April 4, 2019: Pennsylvania House Bill 996 amends Title 18 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes and bans outreach programs with certain animals. It was referred to the committee on Agriculture and Rural Affairs.
The bill title is misleading and sounds like it punishes acts of animal cruelty, but that is not the case. HB996 bans educational outreach programs and all exhibition of the listed species. The list of species is limited and it will not affect many people, but at the root of this bill is a much larger problem.
The bill is completely unnecessary and illustrates major flaws with the operations of government. Pennsylvania (and all other states) already have animal welfare and cruelty laws which protect animals. Rather than enforcing those laws, we are seeing a rash of many new types of bans claiming to be combatting animal cruelty. They use very misleading and manipulative language.
This "traveling animal act" ban model which we are seeing across the country does much more than ban elephants and tigers in traveling circuses. Many of them have attempted to ban educational programs with tortoises in a library and llamas at 4-H fairs. These bills are never presented with credibility. As is typical for animal rights groups, they misinform legislators and the public while abusing emotion over fact.
Animal interests must realize that animal rights groups gain strength with the passage of each of these bills. Even if only a few people and species are affected, they are chipping away at the big picture which is the removal of all animals from our lives. That means dogs, cats, and all farm animals, too. It is happening and it has been for many years. Too few people understand what the animal rights agenda really is and what it is doing to affect us all.
You can find Committee member contact information at www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/cteeInfo/Index.cfm?Code=2&CteeBody=H.
List of affected species:
3. Clouded leopard
7. Grey or red kangaroo
12. Nonhuman primate
14. Sea lion
Dear Pennsylvania Representative,
As a dedicated advocate for animal welfare, I implore you to stop House Bill 996. Pennsylvania already has extensive animal cruelty laws including Title 18 Pa.C.S.A. Part II. Enforce those current laws! HB996 is yet another superfluous law which will not accomplish its stated purpose and is nothing more than a solution looking for a problem.
Among other overreaching measures, this bill bans many educational outreach programs before children and Scout troops. Responsible animal educators who present these animals will be made into criminals!
The fact is that this legislation is unnecessary. Punish the "bad actors" and the criminals. No new law is needed to protect animals as Pennsylvania can already prosecute animal abusers.
Thank you for your time and consideration on this matter. Hopefully, you will do what is right for Pennsylvania, the animals, and responsible animal educators by stopping HB996! Have a good day.