DEAR READERS: State Minority Democratic Leader senator Lauren Book has filed Florida Senate Bill 932, which all should support and other states pick up. Proposals include:
-- The declawing of cats would be prohibited unless "for a therapeutic purpose," such as an illness or injury. Veterinarians practicing declawing procedures could have their license revoked, be suspended or be subjected to a $5,000 fine under the bill.
-- Manufacturers would not be able to test cosmetics on animals unless it is necessary under federal or state law, and in that case, manufacturers would have to indicate animal testing on product labels.
-- People traveling in vehicles with their dogs would not be allowed to let their dogs sit in their laps, put their heads out of the window or ride in the open bed of a pickup truck, unless in a crate that is secured to the truck and is big enough for the dog to sit, stand and turn around.
-- Outdoor tethering of a dog or a cat with a rope, a chain or another means to restrict, confine or restrain the animal's movement would be prohibited.
-- Sales of pet rabbits would not be permitted on any streets, flea markets or open-air venues, or during the months of March and April. Violations would be considered second degree misdemeanors under the bill.
-- The bill would establish a registry for people convicted of animal abuse. Registrants would remain on the list for three years after a first misdemeanor offense, five years after a first felony offense and 10 years after any further offenses.
These legislative proposals are long overdue and should be adopted by all states in the country. The costs of enforcement should be accepted as our collective responsibility for all animals under our care -- a democratic principle of equalitarianism too long denied by custom, commerce and ignorance.
I would urge an amendment be included to make it illegal for owned cats to roam free -- a legislative stipulation already widely applied to dogs in most municipalities. Free-roaming and wide-ranging domestic cats put the endangered Florida panther at risk from feline viral panleukopenia and other diseases, and put humans in every state at risk for rabies.
AN EXCELLENT INITIATIVE FOR GRADUATE VETERINARIANS
A bill introduced in the California Assembly would offer up to $150,000 in student debt relief to licensed veterinarians in exchange for practicing at an animal shelter or in an underserved community in California for five or more years. (Full story: The San Diego Union-Tribune, Feb. 18)
DNA TESTS FOR DOG BREEDS QUESTIONABLE
I have found one company that seems the most reliable in the business of testing dogs' DNA for breed information: namely Embark. They have told me that such tests are not always accurate (at least, not yet), and more reliable information can be provided for canine diseases of hereditary origin.
This is confirmed in a recent article where samples were sent to Embark, Wisdom, DNA My Dog and Accu-Metrics. For details, see "How accurate are dog DNA tests?" at CBC.ca.
MEXICO TO PHASE OUT GLYPHOSATE
Mexico announced that it was phasing out the use of glyphosate herbicides, the cultivation of GMO corn and the import of GMO corn for human consumption and livestock feed by the end of 2024. The reasons for the decree given by Mexican president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador are to protect the health of Mexico's consumers and small-scale farmers, the environment and the purity of Mexico's native corn varieties.
Bayer-Monsanto and Dow have since launched 43 lawsuits in Mexico attempting to overturn the decree. For more details, see "The Science-based Evidence to Ban Glyphosate and GMOs" at RegenerationInternational.org.
HELPING OBESE CATS
Cassava and sweet potato may be key ingredients to help with weight control in cats, according to a group of researchers at Zhejiang University. The researchers found that different carbohydrates affected intestinal microflora, and that cassava and sweet potato improved gut flora and proved effective in controlling blood lipid and blood glucose levels. (Full story: PetFoodIndustry, Feb. 21)
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