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President Obama’s weekly address hit upon one of the more troubling aspects of our government right now: the total failure of the FDA to keep us, our children, and our pets safe in the knowledge that what is consumed will not harm any of us.  He has named a new Commissioner of the Food and Drug Agency, Dr. Margaret Hamburg (go ahead, giggle as I did at her last name being Hamburg(er)–I blame the cold meds I’m taking), and Dr. Joshua Sharfstein (nope, no food-related funny with his last name) as Principal Deputy Commissioner.  Obama is also creating a new Food Safety Working Group which ultimately sounds like it will be making sure that the left hand of government agencies involved with food safety know what the right hand is doing–what a concept!

And as an animal welfare advocate I am THRILLED with the short, but oh-so-important sentence President Obama stated, “As part of our commitment to public health, our Agriculture Department is closing a loophole in the system to ensure that diseased cows don’t find their way into the food supply.”  Please read Wayne Pacelle’s email sent out this afternoon in response to this fantastic decision.  Thank you President Obama, and thank you to everyone who helped put an end to the horribly abusive downer cattle issue!

Great news from President Obama on farm animals

March 14, 2009


Our investigation thrust a global spotlight on abuse of downed cows.

Dear ******,

It’s been a long fight, and today, we closed another chapter on it. Since the mid-1990s, The HSUS has been working hard to stop as a matter of public policy the abuse of downer cattle — animals too sick or injured to walk. And today, President Obama himself announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture was officially putting a stop to non-ambulatory cattle being mishandled in order to get them into slaughter plants. He made the announcement along with two top selections for the Food and Drug Administration and a series of other statements about food safety.

I invite you to read my blog post for today about the food safety crises and horrifying investigations that led up to today’s announcement.

The length of time we had to persist and what our investigations revealed are sad, but today I celebrate this news. And I hope that it is a harbinger of a far more serious attitude toward food safety and animal welfare from the new Administration. I am personally looking forward to working with Secretary Vilsack — a man of great integrity — on a wide range of issues. And I express my gratitude to him and his team today for his decisive action.

Many of you joined us in demanding change on this issue, so this is your victory as well as the animals’. Thank you for all you do.

Sincerely,

Wayne Pacelle
President & CEO
The Humane Society of the United States

P.S. Did you know you can easily subscribe to receive my blog daily by email or RSS? Look for the links to subscribe on the right side of my blog, www.waynepacelle.org. I write daily about pressing issues like farm animal abuse, so it’s a great way to stay in touch.

michael-vick-and-dogfighting

I thought I had previously reached the highest level of disgust with Michael Vick’s animal cruelty that I could (my previous posts), but after reading an AP story and one on ESPN, detailing portions of a 17-page USDA report released on Friday under the Freedom of Information Act, I’m even more disgusted and sickened than I ever imagined possible.  And that’s saying a lot.

Here are some extremely disturbing details:

  • A person identified as confidential witness No. 1 said Vick placed pets in the ring against pit bulls owned by “Bad Newz Kennels” at least twice and watched as the pit bulls “caused major injuries.”
  • The witness said Vick and co-defendants Purnell Peace and Quanis Phillips “thought it was funny to watch the pit bull dogs belonging to Bad Newz Kennels injure or kill the other dogs.”
  • Vick was administered a polygraph test by the FBI in October 2007 and denied taking part in the killing of dogs in mid-April. When told he had failed that part of the test, Vick recanted his story and admitted to helping hang six to eight underperforming dogs.
  • The dogs were killed by shooting, hanging, electrocution and drowning, and in at least one instance, according to one of the witnesses, when Vick and Phillips killed a red pit bull by “slamming it to the ground several times before it died, breaking the dog’s back or neck.”
  • According to the report, the three men hung the dogs “by placing a nylon cord over a 2 X 4 that was nailed to two trees located next to the big shed. They also drowned approximately three dogs by putting the dogs’ heads in a five gallon bucket of water.”

You need help, Michael Vick, serious help.  I only wish all you were ever allowed to lay your hands on again are the pots and pans you’re washing in jail for 12 cents an hour, and never, ever again on any innocent animals.  Sick and twisted, you are, mentally sick and twisted.

Just finishing up making some Louisiana-style french toast (to die for!) before taking my youngest nephew to the doctor. Don’t Auntie Lala’s come in handy? Don’t you wish you had one? I’m afraid we’ve all been hit with those heebie-jeebies everyone is coming down with lately; the headache (or as said nephew reports “My brain hurts!”, hence the band-aid on the forehead in the picture), the achiness, the overall feeling of crappiness (my highly technical term ;)). He was down with it last week, rebounded, then it made its triumphant return, as it seems to be doing with all of us. Ick.

Keep your fingers crossed I don’t pick it back up again, too, because yours truly is starting work again on Thursday…woo-hoo! Nothing like NOT working to make you feel totally unproductive. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, the past couple months have BEYOND sucked, so working again is definitely a step in the right direction, especially since I’ll be getting to work with one of my very good buds.

And another situation which affected me and my life in ways I can’t even begin to describe over the last few months has THANKFULLY had a surprising positive twist this past weekend, one which I could NOT be happier about–very happy heart, VERY happy heart. But with the good usually comes some bad, as was the case here. It really hurts to find out that someone you didn’t really know very well, but someone you had high regard for and who had interacted with you in only the most positive manner before, ends up doing something you still can’t wrap your brain around, and something that you just can’t imagine anyone with a heart or even an ounce of compassion doing under any circumstances, especially knowing the ones I was in. I know I need to let it go, and I will, but right now I’m extremely hurt, disappointed, and shocked, since I know full well I was in no way deserving of the action on his part, nor of the consequences. That being said, the good ultimately outweighs the bad in the entire scenario because I have a really important part of my life back, and he knows who he is. 😉

On the political front I have to say that I really enjoyed the portions I saw of the Democratic debate in Nevada, since I felt it actually gave us a chance to hear what the candidates had to say without all the snarkiness. The flare-up with the racial comments over the past days in the Obama and Clinton camps have been very disturbing and frustrating to see take place in the Democratic Party; the party that is supposed to be not only inclusive of all but a champion for all. (Yes, I quite often wear rose-colored glasses.) I’ve read some really interesting discussions over on Skeptical Brotha‘s blog, and elsewhere, so I do understand both sides of the story. It’s just sad to see that racial divisiveness still has such a firm hold in our country. Call me naive but I just don’t get it, I just don’t. It takes so much more energy to hate someone than to live with and learn from the diversity that surrounds us. I hope the democrats can get their act together because I would truly be happy with any of the main democratic candidates running, and know that we need to come together as a party to prepare for the attack on our candidate in the general election by the Republican Party. Got your armor ready?

Speaking of the republicans, what in the heck is Michigan (or anyone voting for Romney!) thinking by allowing even the remotest possibility of this man becoming president? Who on earth is going to want some man who, with forethought, did this? ARGH!

Guess that’s it for now. I don’t have a laptop so having any puter access until the weekend will probably be slim-to-none, so just thought I’d post this little catch-up until then. Have a great week everyone, and STAY HEALTHY! 🙂

Sniffin’ out the info

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