Monday, April 27, 2009

HSUS reminds USPS about Animal Cruelty Laws

Subject: Federal Court Orders USPS To Reconsider Mailing of Illegal Animal
Fighting Mag.
Date: Sun, April 26, 2009 7:37 pm

WASHINGTON — A federal judge has ordered the U.S. Postal Service to
reconsider whether the mailing of certain animal fighting magazines
should be banned by the Postal Service because they violate the federal
Animal Welfare Act. The ruling comes in response to a case brought by
The Humane Society of the United States challenging the Postal Service's
denial of The HSUS' 2006 legal petition seeking to block the mailing of
advertisements for illegal fighting animals, knives and other
animal-fighting paraphernalia.

"We are delighted the Court has ordered this review of the Postal
Service's bizarre open-door policy for the animal-fighting industry,"
said Jonathan Lovvorn, vice president & chief counsel of animal
protection litigation for The HSUS. "The advertisement and sale of
fighting animals and weapons is a federal felony, and American taxpayers
should not have to subsidize animal cruelty."

The magazines at issue are frequently packed with advertisements for
fighting birds and the implements of illegal fighting such as gaffs and
knives (sharp instruments strapped to the birds' legs). Although illegal
in all 50 states, cockfighting remains a multi-million dollar business
in the United States, thanks in large part to these publications that
facilitate the commerce of the illicit industry.

Magazines like The Feathered Warrior are regularly sent in the U.S. mail
to subscribers across the country, and at a special reduced rate
subsidized by American taxpayers. Not only do these magazines frustrate
federal law enforcement officials' efforts to enforce laws against
cockfighting, but they also plainly violate the newly enhanced
provisions of the Animal Welfare Act.

Section 2156 of the Animal Welfare Act bans the use of the mail service
"for purposes of advertising an animal, or an instrument described in
subsection (e) [cockfighting knives and gaffs], for use in an animal
fighting venture, promoting or in any other manner furthering an animal
fighting venture." In the course of strengthening this provision in
2007, Congress noted that the "animal fighting industry continues to
thrive within the United States" and that "[n]umerous nationally
circulated animal fighting magazines still promote these cruel
practices, and advertise fighting animals and the accouterments of
animal fighting."

In its decision, the Court noted that "[p]ublications like The Feathered
Warrior are recovered in seventy-five percent or more of law enforcement
raids of illegal animal fights," and that The HSUS is entitled to
challenge the Postal Service's continued mailing of these materials
because "[t]he Humane Society has spent decades trying to reduce illegal
animal fighting in the United States," and "the need to care for animals
on an emergency basis is increased by USPS's circulation of The
Feathered Warrior . . . ."

To view the decision, please click here
greement.pdf> .

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