To begin, Peter welcomes Josh Balk, VP of Farm Animal Protection at the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). Josh reports the HSUS is waging a strong campaign against factory farming on a number of fronts. One effort involves legislative campaigns to ban the confinement of egg laying hens, mother pigs and baby veal calves in cages. They have had significant success in many states so far. They also work with the world’s largest food manufacturers, such as McDonalds, Costco and Walmart to adopt cage-free policies.
The HSUS also works with the food service industry companies to get more plant-based options on menus, and they actively use the ballot initiative process to pass legislation supporting the welfare of animals.
Josh got his official start in animal advocacy interning with Compassion Over Killing (now Animal Outlook). He would drive around Washington, DC in a vehicle equipped with a large TV which displayed footage of cruel factory farming practices, and would provide leaflets. Later, he worked undercover at a chicken slaughterhouse. To those seeking to obtain employment as an advocate for animals, Josh recommends volunteering or interning on a specific campaign as the best way to demonstrate one’s talents and commitment. To conclude, Josh shares his admiration of civil rights hero John Lewis, as a model of bravery in pursuit of big goals.
World’s largest birds
Lori then tells us about 3 of the largest birds in the world: the ostrich, the wandering albatross and the Emperor penguin.
Operation Baghdad Pups
Next up is Meredith Ayan, Executive Director of Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals International (SPCA International). This organization supports shelters around the globe, aids disaster and relief efforts with grants, makes grants to help shelters when they take in large numbers of animals, provides veterinary supplies, and more
The main discussion between Lori and Meredith centered on Operation Baghdad Pups, a worldwide campaign to help active duty soldiers in war zones who have befriended animals, to get the dogs and cats back home to the US. Operating since 2008, almost 1100 animals have been rescued and brought home. As you might expect, the logistics are complicated and the expenses are high! But a highlight came recently when (along with partner Puppy Rescue Mission), 47 animals were flown out of war zones to New York’s JFK International Airport for new lives in safety. Bravo! Visit SPCAI.org.
Kool koala kwiz
We conclude with a little pop quiz about koalas. These marsupial mammals subsist exclusively on eucalyptus leaves, and their newborns, called joeys, are less than one inch long as they enter mom’s pouch for the next stage of development.