Friday, February 15, 2013

Legislation Briefs February 15, 2013

Dear SAOVA Friends,

Legislatures are in session and HSUS is in high gear with their local Humane 101 Seminars and Humane Lobby Days at state capitals.  If you have not attended a seminar in your area, you should do so in order to bring yourself up-to-date on proposed legislative initiatives.  Some of the seminars focus on teaching lobbying skills.  For example, a Pennsylvania seminar utilizes the help of a former state senator to teach proven techniques for effective communication with policy makers and how to organize advocates into a more potent force for animals.  In North Dakota you can not only learn how to contact legislators but how to testify for animals at the Capitol.

Lobby Days have been scheduled in Jackson MS; Bismark ND; Boise ID; St. Paul MN; Austin TX; Augusta ME, to name a few.  In Kentucky HSUS advises that by attending Lobby Day 2013, advocates can meet legislators face-to-face and be instrumental in helping to upgrade Kentucky's cruelty statutes, stop the abuse of Tennessee Walking horses, and more.   

Find where HSUS will be in your state by viewing the event calendar

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.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has recommended that the Lesser Prairie Chicken be listed as a threatened species and will conduct four public hearings to obtain comments on the Service’s proposal to list the lesser prairie-chicken as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (Act). Public hearings will be held in Woodward, Oklahoma; Garden City, Kansas; Lubbock, Texas; and Roswell, New Mexico.

Texas Governor Rick Perry and the governors of Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico and Oklahoma issued a joint statement opposing the recent proposal to list the chicken as threatened. "Individually, our states have worked with a wide variety of interest groups to develop state conservation plans designed to improve habitat for the species while also taking into account economic development needs. Collectively, our agencies released a GIS mapping tool that identifies the highest priority areas for targeted species conservation, developed in a consistent way across our political jurisdictions. This mapping tool has facilitated our agencies' work together, and with land and mineral owners, to develop a range-wide conservation strategy to ensure that a listing of the Lesser Prairie Chicken is not warranted.”  Source:

USDA Press Release: USDA-Developed Vaccine for Wild Horses and Burros Gains EPA Registration.  WASHINGTON, February 13, 2013

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services’ (WS) National Wildlife Research Center (NWRC) today announced that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has granted regulatory approval for the use of GonaConTM - Equine immunocontraceptive vaccine (GonaCon) in adult female wild or feral horses and burros.  GonaCon was developed by NWRC scientists and is the first single-shot, multiyear wildlife contraceptive for use in mammals. 

“Since 2009, GonaCon has been available for use in female white-tailed deer. We are pleased to be able to expand the vaccine’s application to include wild horses and burros,” said NWRC Director Larry Clark. “This nonlethal tool will provide another option to wildlife managers working to reduce overabundant wild horse and burro populations in the United States.”

Overpopulation of wild horses and burros is a significant concern in the United States, as these animals can overgraze native plant species and compete with livestock and local wildlife for food and habitat. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) estimates that approximately 37,300 wild horses and burros (about 31,500 horses and 5,800 burros) are roaming on BLM-managed rangelands in 10 Western states. The estimated current free-roaming population exceeds by nearly 11,000 the number that the BLM has determined can exist in balance with other public rangeland resources and uses. Current management options are limited with the majority of actions involving the removal of horses and burros from the range and either offering them for adoption or holding them indefinitely in captivity.  The BLM estimates there are more than 49,000 wild horses and burros off of BLM-managed lands that are fed and cared for at short-term corrals and long-term pastures.

The GonaCon-Equine vaccine stimulates the production of antibodies that bind to the gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) in an animal’s body. GnRH signals the production of sex hormones (e.g., estrogen, progesterone and testosterone). By binding to GnRH, the antibodies reduce GnRH’s ability to stimulate the release of these sex hormones. All sexual activity is decreased, and animals remain in a nonreproductive state as long as a sufficient level of antibody activity is present. The product can be delivered by hand injection, jab stick, or darting.

GonaCon-Equine is registered as a restricted-use pesticide, and all users must be certified pesticide applicators or persons under their direct supervision.  Full release at USDA/APHIS newsroom:

HSUS, Born Free USA, and other groups filed a lawsuit this week to restore federal protections for gray wolves in the western Great Lakes region that were lifted last year. The lawsuit, filed in federal court in the District of Columbia against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its parent agency, the U.S. Department of the Interior, said the decision to take wolves in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan off the endangered list threatens the animals' recovery. Gray wolves recovered to more than 4,000 combined in the western Great Lakes and northern Rocky Mountain states by the time the government took them off the list in those areas in January 2012. More at CNS News Minneapolis


Sponsors Rick Jones - (primary) Steven Bieda, Tory Rocca, Tonya Schuitmaker, Glenn Anderson, John Proos, Michael Kowall, John Pappageorge, James Marleau. Establishes regulations for commercial kennels defined as a kennel where more than 15 female intact dogs are housed for the purpose of breeding; places limit of 1 litter in any 12-month period.  Assigned to Senate Agriculture on 1/30/2013.  Committee contacts:

Assigned to Civil Law Committee. Establish licensing and care standards for breeders who own ten or more adult intact animals and whose animals produce more than five total litters of puppies per year. Broadly defines hobby breeder and requires them to register with the state. Penalties: a single correction order may assess a maximum administrative penalty of $5,000.  Passed committee Feb. 14 by voice vote 66-61; referred to Public Safety Finance and Policy.  Committee Contacts:

NEVADA. SB 82 Bear Hunting Ban introduced. After failing to ban hunting bear with dogs, anti-hunting groups in the state are working to ban all bear hunting. The Nevada Department of Wildlife established a modest hunting season in 2011 after studies showed the bear population was sustainable. Contact Senate members and Senate Natural Resources Committee to oppose SB 82:
RHODE ISLAND. Statewide BSL has been introduced. H 5287 and S 178 would regulate all “pit bulls”, defined as any dog that substantially conforms to the American Staffordshire Terrier or Staffordshire Bull Terrier, or American Pit Bull Terrier standards.  Dogs meeting the definition of “pit bull” must be kept securely confined indoors, in a locked pen, or muzzled. Contact the members of the following committees to oppose these bills:
House Committee on Judiciary
Senate Committee on Environment and Agriculture

Establishes a list of potentially dangerous wild animals. Prohibits ownership, possession, custody, control, and breeding of the specified animals. Anyone in legal possession of a listed animal prior to January 1, 2014 may keep possession of the animal for the remainder of its life with certain requirements. Referred to the Committee on Natural Resources.

* HB 2242 ANIMAL ABUSER REGISTRY - tabled by House Agriculture Subcommittee. 
* SB 1280 FOX AND COYOTE ENCLOSURES by HSUS Humane Legislator Award winner, Senator David Marsden (D-37):  Senate substitute passed with a 24-16 vote and was assigned to the House subcommittee on Natural Resources, where at Tuesday’s hearing the bill was laid aside indefinitely.

Watch additional bills tracked at the SAOVA website:

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