fbpx
Category: Advocacy
Governor Baker Signs Legislation to Improve Lives of Egg-Laying Hens in Massachusetts

ARL’s collaborative advocacy efforts aid in bill’s passage

This week, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed legislation to help improve the lives of millions of egg-laying hens across the Commonwealth, but also helps avert a possible egg shortage in the state had the bill not passed in the Legislature.

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) collaboratively advocated for passage of the bill.

“With passage of S. 2603, the Massachusetts legislature strengthened the existing law, passed at the ballot as Question 3 in 2016, to now mandate cage-free housing with critical behavioral enrichments for the birds, such as nest boxes, perches, and dust-bathing and scratching areas,” a joint statement from ARL, HSUS, MSPCA and the Animal Legal Defense Fund said. “Importantly, the legislature also expanded application of Question 3’s protections to hens raised for liquid eggs – a move that will protect at least two million more hens each year.”

ARL would like to thank Governor Baker as well as the bill’s sponsors, Rep. Dan Cahill and Sen. Jason Lewis; Rep. Carolyn Dykema and Sen. Becca Rausch, chairs of the Joint Committee on the Environment and Natural Resources; Senate President Karen Spilka and House Speaker Ronald Mariano, as well as all members of the conference committee.

Question 3 Background

In 2016, Massachusetts voters approved Question 3, An Act to Prevent Cruelty to Farm Animals, by a margin of over 77%.

At the time, this was the strongest farm animal protection law in not just the United States, but the world.

The initiative petition “prohibit[ed] any farm owner or operator from knowingly confining any breeding pig, calf raised for veal, or egg-laying hen in a way that prevents the animal from lying down, standing up, fully extending its limbs, or turning around freely”.

This impacted not just animals raised in Massachusetts, but any whole products sold in the Commonwealth.

After Massachusetts voters chose to keep farm animals out of cruel confinement, other states followed. California, Michigan, Oregon, Rhode Island, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, and Washington all adopted similar standards, but by this point a different style of aviary was more common for hens. The standard in these states was slightly different than that passed by Massachusetts, and has resulted in Massachusetts being an outlier.

The ballot question passed by voters in 2016 required 1.5 square foot per hen.

This assumed a flat system, without vertical space.

The new standard passed by the legislature adds an additional humane standard: 1.0 square feet per hen only when there is unfettered access to vertical space.

The commonly used aviaries of this size are similar to bookshelves, and allow hens to explore their natural behaviors with perches.

The additions also require nesting boxes for the hens to lay their eggs, and enrichments, such as scratching and dust bathing.

The updates are an improvement to animal welfare in the commonwealth, and are in line with the goals to end cruel confinement of many animals.

The law goes a step further including not only whole eggs, but also liquid and frozen eggs sold in the state, dramatically increasing the number of hens who benefit from these requirements.

Again, these requirements do not just apply to animals raised in the state, but to any whole products sold in the state, meaning that farms located outside of Massachusetts must comply with this in order to sell their products in the state come January 2022.

ARL supported the 2016 ballot question because it would substantially improve conditions for many farm animals, and we support this update for the same reason.

It is true that this effort is supported by both the proponents and opponents of Question 3—this is because this additional standard mirrors the humane standard adopted in other states.

Massachusetts helped pave the way for farm animals to not be cruelly confined, and these upgrades will improve the lives of millions of animals.


What’s Happening on Beacon Hill

With the legislature returning from August recess, the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s (ARL) Advocacy Department continues to focus on ensuring animal’s voices are being heard on Beacon Hill.

Nero’s Law Advances 

Nero’s Law, filed after the tragic death of Sgt. Sean Gannon and injury of his K-9 partner Nero in 2018, would insure that police dogs have access to immediate care and transport in the event of life-threatening injury.

S.1606, sponsored by Senator Mark Montigny, and H.2547 sponsored by Representative Steven Xiarhos, have moved forward in the legislative process. At the hearing back in July, ARL’s Director of Law Enforcement, Joe King, testified in support of this law. A former K9 handler with the State Police, King underscored the importance of the bond between an officer and these dogs. Thanks to the overwhelming support of the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security, these bill received a favorable report from the committee.

Hearing on Kennel Regulations

ARL testified in support of H.2148 and S.1322, An Act protecting the health and safety of puppies and kittens in cities and towns, sponsored by Representative Linda Dean Campbell and Senator Harriette Chandler. These bills would protect animals across Massachusetts by preventing the sale of puppies and kittens under 8 weeks, prohibiting roadside sales, creating regulation for commercial boarding and training kennels, and updating kennel laws.

Currently, the only statewide standards for a kennel are that they be sanitary and humane. Looking for more information about what to look for when you board your pet? Check out our Kennel-9.

Hearing on Housing and Breed Concerns

Many of the animals surrendered to ARL’s shelters are surrendered due to housing issues. This session, ARL worked with Representative David Rogers and Senator Anne Gobi to file H.1437 and S.885, An Act to maintain stable housing for families with pets in an economic crisis and beyond.

ARL testified in support of legislation that would prohibit insurance companies from refusing to cover, canceling, or charging more for homeowners or renters insurance based on the breed, size, weight, or physical appearance of a dog. Data shows that breed is not a reliable indicator of dog bites, and further, that visual identification is often inaccurate in determining breed.  

Included in the bill this session were some new provisions to help keep families and pets together during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Although the State of Emergency has ended, ARL will continue to advocate for protections in housing.

Have questions on ARL’s advocacy efforts or want to get involved? Please email advocacy@arlboston.org


It’s World Rabies Day!

Today marks World Rabies Day, a day to raise awareness about the public health impacts of human and animal rabies.

Rabies is a viral disease that can affect all mammals, including humans, and kills nearly 60,000 worldwide annually.

The virus attacks the central nervous system and can be secreted in saliva. Infected animals show no fear of humans, drool and act in an agitated fashion.

While we mostly associate rabies to wild animals – mainly skunks, raccoons, bats, coyotes, and foxes, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), cats have become the most common domestic animal infected with rabies.

Vaccination

Rabies vaccines are approved for dogs, cats, ferrets, horses, cattle, and sheep – and vaccination is the best measure to prevent rabies.

Every dog, cat, and ferret adopted from the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is vaccinated for rabies, however, it’s important to remember that after receiving an initial vaccination, your pet will need boosters.

Boosters are administered every year, or every 3 years, depending on which vaccine your pet receives.

It’s also important to remember that rabies vaccination in Massachusetts is the law!

To help ensure your pets are vaccinated, ARL’s Dedham and Brewster locations host rabies clinics annually, and for clients of either ARL’s Spay Waggin’ or Wellness Waggin’, rabies vaccines, if needed, are included for every pet seen.

ARL vaccinates thousands of animals annually!

Additional Prevention

Along with having your pet vaccinated, some other measures to prevent rabies exposure include:

  • Do not let your pets roam free. Keep cats indoors, and keep an eye on your pup when they are outside
  • Do not leave exposed garbage or pet food outside – it may attract wild or stray animals
  • Observe wild animals from a distance, and never handle unfamiliar animals, even if they appear friendly
  • If you see a wild animal acting strangely, contact your local animal control officer

Take a moment today to see if your pet’s rabies vaccine is up-to-date, and help us spread the word about World Rabies Day to ensure you, your family, and your pets stay safe from the rabies virus.


ARL Testifies in Favor of 3 Animal-Protection Bills

It was a busy week on Beacon Hill, as a bevy of legislative proposals were heard by numerous committees at the Massachusetts State House, including three animal-protection bills that the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) spoke in favor of.

Nero’s Law

H.2547/S.1606, An Act providing for the care and transportation of police dogs injured in the line of duty (Nero’s Law) was discussed with the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security, with ARL and numerous law enforcement agencies throughout the Commonwealth providing testimony.

Nero’s Law was proposed after the tragic death of Yarmouth Police Sgt. Sean Gannon, and the wounding of his K9 partner Nero.

Nero was wounded in the shooting and needed medical attention, however state law currently prohibits the use of ambulances to transporting police dogs.

If passed, the bill would require ambulance services to provide emergency treatment and transport to police dogs.

The bill would require training for EMS in basic level first aid, safe handling procedures, proper decontamination procedures, and sterilization sufficient to prevent allergic reactions for humans.

ARL Director of Law Enforcement Joe King, a former K9 handler and commander with the Massachusetts State Police provided testimony for the committee.

“Law enforcement relies on these dogs to keep us safe,” King said. “They’re the first to make contact with dangerous criminals and I cannot quantify the lives saved because of K9’s who fearlessly go into a situation first. They keep us safe so it’s up to us to do the right thing for them, they deserve whatever resources are available to keep them safe.”

Nero’s Law is co-sponsored by Representative Steven Xiarhos, a retired Yarmouth Police Deputy Chief, and Senator Mark Montigny, a staunch supporter of animal protection law.

“Prior to serving in the Legislature, I spent 40 years on the Yarmouth Police Department and served as the Deputy Chief. On April 12, 2018, I sent a team of highly trained officers on a mission to find and arrest an armed and violent career-criminal, Representative Xiarhos stated. “Three hours later, I learned that my Sergeant, Sean M. Gannon, had been murdered and our K9 Nero was shot in the face. I will never forget the sight of K9 Nero being carried out, covered in blood, and gasping for air. Despite the paramedics present wanting to help save him, they could not legally touch K9 Nero as current Massachusetts law prohibits helping a police animal wounded in the line of duty. It is our duty to protect those who protect us. Their lives matter.”

“These incredible animals risk their lives to work alongside law enforcement in dangerous situations. It is only humane to allow for them to be transported in a way that reflects their contributions to our Commonwealth,” said Senator Montigny. “Sergeant Gannon was a native son of New Bedford and therefore his K9 partner Nero is part of our community’s extended family.  We hope that this never has to be used, but it demonstrates the respect for the crucial work these animals do.”

Ollie’s Law

H.305, An Act to regulate pet daycare facilities in cities and towns, dubbed Ollie’s Law, was discussed this week in the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure.

This bill is in honor of Ollie, a labradoodle who died at a doggy daycare facility in Western Massachusetts. Ollie was injured in a fight and died as a result of the injuries. There was a veterinarian next door, however there was also just one staff member working at the daycare facility.

If passed, the bill would require commercial boarding or training kennels to be licensed through the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR), similar to the current process for animal shelters and pet shops.

Additionally, MDAR would be required to create regulations for: staff to dog ratios, group sizes and supervision, minimum housing and care, indoor and outdoor physical facilities, dog handling, insurance, fire and emergency planning, as well as penalties for non-compliance.

MDAR would also be responsible for regulations regarding staff training, a state-wide reporting system of injuries to dogs or people, among others.

Currently there are no standards or regulations for boarding and training facilities, leaving pet owners the responsibility of doing their research and advocating on behalf of their pet to determine where they should be boarded.

Because there are currently not state-wide regulations for these facilities, ARL created the Kennel-9, a pet safety guide, giving pet owners nine things they should consider before choosing a boarding kennel or daycare facility.

To download the Kennel-9 guide, click here!

ARL has advocated for such regulations in the past and Director of Advocacy Allison Blanck continued these efforts this week.

“Boarding and daycare kennels are unique environments where dogs from different homes interact without their owners,” Blanck stated. “Many of these facilities are well-run and provide necessary socialization and care for dogs. However, the lack of even basic standards means consumers are tasked with both deciding what basic standards are and examining facilities to see if they meet them. A statewide regulatory system would provide confidence to consumers. As we see people return to the office, to travel, and back to their routines, the increased number of families who acquired a pet over the past year are going to be looking for a place to keep their animals. It’s imperative that the Commonwealth act to make sure that all these facilities are adequate.”

Many legislatures are also in favor of such regulations.

“Pet daycare facilities are one of the few industries in the Commonwealth that are unregulated.  There is no license needed from the town or state and no baseline requirements for owners or employees,” said bill sponsor Rep. Brian Ashe. “All of us who own pets understand they are full-fledged members of our families and we want to keep them safe.  Many pet owners assume this industry is regulated and employees are trained or have experience, but that is not the case.   This bill will implement common sense, practical regulations that will provide a base line for businesses to keep the dogs and their employees safe.”

Declawing

This week, the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure also heard testimony for S.222, An Act prohibiting inhumane feline declawing.

This bill, sponsored by Senator Montigny, would prohibit the practice of declawing a cat, unless for the therapeutic purposes, defined as limited medical reasons for the cat’s health.

It would not allow declawing based on behavioral concerns, medical concerns of the owner or concerns of the cat being surrendered.

“Many people who have declawed their cat simply don’t realize the pain it causes.  Declawing is a horrific procedure that inflicts harm and often leads to other behavioral issues.  This bill will help educate the public and ban this cruel practice.  No one who values furniture or material goods over the health and wellbeing of an animal should be a pet owner, and I will continue to advocate for these innocent creatures,” said Senator Montigny.

Advocate for Animals in Massachusetts

While formal hearings have already been held for the aforementioned bills, it’s not too late to ask your legislators to support these proposed laws!

Find your legislator here: https://malegislature.gov/Search/FindMyLegislator

The bills ARL provided testimony for are a small sampling of the animal protection bills currently in front of the legislature.

To learn more about ARL’s Legislative Agenda click here!


ARL Teams with MSP to Remind Pet Owners About the Dangers of Leaving an Animal in a Hot Vehicle

When the Temperature Rises – It’s Too Hot for Spot®!

As New England continues to see extremely hot summer conditions, this week, the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) teamed up with Massachusetts State Police (MSP) for ARL’s 8th annual summer safety campaign, Too Hot for Spot®, to remind pet owners about the dangers of leaving an animal in a hot car.

ARL and MSP held a press event at the Massachusetts State Police Headquarters in Framingham, MA, flanked by two K9 troopers and a demonstration of how quickly the interior of a vehicle can heat up.

A large thermometer was placed in an MSP cruiser, and with an outside temperature of 82 degrees, in just 10 minutes the interior of the vehicle heated up to over 120 degrees!

Unlike humans, animals cannot efficiently cool their bodies. And if you think that cracking the windows will help keep your pet cool – it won’t.

As demonstrated, the inside of a vehicle can heat up to well over 100 degrees in a matter of minutes, and the stifling heat inside a car makes animals susceptible to heat stroke, and the onset of symptoms is rapid.

Common symptoms of heat stroke in animals include lethargy or weakness, heavy panting, glazed eyes, profuse salivation, excessive thirst, lack of coordination, a deep red or purple tongue, vomiting – and it can even cause seizures, unconsciousness, or death.

With the onset of heat stroke, every second counts, so if your pet is experiencing any of these symptoms, it is critical that you take them immediately to the closest veterinary hospital for treatment.

Health hazards aside, it is also against the law in Massachusetts to keep an animal confined in a vehicle when extreme heat or cold may threaten the animal’s health – and law enforcement throughout the Commonwealth will be on the lookout throughout the summer.

“Keeping an animal in a hot vehicle is dangerous, potentially deadly and illegal,” stated Massachusetts State Police Colonel Christopher Mason. “The Massachusetts State Police, along with law enforcement agencies across the Commonwealth will be steadfast in enforcing this law to keep animals in Massachusetts safe.”

“While pet owners should be well aware of the dangers of leaving animals alone in vehicles during the warm weather months, we sadly still see numerous examples of animals suffering and even dying every year, as the result of being left in the car,” said Dr. Edward Schettino, ARL President and CEO.

Please, when it is hot outside, leave your pet at home. Set them up in a cool, humidity and temperature-controlled room, give them plenty of water, and make sure to limit their outdoor exercise to the morning or evening hours when it is coolest.

To learn more summer pet safety tips, visit arlboston.org/too-hot-for-spot.

Thank You!

ARL would like to thank the Massachusetts State Police for helping spread ARL’s Too Hot for Spot® summer safety campaign to the masses.

Additionally, over the past few years, MassDot has generously donated billboard space for ARL’s Too Hot for Spot® messaging, so drives across the Commonwealth will be reminded of the dangers of leaving an animal in a hot vehicle. ARL thanks you!


ARL Testifies for Virtual Legislative Hearing

On Wednesday, the Joint Committee on the Judiciary met to hear testimony on 19 specific animal protection bills, with the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) testifying in favor of a proposed citation bill.

A citation statute does currently exist in Massachusetts, however it only applies to dogs. ARL believes the law needs to be expanded to include other animals, including livestock and farm animals.

An Act enhancing the issuance of citation for cruel conditions for animals (S.1097/H.1840) would define cruel conditions and appropriate shelter for most animals.

It would also allow animal control officers and law enforcement personnel to issue civil citations for violations, which would include a $50 fine for a first offense, $200 for a second offense, and up to $500 for subsequent offenses.

Additionally, after a third offense, the animal(s) involved could be subject to seizure.

Currently, animal cruelty in Massachusetts is a felony offense, subject to a $5,000 fine and up to seven years in prison, however ARL believes that a lesser penalty is necessary to give law enforcement a tool to intervene before cruelty or neglect rises to a felony level, particularly with farm animals and overcrowding/hoarding situations.

“This bill would give law enforcement an extra tool to allow us to get to the root of the problem before it reaches a criminal level,” ARL Law Enforcement Investigator Lt. Alan Borgal, stated to the committee.

The need for such a statute came to light in 2016, following the largest farm animal cruelty case in New England history that involved well over 1,000 animals at a tenant farm in Westport, MA, and resulted in 151 counts of animal cruelty levied against more than 20 individuals.

The case involved chronic neglect, however advocates believe that had civil citations been available to law enforcement, it may have been possible to intervene earlier.

“In the case of many of these animals, there was no ability of animal control officers or law enforcement to intervene until the situation became dire,” ARL Director of Advocacy Allison Blanck, told the panel.

With the hearing concluded, the Joint Committee on the Judiciary will now discuss the proposed bills internally and determine which pieces of legislation will move on to the next step of the legislative process.

How you can get involved

Thanks to a new rule this session, it’s not too late to ask your legislators to sign on as co-sponsors!

If your legislator is on the Judiciary Committee, it’s even more important to ask for their support! Find your legislator here.

To learn more about other hearings and opportunities to get involved, fill out the form here.

Advocating for animals in Massachusetts

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) monitors and advocates for statewide legislation on issues critical to animal welfare in the Commonwealth. Our legislative agenda highlights our priorities for the two year session.

To view ARL’s legislative agenda in its entirety and to track the progress of proposed legislation click here!


Benji’s Remarkable Transformation

ARL granted bond request in case

In 2017, legislation was enacted in an effort to strengthen financial protections for animal care facilities like the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL), who provide long-term care for an animal who is the subject of an active animal cruelty investigation and prosecution.

The legislation allows the prosecuting agency to request a court order for the accused to post a security bond, which can be used to recuperate costs of shelter, food, medical care, behavioral training, and other related costs.

If granted, the accused would have to either cover the bond or forfeit the animal.

ARL staunchly advocated for this piece of legislation, and in early 2021 ARL was granted a bond in a case dating back to late 2019. It was the first time since the passage of the legislation that ARL was granted such a bond.

Benji’s Story

ARL’s Law Enforcement Department took custody of Benji, now a four-year-old pitbull-type dog in November 2019 – along with dehydration, skin issues, foreign material in his stomach and other medical concerns, he was severely emaciated, weighing just 30 pounds, about half of what he should’ve weighed at the time.

Animal cruelty charges were filed, and while the case made its way through the judicial system, the incredibly friendly and resilient dog began his long journey to recovery.

Given the level of his emaciation, he was put on a strict feeding program and placed into foster care.

With dozens of shelter medicine visits and plenty of love and care, over time Benji got back to a normal weight, and his persistent skin issues were treated.

Case Closed

In early 2021, ARL was granted the security bond, and the accused ultimately agreed to forfeit Benji.

Caring for Benji for well over a year, his foster family had formed an amazing, loving bond, and wound up adopting him!

Benji Adopted

Advocating for Animals

The 2021-2022 Massachusetts legislative has begun and ARL’s Advocacy Department will continue to push for statewide legislation on issues critical to animal welfare in the Commonwealth.

Click here to see ARL’s legislative agenda and for more information on how you can be a voice for those who can’t speak for themselves.


Southbridge Animal Control Officer Named 2020 “ACO of the Year”

Southbridge, MA – The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) and the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA) are proud to announce that Southbridge Animal Control Officer (ACO) Katelyn Spencer has been named Animal Control Officer of the Year for 2020.

ACO of the Year Katelyn Spencer.

ARL and MSPCA established the ACO of the Year award to honor an animal control officer whose efforts in their local community throughout the year have promoted responsible pet ownership by:

  • manifesting a dedicated, humane attitude toward the treatment and well-being of all animals
  • effectively enforcing pet responsibility laws
  • conducting public awareness and humane education programs
  • maintaining cooperative working relationships with other agencies involved with animals, such as state and local government departments, other ACOs, and animal protection groups

Officer Spencer has been Southbridge’s ACO since 2017, and has consistently demonstrated dedication and compassion for both wild and domestic animals in distress throughout the community. Along with responding to hundreds of calls, Officer Spencer held vaccination and microchip clinics for residents in 2018 and 2019 (2020 was cancelled due to Covid-19 pandemic), and spearheaded efforts to update the town’s Keeping of Pets bylaw, which was enacted in August 2020.

Spencer exemplifies the traits ARL and MSPCA look for each year in an ACO.

“ARL Law Enforcement has worked with Officer Spencer on a number of occasions and in each instance she was professional, dedicated and compassionate for the animals involved,” stated Joe King, ARL Director of Law Enforcement. “Officer Spencer is a credit to the profession and a true asset to the Southbridge animal community.”

“We are excited to recognize Katelyn as the ACO of the Year. Her nominations were stellar and she clearly embodies the traits we look for. She sets an example for the profession,” stated Kara Holmquist, director of advocacy for the MSPCA.

Officer Spencer’s nominations for ACO of the Year included a number of accolades, heralding her dedication to animals and community, professionalism, and compassion.

From those who nominated her:

  • “Katelyn has worked tirelessly to rescue animals both domestic and wild. Her dedication and compassion has saved a multitude of lives”
  • “I have worked as a law enforcement professional for more than 25 years… and in my experiences with ACO Spencer, I have not worked with a more professional or dedicated person to the proper treatment of ALL animals.”
  • “There is absolutely no task she cannot perform…she puts her heart on the line with every animal that crosses her path and the families that they belong to.”

ARL Offering Temporary Housing for Pet Owners Facing Eviction

Keeping pets and families together more important than ever

The Massachusetts eviction moratorium expired on October 17.

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) is now offering temporary housing assistance for pets whose owners may be forced to vacate their current living situation due to the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.

At the core of its mission, ARL believes in keeping people and pets together, and is offering temporary shelter for animals whose owners may be experiencing housing instability or may be at imminent risk of homelessness. This is an imperative service for individuals facing eviction due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Any pet owner who is experiencing housing instability is potentially eligible for this service, however, priority will be given to existing clients of ARL’s Wellness Waggin’.

The first step in the process is to contact ARL’s Admissions Office depending on location: Boston (617) 426-9170 x140; Dedham (617) 426-9170 x404; Brewster (617) 426-9170 x305.

Animal admissions is being coordinated through ARL’s animal care and adoption center management staff as space allows.

A prescreening process determines eligibility, and once accepted, the client is responsible for transporting the animal to the specified location.

The animal is held at the animal care and adoption facility temporarily to receive a veterinary exam and behavioral evaluation, and is then placed into a foster home.

Animals  have a maximum 120-day stay within ARL’s foster care network, and pet owners must agree to parameters of conditional surrender to ARL including maintaining bi-weekly check-ins throughout the pet’s placement period.

Additional Resources

The Eviction Diversion Initiative (EDI) includes new programming and resources for tenants and landlords to avoid evictions and maintain household stability throughout the COVID-19 emergency. Learn more at Mass.gov. 


ARL Advocacy: Poaching

While Massachusetts has one of the country’s oldest animal welfare laws and has made strides to protect companion animals over the past decade, laws regarding poaching are woefully outdated. Poaching includes illegal hunting, trapping, and fishing. Many of the penalties for violating these laws have not been updated for almost a century.

Poaching is often depicted as something that targets exotic animals; we see pictures of endangered species illegally hunted as a trophy. However, poaching is not limited to endangered or exotic species. Poaching is simply a violation of hunting laws and include many animals that are lawful to hunt.

Concerns about violations of hunting laws lead to the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact, an agreement signed onto by 48 states to suspend hunting privileges for violations in other states. Massachusetts is one of only two states not signed onto this compact. What does this mean? It means that Massachusetts does not automatically consider out-of-state violations from for those with a hunting license in Massachusetts.

An Act further regulating the enforcement of illegal hunting practices (H.4131, text here) filed by Senator Michael Moore, Representative Lori A. Ehrlich, and Representative Ann-Margaret Ferrante would bring Massachusetts penalties in line with those commonplace in other states, join Massachusetts with the 49 other states as members of the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact, and strengthen protections for wildlife in Massachusetts. This bill was reported favorably from Committee and is in House Ways and Means.

Poaching harms wildlife populations, impacting conservation efforts and lawful hunters alike. Enforcement and appropriate penalties for such violations across the country is a crucial component of protecting animals in their habitats.

Learn more about ARL’s position on hunting here: ARL Position Statement on Hunting