Scott wrong to end animal coloring ban
Published: Sunday, April 15, 2012
Updated: Monday, April 16, 2012 14:04
Earlier this week, Gov. Rick Scott passed an agricultural bill that contained an amendment to approve the artificial coloring of animals. The longstanding ban on this matter is now repealed and will go into effect July 1.
The bill also allows the sale of animals such as baby chicks and rabbits before they reach four weeks of age, another sensible precaution that has now been thrown out the window.
Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff (R-Fort Lauderdale) put the amendment into the bill at the behest of dog groomers who wish to dye show dogs, which is equally absurd.
Regardless of one’s stance on animal rights, animal cruelty is an entirely different matter, which is exactly what this bill inevitably advocates regarding the laxity that will ensue concerning these animals.
The bill opens up the possibility of negligent practice by poultry farmers and pet shop owners that may carelessly use toxic dyes on the animals. Donna Ward, director of Lee County’s Domestic Animal Services said that even some of the dyes used that are approved can be harmful to the animals. “I’m flabbergasted,” Ward said in a News-Press report.
Regarding the animals being sold from pet stores prior to reaching four weeks of age, Ward disapproves as well.
“That’s too young to be taking them from their parents. They are so fragile and their immune systems aren’t well developed,” she said in the same report. “We’d rather have people adopting dogs and cats.”
The bill also neglects the reality that there is already a substantial problem with these animals being abandoned and left to already overflowing shelters. Don Anthony of the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida acknowledges the future burden this will place on animal shelters.
“Humane societies are overflowing with these animals after Easter every year,” Anthony told The New York Times. “This law has protected thousands of animals from neglect and abuse, and it shouldn’t be lifted on the whim of one dog groomer who wants to dye poodles purple.”
If the abundance of these unwanted animals in shelters is already an issue, why let this legislation pass? The dyeing of these animals is simply vain and unnecessary. This characteristic unfortunately will make them more attractive and therefore susceptible to the flippant consumer who decides he or she wants a neon-pink bunny and regrets the decision a month later. Moreover, shelters already lack the funding and space to address strays of other breeds like dogs and cats. This only adds to the burden.
Maryann Fitzpatrick, owner of It’s For The Birds pet shop in Naples, also sees the harm this bill will cause.
“Ninety-nine percent of them don’t make it to their first birthday because most people don’t know how to care for chicks and bunnies,” Fitzpatrick told The News-Press.
The fact that the bill permits pet shops to sell them prior to the animals reaching four weeks of age only amplifies this issue. Not only will more animals end up at shelters, more will also die.
The bottom line is this practice is absolutely unnecessary and harmful to these animals. Florida’s senators need to be concerning themselves with more substantial issues rather than the success of dog groomers at fashion shows. When the burden of mass production of these animals lands on the shoulders of humane societies and animal shelters, we will have Bogdanoff to thank.