Crackdowns on breeding, success with shelter neutering–while good things–could leave future veterinary clients without a source for pet dogs.
It’s been six months since the U.S. Department of Agriculture implemented rules to bring Internet breeders within the scope of its animal welfare standards governing dog breeders. This is the latest initiative by federal and state governments to clamp down on puppy mills. We have also seen more cities join the growing roster of jurisdictions banning the retail sale of dogs.
We also know that euthanasia rates in shelters continue to decline across the country, reflecting the dramatic success of a broad grassroots initiative in every region to expand the number of spays and neuters performed on shelter dogs. It is the rare shelter that is not addressing this issue in some manner. Is the job finished? No, but everyone in the animal welfare world should celebrate the significant gains to date.
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Two bills affecting veterinarians may have tanked because of their redundancy.
At about the same time that the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and United Egg Producers (UEP) announced the end of their ill-fated partnership, U.S. Rep. Jim Matheson (D-Utah) introduced H.R. 4023 in Congress to little fanfare. This bill is the 2014 version of the self-styled Fairness to Pet Owners Act—H.R. 1406 in the last legislative session. So what do we make of this? While neither action on its face had anything to do with the other, in some manner their fates were linked. Let’s explore.
After losing battles in 2011 to impose cage-free standards for egg production in the Oregon and Washington state legislatures, HSUS rose from political ashes and stunned the animal welfare and food animal universe by announcing its alliance with UEP. The two organizations helped introduce federal legislation to impose not cage-free standards but enriched colony standards—standards that closely resembled those HSUS had opposed in the states.
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