A bill passed during the 2012 legislative session now allows the sale and artificial coloring of animals and fowl in the state of Florida.
House Bill 1197 repealed a prior law that banned the artificial dyeing or coloring of any animal. It also banned the selling of baby chickens, ducklings or other fowl under four weeks of age or rabbits under two months of age to be used as pets, toys or retail premiums.
Before being repealed, the law only allowed the artificial coloring and sale of animals and fowl to people with proper facilities to care for them or for poultry or livestock exhibitions.
Until July 1, 2012, anyone violating the law is subject to a second degree misdemeanor, punishable by at least 60 days in jail or a fine up to $500.
Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff introduced the amendment to this bill in hopes of weakening Florida’s anti-cruelty law.
Sen. Nan Rich, an opponent of this new law, spoke in defense of the current law. “This is a way of ensuring that we don’t have a lot of little adorable ducks, rabbits and chickens that are given away at Easter time and look so cute and then two or three months later nobody wants them.”
The Animal Rights Foundation of Florida (ARFF) is also taking action against this bill. “Allowing the coloring of animals, and the sale of baby animals, makes it more likely that the animals will be neglected or abandoned,” says Jennifer Cohen, ARFF’s Public Relations Chairperson.
Other animal rights groups such as PETA and Florida Voices for Animals are encouraging Floridians to write to Governor Rick Scott, asking him to veto this bill.
“This law has been effective for over 45 years and was put into place to stop impulse purchases prior to Easter. The animals suffer from the chemicals and may die or be discarded by buyers once their novelty wears off,” says Veronica Montgomery a second-year allied health student from Vero Beach, Fla., and a PetSmart employee.
Animal rights activists believe that if Gov. Rick Scott does not veto this law, come Easter of next year there will be pink chicks and blue bunnies galore. These animals may not have a home after the holiday spirit wears off.