Tag: State

Breaking! New York Is Latest State To Offer Plant-Based Options In Hospitals; Washington D.C. & California Have Passed Similar Legislation

New York State hospitals must now make a healthy plant-based option available to patients at every meal. The new rule went into effect this week, following a landmark bill that was signed into law last year.

Bill S1471A/A4072, introduced by Senator Brad Hoylman and Assembly Member Richard Gottfried, requires hospitals in New York to offer plant-based meals and snacks containing no animal products or by-products that are nutritionally equivalent to other menu items. The bill also requires hospitals to list the plant-based options on all written materials and menus.

“This law gives physicians a teachable moment to discuss with patients the power of a plant-based meal to help prevent and reverse conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and obesity,” Susan Levin, M.S., R.D., director of nutrition education for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, said in a statement.

The Physicians Committee, which supported the bill, is a member of a nonprofit coalition that offers support, resources, and hands-on trainings to help hospital culinary teams provide more plant-based meals.

The nearly 1.7 million New Yorkers who have diabetes and heart disease account for 40% of all deaths in New York State, according to the New York State Department of Health. In New York State, the leading COVID-19 comorbidities are high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol. Research shows that a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, grains, and beans can help fight heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, and cancer.

The American Medical Association has passed a Healthy Food Options in Hospitals resolution that calls on hospitals in the United States to improve the health of patients, staff, and visitors by providing plant-based meals. The American College of Cardiology made the same recommendation in Planting a Seed: Heart-Healthy Food Recommendations for Hospitals.

Last year, the D.C. Council introduced the Healthy Hospitals Amendment Act of 2019, a bill that would require hospitals in Washington, D.C., to improve the nutritional quality of their menus by eliminating processed meat such as bacon and hot dogs and making plant-based options available. California passed similar legislation in 2018, which the Physicians Committee co-sponsored along with Social Compassion In Legislation.

The Physicians Committee’s Healthy Hospital Food web page provides quantity plant-based recipes, tips for implementing plant-based meals, and case studies of hospitals offering healthy food.

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California State Officials Approve Regulations To Reduce Endangered Whale and Sea Turtle Entanglements In Crab Gear Off The Coast

California state officials have released a final rule to reduce the risk of endangered whale and sea turtle entanglement in commercial Dungeness crab gear. The new regulations, which went into effect on November 1, were prompted by steep annual increases in reported whale entanglements and a lawsuit by the Center for Biological Diversity.

“It’s good to see California finally taking whale entanglements seriously,” said Kristen Monsell, the Center’s oceans legal director, in a statement. “This new system should reduce the risk crab gear poses to whales and sea turtles. But we’re disappointed that officials didn’t do more to encourage a conversion to ropeless gear, which is the only way to truly eliminate the threat of entanglement for these ocean animals.”

Entanglements in the thick ropes that are connected to heavy commercial Dungeness crab traps injure and kill whales and sea turtles. The ropes cut into the animals’ flesh, sap their strength and lead to drowning. Each entanglement of a humpback whale, blue whale or leatherback sea turtle, besides causing needless suffering and loss of life, violates the federal Endangered Species Act.

The state’s new “Risk Assessment and Mitigation Program” evaluates the likely presence of whales and sea turtles, among other factors, to determine if mitigation measures, such as shortening the season or closing an area to crab gear, are needed to reduce the risk of entanglements. The new rule also allows ropeless gear to be used during a closure occurring on or after April 1, but not during other parts of the season, as the Center has called for to better incentivize its adoption.

A lawsuit filed in 2017 by the Center led to an agreement last year with the state and the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Association that ended the last two crab seasons early to avoid the spring whale migration and required adoption of new regulations to prevent entanglements before the new crab season begins later this month.

The National Marine Fisheries Service confirmed 26 whale entanglements off the West Coast in 2019, three of which involved California commercial Dungeness crab gear and 15 of which could not be pegged to a particular fishery. Of the 26 confirmed whale entanglements, 17 were humpback whales, eight were gray whales and one was a minke whale. An endangered leatherback sea turtle was also found dead and entangled in rock crab gear.

The Center filed its lawsuit after whale entanglements off California’s coast broke records for three straight years, peaking with 66 reported entanglements in 2016. Of the 29 cases where the gear could be identified, 22 were commercial Dungeness crab gear from California.

In November 2018, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife announced it would seek federal permits for allowing its crab fishery to harm endangered whales and sea turtles. The RAMP rulemaking is part of the process for obtaining that federal authorization.

The post California State Officials Approve Regulations To Reduce Endangered Whale and Sea Turtle Entanglements In Crab Gear Off The Coast appeared first on World Animal News.

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Vermont Becomes The 12th State In The U.S. To Ban The Sale Of Elephant Ivory & Other Parts Of Imperiled Species

Governor Phil Scott signed H.99 (ACT 169) into law last week, making Vermont the 12th state in the nation to ban the trade of imperiled wildlife parts. The new law goes into effect on January 1, 2022.

State bans are critical to ending demand in the United States, one of the largest importers of imperiled wildlife parts in the world. Federal law only restricts import, export, and interstate trade. If there is no state law, the trade is free and clear once the item arrives in the state. 

The new law will stop trade within the state of Vermont of imperiled wildlife parts from 15 of the world’s most at-risk species, including: elephants, rhinos, cheetahs, giraffes, hippos, jaguars, leopards, lions, pangolins, rays, sea turtles, sharks, tigers, primates, and whales. This also includes elephant ivory that is poached and disguised as ancient ivory from Wooly Mammoths and Mastodons. 

As per the new bill, people are allowed to keep ivory that they already possess, pass it down, or give it away, they just cannot sell it. Exemptions include musical instruments.

“This legislation is vitally important because any sale of ivory, whether new or old, fuels demand,” Brenna Galdenzi, Co-Founder and President of Protect Our Wildlife said in a statement. As long as we, right here in Vermont, place a monetary value on endangered animal parts, it fuels wildlife trafficking and poaching.”

Protect Our Wildlife has been working with Vermont for Wildlife’s Co-founder Ashley Prout McAvey, making this effort a focus of their work since they first started their nonprofit in February of 2015.

“My hope is that Vermont’s latest action will encourage the remaining 38 states to act swiftly to close their markets in these imperiled animal parts,” shared McAvey. “When all 50 states take a stand, the nation will be making a resounding impact in the battle against extinction.”

States that have enacted similar legislation include: New York, New Hampshire, New Jersey, California, Washington, Hawaii, Oregon, Nevada, Illinois, Minnesota, and New Mexico.

You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg

The post Vermont Becomes The 12th State In The U.S. To Ban The Sale Of Elephant Ivory & Other Parts Of Imperiled Species appeared first on World Animal News.

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Victory! Florida Becomes The 15th State To Ban The Shark Fin Trade After Governor DeSantis Signs Landmark Bill Into Law

In a major victory, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed Bill SB680 into law, making Florida the 15th state to officially ban the shark fin trade. The new law, which comes into effect on October 1st of this year, bans the import and export of shark fins in the state, which was once a hub for the deplorable trade in the United States.

The bill was recently renamed the Kristin Jacobs Ocean Conservation Act, after Florida Representative Kristin Jacobs, who sponsored the House version of the bill. Sadly, Jacobs passed away after a years-long battle with cancer, one month after the Legislature approved the measure.

“Making it through all six committees and ending up with a victory for sharks is something most people believed would never happen,” said Stefanie Brendl, Shark Allies’ executive director, in a statement. “There is more work to be done, but ending the import of fins immediately is a massive accomplishment and a bold first step in the right direction.”

Unfortunately, the newly-signed measure does permit the “sale of shark fins by any commercial fisherman who harvested sharks from a vessel holding a valid federal shark fishing permit on January 1, 2020.” It also allows “the export and sale of shark fins by any wholesale dealer holding a valid federal Atlantic shark dealer permit on January 1, 2020.”

The movement to ban the shark fin trade began in Hawaii in 2010 when Brendl spearheaded the first-of-its-kind legislation that was introduced by Hawaii Senator Clayton Hee. After Hawaii implemented a ban on the trade, sale, and possession of shark fins, 14 states in the U.S. followed along with many Pacific Island Nations. Canada also banned the shark fin trade.

According to Animal Welfare Institute, as many as 73 million sharks are killed each year for their fins alone. Horrifically, after the fins are cut off, most of the sharks are then tossed back into their ocean home to suffer a slow death.

Shark Allies thanked their lobbyists, Senator Travis Hutson, Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, Fin Alliance, and the #NoFinFL partner organizations.

In conclusion, Shark Allies stated they wanted to thank the ocean warrior herself, Representative Kristin Jacobs.

You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg

The post Victory! Florida Becomes The 15th State To Ban The Shark Fin Trade After Governor DeSantis Signs Landmark Bill Into Law appeared first on World Animal News.

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Powerful Billboards In Kansas Are Urging State Officials To Shut Down Slaughterhouses Infected With Coronavirus & Promote Plant-Based Alternatives

Two billboards addressing Kansas Governor Laura Kelly were launched on September 9th near the governor’s office at the state capitol. The billboards, which urge state officials to shut down slaughterhouses and promote a plant-based diet, were sponsored by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

The billboards confront the governor with the message, “Governor Kelly: Can Kansas Switch to a Safer Food Supply Like Sunflowers Over Swine? PromotePlantProtein.org!”

Sunflowers are a profitable crop in Kansas and there are several facilities in western Kansas that process the seeds for oil, butter, and roasting.

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine also filed a complaint on September 8th with the head of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Lee Norman. The complaint stated that any slaughterhouses experiencing new coronavirus cases should be shut down immediately. The complaint argues that meatpacking facilities should be replaced with cleaner, safer facilities that produce plant-based protein.

The current public health emergency highlights the need to transition the food production system away from animal agriculture. This is especially urgent since meat products increase the risk of chronic diseases. Studies indicate that affordable, plant-based options can help people prevent and even reverse diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure, among other conditions.

“The transition to plant-based protein is already underway, driven by consumer demand, but this health-promoting trend needs the support and assistance of government,” Susan Levin, MS, RD, Director of Nutrition Education for Physicians Committee, said in a statement. “With incentives from the state, farmers could increase acreage of sunflowers, pinto beans, and other high-protein crops while decreasing livestock production.”

In response to the popularity of plant-based protein products, large meat processors are launching plant-based nuggets and other products. Meanwhile, facilities that produce traditional meat products have been hotspots for coronavirus infections.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment reportedly stated that as of September 7th, there are nine active outbreaks associated with meatpacking facilities, accounting for over 2,000 cases.

By contrast, plant-based protein manufacturer, Impossible Foods, reports zero coronavirus cases at its facility in Oakland, California.

The post Powerful Billboards In Kansas Are Urging State Officials To Shut Down Slaughterhouses Infected With Coronavirus & Promote Plant-Based Alternatives appeared first on World Animal News.

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Victory! Washington Becomes The Seventh State To Ban Cruel Wildlife Killing Contests

A coalition of state and national wildlife protection organizations is applauding the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission for its vote to ban cruel wildlife killing contests, in which participants compete to kill the most, the largest, or even the smallest animals for cash and prizes.

The news comes after WAN issued an Urgent Call To Action back in July, that called for Washington residents to submit comments in support of the ban throughout the state.

The new rule, put forth by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, prohibits the killing of unprotected species including: coyotes, bobcats, crows, foxes, and raccoons in a contest. Contest participants killed at least 1,427 animals in these events in Washington between 2013 and 2018.

Washington joins six other states including—Arizona, California, Colorado, Massachusetts, New Mexico, and Vermont—that have taken a stand against cruel, unsporting, and wasteful wildlife killing contests. California banned the awarding of prizes for killing furbearing and nongame mammals in 2014; New Mexico and Vermont outlawed coyote killing contests in 2019 and 2018, respectively; Arizona and Massachusetts prohibited killing contests that target predator and furbearing species in late 2019; and in April 2020, the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission voted to ban wildlife killing contests for furbearing and certain small species in the state.

“The majority of Washingtonians respect and value wildlife and this step forward by our Commission is in line with those values,” said Washington Fish and Wildlife Commissioner Barbara Baker, who championed this issue with her fellow commissioners, in a statement. “As stewards of our state’s wildlife, prohibiting a practice that contravenes sound wildlife conservation, fails to increase game populations, and harms ecosystems is simply the right decision.”

“Wildlife killing contests are a bloodsport just like dogfighting and cockfighting, which have been outlawed nationwide,” said Camilla Fox, Founder and Executive Director of Project Coyote. “We commend Commissioner Baker and the entire Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission for relegating these ecologically and ethically indefensible events to the history books.”

In 2018, Project Coyote’s Science Advisory Board, together with more than 70 renowned conservation scientists, issued a statement citing peer-reviewed science that refutes claims that indiscriminately killing predators permanently limits their populations, increases the number of deer or other game species for hunters, or reduces conflicts with humans, pets and farm animals. In fact, randomly shooting coyotes and other wild carnivores can disrupt their social structures, leading to increases in their populations and more conflicts.

Nonlethal, preventive measures are most effective at reducing conflicts with wildlife. Wildlife killing contests are also destructive to healthy ecosystems, within which all wildlife species play a crucial role. For example, coyotes and other targeted species help to control rabbit and rodent populations and restrict rodent-and tick-borne disease transmission.

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Breaking! New York State Senate Passes Bill Banning The Sale Of Dogs, Cats, & Rabbits In Retail Pet Stores; Bill Now Moves To The Assembly For Vote

The sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits in retail pet stores is one step closer to being banned in New York State.

On Tuesday, the New York State Senate passed Bill SB4234, which prohibits the sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits by retail pet shops; instead, authorizing space in the stores to be used for the adoption of animals.

The bill has now moved to the Assembly for vote. If passed by the Assembly, the critical bill will then head to the Governor’s desk for his signature to establish it as law.

“Today the N.Y. Senate passed my anti-puppy mill bill banning the sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits in retail pet stores,” New York Senator Michael Gianaris, who sponsored the critical bill, said in a post on his Facebook page. He further noted that animals that are sold in pet stores are often sourced from cruel and barbaric mills.

Gianaris was compelled to draft the bill after speaking with local pet store owners and researching the violations of their questionable suppliers. He was left “aghast” at the deplorable conditions that these poor innocent animals have to endure.

On the Senate floor, Gianaris explained that while the public views the “puppy in the window” as cute, most are unaware of the brutal and awful conditions that animals bred by unscrupulous breeders are subjected to; noting that they are treated as commodities and not sentient beings that will become beloved members of people’s families.

“These people are not looking at these animals as lives to be respected, but as a way to make more and more money,” stated Gianaris.

California was the first state to enact such legislation, prohibiting dogs, cats, and rabbits to be sold in retail pet stores; instead promoting adoption from local rescue groups and shelters.

Maryland followed with legislation that only allows pet shops to adopt out dogs and cats that come from local shelters as well.

You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg

The post Breaking! New York State Senate Passes Bill Banning The Sale Of Dogs, Cats, & Rabbits In Retail Pet Stores; Bill Now Moves To The Assembly For Vote appeared first on World Animal News.

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