On the animal protection front, victories may feel like a dime a dozen, but it does seem like, based on what was accomplished just last year alone, that the public consciousness has been deepened and that people and governments are finally paying more attention to animals. Progress is being made, Green Monsters, and this is something to celebrate.

Yet, of course, there is still a long, long way to go for animal protection, and us animal lovers must still keep up the good fight for the long haul.

As the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s (ALDF) annual state rankings point out, some states are lagging far behind in animal cruelty protection laws, and the organization has deemed these states,  the “five best states to abuse animals.” Ouch.

So which states top the naughty list? Kentucky, Iowa, South Dakota, New Mexico, and Wyoming.

Kentucky in particular is ranked as the worst state in the U.S. for animal cruelty laws – and for the seventh year in a row at that! C’mon, Kentucky, we know you can do better!

According to the ALDF, all states on this red list illustrate the following weaknesses:

  • Inadequate standards of basic care for an animal.
  • Limited authority given to humane officers.
  • A lack of mandatory reporting when veterinarians suspect animal cruelty.

But all hope is not lost as five other states top the “best of the best” list for animal cruelty laws and these include: Oregon, Michigan, Maine, California and Illinois, who tops the “best of” list for the sixth year in a row.

According to the ALDF, each of these five states “demonstrated the strongest commitment to combating animal cruelty through their laws.”

Based on the ALDF’s full report of state rankings, other states seem to be stepping up their game, too. For instance, North Dakota is considering felony penalties for extreme animal cruelty cases for the very first time, and down in the Southwest, Arizona is also improving by strengthening the “cost of care provisions.”

There are a number of ways we as citizens can take these rankings. One option is the easy route, which includes cheering for the “best of” states and criticizing the “worst.” But what good can this ever really do?

Instead, perhaps, we should look at these rankings and take a step back to see the bigger picture – that animals still need us to be their voice in each and every state. We must persistently urge our governments to improve standards and laws, and even if they say no, no doesn’t mean no forever.

So let’s put on our advocacy hats, and keep up the good fight, Green Monsters!

Here’s what you can do

Image source: crossfirecw / Flickr