Animal lovers and supporters of humane treatment alike will gather in Salem on Feb. 12 for Humane Lobby Day, where they can learn about five new bills, among others, that will affect the welfare of animals.
“It’s a great opportunity for people who care about animals to let their voices be heard,” says Scott Beckstead, Oregon senior director with The Humane Society of the United States. “Although we’re a state with a proud tradition of promoting animal welfare, we have these antiquated laws.”
Beckstead says that the first pro-animal welfare bill will establish some “common sense measures” on wildlife trapping. The bill proposes a ban on trapping for recreation, commerce and fur harvesting, while continuing to allow trapping for wildlife protection, public safety and agriculture. Under current laws, hunters can place traps close to residential areas and go without checking the traps for long periods of time.
“Depending on what you’re trapping, you can go up to 30 days without checking,” Beckstead says.
The second Humane Society-supported bill will strengthen the penalties for animal neglect. According to Beckstead, neglect is currently only a misdemeanor, even if the animal dies as a result.
The Oregon Humane Society opposes three new bills that seek to repeal the ban on hunting bears and cougars with radio-collared dogs. Beckstead says that hound hunting was rejected in Oregon and other states because it violates the concept of fair chase and creates unnecessary suffering for both the hounds and the prey.
Humane Lobby Day will start at 9 am at the Oregon State Library in Salem, where the group will discuss the legislation in question and then meet with state senators and representatives to voice their viewpoints. Those who would like to participate need to preregister online to schedule meetings with elected officials.
“The message here is that there are important developments with regards to animal welfare,” Beckstead says. “If people really care about getting the strongest protection for animals, they need to get involved.”
To participate or to find out more, go to http://wkly.ws/1f6