News from Capitol Hill

brought to you by the SOCIETY FOR ANIMAL PROTECTIVE LEGISLATION<

Coalition to Restore Michigan Mourning Dove Shooting Ban

For years SAPL has been fighting against and reporting on the attempts of the guns and ammo lobbying organizations to overturn long-standing and widely supported laws prohibiting the senseless shooting of mourning doves at the state level. Despite strong public opinion in support of the doves and their protection, these organizations, including the National Rifle Association and U.S. Sportsman Alliance, have been successful in undermining public will in states such as Ohio, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and now Michigan. They will again turn their attention to Iowa which has rejected attacks on its law under the leadership of Governor Tom Vilsack.

Earlier this year Michigan became the most recent state to repeal its prohibition on dove shooting, a ban that had been in effect for 99 years. The Legislature passed and Governor Granholm signed the law that reclassifies the small, peaceful dove from a songbird to a game bird, thus allowing the first hunt to commence as early as this September.

When running for governor, Jennifer Granholm had publicly stated that she would oppose any legislation overturning the ban, a stand backed by a majority of Michigan voters. However, when presented with the bill, she signed it into law. To restore the mourning dove hunting ban a coalition of national and state organizations have joined together to form the Coalition to Restore the Dove Shooting Ban. The Coalition will work to gather the necessary 225,000 valid Michigan signatures needed to place a repeal of this law on the 2006 ballot for voters to decide.

As the Coalition prepares to collect signatures, volunteers in Michigan will be greatly needed. To learn more about the Michigan campaign and signature gathering seminars visit www.stopshootingdoves.org.



Antifreeze Doesn't Have To Be Deadly

SUPPORT H.R. 1563

In early July, as Penny Sperry was saying goodbye to her son who was shipping off to Iraq as a member of the Montana National Guard, her dog Riley began heaving and throwing up. The nine and a half year old mixed breed dog, like Mrs. Sperry's other companion animals, had never left her fenced yard. According to the Missoulian newspaper, it was discovered that the dog had ingested antifreeze—a feared poisoning by someone in the neighborhood. The poor dog had to be euthanized that night. Most frightening for the community is the fact that other neighbors have reported similarly losing their pets to poisoning in recent years.

Now, Penny Sperry is working to educate people about the dangers of antifreeze intake, and to gain support for a new law imposing severe penalties for pet murderers. At the same time, Albuquerque, New Mexico Mayor Martin J. Chávez has been working to mandate the addition of a bittering agent to antifreeze to make it unpalatable to people and pets. His work was prompted by the death of a golden retriever named Scooby, who died after consuming antifreeze.

Mayor Chávez was successful in getting the Albuquerque City Council to pass such a law, and in June he also supported a resolution unanimously adopted by the United States Conference of Mayors that "urges Congress to help cities protect children and animals by enacting legislation to require denatonium benzoate as an additive to antifreeze that contains ethylene glycol."

In the United States Congress, H.R. 1563, legislation to require antifreeze "that contains more than ten percent ethylene glycol, to include denatonium benzoate at a minimum of 30 parts per million (or other equally effective aversive agent) as a bittering agent so as to render it unpalatable" is currently languishing in the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

SAPL hopes that the action by the Conference of Mayors will spur Congressional attention to the bill before this Congress comes to an end.



Congress Contributes to Conservation

SUPPORT H.R. 4826

On July 2, 2004, the Marine Turtle Conservation Act was signed into law by President Bush, providing a potential source of much-needed funds for global conservation projects that benefit marine turtles and their nesting habitats. Possible beneficiaries include loggerhead, green, hawksbill, Kemp's ridley, olive ridley, and leatherback turtles. The law was based on similar Acts establishing conservation funds devoted to Asian and African elephants, rhinos and tigers, great apes, and neotropical migratory bird species.

Now, another conservation funding bill has been introduced in Congress. H.R. 4826, the "Great Cats and Rare Canids Act of 2004," would provide financial resources to projects that benefit imperiled felid and canid species abroad. The legislation, sponsored by Congressman E. Clay Shaw, Jr. (R-FL), could benefit gray wolves, Ethiopian wolves, African wild dogs, maned wolves, dholes, lions, leopards, jaguars, snow leopards, clouded leopards, cheetah, and Iberian lynx.

These species face an array of threats including habitat loss, poaching, disease, and pollution. Some are exploited for their skins, while others are killed so their parts can be used in traditional medicines.

For example, according to the IUCN-The World Conservation Union's Species Survival Commission Canid Specialist Group, there are likely fewer than 5,000 African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus) remaining on the continent. When their habitat becomes fragmented because of human encroachment, these endangered canids often end up shot, snared, poisoned, killed by cars, or infected with diseases transmitted from domestic dogs. Other canid species face similar threats, and readers of the AWI Quarterly will be familiar with the plight of the Ethiopian wolf (Canis simensis) from the article "Ethiopian Wolves Hit by Rabies Outbreak" in the Winter 2004 issue.

The endangered Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus), found primarily in Spain with very small numbers in Portugal, is the most endangered cat on earth with an estimated 1,200 individuals remaining according to the IUCN Cat Specialist Group. The Iberian lynx is threatened by habitat loss and decline in its main prey species, European rabbits. Many of the other cat species at risk are targeted for their enchanting fur among other uses.

H.R. 4826 specifically finds, "felids and canids are important aesthetic, economic, and ecological global resources that need to be conserved," and "Healthy populations of these species act as an important indicator of the integrity of entire ecosystems…."

While there is clearly not always a government commitment to protect these species in the countries in which they perilously cling to life, where national interest in preservation exists, financial resources are often not available to engage in conservation sufficiently. Should the "Great Cats and Rare Canids Act of 2004" be signed into law, up to five million dollars a year from 2005 through 2009 can be appropriated for this fund.

That may just be the assistance that is needed to save these species at such great risk.

>YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE

Urge your United States Representative to support H.R. 1563 and H.R. 4826. Address Representatives as:

The Honorable (full name)
United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515.

Visit www.saplonline.org for the name of your Representative and for updates and action you can take on animal related legislation.

 

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