The animal rights group ranks states based on cruelty codes, protection standards, and animal research and farm animal policies. Texas jumped to the 25th spot, up from 36th last year.
The Humane Society attributed the state's improved status to an anti-cockfighting law and to the "puppy mill" bill that lawmakers adopted last year. The cockfighting measure allows the prosecution of people who breed fighting birds, profit from a fight or own cockfighting paraphernalia with the intent to use it. The “puppy mill” bill creates regulations and licensing requirements for those who breed 20 or more cats and dogs.
California topped the organization's list; New Jersey and Oregon tied for second place; and Illinois and Massachusetts tied for third. Earning the lowest scores were North Dakota, South Carolina, Idaho and South Dakota.
“There are some states that are adopting innovative and strong policies to protect animals, while others are lagging badly," Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society, said in a prepared statement. “Animal protection is a serious matter for tens of millions of Americans, and we hope state lawmakers fulfill their moral responsibility and help us crack down on abuses.”