Many of us look back at 2011 with the classic attribution to Auld Lang Syne, and with optimism toward what the New Year may bring… blessings, answered-prayers, well-wishes for others… and hope for our nation’s animals.
For our country’s fur-babies, the 2012 animal welfare progress has to be made by us, the humans (historically considered to be the “fittest” race by Charles Darwin, we are surely not the kindest if you ask me…)
So it is with courage and strength, resolve and love that we try to continue forth and set progress where progress needs to be made for our animals this year.
These are the Top Ten Animal Welfare Resolutions of 2012 as I believe them to be, not in any order of importance; here’s hoping we can achieve at least half of them if we all work together! Please do share your animal welfare resolutions for 2012 in the comments, on Facebook, Twitter or on your blog!
1 – Continue to report and rescue cats, dogs and farm animals from animal hoarders. It was estimated in late 2011 that the Humane Society of the US ALONE saved over 8,000 animals from hoarders in our country in 2011 (no story link is available–but a video seen at the bottom of the CEO’s blog page can be seen here.) This is only in addition to the notable hoarder raids and rescues carried out by the ASPCA (which helped over 1,000 at my last count this summer) and The North Shore Animal League. Check out the ASPCA Animal Hoarding site for more information.
2 – Continue on the honorable path of shutting down animal fighting operations across the country, from California to Maine, whether it’s dog-fighting, cock-fighting or specific wild animal-fighting. If other animals are being fought, I am not yet aware of it, so please leave me a comment. You can voice your opinions in many ways: blog about it, write on your website or start a new website, volunteer, start a petition at Causes.org or start a Facebook page, or donate to this very specific cause at places like Knock Out Dog-Fighting and Rescue Ink.
3 – Let’s work together with groups like the Natural Resources Defense Council and World Wildlife Fund to get new laws passed to protect wildlife and farm animals. NRDC and WWF are the two most successful organizations known for lobbying for crucial protections for animals world-wide. Whether your passion is for the polar bear, for wolves, for the Canadian Lynx in the American Rockies, or for Whales, these places are your best bet for hope and progress in 2012. For example, in places like South America and certain parts of Africa, over 50 percent of big cat populations have been wiped out in less than 10 years by poachers; over one-third of the habitat of creatures like cheetahs has been deforested.
4 – Invest more money and train more volunteers in instituting undercover investigators to pulling back the curtain on all types of animal cruelty. The work done on behalf of California’s Prop. 2 (Factory Farming Regulations) in this department was particularly incredible…
5 - Continue to shut down puppy mill operations country-wide… For example, 175 dogs were taken from an Arkansas mill by ASPCA in November. Let’s support AW groups that take down these supporters of one of the worst types of animal abuse (if not thee worst…).
6 – Endorse or support more companies like Subaru of America that are dedicated to making a difference in the lives of shelter animals. Subaru, Inc. created an absolutely unprecedented Facebook campaign to raise money for ASPCA – Share the Love Charities. Other companies dedicated to bettering the lives of animals include Bissell Homecare, Hartz, PetSmart, Proctor and Gamble, EBay, Lowe’s and Pedigree.
7 – Recognize additional organizations like Helen Woodward Animal Center and their work to save millions of homeless animals through holiday adoption drives and pet food donation drives like IAMS Home for the Holidays. Many of these companies work tirelessly through Christmas Day and New Year’s, when most of us are celebrating, to ensure things are working the way they are supposed to…
8 – Continue to work toward getting more and more and more media coverage (of ANY type) for what some deem to be “smaller fights” in individual states. For example, two close to my heart here in Ohio are Columbus Top Dogs* and Nitro Foundation.
9 – Get Exotic Pet Ban Bills Passed in States Where They Don’t Exists. In Zanesville, Ohio this past Fall, an atrocity unfolded on a scale so enormous & implausible that residents of the state, the country and even the international community came together to push the Governor to pass legislation to ban exotic pet ownership. The bill was signed less than a week after a Zanesville massacre of between 55-60 wild animals by local law enforcement after the “wildlife refuge” owner, Terry Thompson, (who had received over 25 State & USDA fines over a six-year period YET STILL had all these animals) simply opened the cages of the animals, then took his own life. The animals included: several wolves, about 16 big cats (a cheetah, some Bengal Tigers and Lionesses), a giraffe, baboons and a camel. The animals ran free into the surrounding hills, forests and nearby communities, (with the exception of one who stayed put in his cage – he is still alive and was transferred to a zoo). For lack of options – and before consulting the nearby, renowned Columbus Zoo about tranquilizer darts, law enforcement shot to death (some quite overzealously) every single animal by. Let’s ensure this never happens again.
**Right now, other states that need to pass Exotic Pet Bans include: Virginia, Texas, Wisconsin, Nevada, North Carolina, and Oklahoma. Furthermore, the existing Ban in California is neither strong nor enforced properly. (You’ll hear more about this later this year.
10 – Demand, no matter what state you live in, that The State of Missouri return the controversial and internationally debated Missouri Prop. B to its original form, freeing hundreds of thousands of puppy mill dogs in this horrid “Puppy Mill Capital of the World.” Missourians were horrified that legislators changed the original bill’s language to better-serve mills last spring. Passing the original will send a strong message to the state, and will therefore, break ground for other offending states like Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee and the Carolinas to follow suit.
* It was announced last week that Columbus Top Dogs/BODA successfully collected the necessary signatures from all 88 Ohio counties for a ballot initiative to ban dog auctions! To move forward, the group needs a minimum of 115,570 signatures (67%) certified by the Secretary of State; I’m proud to announce that over 154,000 signatures were actually collected! (Always better to err on the side of too many as some people may not be registered voters or may have signed in the wrong county, etc.)
Once all signatures are certified (expected by 01/06/12) the initiated statute (dubbed “Ohio Dog Auctions Act”) will be presented to the Ohio General Assembly in 2012. Once introduced, OH Senators and State Representatives will have four months to act on the proposed law.
If the Ohio General Assembly fails to pass the Ohio Dog Auctions Act, the group will move forward with plans to present an initiated statute to voters during the November General Election.
Our Star Blogger
Jaime Lynn Smith, Administrator/Owner/Author of http://thoughtsfurpaws.com
Some people call me a fanatic – and I believe there are lots of me out there. I call myself an “Animaniac,” but pet fanatic is okay, too. Since I was six, I have had an adoration, love & respect for all creatures that most parents can only hope to instill in their children. I write my blog & contribute to various sites, including IAMS’ sponsored The Dog Daily/The Daily Cat, the Bissell Pack of Pet Lovers and (NBC Universal’s) Petside.com, which has Annual Pet Net Events. I share personal stories, educate others, advocate for animals & learn all at once! I write most frequently about animal welfare causes/legislation, the “politics of pets,” i.e., recent pet issues, puppy mill industry, & how people can get involved locally/nationally. I love being a pet blog consultant for two large national (anonymous) organizations – it’s just one more way I can contribute. I also volunteer here in Ohio for state/national causes including banning dog auctions, passing animal cruelty legislation, puppy mill bills, et al. I have close relationships with many legislators b/c of my level of volunteer activity & intimate knowledge of the political process, which aids many animal welfare groups who are small and/ or unfamiliar with this tricky process. Find Jaime Lynn on Twitter: ThoughtsFurPaws