I’d rather describe last week’s 6th annual “Humane Lobby Day” in Trenton as “Useful Info Day” – it was that jam-packed with issues and discussions about animals. It also featured numbers of people I was happy to see, meet and hear from. And yes, there was some lobbying too, although the networking that occurred may prove more effective in the long run.
This post isn’t meant to cover the day, but to share some of the info I was impressed, and occasionally depressed, by.
To start with, heartening numbers of bills concerning animals are working their way through the legislative process, and one awaits the governor’s signature – we hope not in vain. Already passed by the state senate and assembly, it’s “the puppy mill sales” bill, A2338/S3041, which would prohibit the worst puppy mills from doing business in NJ, thereby protecting consumers and animals. Phone Gov. Christie at 609-292-6000, to ask him to sign the bill.
(For this and any other bills mentioned here, you can go to http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/ to check status, read and/or print out.)
Among other animal-related bills in process are Nosey’s Law (A4386/S2058), which bans elephants in traveling shows; and a bill prohibiting sale or possession of shark fins (A3945/S2044).
The day’s events included awards to two legislators, starting with Troy Singleton (7th district), the assemblyman behind the bill that would ban declawing of cats except for medical reasons. Singleton spoke feelingly about animals, cats in particular. His bill awaits action in the Senate.
Tim Eustace (38th district), the animal- and environment-friendly assemblyman who has introduced and supported bear protection bills, was also honored by Brian Hackett, NJ State Director for the Humane Society of the US, which sponsored the event.
“Bear hunts have nothing to do with public safety,” said Angi Metler, APLNJ’s executive director, during her presentation. “They’re all about the Christie administration’s ‘bait and shoot’ recreational trophy hunt.” She described NJ’s Division of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) as “the hunter-based state agency that’s allowing use of illegal traps” and distinguished between the two websites for bears: (1) BearSmartNJ.org is for information and solutions, not action, while (2) SaveNJbears.com is the site for activists who may do phoning, tabling and demonstrating.
Over 4,000 NJ black bears – including moms, cubs and Pedals, the iconic upright bear – have been killed during Gov. Christie’s time in office. Pedals’ death during last October’s hunt prompted Sen. Ray Lesniak to introduce Pedals’ Law (S2702 /A4285), calling for a five-year moratorium on bear hunts, among other advocate-approved provisions.
(Note: In blessed contrast to those depressing numbers, since 2000 three NJ governors (Whitman , McGreevey , Corzine ) have stopped eight bear hunts.)
Unfortunately, Pedals’ Law and another of Lesniak’s initiatives — to protect the 1984 duly-enacted law against leghold traps (S2750/A4407) – have so far been stalled in the legislative process. Those who want the bill to move forward can contact Senate President Stephen Sweeney (856-251-9801), asking him to post the bill.
An open panel discussion among representatives of the “partner organizations” who spoke earlier closed out the event. One of the last audience questions dealt with Senator Linda Greenstein’s recently introduced S3019, a bill that would reform animal shelters in NJ. (More on this bill to follow . . .!)
– Pat Summers
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on what we’re all about “for the animals.”