Top 10 Wacky Animal Laws of 2014

Posted by Jennifer Molidor, ALDF Staff Writer on December 28, 2014

The Animal Legal Defense Fund recently released its annual State Rankings report—the longest-running, most comprehensive report of its kind. The report tracks animal protection laws across the United States. Check out this ever-popular report to learn where your state ranks, and what states are the best and worst to be an animal abuser.


Some laws, however, leave our animal law experts scratching their heads. Some old and some new, but without delay, here is this year’s edition of Top Ten Wacky Animal Laws:

  1. In Tennessee, you cannot arm wrestle a fish! According to Code Ann. § 70-4-104you can fish with a rod, reel, hook or trotline only. No spearing, wrestling, or mind control allowed!
  2. “Roadkill” can be taken home for dinner in West Virginia, just in case you were getting peckish—and that’s a win-win for the Department of Transportation clean-up crew, and for 4th meal!
  3. Neighboring Virginia has a different take—you can eat roadkill, but you can’t hunt wildlife on Sundays, except for raccoons.
  4. Good news for California whales—it’s a misdemeanor to shoot any animal from a moving vehicle, unless the target is a whale, then things get real. Marine mammals receive federal protection in the U.S. and great whales have protection under the Endangered Species Act.
  5. In Kentucky, as if baby animals didn’t have it rough enough, it is illegal to sell fewer than six baby chickens, ducks, or rabbits at a time, if those babies have been dyed like Easter eggs.
  6. Frequent flier miles for moose have come to an end. We don’t know how they got the moose in the plane, but it is illegal to push a moose out of a plane during a flight in Alaska.
  7. As Forrest Gump probably knows, you aren’t allowed to force bears to wrestle (by riling them up, for example). Dogfighting is horrific enough, but Alabamans have taken this to another level.
  8. No matter how much you want to, you can’t keep a skunk as a pet in North Dakota, and your family is probably pretty happy about that.
  9. This one’s pretty self-explanatory—you can’t bring fish in fishbowls on a public bus in Oklahoma.
  10. And of course, everyone’s favorite, animals are not allowed—and they’ve been told this time and again—to publicly mate within 1,500 feet of a tavern, school, or church in California. The tricky part is enforcement though.

But that’s not all. ALDF has had to fight some equally absurd laws by taking corporations to court:

  • This year, Louisiana passed a law that made it legal for a truck stop owner to keep a 14-year-old Siberian Bengal tiger named Tony in the parking lot of a gas station, despite a ban on owning dangerous exotic cats like Tony, a ban specifically written with Tony’s plight in mind.
  • The University of Wisconsin-Madison is intentionally terrorizing baby monkeys (before killing them) and depriving them of their mothers from day one to see if it scares them.
  • Several states attempted to pass “ag gag” laws that make it illegal to record animal abuse, to prove that abuse was happening, which thereby punishes whistleblowers, not animal abusers.

5 thoughts on “Top 10 Wacky Animal Laws of 2014

  1. barbara says:

    Humans are the cruel species. We abuse other species and even our own. The tests on baby primates is so cruel I don’t understand how it has been allowed to go on for all these years. We need more whistle blowers. People need to know what is going on.

  2. Rishika Chanda says:

    idiotic laws .. need to be changed

  3. Thank you all all your help !!!!!

  4. Anne says:

    Most of these laws are completely ridiculous. I can’t believe it that no one has done anything about it in order to change them so that they make sense. In general ALL aninals need laws to protect them. Federal protection needs to include ALL animals. For heaven’s sakes, they are living beings and not any different than humans are.

  5. kay obeta says:

    Common sense is lacking in government. Its illegal to own exotic animals but “Tony” has a law stating it is legal for him to be caged at a truck stop. Cruel, inhumane treatment tigers need exercise. What is wrong with this country?

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