Student Choice Not to Dissect Animals
VVSA requested a bill, that was passed into law in 2008, which provides students the opportunity to receive an alternative to dissecting an animal, without fear of ridicule or pressure. Cats, piglets, and many other animals are bred and born only to be killed for the purpose of biology classes. Desensitizing students to the plight of animals, and reinforcing that it is better to be silent in the face of opposition for what one knows to be right, teaches that it is better to remain quiet than to stand firm in one's beliefs ... and to go "with the crowd" for fear of ridicule or recognition. This law also provides a less expensive alternative to the use of (once) live animals in science class, and one that has been proven to be more effective in the classroom, through the use of models and computer generated programs.
Eight years ago, Lauren Skaskiw objected to dissecting a fetal pig in her sophomore biology class. Skaskiw believed there were options to "cutting up an innocent animal," through which she could learn.
Skaskiw's school didn't have a formal policy; eventually she and her teacher reached an agreement in which Skaskiw was allowed to use a computer simulation.
Skaskiw received an A in the course and graduated from Woodstock in 2002, but she didn't stop there. She lobbied the Legislature to make a formal declaration that students could refuse dissection assignments.
Skaskiw has since received a Bachelors Degree from the University of Vermont in Early Childhood Education and she was there the day the bill passed the House unanimously.
Skaskiw went on to receive her Masters Degree in Education. "A teacher's role is to inspire, guide and expand the minds of the students in their class -- by accommodating and allowing each child to learn as best they can, so the lessons will stay with them and ensure their future is brighter," Skaskiw has said.
Our thanks to Senator John Campbell for sponsoring this legislation, and to all the other legislators that lent their voices to support this important effort!
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Internet Hunting web sites banned in Vermont 1/07 Update
VVSA volunteers campaigned for many hours to help pass the bill that bans internet hunting web sites in Vermont.
Internet hunting websites allow the use of computer generated tracking and shooting of live animals in confined hunting areas in states across the country that have "canned hunts". Bizarre as that sounds, unless legislation is passed to prevent such "entertainment" it would be allowed. Our heartfelt thanks to Senator Vince Illuzzi from Newport for recognizing this as a demented entertainment. VVSA approached Senator Illuzzi about sponsoring similar legislation. VVSA obtained the Maine law and brought that version to our VT legislature for drafting. The legislature heard overwhelming support from Vermonters in committee to ban Internet Hunting before it got a foot hold in our state and a bill was passed prohibiting this operation from ever entering our state.
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Rabies Vaccine Extended to 3 Years
VVSA volunteers worked hard to pass a law that extends the rabies vaccination to 3 years for adult animals who have previouslyl receiving their first shot.
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Animal Cruelty - Title 13
Title 13 ~ VVSA worked with the VT Legislature for three and 1/2 years to remedy the animal protection statutes. Thanks to Senators John Campbell and Vince Illuzzi, especially, this bill passed and better defined what was "adequate" care of animals by defining maximum living space requirements, and providing more explicit definitions of adequate food, water, exercise, and shelter for animals. Subsequently, VVSA successfully added a component that allows a municipal ticketing system to address acts of neglect and abuse. Law enforcement agents and state attorneys have agreed that this approach may be the answer to the overcrowded court system that too often ignores the plight of abused animals for lack of time and people-power. Finally, VVSA also worked in conjunction with other volunteers and animal protection advocates to amend Title 13 to allow for felony charges for the most egregious forms of animal cruelty.
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(posted August 28, 2007)
We are fortunate to live in a state that recognizes the need to legislatively protect the welfare of animals. VVSA has been instrumental in the passage of several bills:
1) Update and improvements to the animal welfare statute, includes making some forms of abuse a felony.
2) Creation of Vermont Spay Neuter Incentive program (VSNIP). VVSA created the legislative initiative that evolved from VVSA's spay/neuter which began in 1986. VSNIP is under the directive of the VT Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets and was administered by VVSA from its inception.
3) The rabies vaccine injection schedule extended from 2 to 3 years.
4) Prohibition of online Internet Hunting from entering our state.
5) Inclusion of animals in a Relief from Abuse Court order, which protects animals involved in volatile domestic relationships.
6) Inclusion of animals during evacuations following natural disasters.
7) Inclusion of animals in the municipal ticketing system which enables law enforcement to address certain violations of our animal welfare statute. (Title 13, Chapter 8) civilly versus criminally. This approach may be the answer to the overcrowded court system that too often ignores the plight of abused animals for lack of time and manpower.
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