March 31, 2009
Citizen Lobbyists Rally at Maine Capitol Urging Lawmakers to Protect Animals
AUGUSTA, Maine — Dozens of citizens from across Maine will gather at the state capitol and meet with their lawmakers Tuesday to encourage them to pass legislation to protect animals. The citizen lobbyists are participating in Humane Lobby Day, organized by The Humane Society of the United States and Maine Friends of Animals.
"Maine lawmakers have the opportunity to pass a strong slate of animal protection laws this session," said Katie Lisnik, The HSUS' Maine state director. "We urge the legislature to support these important reforms to crack down on animal fighting and end cruel farm animal confinement. We also call on legislators to maintain Maine's long-standing tradition of not allowing hunting on Sundays."
Farm Animal Confinement
Animal advocates are asking lawmakers to pass L.D. 1021 to end the cruel confinement of calves raised for veal and pigs during pregnancy. Veal factory farms often cram calves into individual crates, tethered by their necks, in which they can't even turn around for months on end. Inside these enclosures, the calves can barely move. Breeding pigs suffer a similar fate. Throughout nearly their entire four-month pregnancies, the animals are confined inside individual metal gestation crates barely bigger than their own bodies, unable to perform many of their natural behaviors. Five states have banned pig gestation crates, and three states have banned veal crates.
Mainers will also be supporting legislation to crack down on dogfighting and cockfighting. Animal fighting carries felony penalties in Maine, but the penalty for attending an animal fight is only a misdemeanor. Possessing animal fighting implements, such as specially designed knives that are affixed to the heels of roosters in cockfights or "break sticks" used to separate dogs during professional fights, is actually legal. L.D. 186 will make attending an animal fight or possessing animal fighting paraphernalia a felony, thereby giving law enforcement more tools to crack down on these illegal activities.
Citizens will voice their opposition to a measure, L.D. 942, that would allow Sunday hunting, which has been banned in Maine since the 1880s. Maine hunters already have six days a week to themselves in the woods. Expanding recreational opportunities for hunters diminishes opportunities for other outdoor enthusiasts such as hikers, campers, bikers, horseback riders, birdwatchers and others who greatly outnumber and outspend hunters.
Last year, state legislatures across the country passed 93 new laws for animals. The HSUS works with animal advocates and state legislators across the country to enact laws protecting animals from cruelty, combating animal fighting, halting wildlife abuse and more.
The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization – backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. 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.