April 14, 2011
Animal Advocates Lobby Vermont Lawmakers for Animal Welfare Legislation
MONTPELIER, Vt. (April 14, 2011) – Citizens from across Vermont participating in Humane Lobby Day 2011 will meet with lawmakers today at the State House and urge them to pass animal protection measures before the Legislature this session. Animal advocates will ask their legislators to pass H. 340, to crack down on puppy mill abuses; H. 229, which would require certain dangerous medical procedures be performed only by veterinarians; and S.107, which would prohibit the cruel, painful and unnecessary procedure of tail-docking cows and horses. The Humane Society of the United States is sponsoring Humane Lobby Day, along with the Vermont Humane Federation.
“Vermonters need to stand up and say ‘no’ to the irresponsible and inhumane practices taking place at puppy mill operations in our state, and we welcome help from citizen lobbyists today to do just that,” said Joanne Bourbeau, The HSUS’ senior state director for Vermont. “The Veterinary Medical Procedures Act is another common sense measure that protects dogs from untrained laymen performing unnecessary and risky medical procedures like tail docking, debarking and c-sections.”
Puppy mills produce puppies for sale in pet stores, directly to the public and over the Internet. They commonly house the animals in overcrowded, filthy and inhumane conditions, often with no veterinary care or human interaction. In March, an alleged puppy mill operator in East Montpelier was charged with animal cruelty after 17 dogs were seized from his home by authorities.
The HSUS will be presenting 2010 Humane State Legislator of the Year Award to Sen. Harold Giard, D-Addison, for his leadership on passage of a bill that improved penalties for violations of Vermont’s state humane slaughter law. The measure passed following the disturbing revelations of animal cruelty against days-old veal calves documented by The HSUS during an undercover investigation at the now-closed Bushway slaughter plant in Grand Isle.
“I was horrified by the gross mistreatment of infant calves and the callous attitude of slaughter plant workers at the Bushway plant,” said Sen. Giard. “These improved penalties were long overdue, and a necessary step to ensuring that even animals bound for slaughter receive the humane treatment and handling they deserve throughout the process.”
Humane Law Enforcement Awards are also being presented to Attorney General William Sorrell and his criminal division chief, Cindy Maguire for their successful conviction of two former Bushway workers on felony and misdemeanor animal cruelty charges.
The Green Mountain State ranked seventh in The HSUS’ 2010 “Humane State Ranking,” a comprehensive report rating all 50 states and D.C. on a wide range of animal protection laws. Vermont recently joined the growing number of states that require a bittering agent be added to antifreeze to prevent accidental poisonings of children and pets. Vermont also has strong animal fighting laws and prohibits the private possession of exotic animals as pets.
Last year, state legislatures across the country passed 97 new laws for animals. The HSUS works with animal advocates and state legislators to enact laws protecting animals from cruelty, combating animal fighting, halting wildlife abuse and more.
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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.
The Vermont Humane Federation is a strong, unified network of organizations and individuals dedicated to promoting the welfare of all animals. The VHF supports education initiatives and works collaboratively on issues involving animal cruelty and neglect, disaster planning and ongoing issues pertaining to animal welfare. For more information, visit vermonthumane.org