Red foxes became safer in Maryland after the state banned wild animal slaughter contests. franzfoto.com/Alamy Stock photo
One of the ways we are making a difference for animals is by working nationally and locally to ensure laws are passed that prevent the cruel and inhumane practices that threaten animals, from puppies born in huge puppy mills. to the coyotes and foxes likely to come. within the scope of a trophy hunter rifle.
Since the start of 2021, we’ve helped pass 102 national and local laws that align with our priorities for animals. Putting laws on the books not only helps create a more humane and compassionate future for animals in the United States, but it also reflects who we are as a society.
As with everything else, the Covid-19 pandemic has changed our usual way of defending animals nationally and locally, but we’ve found a way to reinvent our approach. We have transformed our annual Humane Lobby Day into a virtual lobbying for supporters. Our activists have found new ways to communicate with lawmakers, such as testifying on behalf of animals through Zoom. More than 5,600 lawyers and law enforcement officers have taken part in our virtual training sessions. Here are some highlights of our work at the local and state level brought together by the animals that benefit:
Puppies and kittens
Puppy and Kitten Factories are breeding facilities that permeate mother dogs and cats over and over to produce a high volume of puppies and kittens for profit. Most of the puppies and kittens sold in pet stores and online come from these breeding factories, and these animals often suffer from illnesses and a lack of socialization. Animal mothers in breeding factories spend their lives in cramped cages with little or no attention, only to be abandoned or killed when they can no longer produce litters.
We advocate for laws that ban the sale of puppies and kittens in the outlets of these dismal establishments in the hope that one day these farms will have nowhere to sell their “products”. We’re happy to say that earlier this year Washington became the last state to ban the sale of puppy and kitten pets in pet stores. Three states and 391 localities across the United States have passed similar laws. And the governor of Illinois has a similar bill on his desk.
Rabbits, guinea pigs, rats and mice
It is surreal to consider that in 2021, animals are still used to test shampoo, mascara and other cosmetic products when there are many alternatives to ensure the safety of cosmetic products. Companies already have a wealth of ingredients that don’t require additional animal testing, and modern testing methods, such as human cell tests and computer models, offer more sophisticated ways to ensure safety. of a product. And yet, rabbits, rats, guinea pigs and mice continue to have chemicals and substances forced down their throats, run into their eyes, or smear on their skin.
But there is hope. Every time a state prohibits the sale of cosmetics tested on animals, it is reducing the market for those products that seek to make a profit despite the cruelty. Maryland, Virginia, Hawaii and Maine have banned the sale of newly tested cosmetics on animals, and New Jersey is on the verge of doing so.
Big cats, bears, coyotes, foxes and other wildlife
Whether it’s wildlife in their natural habitat or captive animals like tigers on display in roadside zoos, wildlife in the United States needs our help. Each year, trophy hunters kill thousands of animals, using cruel methods like baiting and hunting, just to get their heads, skin, or claws to expose. Some are killed in horrific wildlife killing contests, where participants who slaughter the biggest, smallest, or most animals win a prize.
Fortunately, there is progress in treating wild animals better. Maryland banned wild animal slaughter contests, making life safer for the coyotes, foxes and raccoons that had been the targets. Nevada passed a law prohibiting public contact with captive bears, big cats, elephants, and primates. And New Mexico has banned trapping – a particularly gruesome and painful way of capturing and killing wildlife – on public lands.
Pigs, calves and laying hens
The greatest concentration of animal suffering in the world occurs in factory farms, where virtually all laying hens live their lives in cramped cages where they cannot even spread their wings or adopt natural behaviors, where pig mothers are locked in “gestational crates” for the duration of their pregnancy, which are so small that they can’t even turn around and chew on the metal bars in an attempt to relieve stress until their mouths bleed. Baby cows raised for veal are removed from their mothers shortly after birth and reared in tiny crates. Our initiatives to abolish these practices promise to reduce animal suffering on a scale unmatched in most of the industries in which we operate.
We are leading campaigns across the country to end these farming practices, and Nevada and Utah have become the last states to ban cages for laying hens. Nevada law also prohibits the sale of eggs in the state from caged hens. And there is currently a promising bill in New Jersey that would end intensive containment of pigs and calves.
Promising work ahead
Although most state sessions have been adjourned, we continue to push for measures that could make tangible differences for animals through a number of legislatures. These include a bill banning toxicity testing on dogs and cats in California; measures to protect farm animals in Massachusetts and New Jersey; a bill that would end the use of carbon monoxide gas chambers in Ohio animal shelters; bills and regulations in Nevada, New Jersey, New York and Virginia to end wild animal slaughter contests; and bills to ban the sale of puppy mill dogs in pet stores in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. We will continue to fight for the local and national victories you expect from us, and we are counting on you to help us, knowing that you make all the difference.
Follow Kitty Block on Twitter @HSUSKittyBlock.