In Maryland, USA, state legislation SB 820 was passed in 2013, imposing a fee on petfood to fund a statewide spay-neuter program to help low-income communities. The bill passed overwhelmingly in both houses, despite opposition from the petfood industry, and was signed by Gov. Martin O'Malley to take effect October 1.
Proponents of the legislation argued that a survey of public opinion showed a majority of pet owners in the state favored the "petfood tax" to support spay-neuter programs. However, a recent blog on the subject notes, similar legislation was defeated in Oregon and West Virginia, USA, after social media campaigns targeted pet owners and urged legislators to defeat it.
The approved fee in Maryland did not have a social media campaign, and unlike the proposed fee in Orgeon, which would have financed state agriculture programs for food animal production, it mandates funds are used only on spay-neuter initiatives for companion animals.
By Greg Aldrich, Ph.D.
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