POLITICAL INTELLIGENCE

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 1995:

The Sierra Club, National Audubon
Society, and Natural Resources Defense
Council on April 4 unveiled a $1.3 million TV
campaign and a $500,000 radio blitz to inform the
public about how regulatory rollbacks under the
Republican “Contract with America” will affect
“the food they eat, the water they drink, and the
air they breathe,” and about the links between
“those who pollute and those who write the laws
on pollution.” Sierra Club director Carl Pope
called it the largest such effort “ever launched by
the environmental community.” The announce-
ment came five days after Speaker of the House
Newt Gingrich accused “left-wing environmental-
ists” of using environmental protection laws as a
vehicle to “oppose free enterprise, jobs, and eco-
nomic activity.” They look for the “hysteria of
the year,” Gingrich charged, “whether it’s going
to be nuclear winter or global warming or whatev-
er this year’s particular hysteria is.”

Republican-led attacks on endan-
gered species protection are underway not only
in the House, but also in many state legislatures,
including in Vermont, generally believed to have
one of the “greenest” electorates. Colchester real-
tor Charlotte Gardner, outraged that the presence
of three rare grasses and a regionally threatened
milkweek held up one of her developments in
1990, has reportedly found heavy support in the
Vermont senate for restricting state “endangered”
listings to species “important to the preservation
of the natural heritage” of the state; requiring an
economic impact study before any species is list-
ed; requiring financial compensation to landown-
ers who can’t get building permits due to the pres-
ence of endangered species; adding two develop-
ers and the state economic development commis-
sioner to the state endangered species advisory
panel; and automatically delisting any protected
species after three years unless it is again certified
endangered by the state secretary for natural
resources.
Judith Daniels, a California breeder
of Staffordshire bull terriers, on March 30
became the first woman to be elected president of
the American Kennel Club in the 111 years it has
existed. “We need to demonstrate to the
American public that we are a service organization
with a valuable product,” she said.
One source of extra funding for
endangered species protection could be a tax on
such items as camping gear and bird seed.
Arguing that hunters and fishers pay a dispropor-
tionate share of conservation costs through
license fees and taxes on weapons and equipment,
the International Association of Fish and Wildlife
Agencies resolved in December to ask Congress
for such a tax––perhaps the only new tax likely to
win Republican support.
Winner of the first-ever Jolene
Marion Aggressive Enforcement Award, pre-
sented by the Animal Legal Defense Fund, was
district attorney Joshua Marquis of Clatsop
County, Oregon, for his prosecution of animal
collector Vicki Kittles. Arrested in April 1993,
Kittles was convicted of 42 counts of cruelty in
January of this year. She was previously in trou-
ble for animal collecting in three other states, and
is the only suspect ever named in the disappear-
ance of her elderly mother. The case brought the
introduction of strengthening amendments to
Oregon anti-cruelty laws in the state legisla-
ture––but, said Elizabeth Canning, editor of the
electronic animal protection magazine A R K
Online, “The pro-hunting chairman of the House
Subcommittee on Crimes and Corrections has
told the sponsor that the bill is dead because of
the initiative barring spring bear hunting and
hunting bears and pumas with hounds, which
was approved by the voters in November. Spite
and backlash, pure and simple.” Despite his
opposition, however, the bill did clear the sub-
committee on April 12.
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