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Presidential Fireside Chat #13

Thank you so much, everyone, for joining us today for our 13th “Fireside Chat” for special supporters of American Humane. During these difficult times, it is more essential than ever that we share vital information and combine our energies to protect those in need.

First, I want to let you know that our team of animal first responders are in close contact with local authorities and shelters in the Louisiana and Texas area and ready to deploy upon request with lifesaving rescue and sheltering work in the wake of Hurricane Laura. Please support our rescue program and pray for all those people and animals affected.

Today, we have breaking news about a major new effort we have just launched in reaction to the single biggest challenge we all face today.

As you know, the COVID-19 pandemic began as a result of the inhumane treatment of animals in notorious, so-called “wet markets,” and has since had worldwide consequences for both people and animals globally.

To combat cruelty in all its forms and renew the world’s commitment to the compassionate treatment of animals, American Humane not only took a leadership role in advocating vigorously against these cruel, unhygienic, and unregulated markets, but stepped forward to demand that we re-examine and re-think how to rebuild our broken social contract with animals in every area of life – from the ways animals are treated by humankind to new ways to protect them in the wild.

To help reset the way people and animals interact, we drafted an international call to action, entitled, “A New Deal for Animals, People and the World We Share: A 10-point Plan to Build a Humane and Ethical World.”

This comprehensive plan is being shared broadly right now as we speak with the international media, members of congress, political candidates and key stakeholders across the country.

This is a vital new step in the Humane Movement, and I want to share with you, our closest, most influential supporters, these critical 10 points, which I hope each of you will help support and make a reality.

First….it is absolutely essential that we….

  1. End the World’s Wet Markets

Tragically, tens of millions of wild animals are shuffled through inhumane, unhygienic and unregulated wet markets every year.

The lack of respect for animal welfare in these markets and the inhumane treatment of living creatures is part and parcel of the spread of disease.

Animals live in cramped cages, are stacked on top of one another and mired in feces, dirt and blood.

They are highly stressed, which increases the spread of disease, and are brutally slaughtered with no concern for their well-being.

We are calling on all nations to institute and enforce animal welfare standards set by independent third parties, such as American Humane….and until world leaders come together to not only condemn the rampant abuse of animals in wet markets, but also put an end to it, we will continue to have outbreaks of diseases like the coronavirus that inflict suffering on our communities and families.

Our second humane demand point is related to this, as well….

  1. We Must End the Global Cat and Dog Meat Trade

Allowing the slaughter and consumption of cats and dogs to continue is unacceptable. For thousands of years, cats and dogs have lived with and alongside humans, becoming companion animals and providing us with protection, comfort, aid and love.

In Asia alone, 30 million dogs and four million cats are slaughtered and eaten each year. The compound effects of this atrocity not only rupture the relationship between humans and animals, but pose a threat to human life in the form of more diseases and pandemics.

It must stop.

  1. Immediately Stop Unnecessary Taxpayer-Funded Testing on Animals

Animal testing is an international, government-sanctioned and -funded, multi-billion-dollar business.

In the United States, there is a lack of transparency over how much taxpayer money is spent on animal experiments. It is estimated, however, that more than $15 billion is spent annually by government agencies to conduct wasteful and cruel animal experimentation.

To build a new, humane world, we must immediately stop unnecessary, taxpayer-funded testing on animals.

Our fourth demand is to….

  1. Ensure Independent Humane Inspections & Biosecurity Measures on Farms Worldwide

More than 70 billion farm animals are raised around the world to meet the growing demand for food. The vast majority of those animals, sadly, are raised in conditions that are not independently verified for humane treatment and biosecurity.

For 143 years, American Humane has been working to improve farm animal welfare in the United States and abroad. Today, we help ensure the living conditions for nearly 1 billion farm animals through our American Humane Certified™ program.

As the worldwide leader in protecting farm animals, we are calling for independent inspections of farms and ranches worldwide to see that farm animals are raised humanely, with good welfare and critically important biosecurity standards.

And because we believe that ALL animals need and deserve humane treatment, we are also calling for action to….

  1. Ensure Independent Humane Oversight of Animals in All Forms of Entertainment

American Humane, which for 80 years has been the fierce defender of animals in film and television through our “No Animals Were Harmed®” program, believes there must be independent oversight of animals in ALL forms of entertainment….putting their safety first and working to help ensure they enjoy good animal welfare and humane treatment.

Similarly we are calling for….

  1. Independent Humane Inspections of Zoos & Aquariums Worldwide

Our world is currently in the midst of what scientists are calling a “Sixth

Mass Extinction.” These scientists and the zoos and aquariums they represent are leading the charge to preserve the world’s remarkable and endangered creatures.

While they do this vital work, they must also make sure that the millions of animals who live in their care receive good welfare and are humanely treated.

We must expand the pioneering, science-based model we created with our American Humane Conservation program to help ensure the good living conditions and survival of the creatures with whom we share the Earth.

And because so many wild creatures are disappearing, we are insisting in our seventh humane demand to….

  1. End the Highly Lucrative, Organized Poaching and “Bush Meat” Trade

Friends….we may know this, but many don’t.  And that is the unexpected casualties of the ongoing pandemic – animals.

Tragically, since countries around the world announced national lockdowns to limit the spread of the coronavirus, poaching incidents have increased significantly, and the bush meat trade, which depletes habitats of wild animals and is a prime vector for disease transmission, continues.

American Humane believes we must end the poaching and “bush meat” trade that is decimating wild species. Tourists should be encouraged to visit parks and reserves that are protecting precious animal life, and resources should be given to those who are fighting poachers on the ground.

At the same time, we must….

  1. Enforce Ethical Standards for Global Animal Tourism

One million species are facing extinction, many within our lifetimes or the lifetimes of our children.

Responsible eco-tourism, which allows curious travelers to see rare wildlife in person, is a crucial component of the conservation movement. Wildlife preserves, parks, and other forms of eco-tourism are crucial to keeping animals alive in their natural habitats.

But not all forms of wildlife tourism are created equally. To distinguish the best operations from the worst, and to improve those that want to do better, there is a strong need for independent, third-party certification for global eco- and animal-tourism…so travelers know which tours, parks and guides are reputable and doing right by their animals.  These last two points go hand-in-hand.

And here, in our own communities, to keep our companion animals safe, we are calling for an effort to….

  1. Enforce Safety Standards for Animals in Transportation

We’ve all heard the horror stories of animals needlessly dying during transport, whether by plane, in the front seat of a car, or the back of a pickup truck.

American Humane believes transportation of animals should be safe and humane and we are calling for independent audits of the transportation industry, using science-based standards set by animal experts.

In 2018, American Humane and the world’s leading animal scientists, animal welfare specialists, veterinarians and animal ethicists undertook a comprehensive examination of the many factors affecting the health, safety, comfort and welfare of pets traveling by air in order to develop standards and best practices to keep our best friends safe during travel.

Rigorous standards not only protect animals in transit but people and animals in the areas to which they travel, as they can help to identify contagious diseases before travel takes place.

American Humane strongly advocates the adoption and certification of national standards by the airline and transportation industry so that, like us, our animal companions can travel safely and comfortably.

Finally, to improve the lives of both animals and people, which should be the goal of every humane group, we want to….

  1. Expand the Use of Service and Therapy Dogs

American Humane has been a pioneer for over a century in developing service and therapy animal programs.  We’ve seen first-hand how these efforts can change the lives of the ill, the aged, and our military warriors  — as well as the lives of so many animals needing forever homes.

Service and therapy dogs bring healing to those suffering from emotional, mental and physical trauma and challenges….and can, we discovered through our widely reported-on “Canines and Childhood Cancer” research study, even help children and their families better cope with cancer.

Tapping into the life-changing, healing bond between people and animals shows how interdependent we all are and why we need to renew and restore our age-old social contract with the animals who share our Earth….

As we build a new world in the wake of the novel coronavirus, American Humane is calling on policymakers, leaders and individuals to commit to building a better bond between people and animals by honoring these 10 points in our “New Deal” for animals.

American Humane has been working on many of these issues for years – some, starting from our founding in 1877!

As the world wakes up to the price resulting from the continued abuse of animals, we ask you to add your voice to this important effort to achieve a more humane and ethical world.

We encourage every animal lover to read the full version of this important declaration at our website (www.AmericanHumane.org), and add your support for these long-needed changes.

We included as the Tenth Tenet of our New Deal for Animals how important service animals are and the need to find dogs in need of forever homes and train them to save lives.

Well, we would like to give you a chance to help do that right now.

In just four days, American Humane’s first Pups4Patriots 5K is starting.

This individual, “pandemic-safe” event will take place across the country from August 31 to September 7 and help fund American Humane’s lifesaving Pups4Patriots™ program, which will cover the training of a qualified service dog for a veteran in need.

After signing up online through our website, you simply agree to walk or run the 5K sometime during that week with a fund-raising goal that your friends and family can help you meet or exceed!

American Humane is committed to putting more healing leashes into the hands of veterans in need, and, speaking of leashes, the first 150 people to raise $250 will receive an American Humane leash for you and your best friend.

Not only will you get a much-needed break outdoors, but you will be helping animals and veterans who so badly need help – especially now, during the pandemic, when stress and isolation are at a high level.

Let me read to you a letter I just received from one of our most recent Pups4Patriots graduates, Kyle, a combat veteran who served 16 years in the U.S. Marine Corps:

I have suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder due to combat since 2006. Before having Nova, my service dog, in my life, I never went out in public alone.

When I did go out, I relied heavily on my wife to help me calm down and navigate me through the public. I was used to having no emotional connection with anyone – human or animal.

It’s hard to imagine that an animal could have helped me, but that is exactly what the organization and Nova did. I am now able to go out more in public, find joy in life, and all with the help of my service dog with me at every step.

My training not only helped…my outlook on life, but also helped me realize there are still people out there that care about us. For that I will always be in their debt.

If that story about Kyle and Nova touched your heart, think about signing up for our Pups4Patriots 5K.  The support will touch more hearts like Kyle’s and be good for yours, as well.

There are so many things we need to do, as we pointed out in the New Deal…. there are so many animals… and so many veterans who need our help. Signing your name to the New Deal, running our 5K, voting in our 2020 Hero Dog Awards (voting closes September 10th!), and spreading the word about the work we are doing are all ways to make a difference.

Our campaigns, our newsletters and our Impact Report are all on our website and can help recruit new support to our cause.

Thank you again, and we look forward to talking with all of you at our next Fireside Chat in September. Please stay safe.

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