about Safe & Humane and he Oklahoma Animal Study.

Program Associate Manda Shank can be reached by calling (405) 608-0934 or email [email protected]

A New Year

posted January 25th, 2017 by
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Looking Back

A New Year – A New Home –A New Job

A New YearLate last year, when they were calling me “Sasha,” I went to live with Gail for a few months.   She was my foster Mom while I had the treatment for heart-worms.  I knew I was a lucky girl, so I did everything she asked of me.  What she didn’t know is that I really wanted to just be her “girl.”

Four months later, my treatment is through, she’s decided she really wants to call me Sugar and yes she’s realized I need to be the newest member of her family.  Gail has had lots of medical challenges and I learned that the most important thing I could do was sit quietly beside her in her recliner so she would know she wasn’t alone.  It worked – it really worked.  She’s all better now and I’m an important person in her life.

Gail has a giving heart so she decided to visit people who were in hospice care.  One day I learned a gentleman, who’d seen my picture, wanted to pet me.  So, Gail took me to meet him.  I knew I had to be on my best behavior with all the people, the staff and any other four-legged friend I might meet.  I passed the test and spent 45 minutes with the gentleman so he could gently stroke my coat and I could give him comfort.

So now Gail and I are frequent visitors. We know we’re spreading happiness and giving people a chance to enjoy my company.  Yes, this is our picture. 

Second Chances

posted December 31st, 2016 by
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Looking Back

Second Chances

We all get second chances and, most of the time, we learn the lesson and try to not get caught again or, best case scenario – we don’t do it again.

First hand, I’ve seen the benefit of second chances for both homeless dogs and inmates.  Sarge, the grouchy/growly schnauzer got a second chance training with Mr. Miller in the prison program at Lexington.  Today, Sarge reigns supreme at the Norman Veteran’s Center – he greets you at the door, rides the elevator and visits with everyone.

On Monday, the 19th, I had the privilege of watching inmates from NOCC work hard, help dogs and puppies coming into PAAS headed to Colorado, and see the smiles on the inmate faces and the happy/wagging tails of the dogs as they were unloaded from partner rescues.

We certainly appreciated all the help and the dogs most assuredly loved the attention.

Looking back at 2016, PAAS has transported 1100+ dogs to our partner – Denver Dumb Friends League.  In addition, we’ve implemented a Trap/Neuter/Release of feral cats, worked with law enforcement and other rescues to save abused/neglected dogs and started an effective low-cost, income verified, program for unaltered pets.

Along with our training program at the Northeast Oklahoma Correctional Center, we’re making a difference.

We’re a 501(c)(3), non-profit organization.  Donations are tax-deductible, appreciated and play a key role in our continuing work to save thousands of homeless dogs and cats who have no voice.

Blaze’s Tribute

posted December 30th, 2016 by
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Blaze's

Blaze's Tribute

Thank you,
Natalee & Shawn Cross
Blaze’s Tribute Equine Rescue, Inc.,
Jones, Oklahoma 73049
405-399-3084 www.blazesequinerescue.com
[email protected]

Please watch our short video about who we are and the work we do on a daily basis. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3SkqZy8lQm4

Follow us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/login.php?next=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fhome.php#/pages/Blazes-Tribute-Equine-Rescue-Inc/281046378744?ref=ts

There’s No Place Like Home

posted December 17th, 2016 by
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Looking Back

There’s No Place Like Home

The holiday season is extremely tough for everyone in rescue.  We look into the soulful, scared, eyes of a homeless dog or cat and realize we can’t save all of them, we won’t find homes for all of them before Christmas and – – even more tragic – the phone calls and owner surrenders will inundate us shortly after the first of the year.

It was brought home to us at PAAS this week.  Someone had to owner/surrender their beloved cat, the cat knows something awful has happened, and while it has a nice place to live, food, water and companionship – – it isn’t home. 

Then, there’s the story (in many different versions) of why someone needs to surrender their pets.  No matter how the story starts, the ending is always the same – they can’t/won’t keep the pets and they want to give them to a rescue.  Like all the rescues, we’ll say “yes” to as many as possible, but we also know we won’t be able to say that magical word to everyone.

Certainly pit bulls bear the brunt of this awful decision and we can’t find a viable solution.  Each time I see someone advertising beautiful pit bull puppies for sale, free, trade – my heart sinks.  We know too many of them will not find a forever home.

So, this Christmas, hug your family and your pets.  Enjoy the holidays.  Please, please, please do not give anyone a pet for Christmas unless they’ve specifically asked for one and you are willing to ensure the animal has a home – no matter what. 

There’s truly no place like home and that’s the wish we have for all the homeless, unwanted, lovable, sad, funny, big, little dogs and cats in our shelters – – – that they find a new home.  To date, since we opened, in April last year, we’ve touched the lives of 2,050+ dogs and cats – – it feels good – – but our work isn’t done. 

Kay Stout, Director 

PAAS Vinita

[email protected]

918-256-7227

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Holiday Safety Tips

posted December 11th, 2016 by
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Holiday Safety

Holiday Safety Tips for Pet Owners

With the holidays comes visits to Grandmas, and Grandma visiting you.  As we go through the holidays, keep these tips in mind to keep your pet out of the emergency room!

Keep a close eye on wrapped gifts.  We often don’t think about our pets unwrapping presents but with a keen sense of smell, any kind of food or treats wrapped under the tree can become a toxic nightmare for your pet.  Keep any kind of food out of reach of your pets.

Salt can cause life threatening imbalances for pets.  Products like ice melt, salt dough ornaments (even dry) and homemade play dough can all be tempting but terrible treats for animals.

Snow Globes are a common holiday decoration but they contain ethylene glycol which is deadly to animals.  Keep snow globes out of reach for pets and kids! 

Holiday plants can be toxic to dogs.  Keep them in mind when giving a gift to an animal loving friend or when having these in your home:  Lilies, Poinsettias, Mistletoe and Holly.

Make sure everyone keeps their medications out of the pets reach as many human meds can be toxic and dangerous to our fur babies.

Guests can be stressful for animals.  Do your best to keep your pet’s normal schedule and feeding routines.

Do not allow guests or don’t you give into the temptation to feed your pets table food.  The spices and other flavors we add to food can be dangerous to our pets.