HSVMA Advocates for Humane Legislation Throughout 2012

October 9, 2012

One of the main activities of the HSVMA is to advocate for humane animal-related legislation—on both the state and federal levels—throughout the year. In 2012 HSVMA, often working in conjunction with other animal protection organizations, supported many such bills nationwide. Quite a few of these bills have already passed, and a number of them are still pending.

Farm Animal Confinement

Pig in barn
HSVMA provided support to Rhode Island bill H7180/S2191, legislation that will ban veal crates and gestation crates in the state.
Matthew Prescott/The HSUS

We supported four state bills aimed at prohibiting the use of cruel farm animal confinement methods.

  • In Rhode Island, H7180/S2191—a bill prohibiting the use of veal crates for calves and gestation crates for breeding sowswas passed into law in June. Our support letter was signed by Gary Block, DVM, MS, DACVIM, an HSVMA Board member and Rhode Island practice owner.
  • HSVMA also supported a bill to ban the routine tail-docking of cattle (typically done without pain medication) in Rhode Island (S2191). This bill was also signed into law.
  • A bill banning the use of gestation crates in New Jersey (S1921/A3250) passed the Senate by an overwhelming margin and is awaiting action by the Assembly. HSVMA has already collected endorsements of more than 80 individual New Jersey veterinarians for our support letter, and HSVMA Leadership Council member, Gordon Stull, VMD, recently traveled to the New Jersey State Capitol to meet with Assembly members regarding the bill. This bill is pending.
  • A Massachusetts bill (H458/S786) would prohibit the use of both veal crates and gestation crates. HSVMA submitted a support letter signed by our Leadership Council member and Massachusetts veterinarian, Nick Dodman, BVMS, DVA, DACVA, DACVB. This legislation is still pending.

Protecting Tenants and Their Pets

In California, HSVMA joined The Paw Project in successfully co-sponsoring SB 1229, a landmark bill that prohibits landlords from requiring that tenants' animals be declawed and/or devocalized as a condition of tenancy. The passage of this legislation, which was authored by California Senator Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills, ensures that tenants do not have to choose between securing housing for their families and subjecting their pets to unnecessary and life-altering surgical procedures.

Banning "Hounding" of Bears and Bobcats

Also in California, Governor Jerry Brown recently signed into law SB 1221, a bill championed by Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, that will prohibit the use of radio-collared dog packs to hunt bears and bobcats. This inhumane and unsporting practice, known as "hounding," has long compromised the health and welfare of both wildlife species and the dogs that were used to hunt them. With the bill's passage, California became the fifteenth state to outlaw hounding of bears and the fourteenth state to ban bobcat hounding. HSVMA's support letter was accompanied by endorsements from more than 110 California veterinarians.

Increasing Penalties for Animal Cruelty Crimes

HSVMA is supporting the North Dakota Prevention of Animal Cruelty Initiative, which would make it a felony to maliciously harm a dog, cat or horse. We've mailed endorsement requests to all veterinarians and veterinary technicians in North Dakota, and at last count, nearly 30 veterinary professionals had endorsed the initiative. This initiative is pending the November ballot in that state.

Federal Legislation: Protection for Egg-Laying Hens and Horses, and Preventing Antibiotic Overuse

On the federal level, HSVMA is involved with several bills which are still pending:

Hens in battery cages
If passed, the Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2012 (HR3798/S3239) would greatly improve the housing and welfare of laying hens in the nation.
Sandeep Subba
  • HSVMA is one of a number of organizations supporting the Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2012 (HR3798/S3239) which would make major improvements in the housing and welfare of egg-laying hens.
  • HSVMA is also supporting the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act or PAMTA (H.R. 965/S. 1211) which would phase out the non-therapeutic use of antibiotics in farm animals to promote growth and prevent disease associated with poor animal husbandry systems.
  • HSVMA also submitted joint letters, along with The HSUS, in support of the Interstate Horseracing Improvement Act (S886/HR1733), a bill that limits the use of performance-enhancing drugs in the race horse industry, and in support of the Horse Protection Act of 2012 (HR 6388), which would close the loopholes that have allowed inhumane soring practices to continue.

You Can Help

As veterinary professional members and supporters of HSVMA, you are welcome and encouraged to become more involved in our legislative efforts if you have the time and the interest to do so. That could include writing letters or making phone calls endorsing particular pieces of legislation, working with us in our lobbying activities within your respective states, or attending our annual Humane Lobby Days which are held in many states around the country.

If you're interested in helping with any of the pending legislation mentioned above or any of our advocacy efforts, please email [email protected]