The Daily Review
Officials request support of animal rights bills
Animal Care Sanctuary in East Smithfield received a visit Wednesday from U.S. Rep. Tom Marino.
Sanctuary officials and board members gave Marino a tour of the facility Wednesday and talked with him regarding several pending animal rights-related bills. Marino also praised the sanctuary’s dedication and detail in taking care of animals through their adoption and other programs.
Executive director Joan Smith-Reese requested Marino’s support for the Safeguard American Food Exports Act, which would prohibit the slaughter of horses for human consumption in the United States and their export abroad for the same purpose.
Some horses are given drugs and other substances over their lifetimes that can be toxic to humans if ingested. Additionally, Smith-Reese said, the transport of horses to Mexico or Canada for slaughter has become increasingly common, with the animals being treated poorly through the duration of their journey.
Sanctuary officials also asked Marino to support the Prevent All Soring Tactics Act, a proposed amendment to the Horse Protection Act. If passed, the amendment would prohibit the application of chemicals to horses’ skin, the driving of bolts into the soles of their hooves and other soring tactics.
Marino also discussed a bill he has sponsored, the Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act of 2011, a proposed amendment to the Animal Welfare Act.
The act would prohibit any person from knowingly attending an animal fighting venture or causing a minor to attend one and would subject attendees to a fine or imprisonment.
Marino said the bill, which remains in committee, has received resistance from Democratic and Republican representatives alike. Many believe animal rights issues should be left for each state to decide, he said.
“Even though I’m a states’ rights person, there are some times when the federal government has to step in,” Marino said.
In addition to putting an end to dog fighting and other animal fighting ventures, the bill would also prevent criminal activity that often occurs alongside the events, Marino said. “So many negative situations arise out of this,” he said.
Marino said he has sought out organizations concerned with child advocacy to help support the legislation to prevent children from being exposed to violent behavior.
Smith-Reese encouraged those concerned about animal welfare to contact their representatives and said Animal Care Sanctuary will continue to serve as an advocate for animals.
“We really appreciate your support,” Smith-Reese told Marino. While the two disagree on several issues, “we have one thing in common,” she said. “I’m for animals, and so are you.”