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.
ROD R. BLAGOJEVICH
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.
In July, more than a dozen U.S. representatives signed on to introduce House Resolution 3442, the Inhumane Trapping Prevention Act. The bill would make it illegal for anyone in the United States,
(1) to import, export, or transport in interstate commerce an article of fur, if any part or portion of such article is derived from an animal that was trapped in a conventional steel-jawed leghold trap;
(2) to import, export, deliver, carry, or transport by any means whatever, in interstate commerce, any conventional steel-jawed leghold trap;
(3) to sell, receive, acquire, or purchase any conventional steel-jawed leghold trap that was delivered, carried, or transported in violation of paragraph (2); or
(4) to violate any rule made by the Secretary under this Act.
The first violation of the law calls for imprisonment of not more than five days, but subsequent violations would be subject to up to two years in jail.
The full text of House Resolution 3442 can be read here.
In March, North Carolina State Senator David Hoyle introduced a bill in that state’s legislature that would add a hunter’s bill of rights to that states laws which, among other things, explicitly holds that animals are property and that any laws or regulations in North Carolina may hold otherwise.
The language of Senate Bill 918 reads that,
The General Assembly finds that animals are property, whether the animals are domesticated animals owned by persons or wildlife resources held in trust for all citizens. No law, local ordinance, rule, or regulation shall seek to establish or attempt to grant to animals any rights of persons under the law. No statute, local ordinance, rule, or regulation shall have as its philosophical basis the concept that animals are entitled to the legal justice to which persons are entitled, or that animals have the rights of persons under the law.
In addition to holding hunting, fishing and trapping as a right in North Carolina,
Hunting, trapping, and fishing, including the taking of wild animals, wild birds, and fish, are a valued part of the heritage of this State, are a fundamental right of the people, and shall be forever preserved for the people.
The law also explicitly bans any sort of hunt saboteur activities,
It is unlawful for a person to interfere intentionally with the lawful taking of wildlife resources or to drive, harass, or intentionally disturb any wildlife resources for the purpose of disrupting the lawful taking of wildlife resources. It is unlawful for a person to intentionally distract or displace, or attempt to distract or displace, a hunting dog while that dog is running, hunting, on point, or in training. It is unlawful to take or abuse property, equipment, or hunting dogs that are being used for the lawful taking of wildlife resources. This subsection does not apply to a person who incidentally interferes with the taking of wildlife resources while using the land for other lawful activity such as agriculture, mining, or recreation. This subsection also does not apply to activity by a person on land he owns or leases.
The full text of North Carolina Senate Bill 918 can be read here.
In February, New York Assemblyman Felix Ortiz introduced a bill in that state’s legislature to create a new Office of Advocacy for Wildlife that would, among other things, be charged with finding alternatives to hunting for managing wildlife populations.
Assembly Bill 4306 would create this new agency which would be charged with, among other things,
To study, develop, encourage and provide assistance for non-lethal management of wildlife.
The full text of AB4306 can be read here.
New York Bill Creates Anti-Hunting Office. U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance, March 2005.
A number of Tennessee lawmakers are lending their support for a constitutional amendment that would protect hunting and fishing in the state.
A joint resolution introduced into the Tennessee State House proposes amending the Tennessee Constitution to read,
The people have a right to hunt, fish, and harvest game, subject to such regulations and restrictions as prescribed by this constitution and general law. When reviewing such restrictions, a state court shall utilize a rational basis standard, as such standard has been defined by the courts through case law.
State Sen. Doug Jackson is supporting the same wording in the state Senate. Jackson told the Associated Press that the amendment is needed to protect hunting and fishing from well-funded anti-hunting groups such as the Humane Society of the United States,
There are very organized, very well-funded efforts to take away the right of citizens to hunt, fish and trap. I think it’s time we place in our constitution a guarantee for the citizen that they will be able to continue in that heritage.
Tennessee’s Wildlife Resources Agency supports the amendment in principle. TWRA assistant director Allen Gebhardt told the Associated Press that the agency would have to examine the wording, but that “It sounds, from our standpoint, like a wonderful idea.”
The full text of the resolution proposing to amend Tennessee’s constitution to protect hunting and fishing can be read here.
Tennessee joins states seeking ‘right to hunt’ legislation. WHNT-TV, February 2005.
Lawmakers want amendment shielding hunting rights. Matt Gouras, February 21, 2005.
In November, Maine voters handily ejected a referendum that would have banned bear baiting, trapping and hunting bears with hounds. Activists are now turning their attention to legislation to make changes to bear hunting in Maine that may have wider support.
Apparently the lesson activists took from the failure of the referendum is that it was overly broad. Exit polls showed that many people who supported a ban on trapping of bears, for example, voted against the referendum because they nonetheless support bear baiting.
A number of bills being proposed by Maine’s legislature will narrow that focus to banning the use of leg-hold traps to trap bears. According to the Environmental News Network, Maine is the only state in the country that still allows leg-hold trapping of bears.
One the other hand, these bills might not be quite what activists expect. Green Party Rep. John Seder, for example, is working on a compromise bill with Democrat Rep. Thomas Watson that would ban leg-hold traps, but expand night and Sunday hunting — something that hunting groups in Maine want.
The Humane Society of the United States generous support for the referendum is also drawing legislative reaction. At least one proposed bill would limit the amount of money groups in Maine could accept from out-of-state groups such as HSUS.
Another bill would make it harder to put referendums on the ballot by requiring groups to obtain a certain level of signatures from every county rather in addition to a certain number statewide. The referendum to ban bear baiting was put on the ballot by signatures that were disproportionately collected in urban rather than rural areas of Maine.
Bear hunting debate shifts to outlawing traps. Environmental News Network, January 28, 2005.