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Pa. state senators call for action on animal protection bills

Declawed cat paw
Declawed cat paw
Allison Stillwell / wikipedia

In a news conference on Wednesday, two Pennsylvania state senators called for legislative action on several animal protection bills, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

State Sens. Mike Stack and Daylin Leach spoke to animal advocates at the Montgomery County SPCA. The senators highlighted bills, some which have been in legislative committee for months. The bills, which are noted below, cover banning events, products, and procedures that are inhumane to animals.

Stack said on his website “With the General Assembly headed into the budget season, we don’t want to see these important efforts trampled in the rush. Indifference to the plight of animals is morally indistinguishable from active participation in these barbaric practices.”

Stack introduced Senate Bill 1176, which bars landlords from requiring tenants to have their pets debarked or declawed. “No one should have to choose between the health and safety of their pet and their ability to find decent, affordable housing,” Stack said. “More importantly, no one should be allowed to use a tenant’s need for housing to force them to do something to their pet that is proven to be unpredictable and, often, unhealthy.”

A measure introduced by Leach this week would prevent the use of bullhooks, elephant training devices that pierce the animal’s skin.

“Cruelty can be very effective at forcing any large animal to behave in certain way,” said Leach. “That’s not entertainment. It’s deception to use pain as an animal training technique and then feed the public the image of a happy, contented elephant.”

Other bills supported by the senators include:

SB 510 Ban on Live Pigeon Shoots: Bill would prohibit the use of live animals or fowl for target trap shoots and block shoots.

SB 542 Ban on “Canned Hunting” Facilities: Canned hunting facilities allow hunters to shoot certain animals in an enclosed area, usually for a fee. Some of the animals that end up at these hunting facilities are domesticated animals obtained from zoos. The bill amends Section 2307 of the Game Code to make such hunting, or providing the animals, a third degree misdemeanor.

SB 340 Ban on Possession of Shark Fin Products: While shark finning is illegal under federal law, the possession of shark fins is not. This legislation will ban the sale, possession or distribution of shark fins.

Shark finning is brutal and contributes to shark extinction. It consists of catching a shark, cutting off its fin and or tail and then dumping the animal back in the water to starve or suffocate.