In too many cases the humane treatment of animals in Maryland is completely or effectively uncontrolled:
Or you can say no, you can join Maryland Votes for Animals and help us elect humane legislators and change the laws of our state for the better.
Here are the issues that we need to address right now:
They are our best friends, our boon companions and they deserve our protection. Learn about the issues and what you can do---what together we can do---to help animals in Maryland:
"Anti-chaining laws help protect dogs from cruelty and enhances public safety by preventing aggressive animal behaviours that can result from inhumane tethering." --- Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger
Imagine living your entire life as a prisoner at the end of a chain or in a small pen, just because that is what your “family” has decided for you. Hour after hour, day after day, season after season, year after year, you are alone with no companionship, no exercise, no interaction with anyone except maybe a once-a-day feeding and a water refill---if you’re lucky.
You swelter in summer heat, shiver in the cold winter winds. A doghouse cannot protect you from the frigid chill you feel in your bones-and in your heart. Most of all you are unbearably lonely because dogs are social animals.
Other dogs chase balls, get petted, meet new friends, get silly, are comforted during thunderstorms, get relief from rashes.
You wish you could live like other dogs. You wish someone would come and rescue you. And now, thankfully, someone is coming...
Maryland Votes For Animals is committed to rescuing chained dogs through legislation. That's because the situation described above is perfectly legal. As long as the dog is being fed, has access to water, has a 3-sided shelter, and is not being physically beaten or similarly abused, our laws---as currently written--allow this sad situation to continue.
But what if we joined together to ban this practice by by getting legislation passed to outlaw it in the Maryland General Assembly? What if we joined together to elect legislators who will support a law to end 24/7 dog chaining and penning? What if all the dogs in your neighborhood, in your city, and in your state were freed from their chains and pens, treated like "family members" and allowed to live a happy dog's life?
Please join and support Maryland Votes For Animals so you will be kept informed about the progress of this and similar bills to protect dogs. Also, you’ll be updated on the voting record of your elected officials so you'll know whether they are a help or a hindrance in getting humane legislation passed. Then you can vote accordingly. Then, and only then, will Maryland become the humane, animal-friendly state we all want it to be.
How Much Is That Puppy In The Window?
Puppy mills are breeding operations where the animals are kept in over-crowded and unsanitary cages without adequate veterinary care, food, water or socialization. The puppies born in these facilities are usually sold to pet stores or over the internet. Dogs in mills are usually kept in cages with wire flooring that injures their paws and legs. The wire cages are often stacked in columns where the waste falls on the unfortunate animal below. The breeding animals in these facilities are over-bred and then killed when they can no longer reproduce.
There are no adequate laws in Maryland to prevent puppy mills. There is no license required in Maryland to operate a breeding facility. Inspections of breeding facilities must be announced ahead of time.
What you can do to stop puppy mills...
First, get active. Join Maryland Votes for Animals and become a voice for change in Annapolis. Write or call your state representative. You can locate the names of your representatives by clicking on the Find your Elected Officials link on every page. Tell them that you want all breeders to be licensed in Maryland. You want inspections to be unannounced. You want enough space in each cage for animals to stand up and move. You want to eliminate overcrowding. You want to eliminate wire cages. You want all breeding animals to have access to food, water, veterinary care, and socialization.
Second, don't buy animals from pet stores or over the internet. Breeders exist because there is profit in animal suffering.
Third, spread the word about puppy mills. If you know someone who is thinking of buying a puppy, tell them about mills. The sad truth is, nearly all animals sold in the Untied States come from puppy mills. Urge them to adopt, not buy.
Because together we can end puppy mills in Maryland.
State-wide spay and neuter programs, reduce the number of homeless domestic animals, reducing the number of needless euthanizations and bringing down the public cost of kill shelters.
Thirty-four states plus Maryland have established funding mechanisms to support spay/neuter programs to reduce intake and euthanasia rates.
No other disease or condition of companion animals takes as many lives as euthanasia.
(Janet M. Scarlett, DVM, Ph.D, Cornell University)
Destroying cats and dogs in shelters day in and day out places significant cost burdens on local government and takes an indescribable toll on shelter workers. Shelters are overwhelmed with many working in triage mode.
This is a needless and avoidable tragedy.
Spay/neuter programs are proven to be the best antidote to mass euthanasia. They are the most humane and fiscally responsible way to address the shelter pet population problem.
A state spay/neuter program is the best way to reduce Maryland's euthanasia rate and the millions of dollars spent to destroy Maryland’s homeless pets. Maryland's program saves lives and money.
MVFA thanks the thousands of individuals, businesses, organizations, agencies, veterinarians, and coalition partners who stood together, strong and in unprecedented numbers, ensuring this lifesaving legislation passed. Because you cared, because you were not silent about things that matter, thousands of lives of Maryland's homeless pets will be saved.
Maryland Votes for Animals list of Superstars of Maryland's Spay/Neuter Program
More info can also be found at SaveMarylandPets.org
How can you help?
Join MVFA : add your voice to the thousands of Marylanders promoting humane legislation in our state.
Donate to MVFA: We operate with zero paid staff. Every penny we receive goes into our final objectives; electing humane legislators and passing humane legislation.
Contact your legislators: Let your State Senator and Delegate know that animal protection is important to their constituents.
Cages upon cages of beautiful, healthy animals are sitting on death row all over Maryland right now. It’s not a pretty sight. If there were ever a time when the animals are crying out to us for help, it is now. With the loss of jobs, homes and income that millions of people are experiencing throughout the country, the animals are too often the ones taking the biggest hit---including the loss of their very lives. If there were ever a moment when we need to expand our hearts and use our political power to help Maryland’s animals, the moment is now and it couldn’t be more urgent.
Euthanasia and gas chambers have always been and always will be a pathetic non‐answer for the needs of animals. Maryland can do better even during the roughest of times. So let’s join together as members of MVFA---the first and only voting bloc for animals in Maryland---to insist that that our lawmakers take notice of the suffering of animals and pass laws to solve this problem instead of just succumbing to the mindless killing of innocent, adoptable pets.
There is a Solution…
For far too long, “animal people” have been trying to solve the huge problem of animal homelessness using rescue only. But isn’t that’s like trying to win a war using only the Red Cross? Instead, MVFA is dedicated to thinking like a general whose job it is to win the war of animal homelessness. This means that MVFA will think long-term, strategically and politically. Here are a few examples:
To summarize, MVFA will use our collective political power to insist that our lawmakers put programs and laws in place that will make the heroic job of rescue much easier. Then and only then will all our precious cats and dogs have the happy lives they deserve.
Don’t Buy While They Die
A quick reminder that adoption is the only conscientious way to bring a new animal into your home. Until every adoptable cat and dog (or guinea pig or pet rat or horse!) has a good home, no one should ever buy an animal. Adopting an animal helps solve the problem, buying an animal makes you part of the problem.
Do This Now!
Join MVFA if you have not done so already! The animals need a powerful political voice made up of tens of thousands of Maryland voters---a humane voting bloc. This is the only way to get our lawmakers to listen. Period. Only your voice (call your legislators and let them know that this is important to you) your vote (read our humane scorecard before the November 2010 election and vote for MVFA’s endorsed candidates) and your money (make a donation to MVFA to help us elect humane candidates in 2010) will end the suffering of these animals. With your help, Maryland Votes For Animals is dedicated to electing compassionate, caring legislators who will help these animals. The animals have no voice without us! Join now!
We produce food on an industrial scale, that means farm animals too. Does the fact that an animal is being raised for slaughter mean that it can be raised by torture?
These inhuman practices have to stop. Learn more about them and how you can help:
I spent years—even decades---denying to myself the occasional reports I heard about the cruelty hidden behind modern egg production. Those reports, I thought, had to be written by extremists and crazies. After all I’d eaten eggs all my life---scrambled, fried, poached, in omeletts, cakes, cassaroles, etc. Eggs are a staple in American life. So, what could be wrong with the egg?
Mary Tyler Moore provides background on this cruel industrial farming practice in a video produced by and used with permission of Farm Sanctuary.
If you’re willing to look, you’ll see that modern egg production is shockingly cruel to one of the most gentle of creatures, the laying hen, who was respected in biblical times for her courage and nurturing character. Today, however, she’s only considered an unfeeling commodity by factory farmers who value the bottom line over the chicken’s welfare. Here, in brief, are the facts I finally had to accept about the modern egg and the chickens who suffer to produce them:
Here's a video of the grueling conditions at one California farm. We have many operators employing the same,common techniques in Maryland.
Video produced by and used with permission of Farm Sanctuary.
One last point: egg producers don’t want you to know this information so their packages and advertisements are sometimes deceptive. Don’t be fooled by notes such as “organic” (which only refers to chicken’s feed) or “certified humane” (which is often a marketing ploy that may have absolutely nothing behind it.) Even the words “free range” can include items 1, 3 and 4 above. Plus many facilities designated “free range” are really not free range for most of the chickens housed in these crowded, filthy factories. And, remember, even if the hens are really free-range and really well-treated, all the male chicks were killed at the hatchery---hundreds of millions of them are killed each year in the United States alone.
Battery Cages are only one step in the institutionalized torture of hens in factory farming. To do something about it in Maryland, join Maryland Votes For Animals.
What’s a conscientious person to do?
So what’s a person to do once she’s finally willing to admit that eggs are cruel? Only you can answer that question for yourself. I choose to forego eggs entirely---I use egg substitute when I’m cooking, and I stop by Whole Foods, Zu Coffee, Emily’s Café or Sticky Fingers Bakery for vegan cakes or cookies when I want something sweet. We’re not dependent on the egg if we choose not to be. We can boycott the cruelty and still eat delicious, healthy and satisfying food.
A U.S. District Court has ruled (for the first time ever) that a state Ag-Gag law is unconstitutional! The case, filed by the Animal Legal Defense Fund, is a huge step in preventing notoriously harmful Ag-Gag legislation in Maryland and across the country. The court found an Idaho Ag-Gag law violated the 1st and 14th Amendments and was motivated by unconstitutional animus against animal advocates.
Under Ag-Gag laws, journalists and members of the public are at risk for documenting animal cruelty or life-threatening safety violations. In holding the Ag-Gag law unconstitutional, the Court found:
In children’s movies and storybooks, pigs are portrayed in a jovial way as being intelligent and able to interact with humans and other pigs in a meaningful way…and that is the truth. Most animal scientists consider pigs to be highly trainable and very sociable. Contrary to their reputation, pigs are very clean animals who, when left to their own devices, maintain a clean environment for themselves. They roll in mud simply to stay cool. If allowed, pigs form close social and family bonds. They mate, remain together, and nurture their young just as a human family does.
Unfortunately for these animals, humans have decided that pig flesh should be available in nearly every grocery store…and this is the reason their life is a living hell.
Mary Tyler Moore provides background on this cruel industrial farming practice in a video produced by and used with permission of Farm Sanctuary.
On modern factory farms, breeding sows spend months of hideous confinement in narrow devices called gestation crates. Slated floors beneath their feet remove body wastes. The pigs never see sunlight and toxic fumes fill the air. Mother pigs are transferred to farrowing crates after giving birth. The crates prevent the mom and her babies from snuggling and interacting. Bars divide the mother from the offspring so that only nursing can take place. She is then impregnated again and returned to the gestation crate to do it all over again…and again…and again. Then farmers complain because they “bar-bite” and “become aggressive’. The truth is that they are literally going insane.
So what can rational, humane thinkers do to help the pigs? By joining Maryland Votes for Animals, we can band together to establish humane farming practices in our state. Gestation crates do exist in Maryland and a bill to outlaw them was introduced in The Maryland General Assembly several years ago. Too bad for the pigs that very vocal farmers and meat industry people showed up to defeat the bill. Who was speaking up for the pigs? There was no organized group at that time speaking up for Maryland animals. Now there is! It is called Maryland Votes for Animals!
Gestation Crates are only one step in the institutionalized torture of pigs in factory farming. To do something about it in Maryland, join Maryland Votes For Animals.
Calves raised for veal are taken from their mothers immediately after birth and raised so as to deliberately induce borderline anemia. Calves are then denied basic needs, including access to their mother's milk, access to pasture and exercise and often prohibited from any movement at all. by being crated.
Crated veal calves are normally confined inside 2-foot-wide enclosures for their entire lives. Usually chained by their necks to the front of the stall, these animals cannot even turn around, stretch their limbs, or lie down comfortably.
Mary Tyler Moore provides background on this cruel industrial farming practice in a video
produced by and used with permission of Farm Sanctuary.
Scientific research indicates that calves confined in crates experience "chronic stress" and require approximately five times more medication than calves living in more spacious conditions. It is not surprising, then, that veal is among the most likely meat to contain drug residues, which pose a threat to human consumers. Researchers also report that veal calves exhibit abnormal coping behaviors associated with frustration including head tossing and shaking, kicking, scratching, and stereotypical chewing behavior. Confined calves experience leg and joint disorders and an impaired ability to walk.
Veal Pens are only one step in the institutionalized torture of calves in factory farming. To do something about it in Maryland, join Maryland Votes For Animals.
I had a dear friend in college who was French, and I loved everything about her. She was sophisticated and worldly; she had a great fashion sense, she traveled to Nice and Corsica for vacations and at age 20 she knew more about wine than I’ll ever know. She introduced me to a “delicacy” known as foie gras. It’s French, it’s served in upscale restaurants, it’s tasty. What could be wrong?
Ducks are immobilized in cages without escape from the force feeding,
living and dying in cruelty and pain.
Little did I know what’s behind the production of foie gras. Foie gras wears a veneer of sophistication and exclusivity, but it’s not at all what it seems. Here’s what you need to know:
Fois gras is the diseased liver of a duck or goose that has been force fed with a 6-10” long tube put down his throat.
In centuries past the poor animal had his feet nailed to the barn floor to prevent him from moving, so this has always been an unusually cruel food. Today it’s just as bad because the force feeding is done with a machine and under the time constraints of modern production.
Ducks become coated with blood and regurgitated food during the force feeding process, becoming so ill and weak they cannot stand or lift their heads.
A long tube is used to force food down the duck’s throat under high pressure, and this is done 2 to 3 times per day for 17- 30 days causing injury to the animal’s throat and extreme stress. If you were to see the poor ducks, you’d see that they’re so fat they can barely move, and they’re covered in their own vomit. They don’t look happy or healthy---because they’re not. They spend their short lives suffering for a human “delicacy” and then they’re shipped to slaughter.
Several years ago when I first learned how foie gras is produced, I wrote and called some of the local upscale restaurants and politely asked them if they’d please stop serving foie gras. Some of the proprietors angrily denied the cruelty, others were polite, even told me that they knew it was cruel, but said they had to serve it because their customers demanded it.
Ducks incur bloody, often fatal injuries from the force feeding, and
their bodies can be seen contorted in agony.
So what’s a conscientious person to do? How do we end this cruelty?
First, boycott restaurants that serve foie gras. There are plenty of restaurants to choose from that don’t serve this barbaric food---and it’s actually outlawed in Takoma Park, Maryland.
Then, please support and join Maryland Votes For Animals so you’ll get our action alerts and know when a foie gras bill comes up again in the legislature. (It was introduced in the legislature a few years ago but it was defeated by the restaurants and producers of foie gras who showed up in mass at the hearing.) Then contact your legislators and demand that they outlaw foie gras throughout Maryland.
For more infomatioin visit NoFoieGras.org.
We are the stewards of the earth. As such we are responsible for our wards. Yet, our laws not only permit the cruel and reprehensible treatment of our charges but, in some cases, mandate it.
We can do better than that, learn how:
UPDATE 2/13/15: UPDATE: Excellent News! Baltimore County delegation voted this morning (Friday 2/13) to protect Baltimore County's way of life. Baltimore County residents get to keep their Sunday day of rest and outdoor safety for animals, people and families. Kudos to the legislators who bravely took a stand on this issue. Vote count will be published when available!
UPDATE 2/12/15: Baltimore County Legislators will vote THIS FRIDAY morning (2/13) on legislation to expand Sunday hunting into Baltimore County for the first time in nearly 300 years! If we do not ACT Now this bill could pass and our way of life in Baltimore County will be changed forever.
Update 1/30/15: Baltimore County weighed in on new Sunday hunting legislation (HB18) at a hearing in Annapolis on January 30, 2015. Baltimore County legislators heard testimony on expanding hunting in Baltimore County.
Sunday has been a day of rest for animals and people for nearly 300 years in Baltimore County. A few individuals want to change that way of life for everyone just so those few can hunt and kill animals 7 days a week instead of six.
There is still time for Baltimore County residents to Act Now and send a letter opposing the push to sanction Sunday hunting.
Animals need a rest, and the over 98% of Marylanders who do not hunt, don't want to lose the one day a week they currently have to enjoy nature and wildlife without gunfire, death, and the chilling effect of fearing for the personal safety of their families.
Bullets and arrows do not stop at property boundary lines, endangering people on their own property and on public lands adjoining private property.
If you are a Baltimore County resident, please contact your legislator NOW and oppose the expansion of Sunday hunting into Baltimore County.
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Where did our whitetail deer come from, who brought them, and why?
How did we get so many whitetail deer?
How does DNR primarily "manage" our deer that they put here -- and why?
Who kills our deer?
But what about deer eating my plants, crashing into my car, or perhaps giving me Lyme disease?
How can I help humanely control our Maryland deer population and stop deer killing for sport?
After hunters killed practically all of Maryland's black bears, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) closed bear hunting season in the early 1950s, and placed our state's black bears on the endangered species list in 1972. Today, our bears are being killed once again.
A small population of black bears rebounded in Western Maryland, and they are now being killed for sport and recreation again, thanks to Governor Robert Ehrlich and Governor Martin O'Malley. Here's what happened and how you can help stop it!
Join MVFA if you have not done so already. Together we can save our bears - they have nobody but us!
At Maryland Votes for Animals, we advocate for the protection of all animals. Whereas dog fighting, cat torture, and even equine abuse are often in the news, other forms of animal suffering and abuse are not. This is the case with Maryland’s wild animals. Why?
Three reasons: Because wild animal abuse is 1) often done “legally”; 2) promoted by Maryland state government; 3) done out of sight and mind of the public. The abuse is then explained away with tried and true euphemisms by our Maryland state agency authorizing it – Department of Natural Resources (DNR). DNR is financially linked at the hip with hunting and trapping special interest groups who enjoy killing these animals for recreation and sport, yet the mainstream public rarely sees the sickening consequences.
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources
Our Wildlife and Heritage Division of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (WHS-DNR) is charged with “managing” Maryland’s wildlife and with preserving healthy and diverse ecosystems. How is this “management” carried out and at what cost to Maryland’s wild animals?
History of DNR
According to DNR reports, Maryland began licensing hunters back in 1916, through what was then called the “State Conservation Commission.” The goal was to “manage” a variety of wildlife species, many of which – especially waterfowl – were being potentially hunted to extinction. Its funding came mainly from selling hunting licenses, and that method of funding still dominates the way the current Wildlife and Heritage Division of DNR stays financially afloat.
DNR Marketing and Philosophy
The hunters, trappers and fishermen pay most of the costs for wildlife and fisheries “management.” As such they are DNR’s key targeted audiences. Wildlife is the carrot that brings in the money. DNR’s marketing is obvious and so is their philosophy:
The more animals available for hunting and trapping, the more hunting/trapping licenses sold, the more funding goes into DNR’s pocket. Concern for animals is not critical. Here’s why.
DNR’s Wildlife and Heritage Division is run by key personnel endeared to a hunting and killing philosophy as their primary means of “wildlife management.” Virtually all are hunters. Furthermore the majority of DNR’s citizen advisory group, called the Wildlife Advisory Commission (WAC) is handpicked with the same mindset.
The result: The foxes are not only in the henhouse, they control the whole place. They run it, write the regulations, propose the laws, and influence our legislators. Yet, times have changed and so have attitudes towards wild animals. The question remains: How do they do this with so little resistance from the general public? Language may play a key role.
The truth behind DNR’s language – it all equals “killing.”
Rarely will you see the word “kill” used in DNR’s literature about wildlife management. Killing is veiled within multiple euphemisms that mask animal suffering. This language begins the word “game.” This word collectively defines all animals that can be legally killed for sport and recreation.
Animals trapped and oftentimes crushed in cruel leg hold traps are called “furbearers” – not raccoons or foxes. Your dog or cat can become “collateral damage” by being caught in these traps, as they are non-discriminatory, operating more like landmines, clamping on anything that steps in them.
Animals are not “killed:” They are “taken.” Whitetail deer are “harvested.” Getting your “bag limit” means you killed all of the animals of a certain type – like rabbits -- allowed for that day. Keeping large groups of animals in check by targeting and killing specific species or gender is called “culling the herd.” Mute swans are called an “invasive species,” targeted for complete extirpation in Maryland, meaning DNR kills them all, using some of the most hideous methods imaginable. The same with nutria. Hiding the sad truth behind DNR language goes on and on.
Change yesterday’s attitude toward wildlife: “Wack’em and Stack’em” must Go!”
While Maryland’s DNR/Wildlife unit is run, advised, and paid for by those endeared to the hunting culture, today, less than 2% of Marylanders actually hunt! And those having no desire to kill wild animals, but rather to enjoy them, vastly outnumber Maryland’s hunters. Over 98% of Maryland citizens do not hunt.
There are more than 1.3 million bird watchers and wildlife watchers in Maryland, along with a myriad of hikers and bikers, walkers, horseback riders, and sightseers – called by DNR the “non-consumptive users.” These are people wanting to enjoy the great outdoors without killing anything. The people who want to go outside without the chilling effect and fear of being shot by a hunter in hunting season, or have their dog or cat caught in a trapper’s leg hold trap hidden in the brush.
What can you do to help?
In closing, Maryland’s DNR, like old military generals, haven’t realized that, for most Marylanders, the war against wildlife is over. Times have changed and so have the public’s attitudes toward wild animals. Putting respect, compassion – and humane alternatives – ahead of a bullet, a trap or an arrow is long overdue.
What is a steel-jawed leg-hold trap, and where did it come from?
Who uses steel-jawed leg-hold traps, why do they use them, and what is wrong with them?
How often are Maryland trappers required to check these traps and what do they do to the trapped animals?
Can I remove an animal I see suffering in a leg-hold trap?
Who supports the use of these traps, and who opposes it?
Join MVFA, if you have not done so already! These traps used for sport trapping and killing animals should be banned in Maryland. However, politics and money play key roles in Maryland’s management of trapping in Maryland. We need to work together providing a voice for the animals in the Maryland General Assembly. We are dedicated to electing those who will support animal welfare causes. The animals have no voice without us! Join now!