March 26, 2013
Animal Advocates Lobby at Tennessee Capitol for Stronger Animal Fighting Penalties
Tennessee residents concerned about animal welfare converged on the state capitol for Humane Lobby Day. Advocates met with their legislators to lobby for the passage of stronger animal welfare laws, specifically House Bill 132 and Senate Bill 285. If passed, the Animal Fighting Enforcement Act would increase penalties for spectators at animal fights. Lobby day participants also had the opportunity to hear from former state Rep. Eric Swafford on effective lobbying techniques.
Humane Lobby Day was sponsored by The Humane Society of the United States.
“Tennesseans are sending a clear message to their representatives that animal protection issues are important,” said Leighann McCollum, The HSUS’ Tennessee state director. “Animal fighting is gruesome for the animals involved and has a negative impact on the community. Spectators help to fund and support illegal animal fighting, and Tennessee needs stronger penalties to crack down on this behavior.”
Tennessee ranked 25th in The Humane Society of the United States’ 2012 Humane State Rankings, which grades each state and the District of Columbia based on a wide range of animal protection laws dealing with pets, animal cruelty and fighting, wildlife, animals in research, horses and farm animals. While Tennessee is becoming more aggressive in protecting animals, it is still one of only a handful of states with no felony penalties for cockfighting.
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