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June 24, 2009

The HSUS Urges Mich. Lawmakers to Oppose Big Ag Power Grab

The Humane Society of the United States

Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, the nation's largest animal protection organization with 11 million supporters, including more than 361,000 in Michigan, issued the following statement:

"The HSUS respectfully urges Michigan lawmakers to oppose H.B. 5127 and H.B. 5128, which represent little more than a handout to Big Agribusiness interests. This short-sighted and hastily crafted legislation seeks to codify inhumane industry standards for farm animal treatment — standards that allow many animals to spend most of their lives in cages so small they can't even turn around or extend their limbs.

"H.B. 5128 would give a council dominated by agribusiness interests the ability to set welfare standards for animals on factory farms — poor public policy and an obvious attempt to thwart meaningful reform. Rather than allowing the foxes to guard the henhouse, we urge the legislature to reject this attempted power grab and encourage open dialogue on the issue of farm animal welfare in Michigan.

"H.B. 5127 goes even farther, granting the Department of Agriculture the sole authority to regulate farm animal health and welfare, and requiring the Department to adopt current industry standards — including extreme confinement systems such as gestation crates, veal crates and battery cages. The science is clear that these are detrimental to animal welfare and should be phased out. Six states have passed legislation phasing out some of these confinement methods.

"H.B. 5127 also would preempt all local ordinances and regulations regarding the treatment of farm animals — lawmaking at its worst because it attempts to preempt the rights of cities and counties to make judgments about what regulations are most appropriate for their jurisdiction. This is a special interest power-grab designed to undermine the wishes of local citizens and communities concerned about food safety, public health, animal welfare and the environment.

"These anti-democratic bills are designed to circumvent the input of Michigan citizens and divert attention from serious reform. We urge the legislature to oppose these bills, and instead, to support efforts to take a serious look at factory farming practices in Michigan. All animals deserve humane treatment, including animals raised for food."

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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.

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