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The Federation has adopted organizational positions on a variety of animal-welfare related issues, including breed-specific legislation, events involving animals, and mass breeding, among many others. You may download an indexed copy of these statements by clicking here, or browse through them below.
POSITION STATEMENT REGARDING ANIMAL GIVE-A-WAYS
The Washington Federation of Animal Care and Control Agencies opposes the use of animals as give-a-ways, door prizes, auction items or game contestants. Our concern is for the welfare of the animals. Individuals or businesses allowing animals to be used in events of this kind are sending the wrong message about animals and our responsibility for them.
Animals may experience severe stress and/or injury if treated as inappropriate entertainment, give-a-ways, or auction items. Local, state and federal laws may prohibit such practices and the issue of insurance liability is too serious to ignore.
POSITION STATEMENT REGARDING ANIMALS IN VISITATION
The Washington Federation of Animal Care and Control Agencies supports the use of animals in programs that promote healthy interaction between people and animals. However, it insists on proper selection and supervision of pets used in visitation programs which safeguard the welfare of both the animals and people served.
POSITION STATEMENT REGARDING BREED SPECIFIC LEGISLATION
The Washington Federation of Animal Care and Control Agencies opposes any legislation that deems a dog as dangerous based solely on their breed or appearance. The Federation believes that dog owners should be responsible for their dogs and does not believe that a dog poses a danger to society solely because of its breed.
The Federation supports non-discriminatory legislation by which specific dogs are identified as "dangerous" based on stated, measurable actions; imposes appropriate penalties on irresponsible owners; and establishes a well-defined method for dealing with dogs proven to be dangerous.
POSITION STATEMENT REGARDING DOGS IN THE BACK OF PICK-UP TRUCKS
The Washington Federation of Animal Care and Control Agencies is opposed to transporting or confining any domestic animal in a manner that jeopardizes the safety of the animal or the public.
Transporting dogs or other small animals in the back of pick-up trucks is inherently unsafe because the animal does not have the protection of the vehicle’s side or roof structure.
This Federation believes it is best to secure dogs and other small animals within the passenger area of pick-up trucks and other passenger vehicles.
POSITION STATEMENT REGARDING ELECTIVE/COSMETIC SURGERY
The Washington Federation of Animal Care and Control Agencies opposes any form of elective, cosmetic or other unnecessary surgical procedure on companion animals. Such procedures are painful, stressful, or restrictive to the function of a body part and are performed solely for the benefit of the animal owner. Examples of cosmetic/elective surgeries include declawing, debarking, defanging, ear cropping and tail docking. This position does not include the surgical procedure of spaying or neutering animals.
POSITION STATEMENT REGARDING EVENTS INVOLVING ANIMALS
The Washington Federation of Animal Care and Control Agencies is opposed to any event that features or involves the abuse, torment or exploitation of animals.
The Federation has found that each year there are a variety of events, private, local, state and national, organized for profit or entertainment that involve the abuse of animals. Examples include circuses which involve animals in their performance, zoos with cage confinement, dog racing, horse racing, bullfights, donkey basketball, baseball, hockey or polo, “suicide” horse races, wildlife roundups of animals such as rattlesnakes, rabbits or fox, greased pig contests, calf scrambles, chicken races, turkey drops, animal fighting of dogs, pigs, finches, roosters or any other companion or farm animal, and other similar events.
In no case are these events vital to the community. These events have a desensitizing effect on adults and children, making them unsympathetic to the suffering of other life forms and allowing them to believe that animal abuse and exploitation can be thought of as an acceptable form of entertainment.
POSITION STATEMENT REGARDING FACTORY FARMING AND THE CARE OF LIVESTOCK
The Washington Federation of Animal Care and Control Agencies is opposed to the factory farming method of livestock management. The Federation believes that any livestock management system environment should support natural social behavior and include adequate temperature, ventilation and light. The animals must be able to groom themselves, stand up, lie down, stretch their limbs and turn around without difficulty. Animals should be protected from disease, injury, equipment failure, fire and provided with veterinary care and appropriate quantities of quality food and water.
Only humane procedures should be used when slaughtering food animals and these procedures should be constantly monitored by appropriate authorities to minimize the potential for pain and suffering. The Federation supports the humane euthanasia of sick, injured or “spent” animals who will not enter the food supply.
POSITION STATEMENT REGARDING HANDLING OF COMPLAINTS OF CRUELTY OR OTHER ISSUES PERTAINING TO AN INDIVIDUAL ANIMAL AGENCY
The Washington Federation of Animal Care and Control Agencies is an advocate of humane treatment and care of all animals whether they be privately owned, commercially maintained or locally housed in an animal shelter. The Federation is a support and educational organization, not a regulatory agency.
With this in mind, it is the position of the Washington State Federation of Animal Care and Control Agencies that all reports of suspected cruelty, abuse or neglect be referred directly to the proper local or state authorities for follow-up and /or action. The Federation, however, will continue to make itself available in an advisory capacity.
POSITION STATEMENT REGARDING HUNTING
The Washington Federation of Animal Care and Control Agencies is opposed to the hunting of any living creature for fun, a trophy or for simple sport. The Federation further believes that sport hunting exploits animals for the entertainment of the hunter and is contrary to the values of compassion and respect for all life that are the basis for our existence as an animal welfare organization.
The Federation finds that wildlife management often consists of enhancing habitat that favors “game” species, which creates an overpopulation of animals for the purpose of sport hunting. We oppose these practices and favor wildlife “management” requiring the least human manipulation, favoring all wildlife in an ecosystem equally.
The Federation considers sport hunting a violation of the inherent integrity of animals and disruptive of the natural balance of the environment through human manipulation.
POSITION STATEMENT REGARDING MASS BREEDING/PUPPY OR KITTEN MILLS
The mass breeding of dogs and cats for the commercial pet market has resulted in numerous “puppy mills” or “kitten mills” in which animals suffer abuse and physical stress from poor care and facilities. In many cases, the animals suffer from exposure to extremes of heat and cold due to inadequate shelter and lack of sufficient food and water. They live in filthy conditions which foster disease and frequently suffer from the absence of veterinary care. Adults are bred excessively and often spend their entire lives in small runs or cages.
Neglect of emotional needs due to lack of socialization, isolation and the trauma of transportation at an early age is a serious problem. In addition, ignorance of indifference to good breeding practices often results in animals with genetic problems.
The Federation opposes the mass breeding of puppies and kittens for profit because of the suffering and exploitation of the animals involved and because of unnecessary addition of hundreds of thousands of animals to an already tragic overpopulation of pets. The Washington State Federation seeks to eliminate mass breeding establishments through enforcement of current laws and regulations, enactment of legislation and public education to eliminate the market for such animals.
POSITION STATEMENT REGARDING NOVELTY, EXOTIC AND POCKET PETS
The Washington Federation of Animal Care and Control Agencies opposes the sale or purchase of animals as novelty pets. Often times a chick, duck, rabbit, reptile, exotic pet or pocket pets such as hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs and other rodents are acquired on impulse in response to novel appeal by people possibly ignorant of the animal’s needs. The Washington Federation of Animal Care and Control Agencies discourages giving animals as gifts at Easter and other holidays when animals have a novelty appeal.
POSITION STATEMENT REGARDING PETS IN HOUSING
The Washington Federation of Animal Care and Control Agencies believes that pet owners can be responsible tenants. Animal shelters receive many animals released by their owners because “landlords won’t allow” animals in their houses, apartments or condominiums. The Washington Federation encourages landlords and tenants to work together in establishing appropriate requirements for allowing pets and establishing reasonable pet deposit rates.
This cooperation will benefit both the landlords and tenants and will help to solve the problem of overcrowded animal shelters in our state.
POSITION STATEMENT REGARDING PET SHOPS
Pet shops in the State of Washington are largely unregulated, and without proper regulations and inspection, the animals may suffer abuse and physical stress from poor care and facilities. The animals are often purchased from puppy/kitten mills that are contributing to animal suffering and overpopulation. They sometimes live in conditions that foster disease and suffer from the absence of proper veterinary are. Further, they may be disposed of by inhumane means if they are not sold, or if they become sick or injured.
The Washington Federation of Animal Care and Control Agencies supports the establishment of minimum standards for living conditions and care for animals in pet shops. The Federation believes that pet shops should be required to maintain complete records and origin of animals on hand. Further, pet shops should be subject to regular inspections and forfeiture of license if irregularities are proven, and finally, if the animal is euthanized, it shall be euthanized in a humane manner.
POSITION STATEMENT REGARDING PREPUBESCENT NEUTERING
Animal shelters across the country, both public and private, house and dispose of millions of dogs and cats relinquished by individuals or caused by uncontrolled breeding.
Preventing the proliferation of these unwanted pets could dramatically decrease their numbers and result in unavoidable deaths. Therefore, the Washington Federation of Animal Care and Control Agencies believes that no dog or cat adopted from a shelter should be allowed to reproduce.
To ensure that all adopted animals are unable to reproduce, surgery must be performed prior to adoption. Unfortunately, not all shelters have the capability to neuter animals, and those that possess these resources may not neuter animals before puberty due to concerns of biological and psychological effects or traditional beliefs. Because of this, they may opt to adopt the animals out with an agreement that the adopter ensure the procedure is completed in a timely manner. In the experience of The Federation, even with spay/neuter contracts and follow-up reminders by shelters, many animals adopted out unaltered remain unaltered, which increases the animal population.
The research available on the physical, behavioral, short and long-term effects of prepubescent neutering in dogs and cats shows no adverse results. Therefore, The Federation supports this practice as a solution to decreasing pet overpopulation and the tragedy of resulting deaths.
POSITION STATEMENT REGARDING ANIMAL RESEARCH AND PRODUCT TESTING
The Washington Federation of Animal Care and Control Agencies believes that cruel and inhumane research and product testing on animals promotes animal suffering. The Federation believes that non-animal methods for research and product testing should always be explored and used in private business applications and university research projects.
POSITION STATEMENT REGARDING RODEOS
The Washington Federation of Animal Care and Control Agencies is opposed to exploitative and cruel events which take place in rodeos. Rodeos are defined as sanctioned or unsanctioned events where activities involving animals such as calf roping, goat roping, greased pig contests or racing, bull riding, steer busting and bronco riding are held in front of an audience.
The Federation believes that as a sport, the rodeo exposes participating animals to undue stress and repetitively subjects them to the high risk of pain, torment, harassment, stress, injury and often death from such abuses as being thrown to the ground, electrically prodded or roped around the neck. The Federation is opposed to the use of devices such as electrical prods, sharpened sticks, spurs, flank straps and other rodeo tack used to induce animals to react violently. We find these abuses cannot be justified.
The Federation also rejects the concept that rodeos are a harmless showing of a part of the American heritage or a portrayal of ranching skills. They in fact display and encourage an insensitivity to and acceptance of the brutal treatment of animals in the name of sport, and they promote an image which is not in line with modern ranching practices. Such callous disregard for our moral obligations towards other living creatures has a negative impact on society as a whole and on impressionable children specifically. The Federation believes that exposure to rodeos is not in the best interest of children as it teaches them that tolerance of inhumane treatment of animals is appropriate in the name of competition or entertainment.
POSITION STATEMENT REGARDING WILD ANIMALS
The Washington Federation of Animal Care and Control Agencies believes that wild animals are best served by being allowed to live undisturbed in their natural environment. The Federation believes that wild animals should not be owned as household pets or property and should not be used for commercial exploitation.
It is illegal in the state of Washington to rehabilitate injured or orphaned wildlife without a permit. Legitimate wildlife rehabilitation facilities will typically have state (Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife) and federal (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) permits.