[SAOVA_South] NEWS BRIEFS March 31, 2011

Sportsmen's and Animal Owners' Voting Alliance (SAOVA) saova_south at mailman.montana.com
Thu Mar 31 10:54:14 MDT 2011


NEWS BRIEFS March 31, 2011

Many state legislatures are in session and bills affecting animal owners and sportsmen are piling up.  After the 2010 election, overall turnover of all legislative seats was higher than average which means there are many new faces in state capitols. Rest assured activists have already taken time to meet the new legislators and lobby for their causes.  The animal rights crowd cannot be allowed to define us.  We must maintain the role as animal experts and carry that message to our legislators.   If you cannot meet personally with a legislator, the best methods of communication are: telephone calls, faxes and direct emails to key staff. Never underestimate the influence staff has on policy decisions. This includes professional staff and administrative staff. They all have some level of influence.  

The world not only belongs to those who show up, it's controlled by the best
informed and most motivated.  Thanks for reading.
 
Susan Wolf
Sportsmen's & Animal Owners' Voting Alliance
Issue lobbying and working to identify and elect supportive legislators
Visit SAOVA News http://saovanews.blogspot.com
 

CENSUS BUREAU TO BEGIN SURVEY ON WILDLIFE RECREATION

WASHINGTON, March 29, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On April 1, 2011, U.S. Census Bureau employees will begin the first wave of data collection for the National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation from about 53,000 households across the country. 

Conducted every five years by the Census Bureau, the survey is sponsored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

"Participation in this survey is important because the results help us better manage our natural resources and to understand the demands being put on our wildlife and their habitat," said Robert Groves, director of the Census Bureau. "This is one of the many surveys conducted by the Census Bureau for other federal agencies."

The information collected for this survey focuses on individuals involved in fishing, hunting and other wildlife-associated recreation, such as observation, photography and feeding. 

The latest data from the survey show that in 2006, more than 87 million Americans 16 and older enjoyed some form of wildlife-related recreation and spent $122 billion in pursuit of these activities.

The questions ask in which state these activities occurred and focus on such items as the number of trips taken, duration of trips and expenditures for food, lodging, transportation and equipment. Federal and state agencies use this knowledge for conservation efforts and to maintain areas where we go for outdoor recreational activity.

Preliminary survey findings will be available in summer of 2012. The final national report will be issued in the fall of 2012, followed by a report for each state.

Data collection will begin April 1, 2011. Respondents will be surveyed primarily by telephone. Residents will receive a letter from Groves informing them of the survey. All information collected is kept strictly confidential and only statistical totals are published.

The National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation has been conducted since 1955 and is one of the oldest and most comprehensive continuing recreation surveys.

SOURCE U.S. Census Bureau.  CONTACT: Tom Edwards Public Information Office 301-763-3030/3762 (fax) e-mail: pio at census.gov

FEDERAL LEGISLATION

* Bill to curtail antibiotics use in livestock reintroduced

March 11, 2011 WASHINGTON, D.C. - Rep. Louise Slaughter, (D-NY), has introduced legislation to ban use in livestock and poultry of certain antibiotics. Her bill, H.R. 965, the "Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act," would prohibit the use of antibiotics that prevent or control diseases and improve feed efficiency and weight gain in food animals. The National Pork Producers Council, which strongly opposes the bill, has pointed out that numerous risk assessments, including one conducted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, have shown risk levels associated with antibiotic use in agriculture that are extremely low and that nationally recognized scientific studies have shown that the removal of important animal health products could actually increase food-safety risks.  Full article at Ag Professional http://tinyurl.com/4pffkdx 

* HR 835 Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety Act (PUPS) 2011 reintroduced by Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-PA); cosponsors Sam Farr (D-CA), Lois Capps (D-CA) and C.W. Bill Young (R-FL)

As with all previous versions of “puppy mill” legislation PUPS would amend the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) with strict regulations on retail breeders and sellers. Bill proponents continue to state their legislation closes a loophole in federal law although the AWA was never intended to apply to retail, in-home breeders.  In May, 2010, USDA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) conducted a review of APHIS’ regulation of problematic dog dealers. The report documented and detailed known licensed breeders and brokers, many of whom had been previously cited for violations of the AWA.  The report concluded the enforcement process of APHIS Animal Care Unit (AC) was ineffective against problematic dealers. The report found further that many inspectors did not adequately describe violations in their inspection reports, and that inspectors miscalculated and misused guidelines thereby incorrectly assessing minimal fines that did not deter violators.
 
PUPS does not address specific problems cited in the OIG report and instead focuses on expanding federal regulation into the private sector by creating a new classification of high volume breeder defined in part by sales. There is no substantive evidence to prove that expansion of the existing AWA will improve animal welfare to a higher level than properly enforcing current regulations and licensing those kennels operating commercially without USDA licensure.

UNDERCOVER INVESTIGATION BILLS – IOWA AND FLORIDA

Legislation moving forward in Iowa will protect farms and processing facilities from activists who gain employment under false pretenses in order to obtain undercover videos. The bill expands the definitions relating to agricultural production, and imposes a range of criminal penalties for animal facility tampering, animal facility interference and fraud, crop operation tampering, and crop interference and fraud. The bill imposes criminal penalties ranging from a simple misdemeanor to a Class C felony.  Originally introduced as HF 431 by Rep. Annette Sweeney (R-44), a rancher and Ag Committee Chair, the legislation was approved by the House March 17 by a 66-17 vote.  The measure moves to the Senate for consideration.

Sweeney is quoted as saying, "This legislation deals with people who lie about the intent of their employment. It will help prevent people from going into livestock or poultry facilities and staging the videos and abusing animals to create these types of pictures. There's also the biosecurity factor to consider, to help preserve our livestock and poultry operations and maintain them as producers of safe and wholesome food."

A similar measure has been introduced in Florida.  SB 1246 makes it a first degree misdemeanor for anyone, other than an employee or agent of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services or a law enforcement officer, to enter onto a farm or other property where legal agricultural operations are being conducted and produce audio or video records without the written consent of the owner. 

The bill analysis provides background for the introduction of this legislation.   “Presently, certain animal rights groups attempt to expose what they consider to be animal abuse on America’s farms and processing facilities by trespassing on those facilities, either under the cover of darkness or by other surreptitious means such as posing as potential employees, and taking hidden camera footage of those facilities. This footage is compiled and uploaded to their various websites and used for documentary films which are adversarial to the animal farming business. Examples of this type of investigation are present in the anti-factory farm campaigns of many organizations such as the Humane Society of the United States which sent an undercover investigator into a Cal-Maine egg farm in Waelder, Texas under the pretext of working for the farm for 28 days, and the group Mercy for Animals which claims that while “wired with hidden cameras, [their] team of undercover investigators documents the harsh realities of industrial animal agriculture.”

SB 1246 was approved by the Senate Ag Committee and referred 3/24/11 to Criminal Justice. 

HSUS ANNOUNCES CONGRESSIONAL AWARDS
Animal rights organization HSUS and its affiliate, the Humane Society Legislative Fund (HSLF), announced the recipients of their congressional Humane Awards for 2010.  Top honors as 2010 Humane Legislators of the Year went to:

-- Congressman Elton Gallegly, R-Calif., for introduction of the new bill to ban crush videos, as well as introduction of a bill to require federal agencies to buy pork, egg, and veal products only from those who raise animals without intensive confinement; and

-- Congressman James Moran, D-Va., for introduction of a fur labeling bill, along with his work as Chairman of the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee to protect wild horses and to allow the EPA to collect greenhouse gas emissions data from the largest factory farms, and his assistance on the crush video legislation. 

The HSUS press release also recognized the work of Gallegly and Moran as co-chairs of the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus organizing animal advocates in Congress to become a more powerful political force. 

Previous recipients of the Humane Legislator of the Year Award include Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., in 2009, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., in 2008, Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., in 2007, Rep. Chris Shays, R-Conn., in 2006, and Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., in 2005.

In addition, twenty-five legislators who received a perfect score on the 2010 Humane Scorecard were presented with Humane Advocate awards.  The Scorecard compiled by HSLF lists HSUS supported legislation in Congress, tracking key votes as well as co-sponsorships.  http://tinyurl.com/4lp5fh5



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