Friday, January 28, 2011

MO Senate Ag approves bill changing Prop B measures

By: The Associated Press 01/27/11 1:33 PM

A Missouri Senate panel has given its approval to a bill changing the state law for dog breeders.

The Senate agriculture committee endorsed legislation Thursday that would modify a ballot measure approved by voters in November.

The bill would delete the limit of 50 dogs per breeder and give licensed breeders up to 180 days to correct serious violations before they face criminal charges.

The measure would still require veterinarians to do an onsite examination of the dogs at least once per year. Veterinarians would also care for seriously injured dogs and euthanizing them, if necessary.

The legislation next goes to the full Senate.

In the House, a committee considering similar bills finished hearing testimony Thursday and will debate amendments to them next week.

Dog breeding bill is SB113

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Poaching Statistics — HSUS style

Few people ever challenge the statistics that animal rights groups toss out. Perhaps if we did so more often, their credibility would increasingly be damaged.

by Steve Sorensen
(Originally published in the Warren Times Observer, January 22, 2011.)

Why would the HSUS say anything to imply an equivalence between hunting and poaching?

The radio ad says over 100 million animals are killed by poachers each year. That number comes from the Humane Society of the United States and it can't be true.

Here it is, directly from the HSUS website: "In the United States, wildlife officials estimate that for every animal killed legally by hunters, another is killed illegally, amounting to perhaps more than 100 million wild animals poached each year."

These days, we hear so many big numbers that many people tend to accept them without question. But I have a few questions.

The first one is simple: "Really?"

Think about it.

If the HSUS is correct, and if those 100 million poached animals are averaged equally among the 50 states, Pennsylvania would lose about two million animals to poachers each year.

No one knows exactly how many animals are poached in Pennsylvania, but it's far less than two million. Jerry Feaser, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Game Commission, says that "on average, about 1,000 individuals are added to Pennsylvania's revocation list for hunting and trapping license privileges annually."

If all 1,000 are poachers, and if each poached 10 animals, that's only a tiny fraction of two million - one half of one percent.

That leaves 1,990,000 unsolved poaching cases in Pennsylvania. I have more confidence in our wildlife conservation officers - and the general public - than that.

My second question - where does the HSUS get its outlandish poaching estimate? Feaser said even he wonders about that.

Answer: I think it comes almost totally from thin air.

Full story ....

Friday, January 21, 2011

HSUS lobbying agendas

HSUS state directors have a full schedule planned for the month of February. There are three areas of lobbying activity. Lobby Day 101 seminars cover lobbying skills and teach attendees how to influence a legislator. Grassroots Meetings are for discussing current HSUS legislative initiatives; legislators from the district are often invited to attend. Humane Lobby Days at state capitals where activists meet with legislators and distribute handouts are also on the agenda.

In February HSUS directors will be working in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, New York, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

Schedules for all these events can be found at the HSUS event calendar

Know what animal-related bills HSUS is preparing to introduce in your state. Get organized and be prepared for the HSUS 2011 initiatives.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

AVMA bill tracking

According to the AVMA website year end report, there were over 90,000 bills introduced with more than 30,000 adopted over the course of 2010. The AVMA Legislative and Regulatory Affairs Department tracked and sent over 1200 bills related to the practice of veterinary medicine to state veterinary medical associations.

Several veterinarians sought state legislative offices in the 2010 elections. Four veterinarians in North Carolina, New York, Wisconsin and Wyoming were elected to state office for the first time. Two veterinarians in Missouri and New Hampshire moved from the House to the Senate in their state legislatures and eight veterinarians were re-elected in Georgia, Iowa, Montana, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and Washington. Overall, 22 veterinarians will serve in state legislatures and two in Congress in 2011.

States dealt with a wide variety of animal welfare issues both for domestic animals and for animals used for agricultural purposes. Issues ranged from tethering, devocalization, animal hoarding, pet protection orders, pet trusts, and breeder regulation to equine teeth floating and livestock reproductive services.

The report notes that Tennessee adopted new exemptions from the practice of veterinary medicine for embryo removal and manual procedures for testing of pregnancy in bovine animals when performed by a farmer who is not compensated and the results are for the owner's use only. New Hampshire adopted a bill giving the Board of Veterinary Medicine jurisdiction over physical therapists practicing on animals.

The AVMA State Legislative and Regulatory Affairs Department Year End Summary is posted online, sorted by topic.

Friday, January 14, 2011

We Are All Funding Anti-Hunting Groups

At the recent Summit of the Horse, Karen Budd-Falen, a property-rights attorney from Wyoming gave an incredible talk on the billions of dollars extremist environmental groups receive each year from the federal government as reimbursement of legal fees. David Hart sums this up in an excellent article posted on American Hunter

How would you like to make a donation to the anti-hunting movement? You wouldn’t, of course, but like it or not, you already have. In 2007, for example, $280,000 of your tax dollars went directly to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS)—the nation’s preeminent anti-hunting group—after HSUS successfully stopped the delisting of wolves from the Endangered Species Act in Minnesota.

Yes, your tax money is going straight to anti-hunting groups that file lawsuits to end legal hunting opportunities. If that’s not enough, taxpayers gave more than $436,000 to anti-hunting groups for blocking wolf management in the northern Rockies. All told, 13 environmental and anti-hunting groups, like Defenders of Wildlife, sued the federal government 1,159 times in the last 10 years and were reimbursed an estimated $34 million in legal fees from the federal government. Many of those suits had a direct impact on your freedom to hunt.

“It’s the best-kept secret in the environmental community,” says Boone and Crockett Club president Lowell Baier.

Here’s how it works: Two sources of federal money provide reimbursement for legal fees for any individual or organization that files a lawsuit against the federal government and wins. One, called the Judgment Fund, is a congressional line-item appropriation used solely for cases related to the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water Act, among others.

Karen Budd-Falen, a property-rights attorney from Wyoming who has tracked the rising tide of enviro-litigation, discovered that over $1 billion in payments from the Judgment Fund went out in just the first half of 2007 alone. Not all of it went to environmental groups, but plenty did.

“It’s hard to tell because the federal government is not required to track individual payments,” she says.

The second method is through the Equal Access to Justice Act, which was aimed at helping individuals and small businesses take on the federal government. The EAJA prohibits reimbursement to for-profit corporations worth more than $7 million; however, non-profit groups are exempt. It’s not as though the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), which filed at least 409 lawsuits and 165 appeals in federal courts in the last 10 years, needs the money. They claimed a net income of $9 million and net assets of more than $6 million in 2008. Defenders of Wildlife raked in $30.7 million from members’ donations, from reimbursed legal fees and from other sources in 2008. HSUS then had about $162 million in net assets; nevertheless, HSUS received nearly $1.5 million from the federal government for 15 legal cases.

Look at the staffs of these various groups and it’s clear that they’ve mastered the system. The CBD has at least 20 attorneys on staff—about a third of their entire employee roster. Defenders also has a lawyer-heavy staff. Moreover, the EAJA limits attorney fees to $250 per hour, but Budd-Falen says some cases are reimbursed at up to $650 per hour per lawyer.

The catch is that many of these suits are based on technicalities, such as the federal government’s failure to meet a strict filing deadline or to follow a specific—and often unnecessary—procedure. Not surprisingly, the suits have little or nothing to do with actually preserving wildlife or habitat.“Environmental litigation is a big, profitable business, pure and simple,” says Budd-Falen. She says these groups block access to public land and prevent sound timber management on public land in the name of protecting endangered species.

Speaking to a reporter for High Country News in 2009, CBD founder Kieran Suckling said, “At its simplest, by obtaining an injunction to shut down logging or prevent the filling of a dam, the power shifts to our hands. The Forest Service needs our agreement to get back to work, and we are in the position of being able to powerfully negotiate the terms of releasing the injunction.

“New injunctions, new species listings and new bad press take a terrible toll on agency morale. When we stop the same timber sale three or four times running, the timber planners want to tear their hair out. They feel like their careers are being mocked and destroyed—and they are. So they become much more willing to play by our rules and at least get something done. Psychological warfare is a very under-appreciated aspect of environmental campaigning.”

Many of the suits center on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) failure to respond to an endangered species petition in a “timely manner.” That’s one reason groups like the CBD flood the USFWS with endangered-species-listing petitions. Last April, the CBD filed a bulk petition requesting the USFWS to review 404 species from the southeastern United States. WildEarth Guardians submitted two petitions—one seeking protection for 475 plants and animals and another naming 681 species. The USFWS has 90 days to consider each animal listed in the petition and a year to make a final determination to list the species it deems to be endangered or threatened. It’s all but impossible to make those deadlines when the system is overwhelmed, says Budd-Falen, but that’s exactly why these groups file bulk petitions.
Story at link

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Report from the Summit of the Horse

Sat 1/8/2011 3:01 PM
Sue Wallis, Vice President
United Horsemen

More than a thousand people convened either in person, or online through live streaming video, at the South Point Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada, January 3rd through the 6th for a historic first gathering of the horse industry, animal scientists, wildlife experts, representatives from more than a dozen land-based tribes, government agencies, business development consultants, equine academics and veterinarians, horse rescue owners, range management professionals, pet animal groups, ranchers and land managers, horse breeders, trainers, and marketers from not only the U.S. but Canada and Mexico as well, attorneys and advocates, and just plain concerned citizens-all in one room, all dealing head on with difficult issues surrounding the management, sustainability, and economic viability of our horses and our horseback cultures. There were more than 209 people on site in Vegas, and another 879 unique viewers on the webcast who collectively put in an amazing 909 hours of live viewing from remotes ranches, and urban centers literally all across this Nation.

The Summit caught the imagination of media from across the country from the Wall Street Journal to the Los Angeles Times, and became an opportunity for ordinary horse people struggling to make a living and to raise their children in what could be once again a healthy, viable, horseback culture to tell their story. The buzz on the Internet was palpable and positive.

Sure there were detractors. The vicious, unprincipled attack dogs of the radical animal rights movement were out in force trying to intimidate and bully anyone and everyone who might have the audacity to actually sit down in a room and talk rationally about the breadth and the scope of the problems, and to work towards solutions. Fortunately there are many good citizens in this country with courage and conviction to resist those tactics who are willing to stand up, tell the truth with dignity and respect, and have an honest dialogue with others who are equally concerned.

That atmosphere of respect and decorum may, in fact, be the finest triumph of the Summit of the Horse. Did we solve every problem? No. But I guarantee you that every single one of us who participated in those discussions, who listened to those experts, who shared our experiences, our frustrations, and our challenges, came away with a much deeper understanding of the true scope and breadth of the problems, and the absolute mandate to move forward to make things better for horses and horse people.

As organizers of the event, the primary objective of Dave Duquette, President of United Horsemen, Tracee Bentley, Legislative Affairs for the Colorado Association of Conservation Districts, and myself as both a leader of United Horsemen, our 501c3 educational and charitable nonprofit, United Organizations of the Horse, our mutual benefit political group, and a Wyoming rancher and legislator-our primary objective as organizers was to create a forum where the voices of the horse world, and those deeply concerned about the health of lands where horses both wild and domestic are managed, could be heard by a misinformed and emotionally manipulated American public. That goal was achieved beyond our expectations.

Secondly, we hoped that out of the event would arise a broad based coalition with the capacity and the resources to drive forward the legislative and regulatory changes necessary for a restoration of a viable, sustainable equine industry, an end to the unnecessary suffering of horses, and protections for the ecological balances so necessary on not only federal, but tribal, state, and private lands for free-roaming horses and native wildlife and forage to thrive sustainably. The coalition we hoped for arose almost spontaneously from the energy created at the Summit, and is quickly coalescing into a powerful and convincing educational force for the new Congress in Washington, D.C., state legislative sessions just now opening, and the American people.

In the coming days and weeks volunteers will be busy compiling, organizing, and publishing in different forms the enormous amount of data and good information that was presented at the Summit. At least three different documentary film efforts will feature in part the presenters and the people at the Summit, and help bring light to horse issues to an even broader audience. The equine academics in attendance are already collaborating with their colleagues across the country to use the material for research, for the education of students, and to build on the body of knowledge we have available.

A testament to the need and the urgency of the challenges in front of the horse industry and resource managers is the fact that the entire movement is a grass roots effort in the purest sense of the term. United Horsemen and the United Organizations of the Horse are entirely volunteer efforts whose leaders, staff members, and volunteers receive no compensation. In spite of a prestigious and world class roster of featured speakers from Congressman Charlie Stenholm, to Bureau of Land Management Director, Bob Abbey, to renowned animal scientist Dr. Temple Grandin, not a single one of the more than 45 featured speakers were paid an honorarium or speaker's fee, and most paid all of their own expenses to attend the Summit. All expenses surrounding the Summit are being paid for by members, sponsors, and contributors who understand that 100% of our resources are devoted to making a difference.

If you are in a position to help fund this ongoing effort please contact Dave Duquette,, at 541-571-7588 or Sue Wallis,, at 307-680-8515. Memberships and donations are welcomed and encouraged online at either or

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Outgoing Gov. Strickland orders ban on exotic pets

COLUMBUS — Exiting Gov. Ted Strickland banned new exotic pets Thursday in one of the few remaining states without such a restriction, and allowed existing pets to be kept only under tough new rules.

Though Strickland’s emergency executive order is only effective for 90 days, Gov.-elect John Kasich said he saw no immediate reason to reverse it after he takes office Monday.

Ohio was one of fewer than 10 states remaining where wild pet ownership was virtually unchecked.

Strickland’s order called for a ban on the future ownership, breeding, sale, trade or barter of wild animals “that are dangerous to human health and safety.” People who already own exotic pets will now have to register them with the state and will be barred from breeding or selling their boas, chimpanzees, tigers, bears and other wild animals.

The order fulfills Strickland’s end of a deal brokered by his administration with the Humane Society of the United States, other animal rights groups and Ohio’s agribusiness industry. The agreement prompted the Humane Society to withdraw a ballot issue containing a litany of restrictions on pet ownership and treatment and livestock care.

In a statement, he said the agreement “will keep Ohio’s vital agriculture industry profitable while appropriately updating animal care standards.”

Story at