It's Back....The bill to weaken cruelty protection for farm animals is back in the Arizona Legislature and we need your help to stop it! The bill is an amended version of the measure that failed last session.
HB 2429, livestock; poultry; animal cruelty; violation (Barton), contains some beneficial language on hoarding, but would do far more harm than good for animals. The bill removes farm animals (including horses) from Arizona's animal cruelty code and places them in a new, weaker section under the agriculture code, and removes felony penalties for even the most egregious acts of animal cruelty.
Click here to take action!
Volunteers with Trap Neuter Return are trapping, spaying and neutering cats to help keep down the Valley's stray populations, and hopefully prevent cats from euthanasia. Read article
Thanks to Ryan Van Velzer of the Arizona Republic for getting out to see the Spay Neuter Hotline in action!
Governor Brewer signed the law requiring full public reporting of greyhound injuries and deaths at Tucson Greyhound Park! Thanks to Representatives Ethan Orr & John Kavanagh, GREY2K USA, The Humane Society of the United States - Arizona, Animal Defense League of Arizona, Humane Voters of AZ, Susan Via, Jamie Massey, Joe Romack, Nancy Young Wright, Caryn Wood, Karyn Zoldan, Sylvia Arena, and all the advocates who contacted legislators!
Click here for the Tucson News video on the new law.
We are ecstatic to report that the Arizona legislative session adjourned early today without passing the bill that would have severely damaged our animal cruelty law! #1267/HB2587, was proposed by the agriculture industry, and as introduced would have prevented law enforcement from investigating animal cruelty and criminalized those who expose animal abuse. Although the #ag-gag language was removed, the bill would have significantly weakened protection for farm animals, made it harder for prosecutors to convict abusers, and created broad exemptions with unknown negative consequences.
Your advocacy, coupled with the united support of many local and national animal welfare groups as well as the collaborative work of coalition partners, including the Animal Cruelty Taskforce of Southern Arizona, Animal Legal Defense Fund, Arizona Coalition for Equines, Arizona Humane Society, ASPCA, Humane Society of Southern Arizona, The Humane Society of the United States, and Humane Voters of AZ contributed to this very important victory. Thank you.
The Livestock Cruelty Bill HB 2587 passed out of the House committee, despite more than 100 people attending to oppose it! It is scheduled to be heard on the House floor tomorrow. In the meantime, a similar bill was introduced in the Senate and rushed through the committee process. SB 1267 is also headed for a vote by the full Senate.
These bills are being rammed through the Legislature by out of touch lawmakers that are beholden to agriculture industry lobbyists, and we need to stop them! Thanks to the tremendous outcry of opposition from animal protection groups, law enforcement and others, amendments are being proposed that will remove the penalty for those that expose animal abuse.
Unfortunately, the bill would STILL do much more harm than good for the animals in our state (see concerns below). We should be strengthening our animal cruelty laws for all animals – not allowing the agriculture industry to decide which animals should be protected. In fact, according to a recent poll, 87 percent of AZ voters surveyed reported that they oppose putting farm animals in a separate, weaker anti-cruelty code.
Take Action here!
Arizona Legislators have just introduced a devastating 'ag-gag' bill that would criminalize whistleblowers who expose animal abuse on factory farms, auctions, or slaughter facilities. The bill also weakens cruelty laws for livestock, including horses, and completely removes all protections from cruelty for poultry.
House Bill 2587 criminalizes the actions of those who document any animal cruelty. It requires video and photos of abuse to be turned in to the Department of Agriculture within five days, creating such a short timeline that no pattern of abuse can be documented.
And if that's not bad enough, this bill changes Arizona's strong definition of 'animal' under the animal cruelty law, removing livestock from its protection. It creates new weakened laws for farm animals and removes all authority from law enforcement to investigate abuse of livestock, including horses. It transfers sole authority to the Department of Agriculture, which has only a small number of livestock officers to cover the entire state.
Click here for more information including how you can help stop this bill.
What do I do about the kittens?
The Arizona Legislature passed the anti-initiative bill on the last day of the session. HB 2305, which includes language from several bad election bills, creates numerous strict specifications that would enable large amounts of signatures to be thrown out on a technicality. These impediments would make it much more difficult for citizens to get a measure on the ballot.
Arizona’s public initiative process, a constitutional right enacted at statehood in 1912, is the single most important tool for protecting Arizona’s animals. Thanks to grassroots citizens’ ballot measures, leg-hold traps, snares, and poisons were banned on public lands in 1994, and cockfighting was outlawed in 1998. In 2006, voters overwhelmingly approved an initiative that banned the cruel confinement of pregnant pigs and calves raised for veal. That law went into effect on January 1, 2013.
Please ask Governor Brewer to veto HB 2305! If you volunteered on any grassroots ballot campaigns, please share your thoughts on the importance of Arizona's citizen initiative process and the fact that HB 2305 would decimate voters' rights.
Email Governor Brewer here or call her at 602-542-4331 or 1-800-253-0883 (outside Maricopa County)