January 17, 2012
Animal Advocates Gather at Florida Capitol to Lobby for Animal Protection Legislation
Supporting greyhound racing bill, stopping “ag gag” bill among top priorities
Citizens from across Florida participating in Humane Lobby Day will meet with lawmakers at the capitol to urge them to pass SB 382/HB 641, which will remove the state requirement that casinos must offer live greyhound racing, and oppose Section 6 of SB 1184/HB 1021, which would outlaw whistleblowers’ documentation of abuse and illegal activity on factory farms. Participants will also urge lawmakers to enact SB 488/HB 527, which will help fund local spay/neuter programs. The Humane Society of the United States, the ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) and GREY2K USA are co-sponsoring Humane Lobby Day.
• SB 382 (Sachs, D-Delray)/HB 641 (Young, R-Tampa) will end what has become a state subsidy for this cruel activity by decoupling greyhound racing from other forms of gambling. These measures, supported by many greyhound racing tracks, would remove the mandatory requirement that facilities conduct live greyhound races in order to offer more profitable forms of gambling.
• Section 6 of SB 1184 (Norman, R-Tampa)/HB 1021 (Albritton, R-Wauchula) would criminalize photography, audio or video recording of any activities on agricultural property. Even employees and journalists documenting misconduct on factory farms, including animal abuse, could face criminal prosecution if Section 6 is passed.
• SB 488 (Rich, D-Weston)/HB 527 (Randolph, D-Orlando) would help fund local companion animal spay/neuter surgery by allowing counties to charge up to a $10 penalty on violators of animal cruelty and control ordinances, with the funds generated going to local spay/neuter programs.
“While Florida lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have introduced humane legislation, a farm bill sponsored by Sen. Norman and Rep. Albritton contains a provision that would hinder investigations into animal cruelty by prohibiting whistleblowers from documenting abuse on factory farms,” said Laura Bevan, southern regional director for The Humane Society of the United States. “Floridians support humane legislation and we urge the legislature to enact animal protection bills this session and reject others that would hide animal abuse.”
“There are several critical pieces of humane legislation pending in Florida this legislative session, and Humane Lobby Day is a unique opportunity for animal advocates from across the state to meet with their elected officials and have their voices heard,” said Ann Church, vice president of state affairs for the ASPCA. “It’s important for Florida lawmakers to hear from their constituents and to oppose harmful legislation that would allow farm animal cruelty to continue, as well as enact stronger laws to protect animals against such inherently cruel activities as greyhound racing.”
“Greyhound racing is cruel and inhumane, and the passage of these common sense bills will help thousands of dogs,” said GREY2K USA president and general counsel Christine Dorchak. “The passage of SB 382/HB 641 will lead to a significant decrease in greyhound injuries and reduce the number of greyhounds that endure lives of confinement.”
Florida is currently ranked No. 16 in the country on animal welfare issues, according to a 2011 annual survey. The HSUS and the ASPCA work with animal advocates and state legislators to enact laws protecting animals from cruelty, combating animal fighting, halting wildlife abuse and more.