From Animal Defenders of Westchester (ADOW)

We advocate on all animal protection and exploitation issues, including experimentation, factory farming, rodeos, breeders and traveling animal acts.

Letter to the Editor about Westchester's "Rising Star" Senators

From Kiley Blackman as posted on Westchester Rising
January 24, 2014

See page 5 of PDF here.

January 24, 2014

Dear Editor:

Thank you for your excellent article about Westchester's "Rising Star" senators ("Four State Senators and the Future of State Gov't," Jan. 10). We are pleased to report that all of these worthy representatives have supported a variety of animal protection issues as well: Jeff Klein co-sponsored bills to ban foie gras production, ban canned shoots and make cruelty to wild animals a felony while in the Assembly. Andrea Stewart-Cousins supported the enormous effort to build an urgently-needed new animal shelter in Yonkers, a dilapidated makeshift structure created as a temporary holding area more than 60 years ago.

George Latimer provided a much-appreciated willingness to help stop the wanton slaughter of wildlife in his official capacity, and gave us the suggestion to create the firstever "Geese and Wildlife Summit," which was held in June, to offer ways of living in peace with our wildlife residents here.

Greg Ball has called for a statewide animal abuse registry and, with Sen. Jim Tedesco, established "Animal Advocacy Day" to "protect pets and strengthen our animal cruelty laws."

We want and hope for all beings who share this Earth, both human and non-human, to have decent, peaceful lives; but the fact is the animals have the worst of any group, being scapegoated and oppressed beyond comprehension. These legislators recognize this and are eager and willing to "be their voice," which is vital and necessary in a rapidly changing world where they might be overlooked. Salaried agencies exist to help humans in need; the animals have nothing. Hunters are allowed to slaughter animals into extinction. Our wildlife, who have been run out of their homes by urban sprawl, are now being killed by the USDA on behalf of anyone with the money and the desire to get rid of them - although they have a perfect right to be here and have committed no crime. Puppies and kittens are over-bred in horrific conditions by profiteers with little oversight, while millions of dogs and cats are killed in shelters annually for want of a good home. Animals in laboratories are subject to the most gruesome, repetitive tests "researchers" can dream up. Circus animals beaten into submission, farm animals jammed in tiny filthy cages who never see the sunlight...the list goes on and on.

Volunteers like us work to raise awareness but we depend on our legislators to raise the level of awareness to the next step where
it becomes law. There is no differentiation between the plight of human and non-human animals: Suffering is suffering, pain is pain. They love and nurture their babies just as we love ours, they have a right to live on this Earth just as we do. As Westchester Rising reported, we endorsed (County Executive) Rob Astorino due to his administration's respectful willingness to work with us on many animal advocacy issues;
our slogan was "We care about animals and we vote...and we're voting for Astorino." It is our sincere hope that this continues...and these senators will ensure to fight for the rights of those who cannot speak - but have the same right to humane treatment as any other resident
on this Earth. The time for animal rights is now; animal abuse and exploitation must end. This doesn't detract from human rights; rather, it enriches us, allows us to be the decent humans we should be - toward all beings. As 18th century philosopher Jeremy Bentham said: "The question is not, can they reason? Nor, can they talk? But, can they suffer?" Thanks to legislators like these, their suffering will become a
thing of the past.

Kiley Blackman
Founder, Animal Defenders of Westchester

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