Monday, September 22, 2008

Humane Society Endorses Obama/Biden

September 22, 2008
Dear Friend,
I wanted to let you know that today, on behalf of the Humane Society Legislative Fund, I announced our endorsement of Barack Obama for President. Please see my blog below for more information, and help spread the word to animal lovers across the country.

Mike Markarian
Humane Society Legislative Fund

Paid for by Humane Society Legislative Fund and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.
Humane Society Legislative Fund Endorses Obama-Biden
One of the guiding principles of the Humane Society Legislative Fund is that we evaluate candidates based on a single criterion: where they stand on animal protection policies. We don't make decisions based on party affiliation, or any other social issue, or even how many pets they have. We care about their views and actions on the major policy debates relating to animal welfare.
It stirs controversy to get involved in candidate elections. But we believe that candidates for office and current lawmakers must be held accountable, or they will see the animal protection movement as a largely irrelevant political constituency. In order to have good laws, we need good lawmakers, and involvement in elections is an essential strategy for any serious social movement, including our cause.
While we've endorsed hundreds of congressional candidates for election, both Democrats and Republicans, we've never before endorsed a presidential candidate. We have members on the left, in the center, and on the right, and we knew it could be controversial to choose either party's candidate for the top office in the nation. But in an era of sweeping presidential power, we must weigh in on this most important political race in the country. Standing on the sidelines is no longer an option for us.
I'm proud to announce today that the HSLF board of directors -- which is comprised of both Democrats and Republicans -- has voted unanimously to endorse Barack Obama for President. The Obama-Biden ticket is the better choice on animal protection, and we urge all voters who care about the humane treatment of animals, no matter what their party affiliation, to vote for them.
Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) has been a solid supporter of animal protection at both the state and federal levels. As an Illinois state senator, he backed at least a dozen animal protection laws, including those to strengthen the penalties for animal cruelty, to help animal shelters, to promote spaying and neutering, and to ban the slaughter of horses for human consumption. In the U.S. Senate, he has consistently co-sponsored multiple bills to combat animal fighting and horse slaughter, and has supported efforts to increase funding for adequate enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act, Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, and federal laws to combat animal fighting and puppy mills.
In his response to the HSLF questionnaire, he pledged support for nearly every animal protection bill currently pending in Congress, and said he will work with executive agencies such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of the Interior to make their policies more humane. He wrote of the important role animals play in our lives, as companions in our homes, as wildlife in their own environments, and as service animals working with law enforcement and assisting persons with disabilities. He also commented on the broader links between animal cruelty and violence in society.
Obama has even on occasion highlighted animal protection issues on the campaign trail, and has spoken publicly about his support for animal protection. In reaction to the investigation showing the abuse of sick and crippled cows which earlier this year led to the largest meat recall in U.S. history, he issued a statement saying "that the mistreatment of downed cows is unacceptable and poses a serious threat to public health." He is featured in Jana Kohl's book about puppy mills, A Rare Breed of Love, with a photo of Obama holding Baby (shown above), the three-legged poodle rescued from an abusive puppy mill operation, and his political mentor, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), is the author of the latest federal bill to crack down on puppy mills.
Importantly, Obama's running mate, Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) has been a stalwart friend of animal welfare advocates in the Senate, and has received high marks year after year on the Humane Scorecard. Biden has not only supported animal protection legislation during his career, but has also led the fight on important issues. He was the co-author with Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) in the 108th Congress on legislation to ban the netting of dolphins by commercial tuna fishermen. He was the lead author of a bill in the 107th Congress to prohibit trophy hunting of captive exotic mammals in fenced enclosures, and he successfully passed the bill through the Senate Judiciary Committee.
On the Republican ticket, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has also supported some animal protection bills in Congress, but has been inattentive or opposed to others. He has voted for and co-sponsored legislation to stop horse slaughter, and voted to eliminate a $2 million subsidy for the luxury fur coat industry. But he has largely been absent on other issues, and has failed to co-sponsor a large number of priority bills or sign onto animal protection letters that have had broad support in the Senate.
The McCain campaign did not fill out the HSLF presidential questionnaire, and has also not issued any public statements on animal welfare issues. He was silent during the downed animal scandal and beef recall, which played out during a high-point in the primary fight. Yet he did speak at the NRA convention earlier this year, and is the keynote speaker this weekend in Columbus, Ohio, at the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance rally—an extremist organization that defends the trophy hunting of threatened polar bears and captive shooting of tame animals inside fenced pens.
While McCain's positions on animal protection have been lukewarm, his choice of running mate cemented our decision to oppose his ticket. Gov. Sarah Palin's (R-Alaska) retrograde policies on animal welfare and conservation have led to an all-out war on Alaska's wolves and other creatures. Her record is so extreme that she has perhaps done more harm to animals than any other current governor in the United States.
Palin engineered a campaign of shooting predators from airplanes and helicopters, in order to artificially boost the populations of moose and caribou for trophy hunters. She offered a $150 bounty for the left foreleg of each dead wolf as an economic incentive for pilots and aerial gunners to kill more of the animals, even though Alaska voters had twice approved a ban on the practice. This year, the issue was up again for a vote of the people, and Palin led the fight against it -- in fact, she helped to spend $400,000 of public funds to defeat the initiative.
What's more, when the Bush Administration announced its decision to list the polar bear as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, Palin filed a lawsuit to reverse that decision. She said it's the "wrong move" to protect polar bears, even though their habitat is shrinking and ice floes are vanishing due to global warming.
The choice for animals is especially clear now that Palin is in the mix. If Palin is put in a position to succeed McCain, it could mean rolling back decades of progress on animal issues.
Voters who care about protecting wildlife from inhumane and unsporting abuses, enforcing the laws that combat large-scale cruelties like dogfighting and puppy mills, providing humane treatment of animals in agriculture, and addressing other challenges that face animals in our nation, must become active over the next six weeks to elect a president and vice president who share our values. Please spread the word, and tell friends and family members that an honest assessment of the records of the two presidential tickets leads to the inescapable conclusion that Obama-Biden is the choice for humane-minded voters.

Paid for by Humane Society Legislative Fund and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.

Contributions or gifts to the Humane Society Legislative Fund ("HSLF") are not tax deductible. Your donation may be used for lobbying to pass laws to protect animals, as well as for political purposes, such as supporting or opposing candidates. HSLF does not accept contributions from business corporations or labor organizations.

Copyright © 2008 Humane Society Legislative Fund (HSLF) All Rights Reserved.

Humane Society Legislative Fund
519 C Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Another Pet Food Recall

Salmonella Risk Prompts Pet Food Recall
Possible Contamination of Mars Petcare Products Could Pose Risk to People and Pets

By Caroline Wilbert
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD
Sept. 15, 2008 -- Mars Petcare is recalling pet food products manufactured at its Everson, Pa., facility because of a potential salmonella contamination. In addition to being dangerous for pets, the pet food could sicken people who handle the food.

Children, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems are particularly vulnerable. If you think you may have been exposed, look for symptoms including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping, and fever.

On rare occasions, salmonella can result in more serious ailments, including arterial infections, endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation, and urinary tract symptoms. The FDA urges people with these symptoms who have come into contact with the pet products to contact a health care provider.

Some animals may have similar symptoms, but others may have minimal or no symptoms. Whether or not they have signs, they could infect other animals and humans.

Many pet food brands are produced at the plant, including several varieties of Pedigree and a number of flavors of Special Kitty Gourmet. A complete list of brands is posted on the FDA website.

Mars Petcare stopped production at the Everson facility July 29 after learning of a possible link between dry pet food produced at the plant and two isolated cases of people infected with salmonella. The company is now implementing a voluntary recall of all products produced at the facility between Feb. 18 and July 29; only the U.S. is affected.
View Article Sources

News release, Mars Petcare.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Discussion to end animal shelter killing in MPLS

This notice is from the Animal Ark blog:

Those following the goings on in and around Minneapolis may have found the following post on the web site of the 9th Ward.

Breakfast with Gary: Ending animal shelter killing
The largest no-kill shelter in the Twin Cities, Animal Ark serves more than a thousand pets each year. Click on the link to see pets up for adoption.
Over five million unwanted cats and dogs are killed in shelters across the United States every year, including thousands in Minnesota. Join Council Member Gary Schiff on Friday, September 26th to talk about making Minneapolis more animal friendly by following the lead of San Francisco <> and other cities, by instituting high volume, low cost spay and neuter programs and other no kill policies.
Guest speakers include Minneapolis Animal Control Director Dan Niziolek, Underdog Rescue <> Director Shannon McKenzie and Mike Fry from Animal Ark <> . To learn more about no killpolicies, click here. <>
Breakfast with Gary takes place from 7:30 to 9:00 a.m. the final Friday of every month at Mercado Central, 1515 East Lake St. $5 buys breakfast.

This is a very exciting time to be involved in animal welfare in Minnesota. Things are changing fast. Expect more exciting anouncements to be coming soon!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Country Cats

A couple of months ago, I was at the Animal Humane Society in Golden Valley with my foster kittens and I overheard a woman concerned about dropping off the stray cat she had been caring for. I told her I had a place for the indoor/outdoor cat with friends of mine and my matchmaking worked out. My friends also took in a pair of motherless kittens, so a blended family was created. You can read the whole story at "Arms Full of Love".

I got an update today.


Here are some updated pics of our young cat family.
Pebbles is the beautiful calico on the driveway. Alfie is our orange/white male. Enya is our gray female. Alfie & Enya are brother and sister and they were born on approx. May 14th. The kittens have grown so fast! Pebbles is approx. 15 months old.

Pebbles has been going outside pretty regularly now and she knows how to use the cat door on the garage. Alfie & Enya have gone outside a few times with our supervision. They are both still a little young to be left outdoors on their own.

Enjoy the pictures!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Guess Who is Ready for Playtime?

Wonderful news from Auntie S this morning:

Daisy greeted me this morning from on top the toilet seat. She is frantically full of energy and has regained the luster in her eyes, and though she still has occasional sneezing fits she is much less congested.
She took her medicine like a trooper, then 9 cc of formula, sucking it down from a 3 cc syringe almost as fast as a Vanalikalike. I brought her in a few toys, including her own purple mouse, and suspect she will stay out of the tub for a good part of the day. I think she is ready to return to her surrogate siblings for some real play time.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Daisy is feeling better!

I was so happy to hear from Auntie S this morning:

Still sneezing and a little congested, but no fever. Got her meds and 7 cc formula. Was shivering after the formula, but I heated her bean bag and left the lights on, and snuggled, of course. I expect she'll warm up pretty quickly. I expect she'll be ready to go home by tomorrow night.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Poor Daisy

I am fostering a tiny kitten for the Animal Humane Society in Golden Valley. She is only about four weeks old. She was healthy when she came to me, but her sibling had died at the shelter before finding a foster home.
Soon after Daisy arrived she came down with an upper respiratory infection. That's basically a cold with runny eyes and sneezing and congestion and a fever and the resulting loss of appetite and energy. A URI, while common, can quickly become deadly for a kitten. They dehydrate quickly and often need syringe feeding and antibiotics to treat the symptoms.
Daisy went to the vet yesterday and had a bad night last night, but is hanging in there today and seems to be feeling a little better. She is visiting at Auntie S's for a couple of days because she is home to check on her during the day.
Please send your best thoughts for Daisy's recovery!