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January 28, 2020

The Trust lends support to House Bill 1606

In support of:   House Bill 1606

Date:                 January 28, 2020

Committee:       House Fish and Game and Marine Resources

On behalf of the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust’s volunteers and supporters who live in New Hampshire, we ask for your support of House Bill 1606 to make it unlawful to purposefully beat, cruelly whip, torture, or mutilate a wild animal.  Formed in 1993, the Trust is an affiliate of the Humane Society of the United States.  We are a national land conservation organization, protecting over 21,000 acres in 32 states, including over 1,000 acres in New Hampshire.

Although New Hampshire’s citizens highly value wildlife, its laws fail to protect wild animals from egregious forms of cruelty. New Hampshire is one of only a few states, including Iowa, Nebraska, Tennessee, and Texas, that does not include a prohibition of deliberate acts of cruelty toward wildlife in its statutes or administrative code.

Wild animals are often the victims of senseless acts of cruelty. While maliciously torturing a domestic animal such as a dog or horse, a farm animal, or a captive wild animal in New Hampshire will result in cruelty charges, there is no recourse if someone is deliberately cruel to wildlife.

House Bill 1606 would close that loophole with an update to Title XVIII, the Fish and Game code, by making it unlawful to purposefully beat, cruelly whip, torture, or mutilate a wild animal—the same prohibition that already exists for other species in the state. Please note, however, that HB 1606 includes an exemption for lawful, regulated hunting, including any manner of taking, open season time limits, permitted scientific investigations, or wildlife management practices that are authorized or permitted under state statute or administrative rules.

While it’s important to protect wild animals for their sake, and because of the benefits they bring to our lives and our economy, this is also a matter of public safety. Research by law enforcement agencies has shown that animal abusers are also a danger to people, and that acts of animal cruelty are a strong early predictor that an individual will commit violence against humans. In fact, the connection between animal and human violence is so strong that the FBI is now tracking crimes against animals alongside crimes such as burglary and murder.

With all of this in mind, we respectfully ask this committee to approve House Bill 1606 to protect both wildlife and people in New Hampshire.

Linda Winter

Program Coordinator

Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust


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