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February 11, 2011

Hawaii’s Humane Advocates Lobby for Animals at State Capitol

State Sen. Clayton Hee and Rep. Angus McKelvey receive awards for animal and ocean protection

HONOLULU – Animal advocates from across the state rallied at the state capitol in Honolulu to urge their legislators to enact stronger animal protection laws. The event was sponsored by The Humane Society of the United States, and co-hosted by the Hawaiian, Kauai, Maui and Hawaii Island Humane Societies. At the event, citizen advocates urged their legislators to strengthen laws related to dogfighting, puppy mills, dog chaining and wildlife and reef protection.

At the event, The HSUS also honored Hawaii state Sen. Clayton Hee, D–Kahuku, La'ie, Ka'a'awa, Kane'ohe, and Rep. Angus McKelvey, D–Lahaina, Kaanapali, Kapalua, Maalaea, Kihei, North Kihei, as 2010 Humane State Legislator awardees for their efforts on the 2010 landmark shark fin bill and other animal welfare measures. Each year, The HSUS, the nation's largest animal protection organization, recognizes state lawmakers across the country who have initiated path-breaking animal protection legislation and demonstrably advanced reform in the policy-making arena.

“Collaborative efforts on Hawaii’s unprecedented 2010 shark fin bill have since served as a model for other states and countries to follow,” said Sen. Hee. “Our unique and cherished history and natural resources make Hawaii a natural leader in animal and environmental protection issues.”

“I’m honored to be recognized by a national animal protection organization like The HSUS,” added Rep. McKelvey. ”As lawmakers, we have a responsibility to advocate for those who cannot speak for themselves.”

Despite the progress made with legislation such as last year’s historic bill banning shark finning in Hawaiian waters, the Aloha state ranks low in The HSUS’ national survey of animal protection laws, coming in at 45th out of all states and the District of Columbia. Hawaii has some of the weakest animal fighting laws in the country, with only misdemeanor penalties for cockfighting and no penalties at all for possessing a bird for fighting or attending a cockfight. Additionally, Hawaii is one of only two states where attending a dogfight is legal. Hawaii also has very weak laws protecting wildlife from abuse and regulating puppy mills.

The state’s 2010 Humane State Legislators awardees, Sen. Hee and Rep. McKelvey have sought to address these areas of weakness by introducing bills to strengthen the dogfighting law and to regulate the inhumane breeding in puppy mills and the suffering associated with it. Additionally, Sen. Maile Shimabakuro, D–Ko Olina, Kahe Point, Nanakuli, Ma‘ili, Wai‘anae, Makaha, Makua, Ka‘ena Point, has sponsored a bill to protect wildlife from abuse by closing a loophole in current law.That loophole was revealed recently when a woman was acquitted of animal cruelty after killing a peacock with a baseball bat.  This bill would provide clarifications on the humane and appropriate method of controlling “pests” or “vermin.”

“We commend Sen. Hee and Rep. McKelvey for their past and continuing leadership in wildlife, ocean and animal welfare protections” said Inga Gibson, Hawaii state director for The HSUS.

To learn more about pending animal protection bills and their status, please visit The HSUS’ state legislation page for Hawaii.

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Follow The HSUS on Twitter. See our work for animals on your iPhone by searching “HumaneTV” in the App Store.

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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