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Good News - 1st Quarter 2024

Updated: Jul 11


New laws and policies are coming out in support of animals every day!

Read all the good news here!

4/13/24- Multiple Citations Lead to Eviction Notice for Miami Seaquarium After Nearly 70 Years of Animal Cruelty. Florida’s long-troubled Miami Seaquarium has finally been ordered to close by the end of this month following a long history of animal welfare violations and the high-profile death of its lone orca Lolita, or Tokitae, last year. – In Defense of Animals

3/26/24- Slaughterhouse Shuts Down After Mercy For Animals Investigation: Great news! After the release of horrific undercover footage, Mercy For Animals got a slaughterhouse shut down in Brazil. – Mercy For Animals

3/21/24-We have great news for wolves, grizzly bears, and Wilderness! Thanks to a lawsuit by Wilderness Watch and our allies, and exemplary legal work by the attorneys at Earthjustice, on March 19 an Idaho District Court shut down the State of Idaho’s wolf trapping and snaring program through spring, summer, and fall in areas that serve as grizzly bear habitat. - Wilderness Watch

3/19/24- Celebrating the establishment of the Everglades to Gulf Conservation Area: Last week, the Department of the Interior announced the establishment of the Everglades to Gulf Conservation Area. The conservation community celebrated the newest unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System by gathering at Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge where Secretary Deb Haaland made the announcement alongside Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks Shannon Estenoz, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Martha Williams. The conservation area covers a total of four million acres, connecting crucial wildlife corridors, enhancing outdoor recreation access to the public and climate resiliency in southwest Florida. Conservation areas are national wildlife refuges that consist primarily or entirely of conservation easements on private lands in cooperation with landowners. - Wildpath

3/14/24- WCW just passed bipartisan legislation to ELIMINATE ALL tests on cats, dogs, and primates at the Dept. of Veterans Affairs! This doesn’t merely phase out the VA’s labs. It ZEROES OUT the animal tests! It’s also the first time in history Congress has directed a federal agency to completely end experimentation on certain animal species. And not just one, but all three! – White Coat Waste Project

3/14/24- On March 13, Gov. Jay Inslee signed HB 1153 into law, and Washington became the first state to prohibit farming octopuses! Octopus farming is a luxury industry that is unsustainable, environmentally destructive, and cruel.

Octopuses are highly intelligent and emotionally complex animals. They should not be confined to crowded farms in unnatural conditions. Octopus farming also threatens local ecosystems and presents other serious environmental risks. - Mercy For Animals

3/14/24- Good Bills That Passed

HB 321, Release of Balloons, by Rep. Chaney (R-St. Pete Beach), prohibits the intentional release of balloons inflated with a gas lighter than air. When balloons are released, they drift away, eventually becoming litter, which can be dangerous to wildlife and the environment. The bill was amended to exempt persons six years of age or younger from penalties related to the prohibition. HB 321 was enrolled in the House and will be sent to the Governor for his signature.

SB 7040, Ratification of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Rules Relating to Stormwater by the Environment and Natural Resources Committee and Sen. Harrell (R-Stuart). Excess nutrients are the leading cause of declining water quality in our springs, lakes, groundwater, and more. Florida’s existing stormwater rules are more than forty years old and are simply not protective enough. The new rule, while more protective, provides flexibility in stormwater infrastructure choices, looking towards innovations like green infrastructure and low impact development options to meet permit requirements. Audubon has been engaged every step of the way working to minimize the impacts of many of the proposed amendments. While this final rule is a compromise and far less protective than what we would have liked to see, Audubon believes it is worth supporting because it is better than what we currently have. The bill passed the Senate this week and will be sent to the Governor for his signature.

HB 1557, Department of Environmental Protection, by Rep. Chaney (R-St. Pete Beach), is a comprehensive bill that includes provisions that will impact consumptive use permitting, reclaimed water use, and resilience planning; provides better protections for seagrass in aquatic preserves; and establishes the Kristin Jacobs Coral Reef Ecosystem Conservation Area as a new aquatic preserve. The bill also includes good language expanding the list of regional entities allowed to receive funding for local resilience efforts to include regional planning councils and estuary partnerships. These entities are critical in regional planning efforts and work extensively with local governments making them a logical conduit for resilience funding. The bill includes a good provision requiring wastewater within areas with water quality concerns (BMAP or RAP areas) to be treated to higher standards if it is to be reused (for irrigation or similar uses) as reclaimed water. This will help ensure that the benefits of reclaimed water are not undermined by nutrient problems—a move we would like to see expanded to cover all applications of reclaimed water throughout the state. The bill was enrolled in the House this week and will be sent to the Governor for his signature.

SB 1638, Environmental Resource Management, by Sen. Hutson (R-St. Augustine) was also enrolled this week. The bills require 96 percent of the revenue share payments received under the agreement between the Seminole Tribe and the State of Florida in 2021 be appropriated for land conservation, the management of conservation lands, resilience projects, and water quality improvement projects.

- Audubon Florida

3/2/24- Earthjustic wins in court for Florida’s endangered species: Thanks to a victory in court last week, Florida’s threatened and endangered species will receive the full protection of the Endangered Species Act after the Trump administration illegally created a work-around that put them at risk. As a result of our lawsuit, Florida's developers must now seek federal approval for their projects and adhere to the Endangered Species Act. The ruling came just as Florida was poised to issue permits for two major development projects. Together, the projects could have killed up to 26 Florida panthers per year, when biologists estimate that only 120 to 230 Florida panthers remain in the wild. - Earthjustice

2/11/24- Danish Court Acknowledges Veganism as a Protected Belief: On 8th February 2024, a lower court in the city of Hjørring, Denmark, granted the vegan movement a milestone victory by ruling in favour of a couple who sued a kindergarten and a municipality for discrimination against their vegan daughter. The case was about the right of vegan children in public daycare institutions to be able to eat vegan food. Both a kindergarten and the municipality of Jammerbugt running it had refused to prepare vegan food for the schoolgirl, as well as denying the parents the possibility to send a vegan packed lunch with their daughter. So, on behalf of Mia and Simon Kjær Brinkmann, a lawsuit was brought forward by the Vegetarian Society of Denmark, and was won. - Vegan FTA

2/7/24- After 80 years of abusing horses, Northville Downs in Michigan ran its final race on Saturday, marking a significant step towards ending the cruel and deadly horseracing industry. The property's sale to a housing developer, coupled with our active role in thwarting the move to Plymouth Township, resulted in the closure of yet another track. This victory, making Northville the eighth track to shut down in Michigan since 2000, reflects the progress we're making in our mission. -Horseracing Wrongs

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