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USDA Cites Breeders for Abuse, Then Gives Them a Ton of Business
By Michelle Kretzer
If you were charged with enforcing the federal Animal Welfare Act and found egregious violations of it at an exotic "pet" breeding facility, would you think, "We should probably give it a lot of government business and taxpayer money?" That's seemingly what's happening at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The agency has reportedly ordered an animal breeder in Iowa numerous times to change the appalling conditions in which it houses animals—right before giving it tens of thousands of dollars in business.
Ruby Fur Farm, in New Sharon, Iowa, breeds and sells raccoons, skunks, ferrets and foxes to animal dealers as "unusual pets." It also sells animals to be used in experiments. And it's likely that such experiments are the reason that the USDA has given this facility nearly $70,000 in the past 10 years, despite repeatedly finding that the farm abuses the animals held there.
As one USDA inspector noted in a report:
"One dead, decomposing, headless juvenile ferret was found incorporated into the fecal material buildup on the wire floor in the corner of the cage."
Seven other ferrets were living in the same cage. The USDA has not issued fines or taken any enforcement action against the facility.
And Ruby Fur Farm isn't the only one. The USDA has also issued citations against Liberty Research, Inc., a contract testing facility at which PETA exposed stomach-churning abuse of animals. In spite of the facility's long history of mistreatment and neglect of animals, the USDA has purchased dogs and cats from it to use in experiments.
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‘Companies Should Not Be Allowed to Use Hazardous Ingredients in Products People Use’: Michelle Pfeiffer Speaks Up for Safer Cosmetics
The beauty products we put on our skin can have important consequences for our health. Just this March, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that some Claire's cosmetics had tested positive for asbestos. But the FDA could only issue a warning, not a recall, because current law does not empower the agency to do so.
Michelle Pfeiffer wants to change that.
The actress and Environmental Working Group (EWG) board member was spotted on Capitol Hill Thursday lobbying lawmakers on behalf of a bill that would increase oversight of the cosmetics industry, The Washington Post reported.
By Julia Conley
Scientists at the United Nations' intergovernmental body focusing on biodiversity sounded alarms earlier this month with its report on the looming potential extinction of one million species — but few heard their calls, according to a German newspaper report.
The climate crisis is a major concern for American voters with nearly 40 percent reporting the issue will help determine how they cast their ballots in the upcoming 2020 presidential election, according to a report compiled by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.
Of more than 1,000 registered voters surveyed on global warming, climate and energy policies, as well as personal and collective action, 38 percent said that a candidate's position on climate change is "very important" when it comes to determining who will win their vote. Overall, democratic candidates are under more pressure to provide green solutions as part of their campaign promises with 64 percent of Democrat voters saying they prioritize the issue compared with just 34 percent of Independents and 12 percent of Republicans.
President Donald Trump has agreed to sign a $19.1 billion disaster relief bill that will help Americans still recovering from the flooding, hurricanes and wildfires that have devastated parts of the country in the past two years. Senate Republicans said they struck a deal with the president to approve the measure, despite the fact that it did not include the funding he wanted for the U.S.-Mexican border, CNN reported.
"The U.S. Senate has just approved a 19 Billion Dollar Disaster Relief Bill, with my total approval. Great!" the president tweeted Thursday.
"There was a lot of devastation throughout the state," Governor Mike Parson said at a Thursday morning press conference, as NPR reported. "We were very fortunate last night that we didn't have more injuries than what we had, and we didn't have more fatalities across the state. But three is too many."