The following excerpt is from the 2019 Fall/Winter issue of Sanctuary, Farm Sanctuary’s print magazine

2019—dubbed the “Year of the Vegan” by The Economist—was a big year for animals. Here are some of the biggest victories and milestones made in the animal protection movement in the past year.

Free Speech Rights – Defended!
Fearing competition from the booming plant-based dairy industry, cows’ milk producers turned to their friends in government to ban the use of words like “milk,” “cheese,” and “yogurt” on plant-based dairy labels. In response, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sought public comment on whether consumers were confused by plant-based dairy labels. In related news, Congress reintroduced the “Defending Against Imitations and Replacements of Yogurt, Milk, and Cheese To Promote Regular Intake of Dairy Everyday Act” (DAIRY PRIDE Act, H.R. 1769/S. 792). We are hopeful it will get as far as it got last Congress, which is nowhere.

Photo by Connie Pugh

NYC Foie Gras Ban – Passed!
This October, The New York City Council overwhelmingly passed Intro 1378, a common-sense bill that prohibits the sale of foie gras from force-fed ducks and geese in New York City. Farm Sanctuary has campaigned to raise awareness about this inhumane industry for decades, and we submitted formal testimony to the New York City Council in support of this critical legislation. As New York City is one of the largest markets for foie gras, we are optimistic that this bill will send shock waves to foie gras producers around the world.

California Foie Gras Ban – In Effect!
It is now illegal to sell foie gras in California, thanks to a January 2019 decision by the Supreme Court of the United States rejecting an appeal by the foie gras industry from a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision upholding California’s ban of this cruel product. Farm Sanctuary was a co-sponsor of the original California Foie Gras ban in 2004. The law went into effect in 2012, but enforcement has been prevented by years of legal challenges from the industry. As of today, the law is in effect, but producers continue to challenge it on different grounds.

New York State Chick Hatching Ban – Proposed!
New York State Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal has introduced Assembly Bill A00058 to prevent the use of chicks in irresponsible school hatching projects. If enacted, this measure will prevent the exploitation and mistreatment of chicks in schools throughout New York State, and it could set precedent for other states as well.

Antibiotics Control – In Committee!
Farm Sanctuary joined a coalition of public health, animal welfare, and consumer groups urging New York lawmakers to support legislation introduced to address the overuse and misuse of antibiotics on farm animals. The bill (A8335/S5742) would prohibit the use of medically important antibiotics for “disease prevention” in farm animals.

Plant-Based Food in California Schools – Gaining Traction!
Our members have fiercely supported AB 479, a bill that would provide incentives for plant-based options in California schools. Good news: Thanks to your help, the bill passed the assembly and is on to the senate!

Fur Trapping – Banned!
California has enacted a new ban on fur trapping for animal pelts, making it the first state to outlaw centuries-old cruelty. The Wildlife Protection Act of 2019, signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom on September 4, prohibits commercial or recreational trapping on both public and private lands.

The Sale and Manufacture of Fur – Banned!
On October 12, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed landmark bill AB 44, making California the first state in the country to outlaw the sale and manufacture of new fur clothing and accessories. “California is a leader when it comes to animal welfare and today that leadership includes banning the sale of fur,” Newsom said of the legislation.

Cages – Eliminated!
Farm Sanctuary has made great progress toward ending cruel intensive confinement practices on factory farms by participating in successful ballot initiatives in states like California, Florida, and Massachusetts. In 2019, Washington and Oregon passed laws that build on these successes, phasing out the production and sale of eggs from caged hens. In November, Michigan became the first Midwestern state to pass a similar law, prohibiting raising hens in cages and requiring that all shell eggs sold in the state come from cage-free hens.

Antibiotics Control – In Committee!
Farm Sanctuary joined a coalition of public health, animal welfare, and consumer groups urging New York lawmakers to support legislation introduced to address the overuse and misuse of antibiotics on farm animals. The bill (A8335/S5742) would prohibit the use of medically important antibiotics for “disease prevention” in farm animals.

Downed Pigs and Slaughter – Still Fighting!
In 2014, Farm Sanctuary submitted a petition as part of a coalition of organizations asking the USDA to protect animal welfare and human health by requiring the humane euthanasia of pigs too sick to stand and walk to slaughter. In September 2019, the USDA denied the petition, finding that existing USDA regulations and industry self-regulation are sufficient to protect animal welfare and human health. What’s more, the USDA removed limitations on line speeds at pig slaughterhouses, increasing the risk of already egregious animal suffering and worker injuries, and endangering consumer health. In December, Farm Sanctuary and seven other animal advocacy groups filed a lawsuit against the USDA, challenging this decision.

“Lab Gag” Bill – Defeated!
California’s Lab Gag Bill (AB 700) is dead. If passed, the bill would have exempted taxpayer-funded animal experiments from the state’s transparency laws, making it nearly impossible to expose the cruelty of these experiments and rescue laboratory survivors.

We still have a lot of work to do for animals. Sign up for Farm Sanctuary’s email list to be the first to hear about ways to take action for animals in 2020.

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