Adoption facility in Philadelphia.(Photo: Matt Rourke, AP)CONNECT>TWEET>LINKEDINCOMMENTEMAILMORE
With all the suffering in the world, it’s easy to argue that there are more important things to worry about than the welfare of animals. But a society can be judged by the way it treats these innocent creatures, and ending mistreatment is so much easier than curing the world’s other ills that it's shameful not to do so.
Lots of human beings, it seems, haven't gotten the message. For puppies, kittens, chickens, pigs and other animals, these are particularly tough times. Recently revealed abuses range from stomach-turning conditions at commercial breeders to killings of scores of research kittens by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Just since 2013, more than 220 kittens have been purposely infected with toxoplasmosis — an infection that can harm pregnant women and their fetuses — at a USDA research lab in Maryland. The kittens are briefly used for research and then euthanized. The USDA says the kittens could pose a risk to adoptive families. But the parasite can be treated with antibiotics, and the animals could be tested and readied for rescue. Instead, kittens are killed.
REP. STEVE KING: Hey, California, regulate your own hen cages
Animals at other USDA research sites around the country have been neglected, some left to die. Fifteen ducks died after “multiple days without access to water,” according to inspection reports disclosed last week by The Washington Post. Quail chicks succumbed to excessive temperatures in their room. Pigs, lambs and cows were seen with visible wounds and injuries untreated by a vet.
All examples of your tax dollars at work.
In the private sector, too many puppies are still raised in deplorable conditions by commercial breeders who fail to meet even the minimal standards set by USDA.
Last week, the Humane Society of the United States released its annual “Horrible Hundred” list of breeders and dealers culled from inspection reports, court cases and news accounts. It found neglected dogs and puppies, some lying on their backs, panting, in a sweltering kennel, or with paws falling through wire flooring or with maggots crawling in their food. In Indiana, a puppy with bloody wounds was found dead in a water bowl.
Until last year, animal lovers could identify offending breeders on a USDA inspection site, but the agency has blocked most names, citing breeders’ “privacy interests.”
Several states have tightened laws beyond what the USDA requires to ensure that breeders don't mistreat dogs and puppies. These laws — and others that prohibit dreadfully cramped housing for egg-laying hens, pregnant pigs and veal calves — are threatened by a measure long championed by Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, who hails from the nation’s top egg-producing state.
King's measure could pre-empt more than 3,000 state laws — some passed directly by voters seeking humane treatment even for food animals — as well as laws affecting everything from food safety to invasive pests, according to an analysis by Harvard’s Animal Law and Policy Program.
A group of nearly 120 bipartisan House members and 183 organizations, ranging from the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to the right-leaning Freedom Works, opposes the law.
Threatened animals and safety rules got a reprieve last week when the House rejected a massive farm bill that included King’s measure. But the bill, and the measure, are likely to be revived.
Even in this polarized era, most Americans would agree that needlessly killing kittens and leaving puppies to die painful deaths is unacceptable. Protecting defenseless animals is so basic, Congress and the USDA could score an easy win by making it happen.
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Source : https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2018/05/21/needlessly-killing-kittens-and-horrible-hundred-editorials-debates/627039002/