IN FOCUS Discussion: Utah’s Animal Rights Issues & Advocacy

In Focus

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – It was a quieter year on Utah’s Capitol Hill for animal advocates this session, with a smaller number of bills related to animal rights issues. Nonprofit organizations and advocacy groups, like many others, were forced to shift some of their focus due the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, there were still legislative efforts brought forth this year to address concerns in regards to the ethical treatment and safety of animals. Utah ranks in the bottom 10 nationally when it comes to animal advocacy laws and local advocates continue fighting to change that.

Rachel Heatley, Advocacy and Investigations Director for the Humane Society of Utah discussed how this legislative session fared for animal advocacy efforts, H.B. 386 that would have addressed the issue with Utahns transporting dogs in their trucks, and S.B. 237 which would end the use of gas chamber euthanasia in Utah.

Callista Pearson, Communications Manager for Salt Lake County Animal Services discussed how Utah fares nationally when it comes to animal advocacy laws, how COVID-19 impacted their shelter and their foster program, and their efforts on Dixie’s Law during the next legislative session to increase the penalties for animal abuse charges.

Jeremy Beckham, Executive Director for the Utah Animal Rights Coalition discussed their efforts to get the Governor to shut down mink farms because of the danger it poses with the transmission of COVID-19, S.B. 130 which addresses concentrated animal feeding operations, and H.B. 166 that would intensify penalties for anyone who shoots or steals livestock.

To watch the full IN FOCUS discussion with Heatley, Pearson, and Beckham, click on the video at the top of the article.

Catch IN FOCUS discussions with ABC4’s Rosie Nguyen weeknights on the CW30 News at 7 p.m.

Rosie Nguyen is an award-winning journalist who joined the ABC4 News team as a reporter in January 2018. In September 2020, she embarked on a new journey as the anchor for the CW30 News at 7 p.m. Although she’s not out in the field anymore, she is continuing her passion for social justice and community issues through the nightly “In Focus” discussions.

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