Veterinary Professionals Join HSVMA in Advocating for Humane Legislation in 2013

November 25, 2013

Approximately 650 veterinary professionals joined HSVMA in supporting a wide range of legislation aimed at improving the well-being of farm animal, companion animal and wildlife species during 2013. HSVMA members advocated for humane legislation in variety of ways, including signing endorsement letters, calling or emailing their legislators, testifying at legislative hearings, writing newsletter columns, submitting letters to the editor and op-eds, and attending veterinary lobbying events.

The veterinary professional support was critical in ensuring passage of several bills, including a landmark bill to require non-lead ammunition in hunting in California, and will likely help move forward several other pending animal welfare legislative efforts next year.

State Legislation


HSVMA supported three bills aimed at ending the cruel agricultural practices of confining breeding sows and veal calves in tiny crates so small the confined animals cannot perform most natural behaviors, including turning around or extend their limbs.

New Jersey - Gestation Crates (S 1921/A 3250)

HSVMA gathered the endorsement of 100 New Jersey veterinarians in support of this bill to end the extreme confinement of pregnant sows in gestation crates. HSVMA Leadership Council member Dr. Gordon Stull, a N.J. veterinarian, also authored an op-ed and a letter to the editor in support of the measure. The bill was overwhelmingly approved by both Houses, but then vetoed by Gov. Chris Christie. An effort to overturn the Governor’s veto is underway at year-end.

Massachusetts - Gestation and Veal Calf Crates (S 741)

More than 210 Massachusetts veterinarians signed onto an HSVMA letter in support of Massachusetts legislation to prohibit the use of gestation and veal crates. In addition, an HSVMA Massachusetts Veterinary Lobby Day team advocated for this bill at the Boston State House in September. The measure is still pending.

New York - Gestation and Veal Calf Crates (A 1656/S 4987)

An HSVMA New York Veterinary Lobby Day team advocated for this bill at the state capitol in Albany in May, referencing the HSVMA “Veterinary Report on Gestation Crates” in support. Unfortunately, the bill did not pass out of agricultural committees.


HSVMA supported two bills affecting hunting and trapping methods in California, and two ballot initiatives in other states seeking to limit unsporting hunting practices.

California - Lead Ammunition Ban (SB 711)

With Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature on this bill in October, California became the first state in the nation to require the use of only non-lead ammunition in recreational hunting. More than 100 veterinarians, including board-certified avian and other wildlife experts, endorsed HSVMA’s “Statement of Veterinary Support for a Requirement of Non-Lead Ammunition for Hunting.” In addition, several HSVMA members visited legislators in their district offices in California to convey their support for the bill.

California - Restrictions on Cruel Trapping and Killing Methods (AB 789)

HSVMA submitted a support statement for this bill, which prohibits wildlife trappers from using specific methods of killing (stomping, drowning or injection of toxic chemicals); requires the posting of signage where lethal traps are set on public lands; and reduces the size of allowable body-crushing traps. It was signed into law by Gov. Brown.

Maine - Bear Hunting Ballot Initiative

More than 45 Maine veterinarians and veterinary clinics joined with HSVMA in endorsing the efforts of the Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting coalition to place a measure on the 2014 state ballot, calling for an end to the cruel and unfair practices of trapping, hounding and baiting bears. Maine remains the only state in the nation to allow their recreational use statewide.

Michigan - Ballot Campaign to Stop the Trophy Hunting of Wolves (Referenda to overturn PA 520 and PA 21)

Soon after the Great Lakes wolves were removed from federal protection in 2012, Michigan passed legislation to designate wolves as game and open them up to trophy hunting. One hundred fifteen veterinarians joined with HSVMA in endorsing a successful effort to put a veto referendum of that bill on the 2014 ballot. However, the state legislature quickly passed a second bill, Public Act 21, to circumvent the first referendum and allow this trophy hunting to resume. Signature collection is now underway to qualify a second veto referendum — this time, aimed at overturning PA 21 — on the 2014 ballot.


HSVMA supported one bill to strengthen standards of care imposed on dog dealers, and two state companion animal ‘lemon laws,’ providing legal and financial recourse to consumers who inadvertently purchase sick pets.

New York - Puppy Mill Bill (A 1655/S 4799)

This bill would establish improved humane housing and standards of care for pet dealers when dealing with dogs. The HSVMA Lobby Day team advocated for this legislation in May. Unfortunately, it did not pass out of agricultural committees.

Massachusetts - Puppy and Kitten Lemon Law (SB 401/HB 1874)

This bill would prohibit the sale of puppies and kittens who are less than 8 weeks old, allow the Department of Agriculture to regulate commercial breeders, and give consumers improved recourse when they unknowingly buy sick puppies. The HSVMA Lobby Day team advocated for this legislation in September. The bill is still pending.

Illinois - Puppy and Kitten Lemon Law (SB 1639)

This bill allows consumers to receive reimbursement for veterinary costs after purchasing a puppy or kitten, if the animal was sick at the time of the sale or if the dog or cat has a significant genetic condition. The legislation also requires pet stores to report outbreaks of animal diseases to the Department of Agriculture, and to notify consumers who bought a cat or dog from the store in the last two weeks if outbreaks occur. Several HSVMA veterinary members submitted testimony in support of this legislation. Gov. Pat Quinn signed the bill in August.


HSVMA supported bills focusing on animal safety in times of emergency or disaster, and establishing standards of care for animals sold at swap meets.

Massachusetts - People with Pets in Disaster (S 1172)

This bill, which the HSVMA Lobby Day team advocated for, requires that emergency plans address and include household pets and service animals before, during and after emergencies or disasters. It is pending in the current legislative session.

California - Sales of Live Animals at Swap Meets (AB 339)

This bill allows the sale of live animals only at swap meets that adopt certain standards for the care and treatment of those animals at the time of the meet, and in transport. HSVMA submitted a support statement for this legislation. The bill was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Federal Legislation

This year HSVMA focused efforts on three federal bills that will impact the welfare of equines and other species and will affect some practice parameters for mobile and ambulatory veterinarians.


The PAST Act would protect Tennessee Walking, Racking, and Spotted Saddle Horses from cruel and inhumane ‘soring,’ the intentional infliction of pain to horses’ hooves and legs by unscrupulous trainers in order to gain unfair competitive advantage at horse shows. It would strengthen the Horse Protection Act of 1970 by banning action devices and stacked shoes associated with soring, increasing penalties for violations, and ending industry self-policing. HSVMA is currently activating our veterinary membership in support of this legislation.


The VMMA makes the legislative changes needed to allow licensed veterinarians to transport and dispense controlled substances outside their registered locations in order to treat animal patients in the course of providing mobile or ambulatory medical services. Passage is essential for veterinarians practicing under field conditions, conducting house calls or mobile spay/neuter clinics, and in some agricultural and/or wildlife scenarios. HSVMA submitted a support statement and also joined with a coalition of veterinary groups in advocating for this legislation, which is still pending.


HSVMA opposes an amendment in the House version of the Federal Agricultural Reform and Risk Management Bill put forth by Rep. Steve King of Iowa, threatening to erase many state laws concerning puppy mills, horse slaughter, food labeling laws and more. If passed, the King amendment would impede the ability of states to determine how best to protect their citizens and animals. This legislation is currently pending.