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April 18, 2012

Animal Advocates Lobby New York Lawmakers on Animal Protection Legislation

During the 2012 New York State Humane Lobby Day, more than 150 citizens from across New York met with lawmakers at the Capitol and urged them to pass legislation to protect animals. Specifically, they pressed for laws to strengthen the state’s animal fighting law, protect sharks from the cruel shark fin trade, ban canned shooting of captive exotic animals, protect farm animals from cruel confinement and oppose the agribusiness-backed “Ag-Gag” bill, which would stifle whistle-blowing on factory farms. The Humane Society of the United States, Farm Sanctuary, Humane Society of New York and New York State Humane Association sponsored the event.

During the lobby day, New York state Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal, D-Manhattan, welcomed the humane advocates to the state’s capital. Assembly Member Joseph Lentol, D-Brooklyn,and Sen. Kenneth LaValle, R-Port Jefferson, received The Humane Legislator of the Year awards in recognition of their humane leadership in introducing last year’s bills to increase penalties for spectators whose admission fees and gambling dollars fuel animal fighting operations. Signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo last session, it was the first major upgrade in New York’s animal fighting laws in nearly 30 years.

“Last year’s animal fighting law was a great accomplishment for New York citizens and the animals who suffer badly in these cruel fights,” said Patrick Kwan, New York state director for The HSUS. “We hope Albany lawmakers have listened to citizens’ demands to take action to protect animals from animal fighting, factory farming, captive hunting and the cruel shark fin trade.”

Advocates lobbied in favor of the following bills:

•    A.9552,McEneny, D-Albany/S.6774, Ritchie, R-Oswegatchie, would strengthen the state’s animal fighting law by stripping animal fighters of the tools used to force, condition and train animals for the cruel blood sport.
•    A.7707a, Maisel, D-Brooklyn/S.6431,Grisanti, R-Buffalo, would end the cruel and unsustainable shark fin trade in New York. Every year, tens of millions of sharks are inhumanely killed to make shark fin soup. New York’s market for shark fins helps drive the practice of shark finning and the staggering decline in shark populations.
•    A.4475, Glick, D-Manhattan /S.6154, Krueger, D-Manhattan, would end canned shooting of captive exotic wildlife. Canned shooting, or captive hunts, are privately owned fenced enclosures where shooters pay to kill animals, including endangered species, for trophies.
•    Advocates pushed for support of A.9449, Rosenthal, D-Manhattan, a bill to protect farm animals from unnecessary and cruel confinement. The bill would specifically phase out gestation crates, where breeding sows spend most of their lives in enclosures so small they can’t even turn around, and veal crates, tiny enclosures where veal calves are confined until their slaughter.
•    Advocates urged lawmakers to oppose S.5172, Ritchie, R-Oswegatchie, an agribusiness-backed bill that would stop whistleblowers from reporting animal cruelty in factory farms.

New York continues to rank high in The HSUS’ national survey of animal protection laws, coming in 10th out of all states and the District of Columbia in 2011. Although the state strengthened its animal fighting law last year, it scored slightly lower from its 2010 ranking because the state has fallen behind on issues relating to wildlife and farm animal protection.

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Media Contacts:  Raúl Arce-Contreras: 301-721-6440, rcontreras@humanesociety.org                     

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