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Bill to Prevent Antifreeze Poisoning Poised to Become Law in Wisconsin

Would become 12th state to adopt safety measure

MADISON, Wis. — The Humane Society of the United States, on behalf of its 225,000 supporters in the Badger State, and the Humane Society Legislative Fund  praise the Wisconsin State Legislature for approving a measure that will save countless animal lives.

The bill, A.B. 842, and its Senate companion, S.B. 663, requires the addition of a bitter flavor agent to antifreeze and engine coolant, in order to prevent animals and children from being poisoned by the sweet-tasting liquid. It was championed by Rep. Christine Sinicki, D-Milwaukee, and Sen. Jeff Plale, D-Milwaukee. Poisoning occurs because animals are attracted to the sweetness of antifreeze and engine coolant, which inadvertently spills in our driveways or is left in open containers in garages. The HSUS and HSLF urge Gov. Jim Doyle to quickly sign this common-sense safety measure into law.

"We're very grateful to sponsors Representative Sinicki and Senator Plale for their leadership on this important piece of legislation which will help prevent many unnecessary deaths each year," said Sara Amundson, executive director of the HSLF.

"Pets in Wisconsin will be safer thanks to the sponsors' humane leadership, as well as the swift action of committee chairs Representative Hintz and Senator Wirch," added Alyson Bodai, HSUS Wisconsin state director.

The bill passed the Senate Thursday after having been approved by the Assembly on Tuesday. It was supported by The HSUS, HSLF, Consumer Specialty Products Association and Honeywell International, manufacturers of Prestone®, one of the country's best-known brands of antifreeze. The Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Association also supported the bill, as did state and local animal welfare organizations including the Wisconsin Humane Society, Dane County Humane Society and the Oshkosh Area Humane Society.  

"No animal should die a painful death from antifreeze poisoning, and no family should suffer the heartache of losing their animal when these tragedies can easily be prevented," said Rep. Sinicki.  "I'm proud that Wisconsin has joined other states in addressing this serious safety issue."

Sen. Plale echoed Rep. Sinicki's sentiments, saying, "I'm proud to have sponsored a bill that will protect Wisconsin pets from preventable antifreeze poisonings."

An estimated 10,000 animals are poisoned each year after ingesting ethylene glycol, the highly toxic substance used in auto antifreeze and coolant. Ethylene glycol's sweet smell and taste makes it attractive to animals as well as children. The bill will require manufacturers to add bitter-tasting denatonium benzoate to antifreeze and coolant sold in the state.

With the governor's signature, Wisconsin will become the 12th state to pass a bill requiring antifreeze contain a bittering agent. The other states where the HSLF has worked to pass similar legislation are: Arizona, California, Maine, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Vermont and Washington.

Bills are pending in Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Ohio.


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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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