February 11, 2009
Md. Capitol Hosts Advocates, Lawmakers for Animal Welfare Legislation, Awards
Sen. Stone, Delegates Malone and Cardin to Receive Humane Legislative Awards
ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Humane Lobby Day, organized by The Humane Society of the United States, connects citizen lobbyists with lawmakers to support and encourage animal welfare legislation. Maryland's 2009 Lobby Day will be held at the state capitol beginning at 9 a.m. Wednesday. The HSUS will also present Humane Legislator Awards to Sen. Norman Stone, D-6, and Delegates James Malone, D-12A, and Jon Cardin, D-11, for initiating path-breaking animal protection legislation and advanced reform in the policy-making arena during the 2008 session.
Lobby Day participants will focus their efforts on the newly introduced bills aimed at strengthening protections for dogs at abusive puppy mills and requiring accurate labels on fur-trimmed garments.
Puppy mills are breeding facilities that mass produce puppies for sale in pet stores, over the Internet and directly to consumers. Puppy mills commonly house animals in overcrowded, filthy and inhumane conditions with inadequate shelter and care.
Currently, Maryland does not have any state laws to regulate puppy mills. The new legislation (S.B. 318) would place a cap on the number of dogs over the age of four months old that can be kept at one time for breeding at 50 dogs. Puppy mills can range in size from several dozen dogs to hundreds of dogs, often stacked in wire cages, without exercise, socialization or human companionship. The bills would also establish enclosure size and exercise requirements for breeders with more than 10 breeding dogs.
Louisiana, Pennsylvania and Virginia passed puppy mill laws last year, and this important legislation will help to curb puppy mill abuses in Maryland — as well as preventing puppy mills from setting up shop in Maryland in the future.
An ongoing investigation by The Humane Society of the United States has revealed that many designers and retailers are selling unlabeled fur-trimmed jackets advertised as "faux" of "fake" fur, when laboratory testing showed the fur came from animals, even dogs and raccoon dogs skinned alive in China.
A loophole in the federal fur labeling law allows products with $150 worth of fur or less to go completely unlabeled. This loophole means that many unlabeled garments are falsely advertised as the wrong species or even as "faux" fur and therefore consumers are not provided with accurate information critical to their purchasing decisions.
If passed, new legislation (H.B. 208/S.B. 342) will require all garments containing animal fur to be labeled with the type of animal fur and the country of origin.
Several states — such as Delaware, Massachusetts, New York and Wisconsin — have passed fur labeling laws so that consumers in those states have additional protection.
Humane Legislative Awards
The Humane Society of the United States will present Humane Legislator Awards to the following legislators for their important work through 2008:
Animal Fighting Laws
- Sen. Norman Stone and Delegate James Malone will be recognized for their efforts to upgrade Maryland's animal fighting laws. Sen. Stone and Delegate Malone introduced and passed S.B. 44 and H.B. 719, respectively, both bills to increase penalties for spectators at animal fights.
Sen. Stone explains, "We need to be vigilant in protecting animals who cannot speak for themselves. It is truly an honor to receive recognition from The Humane Society of the United States for my legislative endeavors on behalf of animals."
"Working with The Humane Society of the United States was absolutely a great experience, and I look forward to working with The HSUS in the future," said Delegate Malone. "It's an honor and a privilege to be receiving this award."
- Delegate Jon Cardin will be recognized for introducing and passing a bill (H.B. 1481) authorizing animal shelters to access the drugs needed to sedate animals prior to euthanasia. "I am honored to be recognized for something I probably I would have done anyway," explains Delegate Cardin. "What sets us apart from the rest of the living world is the human capacity for compassion and for recognizing that animals can and should be treated with respect and dignity. It may not always be easy, and I applaud the efforts of my advocates who continue to keep all of us focused on humane objectives."
Find out more about Maryland's Lobby Day here.
The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 30. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the web at humanesociety.org.