Friday, January 11, 2013

2012 Legislation Review

Dear SAOVA Friends,

In their end of year report, AVMA noted approximately 40,000 bills are projected to be enacted into law this year out of 150,000 bills introduced, many of which were related to animals and veterinary medicine. Below is a sample of the report highlights:

Iowa and Utah adopted bills that prohibit a person from obtaining employment at an agricultural facility under false pretenses in order to record images or commit any other act not authorized by the owner of the agricultural facility. Missouri took a somewhat different approach by requiring employees who videotape suspected animal abuse to provide the unedited recording to law enforcement within 24 hours.

Nebraska became the second state to enact legislation prohibiting local governments from defining legal status of animals in a way that is not consistent with personal property.

Legislators in 10 states introduced bills that would restrict tethering of companion animals.

Delaware and Rhode Island adopted laws that provide penalties for confining or tethering a dog for more than a set number of hours. 

Tennessee adopted a bill that provides that noneconomic damages are not permitted for any claim arising out of harm or loss of property, except as authorized by statute. Courts in North Carolina and New Jersey ruled against expanding emotion-based damages in pet litigation, while an appeals court in Texas accepted the award of sentimental damages in such cases. The Texas Supreme Court has been asked to review the opinion as contrary to established precedent in the state and has scheduled oral argument for early next year.

Massachusetts adopted legislation making it the 45th state to specifically allow for the creation of pet trusts for the care of animals.  

Full report at AVMA website:

Scott Heiser, Director of ALDF's Criminal Justice Program blogged on November 21st, 2012: “Regardless of how you voted in the presidential election, if you are someone who cares about the welfare of animals, you’ll have to agree that November 6, 2012 was a bad day at the polls.”  Heiser lashed out at the defeat of Measure 5 in North Dakota stating Opponents of Measure 5 seemed to take great pride in the success of their smear campaign characterizing supporters as extremists who were advancing a radical agenda.  Heiser continued his post by lamenting passage of constitutional amendments in 4 states that guarantee the right to hunt, fish, and trap; he writes, “the misguided Cartesian view of animals reflected by these results is disheartening for all who work to advance legal protections for animals.”

ALDF ended the year by convincing Representatives Gerry Connolly (D-VA11) and Sam Farr (D-CA17) to introduce legislation that would amend the Animal Welfare Act to include regulation and inspection of birds, rats, and mice bred for use in research.

ALDF and their followers introduced 14 animal abuser registry bills in 9 states during 2012.  Beginning with Colorado in 2002, activists have now introduced a total of 76 registry bills in 25 states – all of which have failed to date.  Registry campaigners have wasted no time, beginning the New Year with bills in South Carolina, New York, and Vermont (see )

The ALDF website lists the formation of 171 U.S. Chapters and 15 International Student Animal Legal Defense Chapters; with State Bar Animal Law Sections and Committees in 24 states, 15 cities and counties, and the American Bar Association.

ALDF is the creator of the Center for Animal Law Studies (the Center) at Lewis & Clark Law School which now houses the most extensive animal law program in the nation. ALDF continues to collaborate with the Center in the rapidly developing field of animal law through classes, conferences, scholarship and clinical opportunities.  With the help of ALDF the Center brought its first visiting professor, activist and attorney Mariann Sullivan, to teach “Animals in Agriculture: Law and Policy”, a course previously taught  by ALDF founder Joyce Tischler.  ALDF’s winter newsletter discusses the course noting, “These law students will one day change the way animals are protected by our legal system.” Quoting Sullivan, “Animal ag is going down and lawyers are going to be the ones to take it down.”

HSUS Pres Wayne Pacelle began 2013 blogging that Congress passed no significant animal welfare legislation in the last session.  He writes, “For as long as I have been spending time on Capitol Hill and advocating for The HSUS and its concerns (18 years), that’s the first time that’s happened.”  He noted that a handful of senators blocked floor consideration of the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act – a bill to phase out research on chimpanzees which, according to HSUS, “are our closest living relatives”.  Pacelle promised HSUS would “do our best to attach the egg industry reform bill and the animal fighting legislation as amendments to the Farm Bill in 2013.”

Although Pacelle did not mention the demise of HR 835 PUPS in his post, we are very pleased to report that SAOVA and its allies were successful in convincing four congressmen to drop their support for PUPS and any future HSUS versions.

Only through YOUR donations is our work possible. Help financially support SAOVA's advocacy. 

Cross posting is encouraged.

Susan Wolf
Sportsmen's & Animal Owners' Voting Alliance
Working to Identify and Elect Supportive Legislators

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