Born Free USA Blog
Yesterday was a very productive day for a constituency of dedicated animal advocates, myself included. We had the privilege of participating in Humane Lobby Day, an annual event held at the Capitol Building in Sacramento. It was an opportunity for California constituents to meet with elected officials to express opinions and viewpoints on pending legislation, specifically focusing on animal issues.
Jennifer Fearing, representing the Humane Society of the United States, and Jill Buckley, representing the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, did a superb job of organizing the event, providing informative fact sheets on several proposed bills and arranging meeting times with representatives and their constituents.
Prior to our scheduled meetings, we reviewed the basics of Lobbying 101 and united as an enthusiastic group on the west steps of the Capitol Building. We participated in a noontime rally and press conference to oppose the CA Dept. of Fish and Game’s proposal to expand black bear hunting, using hounds equipped with GPS (geographic positioning system) collars.
We were delighted to learn that one of the bills we’re supporting — AB 1656 (authored by Rep. Ma and Rep. Lieu) — passed the Assembly Judiciary Committee unanimously. This bill will close the consumer deception loophole regarding fur-trimmed garments with a value of less than $150 by requiring manufacturers to list the animal species and country of origin. The bill will now be considered in the California Senate.
Thanks to the efforts of both HSUS and ASPCA, an Animal Protection Caucus was established early this year in the California Legislature which will encourage bi-partisan support for animal-related issues. The caucus already has four chairpersons with room for constituents to contact their local officials and encourage them to become a member.
We hope to see Humane Lobby Day grow in participation and attendance, and next year, include constituents from every county in California to rally in support of animal-related legislation. Elected officials hold their positions because of us — the citizens of the United States. As animal advocates, we need to be diligent in informing legislators of our concerns.
Your voice is important. Don’t be afraid to speak up and express your opinions to your elected officials. Animals don’t vote, but we do!
And always keep this in mind ...
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. ~ Margaret Mead (US anthropologist & popularizer of anthropology, 1901–1978)
’Til next time ...