March 14, 2011
West Virginia Legislature Adjourns with Victory for Animals
The West Virginia Legislature wrapped up on Saturday after passing important legislation to protect animals. During this year’s legislative session lawmakers passed S.B. 349 by a vote of 84 to 15 to require the addition of a bittering agent to engine coolant and antifreeze to protect children and animals from antifreeze poisoning.
Hundreds of children and thousands of animals, including companion animals and endangered species, are accidentally poisoned each year from ingesting antifreeze. Its sweet taste attracts them, but less than a teaspoon can be fatal. One survey found that two out of three veterinarians see at least one accidental ethylene glycol poisoning each year.
The bill was supported by The Humane Society of the United States, Consumer Safety Products Association, and animal advocates from across West Virginia.
Sen. William Laird, D-Fayette, championed this bill, testifying that, “Without the added bittering agent, antifreeze has a sweet aroma and flavor. Ethylene glycol is an ingredient in antifreeze that is toxic to humans and animals. An estimated 10,000 animals are poisoned by ethylene glycol, and approx 1400 children ingest ethylene glycol each year in the United States.”
"We are grateful to Senator Laird for his attention to this much needed legislation," said Summer Wyatt, The HSUS' West Virginia state director. "It will help prevent many unnecessary deaths and illnesses here in West Virginia."
Lawmakers also considered legislation to prohibit wagering on animal fights. S.B. 334 would have made it a misdemeanor to wager at animal fighting ventures or conduct, finance, manage, supervise, own or lease any part of an animal fighting venture or the premises on which it takes place with knowledge that wagering is occurring. This legislation passed the Senate but failed to pass the house before the legislature adjourned.
Another important piece of legislation, H.B. 2883 which would create regulations and licensing for commercial breeders, passed the House and was considered by the Senate. In 2008, nearly 1000 dogs were rescued from a puppy mill in Parkersburg, illustrating the need for this legislation.
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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.