Wednesday, August 25, 2010

ISAR's Semi-Annual Report: January - July 2010

ISAR dedicates its efforts and resources to improving the lives of animals by being active on the legal, legislative and educational fronts. Since ISAR's founding in 1959 our organization has not wavered in this commitment.

Twice annually, we pause to reflect on the progress of our programs and campaigns. In January 2010, ISAR reported on our programs from the latter half of the previous year.

The major activities outlined below (somewhat belatedly; we've been very busy) are only a few of the many ISAR has devoted time and resources to throughout the first six months of 2010.

Animal Law Commentary and Interviews
In an earlier report, ISAR introduced our latest program as an adjunct to ISAR's other legal programs on behalf of animal rights; Animal Law Commentary and Interviews, by ISAR Chairman, Professor Henry Mark Holzer.

In March 2010, Professor Holzer interviewed Elizabeth DeCoux of Florida Coastal Law School about her article in Volume 16 of the Animal Law Review (2009) entitled, "Speaking for the Modern Prometheus: The Significance of Animal Suffering to the Abolition Movement," which explores the distinction between "Abolitionists" and "Welfarists," and argues strongly that each movement could benefit from understanding, and even utilizing, techniques employed by the other.

Following ISAR's interview with Ms. DeCoux, Professor Holzer interviewed Lt. Col. Mark Eichelman about his article in Volume 16 of the Animal Law Review (2009) entitled "Ringling Brothers on Trial: Circus Elephants and the Endangered Species Act," which discusses the dismissed case against Ringling Brothers circus for allegedly abusing the elephants it exhibits. Much of the Holzer-Eichelman discussion centers around the legal problem of "standing to sue"-that is, who is entitled to bring a case against humans on behalf of animals.

These stimulating interviews are available for download (free of charge) from ISAR's website, (

ISAR will continue to provide our supporters and the public-at-large with important animal protection information through interviews with experts in the animal rights/welfare fields.

Please send us your suggestions on future interviews you would like to hear. Snail mail your suggestions to ISAR, P.O. Box F, Clarks Summit, PA 18411, or by email to

Is Banning the Sale of Animals Beginning to Catch On?
In the month of June 2010 considerable attention has been given to the immorality and criminality of puppy mills and the dereliction of duty by those charged with their oversight.

Petland has been sued because of its complicity in the puppy mill outrage, in an effort to put the dog factory breeders out of business by choking off the retail end of the trade.

Also seeking the same result are municipal efforts to prohibit sales of companion animals. For example, pet sales have been banned in Albuquerque, NM and South Lake Tahoe, CA. Last February West Hollywood, CA did the same. Other cities throughout the United States are considering similar ordinances. San Francisco has recently applied the breaks to their proposed pet sale ban that would include not only cats and dogs, but the sale of small animals as well. After much heated debate, commissioners plan to take up this matter again at the beginning of 2011.

For years ISAR has supported such bans-as ends in themselves (ending the local retail companion animal trade), and as a means to reduce the incentive for puppy mills to produce a seemingly endless flow of canines (by narrowing the market).

However, we've realized that while outright municipal bans are desirable as far as they go, they don't go far enough because the retail sellers can easily relocate and go back into their dirty business elsewhere.

For that reason, in 2009 ISAR produced, and early this year promoted, a comprehensive "Model Statute Regulating Dog Breeding, Facilitation and Sales" which seeks to deal with the overpopulation of dogs caused in large measure by puppy mills. We urge our supporters to review ISAR's model statute.

Massachusetts Ban On "Devocalization" Becomes Law
Unknown to most caring custodians of dogs and cats, there is a widespread practice in the United States of surgically cutting the vocal cords of canines (and occasionally felines). Known by the euphemism "devocalization," the procedure is almost always performed for the convenience of the animals' "owners."

Among other reasons for this barbaric practice, large-scale breeders even in rural areas want to keep down the noise level of their captives. Backyard breeders have to be concerned with neighbors.

Sometimes, "devocalization" is a compromise between children who want a pet, and parents who don't want animal vocalization.

Whatever the reasons, devocalization is inimical to the animal's health, unnatural, cruel and yet another brutal example of humans seeing canines and felines not only as property, but as inanimate objects-and devocalization as nothing more than oiling a squeaky door hinge.

Earlier this year, ISAR brought to the attention of our supporters the pendency of House Bill 344 prohibiting under most circumstances the "devocalization" of animals in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

The governor has signed the bill.

"Devocalization" is now a crime in Massachusetts.

Following suit to this Massachusetts victory, the State of New York currently seeks to pass a similar law banning devocalization.

ISAR encourages our supporters to write to your elected officials and voice your support for legislation that prohibits companion animal devocalization.

In the coming months, we intend to push this issue even higher on our priority list.

International Homeless Animals' Day Tribute Video
In honor of all dedicated International Homeless Animals' Day vigil coordinators, earlier this year ISAR produced a special tribute video to spotlight the many candlelight vigil observances held throughout the years.

Accompanied by Michael Bublé's beautiful rendition of his song Home, images of homeless animals, and humans shedding light on this global tragedy, fade into one another while the melody plays.

ISAR is extremely grateful for the hard work our devoted vigil coordinators put forth every year leading up to our August events. Because of your loyal commitment, ISAR's International Homeless Animals' Day observances result in the re-homing of our companion animals into loving new families and countless spay/neuter surgeries performed to help put an end to the global pet overpopulation crisis.

Our organizational efforts in the first six months of this year have paid off handsomely, ISAR's upcoming Autumn Newsletter will fully report on the details of our 19th Annual International Homeless Animals' Day observances held on August 21, 2010.

ISAR's New Billboard Design Sheds Light On Pet Overpopulation
Displaying brightly colored images of a yellow dog and tiger-striped cat, ISAR unveiled its new spay/neuter billboard design in the spring of 2010 in time for our 19th Annual International Homeless Animals' Day and Candlelight Vigil observances.

ISAR's striking new artwork prominently features educational slogans such as "Shed Light on a Global Tragedy - Pet Overpopulation" and "Spay/Neuter. It Stops Killing" with space reserved for the printing of an individual organizations' name, phone number and/or message.

ISAR offers six eye-catching spay/neuter billboard designs. To learn more about ISAR's spay/neuter billboards and how you can order yours today, please contact ISAR by mail, phone, fax or email or visit us on the web (