ALDF ranks territories with best, worst animal protection laws

The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) recently released its seventh annual rankings report of animal protection laws in all U.S. states and territories.

According to the ALDF, the top five states with the most effective animal protection laws are:

  1. Illinois
  2. Maine
  3. California
  4. Michigan
  5. Oregon

The states that found their way to the bottom of the ALDF’s list are:

  1. New Mexico
  2. South Dakota
  3. Iowa
  4. North Dakota
  5. Kentucky

According to the ALDF, the top five list includes the same states as last year, albeit in a slightly different order. California jumped from fifth to third by strengthening its forfeiture and seizure laws, the ALDF report said.

The bottom five states also had some familiar faces, as Kentucky maintained the last spot on the list for the sixth straight year. North Dakota and South Dakota also stayed in the bottom five due to their distinction as the only states without felony penalties for animal abusers.

Additional highlights from the report include:

  • Idaho was the most-improved state. Idaho jumped eight spots and moved out of the bottom five due to its establishment of felony provisions for cruelty, neglect, abandonment and cockfighting.
  • Iowa and Utah joined Kansas, Montana, and North Dakota as states that have passed “ag gag” laws. These laws make it illegal to take photographs or record video at agricultural facilities, which the ALDF says conceals “animal abuse, food safety risks, and illegal working conditions from consumers.”
  • In a sign of progress, since 2006, seven jurisdictions have added felony penalties (for the first time) for extreme animal cruelty or torture: Alaska, Arkansas, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Mississippi, and Utah.

To view the complete breakdown of each jurisdiction, view the ALDF’s full 2012 rankings report.