Illinois Governor Vetoes Bill That Would Have Legalized Snares

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich recently vetoed Illinois House Bill 1486 which would have legalized the use of snares in wildlife trapping.

The bill passed overwhelmingly in both the Illinois House of Representatives (87-27) and Senate (49-2). But Balgojevich transmitted the following message of veto,

August 12, 2005

To the Honorable Members of the
Illinois House of Representatives
94th General Assembly

Pursuant to Article IV, Section 9(b) of the Illinois Constitution of 1970, I hereby veto
House Bill 1486, entitled “AN ACT concerning wildlife.” House Bill 1486 allows hunters to use snares to trap animals such as raccoons, foxes and beavers on land. These traps have been banned in Illinois for over 50 years because the trapÂ’s wire hoop strangles the animal. Twenty-one states in the nation do not allow the use of snares.

Snares are inhumane and indiscriminate. Not only do they cruelly kill wild animals for their fur, they may also kill domestic pets and even endangered species. Even though the bill requires a mechanism on the snare to reduce the chance of strangulation, the safety provisions are still inadequate and animals would suffer unnecessarily. While I support the hunters and trappers of Illinois, I refuse to support this particularly gruesome hunting method thatÂ’s been banned in the state for years.

For this reason, I hereby veto and return House Bill 1486.



There is no word yet on whether the House and Senate will try to override the governor’s veto.

Animal rights groups commended the governor’s veto. In a press release, Camilla Fox of the Animal Protection Institute said,

We commend Governor Rod Blagojevich for saying ‘No’ to the fur industry’s attempts to further legalize a device that is known to cause immense pain and suffering to animals. With this action, the Governor has made a clear statement that snares have no place in a humane and civilized world.

The full text of the vetoed legislation can be read here.


Animal advocates commend Governor Blagojevich’s veto of bill that would expand use of cruel snares in Illinois. Press Release, Animal Protection Institute and Illinois Humane, August 16, 2005.

API Goes Mobile With Anti-Circus Billboard

Unable to find an outdoor billboard company willing to display its latest anti-circus billboard, the Animal Protection Institute has created a mobile 22-foot mobile billboard, presumably attached to the side of a truck, to drive around areas where circuses appear.

The mobile billboard made its debut in January protesting a Jacksonville, Florida, appearance of Ringling Bros. Circus. The billboard shows a chained elephant with the text, “Would you chain your dog for most of her life? Why Pay a Circus to do it to Elephants?”

In a press release announcing the mobile billboard, API’s Michelle Thew said,

If the depiction of life for these animals is too graphic to be shown on a billboard, the reality is too graphic for them to endure in the circus. Protestors will be outside the arena on Wednesday with a clear message — the catalog of misery that circus animals endure must come to an end. This is not family entertainment.


Opening Night of Ringling Bros. Circus to Attract Protest. Press Release, Animal Protection Institute, January 26, 2005.

California Activist Groups Form State Association

A number of animal rights groups in California have banded into a new statewide coalition, the California Animal Association, to “represent the interest of animals at the [California] state capitol.”

A press release sent out by the Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights announcing the formation of the group said,

After more than a year of planning, CAA was formed to bring a stronger and more cohesive voice for animal protection to Sacramento. Many of the animal welfare and animal rights groups involved in CAA have individually or in small groups worked on legislation to strengthen animal protection laws or to defeat legislation that weakens protections for animals with California.

The members of the coalition include: American Anti-Vivisection Society, Animal Legislative Action Network, Animal Place, Animal Protection Institute, Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights, California Animal Defense and Anti-Vivisection League, California Lobby for Animal Welfare, Doctors for Kindness to Animals, Farm Sanctuary, In Defense of Animals, Last Chance for Animals, Orange County People for Animals, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, The Paw Project, United Animal Nations, United Poultry Concerns and Viva! USA.


Animals gain strong and unprecedented voice in Sacramento. Teri Barnato, Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights, Press Release, January 12, 2005.

Georgia to Resume Alligator Hunt

According to a story in the Christian Science Monitor, Georgia will join a growing number of states allowing alligator hunting to control that species’ numbers.

This quite a turnaround for a species that whose numbers had dwindled in the 1960s to the point that Southern states instituted bans on alligator hunting. Today, however, alligator numbers have exploded to the point that alligator populations continue to expand even in states such as Florida, South Carolina and Louisiana where commercial hunting of alligators has been restored.

Georgia will not be reinstating serious commercial hunting of alligators, but will instead issue 180 alligator licenses targeting sport hunters. According to the Christian Science Monitor, that’s out of an estimated alligator population of 200,000.

This is the point in the story where we find the obligatory animal rights quote opposing the hunt, this time from the Animal Protection Institute’s Camilla Fox who told the Christian Science Monitor,

It’s better to try to coexist with the animal that is present than remove them and potentially bring in . . . a greater problem.

In a press release on its web site, the Animal Protection Institute expanded on Fox’s sentiments,

The state of Georgia is proposing its first alligator-hunting season for September 2003 — and the hunt will be excessively fierce and cruel.

. . .

By nature, alligators are shy and reclusive, and are typically wary of humans. As people continue to invade their territory, the animals are forced into closer contact with civilization. Loss of habitat, prey, and polluted waters are some of the risks that alligators already face. They do not need the added stress of being hunted as well.

If alligators are so stressed, why do their populations continue to increase? Sounds like it’s API that needs to relax.


The alligator hunt returns. Patrik Jonsson, Christian Science Monitor, June 16, 2003.

Help Stop the Cruel & Unnecessary Sport Hunting of Georgia Alligators. Press Release, Animal Protection Institute, July 24, 2003.

Michelle Thew Named Animal Protection Institute President

Michelle Thew, currently chief executive officer of the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection, was recently named to succeed Alan Berger as CEO of the Animal Protection Institute.

BUAV focuses mainly on animal experimentation and Thew was one of four finalists in the Royal Society for the Protection of Animals’ search for a new chief executive. That job was ultimately given to anti-hunting activist Jackie Ballard.

In an API press release announcing Thew’s selection, she said,

API is an organization whose work I have long respected, and I am thrilled to be joining as its new CEO. Creating real change for animals takes determination, skill and creativity. API will get the job done. High profile media work, professional lobbying, legal skills and public campaigning are key to success. API will use all of these tools in coming years to put the issue of animal rights on the map in the United States. I look forward to working with the excellent team at API to end animal abuse worldwide.

API has not been especially focused on animal experimentation, but appears poised to take a more active role in that area of the animal rights movement. Along with hiring Thew, API announced a new partnership with BUAV,

API and BUAV also announced that the two organizations are forming a new strategic partnership, a transatlantic relationship that will benefit animals worldwide. In addition to becoming API’s chief executive officer, Thew will also serve as a consultant to BUAV, with special responsibility for global strategic issues in animal experiments. “The challenges that animal advocates face are global and their response must be global too,” said Thew.

So is this really API making Thew its CEO or simply the UK organization opening up BUAV USA?


New CEO to lead Animal Protection Institute. Press Release, Animal Protection Institute, June 13, 2003.

Animal Protection Institute Wants Frog Jumping Contest Stopped

The Animal Protection Institute recently circulated a press release calling for an end to the 74-year-old Caleveras Count Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee which is scheduled to take place this weekend in Angels Camp, California.

The frog jump competition was started in the 1920s hand attracts hundreds of participants who compete for the $5,000 grand prize. In a sample letter distributed with its press release, API writes that,

  • Like circuses, cockfighting, and greyhound racing, frog jumping promotes the message that animals exist purely to entertain us.

API also describes the conditions under which the frogs are kept in boxes prior to the event as “certainly cruel and inhumane.”


Help stop cruel “frog-jumping” contests. Animal Protection Institute, Press Release, May 13, 2002.