LEGISLATION BRIEFS June 7, 2011
Dear SAOVA friends,
We have an update on the Texas dog and cat breeder bill, important messages from our friends and allies, and various briefs on state legislation to share with you this morning.
As always, we encourage cross posting of these messages.
Sportsmen’s & Animal Owners’ Voting Alliance
Issue lobbying and working to identify and elect supportive legislators
SPAY NEUTER HSUS CAMPAIGN
Looking for a few great volunteer legal eagles to help Frank Losey, Esq "Spay & Neuter" the HSUS.
The HSUS has probably hundreds of attorneys and entire Law Schools in its pocket. Frank needs a little help in fighting for us. If you are a lawyer, or you have a friend, spouse, parent or child who is a lawyer and could spend a few hours assisting Frank, it would help us all immensely. Frank works with breeders and animal owners around the country. See Frank on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XrTPiQUftSg
Contact Frank at email@example.com for more info or to volunteer.
TEXAS HB 1451
The battle in Texas has reached Governor Perry’s office. There are only days left to convince him that the controversial dog and cat breeder bill, HB 1451, should be vetoed despite the last minute amendment meant to exempt sporting dog owners from regulation.
Par for the course, we have been heavily out financed by the Texas animal rights extremists, so our resolve to protect our livelihoods, hobbies, and traditions must be stronger than the desires of those who would take those rights away.
The HB 1451 Opposition List has practically doubled since we first sent it to the Governor’s office but we need MORE help. NUMBERS COUNT! To be added to the list, have an officer or board member send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. View the full Opposition list at the SAOVA website: http://www.saova.org/TexasHB1451.Opposition.html. This is a major drive to add as many organizations, kennels, businesses, state federations, and parent breed clubs as possible in the short time remaining and hand-deliver the list to the Governor’s office. Most of you may already aware that Perry is considering a presidential run in 2012. Our solidarity in opposing HB 1451 sends a clear message to him that the eyes of dog and cat breeders across the nation are fixed on this bill and his final decision.
A faxed message is the best and most efficient way to contact the Governor’s office. There are sample letters on the SAOVA site but your message can be much simpler if necessary.
Office of Governor Fax: (512) 463-1849; Alternate Fax: (512) 463-1843
Office of Governor Main Switchboard Ζ:00 a.m. To 5:00 p.m. CST] (512) 463-2000
If you must email go to http://governor.state.tx.us/contact/ and click on "Registering Opinion" and send your opposition email
NEW YORK AB 7964 and SB 5467
A message from U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance 6/3/11. Bills in New York would create new unnecessary regulations for sporting dog owners.
Assembly Bill 7964, introduced by Assemblyman Joseph S. Saladino (R- Massapequa) would require anyone that houses dogs or other animals in a permanent structure to have a working “fire suppression” system and have an alarm system that connects directly to the police or fire department. Only “farms” are exempted from the requirements.
“The bill would require anyone who keeps a single dog in their home to outfit their home with a sprinkler system and a monitored alarm system,” said Evan Heusinkveld, U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance director of state services. “These requirements are not only wholly unnecessary, but would prove costly for both kennels and pet owners.”
Senate Bill 5467, introduced by Senator Tom O'Mara (R- Horseheads), would allow any person to enter the property of a dog owner that houses more than 12 adult animals, or 9 animals and produces three or more litters per year, to provide the animals with food or water if the person claims that the animals have been without necessary food or water for more than 12 hours. Essentially, this language allows any person, whether they are an animal rights activist or a law enforcement officer, to enter into these dog owners’ property if they simply claim a dog has not been provided with necessary food or water for 12 hours.
“Allowing any person to enter a dog owner’s land by claiming dogs are not properly fed or watered is a major violation of privacy rights,” said Heusinkveld.
Senate Bill 5467 would also require the Commissioner of Agriculture and Markets to establish new standards of care, housing, and record keeping requirements for all dog owners, regardless of the number of dogs they own. It is essentially a “blank check” for the commissioner to force new regulations upon anyone owning a single dog.
Take Action! New York sportsmen should contact their state legislators and ask that they oppose Assembly Bill 7964 and Senate Bill 5467. Tell them these bills will establish new costly and unnecessary requirements for dog owners. To find your state legislator’s phone number and other contact information, use the USSA Legislative Action Center at www.ussportsmen.org/lac.
COUGAR BILL DIES IN OREGON SENATE COMMITTEE
May 24, 2011. House Bill 2337, which would allow a pilot program for hunting cougars with dogs, was pending in the Senate Environment and Natural resources Committee.
Monday was the deadline for the committee, headed by Portland Democrat Jackie Dingfelder, to schedule a hearing in order for the bill to advance. No hearing was scheduled.
Rep. Sherrie Sprenger, R-Scio, had carried the bill when the House passed it, 45-14, on April 20. Her office said that on Tuesday, Sprenger delivered a “remonstrance” on the House floor concerning the cougar issue. She said the Senate committee missed an opportunity to pass a cougar management plan and spoke of recent cougar encounters in Ashland and Roseburg . Story at http://www.democratherald.com/
Animal Abuser Registry bills in Maine and Texas are DEAD. Establishing animal abuser registries is a campaign championed by the California-based Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) whose mission is to use the legal system to change the legal status of animals from property to personhood. ALDF’s sales pitch that the registry is a “valuable” tool for checking on potential pet owners quickly unravels upon the discovery that only ONE person is currently incarcerated in Maine and Texas solely on animal cruelty charges.
What can the possible urgency be to create such an expensive registry? Simple – to create any area within the law where animals and humans are equal.
Attempts to enact animal abuser registries have been unsuccessful in Alabama , California ,
Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Vermont, and Washington.
ALDF not only works within the legal system to change the perception of animals as property but has now established 159 Student Animal Legal Defense Chapters at Law Schools and Universities across the U.S. and 8 chapters internationally. http://aldf.org/article.php?id=446
Joyce Tischler, ALDF Co-Founder, repeats the animal rights mantra in her Voiceless 2010 Animal Law Lecture Series Keynote Address: “The overwhelming majority of animals are brought into this world solely and specifically to be exploited: for use as food, clothing and research subjects, as entertainment, and as targets for hunting.”
In a 1999 NYT interview, Tischler noted, “We have created a field of law. We've learned our trade, and now we are focusing on the next steps. My commitment, she said, is I don't eat my clients."
NEWS & ISSUE BRIEFS
ALDF LAWSUIT AGAINST WOODLAND PARK ZOO DISMISSED
By Michael Simeona MyNorthwest.com Editor May 28, 2011. A lawsuit filed against the Woodland Park Zoo and city of Seattle for the treatment of elephants was dismissed by King County Superior Court Judge Michael Heavey on Friday. Activists from the Animal Legal Defense Fund argued that the city of Seattle was acting illegally in providing support for the Woodland Park Zoo because of its treatment of elephants.
Judge Heavey dismissed the suit because the group had no standing to sue the city, and there was nothing illegal about the city's funding of the zoo.
"We are very pleased with the ruling," said Zoo President and CEO Dr. Deborah Jensen. "This was an attempt to get a court to decide issues of elephant care and medicine that have been appropriately delegated to experts - at our zoo and at other zoos around the country." Full story at link: http://mynorthwest.com/?nid=11&sid=488753
U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE. MAY 31, 2011
Comments Solicited On Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge Feral Hog Control Program
Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge) in north central Texas is proposing to expand feral hog control efforts on Refuge lands. As part of this process the public is being invited to provide early comments on potential issues or concerns that should be considered.
Feral hogs pose a serious threat to native wildlife and all refuge habitats. The goal of feral hog management on Hagerman NWR is to control the expanding population of feral hogs (Sus scrofa) by reducing their numbers to the extent possible. Successfully accomplishing this goal will result in less competition for food, water and space between feral hogs and native wildlife; reduce habitat disturbance; reduce destruction of nests of ground nesting species such as dickcisssel, turkey, mallard, quail, reptiles and amphibians; and reduce damage to refuge roads, impoundments, streams, and farm fields through excessive rooting behavior feral hogs engage in while foraging for food. This comment period is
known as ‘Scoping’ under the National Environmental Policy Act. During scoping the Refuge is looking for general comments on the proposed feral hog control program. These comments will assist in determining the next course of action. Comments will be accepted until June 17, 2011. Comments should be sent to Kathy_Whaley@fws.gov or mailed to: Refuge Manager, Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge, 6465 Refuge Road , Sherman , Texas 75092
A MESSAGE FROM UNITED HORSEMEN:
AG APPROPRIATIONS REPORT AND OUR INITIAL RESPONSE
June 1, 2011. Last night the Ag Appropriations Committee voted 24-21 to adopt Rep. Moran, Virginia , amendment to reinstate the prohibition on inspection of horse meat. This in spite of Rep. Lummis’ knowledgeable and articulate testimony and over the objection of Subcommittee Chairman Kingston.
This is just the opening round, however, and we still have multiple opportunities to fix the bill before the 2012 appropriations process is complete. Our next chance will be when the committee bill comes to a full vote of the House on June 15th. Then it will go to the Senate and goes through the complete process over there. Needless to say we are circling the wagons with our coalition partners and will do our best to keep you apprised as we move along. We will be asking for your help throughout, and really appreciate your willingness to step up on behalf of our industry.
Moran is well known for his support of HSUS causes, so that it is not surprising that he would bring forward the amendment–what was disappointing to so many of us is that the Committee did not honor our request to not inflict any more damage on the horse industry until after they have had a chance to review the findings of the GAO Report on the welfare of horses and the effect on the equine economy of the plants closing.
That long anticipated report is done. It was delivered to USDA last Friday, and is due to Congress within two weeks of that date.
Our message remains the same. There is no disagreement in that we all expect horses to be well cared for and not abused from birth to death. The only disagreement boils down to a private property rights issue. The veterinarians agree that there are three humane ways to end a horse’s life, by bullet, by captive bolt, by lethal drug. Bullets and captive bolts provide instantaneous insensibility. Lethal drugs can cause many long minutes of suffering before the animal finally succumbs, which many of us have witnessed with our own eyes, and results in a large, expensive, toxic drug ridden carcass that cannot be buried for fear of leaching into water tables, cannot be left above ground for fear of other animals feeding on the carcass and dying, cannot even be rendered where that is available because the drugs survive the rendering process–basically results in a
thousand pounds of toxic waste.
On the other hand, a horse in a processing plant dies instantaneously with a minimum of pain or stress and their meat is welcomed by a thriving worldwide market providing the horse owner who chooses to receive some return on their investment a decent price. From a humanitarian viewpoint the result is the same, the horse has been dealt with in the best possible way. The only difference is whether the carcass is used or disposed of–for some that means a burial for an old friend, for others it is a bit of income that can be reinvested in better or more useful animals to support their livelihood. No one should have the right to dictate to someone else whether or not they respect their horse’s life by making sure it is not wasted, or dictate how that carcass should be disposed of–only the owner of the horse should determine that.
Secondly there is the issue of Congress once again issuing edicts that prevent states from developing their own economies. Strongly worded resolutions from the National Conference of State Legislatures, the National Association of Counties, the National Congress of American Indians and other such organizations reflect the position of state, local, and tribal governments and have called on Congress not to pass such measures.
The fact is that the well developed projects in Wyoming , North Dakota , Oregon , Montana , Missouri and elsewhere would create over a Thousand good paying jobs almost overnight with the ability to access the export market. It is ironic that the Ag Appropriations process funds millions of dollars of government inspected beef, pork, lamb, and chicken FOR EXPORT, but one of Rep. Moran’s main arguments was that the USDA shouldn’t inspect meat only meant for export!
Instead our excess, unusable, unwanted horses must endure the sorry choice of being killed, albeit humanely, but totally wasted; or trucked for thousands of miles to other countries to be processed where we have no control over how that is done (not to mention their economy gets enhanced, not ours, we’re now importing millions of tons of horse meat for zoo diet and ethnic markets); or being abandoned to fend for themselves where they inevitably die an agonizing death of starvation where they all too often become the victim of predators and have their guts and their butts eaten by wolves or coyotes while they are still alive (google the recent wolf kill of a prized horse in Darby, Montana to see what wolves do to horses). Look up A Million Horses.com – 400% increase in reports of abandoned, neglected horses every year since the plants closed. That is
Many aspects of Rep. Moran’s testimony were disturbing, misleading, and false. The fact is that allowing horse plants to pay for their own processing fees would add zero cost, and require zero appropriation, not the $5 million that he claimed.
To say that the only benefactors of horse processing are foreign countries is almost beyond belief when the secondary market for an entire sector of animal agriculture is eliminated–a 30% to 80% drop in value of horses nationwide with the commensurate loss of income and assets to our U.S. horse owners.
To say that Americans do not use horse meat is crazy when three quarters of the world does, and we have a long and honorable history in this country of using and enjoying a meat that is so healthy and nutritious–twice the protein, half the fat, high in iron and other beneficial nutrients with, for instance, eighteen times the omega three fatty acids.
To say that all horses are full of toxic drugs is an exaggeration so outrageous as to be beyond belief–number one, the vast majority of horses who are not performance or sport horses ever receive any kind of veterinary medicine in their entire lives, those that are can be held for an appropriate withdrawal period before processing depending on the drug, and there are tests for both live animals before processing and for carcasses afterwards that can detect any drug residue down to the parts per trillion–combine that with the fact that EU has NEVER found any significant drug residue in any carcass in any horse plant in the United States, Canada, or Mexico, EVER. It strikes us as a bit ingenuous that people so opposed to eating horse meat are raising food safety issues as their argument against it.
The brutal truth is that the entire United States equine industry is in the process of liquidating and downsizing. Until we see the GAO Report no one has any accurate accounting of how many jobs and livelihoods have already been lost. It is no exaggeration to note that without a responsible and regulated option for processing to deal with excess otherwise unusable and unwanted horses that we will inevitable lose another 200,000 to 300,000 jobs. Without a secondary outlet, the whole market has plummeted, breeding has essentially stopped.
Fewer horses means fewer jobs means fewer horse shows, fewer rodeos, fewer horse trailers, fewer training dollars, fewer veterinary needs, fewer saddles, bridles, less need for feed–that all amounts to a devastating economic contraction that is destroying our prized American horseback culture.
Our efforts to restore the private property rights of horse owners, to rejuvenate an entire sector of animal agriculture, to create jobs and opportunity, and to preserve our cultures and livelihoods will continue.
NOTE: Fiscal 2012 Agriculture Appropriations/Meatpacking Inspections of Horses Amendment offered by Rep. James Moran, D-Va would bar the use of funds to pay the salaries for federal employees to inspect horses at U.S. meatpacking houses and prohibit processors from voluntarily paying for USDA inspection services on a fee based arrangement as is currently done for bison, elk, and other so-called exotic meats. The Amendment was adopted 24-21: R 8-20; D 16-1; I 0-0; May 31, 2011. Roll Call No. 1 http://tinyurl.com/6j88otg