Monday, July 14, 2014

Legislation Briefs and Updates July 14, 2014

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

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

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  

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.

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

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.”

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.  

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