If rescue transporters can’t keep dogs from cooking in crates, what happens to livestock?
NEW YORK CITY, TORONTO, LONDON (U.K.)––Again a New York City-based dog adoption transport has come to grief in hot weather, again leaving the rest of the adoption rescue transport to wonder why.
Recounted Gabrielle Fonrouge of the New York Post on July 22, 2019, “Don — a 2-year-old pit bull who’d been rescued from Brooklyn’s Animal Care Center — was headed to Rescue Dogs Rescue Soldiers in Cherry Valley, New York, outside of Albany, when the Animal Care Center transporter stopped at a gas station 10 minutes from the destination and found the pup dead,” in a cage full of feces.
Animal Care Center lost one dog. The ASPCA lost 26.
Don the pit bull succumbed ten weeks after 26 dogs “died from excessive heat in a vehicle owned by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals while being shipped from Mississippi to Wisconsin,” according to Kate Murphy of the New York Times.
Rescue Dogs Rescue Soldiers president Liz Keller told Fonrouge that Don the pit bull “was gone and had been gone for a while because the body was really hard, very stiff,” with his mouth “wide open like an alligator.”
Reported Fonrouge, “Don left Brooklyn around 9 a.m. for the four-hour ride in the midst of the worst heat wave the city has seen since 2011, with heat indexes as high as 110 degrees.”
New York City health commissioner Oxiris Barbot, whose department oversees the Animal Care Center, “made numerous warnings alongside Mayor Bill de Blasio that the conditions could be deadly for people and their pets,” Fonrouge wrote.
The transport van driver told Keller, she said, that the air conditioner was set on low, while Don the pit bull “was in the back of the van where direct sun hit the vehicle.”
“Another dog who was traveling with Don, named Bambino, was also in bad shape when the transporter arrived and was showing signs of dehydration,” Fonrouge mentioned, but
Said the New York City Animal Care Center in a prepared statement, “We are deeply saddened by this loss and are conducting a thorough investigation into the incident including a full examination of Don as well as the transport vehicle.”
Dog transport can be done safely
Transporting dogs long distances from animal control shelters to adoption venues can be done safely. The North Shore Animal League America has been doing it safely for 50 years.
The late longtime North Shore president Elisabeth Lewyt in 1969 began using her station wagon to bring pound animals to the North Shore adoption center in Port Washington, New York. As successful adoptions increased, the North Shore animal transport operation grew into a fleet of professionally driven air-conditioned vans, with on-board attendants to ensure animal well-being en route. Long hauls in hot weather were done by night.
A training program was begun to help other adoption shelters to start their own transport operations. How-to videos were distributed to teach those who could not visit Port Washington in person.
North Shore taught PetSmart Charities
ANIMALS 24-7 attended several North Shore Animal League America transport teaching and training seminars, including the one in 2004 at which then-North Shore operations director Perry Fina shared the entire North Shore transport training manual with PetSmart Charities.
This was just before PetSmart Charities introduced the nationwide “Rescue Waggin’” adoption transport program, which hauled about 75,000 dogs and cats safely during the next dozen years.
Taking over the leading role in long-haul dog and cat transport after PetSmart Charities took the “Rescue Waggin’” off the road in 2016, the ASPCA in 2016-2017 promoted a seven-part webinar on safe rescue transport.
ASPCA is still stonewalling
At least one ASPCA driving team, however, apparently forgot or never learned some of the basics. Whatever happened, though, to cause the 26 dog deaths on May 15, 2019, however, the ASPCA has yet to acknowledge.
Ten weeks after Emily Jacobs and Ben Feuerherd of the New York Post disclosed the dog deaths, on May 16, 2019, the ASPCA continues to stonewall about what killed the dogs, where, when, on what make and model of vehicle, and why the dogs’ distress was not discovered by the transport team before the dogs died.
The ASPCA did, however, post information on June 25, 2019 about how to “Breeze Through Summer Planning,” and on July 18, 2019, about coping with “weather disaster.”
New York City carriage horses stabled
Meanwhile, the New York City-based Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages electronic newsletter on July 21, 2019 lamented that while “There are many regulations that cover NYC carriage horses, most are not enforced. Since January 2014,” the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages charged, “when the ASPCA gave up humane law enforcement, the regulations, save for one, have not been enforced.
“The Department of Health, in conjunction with the New York Police Department, almost always suspends the carriages when the temperature reaches 90 degrees,” the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages conceded.
“The horses are barely better off standing in their small stalls for all the time the industry is suspended. The stables are far from ideal, with stalls that are half the size needed for a large draft horse. There is no turn-out to pasture. Nothing. We hope the stables at least have lots of fans and misters during this brutal heat wave,” the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages said.
“However, this suspension at 90 degrees is about all the city does right,” the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages concluded. “The weather restriction regulations also call for suspension during heavy rain, ice, snow and when it reaches 18 degrees. And that generally does not happen.”
“What if animal is not a dog, but a pig?”
Observed CBC News guest columnist Jessica Scott-Reid, of Toronto, on June 23, 2018, “A dog suffering in a hot car will typically cause people to react with immediate action and outrage. They break windows, call the police, and the atrocity might even be documented on the news or social media, leading to floods of angry comments and demands that owners be punished.
“But what if that animal is not a dog, but rather a pig?” Reid asked. “And what if it is not a car, but a large metal transport truck? What if it is not one, but dozens of pigs crammed together, panting and suffering, after traveling up to 36 hours in the sweltering summer heat?”
Reid recalled that “Last week, animal rights activists with Toronto Pig Save and The Light Movement shared footage and photos on social media allegedly recorded outside of a slaughterhouse in Burlington, Ontario. The videos show pigs inside trucks breathing rapidly, some foaming at the mouth, some lying on their sides in obvious distress.
Guidelines “vaguely worded & rarely enforced”
“Environment Canada issued a heat warning for the region the day that footage was shot,” Reid noted.
“But heat warnings don’t stop meat production. In Canada, there are no laws regarding temperatures above or below which farmed animals cannot be transported. Though the National Animal Care Council does have recommendations regarding transport of farmed animals in extreme weather, they are merely guidelines — not law — and are vaguely worded and rarely enforced.”
Reid might have made the same observation about public concern for dogs, and horses, as compared to the relative lack of concern expressed on behalf of any farmed animal species kept in excessive heat––and not only in big metal trucks. Animals in big metal barns suffer comparably when ventilation fails. And ventilation fails, due to electricity outages, especially often in heat.
Thousands of chickens died in U.K. heat wave
Across the Atlantic, England experienced temperatures comparable to those recorded in New York City.
“Thousands of chickens died in last week’s heatwave at a Red Tractor-endorsed farm that supplies major supermarkets,” reported Jane Dalton of The Independent on August 1, 2019, referencing the National Farmers Union scheme for certifying “humanely” produced animal products and byproducts.
“As the U.K sweltered in record temperatures of more than 38 Celsius (100 Fahrenheit), swathes of birds at an intensive farm in Lincolnshire succumbed to the intense heat inside sheds,” Dalton wrote.
The deaths at the farm, one of three in Lincolnshire owned by the Irish conglomerate Moy Park, came just six weeks after Harriet Grant of The Guardian exposed horrific conditions at all three of the Moy Park locations.
“Undercover footage obtained by the charity Animal Equality earlier this year on the Saltbox, Ladywath and Mount farms, all owned by Moy Park, shows chicks dead at what appears to be only a few days old, chickens suffering from leg injuries so bad they are unable to stand, and carcasses left to rot for days among the flocks of living birds. There is, however, no suggestion that Moy Park has broken the law,” Grant wrote.
189,000 birds in one building
“One of the investigated farms, Ladywath, holds a recently built double-decker chicken shed, one of the first in the U.K., with more than 30,000 birds on each floor. The site can hold up to 189,000 birds,” Grant said.
“The Guardian has discovered that independently, before the campaigners released the footage” Grant added, “the industry assurance scheme Red Tractor visited the same farms and found them to be failing to meet its minimum standards for animal welfare.”
What exactly Red Tractor intends to do about the Moy Park farms, however, Grant was unable to discover.
“From their sites in Northern Ireland and England, Moy Park supplies 30% of the British poultry market,” Grant observed.