New York Senator Hears Suggestions on Animal Protection Laws
New York Senator Hears Suggestions on Animal Protection Laws

NEW YORK—At a public forum for animal rights advocates in New York on Friday, New York Senator Tony Avella needed little convincing that much is still needed to be done to protect animals from human cruelty.

“The pictures really speak a thousand words here,” said Nora Constance Marino, showing pictures of sows in crates so small they cannot move and rows of veal calves stuck in small cages. “The way we are confining these animals on factory farms is beyond inhumane, beyond cruel, it is unconscionable. It is egregious.”

Constance Marino is asking New York to be the 10th state to pass a bill that would outlaw this type of confinement of farm animals.

“Am I on that bill?” Avella asked. “I’ll sign on as a cosponsor.”

He gave a similar response whether the issue was a carriage horse ban, overcrowded humane societies, wild animals in zoos and circuses, or Foie Gras.

“The last producer of Foie Gras is right here in New York State, Hudson Valley Foie Gras,” said Donny Moss, the producer of “Blinders,” a movie about carriage horses in New York City. “If we could shut this down it would have a trickle effect on this delicacy of despair.”

Avella says he has already introduced a bill in the Senate that targets this industry.

Fois Gras, a French delicacy, is made by force-feeding a goose until its liver explodes. This practice has been banned in California, the only other state in the US where two Foie Gras Farms operated.

Avella’s bill seeks to ban force-feeding of all animals, which would effectively squash the industry.

As proactive as Avella has been in introducing legislation to protect animals, it will never gain widespread support, he warns, without support.

“The animal rights community needs to start working together more than it has in the past,” he said to the animal advocate groups. “What really matters is when an elected official hears from you.”

Being a minority in the Senate, Avella says, the support has to come from the electorate if politicians are going to take these matters seriously. Otherwise, he says the farm lobbyists are always going to come out first.

In New York, the tension comes between upstate New York, which has a big agriculture industry, and downstate, which has hardly any agriculture. Upstaters complain that downstaters are jeopardizing their livelihood by trying to pass laws that would cut their profits.

Holly Kellum is a special correspondent in New York.

  • AnLover

    Thank you for covering this standing-room only event, where activists from NYC, Long Island, and other counties, came to be heard or to support the speakers, who addressed important concerns about animals. Not mentioned here, were comments by Zelda Penzel, Co-Founder of SOS: Save Our Shelter Animals, who spoke of the failure of NYC Animal Care & Control, as well as shelters all around the state, to once and for all take killing off the table and STOP the killing of thousands of healthy/treatable ADOPTABLE companion animals. It is time to start the conversation about a real NO KILL NEW YORK, she said…a proposal which is endorsed by the LOHV/League of Humane Voters and other animal rescue and protection organizations. She indicated that legislation will soon be drawn up which will be introduced in the NYS Senate and Assembly.

  • MaryFinelli

    Kudos for Senator Avella!! All sentient residents need and deserve effective legal protection, whatever race, gender or species they may be.

    • fearnot

      you must be a lawyer

      • MaryFinelli

        I’m not a lawyer. I’m someone who wants all sentient beings to be treated fairly and humanely. Someone who does not want others to needlessly suffer or be harmfully exploited. Not to say that there aren’t lawyers who want the same. In fact, I know a number of them.

        • fearnot

          by calling what you are calling for.. Animal rights’ you are calling for animals to have standing in the court system. Since animals cannot be lawyers human lawyers will have to represent them Would you care o pay the freight as these people will not work for free.. even lawyer need to make a living

          • MaryFinelli

            There are numerous lawyers who are prepared to do such work, some already engaged in it. Many will do so pro bono, and there are individuals, organizations, and other entities who are able and willing to cover their expenses and otherwise support them.

          • fearnot

            uh huh.. sure no lawyers needs to make a profit do they?

          • MaryFinelli

            That’s not at all what I wrote.

  • fearnot

    it wopld not be very useful as food if the liver “explodes” no would it. Of course he whines for “support” he was there for one reason only.. VOTES.. My my if only “downstaters ( read NYC and surrounding areas) would produce their own food.. then they could speak to these issues.. here’s an idea. all “downstaters’ stop buying any food produced by “upstaters”. Places that have “hardly any agriculture” are placs that would starve if places that DO have agriculture decided not to feed them. maybe “upstaers” should taek a look at this and feed ohter places that appreaciet their hard work and efforts to fee the spoiled “city folks” who think food comes from the “grocery store” and oh no you mean those farmers want to make a PROFIT how utterly horrible.. they should work for free.

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