Posted by: secondchancehumanesociety | February 3, 2010

Animal Protection Legislation

Toby the Talented

My name is Toby and I am a lovable Lhasa Apso here at the Second Chance Humane Society Shelter.  As I wait for my forever parents to come and adopt me I can’t help but think about how fortunate that I am to live in a country where animals are allowed certain protections.  Protections from being treated with cruelty and neglect, and here in Ridgway we are protected from being hungry and homeless. 

This is not the case for other parts of the country and world – where most animal species are offered no protections.  Fortunately there are watchdogs (pun intended) out there who are championing changes and pushing for better protections for all animals.  As a separate lobbying affiliate of The Humane Society of the United States, The Humane Society Legislative Fund works to pass animal protection laws at the state and federal level, to educate the public about animal protection issues, and to support humane candidates for office.

One way that The HSLF works is through publishing an annual Humane Scorecard to assess the support of federal legislators on a broad range of animal protection issues. This Scorecard provides an easy way to monitor how U.S. senators and representatives have acted on these issues and it helps chart the progress of public policy work on behalf of animals.

Michael Markarian, HSLF President, recently summarized the progress and/or failures of federal legislators:“The first year of the 111th Congress saw a number of advances for animal protection policies, prepping the way for final action this year on many important bills and bringing new issues into the political discourse.

Wildlife protection made great strides in the House of Representatives, which passed 11 measures to help native and exotic wild animals, including a prohibition on the pet trade in primates and a bill to overhaul management of wild horses and burros on public lands. Other House-approved bills would bring protections to ocean dwellers by ending shark finning, providing grants for marine mammal rescue, and promoting the recovery of Pacific sea otters.

Key issues were also addressed in enacted funding bills for federal agencies.  Among the achievements were provisions to block expenditures on horse slaughter and end the slaughter of downed cattle, promote and fund nonanimal research methods, study the use of service dogs for rehabilitating veterans, and increase appropriations to implement international agreements for wildlife conservation and improve enforcement of key domestic animal welfare laws.  The Senate unanimously approved a resolution calling on the Canadian government to end its commercial seal hunt.

Despite all these advances, Congress took a few steps backwards on other issues, blocking the collection of data on greenhouse gas emissions from the largest factory farms and overturning a long-standing federal ban on carrying loaded firearms in national parks. And a number of key bills still need to cross the finish line; though many have Senate champions and some have won committee approval in that chamber, none has received a floor vote there.”

 In 2010HSLF will be pursuing enactment of protective legislation on issues as: horse slaughter, fur labeling, antibiotic misuse on factory farms, invasive research on chimpanzees, puppy mills, the trade in stolen and otherwise fraudulently obtained pets for research, a tax credit for spaying and neutering pets, among a host of other concerns affecting pets, farm animals, and wildlife.

I urge you to check out the HSLF Humane Scorecard (, as I am rather disappointed in the performance of the Colorado Legislators in 2009.  Consider letting them know you have reviewed their scorecard and urge them to work harder at improving their grades for 2010.

Call the Second Chance Helpline at 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about the SCHS Spay/Neuter Financial Assistance, Volunteer & Foster Care, or other Programs.  Visit our shelter pets online:  Direct Pet Column questions to:  kelly@secondchancehumanesociety.orgPhoto by Real Life Photographs.


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