Guest blog by Ann Church, ASPCA Vice President of State Affairs
With state legislatures gathering in state capitals around the country to start their 2014 legislative sessions, the ASPCA is looking forward to another year of productive lawmaking for animals. Last year we helped secure 86 state-level legislative victories, increasing protections for millions of animals and stopping abuse before it could begin. Our New Year’s resolution is to replicate this success—and we need your help to make that happen!
We have an ambitious agenda for 2014: We want to help pass the first state law in the nation banning the sale of puppy mill dogs in retail pet shops; strengthen cruelty laws; enhance publicly funded spay/neuter; and eliminate the horrors of dog fighting and cockfighting, Greyhound racing, horse slaughter for human consumption and fox penning (to name just a few of our goals). There will also be bad bills that we’ll need to defeat. Defeating ag-gag bills in 11 states kept us busy in 2013, and unfortunately 2014 is already shaping up to be similarly challenging.
Your state delegates/representatives and state senators will cast their votes on legislation based on what you, their constituents, want. The states have a great deal of authority to act on direct care of animals, and some issues can only be addressed at the state level. It is up to you to let them know that you care deeply about how animals are protected.
Here are a few simple steps you can take to get more involved in the legislative process and ensure that animals have the legal protections they deserve:
- Find out the dates of your state’s legislative session—most begin within the next few weeks.
- Look up who represents you. Post their contact information on your fridge so you can easily call them to express your support for bills to protect animals or opposition to legislation that would roll back protections for animals.
- Join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade! We will email you when legislation in your area needs your action.
- Participate in a lobby day at your state capitol or a training session on citizen advocacy. Once you’ve joined the Advocacy Brigade (see above), watch your inbox for the ASPCA’s invitations to events in your area!
The fate of your state’s animals will be decided through the legislative process. We’ve made it our New Year’s resolution to protect them by passing strong state laws, and we hope that you will join us. Resolve to get involved, and be the voice these animals need in state capitols across the country.