California's laws more animal-friendly than any other U.S. state, Humane Society says
Animals -- from household pets to racehorses to egg-laying chickens to dairy cows -- are more fully protected by the laws of California than those of any other U.S. state, according to the Humane Society of the United States. Our colleague Carol J. Williams has the details; here's an excerpt:
In a comprehensive analysis of the laws in each of the 50 states, [the Humane Society] ranked the Golden State No. 1 for the legal protections it has enacted across the animal kingdom. New Jersey, Colorado, Maine and Massachusetts also scored high in protecting pets and livestock. Idaho and South Dakota earned the lowest scores, in part for their failure to make egregious animal abuse a felony or to outlaw cockfighting.
California scored 45 on a 65-point checklist for laws governing conditions on farms, in shelters and in laboratories and for those dealing with breeders and commercial ventures. It is one of the few states that outlaws the use of animals in product testing when an alternative exists and gives students the right to choose an alternative to animal dissection in schools.
The state prohibits all forms of animal fighting and the keeping of primates, venomous snakes, bears, wolves and big cats as pets. It also outlaws force-feeding of geese for the production of foie gras, battery cages for egg-laying hens and tail-docking of dairy cows.
Bear hunting is allowed in the state, but trade in bear parts is prohibited. In equine protection, California is one of only four states to prohibit the slaughter of horses for human consumption.
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Photo: A dairy cow on a farm near Merced. Credit: Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times