Locke vetoes Washington trap ban repeal & other state legislative highlights
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 2003:
Three of the biggest wins for animals during spring 2003
legislative sessions were the defeat of anti-animal bills in
Washington, Texas, and California.
Washington Governor Gary Locke on May 22 vetoed a repeal of
Initative 713, banning the use of body-gripping traps. The
initiative was approved in November 2000 by 55% of the electorate.
It was vulnerable in the legislature because support was concentrated
along the heavily populated eastern shore of Puget Sound, which is
proportionally underrepresented in both the state house and senate
relative to rural districts.
Despite vetoing the repeal bill, Locke asked the state
Department of Fish and Wildlife to “place limited enforcement
resources into higher-order priorities than against homeowners,
businesses, and the timber industry, that trap for moles, gophers,
and mountain beavers.”
Initiative 713 has proved unexpectedly effective in halting
fur trapping in Washington, as reported kills of coyotes have fallen
from 838 in 1999 to 63 in 2002; kills of muskrat are down from 3,572
to 33; kills of beaver are down from 4,819 to 782; kills of
raccoons are down from 571 to six; and kills of river otter are down
from 727 to 17.
In Texas, the state house and senate repeatedly rejected
bills and amendments to legislation introduced by state
representatives Betty Brown (R-Terrell) and Rick Hardcastle
(R-Vernon) to allow Dallas Crown Packaging of Kaufman and Beltex
Corporation of Fort Worth to continue slaughtering horses for human
The biggest horse slaughterhouses in the U.S., Beltex killed
27,000 horses in 2001, with sales of $30 million, while Dallas Crown
killed 13,000 horses, with sales of $9 million. Their continued
operation in Texas was jeopardized by an August 2002 opinion by Texas
Attorney General John Coryn that a 1949 state law forbidding the
killing and export of horses for human consumption is still in effect.
Tarrant and Kaufman counties promptly moved to close Beltex
and Dallas Crown, whose odors and emissions are unpopular with
The California state senate Natural Resources and wildlife
Committee on May 27 rejected a bill by Dennis Hollingsworth which
would have repealed state bans on the sale of kangaroo, crocodile,
and alligator pelts and products, dating to the 1970s.
“Although the bill has been defeated this time around,
Senator Hollingsworth has been granted reconsideration for the bill
to be heard again,” Viva!USA campaigns director Lauren Ornelas
Bills establishing felony cruelty penalties were signed into law
during spring 2003 by the governors of Kentucky, Montana, Nebraska,
West Virginia, and Wyoming. The last states without felony
penalties for at least some forms of cruelty to animals are Alaska,
Arkansas, Georgia, Hawai, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, North Dakota,
Many state felony cruelty bills have been boosted to passage
by public revulsion at especially egregious cruelty cases, but the
Nebraska bill was among a salvo of five pro-animal measures
introduced by Omaha state senator Ernie Chambers in memory of his
poodle Mollie Rae, who died in May at age 12.
Wyoming Governor Dave Freuden-thal also signed into law a bill
creating a state board of euthanasia technicians. Wrote Robert W.
Black of Associated Press, “The bill is meant to help animal
shelters avoid the cost of hiring veterinarians to destroy unwanted
or badly injured animals and allow phasing out carbon monoxide
chambers, which are hard to maintain and cannot be used on all
The Connecticut legislature for the second year in a row
passed a bill to limit the length of time that a dog can be tethered.
Introduced by state representative Kenneth Bernhard (R-Westport),
the 2003 version requires only that dogs may not be tied for an
“unreasonable” amount of time. The 2002 version, vetoed by Governor
John Rowland, set specific time limits. Bernhard resigned his
longtime post as board chair for Friends of Animals in June 2002
after FoA president Priscilla Feral urged the veto. Rowland at the
ANIMAL PEOPLE deadline had not yet indicated whether he would sign
the 2003 bill.
The anti-tethering bill was drafted by Animal Advocacy
Connecticut founder Julie Lewin in memory of a Doberman/pit bull
terrier mix she called Woggle, who lived his whole life chained to
an old car axle behind a Hartford tenement. Lewin, a former
neighbor, visited him daily for eight years.
Nationwide, the state bill pertaining to animals that
captured the most media attention was one which not only did not pass
but did not even get out of committee. California AB 395, by Paul
Koretz (D-West Hollywood), would have banned declawing cats. AB 395
on April 29 fell two votes short of clearing the Assembly Business
and Professions Committee. Koretz’s chief of staff, Teresa Stark,
indicated that Koretz might bring it back with amendments to try to
get around some of the opposition.
Previously mayor of West Hollywood and city council member
for 13 years, Koretz introduced AB 395 along with other bills to
halt selling pound animals to laboratories and to ban hunting mammals
Koretz pushed the anti-declawing bill after the West
Hollywood council on April 6 voted unanimously to ban declawing, at
urging of Santa Monica activist Jennifer Conrad, on a motion by
councilor John Duran. Opponents of the ordinance objected that not
declawing cats could put people with impaired immune systems in
jeopardy from infected cat scratches. Duran responded that he
himself is HIV-positive.
The West Hollywood ordinance applies only to the three
veterinary clinics within city limits.
Conrad next asked the Malibu city council to ban declawing.
On May 27 the Malibu council voted to consider a non-binding
Conrad told Bruce Haring of Associated Press that she also intends to
seek declawing bans in Palm Springs, San Francisco, and Santa
North Carolina Governor Mike Easley on May 31 signed into law
a bill to allow the state Wildlife Resources Commis-sion to protect
nonendangered species of reptiles and amphibians by restricting or
halting any trapping or taking.
The bill was introduced by state senator Charlie Albertson
(D-Beulaville) after the Raleigh News & Observer revealed that the
numbers of turtles trapped for commercial sale in North Carolina had
jumped from 460 in 2000 to more than 23,000 in 2002. Most of the
turtles were sold to Asian markets.
In a setback for animal advocates, Maryland Governor Robert
L. Ehrlich Jr. on April 22–Earth Day–ended a 280-year ban on Sunday
hunting by signing a bill authorizing one Sunday of deer hunting each
for archers and shooters. Fund for Animals president Michael
Markarian noted that Ehrlich told the Maryland Sportsmen’s
Association during the 2002 gubernatorial election campaign that he
opposed Sunday hunting.
A similar bill was vetoed in 2002 by former Governor Parris
Glendening, believed to have been the only openly vegetarian state
governor in U.S. history.
Two nonbinding pro-animal resolutions were adopted by state
assemblies during the spring.
On May 13 the Pennsylvania house of representatives
unanimously passed a resolution “encouraging the Pennsylvania Game
Commission to use services provided by licensed wildlife
rehabilitators in situations involving injured or orphaned wildlife,”
Fund for Animals national director Heidi Prescott summarized.
“Previously, PGC policy was to instruct the public to leave orphaned
animals alone, or to have conservation officers remove and
discreetly kill the animals.” The bill was introduced by Jim Lynch
On April 21 the California assembly approved by a 65-11 vote
a resolution by Joe Nation (D-San Rafael) calling upon the state
education and health departments to offer vegetarian and vegan school
lunch menu options, to be voluntarily phased in by 2007. Nation
introduced the resolution, activist Mary Max told ANIMAL PEOPLE, at
request of “a fantastic mother and friend of mine, Barbara Gates,
who started the campaign all by herself after becoming frustrated
with her children’s school offering only peanut butter and jelly
sandwiches to vegan students.”
Passage of the resolution on school lunches was solace to
Nathan for his inability the previous week to move a proposed ban on
dove hunting out of the California assembly Water, Parks, and
The Minnesota state house Ways and Means Committee on the same day
killed a bill to start a Minnesota dove hunting season.