SAOVA

November 28, 2014

Have you visited the SAOVA website recently?  We would like to remind you
that our website has a variety of information, data, and tools to assist
your research and work on legislation.  Each year we track and analyze a
number of bills at both the Federal and State level

As part of the effort to monitor and expose the animal rights agenda, we
have the HSUS TAFA Conference Special Report posted as a page which can be shared or downloaded as a PDF file.  The HSUS Timeline not only outlines the history of HSUS and its many radical campaigns, but includes links to
samples of the propaganda aimed at our children, court cases including the
Feld Entertainment RICO lawsuit, and other documentation of the HSUS agenda.

Extensive information is posted exposing the Animal Legal Defense Fund
(ALDF), their non-stop lawsuits and long campaign to establish animal abuser
registries.

The site includes a “Hound Hunting Fact Sheet” and a new 2-page handout
“HSUS – The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing” for your use and distribution.

In the SAOVA Archives, we have tracked the history of HSUS federal
legislation to license in-home, retail dog breeders and sellers, beginning
with former Senator Rick Santorum’s Puppy Protection Act 2001 and continuing through the Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety Act (PUPS) 2013.

We plan to make a number of additions to the site in the coming year.  SAOVA
works for you; remember to visit the site occasionally to see what is new.

Thank you for reading.  Best Wishes to you and your families for a Happy
Thanksgiving weekend.

Susan Wolf
Sportsmen’s and Animal Owners’ Voting Alliance
Working to identify and elect supportive legislators

saova@earthlink.net

http://saova.org

 

REQUIREMENTS FOR IMPORTATION OF LIVE DOGS

There are new rules in place for importing live dogs from any part of the
world into the continental United States or Hawaii for purposes of resale,
research, or veterinary treatment. The dog must be accompanied by an import
permit issued by APHIS and be imported into the continental United States or
Hawaii within 30 days after the proposed date of arrival stated in the
import permit. The final rule went into effect Nov. 17, 2014. USDA Animal
Care posted a new factsheet that explains the requirements for individuals
seeking to import live dogs into the United States.

http://tinyurl.com/lwrkvx3

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also has regulations onthe importation of dogs and cats into the United States. Importers who bring
dogs to the United States must make sure that their dogs are adequately
vaccinated against rabies before arrival. In general, dogs must be
vaccinated against rabies at least 30 days prior to entry, except for dogs
originated or located for 6 months in areas considered to be free of rabies.
Puppies must not be vaccinated against rabies before 3 months of age, so the
youngest that a puppy can be imported into the United States is 4 months of
age.  Importers may need to obtain a confinement agreement from the CDC, for puppies prior to U.S arrival.  Entry may be refused if dogs/puppies arrive
without this agreement or vaccination.  Visit the CDC web site at
http://tinyurl.com/33r65xu for more information on their regulations.

USFWS EVALUATING NORTH CAROLINA RED WOLF PROGRAM

A report on the Red Wolf Recovery Program in eastern North Carolina is
highly critical of various aspects of the nearly 30-year old effort to
re-introduce the endangered animal into the wild. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service (USFWS) contracted out the report to evaluate the program. Currently
about 100 red wolves live in a five-county area in and around the Alligator
River National Wildlife refuge. The USFWS spends more than $1 million per
year on the Red Wolf Recovery Program. The report is part of a larger effort
to evaluate it and determine its future. Coyotes have interbred with the
wolves and some wolves, mistaken for coyotes, have been shot. A ban on
hunting coyotes in the five-county area was recently lifted. A decision on
the fate of the program is expected in early 2015.  Report:

http://www.fws.gov/redwolf/evaluation.html

ALDF FILES LAWSUIT AGAINST MENDOCINO COUNTY CA

The ALDF, Center for Biological Diversity, Project Coyote, Natural Resources
Defense Council, and Animal Welfare Institute, and a local Mendocino
resident filed a lawsuit against Mendocino County in the Superior Court of
California, County of Mendocino, for violating the California Environmental
Quality Act. The lawsuit challenges the county’s failure to conduct the
legally-required environmental review of its $142,356 taxpayer-funded
contract with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Wildlife Services.
The contract authorizes use of the Wildlife Services lethal predator control
program to address livestock-predator issues.

KIDS NATIONWIDE REJECT BLACKFISH

When a kid in Malibu, California forced the rest of her classmates to miss
out on a day at SeaWorld because she was misled by Blackfish, it made
national news.  Awesome Ocean, a group of educators, Marine Mammal
veterinarians and trainers, are learning that children of all ages are
rejecting the radical agenda being shoved in their faces and asking for
alternatives. Not only are they analyzing the source material the school is
presenting to them, they’re demanding they be allowed to think critically by
hearing both sides of the issue, which is a victory for anyone interested in
education.

Their website has stories of kids who are standing up to radical activists
and demanding that they hear the full story and learn the truth.

AUSTIN, TX.  When one of Austin’s teachers announced that they would be
required to watch Blackfish in school, Austin stood up and demanded that
they allow a SeaWorld trainer from SeaWorld San Antonio to come in
afterwards to comment about the film. The teacher responded, “We don’t have
time for that.” Austin quickly countered, “Then we don’t have time for
Blackfish.” The teacher agreed and the class was spared 80 minutes of
out-of-context YouTube clips and propaganda.  Read more at Awesome Ocean http://tinyurl.com/ol5mkdt

CONGRESSMAN ED WHITFIELD ETHICS INVESTIGATION

An independent investigation into Kentucky Representative Ed Whitfield found
there is “substantial reason to believe” that the legislator unethically
facilitated the lobbying efforts of his wife, who is a registered lobbyist
for the legislative arm of the Humane Society of the United States.

The House rules prohibit this brand of spousal scheming, explicitly
forbidding lawmakers’ staff “from making any lobbying contact.with that
individual’s spouse if that spouse is a lobbyist.for the purpose of
influencing legislation.” But accusations against Rep. Whitfield contend
that the Congressman and his wife violated these guidelines.

According to a report by the Board of the Office of Congressional Ethics
(OCE), Connie Harriman-Whitfield allegedly contacted her husband’s
congressional staff “on numerous occasions,” scheduling “as many as 100
meetings with other congressional offices” through his staff. The 26-page
OCE report quotes email exchanges in which Harriman-Whitfield appears to use her unique access for calculated professional gain. In one such email, for
example, Harriman-Whitfield details the legislative advantages of her
marital situation: “Neither HSUS or HSLF [the legislative arm of HSUS] will
be able to do well setting up meetings with Republican offices.That is why
Ed’s office was so crucial in setting up meetings between Republicans and
third parties.” According to the Board Report, this use of “Ed’s office” was
particularly important in gaining Republican support for HSUS-backed
anti-horse soring legislation-a bill sponsored, incidentally, by Rep.
Whitfield. More at Humane Watch http://tinyurl.com/mcnovax

Whitfield’s chief of staff Cory Hicks, who navigated the delicate ethics
issue involving his boss’ wife, resigned to take a communications and public
affairs position at a Fortune 500 company. Hicks left Whitfield’s office
this month amid the probe over interaction between the office and the
congressman’s wife, a registered lobbyist. He had served as chief of staff
since January 2013 and moved up through the ranks of Whitfield’s office
starting with an internship in 2003. (Source: Legistorm)

ELECTION CONTRIBUTIONS TO CAMPAIGNS

The Humane Society Legislative Fund (HSLF) reported total contributions of
$125,500 to House Democrats and $74,000 to House Republicans this election cycle.  Recipients receiving the highest donations were Jeff Denham (R, CA) and Tony Strickland (R, CA) with $10,000 each.  Strickland did not win
election.  Second highest donation of $7,500 went to Nancy Pelosi (D, CA).
Direct campaign contributions to Senate Democrats were $63,000 and to Senate Republicans $17,000.  HSLF Independent Expenditures to date total $1,018,108 with an amazing $640,923 going to support the campaign of Gary Peters (D, MI) and $133,301 to Jeff Merkley (D, OR).

October 24, 2014

News Briefs and Updates

Dear SAOVA Friends,

Campaign financing information has been released by the Federal Election Commission (FEC) that includes contributions through September 30.  We have a few notable updates for you from these figures. The Humane Society Legislative Fund (HSLF) spent a total of $78,493 supporting the campaign of Congressman Gary Peters (D) to win the open Senate seat race in Michigan against challenger Terri Lynn Land (R).  A close second is Senator Jeff Merkley (D, OR) where HSLF has contributed $75,150 to assist his re-election.

We reported previously that HSLF had contributed $41,794 to the campaign of Tony Strickland (R) in the California district 25 open Congressional seat race against Steve Knight (R).  Rounding out the list of top expenditures is the HSLF contribution of $50,941 to Congressman Bruce Braley (D) challenging Joni Ernst (R) for the open Iowa Senate seat.

As of October 23, HSUS/HSLF contributed approximately $2 million to Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting, headed by HSUS state director Katie Hansberry, in support of their ballot initiative.  Question 1 on the November ballot would ban the use of bait, dogs and traps for bear hunting in the state. The current report from the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices shows only one percent of the campaign funds raised by supporters of Question 1 actually came from Maine donors. In addition, HSUS/Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting filed a lawsuit in September requesting an injunction against the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to prevent them from speaking out publicly against Question 1 and to have all content opposing Question 1 removed from their website.

Last week Superior Court Justice Joyce Wheeler rejected the injunction request.  “Restricting speech on contested public issues is directly contrary to the public interest, which favors a robust and dynamic public discourse,” Wheeler said in her 15-page decision. “It is [for] the voters, not the plaintiffs or the courts, to assess the relative merits of conflicting speech.  Judge Wheeler continued, “The public interest would be adversely affected if plaintiffs’ request for a temporary restraining order were granted when DIF&W’s speech is on topics squarely within its competence as governor of statutory directives from the Legislature.”   HSUS/Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting plans to appeal the decision.

Please read and share the rest of our updates. The world not only belongs to those who show up, it’s controlled by the best informed and most motivated.  Make your vote count on November 4th!

Susan Wolf Sportsmen’s and Animal Owners’ Voting Alliance – Working to identify and elect supportive legislators

saova@earthlink.net

http://saova.org

ALDF PETITIONS TO REGULATE GREENHOUSE EMISSIONS

SAN FRANCISCO — On October 16, the national nonprofit Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) filed a formal rulemaking petition with the California Air Resources Board to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from animal agriculture, as it does for the energy and transportation sectors. The petition calls on the agency to require “factory farms” to report greenhouse gas emissions to the Air Resources Board, which will “cap” these emissions. California’s groundbreaking cap-and-trade program stems from the state’s 2006 Global Warming Solutions Act.  ALDF’s first-of-its-kind state petition asks the Air Resources Board to include animal agriculture in that program. California uses more than 25 million acres of land for agriculture. “Animal agriculture is systematically responsible for cruelty to millions of animals, pollution of natural resources, and health problems in our state,” said ALDF Executive Director Stephen Wells. “Our state agencies should regulate pollution from the animal agriculture industry like they do for cars and trucks.”

YET ANOTHER HSUS AWARD

The inaugural “Humane Filmmaker” award will be presented this month to Director Darren Aronofsky for using computer-generated images instead of animals in the movie “Noah”.  According to HSUS the film shows that animals can be a large part of entertainment production without risking their welfare. “As more directors like Aronofsky choose digital alternatives in film, TV, and advertising, animal actors could become as obsolete as celluloid film” said Debbie Leahy, HSUS Manager of Captive Wildlife Protection.

PERDUE/HSUS JOINT PRESS RELEASE

October 13, 2014.  Perdue Farms, Inc. and The Humane Society of the United States are pleased to announce the settlement of two federal cases in New Jersey and Florida concerning Perdue’s “humanely raised” claim on its Harvestland chicken labels. The settlement requires the plaintiffs to dismiss their claims with prejudice, in exchange for Perdue agreeing to remove the “Humanely Raised” label claim from its Harvestland chicken packaging.

The proposed class action cases were filed in 2010 and 2013 by individual consumers who contended that Perdue’s “Humanely Raised” claim on the packaging of its Harvestland brand chicken was misleading. Perdue vigorously opposed plaintiffs’ claims.

“We are pleased to see the claim removed from Harvestland’s packaging, which we view to be misleading,” said Peter Petersan, Director of Animal Protection Litigation for the HSUS. “We will continue to work to protect both animals and consumers.”

“Perdue rejects the plaintiffs’ allegations and maintains that its labels are not misleading in any way. Nonetheless, it has agreed to discontinue the labeling claim at issue,” said Herb Frerichs, General Councel for Perdue Farms. “Perdue is committed to treating animals with respect and to ensure their health and safety. We are pleased this lawsuit has been resolved.”

Source: HSUS press release http://tinyurl.com/pvd59w7

SANCTIONS ISSUED IN ‘PUPPY MILL’ ONLINE DEFAMATION SUIT

Burlington County Superior Court Judge M. Patricia Richmond awarded $25,000 in legal fees on October 16 to Clifford Mintz of East Windsor N.J. to be paid by plaintiffs Donna Roberts and Dawn Abrams. The fee decision comes four years after Richmond granted summary judgment dismissing Roberts’ and

Abrams’ claims against Mintz.

Mintz had been ranting on his blog against Roberts and Abrams, accusing them of running a puppy mill.  According to reports the dispute began when Mintz purchased a second dog from the breeders.  Mintz claimed he thought the dog was another purebred, but that it turned out to be an unhealthy mix-breed.   Roberts and Abrams claimed they told him the dog had been rescued from a pet owner who could not care for him.

Roberts and Abrams compared the blogging attacks to cyber-bullying and after two years filed a defamation suit against Mintz; however, the suit was dismissed on First Amendment grounds by Superior Court Judge Patricia Lebon.  HSUS had joined the lawsuit in defense of Mintz, arguing the suit was designed to stop him from warning the public through protected speech about the unscrupulous business practices of dog breeders.

NATIONAL SHERIFF’S ASSOCIATION, HSUS JOINT PROJECT

John Thompson, executive director of the National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA), believes animal abuse is too common.  “So if we can stop a case of animal cruelty, we may intercept violent crimes against people as well”, says Thompson.

The NSA was instrumental in working with the FBI to have animal cruelty offenses, including animal neglect, listed as a separate category in the Uniform Crime Report (UCR), the prime source of information on crime in the U.S.  Animal cruelty crimes will now be classified as distinct Group A offenses, joining other major crimes such as arson, assault, and homicide, and will require the reporting of both incidents and arrests. The reported crimes will be categorized as simple/gross neglect; intentional abuse and torture; organized abuse; and animal sexual abuse.

NSA in partnership with ICE BlackBox and the HSUS have launched a new feature within the ICE BlackBox app to report animal abusers. The ICE BlackBox app not only records the abuse, but also notes the GPS coordinates.  When someone begins recording an event, the recording is uploaded to the NSA secure servers in Alexandria VA to its National Law Enforcement Center on Animal Abuse (NLECAA).  Kaema Akpan is heading up that effort as the center’s attorney and will filter the videos to the right police agencies.  According to the NLECAA website, HSUS-funded agents will be used to assist in alerting local authorities and district attorneys.

Thompson noted that local law enforcement departments taking part in pilot programs tied directly to ICE BlackBox would instantly receive recordings of animal abuse from local citizens.

In the HSUS press release Thompson said: “We encourage everyone who has a smartphone and cares about protecting animals and our communities to download this new app.”  Thompson added, “We want to give special thanks to Cesar Millan and the Cesar Millan Foundation for their contribution in the public service announcement video that was shown at the news conference.” This PSA is the first in a series on reporting animal abuse with the ICE BlackBox App.

The app originally developed for the National Neighborhood Watch program was modified to allow the public to report animal abuse.

Sources: ABC News; AL.Com; HSUS press release http://tinyurl.com/n6gghcw

National Sheriffs’ Association website http://tinyurl.com/kdru9l2

National Sheriffs’ Association media contact: Susan Crow scrow@sheriffs.org

 

October 9, 2014

Feel free to cross post

SAOVA updated 2014 election website

Dear SAOVA Friends,

The Sportsmen’s and Animal Owners’ Voting Alliance (SAOVA) today unveiled its updated 2014 Election website at <http://saova.org/> http://saova.org/

The site contains our endorsements of more than 250 candidates running for Congress in the elections on November 4, 2014. In addition,we have provided our analysis of candidates in several state legislative contests.

SAOVA ENDORSED candidates understand the anti-hunting, anti-animal ownership threat of animal rights ideology, and have voting records or exceptionally strong values that demonstrate their commitment to protecting our interests and not burdening us with unnecessary, restrictive regulation. Animal Rightist Endorsed politicians are the problem. They are formally endorsed or highly rated by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), and they consistently vote for legislation to strip us of our rights to hunt, fish,and own pets and livestock.

Key incumbents endorsed in this election include:

Mike Coffman (R-CO 6)

Rick Scott (R-FL Governor)

John Barrow (D-GA 12)

Pat Roberts (R-KS Senate)

Lee Terry (R-NE 2)

Kay Hagan (D-NC Senate)

Important SAOVA candidate endorsements include:

Dan Sullivan (R-AK Senate)

Steve Knight (R-CA 25)

Brian Nestande (R-CA 36)

Cory Gardner (R-CO Senate)

Bruce Rauner (R-IL Governor)

Mike Bost (R-IL 12)

Bobby Schilling (R-IL 17)

Joni Ernst (R-IA Senate)

Bill Cassidy (R-LA Senate)

Steve Daines (R-MT Senate)

Alex Mooney (R-WV 2)

Evan Jenkins (R-WV 3)

There are also ballot initiatives for voters in several states. Maine voters must decide on Question 1, the Bear Referendum – an HSUS initiative which would ban the use of bait, dogs or traps in bear hunting. The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, Maine’s Bear Biologists, and Maine Game Wardens are opposed to Question 1 based upon over 40 years of scientific research conducted by state wildlife biologists in Maine. The state already has one of the largest bear populations in the country, estimated at over 30,000 bears.

Vote NO on Question 1.

Right to Hunt and Fish Amendments will be on the ballots in Alabama and Mississippi to ensure the continuation of hunting, fishing, and trapping traditions for future generations. If passed, Alabama and Mississippi will join 17 other states in ensuring constitutional protections for their citizens.

Please take the time to visit and study our analyses. We make no pretense of evaluating candidates’ positions on national security, taxes, education, medical care or social issues. To the degree that hunting and animal ownership are important to you, we offer this review to be combined with other, personal considerations to determine your vote on November 4, 2014.

The world not only belongs to those who show up, it’s controlled by the best informed and most motivated. Vote on November 4th!

October 7, 2014

SPORTSMEN ENDORSE JONI ERNST FOR U.S. SENATE

The Sportsmen’s and Animal Owners’ Voting Alliance (SAOVA) today endorsed Joni Ernst for U.S. Senate in Iowa. SAOVA’s Director Susan Wolf announced that Ernst shares our concerns regarding the need to protect our traditions and livelihoods from overzealous regulation. Ernst grew up on a hog farm and remains strongly connected to Iowa’s agricultural community. As a member of the Iowa State Senate, Ernst had a proven record supporting the interests of animal owners in all sectors as well as the state’s sportsmen. Ernst will be a strong voice in Congress for hunting sportsmen, animal owners, and livestock producers.

Make a difference in Washington. Vote for Joni Ernst on November 4.

The Sportsmen’s and Animal Owners’ Voting Alliance (SAOVA) is a nationwide, nonpartisan group of volunteers seeking to elect supportive legislators. Our members hunt, fish and own livestock, dogs, cats and other pets. For moreinformation about SAOVA visit http://saova.org

 

SAOVA ENDORSEMENT

Sportsmen Endorse Dr. Brian Babin for Congress

The Sportsmen’s and Animal Owners’ Voting Alliance (SAOVA) today endorsed Dr. Brian Babin for Texas district 36 congressional race.  SAOVA’s Director Susan Wolf indicated that Babin is a candidate who could make a substantial difference in Washington for hunting sportsmen and animal owners.

Babin took the time to complete and return SAOVA’s non-incumbent candidate questionnaire.  It is clear that he understands the issues facing sportsmen, animal owners, and livestock producers today. We can be assured Dr. Babin, an avid outdoorsman, will work diligently to protect our rights and livelihoods.

Make a difference in Washington

Support and vote for Dr. Brian Babin!

Contact Susan Wolf saova@earthlink.net

 

September 29, 2014

For Immediate Release

Sportsmen Endorse Bill Cassidy for U.S. Senate

The Sportsmen’s and Animal Owners’ Voting Alliance (SAOVA) today endorsed Bill Cassidy for U.S. Senate in Louisiana. SAOVA’s Director Susan Wolf stated, “We can rest assured that Bill Cassidy will stand strong to protect the values, rights and traditions of sportsmen in Louisiana and across the country from ever expanding federal regulation.”

Cassidy’s record in Congress has continually earned our strong endorsement. Responding to our non-incumbent candidate survey in 2008, he demonstrated even then his commitment to preserving all animal use sectors and his belief that states should manage their own wildlife populations.

Wolf continued, “Bill Cassidy is a proven leader who will protect and defend our sporting heritage and traditions. Vote for Bill Cassidy on November 4th

Te Sportsmen’s and Animal Owners’ Voting Alliance (SAOVA) is a nationwide, nonpartisan group of volunteers working to elect supportive legislators. Our members hunt, fish and own livestock, dogs, cats and other pets. For more

information about SAOVA visit <http://saova.org> http://saova.org

Contact: Susan Wolf

<mailto:saova@earthlink.net> saova@earthlink.net

 

September 24, 2014

SPECIAL REPORT-HSUS TAKING ACTION FOR ANIMALS 2014

SAOVA Friends,

The HSUS annual conference Taking Action for Animals (TAFA) was held June 27-30, 2014 in Washington DC.  HSUS describes the conference as one that promotes “mainstream solutions” and provides attendees education to become a better advocate for animals.   In other words, TAFA serves as a huge pep rally for animal rightists to connect, bolster their morale, and in the words of HSUS: “recharge their batteries.”  In his conference speech Wayne Pacelle told the audience, “TAFA is an attempt to attract the elite in the animal protection movement to help train you and educate you so then you can fan out all over the country and spread these messages and heighten your own level of effectiveness as an advocate.”

The various conference speakers included many of the old guard from the animal rights industry:  Gene Bauer and Bruce Friedrich (Farm Sanctuary); Carole Baskin (Big Cat Rescue); Sara Amundson (Humane Society Legislative Fund); Keith Dane (HSUS Equine Protection); Jonathan Lovvorn (HSUS VP Animal Protection and Litigation); Nancy Perry (Sr. VP Government Relations, ASPCA).

Nick Cooney and Nathan Runkle from Mercy for Animals (MFA) were also among the speakers.  MFA is probably best known for their undercover videos of animal agriculture which Runkle calls the “lifeblood” of the organization. MFA considers itself part of a “social justice” movement where portraying production agriculture as harsh and cruel will move people toward a vegan diet.

Although not her first appearance, a newer face at TAFA was Lisa Fletcher, host of “The Stream” on Al Jazeera America and wife of Wayne Pacelle, who describes herself as a friend to all animals and vegan food maniac.  You may remember reading recently that Fletcher provided a platform for longtime radical activist Paul Shapiro, HSUS VP on Farm Animal Protection, on a segment of her show covering new USDA regulations.

Other TAFA scheduled speakers included, State Rep. Eddie Lucio III (TX); Jill Kline (Education and Advocacy Manager, Wisconsin Humane Society); Christine Coughlin (Pres. Minnesota Voters for Animal Protection); and Nicole Paquette (VP, HSUS Wildlife Protection/former Texas State Director).

TAFA also offered a series of workshops for the attendees.

“Becoming a Political Animal” workshop was moderated by HSUS director and former member of Animal Liberation Front, John Goodwin. Presenters included former state senator Roy Afflerbach (PA); Matt Dominguez, HSUS Public Policy Manager Farm Animal Protection; and Wayne Pacelle. Workshop attendees were instructed on effective lobbying at all levels of government from city council to Congress.

“Giving Farm Animals a Voice” workshop presenters included Erica Meier, Executive Director, Compassion Over Killing, and Kristie Middleton, Corporate Outreach Manager, HSUS Farm Animal Protection who shared strategies for effectively waging initiatives against farm animal cruelty.

Kelly Peterson, HSUS Senior Vice President for State Affairs moderated a workshop with former and current legislators to teach activists what “humane legislators” need to hear in order to pass animal protection laws.  The discussion panel included Delegate Eric Luedtke (MD); Representative Diana Urban (CT); and former Tennessee state Representative Eric Swafford, now HSUS Director for Rural Outreach and Development. We will cover this portion of the conference in more detail in a later article.

THE HSUS PLAN AND PROGRAMS

When Pacelle addressed the audience his speech centered on the four policy sections that HSUS uses to break down the animal protection movement. They are: Public Education and Awareness; Hands on Caring; Corporate Reform and Corporate Policy; and Public Policy and Enforcement.

Pacelle noted it is now a universal value in our society to oppose cruelty to animals.  With anti-cruelty statutes in every state carrying felony penalties it reinforces the fact that people who are cruel to animals are going to pay a price to society, either with incarceration or fines.  Pacelle continued, “That is the meaningful sort of legal framework for us to build upon.”

As part of the HSUS “hands-on” programs, teams of staff and volunteers are assembled for disaster response, animal rescue, and for animal fighting and puppy mill cases.  According to Pacelle, HSUS can leverage images from these programs to raise public awareness that animals are in crisis situations every day across the country.

Pacelle then covered the third portion which is Corporate Reform.  Pacelle stated, “We live in a capitalist society where corporations produce the products that so many of us consume. They employ millions and millions of people. We want them as part of their broader mission of social responsibility to include animal welfare. We ask them to try to reach a higher standard. So this is where the anti-animal testing policies come in and the no gestation crate policies. This is vital work for us and we in HSUS spend a tremendous amount of time on it.”’

The final segment of Pacelle’s speech, which focused on Public Policy and Enforcement, should be a major wakeup call for everyone on how far the HSUS tentacles continue to invade our communities pretending to dispense mainstream values.

Pacelle introduced this segment saying that laws in a civil society are not only designed to keep order but to reflect the values which are basic to society.  The laws are not designed to change everybody; they are designed to deal with those who are increasingly viewed as (moral) outliers in society. The law addresses these outlier cases of people who are engaging in conduct that is no longer acceptable. The conduct may have been acceptable at one point, but it is no longer acceptable today.  Pacelle reminded listeners that it is up to them to advance social progress for animals just like the other great causes of civil rights, anti-slavery, and women’s rights.

He then announced that HSUS now had State Councils in place in half the states in order to expand the HSUS reach and support HSUS state directors.  The councils cover equine and farm animal protection, law enforcement, faith, and park animal protection and HSUS plans to have these councils in all 50 states.  Pacelle informed the audience that these structures were being created to empower those committed to the animal rights industry and to advance the ideals of social reform.  He reminded listeners that social reform is not perfectly linear with consistent forward progress.  Felony and increased animal cruelty penalties, ending use of gestation crates, corporations enacting animal welfare policies sometimes move a step or two forward toward progress and then a step back.  To quote Pacelle, “That’s the nature of a social movement — especially when you’ve got big adversaries.”

We may be used to the animal rights rhetoric and vegan agenda; however the really disturbing part of this new “structure” plan is the HSUS District Leader Program now in place.  This program is designed to engage people in all 435 Congressional Districts and have those District Leaders lead political efforts to advance federal legislation by concentrating on influencing members of Congress.

Below is the ambitious position description for a District Leader as posted on the HSUS website.

The purpose is to help HSUS advance and accelerate animal protection priorities for companion animals, farm animals, and wildlife with legislation at the local, state, and federal levels.  Under the guidance of HSUS staff, the Leader is to develop an action plan for successful completion of one goal related to Legislative Advocacy; one goal for protection of Companion Animals, Eating with a Conscience, or Wildlife Protection; and one goal related to growing the “movement.”  The Leader is also expected to participate in the state Humane Lobby Day.  The Leaders are expected to organize grassroots activities, attend community events and meetings, and will be given a ‘Toolkit’ with program ideas.

Qualifications for District Leader positions include a commitment to the mission of HSUS; willingness to cultivate strong relationships with elected officials and lawmakers; and willingness to recruit new members, among other requirements and abilities.  It should be noted that these are volunteer positions and HSUS membership or greater philanthropic commitment is required.

Pacelle explained to listeners that this new structure being developed for the District Leader program was very important.  It is not just political.  The Leaders will work with school districts to establish Meatless Mondays; connect with small farmers to unite them against “factory farms;” work with animal shelters on spay/neuter initiatives in the community.  The program is designed to build an army in every community in the United States and it is well underway.

In addition to the District Leaders, HSUS plans to include within this framework County Leaders in all 3,100 counties across the U.S.  Quoting Pacelle, “Our ambition is to have thousands and thousands of people involved.  If we get this done, we’re going to be hell on wheels.

The world not only belongs to those who show up, it’s controlled by the best informed and most motivated. Cross posting is encouraged.

Susan Wolf

Sportsmen’s & Animal Owners’ Voting Alliance

Working to Identify and Elect Supportive Legislators

saova@earthlink.net  or cubhill@earthlink.net

September 22, 2014

RE the federal USDA Lawsuit: Please donate to SAOVA with this great “matching donations” offer below! For an update on the USDA lawsuit, visit www.keepourdomesticanimals.com To DOUBLE your donation, http://saova.org/support.html . Why this lawsuit isn’t vocally and financially supported by ALL species of ALL national animal organizations is truly a mystery to us. This is a time for everyone to work together. Lawsuit Court date is October 9th. Frank Losey has been helping the attorney of record … pro bono … and his efforts are deeply appreciated by RPOA. An AKC judge would have never been hired by APHIS if it weren’t for this lawsuit, although it’s just window dressing. Eternal vigilance, don’t forget it!

Please Post on Facebook, Blogs, Forward and Crosspost! ***The Sportsmen’s & Animal Owners’ Voting Alliance (SAOVA) will accept donations earmarked for support of the Associated Dog Clubs of New York State (ADCNYS) lawsuit against the USDA and HSUS to block enforcement of the “retail pet store” rule that requires thousands of small-scale breeders to be licensed and inspected by the federal government. SAOVA will match donations received up to $500. *** http://saova.org/support.html Your animals will be glad you did!

August 19, 2014

New Agency Rules Published August 2014

SAOVA friends,

Two new agency rules are now in effect.  It is important for you to review the rules and determine any potential impact on your breeding program or business.

The rule currently gathering the most publicity is the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) regulation for importing young dogs.  HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle is boasting that this rule is a blow against puppy mills abroad.  It is not surprising that he would work this to his advantage for publicity without mentioning the same rule also impacts rescue imports.  The new rule will slow the importation of foreign strays and street dogs for resale in U.S. shelters.

We find it interesting that after Congress directed this import rule in 2008 APHIS spent six years finalizing it.  In 2006 Congress enacted the PETS Act which directed State and local emergency preparedness plans to include household pets and service animals. In response, APHIS initiated a rule making process for licensed entities to also develop emergency contingency plans.  APHIS issued a final rule December 2012; however in July 2013 USDA issued a stay of the Animal Welfare Act Contingency Plan Regulation.  Moving forward to 2012, HSUS submitted a petition to APHIS requesting revision of the retail pet rule to include licensing small breeders inside their homes and all sight-unseen sales.  APHIS managed to accomplish the entire rule making process between May 2012 and September 2013.

 

Thanks for reading. Cross posting is encouraged.

 

Susan Wolf

Sportsmen’s & Animal Owners’ Voting Alliance

Working to Identify and Elect Supportive Legislators

saova@earthlink.net or cubhill@earthlink.net

 

IMPORTATION OF LIVE DOGS, Docket No. APHIS-2009-0053

Monday, August 18, 2014 Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) issued a final rule for Importation of Live Dogs which goes into effect November 17, 2014.   In the 2008 Farm Bill Congress added a section to the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) which would restrict the importation of certain live dogs.  APHIS began the rule making process in September 2011 and received over 74,000 comments.

The rule prohibits the importation of dogs, with limited exceptions, from any part of the world into the continental United States or Hawaii for purposes of resale, research, or veterinary treatment, unless the dogs are in good health, have received all necessary vaccinations, and are at least 6 months of age.

The term ‘‘resale’’ includes, but is not limited to, any transfer of ownership or control of imported dogs to another person, for more than de minimis consideration.  The term de minimis has the standard dictionary meaning, which, according to Merriam-Webster, is “lacking significance or importance; so minor as to merit disregard.”  The term ‘‘consideration’’ has the standard dictionary meaning, which is defined by Merriam-Webster as ‘‘the inducement to a contract or other legal transaction; specifically:  an act or forbearance or the promise thereof done or given by one party in return for the act or promise of another.”  The rule does not consider an “adoption fee” to be de minimis consideration and therefore there is no exemption for dogs rescued in other countries and brought to the U.S. for resale.

This rule does not apply when there is no transfer of ownership or control of a dog to another person after the dog’s importation into the United States. Therefore, dogs imported by a person who will use the dog as a personal pet, for sport, for shows or competitions, breeding or for training as working dogs do not fall under this rule.

Under this rule, dogs may be imported for veterinary treatment without meeting all of the age, health, and vaccination requirements only if a licensed veterinarian in the country of export certifies that the dog is in need of veterinary treatment that cannot be obtained in the country of export.

Dogs imported for use in research, tests, or experiments at a research facility are exempt provided that satisfactory evidence has been submitted to APHIS along with import permit application.

RULE REQUIREMENTS

Dogs must be accompanied by an import permit issued by APHIS and imported into the continental United States or Hawaii within 30 days after the proposed date of arrival stated in the import permit.

Each dog must be accompanied by an original health certificate issued in English by a licensed veterinarian with a valid license to practice veterinary medicine in the country of export stating that the dog is at least 6 months of age and has been vaccinated in the past 12 months for distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvovirus, and parainfluenza virus at a frequency that provides  continuous protection of the dog from those diseases and is in accordance with currently accepted practices as cited in veterinary medicine reference guides.  The health certificate must also state that the dog is free of infectious disease that would endanger the dog or public health. Each dog must also be accompanied by a valid rabies vaccination certificate.

Any dog may be refused entry for noncompliance with the requirements of the rule or may be seized and the person intending to import the dog will be required to provide care at his or her expense. The AWA provides for both criminal and civil penalties for violations, including civil penalties of up to $10,000 for each violation. Any person who violates the regulations will be subject to these penalties.

All dogs imported into the U.S. may be subject to other laws and regulations. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also has requirements for imported dogs that must be met.

The complete rule may be viewed at the Federal Register: http://tinyurl.com/nsd7zf2

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION ANIMAL INCIDENT REPORTING, Docket DOT–OST–2010–0211

The Department of Transportation (USDOT) issued a final rule to amend the requirement for air carriers to report incidents involving the loss, injury, or death of an animal during air transport. The final rule will expand the reporting requirement to U.S. carriers that operate scheduled service with at least one aircraft with a design capacity of more than 60 seats. The rule also expands the definition of animal to include all cats and dogs transported by covered carriers, regardless of whether the cat or dog is transported as a pet by its owner or as part of a commercial shipment shipped by a breeder, trainer, or handler. This rule goes into effect January 1, 2015.

Carrier reports will include carrier and flight number; date; time; description of the animal; name and contact information of owner, representative, or shipper of the animal; and a narrative of the incident and action taken.  Carriers must file monthly and annual reports and report “0” if there were no reportable incidents.

In August 2010, the Department received a petition for rulemaking from the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) requesting the reporting of loss, injury, or death of animals in air transport be revised to require airlines to report any such incident involving any animal they carry.  ALDF maintained that whether an animal is shipped as a pet or as an item of commerce has no bearing on its ability to suffer.

HSUS, ASPCA, Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association (HSVMA), Animal Welfare Institute, and other animal rights groups requested the airlines account for incidents involving all species of animals regardless of intended use.  Senator Richard Durbin and former Senators Bob Menendez and Joe Lieberman supported the ALDF petition and requested that the Department consider pursuing a comprehensive study on what animals are traveling in plane cargo holds and how the Department could further expand the definition of “animal” without placing undue burden on air carriers.

USDOT received 5,414 comments including airlines, six animal rights organizations, The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and the National Association for Biomedical Research (NABR). USDOT also received 5,403individual comments. While the individual comments also urged expanding the definition of animal to all species, the majority appeared to be form letters from members of the animal rights advocacy groups.

Airlines for America (A4A) opposed expanding the definition of animal on the basis that doing so would conflict with Congressional intent that the term animal in the original regulations meant pets.

AZA also commented that the Congressional intent of the underlying authorizing legislation was to focus on the loss, injury or death of family pets and that the proposed rule could not effectively and efficiently be applied to the entire animal kingdom.  AZA further noted that if the definition of animal were expanded to include all species, it is conceivable that the burden placed upon the airlines could effectively force air carriers to completely discontinue the transport of all animals. This would create catastrophic consequences for the AZA zoo and aquarium community and the sustainability of the animal collections in their care.

USDOT declined to expand the definition of animal to cover all species of animals stating, “We believe it would be unduly burdensome to require covered carriers to report the death, loss, or injury of all species of animals because there potentially could be thousands of individual animals such as fish, rodents, and insects that are transported by air carriers in a single commercial shipment.”

The complete rule may be viewed at the Federal Register http://tinyurl.com/phvs3gz

 

 

July 14, 2014

Legislation Briefs and Updates

SAOVA Friends,

In our last message we noted a few of the top recipients of Humane Society Legislative Fund (HSLF) funding.  In addition to the independent expenditures of $41,799 supporting the Congressional campaign of Tony Strickland (R, CA), HSLF recently donated another $5,000.

Moving into the top tier Senate recipients are Gary Peters (D, MI) with $5,000 and Kelly Ayotte (R, NH) increased to $4,000.   In the House, contributions to Michael Fitzpatrick (R, PA) now total $6,000 and Nancy Pelosi (D, CA) and Walter Jones (R, NC) join the favored list at $5,000 each.

The world not only belongs to those who show up, it’s controlled by the best informed and most motivated. Cross posting is encouraged.

Susan Wolf

Sportsmen’s & Animal Owners’ Voting Alliance

Working to Identify and Elect Supportive Legislators

saova@earthlink.net

cubhill@earthlink.net

CONGRESSMAN STEWART (R-UT) INTRODUCES WILD HORSE, BURRO LEGISLATION

Rep. Chris Stewart Introduces Bill Giving States the Ability to Manage Wild Horses and Burros

July 10, 2014 Washington, D.C. – Today, Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah) introduced legislation that would give states and Indian Tribes the option to take over the management of wild horses and burros. The Wild Horse Oversight Act of 2014 would preserve all protections under the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971, and simply allow states to implement horse and burro management plans that address the specific needs of their own state.

“The federal government has never been able to properly manage the horses and burros in the west,” Stewart said. “Every state faces different challenges, which is why it’s important that they have the ability to manage their own wildlife.”

In the 43 years that the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act has been in place, the ranges have been overused, pushing cattle off the ranges and leading to the destruction of important habitat for native species.  “States and tribes already successfully manage large quantities of wildlife within their borders,” Stewart said. “If horses and burros were under that same jurisdiction, I’m confident that new ideas and opportunities would be developed to manage the herds more successfully than the federal government.”  This bill would allow states to form cooperative agreements to manage herds that cross over borders, and the federal government would continue to inventory the horses and burros to ensure that the population numbers as prescribed by the 1971 Act are maintained.  “In an era of fiscal crisis, the federal government just doesn’t have the money to manage these programs.”   HR 5058 text here: http://tinyurl.com/klfnlgm

NEW POLICY ON INTERPRETATION OF ESA PHRASE “SIGNIFICANT PORTION OF ITS RANGE’’

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA Fisheries Service (Services) jointly announced a policy intended to clarify implementation of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) by providing a formal interpretation of the phrase “significant portion of its range” that appears in the ESA definitions of “endangered species” and “threatened species.”  This policy clarifies that the Services can list a species if it is endangered or threatened in a “significant portion of its range,” even if that species is not endangered or threatened throughout all of its range. Under the policy, a portion of the range of a species is defined as “significant” if the species is not currently endangered or threatened throughout all of its range, but the portion’s contribution to the viability of the species is so important that, without the members in that portion, the species would be in danger of extinction, or likely to become so in the foreseeable future, throughout all of its range. The new policy goes into effect on July 31, 2014.  Final Policy, FAQ, and Interim Guidance posted here:  http://tinyurl.com/qj2fb7q

U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SUED OVER PRAIRIE CHICKEN LISTING

Defenders of Wildlife, Center for Biological Diversity and WildEarth Guardians have filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, claiming the lesser prairie chicken should have been listed as endangered. The lesser prairie chicken was listed as threatened in March.  The groups believe the listing is not doing enough to save the lesser prairie chicken because the less restrictive threatened designation allows oil, gas, wind power, agriculture and other industries to kill up to 1,300 prairie chickens a year in the five states where the prairie chicken roosts: Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.

Kansas, Oklahoma and several New Mexico counties joined a lawsuit by the Permian Basin Petroleum Association in Texas claiming the species designation is overreach by the federal government that will hamper the energy and agriculture industries.  As of early June, about 160 oil, gas, wind, electric and pipeline companies had enrolled about 9 million acres across the five states, committing more than $43 million for habitat conservation over the next three years, according to a news release from the Western Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA).

The service faces a November deadline to make its decision on the Gunnison sage grouse and will decide on the two other species next year.

COMMENTS REOPENED ON SNAKE BAN

Federal Register Tuesday, June 24, 2014.  Docket ID: FWS-R9-FHC-2008-0015.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announces the reopening of the comment period on the proposed rule published on March 12, 2010, which proposed to amend our regulations to add nine species of large constrictor snakes as injurious species under the Lacey Act.  Because four of the nine species were added to the regulations in 2012, this reopening notice is restricted to the five remaining species: Reticulated python, DeSchauensee’s anaconda, green anaconda, Beni anaconda, and boa constrictor. If you have previously submitted comments on the proposed rule, please do not resubmit them because we have already incorporated them in the public record and will fully consider them in our final decision on these five species. Only comments received or postmarked on or before July 24, 2014 will be considered. Any comments that are received after the closing date may not be considered in the final decision on this action.  Comments may be submitted online at the Federal eRulemaking Portal http://tinyurl.com/ouqttck

HR 1528 AMERICAN VETERINARY MOBILITY ACT (VMMA)

Sponsored by Congressmen Ted Yoho (R-FL3) and Kurt Schrader (D-OR5) the bill makes modification to the Controlled Substances Act and Drug Enforcement Administration policy that currently prohibits veterinarians from transporting controlled substances to treat patients outside of the registered location. The VMMA was passed in the Senate by unanimous consent, clearing the way for this legislation to be enacted into law.  Congressman Yoho released the following statement. “As a large animal veterinarian, my operating room wasn’t always in an office. Most times, it was in the field. Expecting ranchers to transport their livestock to a veterinary clinic every time medication is needed is an example of overly burdensome policy created by bureaucrats rather than the folks who know the issue. This bill will correct that problem and allow veterinarians to practice their profession without fear of unnecessary government intrusion.”
HALFWAY THROUGH 2014, HSUS IS REELING

Humane Watch, July 10, 2014. We recently passed the halfway point of 2014. And what news so far this year regarding the Humane Society of the United States? Let’s review:

The Oklahoma Attorney General announced that his office was opening an investigation into HSUS’s fundraising, issuing a consumer alert along the way.

HSUS released its latest annual report, showing that its contributions were down $20 million in 2013.

The federal racketeering lawsuit naming HSUS and two of its employees came to an end after HSUS agreed to settle the case, paying up to $15.75 million in the process. Not only that, but we discovered (and the press later reported) that HSUS was denied insurance coverage for this litigation, something HSUS “failed to tell reporters” when announcing the settlement.

Charity Navigator, the nation’s largest charity evaluator, lowered HSUS’s rating after we exposed HSUS’s incorrect tax filings, in which HSUS had inflated its revenue. (HSUS also filed years’ worth of amended returns with the IRS.)

Then, Charity Navigator replaced its rating of HSUS entirely, issuing a “Donor Advisory” against HSUS, which indicates “extreme concern.”

HSUS tried to flex its fundraising muscle on Capitol Hill, and hardly anyone showed up. Then, Capitol Hill pub POLITICO wrote not one, but two embarrassing blurbs about HSUS in the following weeks, noting in one instance that HSUS was holding a lobby day while Congress was in recess.

Quadriga Art, one of HSUS’s top contractors—HSUS has given it over $30 million in the past few years—reached a $25 million settlement with the New York Attorney General after Quadriga was exposed for keeping most of the money it raised for a veterans charity. Sound like a familiar refrain?

We blew the lid off of HSUS’s Cayman Islands scheme—exposing the tens of millions of dollars that HSUS has socked away offshore instead of giving that money to pet shelters. (By the way, have you entered our contest?)

In statehouses, HSUS anti-farmer legislation has been stymied. Actually, it’s not just agriculture issues—we can hardly think of any HSUS bills that have passed.

All in all, it’s been a bad year so far for America’s self-described “most effective” animal rights group, and an especially trying time for HSUS CEO Wayne “I don’t love animals” Pacelle.

When your opponent has taken a blow (or nine), it’s not the time to let up. It’s the time to stay on offense. We have a few things planned for the second half of 2014. Stay tuned.

June 24, 2014

SAOVA Friends,

Our volunteers are already busy following primary elections and monitoring HSUS/HSLF political contributions. To date contributions to Democrat federal candidates is $92,000 and to Republicans $45,000. Top Senate recipients are Mary Landrieu (D, LA) with $8,000 followed by Senators Kelly Ayotte (R, NH); Thad Cochran (R, MS); Susan Collins (R, ME); and Jack Reed (D, RI) with $3,000. Top recipients among House Members are Jeff Denham (R, CA) with $5,000; Michael Fitzpatrick (R, PA) with $4,000; Earl Blumenhauer (D, OR) with $3,500; and Julia Brownley (D, CA), Peter DeFazio (D, OR), Jim Gerlach (R, PA), Peter Roskam (R, IL), and Kurt Schrader (D, OR) with $3,000. Planning ahead, HSLF contributed $5,000 to the Mikulski for Senate Committee for the 2016 primary.

Notable listing among HSLF independent expenditures is $41,799 supporting the Congressional campaign of Tony Strickland (R, CA).

Who funds HSLF? Many donors are from within the HSUS or from related organizations. Largest donors to date are Carole Baskin (Big Cat Rescue) $10,000; Eric Bernthal, Esq (HSUS Chair of the Board) $10,000; Jeanne and Ed Daniels (animal rights activists) $10,000; Mary Max (HSUS Board of Directors) $10,000; Marian Probst (Fund for Animals) $10,000; Jason Weiss (HSUS Board of Directors) and Donna Weiss $10,000; Peggy Kaplan (HSUS National Council Chair); Richard Kaplan $10,000; and Arthur Benjamin (HSUS National Council) $5,000.

The world not only belongs to those who show up, it’s controlled by the best informed and most motivated.

Thanks for reading. Cross posting is encouraged.

Susan Wolf

Sportsmen’s & Animal Owners’ Voting Alliance

Working to Identify and Elect Supportive Legislators

saova@earthlink.net

cubhill@earthlink.net

 

JUDGE DENIES IDAHO DAIRYMEN REQUEST TO JOIN SUIT

U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill denied the IDA’s motion to join thesuit. “The state and the IDA’s goals in this proceeding are identical, and the State can adequately represent those interests,” Winmill wrote. The law’s supporters say it protects the private-property rights of agricultural operators and shields them from having their businesses attacked unfairly by activists. Idaho is the seventh state to adopt these provisions to their agriculture protection laws which include prohibitions on falsifying employment applications. Seventeen plaintiffs, including ALDF, PETA, ACLU, CFS, Farm Sanctuary, Farm Forward, Sandpoint Vegetarians, Western Watersheds Project, and journalist Will Potter filed suit against the law in March.

MILITARY GEAR TO COMBAT FERAL HOGS

CHICAGO, Ill. (Reuters) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture is gearing up with thermal imaging weapons to combat feral hogs. Department officials say they cause about $1.5 billion dollars of damage every year to farm communities and fields. Now there are worries they may help spread a deadly pig virus as well. As a result, the USDA wants to buy thermal scopes that snap onto high-powered rifles and will allow APHIS to make night time attacks on herds. The thermal scopes are part of a $20 million nationwide project to combat the feral swine, which have gobbled down apples in New York, cleaned out cornfields in North Carolina and devoured calves in Mississippi. Source: Western Producer http://tinyurl.com/pkhcrmn

HUNTING ON PUBLIC LANDS AT RISK

HSUS has petitioned the Department of the Interior to ban the use of lead ammunition when discharging a firearm on federal lands. The petition, signed by the HSUS, the Fund for Animals, Defenders of Wildlife, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Wildlife Conservation Society, and others, asks that the federal government mandate the use of non-lead ammunition for the taking of all species in areas managed by the National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This would put one-fifth of the total land area of the United States off limits to hunters with traditional ammunition. Last year HSUS successfully lobbied the California legislature to ban the use of lead ammunition.

CALL YOUR OFFICIALS TODAY:

Call Interior Secretary Sally Jewell today at 202-208-3181 and tell her tor eject this scientifically baseless petition from HSUS to ban traditional ammunition. Let the Department of the Interior know that requiring the useof alternative, non-lead ammunition, is nothing more than a back-door way to ban hunting by raising the price of participating in an American sporting tradition.

– There is no sound science to support banning traditional ammunition used by hunters for centuries.

– There is absolutely no adverse wildlife population impact that warrants such a drastic measure.

– There is no evidence that consuming game taken with traditional ammunition poses a human health to hunters and their family.

WILD HORSE DEBATE

June 22, 2014. Friends of Animals and the Cloud Foundation petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list wild horses as threatened or endangered, which would trigger protections for herds in 10 Western states.The groups contend wild horses on the public range face extinction becauseof loss of habitat to cattle grazing, mining, energy exploration and urban expansion. The groups also blame BLM’s controls, which limit the horses to small herds on isolated ranges, require frequent roundups and are headed toward sterilization of horses. (See petition http://tinyurl.com/mlvqwth )

Robert Garrott, a Montana State University wildlife biologist who served on the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) research panel that spent two years studying the wild horse issue, disagrees. Today’s wild horses are “entirely different” from those that evolved in North America, says Garrott, director of fish and wildlife ecology at Montana State. Garrott sees the petition as a move to try to stop all horse population management by the BLM, and to remove livestock from the range to accommodate more horses.

The Bureau of Land Management says that as of March, there were 49,209 wild horses and burros on western ranges, 22,500 more than its management objectives allow, given the need for ecological balance with other species and uses. Source: Salt Lake Tribune http://tinyurl.com/q4gnml2

PETITION TO REINTRODUCE GRIZZLY BEARS IN SOUTHWEST

The Center for Biological Diversity petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife

Service to work to return grizzly bears to the Grand Canyon, the Gila/Mogollon complex and other areas of the Southwest. (See petition

http://tinyurl.com/pv5qe76 ) The petition cited 110,000 square miles of

potential bear habitat – in Arizona, New Mexico, the Sierra Nevada inCalifornia and Utah’s Uinta Mountains – that could allow the introduction ofup to 4,000 grizzly bears in the West. Arizona Cattle Growers’ Associationstated that reintroducing bears to Arizona would hurt the livestockindustry, especially for ranchers near the Arizona and New Mexico border.Source: Tucson Sentinel http://tinyurl.com/nsfh9uo

 

ALDF ENLISTS CONGRESS IN ORCA WARS

Two years ago ALDF and PETA filed suit against USDA challenging their

decision to renew Miami Seaquarium’s federal license. Last year ALDF filed a complaint with OSHA claiming Miami Seaquarium is guilty of blatant violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. ALDF also lobbied for California’s AB 2140 which would have banned the use of captive orcas for performance or entertainment or for breeding.

Now ALDF has carried the orca wars to Congress. This month 38 members of Congress signed a letter to Tom Vilsack, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, demanding updated regulations for captive marine mammals. The letter notes that the release of the documentary film “Blackfish” calls into question the feasibility of humanely keeping orcas in captivity. The letter urges USDA to publish the 2002 advanced notice of proposed rulemaking for captive marine mammals, allow public comment, and quickly finalize a the rule. The letter is signed by Jared Huffman (D, CA); Adam Schiff (D, CA); Peter DeFazio (D, OR); Louise Slaughter (D, NY); Barbara Lee (D, CA); and Jim Moran (D, VA) among others. Representatives Schiff and Huffman, who believe the American people want to see these regulations, added an amendment to the Agriculture Appropriations Act that will provide one million dollars to study the effects of captivity on orcas.

 

May 20, 2014

SAOVA Friends,

At a recent fundraiser in Charlotte, Governor Pat McCrory accepted an HSUS award on behalf of his wife Ann. The Governor then proceeded to outline his plan for this short session – pass a puppy mill bill and move the Animal Welfare Section from the Department of Agriculture to the Department of Public Safety. In a statement to the press, McCrory stated, “A transfer of animal welfare enforcement from the Department of Agriculture to the Department of Public Safety would help state officials work with localpolice to deal with puppy mills, a priority of first lady Ann McCrory.”

McCrory told his Charlotte audience, “I need you to bombard (legislators)…. If we get it to a vote, there’s no way they can vote no.”

The Department of Public Safety focuses on law enforcement issues, the supervision of offenders in prison, juvenile detention centers, community supervision programs, drinking and driving, underage access to alcohol and tobacco, crime prevention, and preparation for natural disasters.

Once Public Safety has full regulatory authority, they can submit legislation to modify existing fees and standards at public shelters, pet shops, rescue, and boarding kennels, as well as decide how breeders will be regulated. It is an outrage to expect staff in this department to become animal husbandry experts and inspectors. Their time is too valuable to be to be spent as HSUS foot soldiers.

Moving Animal Welfare to the Department of Public Safety is an attempt to start rewriting laws regarding animal welfare in accordance with the animal rights agenda.

Natalie Rowntree, founding Board Member of the NC Responsible Animal Owners Alliance (NCRAOA) noted, “Governor McCrory has made it clear that he plans to push his wife’s agenda, regardless of the damage it will do. HSUS falsely proclaims we are the puppy mill capital of the world just like every state they conquered before.”

Steve Wallis, President of NC Federation of Dog Clubs stated, “Animal rights activists, while still the radical fringe here in North Carolina, have made an important ally. Ann McCrory and her husband Gov. Pat McCrory have drunk the kool aid and are now disciples of the HSUS agenda.”

ACTION REQUIRED

We will not accept a transfer of the Animal Welfare Section to Public Safety or any dog breeder bill written by HSUS. Call your legislator and oppose this McCrory/HSUS plan. Contact the Governor’s office at (919) 814-2000 or

Fax (919) 733-2120.

 

May 7. 2014

SAOVA Friends,

 

Steven L. Kopperud is executive vice president of Policy Directions Inc., a Washington, DC government affairs/specialty communications company specializing in animal production agriculture, nutrition, agribusiness, biotechnology, animal health and welfare, food, farm policy, trade and ag research and human health-related issues. As a recognized authority on activist assaults on animal agriculture and food technology, Mr. Kopperud has spoken to audiences in the U.S., Europe, Canada, China, Australia and Latin America on threats to food production.

Kopperud has long been one my favorite voices speaking out against the animal rights agenda and tactics.  Never one to mince words, he tells his audience:  “You will never negotiate successfully with an animal rights group.”

Thanks for reading.  Cross posting is encouraged.

Susan Wolf

Sportsmen’s & Animal Owners’ Voting Alliance

Working to Identify and Elect Supportive Legislators

saova@earthlink.net

cubhill@earthlink.net

 

KANGAROO COURTS ARE COMING…

April 18, 2014 By Steve Kopperud

My opinion since moving to Washington, DC – where you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a law school graduate – is the world has enough lawyers.  However, there are times when lawyers are welcome because they’re very necessary.  Today there’s an animal rights initiative just getting legs and its success or failure will likely hinge on whoever has the most – and best – lawyers.  I’m talking about the legal concept of animal “personhood.” Stick with me; this may be esoteric and sound comical, but the threat is nevertheless very real.

“Personhood” under law recognizes only a natural person or “legal personality” has rights, protections, privileges, responsibilities, and legal liability. “Personhood,” according to one legal journal, “continues to be a topic of international debate, and has been questioned during the abolition of slavery and the fight for women’s rights, in debates about abortion, fetal rights and reproductive rights (and) in animal rights activism…” (my emphasis).

In the 1980s-90s, we beat back an aggressive campaign by PETA and other animal rights groups to achieve “standing” in federal courts to sue on behalf of animals those who transgressed the animal rights philosophy, e.g. biomedical researchers, farmers and ranchers, zoos, rodeos and other legitimate users of animals. We watched class action suits filed on behalf of unnamed millions of consumers and lots of animals dismissed because the wannabe plaintiffs had no standing.

In the early 2000s, animal rights and real world lawyers sought to change companion animals’ legal status from property owned by someone to animals as semi-persons who enjoy not an owner but a “guardian.” Some California towns actually enshrined part of this philosophy in local law. The push was to allow owners who brought suit in cases of veterinary negligence or other wrongful acts to sue not just for the property value of the animal lost as is the case today, but for noneconomic damages, i.e. emotional distress, loss of companionship, etc. While pets don’t enjoy “personhood,” there is a trend in the courts to ignore the animals’ legal status and award non-economic damages.

The whole animal-as-person effort is the brainchild of Steven Wise. Wise, who’s practiced animal law for over 30 years, heads his own group called the Nonhuman Rights Project (http://www.nonhumanrightsproject.org/). In his own words:

“Our mission is to change the common law status of at least some nonhuman animals from mere ‘things,’ which lack the capacity to possess any legal right, to ‘persons,’ who possess such fundamental rights as bodily integrity and bodily liberty, and those other legal rights to which evolving standards of morality, scientific discovery, and human experience entitle them…The most powerful ram…is the litigating of the capacity for legal rights of those nonhuman animals who are both the most cognitively complex (they have extraordinary minds) and the most cognitively similar to humans. These include the four species of great apes, dolphins and whales, elephants, and African Grey parrots.”

Wise’s goal is to litigate state by state on behalf of “smart” animals, his targets chosen based on the evolution of common law in that state and whether there’s a “plaintiff” of sufficient standing. He’s filed three cases in New York, lost one on appeal and the other two appeals are pending. It will only take one or two successes for there to be sea change in the legal status animals, including those we raise for food, use in research to find cures and treatments or those who educate and entertain us.

Animal agriculture must pay attention to this legal threat now. This sounds fanciful, even ridiculous, but remember at least two European nations amended their national constitutions to recognize animals as “sentient creatures.” Remember there exists the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) to provide pro bono (free) legal assistance to animal rights groups, that HSUS and TV game show host Bob Barker have spent literally millions of dollars endowing “animal law” chairs at some of this country’s biggest and most prestigious law schools, and the American Bar Association (ABA) has an “animal law committee” and the majority of its members aren’t our industry’s best legal minds.

Which brings us back to lawyers, numbers and talent. We need to find working attorneys willing to donate – yes, I said donate – time and talent to help us prepare for this assault before someone files a personhood suit on behalf of pigs – deemed by those in the animal rights movement as one of the most intelligent animals we routinely kill and eat.

We need young attorneys and law school students to help us – and the rest of legal animal users – to maintain our legal rights and protections. We’re fortunate to have the National Agricultural Law Center at the University of Arkansas (http://nationalaglawcenter.org/). This is a group which needs our attention, our support and our donations. I have a feeling it may be our version of ALDF one day in the future.

Check out the websites I’ve listed; check the Internet and newsfeeds for “animal law” and “animal personhood.” It’s a serious issue – at least for the other side – and one that gives the term “kangaroo court” a whole new meaning.

Copyright 2014 Brownfield, All rights Reserved. Written For: Brownfield

Reprinted with Permission

http://brownfieldagnews.com/2014/04/18/kangaroo-courts-coming/

http://tinyurl.com/k69wg4b

 

April 14, 2014

(D-OR) $3,000.

Total donations to the House were divided $59,500 to Democrats and $32,000

 

SAOVA Friends,

 

Although it may seem early to be talking about the November 2014 midterm

election, it is only seven months away. There are 44 House open seats, 8

Senate open seats, and 11 open seats for Governor with primaries already

underway.  If you would like to join SAOVA’s core of hardworking volunteers

helping to contact and evaluate candidates and analyze voting records,

please send me an email. Since 2002, SAOVA’s volunteers have interviewed

politicians running for election to Congress for the first time. Each

election cycle, we also review the voting records of incumbents standing for

reelection. Our goal is to determine candidates’ positions on threats to our

sport, avocations and livelihoods by animal rightists.

 

Thanks for reading.  Cross posting is encouraged.

 

Susan Wolf

Sportsmen’s & Animal Owners’ Voting Alliance

Working to Identify and Elect Supportive Legislators

saova@earthlink.net

cubhill@earthlink.net

 

BLUM v. HOLDER DECISION

Chief Judge Sandra Lynch of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit

held that five animal rights activists were not entitled to declaratory and

injunctive relief.  Although they have never been prosecuted or threatened

with prosecution under the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA), which

criminalizes force, violence, and threats involving animal enterprises, the

activists sued to obtain declaratory and injunctive relief that the statute

is unconstitutional under the First Amendment.

The plaintiffs are five longtime animal rights activists who claim their

advocacy work has been “chilled” due to fear of being prosecuted as a

terrorist under the AETA.  Among the plaintiffs are Sarahjane Blum and Ryan

Shapiro, co-founders of GourmetCruelty.com which protests primarily against

the foie gras industry;  and Lauren Gazzola and J Johnson who are organizers

and activists for Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC).  The suit was

originally filed December 15, 2011. The Government moved to dismiss the case

in 2012 and this was granted in 2013. First Circuit Court of Appeals has now

affirmed the District Court’s dismissal.

 

In her summary, Chief Judge Lynch stated, “[plaintiffs] in the present case

present no concrete evidence to substantiate their fears, but instead rest

on mere conjecture about possible governmental actions. In particular,

plaintiffs’ fear of prosecution under AETA is based on speculation that the

Government will enforce the Act pursuant to interpretations it has never

adopted and now explicitly rejects. Such unsubstantiated and speculative

fear is not a basis for standing under Article III.

http://tinyurl.com/lo8vnb6

 

HR 4157 FARMER IDENTITY PROTECTION ACT

Introduced by Rep. Rick Crawford (R, AR) 3/6/14.

An ongoing suit filed by the National Pork Board and American Farm Bureau

Federation (AFBF) against the Environmental Protection Agency involves the

question of whether the EPA may release individual farm information to

environmental groups making FOIA requests. Information released by EPA last

year contained tens of thousands of lines in spreadsheets often including

names, home phone numbers, home emails, home addresses, and other personal

information of more than 80,000 farmers in 29 states.  According to AFBF

reports, EPA stood firm in its position that it had no legal obligation

under FOIA to keep most of the information private.

 

HR 4157 prohibits the EPA, or any EPA contractor, from disclosing the

information of any owner, operator, or employee of a livestock operation

provided to EPA by a livestock producer or a state agency in accordance with

the Clean Water Act or any other law, including: names; telephone numbers;

email addresses; physical addresses; GPS coordinates; or other information

regarding the location of the owner, operator, livestock, or employee.  The

bill prescribes criteria for such a disclosure, however, in a statistical or

aggregate form without specifically identifying information.

 

NOVARTIS WINS COURT ORDER BLOCKING U.K. AR PROTESTS

Novartis AG (NOVN) won a court order restricting animal-rights

demonstrations at its U.K. facilities or against any of its employees after

lawyers for the drugmaker said they feared it may be targeted. A unit of the

drugmaker, which already has an injunction against members of Stop

Huntingdon Animal Cruelty, a U.K. activist group, won the extension today of

restrictions to cover anyone protesting animal research. The order bars

harassment or intimidation of Novartis employees, including abusive or

threatening posts on websites or social media. The order also restricts

demonstrations to six people or fewer, in designated protest zones, with no

amplified sounds, and forbids costumes, face-coverings or “blood-splattered

costumes.” Anyone breaching the injunction can be arrested.  Full story at

Bloomberg Business Week http://tinyurl.com/o6lcy5n

 

HSUS PRESENTS FIRST HUMANE GOVERNOR AWARD

As part of the HSUS diamond anniversary celebration, Whole Foods co-CEO

Walter Robb and HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle gave the first-ever Humane Governor

award to California’s Jerry Brown.  During the first three years of his

current term Gov. Brown has signed 24 animal welfare bills.  Pacelle wrote,

“Brown has helped cement California’s place as the top humane state, signing

bills to ban the shark fin trade, halt the hounding of bears and bobcats,

phase out the use of lead ammunition in hunting, and create pathways for

non-lethal approaches to human conflicts with mountain lions. In his remarks

to the audience, Gov. Brown spoke about the web of life and caring for all

of nature, making it clear that this was a big part of his motivation in

signing the bills.”  Source: A Humane Nation

 

HUMANE SOCIETY LEGISLATIVE FUND 2014 CONTRIBUTIONS

According to FEC reports last month, HSLF has distributed $127,000 to

members of Congress.   House members receiving the highest donations were

Jeff Denham (R-CA) $5,000; followed by Michael Fitzpatrick (R-PA) $4,000;

Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) $3,500; Julia Brownley (D-CA) $3,000; Jim Gerlach

(R-PA) $3,000; Peter Roskam (R-IL) $3,000; Kurt Schrader (D-OR) $3,000.

Total donations to the House were divided $59,500 to Democrats and $32,000

to Republicans.   Top recipients in the Senate were Mary Landrieu (D-LA) at

$6,000; Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) at $3,000; followed by Susan Collins (R-ME)

$3,000; Jack Reed (D-RI) $3,000; Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) $2,500; Bruce

Baley (D-IA) $2,000; Thad Cochran (R-MS) $2,000. Total donations to Senate

members were divided $24,500 to Democrats and $11,000 Republicans.

.

March 14, 2014

Legislation and Ballot Initiative Updates March 14, 2014

SAOVA Friends,

APHIS held the first of what will be many sessions focused on implementing animal care provisions included in the recently passed Farm Bill.  The teleconference call was very short providing only a general overview and no time frames were addressed.  Dr. Chester Gipson noted that the 2014 Farm Bill gave APHIS broad de minimis authority, allowing them to exempt certain low risk dealers and exhibitors from the Animal Welfare Act license requirement.  The de minimis standard was part of a revision to the AWA definition of “dealer”.  The Farm Bill does not specify exactly who will be exempted, but the Farm Bill managers did indicate that APHIS should not exempt any entity just because it is a nonprofit, nor should they exempt facilities with a small number of dangerous animals.  Director Kevin Shea noted APHIS may publish additional proposed rules.  In reference to the Farm Bill managers asking for clarification of the definition of breeding female, Tracy Letterman with HSUS commented that no further clarifications to the APHIS retail pet store were needed or should be made.  Technical difficulties prevented other attendees from asking questions or making comments.  A transcription of the teleconference is posted on the SAOVA website http://www.saova.org/APHIS_rulemaking.html

Additional bills, updates, and votes when available, are tracked at the SAOVA website http://saova.org/news.html  Cross posting is encouraged.

Susan Wolf

Sportsmen’s & Animal Owners’ Voting Alliance

Working to Identify and Elect Supportive Legislators

saova@earthlink.net

ALDF WATCH

JFK University in Pleasant Hill, CA, was recently added to the list of law schools to offer courses in animal law.  This follows the launch of a Student ALDF chapter last year, the 189th in the country.  The animal law course will be taught by Joyce Tischler, the founder of ALDF.

ALDF filed a lawsuit this week against the city of Stockton, California and its animal shelter alleging ongoing abuse and violation of the California Public Records Act, which requires full disclosure of public records.  Along with individual California taxpayers, ALDF—represented by the law firm DLA Piper—is a co-plaintiff in the lawsuit, which was filed in California Superior Court in San Joaquin County.

ALDF and PETA filed a joint lawsuit against the Great Bull Run and the Lone Star Rodeo claiming these events violate California’s anti-cruelty law and Unfair Competition Law. The lawsuit aims to stop the Great Bull Run events currently scheduled in Northern and Southern California this summer.

ACTIVIST CLAIMS AGAINST UL RESEARCH CENTER DISMISSED

The National Institutes of Health and the USDA have dismissed an animal rights activist’s latest complaints about the treatment of some primates at the University of Louisiana New Iberia Research Center. In January, Michael Budkie of Stop Animal Exploitation Now called for a federal investigation of injuries to three African green monkeys and the deaths of two chimpanzees in 2012, and a baby rhesus monkey in 2013. A statement by the National Institutes of Health, released March 6, said the events Budkie cited are not current. “These events have been managed by the institutions as required by the PHS (Public Health Service) Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, reviewed by the OLAW (NIH Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare), and the cases are closed.”  A current inspection by USDA, prompted by the allegations, found Budkie’s claims had no merit. http://tinyurl.com/nge2tdr

MARYLAND

HB 0373 Animal Abuser Registry. Sponsor Delegate McConkey (R, 33A) would require the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (DPSCS) to establish and maintain a central and computerized registry.  The fiscal note estimated General fund expenditures for DPSCS would increase by $310,700 in FY 2015.  The Judiciary Committee submitted an Unfavorable Report after the hearing February 20.

MAINE

Proponents of a ballot initiative that would ask Mainers to support a ban on using bait, dogs and traps to hunt bears say they have gathered more than enough signatures to force the issue to a statewide referendum vote in November. Secretary of State Matt Dunlap confirmed this week that Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting submitted 78,528 petition signatures to his office by Monday’s deadline. The ballot initiative is sponsored by HSUS and aided by local activist groups, Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting, Maine Friends of Animals and others.  HSUS has already announced it is willing to spend up to $3 million on this initiative. Bear management must be left to state experts and not activists.  Stay informed at Save Maine’s Bear Hunt http://savemainesbearhunt.com/

MICHIGAN

HSUS and their front group, Keep Michigan Wolves Protected, submitted signatures to the Michigan Secretary of State on March 13, 2014 to have their anti-wolf hunting measure placed on the November ballot. This is the second ballot initiative collected.  The first referendum suspended Public Act 520 (PA520) signed by Governor Rick Snyder in 2012 which established wolf hunting seasons in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  The new referendum seeks to overturn Public Act 21 of 2013 which supersedes PA520, establishes hunting seasons, and includes wolves as a game species.  It is estimated that 225,000 signatures were collected for the second referendum – 63,695 more signatures than required to have it placed on the ballot.

In answer to the HSUS tactics, The Citizens For Professional Wildlife Management proposed their own initiative; they must collect over 300,000 signatures by May in order to place it before the legislature. Among other measures, this would maintain the Natural Resources Commission’s authority to designate game species using sound science once enacted into law. A citizen initiative law would not be subject to future HSUS ballot initiative challenges.

SOUTH DAKOTA

Dennis Daugaard signed SB46 making the state the 50th to set felony penalties for malicious acts of animal cruelty. Animal neglect and mistreatment is still a misdemeanor offense; however intentional cruelty is now a Class 6 felony, punishable by up to two years in prison and a fine of $4,000. The bill exempts accepted livestock farming practices. The bill was the result of a joint effort between the state veterinarian, livestock groups, and other stakeholders.

TENNESSEE COMMERCIAL BREEDER ACT FAILS

SB 2468 introduced by Senators Ferrell Haile (R-Gallatin), Steven Dickerson (R-Nashville), Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro) would continue the Commercial Breeder Act enacted in 2009 beyond the sunset date of June 30, 2014. According to the Fiscal Note, this program had a closing deficit of $965,750 on June 30, 2013. The bill FAILED in Senate Energy, Agriculture and Natural Resources at the March 12 hearing – Ayes 3, Nays 4, Not Voting 1, and is dead for this year.  Congratulations to Tennessee dog and cat breeders and the TN Federation of Dog Clubs for making your voice heard!


 

March 3, 2014

Legislation Updates and Hearing Alerts

SAOVA Friends,

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter signed into law a bill to protect animal production facilities from outside interference and undercover videotaping. Idaho joins Iowa, Utah and Missouri in passing recent laws to protect producers and the animal agriculture industry. The governor, in signing the bill, said Idaho agricultural producers must be “secure in their property and their livelihood.” S 1337 passed the Senate 23-10-2 and the House 56-14. Three other states, North Dakota, Montana and Kansas, adopted the first generation of such measures during the 1990-91 legislative seasons.

This week Indiana legislature passed a Right to Farm bill codifying the state’s policy to protect and encourage agriculture. S 186 declares the Indiana Code shall be construed to protect the rights of farmers to choose among all generally accepted farming and livestock production practices, including the use of ever changing technology. The bill passed the Senate 40-8 and the House 67-30.

A pair of Tennessee bills are moving that would make it unlawful to use a drone with the intent to conduct video surveillance of private citizens who are lawfully hunting or fishing without obtaining the written consent of the persons being surveilled prior to conducting the surveillance.  SB 1777 passed the Senate 31-0 and will be sent to the House.  HB 1952 has been placed on the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee calendar for 3/4/2014.

Additional bills and votes, when available, are tracked at the SAOVA website http://saova.org/news.html  Please check weekly for updates. Several bills have upcoming hearings and need your immediate attention. Cross posting is encouraged.

Susan Wolf

Sportsmen’s & Animal Owners’ Voting Alliance

Working to Identify and Elect Supportive Legislators

saova@earthlink.net

ILLINOIS

HB 4188 Animal Abuse Registry, Sponsor Maria Antonia Berrios (D-39) Amends the Humane Care for Animals Act and provides that the Department of Agriculture shall create and maintain an animal abuse registry. Failure to register is a Class B misdemeanor for a first offense and a Class 4 felony for a subsequent violation. Persons must register annually until a court order allows the registration to cease.

OPPOSE HB 4188. Animal abuse cases comprise less than 1% of all convictions in the State of Illinois.  Advocates claim the registry will make neighborhoods and pets safer, but this promised scenario is an overly simplified solution to an extremely complicated, multifaceted problem. Animal cruelty cases are greatly varied; cruelty convictions can include anyone from an overwhelmed animal rescuer to grandma who cannot afford her dog’s vet care. However, the vast majority of animal cruelty involves neglect by the animal’s owner and many cases often involve hoarders. Treatment of hoarders by mental health services seems a more prudent course of action in these situations than years of public exposure and humiliation on web site lists where they are unrealistically stereotyped as dangers to society

Agriculture & Conservation Committee Hearing scheduled for March 4, 2014 2:00 PM Stratton Building Room D-1 Springfield, IL.

Contact:

Chair, Rep. Patrick J. Verschoore  pverschoore@qconline.com Phone: (217) 782-5970.

Vice Chair, Jerry Costello, II, staterepcostello@gmail.com  Phone: (217) 782-1018

Republican Spokesperson, Donald Moffitt, moffitt@grics.net  Phone: (217) 782-8032

Committee Contact: http://tinyurl.com/nyzr3g4

ILLINOIS

SB3138 Do Not Adopt Registry, Sponsor Sen. Sue Rezin (R, 38). Chief Cosponsor Senator William E. Brady (R, 44).  Bill requires the clerk of court to send notice of all animal cruelty convictions including the defendant’s name, date of birth, physical description, and other necessary information to the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) for inclusion in their “Do Not Adopt” online registry. Mandates that a shelter, pet store, animal breeder, or individual must conduct a search of the national Do Not Adopt Registry prior to selling, transferring, delivering, or placing for adoption a companion animal to another person.

OPPOSE: SAOVA is adamantly opposed to Animal Abuser Registries and especially one that is privately owned and managed by the radical Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF). Once this information is released the state loses control over what ALDF might choose to do with it.  There are no provisions incorporated in SB3138 placing time limits for the registrant to be included in the database. There are no agreements regarding confidentiality and liability and/or limiting how ALDF can use personal information received. Unfortunately Sponsor Senator Sue Rezin is very proud of the bill and hopes to make Illinois the first state in the nation to opt-in to the ALDF registry.

Labor and Commerce Hearing Mar 5, 2014 11:00 AM Capitol 212 Springfield, IL

Contact:

Senator Gary Forby, Chair, Phone (217) 782-5509

Senator Linda Holmes, Vice Chair, Phone (217) 782-0422

Senator Jim Oberweis, Minority Spokesperson, Phone (217) 782-0471

Senator Sue Rezin, Phone (217) 782-3840

Senator William Brady, Phone  (217) 782-6216

Full committee: http://tinyurl.com/po4bwtv

SOUTH CAROLINA

H 3985 Dangerous Wild Animals Act.  There will be a meeting of the Wildlife Subcommittee Tuesday, March 4, 2014 at 2:30 PM in Room 410 of the Blatt Building. The bill will ban possession of big cats and any hybrids, wolves, bears, and many species of reptiles, amphibians and mammals including boa constrictors, reticulated pythons, Burmese pythons and crocodilians.  All species listed under the Federal Endangered Species Act are considered dangerous wild animals in this bill; this means that some species of salamanders, iguanas, fish, and even birds could be considered “dangerous” even if captive bred.

Sample letter and committee contact information at USARK: http://tinyurl.com/m8vxepo

 

TENNESSEE

SB 2468 Continuation of Commercial Breeder Act. Under present law, the Commercial Breeder Act requires licensure for any person who possesses 20 or more unsterilized adult female dogs or cats for the purpose of selling the offspring as companion animals. The Act is presently scheduled to expire on June 30, 2014. SB 2468 removes the expiration date from the Act so that the Act will continue to be effective beyond the sunset date of June 30, 2014. The law enacted in 2009 projected that the Act would generate more than $1 million dollars per year from licensing revenue received from an estimated 500 licensed breeders (based partially on HSUS figures). The actual number of licensed breeders as of FY2012 was 20, actual licensing revenue was $70,200, and the increased cost to taxpayers to administer the program was $365,600 with a closing reserve deficit of $965,750 on June 30, 2013 .

Dog and cat owners have an opportunity to end state licensing of breeders by opposing SB 2468 and allowing the commercial breeder act to expire.

A hearing is scheduled in Senate Energy, Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee March 12, 2014.

Contact:

Senator Steve Southerland, Chair, (615) 741-3851, sen.steve.southerland@capitol.tn.gov

Senator Mae Beavers, 1st Vice Chair, (615) 741-2421, sen.mae.beavers@capitol.tn.gov

Senator Jim Summerville, 2nd Vice Chair, (615) 741-4499, sen.jim.summerville@capitol.tn.gov

Senator Mike Bell, (615) 741-1946, sen.mike.bell@capitol.tn.gov

Senator Charlotte Burks, (615) 741-3978, sen.charlotte.burks@capitol.tn.gov

Senator Ophelia Ford, (615) 741-1767, sen.ophelia.ford@capitol.tn.gov

Senator Todd Gardenhire, (615) 741-6682, sen.todd.gardenhire@capitol.tn.gov

Senator Dolores R. Gresham, (615) 741-2368, sen.dolores.gresham@capitol.tn.gov

Senator Frank S. Niceley, (615) 741-2061, sen.frank.niceley@capitol.tn.gov

 

__._,_.___

 

 

March 2, 2014

Dangerous Wild Animal Act” Bills Back in South Carolina, Louisiana

The HSUS-sponsored “Dangerous Wild Animal Act” is back up in Louisiana and my state of South Carolina, where it has been assigned to the Wildlife Subcommittee in the House of Representatives.  This is the same bill that was entered last year and tabled, but due to it being a two-year session, it’s back and will have a subcommittee hearing this coming Tuesday, March 4, at 2:30 pm.  The bill seeks to totally BAN the following animals:

(2)    ‘Dangerous wild animal’ means any live individual animal held in captivity of the following scientific classifications:

(a)    Class Mammalia:

( i)    Order Carnivora:

(A)    Family Canidae: red wolves (Canis rufus) and gray wolves (Canis lupus);

(B)    Family Felidae: lions (Panthera leo), tigers (Panthera tigris), leopards (Panthera pardus), clouded leopards (Neofelis nebulosa, Neofelis diardi), snow leopards (Panthera uncia), jaguars (Panthera onca), cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus), mountain lions (Puma concolor), including hybrids thereof;

(C)    Family Hyaenidae: all species of hyena and aardwolf;

(D)    Family Ursidae: all species of bears;

(E)    Family Procyonidae: all species, excluding raccoons (Procyon lotor);

(ii)    Order Primates: all species, excluding humans;

(b)    Class Reptilia:

( i)    Order Crocodylia: all species of alligators, crocodiles, caimans, gharials;

(ii)    Order Squamata:

(A)    Family Atractaspidae: all species, such as mole vipers;

(B)    Family Boidae: anacondas (Genus Eunectes), boa constrictors (Boa constrictor), Burmese pythons (Python molurus), reticulated pythons (Python reticulatus), amethystine pythons (Morelia amethistinus), scrub pythons (Morelia kinghorni), Northern African pythons (Python sebae), Southern African pythons (Python natalensis);

(C)    Family Colubridae: boomslangs (Dispholidus typus), twig snakes (Genus Thelotornis);

(D)    Family Elapidae: all species, such as cobras, mambas, and coral snakes;

(E)    Family Hydrophiidae: all species, such as sea snakes;

(F)    Family Viperidae: all species, such as rattlesnakes, pit vipers, and puff adders; and (iii)    All species listed under the Federal Endangered Species Act (50 C.F.R. 17.11) as threatened or endangered are considered dangerous wild animals.

Note that ALL species listed under the FESA will be banned as “dangerous wild animals”.  ONLY animals for which owners can prove, with documentation, to have owned prior to 2013 will be grandfathered, and no new animals can be acquired.

 

February 20,2014

Please cross post widely

Urgent Alert: Iowa anti-breeder bill introduced

Senator Matt McCoy introduced SF2166, a bill that will have a devastating effect on Iowa dog and cat breeders. The bill was assigned to his committee and has passed.  A full Senate vote is expected soon. IT IS URGENT THAT YOU CALL OR EMAIL SENATE MEMBERS AND OPPOSE THIS BILL NOW.

The current law loosely defines a commercial breeder as anyone with 4 or more breeding dogs or cats, who sells, exchanges, or leases in return for consideration (term not defined).  Requirements for those who may be”commercial breeders” are extensive and extreme. Hunters are only exempt ifthey do not use any of their dogs for breeding (male or female).

TALKING POINTS

SF2166 significantly increases license fees for commercial breeders in order to pay for animal seizures. Currently, the registration fee is $175 to cover the department of agriculture’s administration costs. SF2166 requires commercial breeders to pay that amount plus an additional amount ranging from $100 to $2,500 based on the number of dogs on your property at the time of an inspection.  The additional fee will be deposited in a new “animal rescue remediation fund” used to reimburse local authorities when dogs are seized.  Current law already requires anyone accused of cruelty to post abond to cover animal care while hearings take place.

SF2166 requires a primary enclosure to be 2 times the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) standard by January 1, 2015.  The bill then repeals this at the end of 2015 and increases the mandate to 3 times AWA standard beginning January 1, 2016.  Breeders certainly cannot afford to purchase new crates or kennels for only one year’s use and then discard and build again.  In order to comply with the bill’s standards a breeder would have to renovate facilities to meet the 2016 standard.  This would mean primary enclosures (crates) of enormous size. An average size Cattle Dog would need a crate approximately 8X4X3.  In addition, a commercial breeder with ten or more breeding dogs must have primary enclosures that provide permanent unfettered access to an “attached” outdoor run.   Current Iowa code allows only 6 dogs inside the home of a licensee; however with the proposed enclosure requirements it is unlikely that any breeder can keep dogs inside and remain licensed unless their home includes enclosures with attached outdoor runs.

The new primary enclosure regulation in SF2166 is also required for cats.

Current AWA standard requires all cats be in enclosures at least 24 inches high. Cats up to and including 8.8 lbs must be provided with at least 3 SF of floor space; cats over 8.8 lbs must be provided with 4 SF of floor space.

SF2166 requires space 3 times what is specified in Title 9 C.F.R. §3.6.

Cats are NOT excluded from the requirement that the primary enclosure include an “attached” outdoor run with unfettered access.  A mandate for cats to have unfettered access to outdoor runs will place them at risk of contact with feral cats and exposure to deadly diseases.

Having “unfettered” access to outdoor runs could be deadly to puppies and kittens.  This would also make it impossible to maintain temps required under existing laws.

The bill mandates annual veterinary examinations for all breeding dogs and breeding cats.  There are no specifications for what the exam entails. A routine 15-minute exam can only detect obvious conditions such as missing teeth or being over/underweight, and places the veterinarian in a position of certifying or documenting an exam using only these external assessments.

This provision only serves to make breeding dogs and cats more expensive without measurable benefit. Veterinary care should remain at the owner’s discretion and not become a legislative mandate.

SF2166 prohibits commercial breeders from purchasing a dog or cat from anyone who is not licensed and also from participating in rescue.

The bill mandates annual inspections during business hours.  For dog and cat owners who are not true businesses, making their homes available for inspection will be problematic.  Hobby breeders, those with as few as four breeding animals, and small breeders working outside the home during inspection hours could face disciplinary action for not being home for an inspection.

SF2166 is not an animal welfare bill; it is an attempt to shut down breeding of cats and dogs in Iowa.

Susan Wolf

Sportsmen’s & Animal Owners’ Voting Alliance

Working to Identify and Elect Supportive Legislators

saova@earthlink.net

cubhill@earthlink.net

http://saova.org

 

February 16, 2014

Legislation Updates

SAOVA Friends,

Most legislatures are now in session for 2014 and there is no shortage of bills being introduced targeting dog breeders and sportsmen.  We have a short list of bills below that require your attention now.  Additional bills are being tracked at the SAOVA website http://saova.org/news.html Please check weekly for updates.  Cross posting is encouraged.

Susan Wolf

Sportsmen’s & Animal Owners’ Voting Alliance

Working to Identify and Elect Supportive Legislators

saova@earthlink.net

ARIZONA

Wayne Pacelle made a personal appearance at this month’s Humane Lobby Day to push HSUS priority bills. Among them HB 2022 prohibiting convicted animal abusers from owning or otherwise caring for any animal and HB 2215/SB 1036 adding cockfighting or other animal-fighting crimes to the list of racketeering crimes.

HB 2242 Commercial Dog Breeders and Pet Dealers is another HSUS priority bill. Sponsors: Representatives Kavanagh, Sherwood, Ugenti, Coleman, Forese, Lovas, Pratt, Shope; Senators Reagan, McComish, Melvin, Meza. HB 2242 adds definition of commercial dog breeder to Pet Lemon Law Statute 44-1799. Commercial dog breeder defined as a person that sells twenty or more dogs in a calendar year but does not include commercial livestock operations. The bill adds commercial breeder to the definition of pet dealer and also requires a veterinary examination of all female dogs owned before breeding. Commercial breeders would then be subject to provisions of the Pet Lemon Law including record keeping, purchaser remedies, and civil penalties. STATUS: Passed House Agriculture and Water Committee 8-0; passed House second read 1/23/14. Placed on Consent Calendar 2/10/14.  Calls in opposition are urgently needed now.

HB 2302 Public Sale of Animals Sponsors: Representatives Frank Pratt (R, 8), T J Shope (R, 8).

Revises statutes making public sale of animals unlawful on any public highway, street or park or any public property adjacent to a public highway, street or park, or any commercial private property without the express consent of the owner or lessee of the property. Status: 1/22/14 PASSED Agriculture and Water 8-0. Placed on Consent Calendar 2/10/14. It is common practice for dog breeders and sportsmen to meet at mutually convenient locations in order to buy or sell a dog. HB 2302 would make this illegal. Now that the APHIS pet rule demands sales for most breeders be transacted in person, it is more important than ever to stop bills that place prohibitions on where sales can take place.

Contact info for Arizona House Members: http://tinyurl.com/y746ffv

ILLINOIS

HB 4188 Animal Abuse Registry. Sponsor Maria Antonia Berrios (D-39) creates the Animal Abuse Registry Fund; amends the Humane Care for Animals Act. Provides that the Department of Agriculture shall create and maintain an animal abuse registry. Failure to register is a Class B misdemeanor for a first offense and a Class 4 felony for a subsequent violation. Prohibits a registered person from owning a companion animal or being employed at an animal shelter, pound, pet shop, zoo, or other business where companion animals are present. See SAOVA page opposing Animal Abuser Registry Campaign http://saova.org/ALDF_AbuserRegistry.html

Animal abuse cases comprise less than 1% of all convictions in the State of Illinois. At this time, the small percentage of convictions does not warrant the large expenditure of funds required to set up and maintain a registry.  See SAOVA’s opposition letter http://tinyurl.com/q4lp27n

 

HEARING SCHEDULED. Agriculture & Conservation Committee Feb 18 2014 2:00PM Stratton Building Room D-1 Springfield, IL.

 

Call committee members and OPPOSE the registry.

Patrick J. Verschoore (217) 782-5970

Jerry F. Costello, II  (217) 782-1018

Donald L. Moffitt  (217) 782-8032

Kelly Burke  (217) 782-0515

John D. Cavaletto  (217) 782-0066

Katherine Cloonen  (217) 782-5981

Marcus C. Evans, Jr.  (217) 782-8272

Brad E. Halbrook  (217) 558-1040

Josh Harms  (217) 558-1039

Stephanie A. Kifowit  (217) 782-8028

Frank J. Mautino  (217) 782-0140

Charles E. Meier  (217) 782-6401

Christian L. Mitchell  (217) 782-2023

Raymond Poe  (217) 782-0044

Wayne Rosenthal  (217) 782-8071

Sue Scherer  (217) 524-0353

Brian W. Stewart  (217) 782-8186

 

VIRGINIA

SB42 Penning of fox or coyote; penalty. Summary as passed by Senate: Makes it a Class 1 misdemeanor for any person to erect or maintain an enclosure for the purpose of pursuing, hunting, or killing or attempting to pursue, hunt, or kill a fox or coyote with dogs. The bill exempts from the prohibition any enclosure operated by a person holding a permit initially issued prior to January 1, 2014. The bill has been assigned to House Subcommittee on Natural Resources http://tinyurl.com/mmh8eg9

There are nearly 40 pens in rural parts of Virginia. Penning is NOT a blood sport as HSUS claims; the pens are a good way to train dogs while keeping them out of roads and off property of others.  Sportsmen should continue to oppose SB42.

 

WEST VIRGINIA

HB 4218 Permitting counties to adopt certain ordinances relating to dogs and cats; introduced and referred to House Political Subdivisions 01/17/14.  Sponsor Rep. Marty Gearheart (R-27); Cosponsors  Shott, Ellington, Border, Sponaugle, Fleischauer, Manypenny, Evans, A., Westfall, Campbell, Romine. Bill summary: the Legislature finds that it may be in the best interest of the public to protect the health and safety of the individuals as well as the health and safety of animals owned by residents of a county by reducing the number of dogs and cats that are stray or abandoned. HB 4218 confers authority to counties to enact ordinances requiring various restraints and control of dogs owned or in the custody and control of persons in the county. The bill allows county commissions to adopt an ordinance upon approval by referendum.

 

An ordinance may:

Prohibit persons from keeping a dog on a leash and tied to the ground or structure;

Prohibit persons from confining a dog to a pen, run or cage or leave a dog in a vehicle without adequate protection;

Prohibit persons from leaving a dog confined without providing adequate food or water to safely sustain the dog at all times.

Limit the number of animals owned that are not spayed or neutered;

Provide penalties for violations and authorize humane officers to take possession of any dog or cat that is not properly spayed or neutered or adequately restrained or controlled as required by the ordinance.

HB 4218 is a roadmap for bad local legislation and ownership restrictions.  Contact information for House Political Subdivisions Committee: http://tinyurl.com/mchketq

 

 

January 19, 2014

Thanks Susan for bringing this to our attention.

TEXAS ACCOMPLISHMENTS (2005 through 2012)

LEGISLATION/PUBLIC POLICY

The HSUS in Texas has been working alongside other state and national coalition partners on the following legislation:

o Puppy mills: Requires licensing and inspection of dog and cat breeders who maintain 11 or more female breeding animals and sell 20 or more animals per year (passed)

o Cockfighting: Prohibits a person from attending a cockfight, owning or training a roster to fight, owning or selling the knives, gaffs or other weapons used in the fights, and allowing one’s property to be used in a fight (passed)

o Posting bond in cruelty cases: Ensures animals seized from persons charged with cruelty to animals are not held in shelters for a long period pending an appeal and requires persons convicted of animal cruelty to reimburse the shelter for cost of care for the animals (passed)

o Attendance at responsible pet owner class: Allows a judge to order a person convicted of animal cruelty to attend a responsible pet owner course

o Helped to defeat the following bad bills:

– Bill to expand the list of entities that are exempt from the Dangerous Wild Animal Act

– Bill to establish a Livestock Standards Board

– Bill that would have provided a defense to prosecution for the offense of cruelty to a dog if the person has a reasonable fear of serious bodily injury to himself or another person

– Bill that would have defined working dogs as “livestock” and prohibited cities and counties from regulating them; it also treated working dogs as “livestock” for animal cruelty purposes

Helped pass rules implementing the puppy mill bill, which we helped pass in 2011

Helped pass an ordinance in Austin endorsing The HSUS and The United Egg Producers Agreement

Helped pass an ordinance banning the retail sale of puppies and kittens in Austin and El Paso

GRANTS, AID, AND PROJECT CONTRIBUTIONS

The HSUS has provided over $201,000 in grants to shelters and other animal organizations for support, sponsorships, and general funding.

The HSUS has sponsored the Texas Unites conference for several years, which brings together the three main animal shelter coalitions together into one conference.

The HSUS donated money to the Austin Humane Society for medical supplies during the Bastrop wildfires.

The HSUS provided grant to the Galveston Island Humane Society.

TRAINING, SHELTER, AND ADVOCATE OUTREACH AND EVENTS

Illegal Animal Fighting trainings in San Antonio (40 attendees), Houston (more than 50 attendees) and South Texas (40 attendees)

Disaster Animal Response Team trainings in 2006, 2009, 2011

Lobby 101s/Advocacy Events, annual Humane Lobby Day at the state capitol, and advocacy events statewide

PARTNERSHIPS

Appointed to deer working group to assist nuisance deer population

CORPORATE REFORM

To date, 49 pet supply retailers have taken The HSUS’s Puppy Friendly Pet Store pledge, committing not to sell puppies in favor of promoting shelter adoptions.

DIRECT ASSISTANCE, HANDS-ON CARE, TRANSPORT, OR PLACEMENT

2011: Texas Captive Hunt Facilities – Conducted an undercover investigation exposing the unsavory captive exotic animal hunting business in New York and Texas; the investigation aired on Animal Planet.

2011: ESPN Investigation – In April, 2011, HSUS investigators took an ESPN crew member undercover to a cockfight in Gunter, Texas. They aired the exposé on ESPN.

2010: Cockfighting Investigation – Undercover investigators attended cockfights at nearly 20 pits throughout Texas and documented about 100 locations where cockfights are regularly held.

Investigators used hidden cameras to document repeated acts of animal cruelty, as well as the presence of young children, widespread illegal gambling, and prostitution.2010: Texas Egg Facility Investigation – On November 17, The HSUS held simultaneous press conferences in Houston and Washington, D.C. regarding our investigation into an egg factory farm owned by Cal-Maine in Waelder, Texas. The investigation revealed appalling animal abuse and food safety threats.

Ongoing: We have been working quite closely with the San Antonio Animal Care Services, providing them information of various cockfighting operations and breeding facilities. We also provided them with 200 cages to house roosters that were part of two back-to-back cockfight operations which occurred January 2012. Also in 2012, we assisted in the rescue of 52 puppies from a puppy mill in Giddings. The facility, “Lit’l Bit of Heaven Puppies,” were selling sick puppies and breeding various small breeds, many living in small wire enclosures littered with feces. Many of the dogs were severely matted, urine-stained, and suffering from a variety of infections, dental disease, and medical issues. Austin Animal Services provided the onsite veterinarians and took the dogs for treatment and shelter.

Dec. 15, 2011: The HSUS supplied key information that led to the raid of an alleged cockfighting breeding facility in Santa Fe. Local law enforcement, acting on information from an undercover investigation by The HSUS, found more than 350 birds and cockfighting paraphernalia on the scene, as well as a cockfighting pit.

May 7, 2011: The HSUS assisted in identifying cockfighting operation in Gunter, which led to a cockfight raid. Dozens of birds were seized and 50 people are being investigated for illegal cockfighting.

Feb. 19, 2011: The HSUS supplied key information that led to the raid of a suspected cockfighting operation in Tyler. HSUS experts also provided evidence identification and documentation on the scene. Authorities seized 44 roosters and detained an estimated 20 people.

Dec. 18, 2010: The HSUS supplied key information that led to the raid of an alleged cockfighting  operation in southeast Dallas, by the Dallas Police Department. Several people were detained on the scene, and others may later face charges. Authorities seized 80 roosters.

Dec. 15, 2010: The HSUS assisted in the rescue of 44 neglected horses, providing care and assisting with placement. Many horses went to the Doris Day Horse Rescue and Adoption Center.

Jan. 4, 2010: Officials arrested 176 people, seized 118 birds, and took into custody 15 children, ranging from 5 to 15 years old, at a cockfight in Poolville. The HSUS assisted with the raid, which turned up narcotics and more than $10,000 in gambling money.

Aug. 11, 2009: More than 500 dogs and approximately 15 cats were rescued from deplorable conditions in Kaufman County. Rescue workers and volunteers cared for the animals at an emergency shelter. The HSUS provided evidence, sheltering, field, and medical support.

DISASTER PLANNING AND RESPONSE

2012: The HSUS assisted the Lancaster Animal Control in April 2012 when more than 15 tornadoes touched ground in the Dallas area. We assisted in getting them much needed food, crates, and bowls.

2011: The HSUS assisted the Austin Humane Society with relief efforts during the wildfires that occurred in Bastrop during the fall of 2011.

2005: During Hurricane Rita, HSUS staff ran evacuation sites in Nacogdoches and Lufkin, where all but three of 457 animals were reunited with their owners.

 

January 16, 2014

SAOVA Friends,

Another year is beginning and promises to see ever increasing pressure and legislative action by animal activist groups.   HSUS sent a missive this month announcing they had big plans for the year ahead and listed some of their top priorities for 2014.  Their list included:

 

1. Passing legislation in all 50 states to set so-called “humane” breeding standards;

2. Banning use of lead ammo for hunting;

3. Fighting the King amendment which would prevent states like California from imposing their own animal welfare standards on farm goods brought in from other states;

4. Stopping (ag-gag) bills that prohibit unauthorized video-taping or delayed cruelty reporting;

5. Securing a ballot initiative to end wolf hunting in Michigan; and a ballot initiative in Maine to ban bear hunting over bait and with hounds.

Remain alert for activist legislation introduced in your area. SAOVA monitors a limited number of bills on our website. Working together we can protect our traditions, avocations and livelihoods from anti-hunting and anti-animal breeding radicals.  The world not only belongs to those who show up, it’s controlled by the best informed and most motivated.

Thanks for reading.  Cross posting is encouraged.

Susan Wolf

Sportsmen’s & Animal Owners’ Voting Alliance

Working to Identify and Elect Supportive Legislators

saova@earthlink.net

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PETITION TO PROMULGATE STANDARDS FOR BEARS

APHIS received a petition from PETA requesting an amendment to the Animal Welfare Act regulations to add specific standards for the humane handling, care, treatment, and transportation of all species of bears held in captivity except polar bears, for which there are already standards. The petition states that the generic standards in subpart F of 9 CFR Part 3 are inadequate and do not address the complex and unique behavioral, dietary, and physiological needs of bears. APHIS is soliciting comments on a list of questions, such as requirements for environmental enrichment and prohibition of public contact, which are posted in the Proposed Rule Docket.  Comments may be mailed to: to Docket No. APHIS-2012-0106, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238 or submitted on line http://tinyurl.com/mklfc2o   Comment period closes January 27 2014 at 11:59 PM ET.

APHIS PET RULE UPDATES

APHIS created a new, online form in December for the public to submit their concerns about animals that are covered under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), submit complaints against pet breeders, and report pet breeders they think should be licensed.  Anonymous complaints are accepted and all complaints are investigated.

On December 16 Associated Dog Clubs of New York State (ADCNYS), an AKC Federation of Dog Clubs with 56 member clubs in New York State, filed a lawsuit in the Federal District Court in Washington DC. The lawsuit asks the Court to declare that the Retail Pet Store Rule is “arbitrary, capricious and inconsistent” with law, and to remand the Rule back to the USDA. The lawsuit also seeks an injunction that would bar the USDA from enforcing the Retail Pet Store Rule. The complaint in the lawsuit was filed on behalf of 42 Plaintiffs that consisted of dog and cat clubs, associations and a registry representing approximately 19,000 breeders who potentially would be adversely affected by the Rule. Those 42 Plaintiffs represent less than 1% of the more than 5,500 Dog and Cat Clubs in the U.S., which supports the assertion that the Rule potentially affects far more than the 4,640 breeders that APHIS stated was the maximum number of breeders who potentially would be affected by the Rule.  One of the cornerstone assertions in the complaint is the fact that APHIS failed to document how it arrived at its figure of 4,640 breeders, which figure is exponentially below the number of hobby breeders who potentially could be affect by the Rule. The complaint is posted and can be viewed here: http://tinyurl.com/mqltngb

On December 30, 2013, HSUS formally filed a Motion to Intervene in the case, and its Motion and accompanying exhibits totaled over 100 pages. The HSUS complaint can be viewed here: http://tinyurl.com/p5jb4d7  In the motion, HSUS states, “The Final Rule is the culmination of years of effort on the part of The HSUS to bring about meaningful change to existing law. If Plaintiffs are successful in their efforts to set aside the Final Rule, The HSUS will suffer immediate and concrete harm.”

On January 7 HSUS posted notice of a complaint filed with USDA requesting that the agency take enforcement action against more than 50 commercial dog breeders who appear to be operating in violation of federal law. The breeders appear to have illegally sold puppies to middleman Purebred Breeders, LLC, without a USDA license. The complaint filed by HSUS also urges the USDA to take enforcement action against Purebred Breeders for failing to obtain a license in light of recent changes to federal regulations that require retailers who sell puppies to consumers sight-unseen to obtain a federal license.  HSUS is wasting no time reporting breeders even though APHIS has not had time to answer all questions or issue new licenses.

On January 13 the Justice Department filed a response to the HSUS Motion to Intervene stating, “Defendants take no position regarding the Motion to Intervene of the Humane Society of the United States.”  Also on January 13, ADCYNS filed a Response to the HSUS Motion to Intervene as a Defendant in the Lawsuit.  The ADCYNS response is posted at http://www.keepourdomesticanimals.com/

ALDF WATCH

Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) posts that they reviewed inspection records of commercial breeders in the state of New Jersey and singled out what they have determined are the worst breeders.  ALDF then sent a formal letter this week to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) demanding the agency enforce the law against violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA).  In the letter ALDF urged APHIS to move the animals to reputable shelters where they can receive veterinary attention, apply civil penalties, and revoke the licenses of the commercial dealers that have violated the AWA on multiple occasions. ALDF announced a similar review of inspection reports from licensed dealers in Nebraska, claiming their review shows that animal cruelty routinely goes unpunished. “We call upon the USDA to act now on these ongoing violations, which have been thoroughly documented in their own records,” posted Stephen Wells, executive director of ALDF.  Source: ALDF website

SAVE NEW YORK CARRIAGE HORSES

The horse-drawn carriage business is an iconic part of New York City, employing hundreds of dedicated, hard-working men and women, caring for well-bred, well-trained horses and attracting tourists to New York City. Newly elected Mayor Bill de Blasio said that one of his first acts after taking office will be to ban horse-drawn carriages in Central Park.  His plan is to replace the historic horse-drawn carriages with electric cars and redevelop the prime real estate that currently accommodates the stables. Supporting de Blasio’s mission to ban carriage horses is the ASPCA who told press, “The ASPCA believes that the use of carriage horses in 21st-century New York City is unnatural, unnecessary and an undeniable strain on the horses’ quality of life.”

The ban would end jobs for the 300 carriage drivers and force owners to retire their horses.  Steve Malone, spokesman for the Horse and Carriage Association of New York, told reporters “It’s unconstitutional to take my private property unless I’ve done something wrong.”

NY State Horse Council Statement of Support is posted below. Letters in support of the carriage industry are urgently needed.  Send your letters to:

Stephen Malone, President

Horse & Carriage Association of New York

618 West 52nd Street, New York NY 10019

malonecarriages@aol.com

NEW YORK STATE HORSE COUNCIL STATEMENT OF SUPPORT

FOR THE NEW YORK CITY CARRIAGE HORSE/CARRIAGE HORSE INDUSTRY

It is not a question of whether the carriage trade is necessary to New York City or not. The carriage horses are an iconic symbol of NYC; they are part of the cultural heritage not only of NYC but also of America. They provide economic benefits to the City through tourism and tax revenues. Today’s carriage horses provide a presence and exposure to rural animals not available to many anywhere else.

Some people have labelled the carriage horse industry as “inhumane.” It is not. While the word “inhumane” is not mentioned in the law, cruelty is. NYS Agriculture & Markets Law, Article 26 and more specifically, Section 353, defines cruelty as “failure to provide proper sustenance, such as food, water, shelter and veterinary care.

All the NYC carriage horses are well taken care of and have better than average stabling available to them. Each horse is provided food and water (each carriage carries food and water for the horses so they may eat/drink during working hours); the stables are warm, well-ventilated and have spacious stalls for resting during non-working hours; veterinary care is required and provided annually and on-call; each horse also has a mandatory 5 week vacation break. The NYC carriage horses are probably the most regulated horses in the country, if not the world. They are covered by approximately 144 pages of regulations; they are watched over very closely by several organizations, including the ASPCA.

It is the opinion of the Board of Directors of the New York State Horse Council that the NYC carriage horses and their owners should be allowed to continue to operate their small businesses without fear of reprisal or loss of livelihood. The horses are a great tourist attraction because they ARE horses – not cold, impersonal pieces of metal.

The NYS Horse Council calls on all other State Horse Councils and all concerned horse groups and horsepersons throughout the country to come to the support of the New York City carriage horses and the carriage industry. The world is watching what happens here; the outcome could affect YOU!

Marsha S. Himler, President, NYS Horse Council

 

January 6, 2014
http://www.kansascity.com/2014/01/05/4731113/aspca-closes-storied-enforcement.html
OR
http://tinyurl.com/pb567ge

ASPCA closes storied enforcement unit in NYC
By DAVID B. CARUSO
Associated Press

NEW YORK – For all its 147 years, the American Society for the
Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has been more than an advocacy group; it has served as the primary law enforcement agency for animal abuse and neglect in New York City.

That role, the first of its kind in the nation, led to a squad of uniformed agents who flashed badges, carried guns, made arrests, traveled in blue-and-white squad cars and, for years, starred in an Animal Planet reality TV show, “Animal Precinct.”

But now, that unit is losing its bite. In December, the ASPCA laid off most of its 17 remaining law enforcement agents. Their responsibilities will be left to the New York Police Department.

The change is one that has been sought for years by some animal
advocates, who said the ASPCA’s small enforcement staff couldn’t handle the volume of abuse reports and was taking weeks or months to respond to calls regular police could probably get to in hours…..

…As the ASPCA has grown into a national advocacy group, the New YorkCity enforcement operation has become a smaller part of its operation. Of the nearly $169 million the organization spent in 2012, the largest chunks went to animal health services and public education programs, according to the ASPCA’s filings with the Internal Revenue Service. It spent $27 million on anti-cruelty programs, but only part of that amount related to the humane law enforcement department in New York City. The ASPCA also has a field investigations team that works nationally and will continue operating, as well as a cruelty intervention team in New York City
that responds to neglect complaints, counsels owners and often takes custody of animals but has no enforcement powers…..

 

December 4, 2013

<http://www.saova.org/news/APHIS/USDA_WEBINAR_NOVEMBER.21.2013.pdf>

November 16, 2013

http://saova.org/news/APHIS/USDA_WEBINAR_NOVEMBER.14.2013.pdf

 

November 3, 2013

SAOVA Friends,

The final pet seller rule goes into effect on November 18, 2013. This rule would extend APHIS authority to include large segments of the retail pet trade as regulated under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), including pet species as dogs, cats, guinea pigs, rabbits, and hamsters, among others. The overarching intent of the revision is to regulate sight unseen retail pet sales, which, without proof, APHIS claims have dramatically increased as a result of growing Internet usage.   APHIS also claims the rule closes a so-called “Internet loophole” and restores the original intent of Congress for administration of the AWA.

We have always believed the issue of how Congress intended the AWA to be enforced was decided by the Circuit Court in Doris Day Animal League (DDAL) v. Ann M. Veneman (Secretary, USDA). We agree with the Court’s decision and do not think that several decades ago, Congress ever meant USDA to enforce the AWA inside people’s homes.  However, now that the current APHIS administration has elected to make a determination granting themselves additional authority of such magnitude, we believe Congress is obligated to review this issue, and should do so as quickly as possible.

Download full article at http://saova.org/APHIS_authority.html

Thanks for reading.  Cross posting is encouraged.

Susan Wolf

Sportsmen’s & Animal Owners’ Voting AllianceWorking to Identify and Elect Supportive Legislators

saova@earthlink.net

APHIS PET RULE LICENSING WEBINARS

USDA Animal Care will host a series of Retail Pet Store Rule webinars in November and December. Webinars will be held Thursdays from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. EST for a four-week period. http://tinyurl.com/kgk4c3p  The schedule of topics for the webinars is as follows:

November 7 – Am I regulated under USDA’s Retail Pet Store Rule

November 14 – How will USDA implement the Retail Pet Store Rule

November 21 – What is USDA’s inspection process in a home

December 5 – How will USDA enforce the Retail Pet Store Rule

FDA DECISION ON LABELING REQUIREMENTS FOR EGGS

Docket ID: FDA-2006-P-0338. September 22, 2013 FDA posted Denial of petition to revise requirements http://tinyurl.com/k7rxvey

Compassion Over Killing and Animal Legal Defense Fund and Penn Law Animal Law Project Petition, University of PA Law School, filed a citizens petition September 21, 2010 requesting new labeling of shell eggs sold in the U.S. Petitioners claim that current labeling fails to reveal to consumers certain material facts that substantially influence their purchasing decisions. Petitioners further requested that FDA require shell eggs to bear one of three labels: Free Range Eggs, Cage Free Eggs, Eggs From Caged Hens and provided descriptions of production conditions that would be associated with each term.

The agency states in its decision summary, “After careful review of your citizen petition and for the reasons described below, FDA is denying your citizen petition in accordance with 21 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 10.30(e)(3) because you do not provide a sufficient basis for the agency to revise the current labeling requirements for shell eggs. Specifically, you have not provided evidence sufficient to show that eggs from caged hens are “nutritionally inferior” to eggs from free-range and cage-free hens. Therefore, nutritional properties cannot provide a basis to consider the method of production for eggs to be a material fact.  Moreover, nutritional information regarding particular eggs is conveyed to consumers directly by placing the particular nutrient information on the label, not by identifying the method of production, which does not provide consumers with information as to nutritive content. Second, you have not provided sufficient evidence to show that eggs from caged hens have a greater risk of Salmonella contamination than eggs from the other two production methods you define; consequently, the risk of Salmonella cannot provide a basis to consider the method of production for eggs to be a material fact.  Finally, even assuming the method of egg production may be of interest to some consumers, consumer interest alone is not a material fact. Therefore, FDA is not compelled under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (“the Act”) or it’s implementing regulations to require such labeling under the law. Finally, even if the agency could require such labeling, it would choose to use its limited resources on rulemakings of higher priority, such as those that are of greatest public health significance or are statutorily-mandated.

PROHIBIT PUBLIC CONTACT WITH BIG CATS, BEARS, AND NONHUMAN PRIMATES

Docket No. APHIS-2012-0107. In August 2013, HSUS, World Wildlife Fund, Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), Big Cat Rescue, and others petitioned APHIS to amend sections of the AWA. Petitioners requested regulation changes in part 2.131 to explicitly prohibit licensed exhibitors from allowing persons, with some exceptions, from coming into direct physical contact with any big cats, bears, and nonhuman primates of any age. The petition states that the current handling regulations in 9 CFR part 2 allow licensees the opportunity to engage in animal exhibition practices via interactive public contact sessions and photographic opportunities, and that these activities not only place these animals at risk of harm but threaten public safety. Petitioners also suggested revisions to 9 CFR part 3 to ensure that the sections containing specific standards for the handling of nonhuman primates are consistent with the regulatory changes they propose in § 2.131. Nonhuman primates include lemurs which are a popular exhibit at many petting zoos.

APHIS issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) requesting comments on conditions where public contact could be allowed; whether exhibitors and dealers should be required to keep additional records and identify their animals with microchips or retinal scans, etc.  The comment period has been extended to November 18, 2013.  Comment at Federal Register: http://tinyurl.com/ln76cs3

The majority of comments at this time are form letters from the HSUS website supporting a rule.

JUDGE CLEARS WAY FOR DOMESTIC HORSE SLAUGHTER

Judge’s Ruling Favors USDA Providing Horse Slaughter Inspections by Dan Flynn, November 1, 2013

USDA is not required to conduct an Environmental impact Statement or Environmental Assessment in order to grant equine inspection services to businesses planning to pack horsemeat for export, U.S. District Court Judge Christina Armijo ruled Friday. The judge denied the request by animal groups for a permanent injunction and dismissed the case challenging USDA’s authority.  The decision is a massive loss for the Humane Society of the U.S., which largely funded the lawsuit and enlisted 15 other groups and individuals to join it as plaintiffs.

And it was a defining victory for the Department of Justice attorneys who re-affirmed USDA powers contained in the Federal Meat Inspection Act that go back more than 100 years.   It means horse slaughter for human consumption could resume shortly under USDA inspection for the first time since 2006. “Valley Meat Company, LLC and Rains Natural Meats are both very pleased with the decision of Judge Armijo, said Albuquerque  attorney A. Blair Dunn. “This is a very well-reasoned and thorough opinion.  Valley and Rains are very grateful for the hard work and thought that Judge Armijo put into this decision.  Both companies will now focus on final preparations to open and begin work.”  Full story at link: http://tinyurl.com/mredlmd

CONGRESSIONAL SPORTSMEN’S CAUCUS BIPARTISAN LEADERSHIP

PUSHES TO RESTORE SEQUESTERED SPORTSMEN TRUST FUNDS

For Immediate Release. November 1, 2013 (Washington, DC). In an effort to exempt vital sportsmen trust funds from budget sequestration, the bipartisan Senate leadership of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) sent a letter to Sylvia Burwell, Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), requesting that the $50 million sequestered from the Wildlife Restoration, Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Safety Trust Funds in 2013 be returned to the states.

In bipartisan fashion, CSC Senate Co-Chairs, Kay Hagan and John Thune, and Senate Vice-Chairs, Mark Pryor and James Risch, signed on to the letter, requesting the OMB release the sequestered sportsmen trust funds that are derived from excise taxes levied on guns and ammunition; fishing tackle and equipment; motorboat fuel; and bows and arrows. The trust funds are the foundation of the unique American System of Conservation Funding, a “user pays-public benefits” program. This user-pays funding strategy has produced numerous public benefits including: abundant fish and wildlife populations, access to public lands and clean waters, improved fish and wildlife habitat, improved soil and water conservation, shooting ranges, and boating access facilities.

Jeff Crane, President of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) praised the Senate CSC leadership for their continued bipartisan support. “We salute the bipartisan leadership of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus for once again standing up in support of hunters and anglers. These dedicated trust funds form the financial backbone of the most successful conservation story in history, and to release them back to the state wildlife agencies where they belong is simply the right thing to do.”

“North Carolina and states across the country depend on this funding to restore and manage fisheries and wildlife habitats, open and maintain recreational access, and provide hunting and boating safety education. Moreover, applying sequestration to the trust funds represents a breach in trust between sportsmen and women and industries that pay an excise tax to specifically fund projects that enhance outdoor recreation activities and opportunities,” Senator Hagan stated.

By withholding $50 million from Wildlife Restoration, Sport Fish Restoration, and Boating Safety programs, the Budget Control Act of 2011 will adversely affect states’ ability to manage their fish and wildlife resources; open and maintain recreational access; and deliver hunter and boating safety education.

In the letter, CSC leadership noted that in implementing sequestration, OMB is required to follow rules outlined in the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985. The act provides that budgetary resources sequestered in trust fund accounts in a fiscal year “shall be available in subsequent years to the extent otherwise provided in law.”

In March, CSF, along with 44 organizations representing millions of hunters, anglers and other conservationists, sent a letter to House and Senate leadership requesting assistance in exempting the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Safety Trust Funds from the Budget Sequestration Act of 2011.  http://tinyurl.com/lvz9mal

CONTACT: Cole Henry  cole@sportsmenslink.org

 

 

DOES APHIS HAVE AUTHORITY TO ENACT THIS RULE? Re:  Docket ID:  APHIS-2011-0003, Animal Welfare; Retail Pet Stores and Licensing Exemptions

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APHIS issued the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking May 16, 2012. The final rule was published in the federal register September 18, 2013 and goes into effect November 18, 2013. This Rule would extend APHIS authority to include large segments of the retail pet trade as regulated under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), including pet species as dogs, cats, guinea pigs, rabbits, and hamsters, among others. The overarching intent of the revision is to regulate sight unseen retail pet sales, which, without proof, APHIS claims have dramatically increased as a result of growing Internet usage.
In May, 2010, APHIS received severe criticism from the USDA Office of Inspector General (OIG) regarding lax enforcement of currently licensed dog breeders in the report, “Inspections of Problematic Dealers”. In June 2010 APHIS announced a plan to improve consistency in Animal Care inspectors’ approach for inspections, provide more complete guidance to its employees, and improve regulation of dog dealers particularly those who are repeat offenders.  As part of the Longer Term Actions included in the original Enhanced Animal Welfare Act Enforcement Plan in May 2010 APHIS set the following goal: “Develop regulations regarding Internet sales. This will transpire once legislation is passed to close a loophole in the law and enable APHIS to regulate this area of the industry.”  http://www.usda.gov/oig/webdocs/33002-4-SF.pdf
It is very clear APHIS believed this measure was specifically dependent upon legislation; however, unwilling to wait for Congressional action and pressured by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), APHIS added the following comment to their enforcement plan in a report which was undated but, from text dates, obviously compiled after May 31, 2011: “USDA has determined that it has legislative authority to regulate Internet sales. A proposed rule will be submitted for departmental clearance in spring 2011 and published in the Federal Register for public comment in fall 2011.”  http://www.aphis.usda.gov/newsroom/content/2010/05/AWA_enforcement_plan.shtml
The retail pet store revision would not improve enforcement of substandard current license holders, the major focus of the original OIG report, but would instead regulate many retailers, hobbyists, rescues, and small business entities far above APHIS claims of closing a so-called “Internet loophole” and restoring the original intent of Congress for administration of the AWA.
It is our impression that the current APHIS administration finds it immaterial that the existing definition of retail pet store and method of enforcement has been upheld in a court of law. Decided January 14, 2003, Doris Day Animal League (DDAL) v. Ann M. Veneman (Secretary, USDA) provides compelling arguments for retaining the construct between wholesale and retail sellers. The issue at hand was to determine if the traditional exemption under pet retail store definition, which exempted breeders who sell dogs as pets from their residences, was valid.  In his opinion, Circuit Judge Randolph noted “Hundreds of thousands of dog breeders throughout the United States raise and sell puppies from their homes. Still it is true that in the years since passage of the Act and the Secretary’s adoption of the regulation, Congress has not altered the regulatory definition of ‘retail pet store’ although it has amended the act three times.”  At that time USDA declined to amend the definition in light of the potential invasions of privacy that would result if federal inspectors began enforcing regulations in private homes.  USDA also maintained if they were to regulate these dealers in addition to state and local officials, it would clearly not be the most efficient use of their resources.
Efficient use of resources is just as relevant today, if not more so, considering the agency’s current budget challenges and the general state of the nation’s economy. The proposed rule threatens to exponentially increase the number of entities requiring licensure. Without a corresponding increase in inspection staff, the ability of APHIS to effectively enforce the AWA will be compromised.   Besides not being economically feasible, there are many state and local laws and ordinances already in place to monitor the welfare and housing for animals owned by residential retail breeder/sellers.
Revisiting Judge Randolph’s opinion regarding Congressional intent, he stated, “While the regulation’s definition of ‘retail pet store’ does not exactly leap from the page, there is enough play in the language of the Act to preclude us from saying that Congress has spoken to the issue with clarity. From what we can make out, Congress has paid little attention to the question posed in this case. Still, it is true that in the years since passage of the Act and the Secretary’s adoption of the regulation, Congress has not altered the regulatory definition of ‘retail pet store’ although it has amended the act three times. One line of Supreme Court cases holds that ‘when Congress revisits a statute giving rise to a longstanding administrative interpretation without pertinent change, the “congressional failure to revise or repeal the agency’s interpretation is persuasive evidence that the interpretation is the one intended by Congress.”’ Commodity Futures Trading Comm’n v. Schor, 478 U.S. 833, 846 (1986) (quoting NLRB v. Bell Aerospace Co., 416 U.S. 267, 275 (1974)). The quotation fits this case perfectly.” US Courts.gov Opinions
We agree with the Court’s decision and do not think that several decades ago, Congress ever intended USDA to enforce the AWA inside people’s homes.  However, now that the current APHIS administration has elected to make a determination granting themselves additional authority of such magnitude, we believe Congress is now obligated to review this issue, and should do so as quickly as possible.
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October 15, 2013

A SAOVA message to sportsmen, pet owners and farmers concerned about protecting their traditions, avocations and livelihoods from anti-hunting, anti-breeding, animal guardianship advocates. Forwarding and cross posting, with attribution, encouraged.

SAOVA Friends,

Since APHIS announced the Final Retail Pet Store Rule a number of commentaries have surfaced as groups and individuals attempt to interpret this rule and provide guidance.  The overarching intent of the revision is to regulate sight unseen sales which APHIS claims have dramatically increased as a result of growing internet usage.  APHIS has determined that their mission to enforce regulation of listed animal species under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) now includes those sold in retail as well as commercial markets.

The revised language as set in the APHIS rule now has the force and effect of law. Anything else stated by APHIS staff in response to questions should only be considered as an explanation of pending policy.  These policies are not only open to interpretation by individual inspectors, but can be modified by the agency at any time.

Part 3 of the AWA details the Standards of Care for housing, facilities, exercise, cleaning, sanitization, and housekeeping required under USDA/APHIS regulation.  Standards will not be revised for home-based retail sellers as APHIS cannot privilege newly licensed breeders over currently licensed breeders. The Final Rule notes: “Several of these commenters suggested that we amend part 3 in the final rule to establish alternate, performance-based standards for dog and cat fanciers and other small-scale residential breeders. We are making no changes in response to these comments. The comments were predicated on an assumption that it will be cost-prohibitive for most residential breeders who are regulated as a result of this rule to meet the standards in part 3; we do not consider that to be the case. (Page 63 of 91)

Below is a short list of noteworthy statements from the Final Rule Discussion of Comments regarding who APHIS intends to license.   Access this document at http://www.saova.org/APHIS_rulemaking.html

1. We consider private rescues and shelters that perform any of the activities listed in the definition of dealer, including transporting or offering animals for compensation, to be dealers. We consider acts of compensation to include any remuneration for the animal, regardless of whether it is for profit or not for profit. Remuneration thus includes, but is not limited to, sales, adoption fees, and donations. (Page 13 of 91)

2. If an individual is selling animals at retail for breeding purposes, that individual is not a dealer. We do, however, share the concern that claiming breeding purposes as the purpose for an animal’s retail sale could be subject to abuse. Therefore, if we were to receive word that individuals making such claims are, in fact, marketing their animals as pets, we would consider this to be grounds for initiating an investigation to resolve the matter. (Page 15 of 91)

3. Those who own more than four breeding females and wish to continue selling the offspring as pets, sight unseen, can do so by obtaining a license and allowing APHIS inspectors to inspect their facility. (Page 24 of 91)

4. As is the case with commercial pet retailers, representatives of rescue groups also must be physically present at a place of business so that potential buyers/adoptees can personally observe their animals before purchasing and/or taking custody of them. (Page 35 of 91)

5. In instances where there is some question about the method of sale, APHIS will conduct an investigation and determine whether a sight unseen sale has occurred. (Page 36 of 91)

6. APHIS investigates all credible reports we receive of unlicensed activities involving sales of covered pets. (Page 39 of 91)   Note:  APHIS stated in a conference call hosted by AKC that complaints of noncompliance will be accepted by email and through their web site and can be anonymous.

7. Farm animals intended for use as food, fiber, or other purposes specified under the definition of farm animal in § 1.1 are exempt from regulation, regardless of whether those animals are sold face-to-face or sight unseen. Farm animals sold specifically as pets in face-to-face transactions are also exempt from licensing. (Page 41 of 91)

8. If sellers of such [working] dogs also sell dogs at retail for pets, any female dogs bred to produce puppies for sale would be counted as breeding females. (Page 57 of 91)

The commentary contains considerable discussion of Breeding Females and Offspring as the final rule exempts anyone who maintains a total of four or fewer breeding female dogs, cats, and/or small exotic or wild mammals, and who sells only the offspring of these dogs, cats, and/or small exotic or wild mammals, which were born and raised on his or her premises.  It is important to note that the word “maintains” includes any breeding female even temporarily residing at that premise, and that the exemption refers to the aggregate number of females on premise regardless of species. It is ultimately an APHIS inspector’s responsibility to decide whether an animal is a breeding female and, generally, APHIS assumes that any female capable of breeding may be bred.

When the rule was proposed in 2012 there was uncertainty regarding its effect on sales of farm animals because the definition of retail pet store names domestic farm animals in the list of covered animals. We were told by APHIS personnel this was not an issue as farm animals were excluded from AWA regulation by definition.  However, the Final Rule Discussion of Comments raises this concern once again. APHIS acknowledges that farm animals intended for use as food, fiber, or other purposes specified under the definition of farm animal in § 1.1 are exempt from regulation, then adds “Farm animals intended to be used as pets, for biomedical research, or other nonagricultural research are regulated under the AWA.  APHIS further stipulates (Page 41) “Farm animals sold specifically as pets in face-to-face transactions are also exempt from licensing.” Does this provision imply that shipping a “farm animal” as a pet requires a license?

APHIS repeatedly states they will determine who requires a license on a case by case basis.  We would strongly advise having an attorney assist you in any dealings with APHIS regarding these decisions.

Thanks for reading.  Cross posting is encouraged.

Susan Wolf

Sportsmen’s & Animal Owners’ Voting Alliance Working to Identify and Elect Supportive Legislators saova@earthlink.net

UKC COMMENTARY ON NEW USDA RULES

Posted by Sara Chisnell, UKC Legal Counsel under Your Dog, Your Rights By now, most of you have heard that some changes have been made to the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) that affect dog breeders, but there has been a lot of confusion on exactly how these changes work. I will attempt to clarify and simplify, to the best of my knowledge, but many of the definitions and applications remain unclear.

First of all, what is the AWA? In a nutshell, the AWA was originally created in order to oversee the humane treatment of animals used in research, and was later expanded to include transporting and dealing animals, as well. The law delineates who must be licensed and subsequently adhere to regulations and standards. Dog breeders who sell pets only at retail, and “retail pet stores”, are exempted from the AWA. The changes to the AWA revise and narrow the definition of “retail pet stores”.

The AWA regulates and requires dealers to be licensed and inspected. A “dealer” is defined as “any person who, in commerce, for compensation or profit, delivers for transportation, or transports, except as a carrier, buys, sells, or negotiates the purchase or sale of: Any dog or other animal whether alive or dead (including unborn animals, organs, limbs, blood, serum or other parts) for research, teaching, testing, experimentation, exhibition, or for use as a pet, or any dog at the wholesale level for hunting, security or breeding purposes.” “Retail pet stores” or anyone who sells dogs at retail for “hunting, breeding or security purposes” are exempt from licensing.

Who will be affected by this definition change? It might not be as sweeping and over-inclusive as it first appeared. Basically, the dog breeders it will affect will be those who sell dogs sight unseen, have more than four (4) “breeding females”, and sell dogs as pets.  Sounds simple, right? Not so much.    Read commentary at link:  http://tinyurl.com/mlwqwxj

USDA ORDERS FOSTER FOODS TO CLEAN-UP PLANTS Foster Farms in California was told to clean-up or shut down after three of their California plants were linked to a salmonella outbreak.  This week Foster Farms issued a press release stating plants would stay open.  “USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) today reviewed Foster Farms’ safety plan for its three California facilities in Livingston and Fresno. This follows Foster Farms’ implementation of several new food safety controls over the last two months and the company’s commitment to install added processes during an enhanced inspection period over the next 90 days.”

The CDC reported in July of 2013 that testing of samples traced back to two Foster Farms slaughter establishments. The CDC also reported that some of the salmonella strains detected were showing resistance to antibiotics. The L.A. Times reported a statement by John Glisson, director of research for the U.S. Poultry & Egg Assn., defending the use of antibiotics in agriculture.  Glisson stressed that salmonella was a formidable challenge to the poultry industry. The bacteria grows in animals’ intestinal tracts and is spread through feces. It can contaminate a chicken farm through water, feed, birds and rodents. When infected chicken waste dries, salmonella can spread through dust.

Foster Farms was the first major broiler chicken producer in the nation to carry the American Humane Association seal, ensuring consumers that its farms meet the nonprofit’s animal welfare guidelines for raising poultry.  Sources: CDC , Foster Farms, LA Times, SF Gate

HSUS SEEKS REGULATION CHANGE IN KANSAS

Proposed changes to the Kansas Pet Animal Act (KPAA) are being considered by a House-Senate committee which will forward its recommendations to the full Legislature when the 2014 session starts in January.  HSUS state director, Midge Grinstead, called for more inspections of breeders to make sure that animal housing standards are being met.  Advocates claim current regulations are inadequate to ensure animals in crowded conditions have adequate water, are subject to proper temperatures, and given enough room to move around.  Several committee members said they did not see the need to regulate “hobby” breeders or animal training businesses.  HSUS included 11 Kansas breeders in their Horrible Hundred list — the third highest of the 20 states in the study.

MASSACHUSETTS PAWS ACT

New legislation filed by Minority Leader Bruce Tarr of Gloucester titled An Act Protecting Animal Welfare and Safety (PAWS Act) would raise animal cruelty fines and penalties.  Second or subsequent offenses would have increased penalties from 5 to 10 years in state prison and fines up to $20,000.  The legislation would create an anonymous animal abuse tip hotline and impose a fine of up to $1,000 on any veterinarian who fails to report a suspected act of cruelty to an animal.  A statewide registry of individuals convicted of animal abuse crimes would be established, and all animal shelters, pet stores or animal breeders would be required to check the registry prior to offering, selling, delivering, or giving an animal to any individual.

PENNSYLVANIA SB1126 MOVES DOG LAW TO HEALTH DEPARTMENT Introduced October 10, 2013 by Senators Dinniman, Alloway, Erickson, Vogel and Greenleaf, SB1126 amends the Dog Law by moving responsibility from the Department of Agriculture to the Department of Health.  The Department of Health would carry out all the administrative and oversight tasks currently required by the Dog Law, including the regulation of dog kennels; the collection of complaints and tips alleging violations of the Dog Law; the seizure of dogs from illegal, unlicensed kennels; and the collection of dog-license, kennel and out-of-state-dealers fees.  Senators Dinniman (D, Chester) and Alloway (R, Franklin) state with Dog Law enforcement in the Department of Agriculture, dogs are treated as any other agricultural product and moving them under the responsibility of the Department of Health correctly changes the focus to health, welfare and safety. Senators Dinniman and Alloway plan to unveil a package of bills October 22 with a public dog rally at the Capitol.

COBB COUNTY GA ANIMAL ABUSE UNIT

Cobb District Attorney Vic Reynolds names Sherwin Figueroa and Theresa Schiefer, who both joined the District Attorney’s Office earlier this year, as part of a new Animal Abuse Unit. His office prosecuted five felony aggravated cruelty to animal cases in 2011 and 2012 and, so far in 2013, there have been two cases indicted. Misdemeanor animal cases are prosecuted by the Solicitor General’s Office. Figueroa is an advocate of animal protection and serves as the vice president of the State Bar of Georgia’s Animal Law Section. Source: Marietta Daily Journal

The message above was posted to North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Louisiana and Texas residents by the Sportsmen’s and Animal Owners’ Voting Alliance (SAOVA).

SAOVA is a nonpartisan volunteer group working to protect Americans from the legislative and political threats of radical animal rightists. Visit our website at http://saova.org for this program’s goals, methodology and list signup details.

SAOVA

PO Box 612, Spencer NC 28159

SAOVA_South mailing list

SAOVA_South@mailman.montana.com

http://mailman.montana.com/mailman/listinfo/saova_south

Posted September 28. 2013

APHIS FINAL RULE REVISING PET SELLER EXEMPTIONS AND YOU

As you know by now, APHIS published the Final Rule September 10, 2013 which revises the definition of “retail pet store” under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) licensing and regulations. The new definition of retail pet store means a place of business or residence where the seller, buyer, and animal are physically present in the same location. Not only dogs, but cats, rabbits, mice, small exotic animals, and other small pets will no longer be sold at retail without either public or APHIS oversight. If you cannot qualify for the retail pet store exemption in the AWA by selling only face-to-face, then you must either obtain a federal license or be limited to 4 or fewer females bred and raised on your premises. This limit of 4 is an aggregate number of females regardless of species (i.e., 2 dogs, 1 cat, 1 rabbit).

The transaction does not have to take place at the seller’s home. A meeting place can be set up to transfer the animal. However, everyone needs to be aware that many municipalities have ordinances restricting sales in public places and should plan accordingly. It appears APHIS will allow a third party to be designated as the agent to stand in for the breeder or buyer in the face-to-face transaction, but this needs additional clarification.

Anyone selling dogs for hunting, breeding, security purposes, or as working dogs is excluded from the definition of Dealer and from the definition of Retail Pet Store.

APHIS held a teleconference to announce the final rule. If you could not attend, we urge you to read the transcribed call which is posted at the SAOVA website http://tinyurl.com/nyb4s5g

In general, APHIS says this rule is driven by purpose of breeding and method of delivery for the sale; and that their goal is only to end sight-unseen sales. However, since breeding programs do not fall into nice neat categories, and scenarios change from breeder to breeder and species to species, covering the retail sector with such a regulation creates many areas of uncertainty for the average breeder.

More: http://saova.org/APHIS_Rule_and_you.html

 

SAOVA posted September 25, 2013

Dear Congressman
Even if youi have written before, we need everyone to write to Congress. As of this morning, the Final Pet Seller Rule is listed as the 5th most read on the Federal Register website among 2,133 notices and rules posted this month. Make sure your Congressman is aware of this rule. A short, easy letter is below for you to use. More examples will be posted in the coming week. Thank you.

Dear Congressman

I am writing today in opposition to the final rule issued by USDA/APHIS to revise the definition of retail pet store.

The rule changes the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) and USDA responsibility forever by granting authority for federal inspectors to invade the privacy of American homes in order to establish standards for pet care, sanitation, handling, and housing.

While the rule is promoted as closing an “Internet loophole” for unscrupulous puppy sellers, the rule’s dramatic expansion of the AWA would actually encompass many private citizens as well as multiple species of pets. The new rule centers on shipping pets sight unseen requiring certain sellers who do so to be federally licensed. This places unnecessary restrictions on the buyer by limiting the geographic area from which he can purchase a pet without excessive travel. Because the Internet has replaced many traditional advertising methods does not mean it should be used as an excuse to expand the agency’s regulatory scope beyond its current enforcement capability.

Considering the agency’s current budget challenges and the general state of the nation’s economy, expansion of this magnitude is not only impractical but irresponsible and is not an efficient use of limited departmental resources.

Please intervene and help us stop this rule.

Sincerely,

LABELS: APHIS OFFICE OF ENFORCEMENT, APHIS PET RULE, ASPCA, COMMERCIAL DOG BREEDERS, DOG BREEDERS, HSUS AGENDA, PUPPY SALES, USDA APHIS PET LICENSING

 

posted 09/20/2013

A SAOVA message to sportsmen, pet owners and farmers concerned about protecting their traditions, avocations and livelihoods from anti-hunting, anti-breeding, animal guardianship advocates. Forwarding and cross posting, with attribution, encouraged.

APHIS Final Rule Revising Pet Seller Exemptions and Yo

SAOVA Friends,

As  you know by now, APHIS published the Final Rule September 10, 2013 which revises the definition of “retail pet store” under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) licensing and regulations. The new definition of retail pet store means a place of business or residence where the seller, buyer, and animal are physically present in the same location. Not only dogs, but cats, rabbits, mice, small exotic animals, and other small pets will no longer be sold at retail without either public or APHIS oversight.  If you cannot qualify for the retail pet store exemption in the AWA by selling only face-to-face, then you must either obtain a federal license or be limited to 4 or fewer females bred and raised on your premises. This limit of 4 is an aggregate number of females regardless of species (i.e., 2 dogs, 1 cat, 1 rabbit).

The transaction does not have to take place at the seller’s home.  A meeting place can be set up to transfer the animal. However, everyone needs to be aware that many municipalities have ordinances restricting sales in public places and should plan accordingly. It appears APHIS will allow a third party to be designated as the agent to stand in for the breeder or buyer in the face-to-face transaction, but this needs additional clarification.

Anyone selling dogs for hunting, breeding, security purposes, or as working dogs is excluded from the definition of Dealer and from the definition of Retail Pet Store.

APHIS held a teleconference to announce the final rule.  If you could not attend, we urge you to read the transcribed call which is posted at the SAOVA website http://tinyurl.com/nyb4s5g

In general, APHIS says this rule is driven by purpose of breeding and method of delivery for the sale; and that their goal is only to end sight-unseen sales.  However, since breeding programs do not fall into nice neat categories, and scenarios change from breeder to breeder and species to species, covering the retail sector with such a regulation creates many areas of uncertainty for the average breeder.

The list of questions is long:

Can hunting dog kennel owners sell pets

Can breeders ship sight-unseen where relationships have been well established

Can litters be whelped inside the house

Are rescues still exempt if they ship sight-unseen

Can animals, other than rabbits, be shipped for preservation of the species

Do the APHIS regulations take precedence over state license regulations

How can we believe the answers from APHIS staff who do not understand the questions

Does APHIS plan to offer any protection for newly licensed breeders so that kennel photos are not added to the ASPCA “puppy mill” data base and other sensationalized uses

If you are reported to APHIS as needing a license, are investigators required to have a warrant to enter your premises Is everyone on the same premise required to be licensed if one person must be licensed

The rule is overly complicated, inconsistent, and certainly not easy to understand. The internet and chat groups are full of conversation about this rule with a number of interpretations and a wide variety of opinions being circulated.  APHIS also posted another Question and Answer Fact Sheet with their explanations to some of the major concerns submitted during the rule making process.  Again as last year, the Q&A contains many half, incomplete, or misleading answers.  The reality is that the final interpretation of the rule and its definitions will be at the discretion of APHIS inspectors and staff.

Rather than attempt to analyze the rule and/or interpret how it will impact hundreds of thousands of breeders in dozens of varying situations we’ll review what we do know regarding the new rule and current AWA standards.

The Final Rule was published in the Federal Register September 18, 2013 and is effective 60 days from publication. APHIS plans a phased implementation of the rule. Kevin Shea, APHIS Director, stated in the teleconference, “We will be trying to identify the facilities that aren’t currently licensed that should be licensed under the rule. We’ll be doing this, using publicly available data – breed registries, advertisements that folks are doing on the internet, etc., to identify the facilities that we need to approach about getting licensed.”  APHIS is still finalizing their “outreach” plan and we will share that information when it becomes available.

The AWA Standards of Care for housing, facilities, exercise, cleaning, sanitization, employees, housekeeping, and pest control will not be revised.

Living under USDA licensing is NOT an option for the average home-based retail seller. The average house cannot be converted to a USDA compliant facility. Federal standards for licensed facilities dictate sanitation measures not feasible in a normal home, surfaces that are impervious to moisture, ventilation, bio-hazard control, veterinary care, exercise, temperature controls, waste disposal systems, diurnal lighting, drainage systems, washrooms, perimeter fencing, as well as transportation standards for regulated animals.

We are very concerned about the Q&A section regarding use of your homes. The answer is disingenuous and we trust those who have read it do not believe they can continue utilizing their homes once they are licensed.  The revised APHIS Q&A asks the question: Will regulated breeders who keep their dogs in their homes have to put them in a kennel?  APHIS answers “generally not” and proceeds with a misleading explanation that APHIS will determine if your home meets their standards; and states that a number of currently licensed wholesale breeders maintain their animals in their homes.

IF you can give up a room in your house and convert it to be the moisture proof, sterile environment described above, AND gain approval from an APHIS inspector, you may be able to crate or pen animals in that room. This room would then be for either adults or puppies/kittens but not both. Under the USDA standards puppies and kittens under 4 months of age cannot be housed in the same primary enclosure with adults, other than the dam/queen or foster dam/queen. Since the remainder of your house does not meet the above requirements, allowing animals to roam freely would cause you to be in violation of the AWA. And unless your bedroom is coated in epoxy and has a floor drain, you won’t be doing any whelping there.

A separate facility will be needed for females by two weeks prior to whelping. Even if you make one room in your house compliant with the AWA standards, females cannot be whelped in that room. That means an additional room will be required, plus one for each additional litter within the next 3.5 months.

Any room in your home used for whelping or birthing must meet USDA standards – impervious to moisture – meaning tile floor and vinyl-coated walls

All surfaces touched by animals must be waterproof and sterilized every two weeks with your choice of live steam under pressure, 180 degree water and detergent with disinfectant, or a combination detergent/disinfectant product.

You must have a separate food preparation area from your kitchen.

In addition to a written exercise plan and veterinary plan you must now have an emergency plan that documents your awareness and understanding of your responsibility to protect your animals in emergency situations.

The USDA license may classify you as a commercial business. You will need to know the allowed uses for your property in the current zoning and land use regulations and whether home businesses are allowed. Your property tax status may be affected and your tax liabilities could change, depending on state and local laws.

Finally, your information, photos of your property, and inspection reports will be the subject of Freedom of Information Act requests by activists.  Inspectors will always write you up for something or it looks as if they are not doing their jobs, thus giving activists something to read and complain about.  Activists are not above taking the information out of context and using it to suit their purposes.

The new rule centers on shipping sight-unseen which at this time presents unanswered questions, and could target you for investigation as to whether you need a license.  Until APHIS issues meaningful dialogue on their intentions and we know how inspectors should interpret the new rule, it might be best to delay use of commercial shipping if possible.  If you have more than four females, rely on shipping to keep your program viable, and have no alternative options, then you will have to contact USDA and ask for an application kit and begin the licensing process.

When you contact APHIS with questions, record the answers.   If you make the decision to go forward and apply for a license, record the conversations and the inspections and have a witness with you during the pre-licensing process.

It is impossible to predict the full impact and potential damage on breeders once this rule is actually in place and enforcement begins.  In the meantime, please do not start reducing your kennels, catteries, and small businesses, and jeopardize the years of hard work that went into building your breeding programs.  There is more to learn on this rule and what can be done so that we can continue to pursue our hobbies, avocations, and livelihoods.  Many people are working on your behalf and we will not go down quietly.

Cross posting is encouraged.

 

Susan Wolf

Sportsmen’s & Animal Owners’ Voting Alliance Working to Identify and Elect Supportive Legislators saova@earthlink.net

The message above was posted to North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Louisiana and Texas residents by the Sportsmen’s and Animal Owners’ Voting Alliance (SAOVA).

SAOVA is a nonpartisan volunteer group working to protect Americans from the legislative and political threats of radical animal rightists. Visit our website at http://saova.org for this program’s goals, methodology and list signup details.

To unsubscribe from this list, exercise that option at http://mailman.montana.com/mailman/listinfo/saova_south

SAOVA

PO Box 612, Spencer NC 28159

 

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