Legislative Recap: Standing up for Companion Animals and Wildlife

Our Director of Legislative Affairs, Liz Holtz, has been traveling back and forth to Annapolis to testify in the Maryland legislature on a number of animal protection bills. Among the bills are a proposed ban on cownose ray killing contests, a bill that would strengthen regulations for puppy mills, and a bill allowing first responders to provide life-saving aid to animals in emergencies.

Cownose rays don’t have the celebrity status of the stingray but they’re just as fascinating. This gentle marine animal lives across the Atlantic Ocean stretching from Senegal to the United States. In the summer, cownose rays travel to the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland to birth their pups. Horrifically, people have organized contests where people compete to kill the most rays. The contests are horrific. Cownose rays are shot with arrows, dragged into the boat, beaten with baseball bats, and then left to suffocate to death in a barrel. This disgusting practice needs to stop, and that’s why we joined the Save the Rays coalition to support a bill banning these contests.

At the federal level, For All Animals organized an action alert calling on supporters to contact their senators and ask them to support the Animal Welfare Accountability and Transparency Act which would require the restoration of  documents to the USDA website about animals in zoos, puppy mills, and lab testing facilities. The removal of these records was a huge blow for advocates and the animals themselves. For All Animals is committed to fighting until the records and future records are made available.

Finally, we submitted a comment to the Food Safety and Inspection Service within the Department of Agriculture strongly opposing “animal welfare guidelines” for slaughterhouses and processing plants that would actually allow producers to mislead consumers into thinking their practices are humane. Not only do we have a right to know how our food is actually produced, we have to stand up for farmed animals.

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