Ambassadors Georgina Bloomberg, Brianne Goutal, Hayley Barnhill, Jessica Springsteen, Stacia Madden and Jennifer Gates will help raise awareness about equine welfare and pet adoption

NEW YORK—For the ninth consecutive year, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) will partner with the Hampton Classic Horse Show to raise awareness of critical animal welfare issues and find loving homes for local shelter animals, including dogs, cats, and horses. The ASPCA will be joined by ASPCA Equine Welfare Ambassadors and top international riders Georgina Bloomberg, Brianne Goutal, Hayley Barnhill, Jessica Springsteen, Stacia Madden and the newest ambassador, Jennifer Gates. The group will host two events during the week-long horse show, held in Bridgehampton from August 23-30: ASPCA Adoption & Animal Welfare Day on Monday, August 24, and the “Be Their Voice” ASPCA Equine Welfare Town Hall on Wednesday, August 26.

“We are proud to team up with the Hampton Classic Horse Show once again to raise awareness about critical equine welfare issues and help find loving homes for animals in need,” said Nancy Perry, senior vice president of ASPCA Government Relations. “The protection of horses has been a core part of the ASPCA mission since our founding nearly 150 years ago and we look forward to partnering with our Equine Welfare Ambassadors to share that passion with the equine community and spectators of the show to encourage them to serve as a voice for animals."

The ASPCA Equine Welfare Ambassadors will join award-winning animal advocate and network correspondent Jill Rappaport to host the Sixth Annual ASPCA Adoption & Animal Welfare Day on Monday, August 24. This event will focus on helping rescued horses, dogs and cats find permanent homes, and several local animal shelters and rescue groups will have animals on site throughout the day, including formerly wild mustangs who now serve as ambassadors for wild horses. Participating groups include:

  • Gimme Shelter Animal Rescue
  • Ruff House Rescue
  • Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons (ARF)
  • Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation
  • Tails of Courage
  • Last Chance Animal Rescue
  • Brookhaven Animal Shelter and Adoption Center
  • Kaeli Kramer Foundation Horse Rescue and Sanctuary
  • SquirrelWood Equine Sanctuary, Inc.
  • Lucky Orphans Horse Rescue
  • Spirits Promise Equine Rescue Program
  • Our Farm Equine Rescue
  • The Cana Project
  • Akindale Thoroughbred Rescue
  • Second Chance Thoroughbreds, Inc.

“It means so much to be a voice for animals who need our help, and I am excited to join the ASPCA at the Hampton Classic this year to raise awareness, inspire action and find homes for animals,” said Jessica Springsteen, ASPCA Equine Welfare Ambassador.

The newest ASPCA Ambassador, Jennifer Gates, said, “As an equestrian and life-long animal lover, I am honored to lend my voice to this worthy cause.”

At the ASPCA’s “Be Their Voice” Equine Welfare Town Hall on Wednesday, August 26, the Ambassadors will join ASPCA experts to discuss critical issues impacting horses today, including horse slaughter, homelessness and neglect, inspiring attendees to help make a difference.

Other highlights during the week include the ‘Jump for the ASPCA’ fundraiser, sponsored by a generous donor, which will trigger a donation to the ASPCA to help animals in need every time a rider clears the ASPCA fence on the show grounds. Visiting public figures and top riders are invited to join the ASPCA throughout the week at the “ASPCA Patio and Animal Advocacy Station” located near the VIP parking and across from the public grandstand of the Grand Prix Ring, where they can take part in ”#Voices4Horses selfies” to raise awareness and inspire action for horse welfare.

The ASPCA’s long history of equine protection includes supporting equine welfare through legislation, advocacy, rescue, and targeted grants. In 2014, the ASPCA awarded over $1.1 million in grants to support 169 equine rescues and sanctuaries across the country. The grants were primarily awarded as part of the ASPCA Equine Fund, which provides life-saving resources – including financial assistance, in-person and online training, and sharing of best practices – to support non-profit equine welfare organizations.

To learn more about the ASPCA or to join the Advocacy Brigade, please visit www.aspca.org

For more information on the Hampton Classic, please visit www.hamptonclassic.com.

About the ASPCA® Founded in 1866, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the first animal welfare organization in North America and serves as the nation’s leading voice for animals. More than two million supporters strong, the ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. For more information, please visit www.ASPCA.org, and be sure to follow the ASPCA on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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New campaign and online video encourage the public to support stronger federal animal fighting sentencing guidelines

To view the ASPCA’s video, please visit: [http://www.aspca.org/GetTough]

NEW YORK— Following today’s commendable decision by the U.S. Sentencing Commission (USSC) to consider revising the federal sentencing guidelines for animal fighting, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is launching a campaign -- including a compelling new video -- urging the public to actively support stronger sentencing guidelines.

The current sentencing guidelines do not reflect the maximum penalty allowed under federal law, which can discourage federal prosecutors from pursuing animal fighting charges that may only yield a sentence as paltry as six months in jail.

“The current guidelines for dog fighting are woefully inadequate, and don’t come close to matching the heightened seriousness with which Congress, law enforcement, and the public view this barbaric activity,” said Matt Bershadker, ASPCA President & CEO. “By proposing to amend the animal fighting guidelines, the U.S. Sentencing Commission moves us one step closer to giving judges the tools they need to punish these criminals more appropriately, as well as to deter potential criminals.”

In 2008, Congress acknowledged the depravity of dog fighting by increasing the maximum penalty for participating in animal fighting from 3 to 5 years. They again strengthened animal fighting statutes a few years later when they made attending an animal fight a federal offense and added additional penalties for bringing a child. However, federal sentencing guidelines have not been updated to include these increased penalties, creating a discrepancy between what is allowed under federal law and what is expressed in sentencing guidelines. As a result, convicted dog fighters are receiving unacceptably weak sentences.

To help raise awareness about the need for stronger sentences, the ASPCA has released a video as part of their #GetTough campaign to crack down on animal fighting. Featuring interviews with the public, the video reveals the surprise and disappointment of average Americans once they become aware of the terrible disparity between horrific animal crimes and their inadequate penalties.

“This video clearly illustrates the strong public sentiment that dog fighting is a vicious blood sport that should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” said Nancy Perry, senior vice president of ASPCA Government Relations. “Congress already spoke up on behalf of animals when they strengthened the federal laws on animal fighting, and we hope the U.S. Sentencing Commission will follow their lead.”

Dog fighting is a felony in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Although illegal everywhere in the U.S., dog fighting still occurs in every part of the country and in every type of community.  For more information on the ASPCA’s #GetTough campaign and their work to end dog fighting, please visit http://www.aspca.org/GetTough.

About the ASPCA® Founded in 1866, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the first animal welfare organization in North America and serves as the nation’s leading voice for animals. More than two million supporters strong, the ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. For more information, please visit www.ASPCA.org, and be sure to follow the ASPCA on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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--On June 27, Animal Planet, the ASPCA® and PAWS Chicago Present a Free Festival Hosted by Eugene Mirman and Featuring Stars from Animal Planet’s PIT BULLS AND PAROLEES, MY CAT FROM HELL, TREETOP CAT RESCUE, DOGS 101, Lil BUB, Manny the Frenchie and Music from JC Brooks and Uptown Sound and The Suffers--

--Register for WOOFSTOCK Today at AnimalPlanetWoofstock.comand Use Hashtag #WoofstockAPL--

--Bring Your Furry Friends and Help Set the Guinness World Record for Largest Gathering of Adopted Pets--

 

(Silver Spring, MD)-It’s widely known that Clap Your Hands Say Yeah is one of the most renowned and influential independent bands of the last decade, however, it’s less known that they love animals as much as they love music.  That’s why they are headlining the first ever WOOFSTOCK: ROAD TO PUPPY BOWL in Chicago on June 27.  WOOFSTOCK: ROAD TO PUPPY BOWL is a free festival hosted by Eugene Mirman (Bob’s Burgers) at the Stadium Green at Soldier Field from 12:00 PM to 5:00 PM and is open to the general public - and their dogs.

Individuals with rescued dogs are encouraged to being their furry friends, as we attempt to break the Guinness World Record for “largest gathering of adopted pets,” at 2:30 PM. For specific rules and guidelines for the World Record attempt and to register for WOOFSTOCK please visit AnimalPlanetWoofstock.com. WOOFSTOCK is presented with special support from AT&T U-verse®, which carries Animal Planet on Channel 252 in SD/1252 in HD, as well as PAWS Chicago, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®), Lagunitas Brewing Company, and DogVacay.

The main stage hosted by Mirman offers a full day of entertainment featuring Animal Planet stars; including MY CAT FROM HELL’s Jackson Galaxy, PIT BULLS AND PAROLEES’ Mariah, Kanani and Moe, Shaun Sears and Tom Otto from TREETOP CAT RESCUE; as well as some other spectacular bands, including JC Brooks and Uptown Sound and The Suffers.  The day also offers additional surprises and animal attractions; including pet advice from Andrea Arden of DOGS 101, a Puppy Bowl reenactment, and special appearances by internet sensations Lil BUB and Manny the Frenchie.

Beyond the stage, WOOFSTOCK features an array of attractions, including “The Beer Sanctuary” presented by Lagunitas.  A collection of Chicago’s finest food trucks also will be onsite to delight a diverse array of pallets and appetites.  Four legged guests will have a ball with doggie obstacle courses, pet swag bags, and booths from PAWS Chicago, the ASPCA, and DogVacay.  Your dog also will have the photo op of a lifetime at the replica PUPPY BOWL field.

Throughout the event, homeless pets will take center stage, as PAWS Chicago hosts on-site adoptions featuring more than 40 dogs and puppies waiting to find their rock star families.  The WOOFSTOCK celebration continues throughout the weekend at PAWS Chicago’s Lincoln Park and North Shore Adoption Centers, where Animal Planet will cover adoption fees for special “Rock Star” dogs and cats.   Check the PAWS Chicago website for details.

WOOFSTOCK is the culmination of a successful 17-city ROAD TO PUPPY BOWL tour that found forever homes for more than one thousand animals from Baltimore to San Francisco. So, mark your calendars today, as Animal Planet, the ASPCA® and PAWS Chicago will bring together thousands Chicagoans, dog owners and pet lovers for an unforgettable event!

For updates leading into WOOFSTOCK visit Facebook.com/AnimalPlanet and Facebook.com/PuppyBowl. And, follow @AnimalPlanet on Instagram and Twitter for all #WoofstockAPL information. 

Seven equine rescues receive grants to recognize their efforts to protect horses

NEW YORK—The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today revealed the seven winners of the 2015 ASPCA Help a Horse Day contest, a nationwide grant competition for equine rescues and sanctuaries to raise awareness about the year-round work they do to save and care for at-risk horses. The three grand prize winners received $10,000 each, while the runners up were awarded $5,000 to support their ongoing efforts to protect horses. The winning groups include:

$10,000 Grand Prize Winners:

  • All About Equine Animal Rescue, El Dorado Hills, Calif.
  • Horses of Tir Na Nog, San Diego, Calif.
  • The Pegasus Project, Ben Wheeler, TX

$5,000 Prize Winners:

  • Freedom Hill Horse Rescue, Owings, Md.
  • Horse Haven of Tennessee Inc., Knoxville, Tenn.
  • Livestock and Equine Awareness and Rescue Network (LEARN), Meggett, S.C.
  • RVR Horse Rescue Inc., Riverview, Fla.

“In only its second year, the ASPCA Help a Horse Day celebration has grown to include even more groups, and we are thrilled to see the energy and effort that went into engaging their communities and spreading their message about how to protect horses,” said Jacque Schultz, senior director of the ASPCA Equine Fund. “The winning rescue groups embody the spirit and hope behind ASPCA Help a Horse Day and we are pleased to award them these grants to help pay for the vital services they provide every day of the year.”

More than 100 equine rescue groups held events across 33 states during the weekend of April 24-26, and the winners were selected based on the creativity of their events, as well as their success engaging their local communities. This year’s winning events included a Ponypalooza event for families with games and prizes, which also featured members of the U.S. Air Force and local Boy Scout troops engaging in a shelter construction project; a family carnival with pony rides and a “Muggin’ with the Mule” photo booth; the creation of a Help a Horse Posse and Sponsorship program that allowed community members to sponsor horses; and Dancing for the Horses, which paired local celebrities with professional dancers to compete in honor of a rescued horse. One group even hosted an aviation festival in keeping with their theme of giving rescue horses their wings.  Participating rescues also worked to recruit new volunteers, expand their support base, collect donated supplies, and find homes for adoptable horses.

ASPCA Help a Horse Day is celebrated annually on April 26 – a date chosen for its significance to the ASPCA’s long history of horse protection. In 1866, ASPCA founder Henry Bergh stopped a cart driver from beating his horse, resulting in the first successful arrest for horse mistreatment on April 26 of that year. The protection of horses has been a core part of the ASPCA mission ever since, which includes supporting equine welfare legislation, public advocacy, professional development, horse rescue, and targeted grants.

In addition to the grants contest, the ASPCA also launched a petition on TakePart.com, which has generated over 24,000 signatures, urging the U.S. Congress to pass a federal ban on horse slaughter. Each year, approximately 150,000 American horses are purchased and trucked to Mexico and Canada to be slaughtered for human consumption. The vast majority of these horses (92 percent, according to the USDA) are in good physical condition and could go on to lead productive lives in loving homes. Horse slaughter is especially inhumane because horses, skittish by nature, are extremely difficult to render unconscious before slaughter.

For more information on the ASPCA’s efforts to protect horses, please visit http://www.aspca.org/get-involved/horses.

About the ASPCA® Founded in 1866, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the first animal welfare organization in North America and serves as the nation’s leading voice for animals. More than two million supporters strong, the ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. For more information, please visit www.ASPCA.org, and be sure to follow the ASPCA on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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NEW YORK—The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is profoundly disappointed by the North Carolina Legislature’s decision to cater to abusive industries and put animals, children, the elderly, and veterans in jeopardy by overriding HB 405, a dangerous ag-gag bill that will prevent whistleblowing employees from exposing illegal or unethical activities happening at any business.

“The ASPCA is deeply troubled by the veto override of HB 405, which will silence whistleblowers and keep North Carolina residents in the dark about horrific abuses that take place on factory farms,” said Matt Bershadker, ASPCA President & CEO. “Siding against the public and allowing unscrupulous farmers and businesses to keep their atrocities secret is a shameful decision that hurts responsible businesses and stains the integrity of the state legislature.”

The Legislature’s decision to override Gov. McCrory’s veto of HB 405 ignores the concerns of their constituents, as a recent poll revealed that 74 percent of North Carolina voters support undercover investigations by animal welfare groups on farms. In addition to strong opposition from the public, a broad coalition of dozens of farmers and advocacy groups, including the AARP and the Wounded Warrior Project, voiced their opposition to the bill.

Celebrities including North Carolina’s own Andie MacDowell, Leilani Munter, and Bellamy Young, as well as Martha Stewart, Kesha, Nikki Reed, Eric McCormack, Amy Acker, and Katherine Schwarzenegger also called for the governor’s veto. Editorials in the top five state newspapers argued against the bill, citing the dangers of covering up abuse and the need for transparency in industries where the most vulnerable in our society are often at great risk of harm.

The ASPCA expresses thanks to Gov. McCrory for his justified veto of this dangerous bill and to Sen. Josh Stein (D-Wake), and Reps. Pricey Harrison (D-Guilford), Becky Carney (D-Mecklenburg), and Grier Martin (D-Wake) for speaking against the bill.

For more information about the ASPCA and to join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade, please visit www.aspca.org.

About the ASPCA® Founded in 1866, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the first animal welfare organization in North America and serves as the nation’s leading voice for animals. More than two million supporters strong, the ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. For more information, please visit www.ASPCA.org, and be sure to follow the ASPCA on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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NEW YORK—The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today commends North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory for vetoing HB 405, a dangerous ag-gag bill that would have prevented whistleblowers from exposing animal cruelty and food safety issues on factory farms. This bill was so far-reaching that it also threatened to prevent nurses from revealing elder abuse in hospitals or nursing homes, teachers from exposing child abuse at day cares, and workers from documenting workplace discrimination or mistreatment.

“HB 405 was an insidious attempt to silence whistleblowers and keep North Carolina residents in the dark about horrific animal abuse on industrial farms, but Governor McCrory sent a powerful message by vetoing this dangerous bill,” said Chloe Waterman, senior manager of state legislative strategy for the ASPCA. “Ag-gag has no place in North Carolina, and the ASPCA thanks Governor McCrory for standing up for the 74 percent of North Carolinians that support undercover investigations and the responsible farmers and businesses whose reputations would have been tarnished by this deplorable measure.”

Despite that strong public opposition and the release of an undercover video that showed shocking cruelty at a North Carolina chicken slaughterhouse, state lawmakers voted in favor of this bill. Recognizing the dangers of a food system without transparency, North Carolina residents quickly appealed to the Governor for a veto alongside a broad coalition of dozens of interest groups and farmers who voiced their opposition to the bill. In addition, newspapers from around the state editorialized against the bill and celebrities including Martha Stewart, Kesha, Nikki Reed, Eric McCormack, Amy Acker, Katherine Schwarzenegger and Andie MacDowell also called for the governor’s veto on social media.

“North Carolina is one of the leading producers of poultry and pork in the U.S. so their animal products could end up on anyone’s dinner plate,” said Daisy Freund, senior manager of Farm Animal Welfare for the ASPCA. “Ag-gag bills affect everyone, no matter where they live. Those concerned with animal abuse on factory farms and food safety issues need to remain vigilant in letting their state legislators know that they do not support the passage of dangerous ag-gag bills.”

For more information about the ASPCA and to join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade, please visit www.aspca.org.

About the ASPCA® Founded in 1866, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the first animal welfare organization in North America and serves as the nation’s leading voice for animals. More than two million supporters strong, the ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. For more information, please visit www.ASPCA.org, and be sure to follow the ASPCA on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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NEW YORK—The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today announced that it is accepting nominations for the 2015 ASPCA Humane Awards and invites the public to contribute submissions. The Humane Awards honor animal heroes as well as individuals who have made a significant impact on the lives of animals during the year. The ASPCA is accepting nominations via its website at www.aspca.org/halnominations.
“The ASPCA Humane Awards celebrates the unique bond between people and pets by honoring individuals committed to the protection of animals, as well as dogs and cats whose experiences represent the urgency behind our mission,” said ASPCA President & CEO Matt Bershadker. “We’re looking for stories that deserve attention and can inspire people across the country to be a voice for animals in crisis.”
Last year’s winners include a dog rescued in the 2007 Bad Newz Kennels dog fighting investigation who went on to become a therapy dog for terminally-ill children; a formerly sick and emaciated cat found on the side of the road who now offers comfort to psychiatric patients in a Washington state hospital; a selfless 11-year-old girl who used her one wish to help animals while battling a cancerous brain tumor; a U.S. Congressman who was one of Capitol Hill’s strongest voices for animal welfare throughout his twelve terms; a police department that entered into a ground-breaking partnership to enforce anti-cruelty laws in the largest city in America; and a woman dedicated to keeping vulnerable pets with their owners by providing them with life-saving resources and services.
ASPCA Humane Awards winners will be invited to attend the ASPCA Humane Awards Luncheon—sponsored by the Hartville Group Inc., provider of ASPCA Pet Health Insurance—on Thursday, November 12, at Cipriani 42nd Street, New York City, where the awards will be presented.
Categories open for nomination include:

  • ASPCA Dog of the Year:For a dog who has performed a heroic act in the past year;
  • ASPCA Cat of the Year: For a cat who has performed a heroic act in the past year;
  • ASPCA “Tommy P. Monahan” Kid of the Year:  For a child under 14 who has improved the lives of animals
  • ASPCA Public Service Award: For a public service officer or official who has made a heroic effort to save an animal in the past year, or has demonstrated a commitment to animal welfare throughout his or her career.

All submissions must include the nominee’s name, street address, email address, telephone number, the category for which he/she is being nominated, and a short statement (400 words or less) of why this person or animal deserves the award. 
The deadline for entries is Friday, July 3, 2015. Winners will be chosen by a committee selected by the ASPCA and announced to the public in mid-October. For more information, please visit www.aspca.org/HAL    
About the ASPCA® Founded in 1866, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the first animal welfare organization in North America and serves as the nation’s leading voice for animals. More than two million supporters strong, the ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. For more information, please visitwww.ASPCA.org, and be sure to follow the ASPCA on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.
About Hartville Group, Inc. The Humane Awards Luncheon is sponsored by Hartville Pet Insurance Group, a member of the Crum & Forster Enterprise. Crum & Forster is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Fairfax Financial Holdings, Ltd. Hartville is the ASPCA®'s only strategic partner for pet insurance and one of the oldest and largest pet insurance carriers in the US. Through this partnership with the ASPCA®, Hartville developed the ASPCA Pet Health Insurance program to help pet parents across the country afford quality veterinary care for their pets. ASPCA Pet Health Insurance plans embody the mission of the ASPCA® by helping pets receive the medical care necessary to live long and happy lives with their human families. The ASPCA® chose Hartville as its strategic partner because of Hartville’s commitment to pet health and its humane coverage philosophy. For more information, please visit www.aspcapetinsurance.com.

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ASPCA urges North Carolina lawmakers to vote no on ag-gag bill

NEW YORK—The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is urging North Carolina lawmakers to reject HB 405, legislation that would prevent whistleblowers from exposing animal cruelty, food safety violations and other factory farm atrocities the public deserves to know about. In a newly released poll conducted by Lake Research Partners, 74 percent of North Carolina voters say they support undercover investigations by animal welfare groups on farms. Furthermore, by a margin of nearly 3 to 1, North Carolina voters oppose legislation that would prevent these undercover investigations. Opposition to this bill is strong across all parties, regions, and demographics. HB 405, which passed the House of Representatives in April, is expected to be heard by the Senate Committee on Commerce today.

“North Carolina residents are clearly appalled by HB 405, an insidious attempt to cover up horrific abuse on factory farms,” said Chloe Waterman, senior manager of state legislative strategy for the ASPCA. “The ASPCA urges the North Carolina Senate to take heed of the strong desire of its constituents to know what is happening behind barn doors by defeating HB 405.”

This ag-gag bill threatens to cover up not only horrific animal abuse and food safety problems, but also illegal or unethical environmental and labor violations at any business. HB 405 is so far-reaching that it could even prevent nurses from revealing elder abuse in hospitals and nursing homes, teachers from exposing child abuse in day care centers, and employees from documenting workplace discrimination or mistreatment.

Last week, the animal welfare group, Compassion Over Killing, released footage from an undercover investigation at a North Carolina chicken slaughterhouse. Filmed during March and April 2015, this video captured workers violently tossing birds across the facility, slamming birds upside down into moving shackles, and throwing sick and injured birds in with piles of dead birds as if they were trash. If HB 405 were to become law, investigations documenting this type of cruelty would never see the light of day. Past investigations of industrial farms have led to major food recalls, criminal convictions and critical reforms.

“North Carolinians value farm animal welfare and a safe food supply and this poll shows that they respect the role of whistleblowers in our society,” said Daisy Freund, senior manager of Farm Animal Welfare for the ASPCA. “The ASPCA hopes lawmakers listen to their constituents and protect their right to know how their food is produced.”

In an effort to bring more transparency to practices on factory farms, the ASPCA recently launched the #OpenTheBarns campaign, a rallying cry for advocates representing interests as diverse as animal welfare, food, safety, workers’ rights, environmental protection and civil liberties. The social media campaign encourages advocates to share their reasons to “open the barns” and protect the public’s right to know what happens on farms.

To learn more about the ASPCA or to join the Advocacy Brigade, please visit www.aspca.org.

About the ASPCA® Founded in 1866, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the first animal welfare organization in North America and serves as the nation’s leading voice for animals. More than two million supporters strong, the ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. For more information, please visit www.ASPCA.org, and be sure to follow the ASPCA on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Animal welfare organizations support Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act  

WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 22, 2015) — Federal lawmakers today introduced legislation to prevent the establishment of horse slaughter operations within the U.S., end the current export of American horses for slaughter abroad, and protect the public from consuming toxic horse meat. The Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act, H.R. 1942, was introduced by Reps. Frank Guinta (R-N.H.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.), and Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-N.M.). The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®), the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), The Humane Society of the United States and The Humane Society Legislative Fund announced their enthusiastic support for the legislation.
Last year, more than 140,000 American horses were slaughtered for human consumption in foreign countries. The animals often suffer long journeys to slaughter plants in Canada and Mexico without adequate food, water or rest. At the slaughterhouse, horses are  brutally forced into a “kill box” and shot in the head with a captive bolt gun in an attempt to stun them before slaughter—a process that can be inaccurate due to the biology and nature of equines and result in animals sustaining repeated blows or remaining conscious during the kill process.
“For centuries, horses have embodied the spirit of American freedom and pride,” said Rep. Guinta. “To that end, horses are not raised for food – permitting their transportation for the purposes of being slaughtered for human consumption is not consistent with our values and results in a dangerously toxic product.  This bipartisan bill seeks to prevent and end the inhumane and dangerous process of transporting thousands of horses a year for food.”
“Horses sent to slaughter are often subject to appalling, brutal treatment,” said Rep. Schakowsky. “We must fight those practices. The SAFE Act of 2015 will ensure that these majestic animals are treated with the respect they deserve.”
“The slaughter of horses for human consumption is an absolute travesty that must be stopped,” said Rep. Buchanan.  “This bipartisan measure will finally put an end to this barbaric practice.”
"Horse slaughter is an inhumane practice that causes great pain and distress to the animals, and poses numerous environmental and food safety concerns,” said Rep. Lujan Grisham. “The vast majority of my constituents oppose horse slaughter. I'm proud to support the SAFE Act to ban this cruelty once and for all."
The SAFE Act would also protect consumers from dangerous American horse meat, which can be toxic to humans due to the unregulated administration of drugs to horses. Because horses are not raised for food, they are routinely given hundreds of toxic drugs and chemical treatments over their lifetimes that are prohibited by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in animals intended for human consumption. Those drugs, although safe for horses, are potentially toxic to humans if consumed. In December 2014, the European Union (EU) announced its suspension of imports of horse meat from Mexico after a scathing audit of EU-certified Mexican horse slaughter plants, which kill tens of thousands of American horses each year. Additionally, the discovery of horse meat in beef products in Europe shocked consumers and raised concerns about the potential impact on American food industries.
The ASPCA, AWI, and The HSUS encourage the public to contact their U.S. representatives and urge them to cosponsor the SAFE Act, H.R. 1942, in order to protect America’s horses and overall consumer health from horse slaughter.

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About the ASPCA® Founded in 1866, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the first animal welfare organization in North America and serves as the nation’s leading voice for animals. More than two million supporters strong, the ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. For more information, please visit www.ASPCA.org, and be sure to follow the ASPCA on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

About AWI The Animal Welfare Institute (www.awionline.org) is a non-profit charitable organization founded in 1951 and dedicated to reducing animal suffering caused by people.  AWI engages policymakers, scientists, industry, and the public to achieve better treatment of animals everywhere—in the laboratory, on the farm, in commerce, at home, and in the wild.  Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates and other important animal protection news.

About The HSUS The Humane Society of the United States is the nation’s largest animal protection organization, rated most effective by our peers. For 60 years, we have celebrated the protection of all animals and confronted all forms of cruelty. We are the nation’s largest provider of hands-on services for animals, caring for more than 100,000 animals each year, and we prevent cruelty to millions more through our advocacy campaigns. Read more about our 60 years of transformational change for animals and people, and visit us online at humanesociety.org.

ASPCA #HelpAHorse contest will award $50,000 in grant prizes to equine organizations across the country

NEW YORK—The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today announced the participants in its 2015 ASPCA Help a Horse Day grants contest. The nationwide competition of equine rescues and sanctuaries is designed to raise awareness about the year-round lifesaving work they do to care for local at-risk horses who’ve been abused, neglected or find themselves homeless. Participating rescue groups will be competing for the chance to win up to $10,000 in grant prizes to assist their efforts to protect horses. The groups will be judged on the creativity of their events, as well as their ability to engage their local communities. This year the contest has expanded to recognize seven winners.

“The equine rescues and sanctuaries that step in to care for abused or neglected horses give them a much-deserved new lease on life, and we are grateful to have the opportunity to expand the contest this year to recognize even more groups for their hard work,” said Jacque Schultz, senior director of the ASPCA Equine Fund. “We were overwhelmed by the enthusiasm and creativity of last year’s participants, and look forward to seeing what new ideas our repeat participants incorporate into their ASPCA Help a Horse Day events.  We are also excited to welcome many new groups who will be participating for the first time.”

This year, 110 groups will be hosting events across 33 states during the weekend of April 24-26. Activities include open houses, education programs, spring festivals, hoe-downs, barn raisings, 5K walks and other fun-filled events.  ASPCA Help a Horse Day is celebrated annually on April 26 – a date chosen for its significance to the ASPCA’s long history of horse protection. In 1866, ASPCA founder Henry Bergh stopped a cart driver from beating his horse, resulting in the first successful arrest for horse mistreatment on April 26 of that year. The protection of horses has been a core part of the ASPCA mission ever since, which includes supporting equine welfare legislation, advocacy, rescue and targeted grants.

The ASPCA has also launched a petition on TakePart.com, urging the U.S. Congress to pass a federal ban on horse slaughter. Each year, approximately 150,000 American horses are purchased and trucked to Mexico and Canada to be slaughtered for human consumption. The vast majority of these horses (92 percent per USDA) are in good physical condition and could go on to lead productive lives in loving homes. Horse slaughter is especially inhumane because horses, skittish by nature, are extremely difficult to render unconscious before slaughter. Horse slaughter is a cruel, predatory industry, and as long as sending American horses to slaughter for human consumption abroad remains a legal option, thousands of equines will be vulnerable at local horse auctions where kill buyers are present.

Last year, the ASPCA awarded over $1.1 million in grants to support 169 equine rescues and sanctuaries across the country. The grants were primarily awarded as part of the ASPCA Equine Fund, which provides life-saving resources – including financial assistance, in-person and online training, and sharing of best practices -- to support non-profit equine welfare organizations.

For more information about ASPCA Help a Horse Day or to see if there is an event near you, please visit www.aspca.org/helpahorse.

About the ASPCA® Founded in 1866, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the first animal welfare organization in North America and serves as the nation’s leading voice for animals. More than two million supporters strong, the ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. For more information, please visit www.ASPCA.org, and be sure to follow the ASPCA on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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