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March 15, 2012

Citizens Gather at New Jersey Capitol to Award Humane Legislators, Lobby for Animal Protection Legislation

Ban on Shark Fins and Extreme Confinement Cages for Pigs Among Top Priorities

The Humane Society of the United States

(March 15, 2012)—New Jersey Sen. Tom Kean, Jr., R-District 21, and Assemblywoman Connie Wagner, D-District 38, received The Humane Society of the United States Humane State Legislator Award, and Sen. Christopher “Kip” Bateman, R-District 16, and Assemblywoman Wagner voiced support for a ban on shark fins–two highlights of Humane Lobby Day, an event to connect New Jersey citizens with lawmakers and draw attention to animal protection issues.

The Humane Society of the United States, ASPCA, The Animal Welfare Institute, and the Animal Welfare Federation of New Jersey Citizens organized the event to give animal advocates an opportunity to lobby legislators for important animal protection issues such as extreme confinement of farm animals and a bill to ban shark fin products. The event took place at the New Jersey State Museum Auditorium in Trenton, N.J.

“Legislators are recognizing that animal welfare is a high priority for many people,” said Kathleen Schatzmann, New Jersey state director for The HSUS. “Whether it’s ending the most inhumane farming practices or protecting wildlife, New Jersey voters support humane legislation, and we urge lawmakers to vote accordingly.”

“It's important for New Jersey lawmakers to hear from their constituents and enact laws to prohibit the sale of shark fins and protect pigs from the inherently cruel intensive confinement of gestation crates,” said Debora Bresch, attorney and senior director, eastern region, of ASPCA Government Relations. “Humane Lobby Day provides citizen advocates with an opportunity to be the voice for animals and serves as a great first step in raising awareness and reducing animal suffering.”

“The Animal Welfare Institute is proud to support the New Jersey Humane Lobby Day, and we congratulate Sen. Kean, Jr. and Assemblywoman Wagner for their well-earned Humane State Legislator Awards,” said Nancy Blaney, senior policy advisor for Animal Welfare Institute. ”Thanks to the citizen advocates who are taking the time to speak to legislators directly about these important bills and to the lawmakers who are meeting with their constituents.”

“The legislative process can be intimidating for many,” said Niki Dawson of The Animal Welfare Federation of New Jersey. “The AWFNJ welcomes this unique learning opportunity designed to assist New Jersey animal advocates in speaking to their lawmakers about stronger animal protection laws.”

“Although shark finning is illegal in U.S. waters, federal law doesn't address the shark fin trade itself,” says Steve Nagiewicz, chairman of Shark Research Institute. “This is where states like New Jersey have stepped up and are working on laws banning this trade of shark parts.”

FACTS
 

  • Shark fin ban: Every year, tens of millions of sharks are inhumanely killed to make shark fin soup. New Jersey’s market for shark fins helps drive the practice of shark finning and the staggering decline in shark populations. The shark fin ban bill, S.1764, would outlaw possession, sale, the offering for sale, trade or distribution of a shark fin.

  • Ban intensive confinement: In the pork industry, most breeding pigs are confined day and night during their four-month pregnancies in gestation crates; then they are placed into another crate to give birth. They are re-impregnated and returned to the gestation crate, pregnancy after pregnancy, until they are slaughtered. These crates are about two feet by seven feet, and the pigs cannot even turn around. It adds up to years of extreme confinement, to the point of virtual immobilization. Advocates asked that these concerns be addressed in a bill.

Media Contacts
 

  • Anna West, The Humane Society of the United States, 240-751-2669, awest@humanesociety.org
  • Rebecca Goldrick, The ASPCA®, 646-291-4582, rebecca.goldrick@aspca.org
  • Nancy Blaney, Animal Welfare Institute, 202-446-2141, nancy@awionline.org
  • Niki Dawson, The Animal Welfare Federation of New Jersey, 908-966-3098 ndawson03@aol.com
  • The Humane Society of the United States is the nation’s largest animal protection organization—backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 30. 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.

    Founded in 1866, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the first humane organization established in the Americas and serves as the nation’s leading voice for animal welfare. One million supporters strong, the ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. The ASPCA, which is headquartered in New York City, offers a wide range of programs, including a mobile clinic outreach initiative, its own humane law enforcement team, and a groundbreaking veterinary forensics team and mobile animal CSI unit. For more information, please visit www.aspca.org. To become a fan of the ASPCA on Facebook, go to http://www.facebook.com/aspca. To follow the ASPCA on Twitter, go to http://www.twitter.com/aspca

    Since 1951, the Animal Welfare Institute has been dedicated to reducing animal suffering caused by people. We seek better treatment of animals everywhere - in the laboratory, on the farm, in commerce, at home, and in the wild. For more information, please visit our website at www.awionline.org

    The Animal Welfare Federation of New Jersey serves to unite all New Jersey animal protection organizations, to exchange ideas and information, and work collectively to elevate the standard of care for animals in New Jersey. It is our goal to act as a unified voice in supporting animal welfare issues and act as a resource center for animal welfare professionals around the state. The AWFNJ also hosts one of the largest regional animal care conferences in the country, bringing leaders from around the country to share their expertise with New Jersey's animal advocates. For more information, please visit our website http://www.awfnj.org/

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