Support Anti-Animal Torture Bill in Idaho

Target: House Agriculture Chairman Ken Andrus

Goal: Thank the House Agriculture Committee for voting to introduce a bill that will add felony charges to the current animal torture laws in Idaho

Last year House Agriculture Chairman Ken Andrus proposed legislation that would make a third-offense of animal cruelty a felony. The House Agriculture Committee recently voted to introduce the bill, and if passed, it would drastically improve Idaho’s notoriously weak animal cruelty laws. For this, the House Agriculture Committee deserves our thanks.

Until recently Idaho was one of only three states with no felony penalties for even the most extreme cases of animal cruelty. For a number of years the Humane Society of the United States has ranked Idaho one of the worst states for animal cruelty laws. This is largely because of a conflict of interest between the animal industry and animal rights groups. Animal cruelty laws usually have a significant impact on the farm industry, and rightly so, but in places like Idaho where farming and ranching are the major industries, this often means a lot of resistance from lobby groups when a bill reaches the senate.

If passed, Andrus’ bill will define animal torture as “the knowing and willful infliction of unjustifiable and extreme or prolonged pain with the intent to cause suffering.” The first two charges would be considered a misdemeanor and the third a felony. It appears as though the legislation will likely pass because of provisions that Andrus made to protect those in the livestock industry. The law will only apply to “companion animals” and also emphasizes that torture doesn’t relate to any normal or legal agricultural practices.

It isn’t perfect, and Idaho still has a long way to go to meet many of the standards in other states, but the fact that the animals of Idaho now have a voice within the state government is a big step. Please sign the petition below to thank Chairman Andrus for working to improve animal welfare in Idaho and support his anti-animal torture bill.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Chairman Andrus,

The House Agriculture Committee recently voted to introduce a bill that would revise the current animal cruelty laws in Idaho and make a third offense of animal torture a felony. The state has received a great deal of criticism over the past decade for its lack of felony penalties for even the most extreme cases of cruelty. This new bill is a step in the right direction.

The law isn’t perfect, however. It still distinguishes between companion animals and farm animals in order to protect the livestock industry, which is often fraught with animal abuse. But if this is what is necessary for the bill to pass at this point in time then so be it. Thank you for your commitment to protecting the animals of Idaho and finally bringing their standards up to the rest of the country. I hope that you will continue to push similar legislation and ultimately increase felony penalties for both companion animals and farm animals

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: ind{yeah} via Flickr

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Signatures

  • Lisa Frost
  • Grace MacGuire
  • jaime hill
  • Annamaria Rizzo
  • H.J. Roozendaal
  • Monika Koestler
  • Jenna Miles
  • Monika Koestler
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