National Animal Interest Alliance
The National Animal Interest Alliance (NAIA) is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to promoting animal welfare and animal husbandry practices, strengthening the human-animal bond, and safeguarding the rights of responsible animal owners and professionals through research, public education and advocacy of public policy. The NAIA mission is "to promote the welfare of animals."
NAIA was founded in 1991 in Portland, Oregon by Dr. Adrian Morrison, DVM, PhD, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, and Patti Strand, a dog owner and breeder of Dalmatians. Since the founding of NAIA, it has created partnerships with individuals and groups promoting animal welfare and animal husbandry, such as the American Kennel Club, Canine Companions for Independence, Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, and others.
NAIA supports the responsible and humane use of animals for food, clothing, medical research, companionship, assistance, recreation, entertainment and education. It believes that the relationships between humans and animals, on many levels, is important to both.
NAIA has taken a moderate approach to the introduction of measures that are purportedly for the protection of animals. In many cases, it believes that existing legislation is sufficient and that more effort needs to go into enforcement, rather than new, more restrictive laws. In 2001, the NAIA opposed the Puppy Protection Act (S. 1478 and H.R. 3058) on the grounds that its definitions were too broad, classifying family breeders on the same lines as large commercial operations. NAIA noted that the measure would be used to regulate every person who sells even one litter of puppies.
Some animal rights organizations support legislation to establish or increase civil damages for the harm or loss of pets or companion animals. In 2007, Mark Cushing, a legal adviser for NAIA, argued on their behalf that damages for loss of or harm to pets should remain unchanged. This position is also endorsed by the major veterinary organizations.
For years, NAIA has collected data from shelters across the country to document the status of pet and companion animal populations, as the Humane Society and PETA raise funds and have argued for certain legislation based on an alleged problem of "pet overpopulation". NAIA has not documented overpopulation; shelters report they have fewer animals. The Salem News of Oregon reports that shelter euthanasia rates have decreased markedly in most parts of the country, as shelters market their pets better, and demand for puppies and dogs is high.
The NAIA is more concerned that hundreds of thousands of dogs are being imported for resale annually, and more are smuggled in to meet that demand. According to the United States Center for Disease Control, "300,000 dogs are brought into the US annually," and street dogs are being smuggled in from other countries for "adoption". This puts Americans, their dogs and other animals at risk from disease, including those zoonotic (animal-to-human) viruses such as rabies. Smugglers evade the US regulatory systems designed to protect and sustain the health of citizens and animals here. For this reason, NAIA supported efforts in the 2008 Farm Bill to add protections regulating the importation of dogs and other pets. The National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians recommended: "The movement of dogs for purpose of adoption or sale from areas with dog-to-dog rabies transmission should be prohibited."
The Humane Society of the United States reports that about 4 million cats and dogs are euthanized yearly in shelters in the US. But, the NAIA says that the Humane Society does not differentiate in its reporting between the number of adoptable animals and others. For instance, shelters generally consider feral cats as unadoptable, as are a number of dogs that are too old, too sick or have behavior problems.
NAIA is opposed to mandatory pet spay/neuter legislation. According to NAIA, costs and euthanasia rates both increase after the introduction of this type of legislation. NAIA says that "spay or pay" licensing schemes [have] little effect on reducing shelter intake and euthanasia rates, while producing serious unintended consequences.” The animal rights group PETA disputes this, saying that spay/neuter is the only way to eliminate pet overpopulation, and that mandatory spay/neuter legislation is a step towards this goal.
NAIA opposes laws restricting the practices of docking, ear cropping, bark softening of dogs, and removing the claws of cats. They believe such decisions are best left to animal owners and their veterinarians. NAIA states that docking, when done within the first few days, does not cause pain because the nervous system has not yet developed. The other procedures require appropriate veterinary care and pain management. Some jurisdictions have banned these three practices. An example of increasing concern about animal welfare has influenced local legislation; for instance, the Hastings Borough Council in the United Kingdom has passed an animal welfare charter.
NAIA has noted the unintended consequences of legislation prohibiting the commercial slaughter of horses, saying that it has led to horses being neglected and abandoned to poor health by people who cannot afford to care for them. USA Today reported in 2010 that the Humane Society of Missouri "and other anti-slaughter advocates claim" that there has been no increase in the number of abandoned or unwanted horses since the federal ban on slaughter in 2005. But, the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) in 2011 found that Colorado reported more investigations of abuse, and Texas, California and Florida reported more horses abandoned on private and public lands.
The GAO has documented that, since the federal legislation, many unwanted horses are now being transported on long rides from the United States to Canada and to Mexico, where they are slaughtered in a manner far less humane than that used in the US. The meat is shipped to markets in Europe and Japan. GAO reported: "From 2006 through 2010, U.S. horse exports for slaughter increased by 148 and 660 percent to Canada and Mexico, respectively. As a result, nearly the same number of U.S. horses was transported to Canada and Mexico for slaughter in 2010--nearly 138,000-as was slaughtered before domestic slaughter ceased."
The American Kennel Club lists NAIA as an allied group; in Oregon, it is provided as the state AKC contact for Oregon concerning legislation related to dog fanciers. The AKC says that that NAIA is “interested in protecting and promoting the world of purebred dogs”. Patti Strand, one of the NAIA founders and a longtime dog breeder, is a member of the board of directors of the AKC.
The NAIA lobbied against California Proposition 2, passed in November 2008, which was strongly promoted by the Humane Society of the United States. It believed that elements of the proposition were too restrictive and would adversely affect the availability of food for human consumption.
Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act
NAIA lobbied for passage of the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA), which allows for special consideration of terrorism issues in the sentencing of animal rights activists. NAIA testified that radical environmental and animal rights groups have come to dominate the mainstream animal welfare movement. NAIA said such groups have used “violence, intimidation, arson, theft, and other crimes against biomedical researchers, furriers, hunters, trappers, dog and cat breeders, livestock farmers, zoos, circuses, rodeos, exotic animal breeders, and related enterprises.” Such actions of radical animal rights activists have often been reported by the news media.
In 2007, in an article on domestic terrorism, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) discussed a draft report of the US Department of Homeland Security, published by the Congressional Quarterly, which listed radical animal rights and environmental groups, such as the Animal Liberation Front, as "the only serious domestic terrorist threats." Its writers noted that such groups had done extensive property damage, but in the US they had not killed anyone.
The ACLU opposed the AETA, on the grounds that the proposed law "criminalize(d) First Amendment activities such as demonstrations, leafleting, undercover investigations, and boycotts."
Challenges to non-profit groups
Since 2001, NAIA has tried to challenge the non-profit status of certain animal rights groups, notably People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), saying that it and similar groups “use intimidation, harassment and deception to raise money” and use funds for purposes other than those identified in their campaigns. It has documented that, unlike the impression given by its advertising campaigns, the Humane Society does not operate any animal shelters or provide direct care to animals. It spends a great proportion of its revenues on lobbying and working to write and pass legislation.
NAIA receives its primary financial support from donations from individuals, the majority of whom are pet owners who support the goals of NAIA. In addition, it receives some funds from related businesses and associations in farm animal agribusiness; commercial breeding, hunting, fishing, trapping, fur ranching, animal research, rodeos and circuses. It has created alliances to work for the responsible treatment of animals while preserving opportunities for companionship with humans, animal husbandry, conservation of habitat for wild animals and birds, and animal research.
- "About Mission", NAIA Online, official website
- "Adrian Morrison", University of Pennsylvania
- "About the Board", NAIA Official website
- "NAIA Values Statement", NAIA Online
- "LETTERS NEEDED IN OPPOSITION TO THE 'PUPPY PROTECTION ACT'". Retrieved 11 September 2010.
- "The Debate over Advancing Civil Damages for Companion Animals". Animal Law Conference. Lewis & Clark Law School, Library. 28–30 September 2007. Retrieved 11 September 2010. Unknown parameter
- "Group Urges Strengthening of Pet Import Regulation to Alleviate Dog Smuggling". Salem News. April 7, 2008. Retrieved 11 September 2010.
- "Pet Overpopulation". Humane Society of America. Retrieved 11 September 2010.
- "BILL SUMMARY: Dogs and Cats: Spaying and Neutering". Cat Fanciers Association, Inc. May 5, 2009. Retrieved 11 September 2010.
- "MANDATORY SPAY/NEUTER LAWS - A MISGUIDED APPROACH TO STABILIZING PET POPULATION". Retrieved 11 September 2010.
- "Introducing PETA's ABC Campaign". Retrieved 11 September 2010.
- "NAIA POSITION STATEMENT: ANIMAL HUSBANDRY PRACTICES". Retrieved 11 September 2010.
- "Animal Welfare Charter". Hastings Borough Council. Retrieved 2008-07-20. "It is now illegal for ear cropping and debarking of dogs as well as the declawing of cats to take place."
- Cindy Schonholtz, NAIA Director (October 12, 2007). "ANIMAL RIGHTS WIN, HORSES LOSE!". Retrieved 11 September 2010.
- Winter, Michael (Mar 10, 2010). "Mo. lawmaker wants to revive U.S. horse slaughter for food". USA Today. Retrieved 11 September 2010.
- Action Needed to Address Unintended Consequences from Cessation of Domestic Slaughter- GAO-11-228, 22 June 2011, Government Accountability Office
- "Federations of AKC Dog Clubs and Other Allied Groups". Retrieved 11 September 2010.
- "AKC Board of Directors". Retrieved 11 September 2010.
- "JOIN NAIA AND NAIA TRUST IN OPPOSING CALIFORNIA PROPOSITION 2!". Retrieved 11 September 2010.
- "ACTION ALERT: ANTI TERRORISM BILL". Retrieved 11 September 2010.
- Andrew Blejwas, Anthony Griggs and Mark Potok, "Terror from the Right: Almost 60 terrorist plots uncovered in the US", Intelligence Report, May 2007, Southern Poverty Law Center
- ACLU Letter to Congress, Urging Opposition to Animal Enterprise Act"
- "NAIA Calls on President Bush to Act Against Animal Rights' Extremists". Fur Commission. JUNE 1, 2001. Retrieved 11 September 2010.
- Official website
- "National Animal Interest Alliance". SourceWatch.org. 24 October 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-01.
- "Animal Welfare Charter", Hastings Borough Council, United Kingdom
- Rod and Patti Strand, Hijacking of the Humane Movement, 2012