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July 1, 2011

Oregon Legislature Adjourns with Important Gains for Animal Welfare

SALEM, Ore. — As the Oregon legislature adjourns its 2011 session, The Humane Society of the United States applauded significant victories, with lawmakers passing animal protection bills on a wide range of issues. Among the most important gains for Oregon animals are new laws to protect pets in domestic violence cases; ban the possession, sale and distribution of shark fins; and improve the process to care for animals who are the victims of criminal abuse and neglect.

In addition to these wins, several bills that would have posed a threat to animal welfare were defeated. Measures aimed at allowing the hound-hunting of cougars and promoting the killing of sea lions in Oregon’s rivers failed to gain traction this session.

“Animal advocates faced challenges this session as a handful of legislators pushed bills that would have rolled back protections for wildlife,” said Scott Beckstead, Oregon senior state director for The HSUS. “We experienced some setbacks early in the session, but fortunately, several leaders in the legislature are true champions for the animals and they stood firm in doing the right thing for Oregon’s wildlife.”

The HSUS began the session as a strong supporter of SB 805, the bill to reform Oregon’s egg industry by banning inhumane battery cages for egg-laying hens. Unfortunately, the bill was hijacked by the egg industry, and essentially gutted so that it only provides nominally more space, and won’t be implemented until 2026. “The bill passed by the Legislature on the confinement of laying hens falls short of the standard we’d hoped Oregon would achieve,” said Beckstead. “The state’s relatively small industry could have forged a meaningful solution to the animal welfare problems inherent in the industry, but it chose the course of least resistance.”

The HSUS is supporting a ballot measure for the 2012 ballot filed by Oregonians for Humane Farms.  That measure will require cage-free conditions and would go into effect in 2019.

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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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