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March 28, 2012

Animal Advocates Lobby Illinois Lawmakers on Legislation to Ban Cow Tail Docking, Shark Fins

ASPCA®

During Humane Lobby Day 2012, citizens from across Illinois met with lawmakers at the Capitol and urged them to pass legislation that bans tail docking of cattle and stops the cruel trade in shark fins in the state. Gov. Pat Quinn also made an appearance in show of support for these measures. The Humane Society of the United States and the ASPCA® co-sponsored the event.

Advocates lobbied in favor of H.B. 1697, introduced by Rep. Robert Rita, D-Cook County, which would amend the Veterinary Medicine and Surgery Practice Act of 2004 and the Humane Care for Animals Act to prohibit routine tail docking of beef and dairy cattle. Tail docking is a procedure in which a cow’s tail is partially amputated, often without anesthetics, for no scientific reason. Routine tail-docking of cattle is opposed by the American Veterinary Medical Association and is discouraged by the National Milk Producers Federation. The bill would still allow tail docking for sick or injured animals when performed by a veterinarian using suitable pain relief.

Advocates also pushed for passage of H.B. 4119, introduced by Rep. Sara Feigenholtz, D-Chicago, which would ban the possession, sale, trade and distribution of shark fins in the state. The bill was recently approved by the Illinois House and now awaits the Senate’s approval, where Sen. Antonio Muñoz, D-Chicago, is sponsoring the bill. Every year, tens of millions of sharks are inhumanely killed to make shark fin soup. Illinois’ market for shark fins helps drive the practice of shark finning and the staggering decline in shark populations.

“It’s encouraging to see that Illinois lawmakers have taken favorable actions toward ending inhumane tail docking procedures and banning shark fins in the state,” said Kristen Strawbridge, The HSUS’ Illinois state director. “We now urge state lawmakers to take the necessary steps to make these important animal welfare initiatives a reality.”

“Illinois residents care about the humane treatment of animals,” said Vicki Deisner, ASPCA state legislative director, Midwest 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 reduce animal suffering.”

Illinois continues to rank high in The HSUS’ national survey of animal protection laws, coming in 4th out of all states and the District of Columbia in 2011. The state scored slightly higher from its 2010 ranking because of strong laws against animal cruelty and exotic pets. Earlier this month the Illinois House Judiciary Law Committee tabled H.B. 5143, an “ag-gag” bill that would have criminalized whistleblowers who expose animal abuse, unsafe working conditions, environmental destruction and other illegal and unethical activities on farms.

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Media Contacts:  Raúl Arce-Contreras: 301-721-6440, rcontreras@humanesociety.org
                         Rebecca Goldrick: 646-291-4582, rebecca.goldrick@aspca.org

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