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N.H. may lift ban on chick coloring

CONCORD, N.H. — New Hampshire lawmakers want to lift a ban on coloring chicks, ducklings, goslings, or rabbits to enhance their sale but face warnings about the strain that the dyeing process puts on the animals.

State Representative Joel Winters, a Nashua Democrat, is proposing to repeal a 1985 law that makes it illegal to dye the birds and bunnies to promote their sale, raffle, or if they are to be given as a prize.

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Winters said he does not think the old law serves a purpose anymore.

‘‘I don’t know of anybody who’s been prosecuted for this,’’ he said Monday.

But former agriculture commissioner Steve Taylor said he fought for the law’s passage 28 years ago because the dye process stresses the birds and many die as a result.

‘‘What it amounted to was animal cruelty,’’ said Taylor.

The paint would harden, interfering with the growth of their feathers, he said.

Taylor said too many people bought the dyed chicks at Easter without knowing how to care for them and would let them go into the wild where hawks got them or they died.

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