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February 16, 2011

Animal Advocates Lobby Mississippi Lawmakers for Animal Welfare Legislation

Animal advocates from across the state will rally at the state capitol in Jackson to urge their legislators to enact stronger animal protection laws. The event is sponsored by The Humane Society of the United States. At the event, citizen advocates will urge their legislators to strengthen laws related to animal cruelty and to defeat legislation to legalize captive deer hunting.

At the event, The HSUS will also honor Mississippi State Sen. Billy Hewes, R-Gulfport, with a 2010 Humane State Legislator award for his efforts for his efforts to promote fair and appropriate animal cruelty laws that replace antiquated current Mississippi law. 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.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for citizens to speak out on behalf of the animals, and a great way for them to start developing relationships with their elected officials,” said Lydia Sattler, Mississippi state director for The Humane Society of the United States. “The support of local advocates is crucial to our efforts to improve the lives of animals in Mississippi.”

The 2011 legislation includes:

First Offense Animal Cruelty - Legislation is being considered in Mississippi right now that would make cruelty to animals a felony. Currently, Mississippi is one of only four states with no felony provisions for severe acts of animal cruelty.

Captive Deer Breeding for Hunting - Animal advocates are opposing SB 2530, a bill that would increase breeding farms for captive, hand-raised deer for hunting. Captive deer hunting operations are private trophy hunting facilities that offer their customers the opportunity to kill animals trapped within enclosures. These so-called "canned hunts" of tame animals violate the hunting ethic of sportsmanship and fair chase, and the game ranching of captive deer threatens native wildlife populations with disease. In these ranches, are semi-tame, hand-reared animals who have lost their fear of humans. They are shot to be trophies and have no chance to escape the fence.

The Magnolia state ranks low in The HSUS’ national survey of animal protection laws, coming in at 48th out of all states and the District of Columbia. While Mississippi recently banned hog-dog fighting and captive hunts are currently regulated, it is one of only four states with no felony penalties for egregious acts of animal cruelty. Mississippi is also one of the few states with no felony penalties for cockfighting.

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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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