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You Have a Dog-Eating, Pigeon-Shooting, Exotic-Releasing Friend In Pennsylvania

Posted by Karel Minor in Uncategorized

OK, maybe you don’t. But you could.

That’s because none of these things are exactly- or at all- illegal in Pennsylvania. I’ll give you a minute to pick your jaw up off the floor. You read me right. It is legal to eat dogs and cats in Pennsylvania. It is legal to truck in pigeons from other states which ban pigeon trap shoots and shoot them here by the thousands. It might as well be legal to dump an alligator in the local reservoir since the law prohibiting the release of exotics is weak to the point of being meaningless. And while we recently won a ban on simulcasting of greyhound racing, races illegal in Pennsylvania, the violation falls under gaming regulations, not animal cruelty.

And these things may stay just as they are unless you contact your Representative and Senator right now- or as soon as you’re done reading this- and demand that they support the Maher Amendment to Senate Bill 71. Representative John Maher is seeking to put right the clear wrong with a single amendment and he and the animals of Pennsylvania need your help to succeed.

One would hope and wish that these straight forward, common sense changes in our state law, changes which would put us in line with most or all other states, would pass easily. But if wishes were horses, beggars would ride. We have to make our voices heard loud and clear before we’ll be able to saddle up.

Eating pets in the U.S. may be rare, but it's not unheard of.

Who could possibly oppose this amendment? For three portions I can’t even imagine. There’s no McDogle’s lobby demanding to serve up a Quarter Pounder McFluffy for the lunch rush. There can’t be much opposition to strengthening the milktoast rules that prohibit releasing tigers into our state forests. And since a greyhound simulcasting ban has already been passed, who would oppose moving the restriction to the most appropriate portion of the law, the animal cruelty statute?

Of course, live pigeon shoots have always had a champion in our lobbyist friends at the NRA headquartered in the Washington, DC, suburbs. They have been blocking the overwhelming support of the Pennsylvania electorate for a ban on the blood “sport” of pigeon trap shoots for years. But the shine is starting to fade from their apple as people increasingly realize that joining the rest of America in treating pigeon shoots like the animal cruelty they are is not an attack on our Second Amendment rights. Saying so is like saying that a drunk driving law is an attack on the automobile industry. They can say it all they want but it doesn’t make it true.

Releasing exotics into the wild is quite common- and dangerous for the animals, people and the environment.

But if there is little or no support for these activities in our state, if the only real support for them comes from out-of-state lobbyists, and if few or no other states allow these activities, why are they still legal? Because somehow a few well moneyed special interests are more persuasive than the millions of Pennsylvania voters who want to see these changes to our law made.

We need to make our voices heard and tell our elected officials that they answer to us, the people of Pennsylvania, and not to outside lobbyists.

We need to tell them we don’t want an environmental catastrophe such as other states have faced from exotic animals being released into the wild. We want releasing exotic animals into the wild made explicitly illegal.

We need to tell them that our cats and dogs already face enough challenges from over population and homelessness and we don’t want them to face the butchering block, too. We want the sale and breeding for and consumption of cats and dogs by humans made explicitly illegal.

We need to tell them that the cruel farce of pigeon trap shoots is one “tradition” in Pennsylvania which can go the way of other traditions like slavery and children working in coal mines. We want them to make pigeon trap shoots explicitly illegal.

And we need to tell them we think greyhound cruelty needs to be enforced under the animal cruelty statute, not under the statute that makes sure BINGO games aren’t rigged.

Fortunately, this week our Pennsylvania House of Representatives can do all these things with a single vote. They can vote for the Maher Amendment to SB 71.

This is not a partisan issue. There are Republicans and Democrats who support the Maher Amendment. It is an issue of whether our elected officials will answer to us or answer to people and corporations which want to damage our environment, damage our communities, and profit of the needless death and torture of domestic animals. There are no two ways about it: A vote against the Maher Amendment is a vote for animal cruelty.

Please take just five minutes right now to call and email your Representative and Senator. Then take two minutes more to email all your friends and ask them to do the same. When those in Harrisburg ask themselves, “Who cares?” about the Maher Amendment, they need to know you care. And while you may not have millions in the bank like some special interest groups, you have a long memory. And you vote.

And if they won’t vote for the Maher Amendment, maybe they can take a suggestion for a new political fundraiser for their lobbyist friends. They can get together to grill up some puppy burgers, shoot a few thousand pigeons, and release a few baboons and Komodo dragons into their neighbor’s yard for a laugh.

After all, it may be wrong, but it’s all pretty much legal.

Click here to find you Representative and Senator by address and ask them to support the Maher Amendment.

Have an extra minute to spare? Email or call Representative Maher and thank him for his leadership on these issues!

Are you a partisan voter? Then contact the leadership of your Party and demand they support candidates who support strong animal welfare laws. Click here for the Democratic State Committee and click here for the Republican State Committee.


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3 Responses

  • Emje says:

    Let me get this straight… you are equating human children to pigeons?

    Don’t be silly and pedantic. I’m guessing you are talking about my reference to child labor (I had to reread what I wrote because I didn’t actually know what you were talking about since I obviously was not equating children to pigeons.) My rhetorical point, which I must have made so deftly it slipped right by you, is that the NRA seem to place so much weight on “tradition”, as if tradition is itself a reason to maintain something. My clear point is that there are many “traditional” activities, such as child labor, slavery and drowning witches, which have dropped to the wayside when our community standards have changed. The obvious reason for this, as well as the stealthy new language they use- I can’t wait until they start calling them “avian trajectory calculation contests” so they can convince people it’s building math skills- is to make it about anything other than what it is: a non-sporting kill fest that has nothing to do with hunting or any semblance of true honor or tradition. Save your outrage for Ingrid Newkirk. K

  • Krasi Belchev says:

    Killing and eating pigeons is cruelty and should be punished and yes pigeons are like little children

    • Karel Minor says:

      Well, I’m with you as far as believing pigeon shoots are cruelty. But, no, in my book, pigeons are not anything like human children and we damage our efforts to get a pigeon shoot ban by going down the road of arguments like that.

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