March 24, 2010
New Yorkers Head to Albany to Support Animal Protection Bills
Humane Lobby Day marks 180th anniversary of state’s first anti-cruelty law
ALBANY, N.Y. — Citizens from across New York are in Albany to meet with lawmakers as part of New York Humane Lobby Day. The event is organized by The Humane Society of the United States and sponsored by the Humane Society of New York, New York State Humane Association and Farm Sanctuary.
Humane Lobby Day brings together animal welfare advocates from across the state to meet with their elected officials about legislation to protect animals. This year marks the 180th anniversary of New York's first anti-cruelty law, passed in 1829. The citizen lobbyists will focus on a slate of issues, including legislation to: end the shooting of exotic mammals held captive in fenced enclosures; strengthen penalties against animal fighting; crack down on cruel puppy mills; prohibit intensive confinement of farm animals; and ban the cruel and archaic docking of dairy cows' tails.
"Humane Lobby Day is an opportunity for lawmakers to hear directly from their constituents on a number of the issues that matter most to them," said Patrick Kwan, New York state director for The HSUS. "My hope is that our elected officials will make 2010 a year where New York becomes a more humane state by passing laws to end some of the worst cruelties inflicted upon animals."
At Humane Lobby Day, The HSUS will also present a Humane State Legislator award to Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky, D-16, in recognition of her efforts on behalf of animal protection legislation in 2009.
The 2010 legislation includes:
• A. 6287a/S. 3926 - Animal Fighting Penalties: Dogfighting is illegal in all 50 states, but New York has one of the weakest anti-dogfighting laws in the entire nation. While it's a felony to fight dogs in New York, possessing animals for the purpose of fighting is only a misdemeanor, and attending an animal fight is only a violation on the first offense and a misdemeanor on the second. Lower spectator and possession penalties at animal fights create major loopholes that make it more difficult for law enforcement officials to effectively prosecute animal fighters, and these anemic provisions attract criminals from other states to engage in illegal activities in New York.
• A. 6788/S. 3223 - Canned Shoots: This bill would close a loophole in state law that allows private trophy hunting facilities to host canned shoots where shooters pay to kill exotic animals trapped within fenced enclosures. Most hunters oppose these phony hunts because they violate the ethic of sportsmanship and fair chase. Animals on canned shoots often come from private breeders, animal dealers, and even roadside zoos and circuses. Frequently, the animals have been hand-raised and bottle-fed, so they have lost their fear of people.
• A. 7285b/S. 5392a - Puppy Mills: This bill cracks down on the worst abuses at large-scale puppy mills by limiting the number of unsterilized animals a person can maintain to 50 animals. Puppy mills are large-scale, commercial factories that mass-produce puppies for sale. Puppy mills commonly house animals in overcrowded, filthy and inhumane conditions with inadequate shelter and care. The bill will not impact responsible breeders, animal shelters, research facilities, pet stores, veterinarians, groomers or boarding facilities.
• A. 8163 - Intensive Confinement of Farm Animals: Billions of animals in the United States live their entire lives confined on factory farms — many of them in cages so small they can barely move for months on end. This bill would prevent some of the most egregious of these practices by prohibiting the confinement of pigs in gestation crates, calves in veal crates and egg-laying hens in battery cages.
• A. 9732 - Tail Docking of Dairy Cows: Tail docking is an archaic and inhumane form of amputation still widely used in the dairy industry. The practice of routinely amputating portions of dairy cows' tails — without any painkiller — is already banned in California and several European nations. The practice is opposed by scientists, experts and industry representatives including the American Veterinary Medical Association and Canadian Veterinary Medical Association. This bill will ban the painful and unnecessary tail docking of dairy cows in New York state.
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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.