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National Animal Interest Alliance

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This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's spotlight on front groups and corporate spin.

The National Animal Interest Alliance (NAIA) is a front group and industry funded lobbying organization for animal commerce and agribusiness based in Portland, Oregon. The NAIA was founded in 1991 by Dalmatian breeder and American Kennel Club (AKC) board member, Patti Strand and Adrian Morrison, DVM, PhD, a biomedical researcher. It is a self described "charitable organization" and tax exempt under the IRS code 501(c)(3). [1], [2]

Overview

Agendas include financial interests, legislation and public relations for animal agribusiness, commercial breeding, hunting, fishing, trapping, fur ranching, animal testing, and animals in entertainment. [3] According to its website, it is an "educational organization" which supports "responsible animal ownership and opposes extremism." They also endeavor to present a "positive image of animal interests in the media" and "place animal issues back in the hands of the experts" as well as prevent "hostile animal rights legislation", educate the public and expand their "grassroots network". [4] Board members representing breeding, agribusiness, hunting, horse racing, rodeos, circuses and vivisection industries appear to be so concerned about "animal rights extremism", that virtually any attempt at humane advocacy falls neatly into this category. This includes spay/neuter, puppy mill and anti-horse slaughter legislation. The NAIA is also pro agribusiness, factory farming and meat & dairy in general. Board member Lance Baumgard, PhD, "writes and speaks on the weak connection between dietary fat and human disease. Dr. Baumgard received the 2007 Cargill Animal Nutrition Young Scientist Award." [5] The NAIA also lobbies through the NAIA Trust, an affiliated 501(c)(4) legislative branch.

Lobbying against humane legislation

According to the NAIA, they support "responsible and humane use of animals"; including appropriate housing, nutrition, medical care and humane euthanasia. [6] However, website "alerts" advocate opposition or severe curtailing of laws designed to protect companion animals, farm animals and other animals used in commerce as well as wildlife and marine life. [7] The NAIA lobbies in the interests of its "members" by tracking humane legislation across the country at all jurisdictions (federal, state, city and county). [8] See also NAIA Trust, section 1, Lobbying against humane legislation.

Spay/neuter, breeding restrictions and fees

According to the NAIA, mandatory spay/neuter programs requiring licensing fees for those profiting from animal breeding and adding to the problem of pet overpopulation, are "coercive". Furthermore, they are "spay or pay licensing schemes" which have "little effect" on pet overpopulation that produce "serious unintended consequences". [9] According to Patti Strand:

"NAIA also notes that campaigns to stop pet overpopulation have been so successful they have caused a shortage of puppies and small dogs in many shelters. Rather than declare success and close their doors, some of these shelters now pay for puppies and dogs and import them from other cities, territories and countries so they will have dogs available for adoption. NAIA believes some of the rescue groups and shelters participating in this relocation process are acting as dealers and pet stores and should be licensed accordingly." [10]

According to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), 6 to 8 million companion animals a year enter U.S. shelters and 3 to 4 million of those animals are euthanized. Every day in the U.S., thousands of companion animals are born due to uncontrolled pet breeding and lack of spay/neuter laws. Other negative byproducts include transformation of shelters into warehouses and incredible stress on shelter workers. Aggression and temperament issues can be attributed to uncontrolled breeding as can over 4.5 million dog bites annually. Neutering helps to reduce aggressive behavior. Every year, communities spend millions of dollars and vast amounts of volunteer hours coping with surplus pets. [11] Humane societies sometimes take in overflow from areas with overcrowded shelters and high euthanasia, who would otherwise by put down. They do not buy and sell dogs. See also War on Animals, section 7.1.

Horse slaughter

The NAIA aggressively pursues a horse slaughter agenda. According to the disturbing headlines from NAIA Director, Cindy Schonholtz, [12] the U.S. horse industry is "struggling to address issues surrounding the processing of unwanted horses". In this letter she references figures from her own website, the Animal Welfare Council. The AWC primarily represents rodeos, but also industries such as: ranching, horse slaughter, the Premarin industry, circuses and carriage operators. [13]

"Now that animal rights groups and ban supporters have been successful in legislative efforts to shut down almost all of the U.S. horse processing plants and legally hobble the last remaining one, we have them to thank for the current sad state of welfare for U.S. horses." [14]

Horses going to slaughter are shipped on crowded, double-decker cattle trucks without food, water or rest for over 24 hours. Pregnant mares, foals, injured and blind horses are shipped for slaughter. Under cover footage obtained by HSUS shows fully conscious horses being shackled and hoisted by their rear leg to have their throats slit. It is particularly difficult to align them to the captive bolt gun that renders them unconscious, since horses are skittish by nature. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), 92.3% of horses sent to slaughter are not in danger of abandonment or neglect. The remaining 7 to 8% may require rescue or have to be placed into one of over 400 horse rescues and sanctuaries in the U.S. or simply be humanely euthanized. According to HSUS, it is "market forces" which dictate the horse slaughter industry. [15] See also Animal Welfare Council.

Prop 2 - Humane Farm Bill Act (California), 2008 (passed)

Laying hens in battery cages

NAIA lobbies in favor of corporate factory farms. Humane laws are described as "unnecessary and unreasonable". According to NAIA, they also "threaten the health and well being of the hens" and "people who eat their eggs." [16]

Factory farms or intensive confinement operations are designed to maximize profits by producing meat, eggs and dairy as quickly and cheaply as possible. Animals are heavily dosed with antibiotics and subject to painful mutilations due to unsanitary, crowded conditions. They are also given hormones and genetically engineered to produce faster growth. Prop 2 provides minimal space requirements for animals. It proposes to prevent farm animal cruelty, ensure health and food safety, support family farmers, protect air and water and make "common sense reforms". [17] To read the text of the initiative for California's Humane Farm Bill Act, see also: [18] See also & Animals raised & hunted for food & meat & dairy industry, sections 4 & 5.

HR 3058: Puppy Protection Act (PPA), 107th Congress, 2001-02 (defeated)

The Puppy Protection Act S. 1478/HR 3058 (PPA) was an amendment to the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) [19] which would have protected animals living in laboratories, puppy mills and pet stores. It was introduced by Senators Rick Santorum (R-PA) and Richard Durbin (D-IL). [20] The PPA included a "three strikes and you're out" system, limits on litters for breeding females (to recover between litters) and a minimum breeding age of one year for females. It also contained requirements for adequate socialization with other dogs and people, to prevent future behavior problems. The House-passed version of the Farm bill H.R. 2646, did not contain the puppy mill provision. [21] Opposition to this bill included breeder and industry lobbies like the AKC, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the NAIA. [22], [23] According to Patti Strand:

"The PPA was inspired by special interest groups that fund raise using emotional animal welfare issues. As such, it was based on sound bites and depended on evidence from those who aim to restrict all dog breeding. NAIA supports the AKC's conclusion that there is no basis in current science and no consensus among breeders, veterinarians or animal behaviorists as to what constitutes acceptable socialization standards." [24]

Patti Strand has been an AKC board member since 1995. [25] Independent research has indicated that most temperament issues are due to inhumane treatment, lack of proper socialization, inappropriate functions (guard dogs, chained dogs and fighting dogs) and irresponsible breeding. [26] There are also numerous groups devoted exclusively to this issue. [27]

Other alerts & events

Alerts for "events" are non-welfare, non-advocacy related, such as AKC dog trials. [28] Others are "terrorist alerts". [29]

S. 3880: Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, 109th Congress, 2005-06 (passed)

NAIA predictably lobbied in favor of this bill. [30] Critics have characterized the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA) as being designed to protect the financial interests of corporations and industry as well as chill dissent and discourage legal activism, boycotts and protests. [31] See also AETA, section 7.

Petition to President Bush

Since June of 2001 the NAIA has circulated an unsuccessful petition to revoke People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals' (PETA) 501(c)(3) status (featured on a site owned by the Fur Commission.) According Patti Strand, the NAIA is:

"an organization of animal professionals and enthusiasts, (who) today called on the Bush Administration to investigate the exploitation of IRS charitable tax-exempt status by certain animal rights groups that use intimidation, harassment and deception to raise money." [32]

NAIA, AKC, state breeders associations & puppy mills

Breeding dogs in puppy mill

There are about 20 state pet breeders associations who are (not too surprisingly) located in the major puppy mill states. The most active and vocal ones are in Missouri, Pennsylvania and Ohio, home to the heaviest concentration of puppy mills or what the AKC refers to as "high volume breeders". Almost all pet breeder associations link to NAIA and AKC websites. The mouthpieces for the Pennsylvania and New York Pet Breeders Associations are Amish and Mennonite puppy millers, whose USDA inspection reports list repeated violations. [33]

In 2006 the AKC registered 870,000 individual dogs and 416,000 litters. At $20 per dog and $25 per litter (plus $2 per puppy) the AKC brought in well over $30 million in revenue from registrations. Litters from puppy mills are the registry's largest source of income. [34]

Letter from Patti Strand

A February 18, 2008 letter from Patti Strand objects to a Washington state consumer protection bill proposing commercial breeders be legally accountable for the health of puppies they sell, while exempting charitable rescues. According to Patti Strand "these entities are totally unregulated" and "operate like pet stores". Furthermore, they "recruit and sell/adopt" in the "secondary pet market". According to Ms. Strand complaints about "sick, dying and vicious animals" have increased due to the fact that "rescues and other quasi-humane groups have mushroomed." [35]

She apparently makes no distinction between breeding and selling sick puppies for hundreds or thousands of dollars each and charities rescuing homeless and abused animals; which she refers to as a "secondary pet market" (like used cars?) While rescues quarantine and screen animals for health and temperament issues prior to adoption (sometimes with restrictions); even young, healthy animals are sometimes euthanized due to lack of space, funds and available homes. Most issues (including over population) are preventable and result from the lack of standards which the NAIA and AKC endorse. Some are rescues from puppy mills and the "professional breeders" she advocates for. She also objects to "strays being imported from Asia", where millions dogs and cats are victims of the fur and meat trades. [36], [37] The real issue is not lack standards for "quasi-humane groups", but competition with AKC registered mill puppies. See also AKC, section 4.

Endorsing unnecessary & inhumane surgeries

According to the NAIA, "animal husbandry practices" of canine ear cropping, tail docking and debarking and feline declawing are "under assault". Critics are either "uninformed citizens or special interest groups" whose objections are "based on false and misleading information". They maintain that many owners and breeders believe that cropping their dogs ears improves their hearing and prevents ear infections which "sometimes plague drop-eared dogs". Objections are due to "false and outdated beliefs" and "a lack of information about modern surgical techniques". Furthermore, the "discomfort" of tail docking is "minimal" because puppies' nerves are not "fully developed". Modern non-surgical docking techniques include rubber bands.[38]

Canine ear cropping & tail docking

Certain dog breeds are mutilated as puppies solely for cosmetic reasons. On this basis, it is an animal welfare issue. Claims that dogs of only certain breeds have their ears cropped for prophylactic reasons or "to hear better" are unsubstantiated and misleading. For example, "drop eared" breeds like Labradors and Spaniels are not cropped. Spaniels have long, heavy ears and are prone to ear infections, yet they are allowed to keep their ears (but not their tails). Puppies tails are docked between 2 to 10 days without general or local anesthesia. If done by a veterinarian, the tail is clamped and cut or torn away. Many breeders use "banding" or tying up the tail, which is far more painful. This stops the blood supply and results in dry gangrene. The dead portion falls off about three days later. Puppies undergoing docking squeal and cry, yet advocates assure us they feel no pain or that they start nursing. Suckling causes the release of endorphins, the body's natural pain relievers. A newborn puppy, like newborn baby, does not have a wide range of communication. [39]

In July of 2009, Banfield discontinued cosmetic tail docking and ear cropping. Debarking has also been discontinued. According to Karen Faunt, DVM:

"Historically, tail docking and ear cropping were typically performed according to breed standards. However, there is little scientific evidence that these cosmetic procedures benefit dogs." [40]

Banfield, is the largest veterinary practice in the world with over 730 hospitals and 2,000 vets in the U.S. Tail docking and/or ear cropping have been banned in various countries. Bans restricting cosmetic surgeries are being considered in New York and Illinois.[41]

Feline declawing

Declawing is illegal in many countries. [42] Complications may include excruciating pain, damage to the radial nerve, hemorrhage, bone chips that prevent healing, painful regrowth of deformed claws inside of the paw and chronic back and joint pain. Other complications include paw ischemia, lameness and infection. Declawing is an amputation of the last joint of the cat's toes; a painful surgery and recovery period. General anesthesia is used, which always has a certain degree of risk. Two recent studies concluded that 50% of cats had one or more complications immediately after surgery and almost 20% developed complications after release. Many cats also suffer a loss of balance.[43]

Debarking

See also AKC, section 5.

Portland area shelters

Although the website features a "shelter project" with an "army of volunteers", the NAIA does not run a shelter, rescue or foster animals. According to the NAIA, there have been "dramatic reductions in shelter pet impound and euthanasia rates." [44] Patti Strand, director of a lobby which boasts vivisectionists and furriers among its members, served on the citizen oversight committee at Multnomah County Animal Services (MCAS) for the better part of the 1990s and on a task force appointed in 2000 under the guise of a "responsible breeder's" group. Ordinances implemented during this time included anti-TNR laws (trap, neuter and return), mandatory cat licensing, trapping and impounding of "trespassing" cats without notice to owners and selling unclaimed animals for vivisection and dissection. Such policies also encourage theft of both indoor and outdoor cats. [45], [46]

Carolina Biological Supply Company

Carolina Biological Supply Company (CBSC) is the nation's largest supplier of specimens for classroom biology dissection. Both the NAIA and CBSC have a longstanding relationship with Portland area shelters. In a December 2000 article in a Portland area newspaper, the The Sherwood Gazette, a CBSC spokesman admitted to purchasing dead cats from the "Oregon Humane Society and surrounding county shelters". CBSC provides an on-line catalogue which features dead cats. [47] CBSC was also the subject of a 1990 investigation by PETA. See also Carolina Biological Supply Company.

1999 Oregon ordinance on dog & cat fur

In August of 1999, immediately after director John Rowton was questioned by an irate couple at a focus group as to "exactly what kind of business was being conducted at the shelter", a strangely worded statute appeared on the books of the Oregon State Legislature, prohibiting the killing of dogs and cats for their fur:

"ORS 167.390 (1: Commerce in fur of domestic cats and dogs prohibited; exception (1) A person may not take, buy or sell or otherwise exchange for commerce in fur purposes the raw fur or products that include the fur of a domestic cat or dog if the fur is obtained through a process that kills or maims the cat or dog." [48], [49]

Legitimizing high euthanasia & killing of feral cats

NAIA representatives sat on a task force implementing a change in record keeping systems that was adopted by MCAS in 2006. [50], [51] According to critics, statistics based on Asilomar Accords are not transparent or accurate, as entire categories of animals are excluded. It also allows for refusing rescue groups and trapping and killing of feral cats. Feral cats are classified as "untreatable, unhealthy" or "a health or safety risk". Life and death decisions are open to interpretation. Statistics can be easily manipulated to show lower euthanasia rates, while keeping businesses such as CBSC supplied with dead cats. [52], [53] On May 10, 2009, Sharon Harmon, director of the Oregon Humane Society told The Oregonian that MCAS has been in a "downward spiral" for several years. While the budget increased by 50% (to 4.6 million), adoption rates decreased by 40% for dogs and 18% for cats. Almost half the dogs and two thirds of the cats not returned to owners, were killed. This was well above neighboring shelters with far smaller budgets. Thousands of dollars were squandered on "adversarial enforcement", while animals saved by rescues dropped by 40%. According to the article, animal intake increased by only 5% between 2003 and 2008. [54]

However, according to a February 2008 article in the Portland Tribune, the shelter's cat intake has "doubled since 2000". 9,879 dogs and cats were taken in by MCAS in 2007, about a third found or seized by animal control. 752 dogs and 1,012 cats were adopted and 4,438 were euthanized. The rest were returned to owners. According to activists, MCAS is "enforcement", not rescue or rehabilitation oriented and euthanizes healthy animals by deeming them "undesirable", through questionable behavior testing. [55]

Funding

NAIA receives its primary financial support from "member donations" from related businesses and associations in farm animal agribusiness, commercial breeding, hunting, fishing, trapping, fur ranching, animal testing, rodeos and circuses. The Fur Commission is a member of the NAIA. [56] Funding also comes from sponsorships, grants and advertising. [57]

Iams pet food

For nearly 10 months in 2002 and 2003, PETA conducted an undercover investigation at Sinclair Research Center, a contract laboratory for Iams pet food. The investigation found that dogs had gone crazy from intense confinement in barren steel cages and cement cells. Dogs were left piled on a filthy paint-chipped floor after chunks of muscle had been hacked from their thighs. They had also been surgically debarked. Severely ill dogs and cats languished in cages without veterinary care. Iams representatives toured the facility and witnessed dogs circling their cells and sweltering in the summer heat, yet did nothing about it. The USDA investigated PETA's complaint and cited the laboratory for failure to provide veterinary care and pain relief; adequate space; and employee training; along with almost 40 other violations of the Animal Welfare Act.[58] Sinclair paid a penalty of $33,000.[59] Shocking cruelty was also exposed in the United Kingdom in 2001. IAMS/Eukanuba's experiments on hundreds of animals caused kidney failure, obesity, malnutrition, liver damage, severe allergic reactions, stomach inflammation, diarrhoea, severe skin disorders, lesions, skin wounds and other painful illnesses.[60] See also Proctor & Gamble. Yet, according to Patti Strand in an NAIA in an endorsement:

"The Iams Company has been recognized as a world leader in the development of quality pet foods for many decades. NAIA accepts The Iams Company’s position on the UK animal research issue. We applaud Iams for standing behind its record of good science in nutritional research. The Iams Company has an outstanding reputation not only as a provider of superior pet diets but also as a longtime supporter of events and causes that enhance the human-animal bond. " [61]

Board & staff

Officers

  • Patti Strand - co-founder & National Director - Dalmatian breeder since 1969 and AKC board member since 1995.
  • Dr. Larry S. Katz, President - Associate professor and Chairman of the Animal Sciences Department at Rutgers University, where he studies the sexual behavior of goats, sheep and deer. [62]
  • Cindy Schonholtz - Vice President - "Long-time animal welfare consultant for the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association" and founder of the Animal Welfare Council, a horse industry lobby.
  • Anne Edwards, Secretary - Dog and cat breeder and co-founder of the Missouri Federation of Animal Owners, Inc.

See also board & staff members. [63]

Former board members

  • Joan Berosini - Spouse of former Las Vegas entertainer and animal trainer, Bobby Berosini. Mr. Berosini sued two animal rights groups and three individuals after a Las Vegas dancer at the Stardust Hotel secretly videotaped him shaking, punching and hitting his orangutans with a rod in 1989. [64], [65] See also War on Animals, section 4 on animals in entertainment.
  • Joseph Bielitzki - ex-NASA chief veterinary officer and vivisection proponent.

Contact

NAIA
11402 Se Flavel St
Portland, OR 97290-6579
503-761-1139

Web address: http://www.naiaonline.org/

Articles & sources

SourceWatch articles

References

  1. More about the NAIA, National Animal Interest Alliance, accessed July 2009
  2. NAIA Officers & Board Members, NAIA, accessed July 2009
  3. Sites of interest, NAIA, accessed January 2009
  4. Why join NAIA?, NAIA, 2007
  5. NAIA Officers & Board Members, NAIA, accessed September 2009
  6. More about the NAIA, NAIA, accessed July 2009
  7. NAIA online newsletters, updates and alerts, NAIA, 2009
  8. NAIA Campaigns, NAIA, accessed January 2009
  9. Mandatory Spay/Neuter Laws: A Misguided Approach To Stabilizing Pet Populations, NAIA, accessed January 2009
  10. WE WON!!! Puppy Protection Act Defeated Dog Press, April 2002
  11. The Crisis of Pet Overpopulation, Humane Society of the United States, May 2007
  12. NAIA Officers & Board, NAIA, accessed January 2009
  13. AWC Members, Animal Welfare Council, accessed January 2009
  14. Cindy Schonholtz Animal Rights Win, Horses Lose! NAIA Newsletter: October 2007
  15. Myths About Horse Slaughter, HSUS, October 2007
  16. Patti Strand NAIA Opposes Prop 2Join NAIA and NAIA Trust in Opposing California Proposition 2!, NAIA Trust, 2008
  17. Prop 2 Passes! It's a Historic Day for Farm Animals in California., Yes on Prop 2, 2008
  18. Joe Ramsey Request for Title and Summary for Proposed Initiative, California's Humane Farm Bill Act, August 2007
  19. Animal Welfare Act and Regulations, U.S. Department of Agriculture, December 2009
  20. H.R. 3058: Puppy Protection Act, govtrack.us, 2002
  21. U.S. Senate Passes Farm Bill Addressing Animal Fighting, Puppy Mills, Farm Animals and Bears, HSUS, February 2002
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  24. WE WON!!! Puppy Protection Act Defeated, Dog Press, April 2002
  25. AKC Announces Board of Directors Election Results, American Kennel Club, March 14, 2007
  26. Karen Delise Fatal Dog Attacks, the Truth Behind the Tragedy: It's the Owner, Not the Dog, National Canine Research Council, 2007
  27. Chained Dog Sites, Dogs Deserve Better, accessed January 2009
  28. Sharon Anderson Agility - AKC's new fun sport grows in leaps and bounds, NAIA, accessed January 2009
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  30. Action Alert: Anti terrorism bill. Request for action by the Senate Judiciary Committee of the Congress of the United States, NAIA, accessed September 2009
  31. Will Potter House Passes AETA With Little Discussion or Dissent: Notes from the House Floor “Debate”, Greenisthenewred.com, Nov 2006
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  33. Libby Williams Animal interest groups such as NAIA, Best Friends Network, January 2007
  34. Laura Allen Rally Against The AKC's Support Of Puppy Mills, Bestfriends Network News, April 2007
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  40. The Pet Hospital discontinues tail dock, ear crop and devocalization procedures, Banfield, July 2009
  41. Tail Docking & Ear Cropping, Dogged Health, 2009
  42. Christianne Schelling, DVM Outlawed Countries, Declawing.com, 1998 - 2009
  43. Christianne Schelling, DVM Complications, Declawing.com, 1998 - 2009
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  64. High court throws out $4.2 million judgment animal trainer won in libel, privacy suit, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, February 1994
  65. PETA v. Bobby Berosini, Ltd.; Counsel: Robert D. Martin, Las Vegas, January 1994