Archive for April 25, 2009
Help Dogs in Factory Farms – Puppy Mill Bill Being Debated in Iowa Legislature TODAY – Contact Your Senators and Reps
Update: 4/25/09 10 pm. It looks like the dogs are going to have to wait until next year on this bill. Thanks, everyone.
S.F. 265/H.F. 486 is in the standings bill that will be debated in the
senate and house on TODAY (Saturday). Now is the perfect time to call
or email your Representative or Senator in Des Moines and ask them to
support this bill. 86% of Iowans support better regulation of these
factory farms for dogs.
To find contact information for your legislators, go to: FIND MY IOWA LEGISLATORS
Here's background info. about the bill. It would NOT affect
responsible breeders – the bill would allow inspectors into licensed
facilities because there are currently not enough federal inspectors
available. Please call or e-mail your legislator. Today is probably the last day of the session.
A recent statewide survey by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, Inc.
reveals that 86 percent of
support legislation that would strengthen protections for dogs in
large-scale breeding facilities known as puppy mills, while only 9 percent
oppose tougher regulations. Overwhelming
margins in every demographic group — men, women, Democrats, Republicans and
Independents — support legislation to crack down on puppy mills.
Iowa is the third-largest puppy mill
state in the country.
Bills to strengthen Iowa's oversight of puppy mills — H.F. 486 [click here for text] by Rep. Jim Lykam, D-85, and S.F. 265 [click here for text] by veterinarian Sen. Joe Seng,
D-43 — have been introduced and are awaiting committee action. Puppy mills
are mass dog breeding facilities that keep animals in , often in confinement
filthy wire cages stacked on top of each other, with no exercise,
socialization, or human interaction. Dogs from puppy mills are sold in pet
stores, over the Internet, and directly to consumers with little or no
regard for the dog's health or genetic history.
Currently, the U.S.
puppy mills, but only those that sell wholesale to pet stores — not those
that sell over the Internet or directly to the public. Iowa
is one of only two states (along with
Kansas ) where state officials are not able to inspect these puppy mills, even if
complaints have been reported. The new legislation would give
the Iowa Department of Agriculture the authority to inspect these
facilities if they receive complaints.
The bill would not affect responsible breeders, who already keep their dogs
in humane conditions, or the livestock community. It also will not require
the Iowa Department of Agriculture to spend any additional resources, but
simply will give the agency additional tools for pursuing investigations
and enforcement if they choose to do so.
Thanks also to John Carlson, The Des
Moines Register, for
calling attention to the issue and laying out the situation as it exists in
Iowa . You
can thank him via e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org right after you contact your legislators.
by JOHN CARLSON
There are 486 dog-breeding facilities in
Iowa licensed by the USDA, all acting as
wholesalers, selling dogs to pet stores and brokers. They house tens of
thousands of dogs.
Three USDA employees are assigned to inspect them. That's about 160 facilities
per inspector. Robert Gibbens, regional director of the USDA animal
inspection division, said it is a nearly impossible job.
A bill in the Iowa Legislature would allow state inspectors into these
places for the first time.
“The new law would allow state inspectors to take a look at federally
licensed facilities if a complaint is filed,” said Rep. Jim Lykam,
D-Davenport, a sponsor of the bill.
“If they find a problem, they could call the USDA. If they see
violations of the law, they could call the sheriff and ask that criminal
charges be filed.
“Responsible breeders have nothing to worry about,” Lykam said.
This is especially important now because we are just a few days before this
session of the Iowa Legislature adjourns for the year. Word is, the
bill is going nowhere. It has not met deadlines to advance beyond the
committee level. But Lykam was optimistic, and there are plenty of ways to
revive bills, so anything could happen.
A “no” vote would be hard for a legislator to explain.
Our legislators can
take a tiny step to do something about it this week. They can pass a
bill that allows state inspections of these hideous places we have chosen
**BFIA ACTION ALERT**
Copy/paste this action alert into an
e-mail and pass on, then please
Victory for Clean Water! Iowa House Passes Bill Extending Ban on Manure Application
Due to widespread pressure from members of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (CCI) and other environmental groups from all across the state, the Iowa House passed SF 432 with strong amendments today. This bill will ban the application of factory farm liquid manure on snow-covered ground during the winter months [extending the ban to start December 21, vs. February 1 in the original version] and bans application on frozen ground between Feb. 1 and April 1.
After receiving thousands of messages from Iowans concerned about water quality, and input from the federal Environmental Protection Agency, House members were forced to review the original proposed bill to expand the scope of regulation and close major loopholes.
Lori Nelson, a member of Iowa CCI from Bayard, stated, “We have been calling for tough regulation of manure application on frozen and snow-covered ground for a long time now. The legislature picked up this issue because of our original pressure on the Environmental Protection Commission and Department of Natural Resources to construct a strong rule, and we weren't about to let a bill to pass that would continue to allow factory farms to pollute our waterways with this practice.”
While amendments to SF 432 made the bill significantly stronger, Iowa CCI Executive Director Hugh Espey said, “We still have a long way to go. This regulation of factory farm manure application is a step in right direction to protect our water quality, but Iowa must continue to stand up against corporate pressure and put people's health and our environment before polluters.”
In the past few years, Iowa has nearly doubled the number of waterways on the impaired waterways list and a recent report from the United States Geological Survey pointed to Iowa as one of the leading contributors to the Dead Zone in the Gulf of Mexico. In these urgent times, Iowans continue to call on decision makers to put people first.
[The bill also requires the DNR to give progress reports to the appropriate legislative committees on the impact on Iowa's water quality. The bill now goes to the Senate where it is expected to pass as is. ]
Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement is a group of everyday people who talk, act and get things done on issues that matter most.