Simple things to help animals

As this year is coming to a close and we are fast approaching 2019, it's time to reflect on the outgoing year and make our resolutions for the year to come. As a representative of the Humane Society of the United States, I look back on 2018 and reflect on all of the accomplishments that we have achieved.

Greyhound racing has finally been banned in Florida and California has passed initiatives that will put an end to cruel factory farming. We are working on legislation that will ban puppy mills in Michigan and are at the forefront of the fight against the evils of dog fighting.

Locally, our work continues and I look back and know that we have made a difference in the lives of numerous animals living in cruel conditions. I realize, for some people, that working on the national front for the behalf of animals is not possible, but there are simple things that we, as compassionate human beings, can easily achieve.

Please, don't ever gift your loved ones with a pet that you feel they might want. Choosing a loving family companion is a personal decision and is best left up to the person wanting a pet. Instead, wrap up a collar with the picture of an animal and then take a trip to a local shelter or a rescue. That way, your loved one can take their time and choose a companion that best fits their needs and lifestyle.

Always, ADOPT don't SHOP. Approximately 6 million animal enter shelters yearly and of that 6 million, 2 million are destroyed. Shelters are full of wonderful animals that are desperate for a loving forever home. Finally, please bring your animals inside when fireworks will be going off. Dogs’ and cats’ hearing is far more sensitive than our own and the noise from fireworks will send them into a panic. Dogs will break chains and jump fences to escape the noise. The lucky ones will be rehomed, but many will never make it back to their families. Please bring them inside, both you and your pet will be happier.

Kimberly Shack, Orangeburg

Congress must address health care

As the dust settles from the midterm elections, it’s apparent that South Carolinians clearly had health care on their minds when they entered the voting booths. A recent survey from Ipsos and Consumers for Quality Care found that health care was one of the top two issues that informed Americans’ voted on Nov. 6, and that Democrats and Republicans actually agree on the subject much more than you’d think.

Americans are deeply frustrated with our health care system and the consensus is clear: Voters are tired of partisan politics on health care, they want a more patient-centered approach than what is currently being discussed, and they think improving health care should be a major priority for elected officials.

The Ipsos/CQC survey also found that two in three Americans say they struggle with predicting how much they will have to pay for health care when they need it and they want more clarity and transparency to avoid getting hit with surprise bills and shocking fees.

As South Carolina’s re-elected and newly elected members of Congress head to Washington to take care of our nation’s business, I urge them to show voters that they heard their concerns and act swiftly to address them.

Donna Christensen, Catharpin, Virginia (physician, former member of Congress and Consumers for Quality Care board member)

Minimum wage hikes will hurt

This new year, less-skilled job seekers in 43 states and localities will have a little less to celebrate following planned minimum wage hikes.

Twenty states and 23 localities are raising minimum wages, including 15 that will reach or rise above $15 an hour. These higher wage mandates have shown to come at a high cost to employers and employees. In the Bay Area, for instance, a Harvard study found that each dollar increase in the base wage caused a 14 percent spike in closures for certain restaurants.

My organization has also chronicled the stories of dozens of businesses across the country that have been negatively affected by rising wages. They can be viewed at Facesof15.com.

While minimum wage hikes can be well-intentioned, they most often hurt those they are intended to help. Policymakers should use caution before mandating additional wage hikes that are shown to cause more harm than good.

Samantha Summers

Communications Director

Employment Policies Institute

Washington, D.C.

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