The Animal Wellness podcast is produced by Animal Wellness Action and the Center for a Humane Economy.  It focuses on improving the lives of animals in the United States and abroad through legislation and by influencing businesses to create a more humane economy. The show is hosted by veteran journalist and animal-advocate Joseph Grove. Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify and Podbean offer subscriptions to the free show.

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. Little about it considers conserving, and much more about it ensures hunters and trappers have access to animals to kill.

Anja Heister, Ph.D., a writer and life-long animal rights activist, talks about her new book. Julie Marshall, national communications director for AWA and author of “Making Burros Fly: Cleveland Amory, Animal Rescue Pioneer," joins her 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.

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.

AWA, the Center for a Humane Economy, NYClass and Revolution Philadelphia are working to convince municipalities to do away with carriage-horse rides. 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 like Freddie Hudson, CEO of the U.S. Harness Racing Alumni Association, who has been a key ally that’s made the most difference and is creating awareness and bringing newcomers into the fold with our efforts.

Rows of sows live confined to gestation crates at industrial pig farm.

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.  

Beagle shown in laboratory cage.

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 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.

Carole ”Tiger King” Baskin updates us on the Big Cat Public Safety Act | Episode 36

Mar 20th, 2022

Carole Baskin rocketed to global stardom after Netflix released "The Tiger King" in 2020. Rather than capitalizing on her frame for personal success, however, she has worked harder than ever for legal protections for lions, tigers and other big cats. She shares a little about her personal adventures and digs deep into the legislation she is fighting so hard to make become law.

Campaign logo for Nancy Mace

Rep. Nancy Mace talks about her work for animals | Episode 35

Jan 26th, 2022

Rep. Mace (R-S.C.), rising star in Congress elected in 2020, has already proven to be a formidable force for change on Capitol Hill, especially when it comes to animal-welfare. Working with advocacy groups such as AWA and colleagues on both sides of the aisle, she has supported a ban on the factory-farming of mink, challenged the U.S. Postal Service to stop its shipment of birds overseas for cockfighting and lent her name to the FDA Modernization Act.

Rep. Mike Quigley and his fight for lions, tigers – and roosters | Episode 34

Jan 26th, 2022

U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) discusses the steps he and other legislators are taking to ensure existing postal regulations are enforced so that thousands of fighting roosters won't be shipped overseas every year to where the bloodsport remains a cruel cultural staple.

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