The Animal Wellness Podcast focuses on improving the lives of animals in the United States and abroad through legislation and influencing businesses to create a more humane economy. The show is with Wayne Pacelle, AWA Founder and CHE president and hosted by veteran journalist and animal-advocate Joseph Grove. Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify and Podbean offer subscriptions to the free show.
What’s Up with Horses? | Episode 54
March 23, 2023
In this episode of the Animal Wellness Podcast, the team says farewell to Marty Irby, executive director of Animal Wellness Action and the Center for a Humane Economy. Irby has been a guest on virtually every show and served the organizations and the podcast since their inceptions.
One of Irby’s greatest passions is improving the lives of horses — Tennessee Walkers, Thoroughbreds, wild horses and others. He and Wayne Pacelle, president of the non-profits, update several campaigns being waged on the behalf of America’s equines.
- Veterans for Mustangs Act. This bill would fund the deployment of U.S. Armed Services veterans to the West to help sterilize wild stallions, reducing the perceived need of the Bureau of Land Management to conduct abusive, disruptive — and unnecessary — round-ups. Read more here.
- Horse Slaughter. Animal Wellness Action is hard at work to prohibit the export of U.S. horses to Canada and Mexico, where they are slaughtered for overseas human consumption and other purposes. Read more here.
- Prevent All Soring Tactics Act. This legislation aims to stiffen penalties and bolster enforcement of existing ones against the use of caustic chemicals and sharp implements to create the infamous “big lick” exaggerated gait with Tennessee Walking horses.
- Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act. After some changes to language in the law, this milestone advance against doping appears set to clear legal challenges and safeguard thousands of racing horses. Read more at our dedicated website.
Irby also discusses his appearance in the award-winning “Wild Beauty: Mustang Spirit of the American West,” a powerful documentary about wild horses set for national release next month. You can watch the trailer here.
Listen to the show here:
Will Cockfighting Lead to a Bird Flu Pandemic? | Episode 53
February 24, 2023
While the Corona virus has largely receded from the daily consciousness of most folks, it's not gone away completely. Just the other day, some local hospitals reported they are beginning to enact new masking policies. Regional and national hotspots remain across the globe. Countless people are grieving the almost 6.8 million people the virus has killed so far.
The looming culprit is now bird flu, a devastating virus responsible directly and indirectly for the death of millions of birds, most notably chickens, who are being slaughter in countless numbers as a prophylactic against further spread of the disease. Why are eggs so expensive these days? Fewer chickens. Fewer eggs. Supply and demand.
But the real threat to humans is so far merely potential, albeit increasingly likely. On the show with host Joseph Grove to talk about bird flu and its potential harms to people are Wayne Pacelle, president of Animal Wellness Action, and Drs. Jim Keen and Tom Pool. Dr. Keen is the Director of Veterinary Sciences for the Center for a Humane Economy. Dr. Pool is the Senior Veterinarian, Animal Wellness Action.
Click here to read our exclusive undercover report on cockfighting.
Listen to the podcast here.
Horse Slaughter: The Endurance and Cruelty of ‘America’s Dirty Secret’ | Episode 52
February 14, 2023
Australia has its kangaroos. China, its beloved pandas. In the United States, we have horses. We love them. We revere them. Children delight in seeing them. We cheer them on when they race around tracks from sea to shining sea.
But there’s a rancid underbelly to our treatment of horses, and a new investigative report, “U.S. Live Exports Fade as Foreign Demand Abates | An Investigative Report on Horses and Other Equines Sent to Slaughter in Canada and Mexico,” looks into it. It was published by Animal Wellness Action, the Center for a Humane Economy (CHE) and Animals’ Angels. The results are by turns stomach-churning and heart-breaking.
The dark side is this: While it is illegal to slaughter horses in the U.S., it remains legal – and profitable – to sell horses for transport into Canada and Mexico for that purpose. Yes, as foreign demand dries up, fewer horses are so destined. But with about 20,000 horses a year still sent to the kill plants, we have a long way to go.
“We documented that cruelty goes hand-in-hand with horse slaughter. Every step along the way,” said report co-author Sonja Meadows of Animals’ Angels. “It's really like somebody flips a switch. The minute a horse is unloaded at the loading dock of an auction and labeled a kill horse, the minute that determination is made, everything that horse experiences from then on will be dramatically different and completely inhumane.”
From Lethal to Compassionate Conservation: The North American Model and How We Can Do Better | Episode 51
January 10, 2023
The North American Model of Wildlife Conservation is less a structured paradigm of how Americans and their neighbor animals can co-exist than a set of tenets that benefits "sportsmen," who take advantage of the model to hunt, trap and poison their way through much of our wildlife population, and ranchers, who hope to acquire and maintain land for private profit. There is little about it that considers conserving, and much more about it that ensures hunters and trappers have access to animals to kill.
Anja Heister, Ph.D., an independent researcher, writer and life-long animal rights activist, talks about her new book, "Beyond the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation: From Lethal to Compassionate Conservation."
Julie Marshall, national communications director for AWA and the author of “Making Burros Fly: Cleveland Amory, Animal Rescue Pioneer," joins the discussion following her review of Heister's book in The Denver Post.
2023: The year ahead in animal welfare | Episode 50
December 30, 2022
2022 was extraordinarily successful for Animal Wellness Action and the Center for a Humane Economy. The AWA leaders recap some of their successes in the now-concluded 117th Congress, including: Passing the Big Cat Public Safety Act, the Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act, the FDA Modernization Act, the Reducing Animal Testing Act, and helping craft and pass a fix to the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act, so it could survive a court challenge.
There are even bigger plans for 2023, such as planning to push the work of AWA deeper into state politics with ballot initiatives and a growing team of state directors and volunteers.
2022: The year in review for animal welfare | Episode 49
Dec. 23rd, 2022
Wayne Pacelle and Marty Irby from Animal Wellness Action join host Joseph Grove to discuss accomplishments for animals this year, including the Big Cat Public Safety Act and the Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act, as well as progress toward modernizing the FDA. Recorded December 21, 2022.
Crate Free USA’s battle against extreme confinement of factory-farm animals | Episode 48
Dec. 12th, 2022
One of the worst aspects of factory-farm life for these doomed sentient creatures is extreme confinement. Pigs are known to receive the worst of it, when pregnant sows are kept in indecently small cages known as gestation crates. The fight against their use is one key focus of AWA and the Center for a Humane Economy, a battle now being waged before the Supreme Court.
Jessica Chipkin is the founder and president of Crate Free USA, an organization whose mission simply is to reduce the suffering of animals on factory farms. Founded in 2015, the group believes there’s really no difference between cruelty inflicted on a dog, cat, bird, horse, chicken, calf or pig.
Ending the abuse for carriage horses | Episode 47
Nov. 26th, 2022
On August 10, 2022, a carriage horse named Ryder collapsed on a hot New York City street and instantly became the symbol for a growing movement. Liberated at last, he was sent to a privately owned farm. Retirement was short, however, and he had to be euthanized just a couple of weeks ago.
Many former carriage horses who are no longer of use to the industry often are sold for slaughter and must endure a terrifying trip to Canada or Mexico, where they are killed and butchered for their meat.
Animal Wellness Action, the Center for a Humane Economy, NYClass and Revolution Philadelphia are working to convince municipalities to do away with carriage-horse rides and the animal-suffering they entail. Part of their argument is that electric carriages are now available, able to preserve the tourist experience of slow, open-air views of cities and the jobs of the drivers while eliminating cruelty.
Dan Buettner on living better, longer and kinder with Blue Zones lifestyles | Episode 46
Nov. 19th, 2022
We were interested in Buettner’s work because one of the Power 9 is that people in the Blue Zones eat much less or no meat. Where meat is consumed, it is done so only seldomly and usually entails pork in small portions, each about the size of a deck of cards.
Once again, what helps animals helps us all.
Buettner talks about the benefits of eating a diet that is as kind to our own bodies as it is to the animals it spares. It comes just as preorders are being taken for his newest book about Blue Zone living, “Blue Zones American Kitchen: 100 Recipes to Live to 100.”
Harness racing: A struggling enterprise grapples with animal wellness | Episode 45
Oct 4th, 2022
With the enactment of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act in 2020 that took effect July 1st of this year, we’re finally on the right track. But one of the key areas we’ve met the most resistance is in the world of harness racing. The U.S. Trotting Association (USTA) and those in the industry who want to keep doping alive and maintain the status quo have gone to great lengths despite the conviction of numerous criminals involved in harness racing.
But there is hope thanks to the good apples in American harness racing like the U.S. Harness Racing Alumni Association. We interview Freddie Hudson, CEO of the group who has been a key ally that’s made the most difference in this area and is creating awareness and bringing newcomers into the fold with our efforts.
Will the Supreme Court side against animals? The attack on Prop 12 | Episode 44
June 22nd, 2022
Approved with more than 62% of the vote in 2018, Prop 12 stipulates that any California farmer raising breeding sows, laying hens, and veal calves must provide minimum space allotments to the animals. The law also bars sale in California of pork, eggs, or veal coming from farms that rely on the most extreme confinement methods. If out-of-state farmers want their animal products to find shelf space in the large California market, they must play by the same rules that in-state farmers must observe. It’s a level playing field for all.
The fight to spare animals through FDA Modernization | Episode 43
June 22nd, 2022
One of our critical campaigns is to ensure the modernization of FDA drug-testing standards, which currently require the suffering and entail the deaths of countless thousands of animals each year.
One of the many organizations also in this fight is PETA. Kathy Guillermo, a senior vice president at PETA, joins us to discuss her organization's work to uncover animal abuse related to medical testing, improvements in science such as organs on a chip, and legislative work to ensure passage of the initiative.
How a California lawsuit may change things for Kangaroos | Episode 42
June 13th, 2022
Animal Wellness Action has been pressuring Nike, Adidas and other retailers of "k-leather" soccer shoes to discontinue the models to save more than 2 million kangaroos a year, including joeys from being slaughtered.
Natasha Dolezal, deputy director of campaigns, and Scott Edwards, general counsel, update listeners on our work for kangaroos, including recent protests and the filing of a lawsuit against California retailer Soccer Wearhouse, which we allege has been violating state law by selling kangaroo-sourced soccer shoes.
Monty Roberts, trainer to the Queen, talks horses, whipping and Baffert | Episode 41
June 7th, 2022
Monty Roberts weighs in on the topics of whipping horses during races, the wild ride of Rich Strike in last month's Kentucky Derby, the fate of notorious trainer Bob Baffert, and what he hopes to do next, in the twilight of his career.
Animal Abuse and the Connection to School Shootings | Episode 40
June 2nd, 2022
Statistics show a strong correlation between animal abuse and the perpetration of violence on humans. Both of the teens involved in the Buffalo and Uvalde massacres had previously tortured and killed cats, with the latter even boasting about it on social media.
Wayne Pacelle, founder and president of AWA, calls a history of animal abuse "the reddest of red flags" when it comes to identifying teens and young adults who may one day walk into a crowded building or school and begin killing people. He and special guest Steve Dale, a noted writer and speaker on animal issues, talk about this connection and that now is the time for Congress to pass the Animal Cruelty Enforcement Act.
BLM Mistruths: What’s really going on with America’s wild horses? | Episode 39
May 26th, 2022
The wild horse and burro herds in the American west are being rounded up by helicopter and removed from our public lands on an historic scale by the Bureau of Land Management.
The BLM has embarked on a broad viral disinformation campaign aimed at persuading Americans that the roundups are necessary. In reality, the horses are being cleared for the benefit of private, for-profit rancher and livestock companies. Director of Campaigns Scott Beckstead and journalist Vickery Eckhoff take a critical, no-holds-barred look at the BLM’s mistruths and set the record straight.
The sad fate of Thoroughbred horses, with Hall of Fame jockey Chris McCarron | Episode 38
May 4th, 2022
After the thrill and spectacle of Thoroughbred races, the athletes themselves too often face a cruel, horrific fate. One Kentucky Derby winner, Ferdinand, was actually sold for human slaughter. Before the races, they are likely to experience doping to mask their pain, resulting in on-track breakdowns that are lethal for them and dangerous for jockeys. Hall of Fame jockey Chris McCarron has become a vocal opponent of these practices.
Animal Wellness Action, Marley’s Mutts Team Up to Help Bring Dogs Home | Episode 37
April 6th, 2022
Jennifer Skiff, the director of international programs for AWA and the Center for a Humane Economy, and Zach Skow, founder of Marley’s Mutts, talk about Mission Possible, the flight that brought 285 animals out of Afghanistan and into Canada. It was a long and difficult mission since the CDC banned the import or return of dogs and cats from 113 countries before the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan last summer – forcing many U.S. troops, Foreign Service members and U.S. citizens to evacuate without their pets.