March 28, 2013
Humane Lobby Day Kicks Off in Augusta
Mainers concerned about animal welfare converged on the state capitol for Humane Lobby Day to meet with lawmakers and lobby for better animal protection laws. The Humane Society of the United States sponsored Humane Lobby Day.
Humane Lobby Day participants met with their state legislators to lobby in support of several important measures, including the Maine Bear Protection Act, sponsored by Rep. Denise Harlow, D-District 116. Bears are beloved creatures in Maine, yet the state allows several cruel and unethical practices to continue and has the notorious distinction of being the only state to still allow bear trapping. This bill would provide long-overdue protections for Maine’s black bears by putting an end to the inhumane and unsporting practices of hound hunting and trapping. Additionally, it would deter chronic poachers by increasing penalties for certain offenses, prohibit the trade in bear gallbladders and protect cubs from orphaning by clarifying the law to preserve the fall hunting season.
“Mainers care deeply about animals and their welfare, said Katie Hansberry, Maine state director for The HSUS. “Humane Lobby Day provides an opportunity for these advocates to come together and let their lawmakers know these issues are important to them and they are counting on their support to ensure that our wildlife, pets and shelter animals are afforded the protections they deserve.”
Advocates also voiced support for L.D. 484, which clarifies current law to help protect cats and communities by providing a sturdy framework for robust cat population control efforts, as well as providing new definitions and regulations for small animals so that animal shelters have appropriate guidelines on how to care for the increasing numbers of rabbits, guinea pigs and ferrets who are increasingly common in shelters all over the state.
Maine Friends of Animals, a local animal advocacy organization, also participated in Humane Lobby Day, spearheading the effort on L.D. 703, legislation that seeks to protect pets by requiring courts to impose moratoriums on pet ownership for individuals convicted of certain animal cruelty crimes.
In The Humane Society of the United States’ 2012 “Humane State Rankings,” Maine ranks 5th based on a range of laws dealing with pets, animal cruelty and fighting, wildlife, animals in research, horses and farm animals. Maine can be proud of having some strong animal protection laws, but as Humane Lobby Day demonstrates, residents recognize there is still work to be done.
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