This holiday season, I hope you’ll take the opportunity to help animals with a contribution to the Gregory J. Reiter Memorial Fund.
The Fund supports organizations and programs that were dear to both Greg and me, and is also helping to shape these programs. Here are some 2019 highlights for the Fund and its partners:
1. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency made the historic decision to phase out all chemical testing on mammals. At the news conference where EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler announced the plan, he was joined by representatives of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals who have been working toward this outcome for decades, and White Coat Waste Project which has also recently campaigned for this outcome.
2. In the wake of horse deaths at California’s Santa Anita Park this year, PETA successfully advocated for racing reforms including a ban on anti-inflammatory drugs that mask injury, an increase in drug testing for horses, mandatory death investigations, and a requirement that racehorses’ medical records be provided to their new veterinarian when they are sold. Many more PETA-proposed regulations have been formally introduced and are now in the public comment phase.
3. The Greg Fund teamed with the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) to bring you a series of Exam Room™ podcast episodes, including Protecting Your Heart with Plants, Plants or Meat: Which Is Really More Likely To Cause A Stroke?, Dr. Dean Ornish Live Q&A: Reversing Disease & Living Longer, Why Your Gut and Brain Can’t Stop Talking to Each Other, Is Fish Really Healthy, A Major Victory for Animals, and Healthiest 3 Days Ever.
4. In May, I was honored to present PETA’s fourth annual Gregory J. Reiter Animal Rescue Award to Paulette Dean. Paulette has served for 27 years as Executive Director of south central Virginia’s Danville Area Humane Society, where her shelter admitted over 100,000 animals and spayed or neutered tens of thousands. Paulette co-founded the Virginia Alliance for Animal Shelters, was responsible for one of the strictest anti-tethering ordinances in Virginia, was named 2010 Person of the Year by Virginia Voters for Animal Welfare, and received formal commendation in the Virginia General Assembly.
5. The Greg Fund teamed with Food for Thought – A Program of Animal Place for the fourth consecutive year, providing grant money and other resources for animal and environmental organizations that pilot a vegan event or adopt a vegan menu policy. 2019 grant recipients included the Cal State University Student Sustainability Coalition (Long Beach, CA), Center for a Responsible Future (Singapore), Greater Farallones Association (San Francisco, CA), Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals (Vancouver, BC), and Oklahoma Primate Sanctuary (Newcastle, OK).
6. In April, a White Coat Waste Project coalition ended 37 years of U.S. Department of Agriculture toxoplasmosis studies which killed more than 3,000 kittens. The coalition, including a bipartisan group of over 50 U.S. Congresspeople, also secured a USDA commitment to adopt out 14 surviving cats.
7. In April, Virginia’s Governor signed Senate Bill 1025 into law, mandating improved shelter and space for confined dogs. PETA had been working with a statewide coalition for three years to advocate for this legislation.
8. This spring, the White Coat Waste-backed AFTER Act (Violet’s Law) was introduced in the U.S. House — followed by a companion Senate bill in the summer — to require that federal agencies enact policies allowing for the retirement of government lab animals. The National Institutes of Health then finalized a new lab animal adoption policy, joining the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense in so doing.
9. After PETA’s investigation of a Jeju, South Korea slaughter plant where former racehorses are killed for meat, local police charged the Jeju Livestock Cooperative Association and three workers with violating South Korea’s Animal Protection Act.
10. Thanks to a PETA exposé, the West Virginia Racing Commission has announced plans to begin a necropsy program in January 2020 — bringing this state in line with many others that use necropsy information to reduce future racehorse deaths. This announcement came after Bridget Moloney, who earned $389,748 in her racing career, was found dumped at a landfill by the Mountaineer Casino & Racetrack.
The Greg Fund gives special thanks for the Amherst Foundation’s generous 2019 contribution. Greg had accepted a new position as head of research with Amherst Capital Management LLC in early October 2015 — a position he did not live to fill. The Amherst Foundation’s donation is an impactful way to keep Greg’s memory and legacy alive.
The Greg Fund also thanks the following individuals and institutions who have contributed in 2019 to date: Anthony Bellotti, Robert Benedict, Alka Chandna, Jeana Curro, Jane Fisher, Ann Garvey, Lisa Hausner, Rob Haworth, Nancy Hughitt, Paul & Joni Jablansky, Susan Johnson, Steven Kehrli, Keith Kemplin, Adam Kobor, Deborah Kula, Ilona Lantos, Caryn Laurion, Syd Marcus, Jim McWalters, Michael Nardacci, Jim North, Diana Ok, Debbie Pedro, George Perez, Jeanne Roush, Kevin Sid, Betsy Wason, Benevity Community Impact Fund, and Yount Hyde & Barbour, P.C.
Happy holidays to all!