Animal advocates across Hawaii are celebrating the close of a successful legislative year with the passage of seven new animal protection laws.

Most notably, during the first year of the 2021-2022 session, Hawaii prohibited the sale of cosmetics produced as a result of animal testing, an unnecessary and undeniably cruel practice. Hawaii joins Maine, Maryland and Virginia, where similar bills were passed earlier this year. The laws are intended to stop new animal testing for cosmetics, and do not impact the sale of ingredients or cosmetics that were previously tested on animals.

The state made significant strides in wildlife protection with three critical new laws. Hawaii is now the seventh state to ban the intentional release of balloons, sparing marine animals unnecessary suffering from ingesting or becoming entangled in balloon pieces. The legislature passed a bill authorizing Hawaii to join the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact, which will crack down on wildlife poaching. Massachusetts remains the only state that is not a member of this agreement. Hawaii has also banned the intentional killing of sharks in state waters, a law needed now more than ever as shark populations are in an unprecedented decline globally.

Lawmakers passed three new laws to improve companion animal welfare. After years of attempts by animal advocates and concerned citizens, Hawaii now has a law that prohibits inhumane dog tethering and ensures that dogs who are left unsupervised are safe and receive adequate shelter. Additionally, Hawaii joins 48 other states in prohibiting sexual abuse of animals, a form of abuse that has been linked to sexual abuse of children and other violent acts. Finally, the legislature passed a bill to protect veterinarians from liability for providing emergency treatment to animals. This new law also requires veterinarians to report suspected animal abuse and protects them from liability for doing so.

“Despite the significant challenges COVID-19 has brought to Hawaii and the legislative session, lawmakers made tremendous strides in passing critical reforms for animals across the state,” said Andi Bernat, senior policy director of state affairs for the Humane Society of the United States. “We are grateful to Governor Ige and the legislature for recognizing the importance of these issues and thank the dedicated animal advocates who made this progress possible.”

The Humane Society of the United States thanks Hawaiian Humane Society, For the Fishes, and Cruelty Free International, our Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association Hawaii State Representatives, Dr. Ranaella Steinberg and Dr. Eric Jayne for their support during this legislative session.

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