WA State animal cruelty statute exemptions

Over 20 states have animal welfare statutes containing express exemptions for standard factory-farming procedures. Many of these exemptions were added in recent years, reflecting a growing trend. This blatant loophole is the source of frustration for those seeking legal protection from physical abuse for farmed animals.

Washington State is one of the states with such exemptions in its anti-animal cruelty statute. Consequently, the Northwest Animal Rights Network (NARN) has filed a lawsuit against Washington State and King County for violating the constitution with such exemptions. A press release issued here states that “these exemptions are so poorly defined and vague as to invite tremendous acts of animal exploitation to go unpunished. They also invite such a complete delegation of legislative power as to allow the foxes to guard the proverbial henhouse. The exemptions result in unjustifiable and inconsistent protections for animals by permitting some of the most undisputedly heinous and cruel injuries to be inflicted daily on large numbers.”

I have not yet seen a greater elaboration of the legal arguments involved, but stay tuned…

-Suzanne McMillan

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