Animal activists against dyeing chicks

April 2, 2012 at 4:09 PM
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla., April 2 (UPI) -- Animal rights activists are speaking out against the overturning of a Florida law that banned dyeing animals.

About 25 states have laws banning the dyeing of animals, The New York Times reported Sunday.

But in Florida last month, the Legislature passed a bill to overturn a 45-year-old ban on dyeing animals at the request of a dog groomer who wanted to enter contests where people sculpt and color their pets' fur.

Animal rights groups have since been speaking out against the move in fears poultry farmers will begin dyeing chicks bright colors for Easter.

"Humane societies are overflowing with these animals after Easter every year," said Don Anthony of the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida. "This law has protected thousands of animals from neglect and abuse, and it shouldn't be lifted on the whim of one dog groomer who wants to dye poodles purple."

Poultry farmers say as long as the dye is non-toxic, the chicken's health is not affected.

"A lot of the hatcheries will no longer do the dyeing of the animals," said Andrew Malone, a poultry farmer in Melbourne, Fla. "If someone comes to me and wants colored chicks during the Easter time, I could do it, but I stay away from it because I don't want to be in the pet business."

Selling dyed chicks in Florida for Easter will still be illegal this year, however, because the law change doesn't go into effect until July 1.

Laura Bevan, director of the Southern regional office of the Humane Society of the United States, said she thought Florida legislators would be open to some changes in the legislation, making it so dog groomers can do their thing but poultry farmers cannot.

"We are all just going to have to go back and fix this next year," she said.

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