“Animal rights” vs. “wise-users”

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, March 2003:

DENVER–Colorado state representative
Mark Cloer (R-Colorado Springs) on Valentine’s
Day 2002 withdrew a bill which would have
redefined pets as companion animals rather than
property, by way of enabling petkeepers to seek
punitive damages rather than just the replacement
value of an animal in cases of abuse and
veterinary malpractice.
The intent of the Cloer bill was to
extend the definition of veterinary malpractice
to include unnecessarily frequent vaccination.
Although modern anti-rabies vaccines provide
protection for three years or more, many vets
still “remind” petkeepers to get annual
vaccinations as a way to get the pets into their
clinics for the general examinations that often
discover health conditions in need of treatment.
The redefinition of pets as companion
animals coincided with the goal of In Defense of
Animals’ effort to get legislative bodies to
replace the term “owners” in pet-related
statutes with “guardian.”

Cloer pulled the bill after wise-users,
hunters, farmers, and others opposed to any
“animal rights” legislation lined up with
veterinarians in opposition to it. Cloer warned,
however, that if the veterinary profession does
not stop allowing practitioners to push
unnecessary vaccinations he will introduce
another bill of similar intent.
Although the Cloer bill was withdrawn,
it gave wise-users a scare by attracting much
favorable publicity and by coming from an
unanticipated direction.
Continuing to pursue a strategy of
attacking animal advocacy by playing up violent
incidents, engineered in the mid-1980s by public
relations consultants for the Canadian fur trade
and the American Veterinary Medical Association,
the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance announced in
January 2003 that it intends to push a draft
“Animal and Ecological Terrorism Act to combat
animal rights terrorismÅ in all 50 states” this
year, along with right-to-hunt legislation and a
“model bill” to prevent the use of birth control
drugs instead of hunting to regulate wildlife
The Sportsmen’s Alliance said it was
seeking endorsements of the “Animal and
Ecological Terrorism Act” from the Criminal
Justice Task Force and Homeland Security Working
Group of the American Legislative Exchange
Council (ALEC), a key entity in advancing
conservative legislation since 1973.
The “Animal and Ecological Terror-ism
Act” was apparently first introduced into a
state legislature by Texas state representative
Ray Allen (R-Grand Prairie).
The American Civil Liberties Union
immediately identified numerous clauses which it
said violate the First Amendment rights of
freedom of speech and assembly. The ACLU pointed
out that it would even criminalize the activity
of news reporters who legally enter animal
facilities to describe and document cruel or
negligent conditions.
State constitutional amendments
guaranteeing a “right to hunt” are already due to
go before Wisconsin and New York voters on their
next state general election ballots. Voters are
expected to approve the Wisconsin amendment on
April 1, 2003.
Others are considered likely to win
legislative approval and go before the voters in
Montana and Nebraska. Similar amendments are
already in effect in six states.

Print Friendly

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.