2019 Florida Legislative Session Kicks into Gear

This year’s Florida legislative session promises to be one of the busiest yet for animals. The Animal Legal Defense Fund is in the halls of the legislature every day – advocating for animals who would otherwise not have a voice.

A top priority this session is fighting for orcas suffering in captivity at marine amusement parks like SeaWorld. This year there is not a stand-alone bill, but legislators can still add language to related bills. We’re proposing legislation that would prohibit breeding captive orcas in Florida, ensuring this generation of captive orcas is the last.

It would also guarantee that those orcas already held in captivity in Florida would only be held for research or rehabilitation purposes – any public displays must be strictly educational.

Although SeaWorld claims to have a corporate policy to no longer breed orcas or continue its theatrical performances past 2019, these promises need to be codified into law. SeaWorld is still running shows allowing visitors to “get up close and personal” with orcas and give them cues to perform tricks.

If you live in Florida, urge your legislators to support protections for orcas by sending them a brief email.

We’re also fighting back against pet store lobbyists who want to prohibit Florida cities and counties from enacting commonsense laws ensuring that consumers are not buying dogs sourced from puppy mills.

More than 60 Florida communities have retail pet sale bans – laws that make it illegal for pet stores to sell dogs and cats (and sometimes additional animals) sourced from large-scale commercial breeders, and instead require them to offer animals available for adoption from rescues and animal shelters.

Pet store lobbyists are pushing for a “preemption law” (SB 1748 and HB 3) that would strip your city or county of its right to enact a retail pet sale ban (and even nullify existing bans).

Here are additional animal protection bills that we’re supporting this session:

HB 67/SB 96 – Police, Fire, and Search and Rescue Dogs

    • Enhancing penalties for people who kill or injure dogs and horses that work with police officers and other first responders.

HB 99/SB 352 – Shark Fins and Ray Parts

    • Prohibiting the possession, sale, and trade of shark fins and ray parts. Unfortunately, many shark fin bills omit rays, this legislation also protects these animals.

HB 379/SB 774 – Animal Welfare

    • Authorizing veterinarians to report animal cruelty to police and animal control officers and prohibiting pet leasing

The Animal Legal Defense Fund is working hard to ensure that animals have a voice in Florida. But we need your help. Join our email list to receive action alerts about breaking local and national campaign actions so you can contact your legislators in support of key animal protection bills.

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