We are sharing this on behalf of our partners at the Humane Society of the United States, as these issues will effect the animal welfare community in many ways:
Every year, hundreds of bills are introduced and this legislative session has been no exception. Over 1,000 bills have been filed in the legislature, with a larger number than usual impacting animals. This poster has pictures and contact information for all of the members of the legislature and we have also attached a document on how a bill becomes a law.
Through whistleblowing employees and undercover investigations, animal abuse, unsafe working conditions, and environmental problems have repeatedly been exposed on industrial factory farms. To prevent these problems from coming to light in the future, the agribusiness lobby has introduced Anti-Whistleblower bills (“ag-gag”). These bills seek to criminalize whistle-blowing employees who expose animal cruelty, food safety issues, poor working conditions on factory farms. In a recent poll, it was revealed that 71 percent of Americans support undercover investigative efforts by animal welfare organizations to expose animal abuse on industrial farms and 64 percent oppose making such efforts illegal. The nationwide survey also found that 94 percent of Americans feel that it is important to have measures in place to ensure that food coming from farm animals is safe for people to eat, and 94 percent agree that animals raised for food on farms deserve to be free from abuse and cruelty. These bills show just how much the animal agriculture industry has to hide. It speaks volumes that this industry wants to make it a crime to merely take a photo of abusive, unsanitary or otherwise unethical activity on factory farms.
Action Needed! Please contact Senator R. Michael Young (317-232-9517 / firstname.lastname@example.org), the Chair of the Corrections and Criminal Law Committee and ask him NOT to give Senate Bill 373 a hearing! The animals need your voices now!
Your message doesn’t need to be long; you could say something along the lines of:
“Hello, my name is ______________________ and I am calling from ____________(city/town), Indiana. I am calling/emailing today to urge Senator Young to NOT give Senate Bill 373, the Anti-Whistleblower bill, a hearing in the Corrections and Criminal Law Committee. Through whistleblowing employees and undercover investigations, animal abuse, unsafe working conditions, and environmental problems have repeatedly been exposed on industrial factory farms. Reputable businesses don’t need laws silencing whistleblowers; unscrupulous businesses don’t deserve protection against whistleblowers. Thank you.”
As always, you can be most effective for the animals by being polite, brief and to the point!
House Bill 1194 - Canned Hunting
Unfortunately, 2013 is no different than 2012 in that another bill to legalize canned hunting has been introduced. Click here to learn more about the practice of canned hunting. Right now this bill has been assigned to the House Natural Resources Committee. We will keep you posted if it is scheduled for a hearing.
House Bill 1226 - Felony Poaching
Representative Terry Goodin has introduced a very good bill that would strengthen the penalties for individuals convicted of poaching. This bill has also been assigned to the House Natural Resources Committee.
Senate Bill 598 – Animal Rescue Operations
This bill should be of special interest to those who run rescues in Indiana! SB 598, introduced by Senator John Waterman, and assigned to the Senate Committee on Commerce and Economic Development and Technology, chaired by Senator Jim Buck, would require rescues in Indiana (rescues are defined in this bill as a person or organization that accepts within 1 year (1) more than 12 dogs; or (2) more than 9 dogs & more than 3 unweaned litters of puppies that are available for adoption for human companionship as pets or as companion animals) to register with the Board of Animal Health, pay a yearly fee of $75, and comply with the same standards of care for their animals to which the puppy mills must adhere; specifically, sections 9 CFR 3.1 through 9 CFR 3.12 of the Animal Welfare Act (link here for the actual regulations). Failure to register with the Board of Animal Health as a rescue would be a Class A misdemeanor. This bill would also weaken provisions included from the puppy mill bill in 2009. So far this bill has not been scheduled for a hearing. We will keep you posted if it is scheduled.
House Bill 1501 - Statewide Spay & Neuter Fund
This bill, introduced by Representative Linda Lawson, would create a statewide spay and neuter fund, to make low-cost spays and neuter more widely available to the pets of Medicaid recipients. This is an excellent and much-needed bill. It has been assigned to the House Ways & Means Committtee; we will keep you posted and let you know if and when it is scheduled to receive a hearing.