The 2011/2012 Vermont legislative session ended officially this past Saturday. Unfortunately none of our animal welfare bills made it across the finish line. We did make some incredible advances, however, that shouldn’t be overlooked. From puppy mills to tail docking to gestation crates, our lawmakers heard from Vermont’s animal welfare community loud and clear—all animals deserve legal protection from abuse.
We were able to get both S. 142, the pet merchant bill and S. 239, the gestation crate bill, passed in the Senate unanimously—no small feat!
Many thanks go to Senate President Pro Temp John Campbell (D-Windsor), Senator Vince Illuzzi (R-Essex/Orleans), and Senator Harold Giard (D-Addison) for their valiant efforts to pass the gestation crate bill at the final hours as an amendment to other moving vehicles. It was literally the last issue being debated in the legislature before they adjourned. Unfortunately the House would not concur, so the bill died.
And while the pet merchant bill didn’t make it through this year, we will be working with the Vermont Veterinary Medical Association and the Vermont Federation of Dog Clubs over the summer to develop a strategy for improving our regulatory system for home-based breeders. I’m hopeful that we can come back in the fall with a proposal that can be widely supported by stakeholders and lawmakers alike.
A huge thank you to everyone who called and emailed their lawmakers, wrote letters to the editor, and brought more people into our circle of supporters. Your advocacy efforts were a true inspiration. We will dust ourselves off and use what we learned this session to come back next year even stronger. Since this is an election year, don’t forget to keep animal welfare issues alive in the debate. Don’t be afraid to ask your candidates for elected office how they feel about animal welfare issues—for both companion animals and farm animals alike! As voters, we hold the power to put people in office who share our value system.
Taking Action for Animal Conference 2012
Want to learn how to hone your advocacy skills for animals? Please join us for our annual Taking Action for Animals Conference being held July 27-30 in Washington, DC. TAFA brings together both seasoned activists and individuals new to the world of animal protection. Down-to-earth with a professional edge, TAFA offers the latest ideas and tactics to take real action. Connect with other animal advocates who share the vision of a better world for us all, animals and people alike. This unique conference ends with a Lobby Day on Capital Hill, where you’ll have an opportunity to meet with your Congressmen on federal animal protection legislation. Use the code “Action” when registering, which is good for $20.00 off full conference registration only.
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