ALABAMA VOTERS FOR RESPONSIBLE ANIMAL LEGISLATION (AVRAL), Alabama’s first grassroots political action committee (PAC) dedicated to strengthening and having laws for animal protection enacted through legislation, was formed in early 2010 – for the specific function of tapping the public’s power of the vote.
“Engaging the public – the voters – is the best course of action to create a new law or improve an existing one,” says AVRAL State Chair Dr. Rhonda Parker. “AVARL was created for this purpose, specifically on behalf of the thousands of Alabama companion animals who are abused and neglected by irresponsible owners, and for the untold number exterminated in Alabama’s animal control system – through no fault of their own.”
AVRAL’S first task: To end Carbon Monxide gas chamber use in Alabama animal facilities:
Within days of introducing the organization to the public, through press releases and news sources, Alabama Legislators were secured as sponsors of a bill, now formally titled Beckham’s Bill, (named after a young dog narrowly saved from one of Alabama’s active gas chambers, Cullman County), which would make the gassing of animals in Alabama illegal.
AVRAL presented committed legislature sponsors, President Pro Tempore, Alabama Senate, Del Marsh and House Representative Steve McMillan with a heavily researched draft of a bill to accomplish this goal, from which the legislators based the current bill, House Bill 147, making its way through the State House today, March 23. The bill will head to Alabama Senate as Senate Bill 172. Beckham’s Bill can be read online at ALISON, http://alisondb.legislature.state.al.us/acas/ACASLoginIE.asp
Over the months leading to the bill’s introduction in February, an impressive momentum gathered in support of Beckham’s Bill, gaining over 51 State Legislators’ sponsorship.With the bill’s increasing favorable notoriety, AVRAL membership soared.
AVRAL Legislative Liaison Millie Harris commented, “We now have AVRAL members in every Alabama county. Our voting bloc coordinators have done a great job of tapping the power of their fellow constituent’s voice for the animals of our state and their respective communities. Alabama’s elected officials have responded to their constituents, for the most part, in a positive manner. Legislators appear to be very interested in a number of troubling animal issues that have not been a priority on legislative agendas in the past.”
AVRAL, along with the Alabama Humane Federation and the Alabama Animal Control Assocation recently joined forces, forming The Alabama Partnership for Animal Welfare. These groups have planned a rally in support of Beckham’s Bill as well as other important animal legislation in Montgomery. The rally will be held on the steps of the state Capitol on Thursday, March 24th at “high noon” to 1 P.M.
Current Alabama Animal legislation: S.B. 146 would strengthen the state’s penalties for cockfighting and erase Alabama’s current position of having the nation’s weakest cockfighting law; HB 225 would require anyone convicted of an animal abuse crime to register with the local county sheriff’s department; Senate Bill 194, would add an additional financial responsibility to individuals who are arrested for engaging in dog-fighting.
Referring to the March 24th rally in Montgomery, Parker commented, “Our goal is to show our legislators that Alabamians care not only about banning the gas chamber, but about animal welfare in general.”
You can join AVRAL for free and get details on the rally by visiting AVRAL’s websit at www.alabamavotesforanimals.org or on Facebook at Alabama Voters for Responsible Animal Legislation.