Friday, July 31, 2015

New York Judge Denies Request to Extend Legal Rights to 2 Chimps

Another chimp personhood case is over. Judge Barbara Jaffe delivered her opinion yesterday. She wrote, “For the purpose of establishing rights, the law presently categorizes entities in a simple, binary, ‘all or nothing,’ fashion,” noting: “Persons have rights, duties, and obligations. Things do not.”

JULY 30, 2015.
ALBANY — In a case watched by animal rights activists and courtroom curiosity seekers, a State Supreme Court judge in Manhattan on Thursday denied a request to free a pair of chimpanzees, Hercules and Leo, being held at a state university on Long Island. The unorthodox petition — which sought a writ of habeas corpus, an age-old method of challenging unlawful imprisonment — was the latest attempt by the nonprofit Nonhuman Rights Project to establish that apes are “legal persons.”

The group argues that chimps are self-aware and autonomous, a contention it has supported by submitting affidavits attesting to the animals’ intelligence, language skills and personalities, among other traits, in several cases filed in New York on behalf of various imprisoned primates.

In what the group hoped was a positive sign, Justice Barbara Jaffe of State Supreme Court in April ordered a hearing on whether Hercules and Leo, 8-year-old apes living as research subjects at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, could be released and transferred to an animal sanctuary in Florida. Arguments were heard in late May.

But while Justice Jaffe took the case seriously — her 33-page decision cited the long history of habeas corpus and included references to discrimination against women and African-American slaves — she could not quite see Hercules and Leo as people in the eyes of the law.
“For the purpose of establishing rights, the law presently categorizes entities in a simple, binary, ‘all or nothing,’ fashion,” the justice wrote, noting: “Persons have rights, duties, and obligations. Things do not.”

“Animals, including chimpanzees and other highly intelligent mammals, are considered property under the law,” she continued. “They are accorded no legal rights,” beyond being free from mistreatment or abuse.

Continue reading the main story

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

News Briefs and Updates July 28, 2015

SAOVA Friends,

The Congressional Animal Protection Caucus is a collaboration between the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA); Animal Welfare Institute (AWI); The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS); and the Humane Society Legislative Fund (HSLF). Representatives Mike Fitzpatrick (R, PA) and Earl Blumenauer (D, OR) were named as the new co-chairs for the 114th Congress. They have previously introduced a bill to prohibit interstate commerce in primates for the pet trade and have supported legislation to block USDA funding for horse slaughter inspection. Other Caucus members have introduced Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act [HR1998] to prohibit private possession and breeding of big cats, and the Egg Products Inspection Act [H.R. 1731] to set federal housing standards for egg-laying hens. In the 113th Congress, members of the Caucus hosted briefings on a diverse range of animal-related topics, including increased protections for African lions, the use of antibiotics in industrial agriculture operations, and preventing soring of Tennessee Walking Horses. 

The caucus co-chairs have a history of supporting HSUS initiatives. Rep. Fitzpatrick received an HSUS legislative leader award for support and co-sponsorship of bills in the 112th Congress such as Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety (PUPS) Act [HR835] to regulate dog breeders and American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act [HR 2966] to prohibit the transport (including export) of horses for slaughter for human consumption.  In 2007 Rep. Blumenauer received a Humane Legislator of the Year award for his support of HSUS initiatives. In 2014 Fitzpatrick received $6,000 and Blumenauer received $5,000 in donations from the Humane Society Legislative Fund (HSLF), placing them in the top 11% of House recipients.

In a press release Fitzpatrick stated, “This Congress I am honored to take on a leadership role in promoting animal protection alongside my trusted colleague, Earl Blumenauer. I look forward to building upon the achievements of the 113th Congressional Animal Protection Caucus and continuing to foster bipartisan support for common-sense animal welfare laws.”

A listing of Animal Protection Caucus members can be found here:

Thank you for reading. Cross posting is encouraged.

The world not only belongs to those who show up, it's controlled by the best informed and most motivated.

Sportsmen's and Animal Owners' Voting Alliance
Working to identify and elect supportive legislators


SAN DIEGO, July 24, 2015. Animal-rights activists Joseph Buddenberg and Nicole Kissane were arrested by the FBI today and charged with terrorizing the fur industry during cross-country road trips in which they released thousands of mink from farms around the country and vandalized various properties. According to a federal grand jury indictment unsealed today, Buddenberg and Kissane caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage during the nationwide spree in the summer of 2013. The indictment alleges that the pair snuck onto farms and freed minks and destroyed breeding records in Idaho, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania during multiple trips, and in one case they released a bobcat from a farm in Montana.

The defendants were charged under the Conspiracy to Violate the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act. They were arrested in Oakland this morning by agents from the FBI’s San Francisco field office. The government will seek the removal of Buddenberg and Kissane to the Southern District of California to face charges.

In one instance described in the indictment, the defendants traveled from Oregon to San Diego in their 2012 Honda Fit on July 15, 2013 and used paint, paint stripper, a super glue-type substance, butyric acid, muriatic acid and glass etchant to vandalize Furs by Graf, a retail furrier located in San Diego, as well as the Spring Valley and La Mesa residences and personal property of the current and former owners of the business.

To publicize their crimes, the defendants drafted “communiqués” describing their conduct and posted them on websites associated with animal rights extremists, the indictment said.
Among some of the incidents of vandalism cited in the indictment: The defendants slashed tires of a meat distributor’s truck in San Francisco; smashed windows and glued the door locks at a furrier business in Minneapolis, Minnesota; vandalized and attempted to flood the Sun Prairie, Wisconsin home of an employee of the North American Fur Auctions.
“Today’s indictment represents the collective efforts of several FBI Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTF) around the country,” said Eric S. Birnbaum, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s San Diego Field Office. “The FBI and our JTTF partners will continue to investigate and seek the prosecution of those who engage in similar criminal conduct for the purpose of advancing their own personal agenda.” Source: FBI Press Release:

HR 3136, sponsored by Rep. Rod Blum (R‐IA), would require the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to post on its table of penalty guidelines for violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act. USDA acknowledged creation of this table in a 2010 press announcement but has not released it to the public or Members of Congress.

Several Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for the table from interested stakeholders were denied by USDA. USDA also refused to provide the information when requested by Members of the Senate and House.

While an overwhelming majority of the regulated community (researchers and veterinarians at colleges, universities, pharmaceutical companies, hospitals) have a strong record of compliance, they and the public have a right to know what penalties can be levied by USDA for non‐compliance with the AWA. This right to know is the soul of open, transparent government, especially when the issuance of financial penalties could impact American competitiveness. If the general public can have knowledge of other penalties like littering, jaywalking, or speeding, the same should apply to laws enforced by USDA.

Publication of the table does not affect the deliberative process of USDA's enforcement of the AWA. The table is intended to be a simple guide to issue a specific dollar amount, where no debate or deliberation is required. USDA, at this point, would have already determined that an institution was not in compliance with the AWA. In fact, USDA claims in the May 2010 press release that the table is meant to serve as a deterrent to violating the AWA. Knowledge of potential penalties could certainly serve as a deterrent and bring trust, clarity and understanding to USDA's enforcement actions. But only if released.

USDA has denied the public access to these documents because it has said it allows the regulated community to weigh the estimated cost for violation of the AWA. This is an instant and unfair assumption that research institutions choose noncompliance. Nearly 80% of USDA's inspections of animal research facilities receive a passing inspection. Additionally, no research program, private or federal, has budget items designed specifically to address levied fines.

Please use NABR’s Capwiz site to send a prewritten email directly to your Member of Congress and urge them to support the ETA. This quick and easy‐to‐use tool can be found at

A professor at the University of North Georgia is asking “every friend of animals” to contribute money for the upkeep of a violent animal rights extremist, Campus Reform reports.

Professor Barry Friedman has a day job teaching political science, but he’s also a full-time animal lover, which one could deduce from the fact that his professor page is topped by five different cat photos. As a result, he begs those visiting his professor page to send money and any other support they can to jailed animal rights activist Camille Marino. Friedman asks for money to go to Marino’s jail commissary account, so she can “pay for food that is compatible with her vegan diet, clothing, toiletries, postage, and telephone calls.”

Marino has been jailed since February, not for her animal rights activism, but rather because she violated a protective order following a domestic violence accusation coming from fellow animal activist Steven Best, a professor at the University of Texas at El Paso. Friedman describes Best as a “rival” to Marino, using a protective order to sabotage her, while Best has described Marino as a “sick individual, dangerous sociopath, and utter fraud who is stalking me and the animal rights movement as a whole.”

Marino is the founder of the group Negotiation Is Over (NIO), which advocates the use of violence to liberate animals used for laboratory testing. The group’s Strategies and Tactics section includes a page that appears to endorse violent assaults against not only college students involved with animal testing, but also their friends and families. Read more at the Daily Caller

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

News Briefs and Updates July 7, 2015

SAOVA Friends,

At SAOVA there is always some type of work or research needed and volunteers are both welcome and appreciated.  We also encourage readers to send in news from your area of pending legislation. If you are a writer, feel free to submit articles for review and posting on the SAOVA blog.  Cross posting of our news briefs is encouraged and helps keep others informed.

The world not only belongs to those who show up, it's controlled by the best informed and most motivated.

Thank you for reading.

Susan Wolf
Sportsmen's and Animal Owners' Voting Alliance

Representative Gus Bilirakis (R-FL12) and Representative Henry Cuellar (D-TX28) announced that they will launch a new animal caucus, focusing on ties between people and animals. The two congressmen will co-chair the ‘Caucus for the Humane Bond’ which “was created to strengthen the humane bond between people and animals, unleashing the power of our connection to benefit both and create healthy, sustainable and humane communities.”

"From children with cancer to veteran dog handlers and their dogs, animals have played important roles in people’s lives,” said Congressman Bilirakis. “It is up to all of us to promote these roles in ways that benefit both people and animals.” Congressman Cuellar added, "Animals comfort, protect, entertain, and sustain us. It is important for all of us to make sure that bond works to benefit animals and people, and create a more humane and sustainable world.”

Launch of the caucus on June 3 at the Cannon House Office Building included country singer Naomi Judd; movie director Jon Turteltaub; military hero dog teams Corporal Jeff DeYoung and Military Working Dog (MWD) Cena and Specialist Brent Grommet and MWD Matty; and Crystal the Capuchin monkey from the "Night at The Museum" movies.

According to the American Humane Association (AHA) news release, the bipartisan Caucus for the Humane Bond is devoted to bringing a commonsense, scientific and rational dialogue to the issues surrounding the physical, emotional, and even medical connections between humans and animals. The caucus will play an important role strengthening the humane bond between people and animals in working environments, our homes, hospitals, educational settings, the wild and agriculture, unleashing the power of our connection to benefit both and create healthy, sustainable and humane communities.

AHA President and CEO Dr. Robin Ganzert praised the formation of the caucus. “From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank Congressman Bilirakis and Congressman Cuellar for their vision and their leadership in creating the Caucus for the Humane Bond,” said Dr. Ganzert. “The animal space often brings out strong emotions and passions, and national dialogue has at times been contentious with different competing agendas.

Ganzert continued, “The American Humane Association doesn’t believe in animal abolitionism, whereby we remove problems simply by removing animals from our lives. We believe in coming up with sustainable, moral solutions that enrich and benefit both people and the creatures that share our earth. In a time of partisanship and polarization, it’s encouraging that leaders are willing to put differences aside and work across the aisle to create the Caucus for the Humane Bond. In doing so, they will make a more humane world for animals, including those in our homes, working environments and agriculture, while helping children, families, our military veterans, the ill and the elderly.”
Sources: Congressman Gus Bilirakis website; The Hill ; American Humane Association news

The Cloud Foundation and the Friends of Animals filed a petition June 2014 with U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) in support of including the horses in the Endangered Species Act, requesting wild horses be considered a Distinct Population Segment (DPS). Petitioners argued that wild horses are markedly separated from other horse populations by ecological, physiological, and behavioral factors. Petitioners maintained that wild horses are better suited for living in the wild than domestic horses because they can survive longer without water, have different hooves, and have a more highly refined flight reaction. Following a 90-day review of the petition and sources provided, USFWS found that the petition did not present substantial information that the population of North American wild horse may be discrete (markedly separated from other populations of the same taxon) under the DPS policy. Therefore, wild horses are not a listable entity under the ESA. Docket with petition and USFWS denial

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced June 30 that it has determined that a petition to reclassify all gray wolves in the conterminous U.S., except for the Mexican wolf in the Southwest, as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) does not present substantial information indicating that reclassification may be warranted. The determination was in response to a January 27, 2015 petition from the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), The Center for Biological Diversity, The Fund for Animals, Born Free USA, The Detroit Zoological Society and over a dozen other groups requesting that the gray wolf, excluding the Mexican wolf subspecies, be reclassified as threatened throughout the conterminous United States. USFWS determined that the petition did not provide substantial scientific information indicating gray wolves may be likely to become endangered species within the foreseeable future.  USFWS further determined that if the petition had presented information with respect to other sources of mortality, other than overutilization of hunting and trapping, the existing state plans regulating take of wolves would only allow take above certain population thresholds. Those plans have a built-in response that if the other causes of mortality increased above certain levels, hunting and trapping would be reduced to prevent the population from dipping below those thresholds. Docket FWS-HQ-ES-2015-0072

State Senators Jean Leising, Brent Steele, Susan Glick, and other members of the Indiana Senate Republican Caucus sent a joint letter to Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller urging him to investigate the deceptive fundraising activities conducted by HSUS. The letter to Zoeller stated, “Hoosiers are donating their hard-earned money with the belief that their donations will be used to help local shelters and the abandoned animals they see in the solicitations from HSUS. However, Hoosiers would be well-served to know that their donations may go to high-powered lobbying and public relations experts of a national organization that has attacked institutions, traditions and practices that are part of Indiana’s heritage, such as farming, ranching and hunting.” The group requested that Zoeller issue a consumer alert about the fundraising efforts by HSUS to address the misconception between HSUS and local human societies.  Letter at link

The County Legislature is expected to begin discussing two proposed bills this month.  One law would create an animal abuse registry. Anyone convicted of an animal abuse crime under the Agriculture and Markets law would be required to register with the Ulster County District Attorney’s Office as an animal abuser. Anyone who has been convicted of an animal abuse crime must remain on the registry for 15 years and for life if there is a subsequent conviction. The Ulster County DA is authorized to contract with a rescue or animal protection organization to establish the registry.

The second law would require any person who sells more than nine dogs or cats per year or more than one litter per year to obtain a no-cost permit from the county Health Department, agree to standards of care related to housing, sanitation, feeding and watering, veterinary care, and exercise.  The new law would also include consumer protection and record keeping requirements.  Breeders must check the animal abuse registry to ensure a potential buyer isn’t listed.   

The Ulster County Legislature will now vote to schedule a public hearing concerning the laws during which members of the public can provide input and opinions.  The public hearing is anticipated to be in August.  See more at: