To begin this show, Lori shares news out of Mississippi, where important anti-animal cruelty legislation was recently signed into law by Governor Tate Reeves. The new law fixes deficiencies statewide, where the old law did not allow for multiple charges when multiple animals were harmed, and where it did not take into account repeat offenders. Now, animal abusers will be charged with a felony offense for their first act of aggravated animal cruelty, and a charge can be made for each animal abused. Plus, penalties for second time offenders allow for a fine of $10,000 and/or up to 10 years in prison.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) has been issuing their Animal Protection Law Report for 14 consecutive years. They rank each state on multiple measures for legal protections for animals, and thereby can demonstrate to states areas they can work to improve on. Overall, Illinois has held the top ranking for best animal protection laws on the books for more than a decade. In 2018, Oregon, Maine, Colorado and Massachusetts rounded out the top five states. Kentucky had been in last place for more than 10 years until 2019, when Mississippi took the bottom spot. So, did this auspicious award spark the state’s tougher stand on abusers? We have not specifically determined that, but maybe in 2020, Mississippi will earn its way out of ALDF’s cellar. We will let you know!
I am not a dog!
Lori then shares some fun facts about prairie dogs, the highly social, and in our view, very cute rodents. These creatures live in huge underground burrows called “towns”, reach lengths of 12” to 17” and weights of 2-3 lbs.
Greyhounds and news from Mayo Clinic
Peter and Lori continue with animal news. First, an investigative report in Ireland revealed huge numbers of unwanted and underperforming greyhounds get killed routinely, and that performance enhancing drugs and erythropoetin are widely used. And second, no doubt due to pressure from PCRM, the Mayo Clinic will stop using live animals in its emergency medical training.
Animal related business services
Next up is Mark Cushing, founder and Managing Partner of Animal Policy Group. This organization provides services related to animals in areas including industry relations and strategy, accreditation counsel and services for veterinary schools, and public affairs.
Mark joins Peter to discuss the rapidly changing environment for remote veterinary care, addressing the shortage of veterinarians, how the relationship millennials have with their pets differs from that in older generations, and much more. Mark truly has an insider’s view on animal industries and pets in our culture. Mark’s brand new book is titled, Pet Nation – The Love Affair That Changed America.
To conclude, gaps in Peter’s knowledge about animals (real and animated) are ruthlessly revealed in the latest installment of Lori’s trivia quiz. Can you beat his performance? Warm up on these: What breed is Scooby Do? What’s the main food of blue whales? Who was Jim Davis’ famous cat? What bears live in Jellystone Park?
Answers: Great Dane, krill, Garfield, Yogi and BooBoo.