I’m a native Texan and most days I’m proud of it. But every so often something happens that makes me wonder how we ever made it out of the dark ages. Take today for instance. The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation has totally ignored the recommendations of its own appointed panel of experts and thousands of Texas residents in establishing standards for the care and housing for dogs and cats kept by large scale commercial breeders. Instead they deferred to federal standards established by the Animal Welfare Act that are described as “minimal” even by the United States Department Agriculture. That means the “puppy mill bill” that should have required breeders to provide humane conditions for the animals in their care, can now house those animals in cages so small that the animals can barely turn around as well as allow the floor these animals stand on their entire lives to be 100 percent wire (like those in the photo above).
Yep, the bill called for creation of an advisory committee of experts to create humane standards of care and housing. Which they did. And then the Commission completely ignored those recommendations. I’m pretty sure that’s not what the law intended.
According to Stacy Smith, President of the North Texas Chapter of the Texas Humane Legislation Network, “Obviously we are very disappointed. Texans spoke up loudly and clearly last year in their support of a law that would improve conditions in puppy mills, and the TDLR’s decision to continue to allow the use of wire flooring, cages barely large enough for an animal to turn around, and other cruel housing is a vote against the welfare of dogs and cats who live their entire lives in breeding facilities. Yesterday was a sad reminder that we have a long way to go to make Texas a humane place for all animals.”
A review of the TDLR website reveals little about who these people are that have so little regard for the lives of companion animals and so much esteem for those who make money on them. . “The Department has thumbed its nose at those efforts by allowing dogs and cats to live in cramped wire cages for their entire lives, pushing out litter after litter of puppies and kittens for the commercial pet trade”, according to Cori Menken, senior director of the ASPCA Puppy Mills Campaign.
I think I figured it out – I’m proud of everything about Texas except the state government. Not a lot to be proud of there these days.
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