On Monday January 28th my mom and I, along with individuals from Legislative Districts throughout Washington, arrived in Olympia for Humane Lobby Day. There we met with leaders from the HSUS, ASPCA, and Wolf Haven all sponsors of the event. Facts in hand, about current bills for animals coming up for a vote, we sat down with our State Legislators. We were there to share what mattered to us and to advocate for animals who do not have a voice. Our group met with Representatives Ross Hunter, Cyrus Habib and Senator Rodney Tom. We shared information, answered questions and asked for their support. Each of our Representatives were thoughtful and interested.
The first bill that we were really trying to push for was the elimination of tail-docking in Washington. Dairy farmers put a tight ring on a cow’s tail to cut off the circulation. This eventually causes the tail to rot and fall off. The painful process may take up to three weeks without any medication given for discomfort. The cow has now been cruelly relieved of its natural protection against biting insects and parasites.
Tail-docking was originally thought to increase cleanliness, udder health and milk quality. Scientific research has proven that none of these benefits actually exist. Many farmers in Washington State have voluntarily stopped this practice. However, 20 to 30 percent of farmers are still resisting the evidence.
Another important bill is the Companion Animal Spay/Neuter Assistance Legislation for Washington. This bill makes spay/neuter surgeries more accessible with vouchers for low cost procedures at local clinics. This will be an incentive for pet owners with lower incomes to spay their animals. It also helps hundreds of small veterinary practices increase business. This bill is expected to be able to provide an additional 65,000 surgeries on cats and dogs. That is 65,000 animals that will not reproduce and end up in shelters or being euthanized. Due to the higher cost of animal control and shelters it is estimated that by spaying these animals the state will save $17 million per year.
A third bill is Senate Bill 5204 and House Bill 1202. This bill allows several things to happen. It gives animal control officers the authority to impose a civil infraction when she or he believes that animals may be in danger. Currently, early intervention is not allowed, but with it officers could save animals from worsening conditions. The bill also gives authorization to Police, Animal Control, and Firefighters for removal of an animal from a vehicle if the animal is in danger from extreme heat, cold, or lack of ventilation.
Several other bills address wolves and ranchers both being critical to a healthy Washington State. If you support any or all of these bills, you can help get them noticed and passed by contacting your District Legislators. Tell them that you care and why. You’ll find that many of them also care, they just need to know it’s important to their voters.