Tuesday, May 27, 2014

NC Governor McCrory’s Plan now SB 842

SB 842 Governor’s Budget filed May 22, 2014 contains the HSUS/McCrory plan to license and regulate dog breeders and to transfer the Animal Welfare Section to the Department of Public Safety, Law Enforcement Division. SB 842 revises the General Statutes definition of dog dealer to mean any person who sells or offers to sell, exchange, or donate animals, or any persons in a household who collectively maintain a total of more than nine mature intact female animals, regardless of ownership, or any persons acting in concert with others where they collectively maintain more than nine mature intact females regardless of ownership. There are no exemptions for co-ownerships, show dogs, sporting dogs, working, herding, security dogs, or rescue/foster homes. Kennels that ONLY board and train hunting dogs have historically been exempt and this section was not revised. If you thought HSUS only wanted to regulate "puppy mills" think again.

Dog dealers would follow standards in the NC Animal Welfare Act which are based on Federal regulations.  In general, all animals in a facility are subject to the requirements of the Animal Welfare Act, regardless of ownership. All areas of a facility are subject to review or inspection during normal business hours (8:00 a.m. through 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday). A separate five-foot perimeter fence is required if any animals have access to an outdoor enclosure, including unsupervised exercise areas.

Interior building surfaces of indoor facilities with which animals come in contact must be constructed and maintained so that they are impervious to moisture, and can be readily sanitized. Outdoor facilities, primary enclosures and walkways with which an animal comes in contact must be constructed of sealed concrete or other surfaces impervious to moisture.  Gravel may be used if maintained at a minimum depth of six inches and kept in a sanitary manner.

The Department of Public Safety will have the power to oversee the NC Animal Welfare Act, adopt animal welfare rules, establish standards for dog dealers, animal shelters, boarding kennels, and pet shops.  Standards may also be written regulating the transport to and from licensed premises.  Animals in the possession of an unlicensed dealer are subject to immediate seizure and impoundment.

The Law Enforcement Division of the Department of Public Safety includes North Carolina Emergency Management, Alcohol Law Enforcement, State Highway Patrol, and National Guard.  Alcohol Law Enforcement (ALE) is the lead agency for enforcement of alcoholic beverage, controlled substance, and tobacco laws. ALE agents have broad authority as peace officers to investigate, arrest, and take enforcement action for any criminal offense. The State Highway Patrol not only patrols our state’s 78,000 miles of roads they administer the NC Missing Persons Center.

It is an outrage to turn any of the Law Enforcement Division’s essential staff into puppy police to satisfy an agenda.

The Director of the Animal Welfare Section if included under the Law Enforcement Division will be appointed.  Be very afraid - considering that HSUS has the Governor’s ear, it is reasonable to assume that HSUS will influence this selection.

HSUS/ASPCA are both busy pushing the need for “puppy mill” regulation falsely claiming our state is a haven for puppy mills.  ASPCA sent out an email blast still urging calls in support of HB 930 so that “large scale commercial breeders” would be required to treat their dogs humanely.  ASPCA asked their readers to contact Governor McCrory and thank him for being a steadfast champion of this bill.

There is no time to waste. This disruptive transfer of animal welfare authority must be stopped.  Act now to protect your right to own and breed dogs.

Contact your legislator now and oppose the Governor’s plan.
House: http://tinyurl.com/2b56d
Senate: http://tinyurl.com/kfzu4et

Governor McCrory needs to hear that not everyone supports his agenda. Call his office (919) 814-2000
Please cross post

Thursday, May 15, 2014

HSUS and Co-Defendants pay $15.75 Million to Feld Entertainment!

SAOVA Friends,

It is not often that we get to share such outstanding news with our readers.  Congratulations to Feld for the very successful close to this long, arduous suit and a historic victory.

Susan Wolf
Sportsmen's & Animal Owners' Voting Alliance


Unprecedented Settlement Brings Total Paid to Parent Company of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Circus to More Than $25 Million

Groups Settle with Circus After Federal Court Determined Case Was "Groundless and Unreasonable"

VIENNA, Va. - May 15, 2014 - The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), along with their co-defendants, have paid Feld Entertainment, Inc., the parent company of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Circus, $15.75 million to settle cases stemming from a lawsuit they brought against Ringling Bros.® over the care of its Asian elephants. This historic settlement payment to Feld Entertainment ends nearly 14 years of litigation between the parties.

"We hope this settlement payment, and the various court decisions that found against these animal rights activists and their attorneys, will deter individuals and organizations from bringing frivolous litigation like this in the future," said Kenneth Feld, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Feld Entertainment. "This settlement is a significant milestone for our family-owned business and all the dedicated men and women who care for the Ringling Bros. herd of 42 Asian elephants. We look forward to continuing to set the standard for providing world-class care for all our animals and producing high quality, family entertainment."

HSUS and animal rights groups the Fund for Animals, Animal Welfare Institute, Born Free USA (formerly the Animal Protection Institute), the Wildlife Advocacy Project, the law firm of Meyer, Glitzenstein & Crystal, and several current and former attorneys of that firm, paid the settlement for their involvement in the case brought under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) that the U.S. District Court ruled was "frivolous," "vexatious," and "groundless and unreasonable from its inception." Today's settlement also covers the related Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) case that Feld Entertainment filed against the groups after discovering they had paid a plaintiff for his participation in the original lawsuit and then attempted to conceal those payments.

In December 2012, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), a former co-defendant in the case, settled its share of the lawsuits by paying Feld Entertainment $9.3 million. Today's settlement brings the total recovered by Feld Entertainment to more than $25 million in legal fees and expenses, which the company actually spent in defending the ESA case.

"After winning 14 years of litigation, Feld Entertainment has been vindicated.  This case was a colossal abuse of the justice system in which the animal rights groups and their lawyers apparently believed the ends justified the means. It also marks the first time in U.S. history where a defendant in an Endangered Species Act case was found entitled to recover attorneys' fees against  the plaintiffs due to the Court's finding of frivolous, vexatious and unreasonable litigation," said Feld Entertainment's legal counsel in this matter, John Simpson, a partner with Norton Rose Fulbright's Washington, D.C., office. "The total settlement amounts represent recovery of 100 percent of the legal fees Feld Entertainment incurred in defending against the ESA lawsuit."

In the original ESA lawsuit, Feld Entertainment discovered the animal rights groups and their lawyers had paid over $190,000 to a former circus employee, Tom Rider, to be a "paid plaintiff." The Court also found that the animal rights groups and their attorneys "sought to conceal the nature, extent and purpose of the payments" during the litigation. Their abuse of the judicial system included the issuance of a false statement under oath by Rider, assisted by his counsel, who the Court found was "the same attorney who was paying him" to participate in the litigation. The Court found in addition to Rider being a "paid plaintiff," that the lawsuit was "frivolous and vexatious."


Saturday, May 10, 2014


SAOVA Friends,

May 9, 2014.  House Bill 4056 was amended from the Senate floor and will now prohibit Illinois pet shops from selling dogs and cats they have acquired from breeders. Instead pet shops would be required to sell dogs and cats obtained from an animal shelter or animal control facility.

Senate Amendment 1 has the full support of Governor Quinn and HSUS.  Proponents argue that this bill is needed to control pet overpopulation in Illinois, stop unnecessary shelter euthanasia, and end “puppy mill” sales in pet shops.  Supporters’ also claim the proposal will result in more healthy pets sold throughout the state.  That scenario is not likely if puppies from licensed and inspected breeders will be replaced by shelter dogs with unknown social histories, unknown dams and sires, and unknown health histories.

The Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association (ISVMA) issued an alert this week in opposition to HB 4056.  ISVMA noted, “In the last few years, they have passed Anna's Law (Pet Overpopulation Control Act), legislation to establish the Pet Population Fund, and the Pet Lemon Law. Each time, they have proposed the new answer to the problem of pet overpopulation. The time and resources of this General Assembly and the lobby groups that continue to pass these laws would be better spent on public education to better inform prospective pet owners of their choices in selecting a new pet and the responsibilities of pet ownership.”

Senate Amendment 1 limits the choices of Illinois citizens to obtain a purebred pet. It should not be the business of the state of Illinois to legislate pet sales from shelters. This is an unacceptable and unreasonable restriction on trade that will hurt legitimate business and cost jobs.

HSUS and their minions are spinning the tale that responsible breeders will not be affected and might actually benefit if pet stores are gone.  We have heard that song and dance before and know what they really want is to eventually end all purposeful breeding of pets. Should the amended bill pass, the new Puppy Lemon Law will be rescinded; a source for Illinois families to purchase pets will be removed; and businesses will be lost - all to satisfy the HSUS agenda.

Time is critical. The bill had already been placed on the Senate Calendar for final reading when the Amendment was attached.  It is now with the Senate Executive Committee.

Tell Governor Quinn NO to HB 4056.  Call his office 217-782-0244
Ask your Senator http://www.ilga.gov/senate/   to oppose HB 4056.

Cross posting is encouraged.

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

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Kangaroo courts are coming…

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

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