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Animal groups ask Scott to keep prohibition on pastel peeps, veto pink bunnies bill

Thursday, March 8th, 2012 by Dara Kam

Animal rights groups are asking Gov. Rick Scott to veto a measure that would do away with a nearly 50-year old prohibition on dyeing animals.

Lawmakers passed the bill (HB 1197) this week over the objection of a handful of those who objected that the ban is needed to keep colored bunnies, chicks and ducklings from popping up in kids’ Easter baskets then abandoned months later when their cuteness wears off.

Senate bill sponsor Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale, said she filed the measure at the request of a pet groomer who wants to be able to dye dogs for competitions.

But PETA and the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida have sent action alert to their members and today asked Scott to use his red pen to kill the bill, saying coloring farm animals for Easter treats is a “death sentence” for the critters.

“Blue and pink bunnies and chicks may appeal to children, who will pester their parents to purchase them, but dyeing these small animals can be a death sentence for the animals as every humane agency in the country well knows,” PETA Vice President Daphna Nachminovich said in a press release. Read PETA’s letter to Scott here.

The abandoned animals will crowd the state’s already overburdened animal shelters, PETA argues.

Senate Easter basket special? Pink bunnies!

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012 by Dara Kam

UPDATE: Easter baskets could get even more festive if Gov. Rick Scott signs off on a bill heading his way that will allow farm animals, including bunnies, ducklings and chicks, to be dyed – that’s colored, not killed. The House passed the measure 109-5.

Nearly 50 years ago, Florida outlawed dyed bunnies, chickens and ducks.

But just in time for Easter, kids may find pink or green bunnies tucked in with other mellifluous treats in their holiday baskets after the Florida Senate tacked on an amendment to an agriculture bill (HB 1197) dealing with honeybees and other critters.

Animal- loving Senate Democratic Leader Nan Rich tried to get the amendment stripped off, saying the statute banning animal dying comes under the “animal cruelty” section of the Florida Statutes.

Dyed bunnies, ducks and baby chicks “look really cute at a couple of months of age” Rich, D-Weston, argued. “But when they get older and nobody wants them, then they get loose or taken to our shelters.”

But Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff, the amendment sponsor, said dog groomers want the ban on dying lifted so they can colorize pets for competitions and parades. She said dying dogs isn’t cruel and rejected Rich’s argument that pets don’t get asked if they want their fur dyed.

“We neuter dogs without their permission. I’ve never asked my poodle if he wanted a hair cut,” Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale, said. “Animal cruelty is wrong…but dying a dog’s hair or horse’s tail I don’t think is cruel.”

But Rich didn’t back down.

“This is not about grooming poodles,” she said. “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.”

Rich’s attempt failed, and the amended ag bill now goes back to the House.

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