An Important Milestone

[Content Note: Animal cruelty.]

Earlier this month, South Dakota became the final state in the US to enact a felony provision for animal cruelty:
The new law represents the emergence of a nationwide consensus that egregious animal abuse should be treated as a serious crime. Although there is much more work left to be done, this event marks a significant milestone in an undeniable trend favoring humane treatment of animals.
Text Onscreen: "How many states have felony animal cruelty laws?"

A young, thin, white man appears onscreen. He is identified as Chris Berry of the Animal Legal Defense Fund. Speaking directly into the camera, he says: "My home state of South Dakota just become the fiftieth and final state to enact a felony animal cruelty law. The new law rights an injustice that previously put malicious animal abuse on par with writing a bad check. In 1990, less than ten states had felony provisions. In the 2000s, ALDF began tracking those laws, naming South Dakota one of the five worst states for animals in 2013. We congratulate South Dakota, and local grassroots organizations like South Dakotans Fighting Against Animal Cruelty Together, for helping being America's laws in line with the humane values of the 21st century."
Stephen Wells has more on recent successes in animal protection here. There is still a long, long way to go in the treatment and protection of all kinds of animals, but this is a very important milestone along that journey.

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