In Oregon, the 2009 Legislative Session is underway, and there are several proposed bills that would significnatly impact animals. Some of them are excellent, others are quite bad. In this post I will briefly articulate the three bills I believe animal lovers must oppose. These bills are an outright attack on animals and their owners.
Please take a few minutes to review these bills and contact your legislators. Send email or snail mail, talk to them on the phone, arrange meetings, or attend hearings. Please go to http://www.leg.state.or.us/index.html to read the bills and find contact information for your legislators. If you have not done this before, it may seem daunting, but it is really quite simple. These legislators work for us, and all you have to do is get in touch and share with them your opinions!
SB391: would prohibit all exotic animal ownership in the state except for federally licensed exhibitors, breeders, and research facilities. It is unnecessary, counterproductive, and unjust.
1. The historic record is unimpeachable—legally owned exotic animals have caused virtually no harm in Oregon. We have excellent laws that work.
2. The rare problem that does occur with exotic animals invariably stems from the actions of people who are breaking current law. When people follow the current regulations of USDA, ODA, and ODFW, problems do not arise. If we merely enforce current law there can be no problems.
3. This bill would reduce the population of knowledgeable and skilled animal experts who are precisely the people working within the state to prevent exotic animals from ever being a problem. Captive exotic animals pose virtually no threat of interbreeding with local animals.
4. Keeping exotic animals is not intrinsically dangerous or cruel, despite what HSUS may claim. In most cases, these animals are pampered, loved, and enjoy lives far superior to what they could have in the modern wild world or in a large zoo or other institution.
Simply put, we have laws that work. This bill provides no benefit for any resident of this state: its only effect if passed would be to advance the personal agenda of people who erroneously believe that NO animal can or should be kept in captivity.
SB303: would allow the state to commission “humane officers” and empower them as peace officers to enforce animal related laws.
These positions could be filled by anyone, and the primary intent of this bill is to make it easy for Animal Rights zealots to gain entry to private homes to search for anything they can use to further their agenda. This is an absurd invasion of privacy.
Surely if we are going to empower civilians to start searching homes for illegal conduct our energies would be better spent on child welfare, drugs, terrorism and other central issues of our time rather than harassing animal owners in the hopes of finding the few bad seeds who are mistreating their animals.
HB2470: would impose strict new regulations for dog breeders. It is counterproductive, unnecessary, and unjust.
HB2470 would harm the animals of our state, and their breeders and owners, as well as consumers and numerous small businesses.
HB 2470 is not a puppy mill bill—it targets all breeders regardless of quality. Because it fails to target only substandard breeders, it is, quite simply, an anti-breeder law. It utilizes incorrect factors like number and enclosure size rather than the correct criteria: quality of care, conditions, and effective placing of any puppies. How many intact dogs people possess is irrelevant if they are able to care for them well. Number limit laws have never successfully addressed irresponsible breeders, negligent rescue operations, or hoarders, and have been found to be unenforceable and vulnerable to court challenge.
HB2470 purports to solve a problem that simply does not exist in Oregon. There are very few large-scale breeders in this state, and they are already required to be federally licensed and meet appropriate standards of care. We already have some of the strongest and best animal cruelty laws in the nation, making this bill unnecessary. Time after time people who provide substandard care for their animals have been shut down using existing laws.
HB 2470 attacks precisely those breeders who are providing the best care available and who serve as the most dependable source of healthy pets in our state. These are the very people who provide rescue resources when there are problems, as well as training and support for novice animal owners.
HB 2470 would have a significant negative fiscal impact by eliminating small businesses that routinely have charge of more than 25 intact dogs. These businesses include boarding kennels, daycares, professional handlers, and professional trainers. The bill infringes on privacy without conferring any benefits, and it exempts shelters and pet stores who are often the most egregious violators and who routinely keep animals far longer than other animal businesses.
HB2470 serves the agenda of animal rights organizations who seek to eliminate all animal ownership, but it would do nothing to prevent puppy mills, reduce the numbers of unwanted pets, or improve the lives of any animals. It was written without consulting any of the state’s genuine animal experts who almost without exception oppose this ill-conceived and misguided bill. If you believe there is a problem with the current animal laws in this state, let me suggest that you consult those of us who genuinely understand the issues and devote our lives to solving them: we would be happy to help draft and support a bill that would genuinely improve our state’s animal laws.