HSVMA Members Add Veterinary Voice to Humane Lobby Days
Help Push for Welfare Legislation with Expertise, Experience and Compassion

HSVMA Lobby Day participants provided input on their participation and encouraged other veterinarians, veterinary technicians and assistants, and veterinary students to join in future events.

From our Massachussetts HSVMA members...

"As a profession, it is our obligation to ensure that no animal can be treated in a cruel or inhumane manner. Meeting directly with our representatives, and expressing our support of animal welfare legislation, as well as our open and vocal disagreement with practices that injure or mistreat animals, is the most effective and direct way to make sure our input makes a lasting difference."
--Dr. Roberto Aguilar, DVM, Cape Wildlife Center, Barnstable

"To participate in Lobby Day is certainly in tune with the Veterinarian’s Oath. We can promote laws that help animals and make sense for a fair, positive society. In doing so, we have the chance to take care of many animals that we may not ever meet or touch personally. As a bonus, it was a chance to spend the day with interesting and dedicated colleagues."
--Dr. Sally Mahoney, DVM, Harwich

"We had a wonderful gathering of concerned citizens participating in Lobby Day at the Massachusetts State House. … As a veterinarian being able to have your voice heard at the State House is empowering and important. The issues that the Humane Society focuses on are the deeper responsibilities of our profession. We need to speak up and have our voices heard."
--Dr. Margo Roman, DVM, MASH Main Street Animal Services of Hopkinton

"I believe that in our meeting with Attorney Pradas-Monne, legislative aide to Representative O’Flaherty, our group of veterinarians and veterinary medical technicians was able to raise and expand on the reasons for supporting this bill, thereby providing her and Representative O’Flaherty with important information they could use in making the case for passage of this bill. The information we provided related not only to animal welfare, but to public health as well."
--Dr. Joann M. Lindenmayer, DVM, MPH, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University

"I felt very honored to be one of several veterinary professionals participating in Humane Lobby Day. I often feel there's a strong focus strictly on medicine within the field and less on improving general animal welfare; it was inspiring to work as a team with other professionals who see the bigger picture. The public expects veterinary professionals to provide expertise on what is best for animals, and we did that on behalf of the animals and animal lovers of Massachusetts."
--Ms. Jessica Popescu, Veterinary Assistant, Cambridge

From our New York HSVMA members...

"I think Humane Lobby Days are the best way to familiarize oneself with the legislative process. Although it may seem intimidating at first, the lobbying experience is obviously not nearly as complicated as something like renal physiology. In other words, any vet can do it. Veterinarian opinions on animal-related topics are highly valued, so direct changes can happen as a result of our input. I look forward to more and more vets joining in Lobby Days!"
--Dr. Eileen Jefferson, DVM, Woodstock

"This was my first Lobby Day, so I was completely surprised how quickly changes were made after our meetings. In only a couple of days, the ag-gag bill was off the table and the Senate passed a bill to strengthen animal fighting laws. I am already looking forward to my next opportunity to lobby for animals!"
--Michelle White, Class of 2014, Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine

May 8, 2012

HSVMA members added a veterinary voice to Humane Lobby Day events in several states this spring, helping advance key legislative reforms to improve animal welfare. Humane Lobby Days are annual events sponsored by The Humane Society of the United States that bring animal advocates to state capitols across the nation to provide input to state legislators. Veterinary professionals are an important component of these efforts, since the profession speaks with expertise and experience on animal health and welfare.

Veterinarians and a constituent meet with the legislative director for Mass. State Senator Dan Wolf
Dr. Sally Mahoney (top right), Dr. Roberto Aguilar (bottom right) and a constituent meet with Katie Lynch (center), Legislative Director for Massachusetts State Senator Dan Wolf during the Mass. Humane Lobby Day on April 26, 2012.
David Sokol

"Our HSVMA veterinary professionals are an impressive animal advocacy force," said HSVMA veterinary consultant Dr. Barbara Hodges, who coordinated HSVMA participation in the Massachusetts Humane Lobby Day on April 26 in Boston. "A well-educated, eloquent and committed group of animal health experts—who also speak passionately for the animals—can be quite persuasive in the legislative arena."

In Massachusetts, a team of seven HSVMA veterinary professionals advocated for two key legislative initiatives—one bill that would prevent the cruel confinement of veal calves and pregnant pigs in crates, and another bill that would improve animal control laws pertaining to spay/neuter, humane euthanasia and dangerous dogs, among other issues. Several HSVMA veterinary members also participated in the New York Humane Lobby Day in Albany in April, advocating for reforms that would strengthen the state’s animal fighting law, protect sharks from the cruel and unsustainable shark fin trade, end the canned shooting of captive exotic wildlife, and prevent the intensive confinement of veal calves and pregnant pigs in crates. Advocates also opposed legislation to limit whistleblower activities exposing cruelties in agri-business practices.

HSVMA members at the 2012 N.Y. Humane Lobby Day
Dr. Holly Cheever (left), Cornell veterinary student Michelle White (center), and Dr. Eileen Jefferson (right) at the N.Y. State Capitol for the state's Humane Lobby Day on April 18, 2012.
Brian Shapiro

"Lobbying is truly one arena in which our expert opinions matter greatly," said Dr. Holly Cheever, HSVMA Leadership Council Chair and a New York veterinarian who has been lobbying for animal welfare legislation for two decades and has participated in the New York Lobby Day since its inception more than five years ago. "In my opinion, we cannot use our extensive training for a better purpose than to speak up for our patients and companions who cannot hire lobbyists nor speak for themselves."

North Carolina and California Humane Lobby Days are scheduled for June 13 and June 27, respectively. Email [email protected] if you’re interested in participating. Additional Lobby Days will take place in early 2013, and we will be alerting our members in advance.