The budget bill slated for an assembly vote tomorrow and senate vote on Thursday exempts scientific researchers from all state animal cruelty laws. The Wisconsin Humane Society opposes this change because it is unnecessary and dangerous. Wisconsin law already exempts bona fide scientific researchers from the statutes prohibiting animal mistreatment in section 951.02 of the Wisconsin statutes, and poisoning in section 951.06. The budget bill amendment is broader and would exempt researchers from the entirety of Chapter 951, the criminal laws relating to animal cruelty. Chapter 951 includes provisions that require proper shelter, food and water and prohibit stealing animals, animal fighting, and abandonment.Animals are a cause near and dear to me. My wife and I are proud to volunteer at a local cat adoption center, helping find loving homes for cats who've been surrendered, found as strays, or seized from animal abusers and hoarders. Our life has been vastly brightened by the addition of our very mischievous black cat (who, I'm proud to say, we rescued from a very unfortunate situation) two years ago. Many of my fondest memories growing up are of the two dogs* my family had during that time. So my objectivity on this matter is, well, pretty much non-existent. But I don't see how this change in the law does anything to help get Wisconsin's fiscal house in order. It just seems like giving sadists who torture animals a pass.
Unlike the false rumor about research dogs in the budget bill a few months ago, this is a real and dramatic change that could become law this week.
Bona fide research already gets a pass to do necessary work. Surely that is enough.
H/T: Wisconsin Humane Society. Bonus H/T to my wife for emailing me the press release.
*We had a Skye Terrier, and later a Shih Tzu. I doubt two more different breeds (personality-wise) exist, but they were both wonderful companions.