----Arthur Schopenhauer, 19th century German philosopher
The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) recently released their 2012 Humane State Ranking. Wisconsin ranks a dismal #34. It’s hard to accept but this was actually a drop in ranking from the HSUS 2011 report where Wisconsin was at #30.
This year’s states included in the top five are California, Massachusetts, Illinois, Oregon, and New Jersey. As a Wisconsin pet owner and voter, I’m appalled at our standing. Wisconsin’s rank means that 33 states in the union care more about animals and their welfare than we do. Or, to put it another way, they put their laws where their hearts are. It’s enough to make us put our tails between our legs and beg forgiveness from our pets.
Here’s a brief look at some of the animal welfare laws that we are sorely missing:
- Animal Fighting—Some states make it a felony to attend dog fights and cockfights. Wisconsin does not.
- Animal Cruelty ---Wisconsin doesn't require counseling for animal cruelty offender nor does it allow courts to include protection for pets in domestic violence orders.
- Companion Animals -- Wisconsin doesn't prohibit the use of gas chambers for euthanasia nor does it place limits on the inhumane chaining of dogs.
These are just a few examples of where Wisconsin fails to protect our animal friends. A detailed list of the scores and how they were tallied can be found at the HSUS
The purpose of sharing this information is not to cause despair or shame but rather to
educate and advocate for change. After all, the 2013 legislative session has just begun.
“Wisconsin can do better than a number 34 ranking,” said Alyson Bodai, Wisconsin
State Director, The Humane Society of the United States. “Now is a perfect time to
commit to stay in contact with your elected officials. Let them know you are a constituent
who cares about animal welfare and that you will be following these issues in the
Yes, please do. We have a lot of work to do, Wisconsin. Our companion animals are
counting on us!
Denice Ryan Martin is a volunteer with Wisconsin Voters for Companion Animals as well as a social worker and writer. She’d like to hear what animal laws you’d like to see introduced this session. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org