February 28, 2012
Animal Advocates Gather at Georgia Capitol to Lobby for Wildlife Protection
Citizens from across Georgia participating in Humane Lobby Day assembled at the state house in Atlanta to oppose a bill to expand the cruel and unsporting captive hunting industry. The Humane Society of the United States, the ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) and Furkids, the state’s largest no-kill shelter, sponsored the Georgia Humane Lobby Day.
Attendees urged their legislators to oppose H.B. 1043, sponsored by Jay Powell, R-171, Jay Roberts, R-154, Jason Shaw, R-176, Tom McCall, R-30, Rick Jasperse, R-12, and Mack Jackson, D-142, which would expand the captive trophy hunting of white-tailed deer who are held in captivity and often bred to have abnormal, genetically enhanced antlers to satisfy trophy seekers.
Captive hunt operations are private trophy hunting facilities where customers pay to shoot animals trapped behind fences for guaranteed kills. The animals are typically semi-tame and have lost their natural fear of humans. The practice is opposed by many responsible hunters who have an ethic of fair chase and sportsmanship. Captive hunts can also spread dangerous diseases, such as tuberculosis and chronic wasting disease, to native wildlife populations through fences or escapes.
“Our wildlife management system is based on the idea that wildlife is held in public trust and belongs to all Georgians. Allowing deer breeding facilities commercializes a whole species of native wildlife and sets a dangerous precedent that wildlife species may be owned by an individual,” said Jessica DuBois, The HSUS’ Georgia senior state director. “We need to see more legislation that best serves the interests of all Georgia residents, not extreme bills that threaten Georgia’s traditions.”
“Georgia residents care about the humane treatment of animals,” said Sherry Rout, ASPCA legislative director, southern region. “We hope our supporters will use the information they obtained today throughout the year and continue to impress upon legislators their commitment to enacting stronger laws to protect animals from cruelty.”
“Humane Lobby Day is a great opportunity for animal advocates from all over the state to have their voices heard,” said Samantha Shelton, executive director and founder of Furkids. “Georgians care about animal welfare and want legislators to take these issues seriously.”
The HSUS also presented two legislators with Humane State Legislator of the Year awards. Sen. Nan Orrock, D-36, was honored for her work in helping defeat S.B. 188, a bill that would have allowed captive hunting of exotic animals in the state. Rep. Tommy Benton, R-31, was recognized for his leadership and efforts in passing H.B. 40, “Chief’s Law,” which adds a bittering agent to antifreeze to discourage children and animals from ingesting the poisonous liquid.
Georgia ranks 25th in The HSUS’ 2011 state animal protection rankings, which grades each state based on a wide range of animal protection laws dealing with pets, animal cruelty and fighting, wildlife, animals in research, horses and farm animals. The state gained points for banning the private possession of wild animals, outlawing canned hunts, and upgrading its dogfighting law.