Humane legislation

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 1997:

The North Carolina House on
April 15 unanimously approved a bill to
make dogfighting, betting on dogfighting,
or watching dogfighting a felony. “We
want to dispell the idea of North Carolina
being a center of dogfighting because of the
laxity of our penalties,” said Rep. John
Weatherly, R-Cleveland, just before the
116-0 vote. Weatherly is also pushing legislation
to address cockfighting and potential
weaknesses in current cruelty statutes.

HR594, introduced into the
House of Representatives on February 5
by Charles Canady (R-Fla.) and George
Brown (D-Calif.), would “amend the
Animal Welfare Act to ensure that all
dogs and cats used by research facilities
are obtained legally,” by taking Class
B (random source) dealers out of the
laboratory animal supply business.
The Tennessee legislature, at
urging of the Farm Bureau Federation,
has adopted a law similar to those already in
effect in 29 other states, which effectively
prohibits humane societies from investigating
and prosecuting cruelty on farms. Farm
inspections now must be done by certified
agricultural veterinarians––but as Humane
Society of the Tennessee Valley pointed out
to no avail, the University of Tennessee
veterinary program does not distinguish
between agricultural and small animal practice:
a vet is a vet.
The Canadian Department of
J u s t i c e is reportedly at work on a longawaited
rewrite of the federal Criminal
Code sections pertaining to animals, tentatively
to include increasing the maximum
sentence for cruelty to five years, from the
current six months; extending coverage to
stray animals, as the current language
requires than an animal be property for
abuse to be a crime; and clearly defining
“animal” for the purposes of law enforcement.

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