Written by PETA
This is a cross-post from the PETA Prime website.
Great news for parents of pooches in Massachusetts: Gov. Deval Patrick has signed legislation allowing people to set up trust funds to provide for the care of animal companions who might be left behind when their guardians perish.
The new law allows people to include in their wills an enforceable trust fund with an animal companion as the beneficiary. This type of arrangement can alleviate a lot of anxiety for companion animal guardians who may fear that friends or family members may not be able to cope financially with the responsibility of caring for an animal.
Massachusetts is the 43rd state to sign such a bill into law. Forty-two states and the District of Columbia already have laws allowing people to provide for the care of companion animals in their wills. I have the misfortune of living in one of the few states that does not have such a law. It's a shame, too, because I would love the peace of mind of knowing that my dogter, Hannah, would be taken care of if anything should happen to me. If you, like me, live in one of the seven states (Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and West Virginia) that don't have a law like this, you can write to your representatives and ask them to consider allowing people to include animal companions in their final arrangements.
If you're looking for a way to continue to help all animals after you are gone, consider a life estate gift to support PETA's work.
Written by Michelle Sherrow
Dogs in Massachusetts are woofing it up and cats are purring with delight after Gov. Deval L. Patrick signed into law a bill making it illegal to cut dogs' or cats' vocal cords to keep them quiet. This means that no more animals in the Bay State will be subjected to cruel, unnecessary "devocalization" surgeries—which are extremely painful and can result in difficulty breathing, chronic gagging, and hemorrhaging—just for someone's convenience.
We can yak all day and no one tells us to "hush," but all too often a dog opens his or her mouth and is met with a harsh "Be quiet!" Let's hope that this law inspires dog guardians to prevent excessive barking the kind way: by taking their pups for lots of long walks, keeping them indoors, and treating them like members of the family. One surefire way to make your dog feel included—celebrate your canine every day with tips from Let's Have a Dog Party!
Written by Lindsay Pollard-Post
We are thrilled to report that thanks to a new ordinance passed by the city of Somerville, Massachusetts, circuses setting up shop in the city will never again be allowed to use exotic animals! The legislation, signed by Mayor Joe Curtatone, states that "nondomesticated animals" may not be displayed in events held on public or private properties.
Nearby Braintree, Provincetown, Quincy, and Revere have similar laws, so the entire area is a model in fighting the abuse of animals who are trained to perform physically challenging and dangerous tricks in circuses that are concerned only with profit, not with animal welfare. Spread the compassion to your own community by pushing for local legislation to ban the use of animals in circuses. Contact us for a list of places that have prohibited circuses and to request all the information you need to get started.
Written by Logan Scherer
We are barely a week into 2010, and it's already shaping up to be a winning year—for greyhounds in Massachusetts, that is.
Thanks to voters who passed a dog-racing ban in the state, forcing dogs to participate in these cruel and pointless events is now illegal, and the law went into effect, rather appropriately, on New Year's Day.
This victory has been a long-time coming for these animals—greyhounds' natural speed and grace have been exploited for human benefit since the days of the ancient Egyptians. Thousands of greyhounds are killed each year as the declining dog-racing industry struggles to stay alive. Puppies are killed in the name of "selective breeding" before they ever touch a racetrack, and dogs who do qualify to become racers typically live in cages and are kept muzzled by their trainers at all times. And once the dogs who are forced to race are no longer able to run, many are abandoned, starved, shot, or sold to laboratories.
Thankfully, Massachusetts has realized that 2010 is the year to create new traditions—ones that don't involve the needless suffering of animals for human amusement. Now to get the last eight states that still allow this exploitation to make a similar resolution.
Written by Shawna Flavell
The ritual of report card day has struck fear into the hearts of children for generations. As though bringing your grades home for mom and dad to sign weren't enough to dread, Massachusetts students have yet another report to start worrying about. The state's Public Health Council recently decided to institute a mandatory survey of each student's body mass index—based on measurements of height and weight—with the intention of sending the results home along with a plan for how parents can help their kids combat weight issues. Kind of embarrassing, but childhood obesity is no joking matter.
In support of the Health Council's action, we're proposing a plan to Dr. Alan Ingram, the superintendant of Springfield Public Schools, that is sure to have every kid passing their weight screenings with flying colors and trim waistlines. We've offered to hire a top vegan chef to help the cafeteria staff create first-class, meat-free meals that kids will love, to donate a "Vegetarian Starter Kit" for every kid in the district, and to provide health and nutrition teachers with a curriculum designed to educate them about the benefits of vegetarian eating. After all, the best way that these schools can help their students achieve and maintain a healthy weight is to drop the chicken nuggets and fish sticks in lieu of some real brain food: nutritious, delicious vegetarian meals.
Written by Liz Graffeo
We are so pleased to report that—thanks to your hard work—two important ballot initiatives passed yesterday, making history for animals. California voters approved Proposition 2 by a large majority, which will ban some of the worst cruelty to animals who are raised for food in that state: keeping egg-laying chickens in battery cages so small that they can't spread their wings, keeping veal calves in crates for their entire miserable short lives, and keeping pregnant pigs in crates that are so small that they can't take a step forward or backward or turn around. Animals on farms in California will be given these basic necessities by 2015, but we will continue to spread the message that the best thing that people can do to help animals is stop eating them altogether.
On the other side of the country, Question 3 passed, which will ban greyhound racing in the state of Massachusetts by 2010. Dogs who are used for racing typically spend 20 hours per day confined to cages measuring only 32 in. by 42 in. by 34 in. Many of the dogs can't even stand completely upright. The animals are also highly susceptible to injuries, including fractures, dislocations, lacerations, and amputations. And because they're no longer of use to the industry after they are injured, injured dogs are often simply killed.
The impact of both of these important initiatives is tremendous for the millions of animals whose lives will be affected by them. Our heartfelt thanks go out to each and every one of you who worked toward their passage. We really are making a difference.
Written by Joel Bartlett
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Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.