Victory! Hawaiian Legislature Passes Seven New Animal Protection Laws Including A Ban On Killing Sharks In State Waters

Animal advocates across Hawaii are celebrating the close of a successful legislative year with the passage of seven new animal protection laws.

Most notably, the state prohibited the sale of cosmetics produced as a result of animal testing, an unnecessary and undeniably cruel practice. Hawaii joins Maine, Maryland, and Virginia, where similar bills were passed earlier this year.

In one of three critical new wildlife protection laws passed by the state, Hawaii became the seventh state to ban the intentional release of balloons. As a result, marine animals will be spared from unnecessary suffering from ingesting or becoming entangled in balloon pieces.

The legislature also passed a bill authorizing Hawaii to join the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact, which will crack down on wildlife poaching. Massachusetts remains the only state that is not a member of this agreement.

The intentional killing of sharks in Hawaii’s waters is now banned as well. The new law is needed now more than ever as shark populations are in an unprecedented decline globally.

Three new laws were also passed to improve companion animal welfare, including one that prohibits inhumane dog tethering. It also ensures that dogs who are left unsupervised are safe and receive adequate shelter.

Hawaii also now joins 48 other states in prohibiting sexual abuse of animals, which has been linked to the similarly appalling abuse of children and other violent acts. West Virginia and New Mexico have yet to ban it.

Finally, a bill passed to protect veterinarians from liability for providing emergency treatment to animals. This new law also requires veterinarians to report suspected animal abuse and protects them from liability for doing so.

“Hawaii made huge strides by passing seven bills within one session improving the lives of animals. We hope that the state can serve as a leading example for the rest of the nation of what can happen when legislators and advocates commit to making humane changes,” Andi Bernat, Senior Policy Director of State Affairs for the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), told WAN. “There are many times we work with legislators to introduce state bills that get rejected before they can even see a vote. This is what makes the Hawaii legislative year even more momentous. It’s a reflection to the exceptional progress we are making together as a movement.”

The organization thanks Hawaiian Humane Society, For the Fishes, Cruelty Free International, and the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, as well as Hawaii State Representatives, Dr. Ranaella Steinberg and Dr. Eric Jayne, for their support during this legislative session.

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

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