California Bans “Easter Bunny” Sales in New Animal Welfare Law

This Easter marks the first year a new California animal welfare law designed to protect rabbits goes into effect.  California is the first state in the US to ban live rabbit sales at pet stores—an effort to cut back on the number of rabbits that are either abandoned, surrendered to shelters, or euthanized after Easter.

This is the same law that also bans the sale of commercially bred dogs and cats in pet stores.  Pet stores can still house adoptable dogs, cats, and rabbits from local animal shelters.

According to an article from Reuters, animal shelters see a spike in rabbit intakes one to three months after Easter.  The House Rabbit Society notes that thousands of rabbits, many still under one year old, are surrendered to California shelters.

Under the new law, rabbits will still be available for adoption from animal shelters and rescue groups, so California rabbit fans have the opportunity to provide a new forever home for rabbits in need!

 

New California Pet Store Law Helps Shelter Animals

January 1, 2019 was the first day that a new animal welfare law went into effect here in California.  Under this law (called the Pet Rescue and Adoption Act), pet stores cannot sell dogs, cats, or rabbits unless they are from animal shelters or rescue organizations.

This law prevents pet stores from selling animals sourced from commercial breeding operations, known as puppy mills.

According to the Sacramento Bee, pet stores in California must publicly display documentation on each animal’s origins in the area where the animal is housed.

Pet stores in violation of this law will have to pay a fine of $500 for each pet that is sold illegally.

Here’s a video on the new law from NBC News:

 

Voters Approve New Animal Welfare Laws in Florida and California

This week’s midterm elections saw two major animal welfare victories in the states of Florida and California.

Florida’s Amendment 13, a measure to ban commercial Greyhound racing, was approved by 69% of voters in the state.  Thanks to this new legislation, Greyhound racing will be phased out over the next two years.  Good news for dog lovers interested in adopting retired Greyhounds!

In California, Proposition 12 was on the ballot.  Prop 12 was approved by 61% of California voters.  This measure will establish minimum space requirements for farm animals (egg-laying chickens, veal calves, and breeding pigs).  It will also ban the sale of meat and eggs from farms that don’t meet the space requirements.

Do you know the animal protection laws in your state?  You can find out by clicking on the interactive map on the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s website.

 

Local Jurisdictions Continue the Fight Against Puppy Mills

A recent blog post by the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) highlights the leading role that cities and counties across the U.S. are taking to ban puppy mills—despite opposition at the state and federal levels.

While many local jurisdictions are banning the sale of pet store animals bred in large-scale, for-profit breeding operations known as puppy mills, the industry is fighting back.  The ALDF reports that “pet store lobbyists are pressuring state legislatures to pass preemption laws blocking cities’ and counties’ right to adopt retail pet sale bans.”

This means that the state law will take precedence over any local law that seeks to ban puppy mill dogs from being sold in pet stores.  The ALDF notes that Arizona and Ohio have already passed preemption laws.

In addition to state-level push back on the fight against inhumane puppy mills, recently enacted federal measures have also made the effort to regulate puppy mills more difficult.  In early 2017, the U.S. Department of Agriculture removed public access to animal welfare records, including those relating to USDA licensed puppy mills.

What’s the good news?  Efforts to pass state preemption bills failed in Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, and Illinois.

As the ALDF notes, “retail pet sale bans are a powerful way for people to fight puppy mills in their own communities…instead of passing preemption laws, states should ban the sale of commercially-bred animals statewide.”

Currently, California is the only state to have enacted a retail pet sale ban.  The ALDF says that concerned animal lovers in other states should be aware of any preemption laws in the works.  States currently considering such laws include Maryland, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New York, Oregon, and Pennsylvania.

Be sure to keep up to date on the state of animal welfare legislation in your state by following the work of the Animal Legal Defense Fund.

 

Hope for Animals: New Animal Protection Legislation in U.S. States

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The Humane Society of the United States has summarized some positive animal welfare news on its blog, A Humane Nation. Several U.S. states have passed some encouraging animal protection legislation this year…a bit of good news for all of the animals who live among us.

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Massachusetts: 78% of voters approved an anti-factory farming ballot measure that stops the extreme confinement of egg-laying hens, breeding sows, and veal calves. The measure also says that eggs, pork, and veal sold in the state must conform to the humane standards, regardless of where the food came from.

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Oregon: 70% of voters approved a measure to restrict the interstate trafficking of ivory, rhino horns, and the body parts of 10 other wildlife species endangered by trafficking.

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Oklahoma: A measure (supported by powerful agricultural interests) to amend the state constitution to ban future limitations on the “conduct of agriculture” in the state was rejected by voters by over 60%.

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California: Voters affirmed a statewide ban on the sale of plastic bags, harmful to many species of wildlife, particularly in the ocean.