New Jersey State Sen. Raymond Lesniak, D-Union, was a recipient of the 2016 TAFA Humane Legislator Award at a ceremony held during the Taking Action For Animals national conference in Arlington, Virginia, on Saturday. The award, given by the Humane Society of the United States, recognizes Lesniak for being a leading animal protection advocate in New Jersey and helping the state become a model for others to follow. Nebraska Sen. Ernie Chambers was the other recipient this year.

Lesniak helped pass legislation to protect endangered species and crack down on trophy hunting. He also led the fight against the extreme confinement of breeding pigs in metal gestation crates in the pork industry and is currently working to restrict the sale of puppy mill dogs and institute a ban on the trade in shark fin products.

Sen. Lesniak said: “It is an honor to receive this recognition from the Humane Society of the United States for my laws making New Jersey a national and international leader in banning ivory and rhino horn transactions and ‘trophies’ of endangered species from entering or being transported through the state. Next on my agenda is banning puppy mills and shark finning, which will continue building on New Jersey’s reputation as the Humane State.”

Brian Hackett, New Jersey state director for the HSUS, said: “On behalf of our members, supporters and allies in New Jersey, we are proud of the animal protection initiatives that Senator Lesniak has championed in our state. He is a leader bringing both sides together to achieve amazing advances in our movement and continues to support our efforts to fight the cruelty of puppy mills, shark finning and leghold traps, among other important animal welfare protections.”

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