Better Protection for NYS Animals! Three Important Bills Become Law

Wildlife Killing Contests/ Competitions Outlawed as of 11/2024
It shall be unlawful for any person to organize, sponsor, conduct, promote, or participate in any contest, competition, tournament or derby where the objective of such contest or competition is to take wildlife.

Horses Can Not be Sent to Slaughter Effective 4/2024
Prohibits any person from slaughtering any horse where such person knows or has reason to know that such horse will be used for human or animal consumption

Increases Fines for Selling Disabled Equidae at Auctions Effective 12/2023
Increases the fines for selling disabled Equidae at auctions. Also expands the protection to include mules and donkeys, in addition to horses.

No longer targeted as just a number in a contest.

NYSHA, along with other humane organizations, has worked for years to pass legislation to stop the wanton killing of wildlife by sports club members and other participants simply to win prizes based on the large number of animals they killed in wildlife killing contests.

Thankfully, things changed. The NYS Legislature finally heard the people – that means you with your calls, emails, and letters — and passed a bill to outlaw these horrific competitions. And your additional calls, emails, and letters urging Governor Hochul to sign the bill made a difference: she signed the bill into law!

How great is that! Countless numbers of squirrels, rabbits, opossums, raccoons, coyotes, and others will no longer be hunted and killed, or cruelly left to die of their injuries. Also, dependent young won’t be left orphaned and defenseless against starvation, predation, and the elements. This great victory will go into effect in November of 2024 — apparently to provide time for organizations that hold these contests to find alternatives to such fundraising. But the law is in place and these contests will finally be illegal!

Yet another amazing thing happened. NYSHA, along with other animal welfare groups, had long advocated for bills that would stop the slaughter of all horses. A step in that direction occurred two years ago, when NYS passed a law outlawing the slaughter of racehorses. And this past year, because of the interest expressed by their constituents in saving all horses from horrific deaths in Canadian slaughter houses, legislators passed a law that did just that. It made it unlawful to import, export, sell, transfer, purchase or possess any horse with the intent of its being slaughtered. And again, Governor Hochul, peppered with calls, emails and letters from you, her compassionate constituents across the state, signed that bill into law. It goes into effect in April of this year.

Those who own horses who no longer have any quality of life because of age or illness now will have to find a humane alternative to that of dumping these loyal partners of man at an auction where they are very likely to be bought by kill buyers and sent to Canadian slaughter houses. Now the owners will have to do the responsible thing for their horses who have served them well. They will have to have them euthanized and then either have the body buried, transported to a crematory, or to a composting facility. No more trips up the Northway to Canada for these our loyal equine companions.

Lastly, Governor Hochul signed into law a bill that finally, after many years, increased the fines for any auctioneer who attempts to sell any equine who is diseased or debilitated – raised them from an unbelievably low of not more than $5 — to a fine of not more than a $1,000 now. This change coupled with the anti-slaughter bill will result in more protections for our equine companions.

2023 was a great year for protective animal legislation because you cared enough to make noise and not sit by while animals suffered! Let’s all keep up the good work!

What You Can Do to Stop a Contest: With NYSHA’s guidance, a concerned advocate successfully halted a coyote killing contest in upstate NY. The law ending these contests goes into effect in November 2024. In the meantime, there are ways to get contests cancelled. Contact town legislators, speak at town meetings, send info to the local papers, spread the word on social media, and fire up neighbors for support. For more information, see NYSHA’s article on Wildlife Killing Contests. Let up know if your efforts are successful at

New York State Humane Association Humane Review, Vol.XLIII, Spring 2024.