This article provides an overview of major animal law legislation from 2003 - 2004.
REVIEW EDITOR’S NOTE
The seventh annual edition of Animal Law ’s Legislative Review addresses the wide range of state and federal legislative action pertaining to animals from the end of 2003, through 2004. The laws at both levels are in a constant state of flux, sometimes taking forward steps in animal protection, and sometimes taking steps back. A significant portion of federal and state legislation passed this past year increases the protection of animals. However, there was federal legislation reducing the potential protection of animals stemming from the United States’ need for military preparedness as it becomes increasingly involved in military conflict.
Ms. Erin Hauck reports on major pieces of federal legislation, including the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2004, which impacts the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act; potential amendments to the Marine Mammal Protection Act, which would affect three major changes to the existing law; the Captive Wildlife Safety Act, which prohibits ownership of certain species of exotic cats and fortifies existing state laws; the Captive Exotic Animal Protection Act of 2004, which seeks to forge a national response to canned hunts; and the Marine Turtle Conservation Act, which provides funding for the international conservation of marine turtles and their habitat.
Ms. Tami Santelli reports on state legislation in 2004, including increased penalties and expanded scope of state animal protection and anti-cruelty laws, with national trends toward the protection of service dogs and the termination of animal fighting; restricted ownership of captive exotics in Minnesota and New York; expanded alternatives to dissection for high school students in Virginia and New Mexico, and the continued fight in Massachusetts to enact dissection choice legislation; banned production and sales of foie gras in California as of July 1, 2012; and funding of spay and neuter programs for companion animals in Arizona, Florida, Maine, Oklahoma, and Vermont.
In 2004, we witnessed the continued movement toward stiffer penalties for acts of cruelty to animals and the closing of loopholes in animal fighting legislation. Furthermore, the ban on foie gras in California garnered national attention, and New York is considering similar legislation in 2005. Groups such as the Humane Society of the United States, the Animal Protection Institute, and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals remain the leaders of this movement toward legal protections for animals and provide invaluable resources through legislative campaign updates. Animal Law is indebted to their thorough research, made available to the public via the Internet.
It is my desire that this section provides another useful tool in monitoring the important changes made in animal law. Our goal is to portray important national trends and identify significant legislative acts focused on federal and state issues. Animal Law welcomes suggestions for the publication of future legislative reviews, which will be contained in the second issue of future volumes.
Joshua D. Hodes, Legislative Review Editor