WANT TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE? You don’t need to be a “professional lobbyist” to help make political and legal systems more animal-friendly. Often, the most effective lobbyist is a determined and tenacious volunteer armed with some simple facts about legislation.
If you’re not sure where to start, the Humane Society of the United States offers a crash course in becoming a citizen lobbyist at www.hsus.org/legislation_laws/citizen_lobbyist_center.
Below are some of the current legislative issues for Pennsylvania. For more information, visit www.humanesociety.org/about/state/pennsylvania/bills.
· PA H.B. 613, Euthanasia Methods, Prohibits euthanasia by carbon monoxide gas chambers and firearms. Bill sponsor is Rep. William Kortz (D, 38).
· PA H.B. 1411 & S.B. 843, Live Animals as Targets (also known as “caged animal shoots”), bans the use of trap-released or tethered animals for targets. Bill sponsors are Rep. Eugene DePasquale (D, 95) and Sen. Patrick Browne (R, 16).
· PA S.B. 50, Puppy Lemon Law, increases protections for dog purchasers under the puppy lemon law. Allows purchaser to recover from seller if puppy is determined to be critically ill within 14 days of purchase (increased from 10 days); allows owner to recover from seller if puppy is determined to have a congenital or hereditary defect within 90 days of purchase (increased from 30 days); clarifies when remedies are not available; requires purchaser to notify seller within five days (increased from two) of a veterinarian finding a disease. Bill sponsor is Rep. Stewart Greenleaf (R, 12).
· PA H.B. 239, Trapping Safety Zone, reduces the “safety zone” for trapping; allows trapping within 50 yards of residences. Sponsor is Rep. Dave Reed (R,62).
· PA H.B. 1254, Tethering, prohibits tethering a dog outside between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.; prohibits tethering with a tow chain, or a choke-, pinch-, prong-type collar; requires a tether to be either 6 feet long or 5 times the length of the dog, whichever is longer; prohibits tethering in extreme weather. Sponsor is Rep. Mario Scavello (R, 176).
Here’s a brief look at some of the current federal legislative issues affecting animals. For details, visit www.humanesociety.org/action/fed_bill.
· H.R. 4639, Adoptions of Military Working Dogs, to authorize the adoption of a military working dog by the family of a deceased or seriously wounded member of the Armed Forces who was the handler of the dog. Bill sponsor is Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC).
· S. 1535/H.R. 3381, Aerial Hunting of Wildlife, to amend the federal Airborne Hunting Act to bar the shooting of wolves, bears, and other predators from aircraft except in limited cases involving a designated biological emergency. Bill sponsors are Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Rep. George Miller (D-CA)
· H.R. 4269, Animals in Military Research, the “Battlefield Excellence through Superior Training (BEST) Practices Act,” to require that only human-based methods be used for training members of the Armed Forces in the treatment of severe combat and chemical and biological injuries. Currently, vervet monkeys are injected with chemicals to show the effects of nerve gas, goats’ limbs are amputated or broken and pigs are repeatedly shot during training. H.R. 4269 would phase out the use of animal-based combat trauma training by 2013. Bill sponsor is Rep. Bob Filner (D-CA).
· H.R. 3480, Bear Protection Act, to help stop the illegal poaching of bears and conserve global bear populations by prohibiting the import, export and interstate commerce in bear parts such as the gallbladder and bile. Bill sponsors are Reps. Raul M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and John Campbell (R-CA).
· H.R. 3907/S. 1834, Class B Dealers, to prohibit the sale of “random source” (as opposed to purpose-bred) dogs and cats by Class B dealers for research purposes. Class B dealers sometimes obtain these animals through pet theft and “free-to-good-home” ads. Bill sponsors are Rep. Michael Doyle (D-PA) and Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-HI).
· H.R. 4356, Downed Cattle (Downed Animal & Food Safety Protection Act), to codify the USDA ban on the slaughter of downed cattle and strengthen it to ensure immediate humane euthanasia, coverage of downed calves, and application to livestock auctions and markets. Bill sponsors are Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY), Rep. Steven LaTourette (R-OH).
· H.R. 2480/S. 1076, Fur Labeling (Truth in Fur Labeling Act), to require species-specific labeling on any fur product regardless of value, in order to provide consumers with the information they need to make informed choices and combat the import of dog and cat fur. Currently, a loophole allows fur products valued at $150 or less to be sold in the U.S. without disclosure of the species of animal used in the garment. Bill sponsors are Reps. Jim Moran (D-VA) and Mary Bono-Mack (R-CA) and Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Susan Collins (R-ME).
· H.R. 1326, Great Ape Protection Act, to phase out the use of chimpanzees in invasive research in the United States, retire the approximately 500 federally owned chimpanzees to permanent sanctuary, and make the recent National Institutes of Health decision to end breeding of federally owned chimpanzees statutory. Bill sponsors are Reps. Edolphus Town (D-NY), David Reichert (R-WA), Jim Langevin (D-RI) and Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD).
· H.R. 411/S. 529, Great Cats and Rare Canids Act, Provides support and financial resources for conservation programs of rare felids (such as lions, leopards, jaguars, cheetahs, and iberian lynx) and canids (such as the gray wolf, ethiopian wolf, maned wolf, and african and asiatic wild dogs) to nations within the animals’ natural range. Bill sponsors are Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA), Sens. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Sam Brownback (R-KS).
· H.R. 503/S. 727, Horse Slaughter/Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act, to prohibit knowing and intentional possession, shipping, transporting, purchasing, selling, delivering or receiving of a horse for slaughter for human consumption. Bill sponsors are Reps. John Conyers (D-MI), Dan Burton (R-IN) and Senators Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and John Ensign (R-NV).
· H.R. 305, Horse Transportation Safety Act, to prohibit the interstate transportation of horses in a motor vehicle containing two or more levels stacked on top of one another. Bill sponsors are Reps. Mark Kirk (R-IL), Steve Cohen (D-TN) and Ed Whitfield (R-KY).
· H.R. 3501, Pet Care Tax Deduction, to amend the Internal Revenue Code to allow a deduction of up to $3,500 for veterinary and other pet-care expenses for qualified pets (defined as “legally owned, domesticated, live animals”). Bill sponsor is Rep. Thaddeus G. McCotter (R-MI).
· H.R. 4733, Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act, to promote the well-being of farm animals by requiring that federal agencies purchase pork products, veal and eggs only from sources that raised the animals without intensive confinement (i.e., allowing enough room for them to turn around and stretch their limbs). Bill sponsors are Rep. Diane Watson(D-CA), Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-CA).
· H.R. 3710, Refuge From Cruel Trapping Act, to prohibit the use of body-gripping traps (defined as “any device intended to kill or capture wildlife by physically restraining any part of the animal”) in the National Wildlife Refuge System. Bill sponsor is Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY).
· H.R. 3266/S. 1495, Service Dogs for Disabled Veterans, to establish a program of grants for nonprofit groups to encourage the use of service and therapy dogs to assist disabled veterans and members of the Armed Forces. Bill sponsors are Rep. Ron Klein (D-FL), Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY) and Sens. Al Franken (D-MN) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA).
· H.R. 2308, Sportsmanship in Hunting Act, to prohibit the shooting of live animals remotely via the Internet, and will halt the interstate shipment of captive, exotic mammals for the sole purpose of being shot in a fenced enclosure for entertainment or for trophy. A bill to amend Title 18, United States Code, to prohibit certain interstate conduct relating to exotic animals and certain computer-assisted remote hunting, and for other purposes. Bill sponsors are Reps. Steve Cohen (D-TN), Brad Sherman (D-CA), and Ed Whitfield (R-KY).
· H.R. 1018, Wild Horses and Burros, restores the prohibition on the commercial sale and slaughter of wild free-roaming horses and burros. This provision was stripped by an amendment slipped into the 2005 Omnibus Spending Bill. On May 19, 2005, the U.S. House passed an amendment to the Interior Appropriations bill that removed the Bureau of Land Management’s funding for horse slaughter. However, this amendment was ultimately left out of the final version of the bill. Bill sponsors are Reps. Nick Rahall (D-WV) and Raul Grijalva (D-AZ).