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April 16, 2013

Humane Lobby Day Kicks Off in Michigan

Michiganders rally to oppose political power grab that would undermine voting rights

Michiganders concerned about animal welfare converged on the state capitol for Humane Lobby Day in Lansing on Tuesday to lobby for better laws to protect pets and exotic animals and to oppose the legislature’s underhanded attempt to stifle the voting rights of Michigan citizens on wildlife issues. Humane Lobby Day was sponsored by The Humane Society of the United States, the ASPCA (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) and Puppy Mill Awareness of Southeast Michigan.

Jill Fritz, Michigan state director for The HSUS, said: “Humane Lobby Day is a great opportunity for animal advocates to come together and speak up for animals. Animal protection is a bipartisan issue that has tremendous support among Michigan residents.”

Vicki Deisner, state director of ASPCA Government Relations for the Midwest region, said: “The ASPCA is proud to co-sponsor Humane Lobby Day as it invites citizens to meet with their representatives to discuss the importance of animal welfare legislation. We are encouraged by the support for animal welfare in Michigan, and we look forward to continuing to work with these passionate citizen lobbyists to further enhance protections for animals throughout the state.”

Pam Sordyl, founder of Puppy Mill Awareness of Southeast Michigan, said: “Michigan needs better welfare laws for our companion animals, and legislators heard that loud and clear. It was exciting to see so many Michiganders came out to advocate for animals today.”

Humane Lobby Day participants met with their state legislators to lobby in support of numerous animal protection bills, including SB 117 and SB 118, the Puppy Protection Act, which would create licensing and regulations for large-scale commercial breeding kennels; HB 4300, the Primates as Pets Act, which would prohibit the future ownership of primates as pets; and SB 285 and SB 286, which would increase penalties for cruelty cases involving large numbers of animals and adds definitions to current law for companion animals, pet breeders and pet shop owners.

In addition, advocates lobbied against SB 288, recently introduced power-grab legislation that would allow the appointed seven-member Natural Resources Commission to add animals to the list of game species that are hunted and trapped in the state – a cynical and underhanded attempt to block Michigan voters from having a say on the trophy hunting and trapping of the state’s fragile and declining wolf population.

Michigan ranks 18th 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 Michigan has some strong laws against animal cruelty, there are plenty of gaps that need to be closed. 

Media Contacts:

The Humane Society of the United States: Kaitlin Sanderson, 301-721-6463, ksanderson@humanesociety.org 

The ASPCA: Maureen Linehan, 646-706-4602; Maureen.Linehan@aspca.org

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