Currently in Virginia, farmed animals are protected under the same animal cruelty laws as dogs and cats, but two bills - Senate Bill 1026 and House Bill 1541 - would substantially lower the care standards for farmed animals by making it legal for farmers to deprive animals of food and water right up to the point of "emaciation" and "dehydration." If passed, these bills would also exempt farmers from providing shelter for animals in bad weather and would legally permit them to hurt and neglect farmed animals as long as the abuse is claimed to be a "customary" farming practice.
According to HB 1541's author, Robert Orrock from the Virginia House of Delegates, farmed animals "aren't entitled to the same luxuries as dogs and cats." WTKR News in Norfolk, Virginia quotes Delegate Orrock as saying the bill is about "making it clear that there is a difference between the animals at the end of the day."
Of course, farmed animals are every bit as capable of experiencing fear, pain and suffering as dogs and cats. In a civilized society, it is our responsibility to protect all animals, including farmed animals, from needless cruelty and neglect. Sadly, the bills have been approved by committees in both chambers and are now in subcommittees. However, there is still time to help animals by stopping these bills from becoming law in Virginia.
If you are a Virginia resident, please contact your state legislators and urge them take a stand against H.B. 1541/S.B. 1026. Ask them not to strip farmed animals of legal protections against cruelty and not to allow farmers to mistreat them with impunity. Click here to learn who your VA state legislators are and how to contact them.
Even if these bills are approved by the Virginia General Assembly, the proposed legislation must be signed by Virginia Governor Robert F. McDonnell to become law. Please urge him to veto H.B. 1541/S.B. 1026 if it comes to his desk. Click here to contact Governor McDonnell.
Action Alert: Help Prevent Legalized Cruelty to Farmed Animals in Virginia
by - February 18, 2011