Articles of interest
State of Alaska to sue over polar bear protection
By MARY PEMBERTON
The Associated Press
Tuesday, December 21, 2010; 6:42 PM
ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Alaska officials filed notice Tuesday that the state would sue the federal government over a decision to designate a swath of the Arctic as critical habitat for polar bears faced with the effects of climate change.
Republican Gov. Sean Parnell contends the critical habitat designation, which covers 187,000 square miles and was announced by the Obama administration last month, will delay jobs and increase costs - or even kill - resource development projects that are important to Alaska.
"Once again, we are faced with federal overreach that threatens our collective prosperity," he said. "We don't intend to let this stand."
The added protection in the Arctic for polar bears does not in itself block economic activity or other development, but requires federal officials to consider whether a proposed action would adversely affect the polar bear's habitat and interfere with population recovery.
The Interior Department said the designation will help polar bears to stave off extinction as they face the melting of Arctic sea ice. The animals are listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act.
Parnell argues that the critical habitat designation in the oil-rich Arctic could result in hundreds of millions of dollars in lost economic activity and tax revenue for the state.
Alaska officials and the state's oil and gas industry representatives maintain polar bears do not need the added protection of the ESA listing, which they say will hurt offshore drilling efforts and possibly result in hundreds of millions of dollars in lost economic activity and tax revenue.
Already, there are state laws, international agreements and the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act to protect polar bears, Gov. Sean Parnell said Tuesday.
"The polar bear is one of the most protected species in the world," he said.
The state put the federal agency on 60-days notice that it intends to sue unless the critical habitat designation is withdrawn or corrected.
The Fish and Wildlife Service does not comment on pending litigation.
The ESA listing for polar bears, and the designation of critical habitat, will only result in increased regulation and consultation, and likely more litigation, the governor said.
The state also said that areas designated as critical habitat for polar bears includes expanses where there is little or no evidence they are crucial to polar bear conservation.
Nearly 95 percent of the designated habitat is sea ice in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas off Alaska's northern coast.
The threat of a lawsuit over polar bear protection comes as no surprise to environmentalists, said Brendan Cummings, attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity, which filed a lawsuit to get the animals listed and critical habitat designated. The state also has opposed added ESA protection for beluga whales in Cook Inlet and ringed seals.
"They have opposed every Endangered Species Act listing to date," Cummings said.
- USARK Victorious in Close of 111th Congress
- The 111th Congress has come to and end! And with it three federal bills have fallen to the titanic efforts of USARK and the Reptile Nation. As you know USARK engineered an 11th hour campaign to keep those who would destroy our young industry from adding S373, aka `The Python Ban', to a large Natural Resources omnibus put together by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Senator Harry Reid (D-NV). Although much pressure was applied by the Defenders of Wildlife, The Nature Conservancy and the Humane Society of the United States, USARK was able to block the addition of S373 to this massive bill.
- As originally written S373 and its US House companion bill HR2811, collectively known as `The Python Ban', would have added all 47 species of Python to the Injurious Wildlife list of the Lacey Act. USARK successfully engaged both bills at the staff and member levels. Both bills were subsequently amended and no longer identical making them more difficult to reconcile. Even though both bills passed out of their respective committees USARK was able to block several attempts at a vote to pass them.
- Also, HR669 the ``Nonnative Wildlife Invasion Prevention Act'' if passed would have banned most non-native animals in the USA. The bill was written largely to reflect the view of the Defenders of Wildlife and would have set up a "white list", guilty until proven innocent approach to screening non-native animals. If the bill had passed it would have devastated Herpetoculture, Aquaculture, pets and exotic animals. USARK spearheaded the largest grassroots effort in more than 30 years generating almost 50,000 written letters opposing HR669. The pet industry and exotic animal interests contributed to the monumental grass roots effort. USARK led the charge that stopped HR669 in committee.
- Now with the close of the 111th Congress all three threats to the Reptile Nation have been defeated. S373, HR2811 and HR669 are all dead! Andrew Wyatt, President of USARK, said, "I can't think of a better present to give the Reptile Nation for Christmas!" But Wyatt added, "Although we have a great victory for Christmas we still have to deal with the Rulemaking at US FWS that would do the same thing as S373 & HR2811. And don't be surprised if Defenders of Wildlife tries to introduce a bill in the Senate similar to HR669 in early 2011�"
- So the fight will continue, but today we celebrate a great victory for the Reptile Nation! We now have the tools, experience and voice to mount effective strategies to protect our own interests.
- Thank you Z (REXANO) & Shirley Lawler
FCUSA COMMENTARY, DECEMBER 23, 2010
US Mink: State of the Industry - 2010
By Simon Ward, Communications Director, FCUSA
The economic and financial crisis that swept the globe in 2008 is not over. The world's largest economy, the US, continues to struggle, while debt crises in the Eurozone threaten to ignite another meltdown. But the economy of China, the biggest buyer of mink pelts and consumer of fur apparel, is robust to the point of overheating, while the other major fur retail market, Russia, though severely impacted by the recession, is on the road to recovery.
Smaller but important fur markets in the Far East, North America and Europe are also thought to be rebounding slightly, helped by another round of cold winters and a strong recovery in the luxury goods sector as a whole.
On the domestic front, US consumers are becoming ever less important to the prosperity of American mink farmers. Efforts to create a global market for their product are paying off, while consumer confidence at home remains depressed, and retail sales are expected to rise only slightly this winter after three years of decline.
Meanwhile, production of farmed mink has been inching up again in most major producing nations, including the US, in response to a sharp rebound in prices in the spring 2010 round of international auctions. Whatever the short-term future for the global economy, demand for top-quality pelts is so strong, even resulting in supply shortages, that the outlook for pelt prices remains rosy.
According to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), American mink farms produced 2.86 million pelts in 2009, up 1.2% from 2.82 million the year before. This was the second-largest crop this decade, surpassed only by the 2.87 million pelts harvested in 2006.
Between 2000 and 2009, the average American crop came to 2.69 million, while the 3 million mark was last achieved back in 1991. The biggest crop ever was in 1989, at 4.60 million pelts, but given that today's farmed mink are considerably larger than just two decades ago, in terms of pelt area produced, US mink farmers are about as productive as they have ever been.
As for forecasting the expected size of America's 2010 crop, the crystal ball is unusually cloudy.
One prediction, based on NASS statistics, is that it will be down slightly from last year. Slightly fewer females were reportedly bred to produce kits this year than last, and if the number of pelts per breeding remains the same, output will dip 1% to 2.83 million pelts.
Another prediction, coming from Europe, is that the US crop will rise a dramatic 21.4%.
Until this year, the task of forecasting farmed mink and fox production around the world was undertaken by Oslo Fur Auctions, and the disparity between its predictions of US output and those based on NASS stats was never significant. Between 2005 and 2009, the greatest disparity was just 180,000.
But this year, the task has been taken over by Finnish Fur Sales (FFS), in cooperation with Kopenhagen Fur. According to FFS's forecast published in October, US production in 2010 will amount to 3.4 million pelts. Aside from the startling year-on-year growth this would represent, it would also be the largest US crop since 1989.
The next round of auctions will reveal whether FFS has a new and improved crystal ball, or whether it is in need of tuning. But in the meantime, veteran fur industry reporter Sandy Parker has been running FFS's figures by interested parties.
"Executives of both North American auctions, as well as others connected with the ranching sector, expressed doubts" about FFS's forecasts for both the US and China [see below], he wrote. "Their estimates of the US crop, based on reports from the ranchers, ranged from a low of 2.8 million to a high of 3 million, roughly unchanged from last year."
Following two years of contraction, global production of farmed mink rebounded in 2010, according to FFS. Denmark, the largest producer, is believed to have maintained output at the same level as last year, while the next four top producers increased output.
The total crop is forecast at 50.48 million pelts, up 8.5% from 2009, but short of the all-time record of 55.79 million produced in 2007.
As a share of the global supply, Denmark is expected to provide 27.7%, followed by China (23.8%), the Netherlands (9.5%), Poland (8.5%), and the US (6.7%).
In terms of the number of pelts, Denmark produced an estimated 14 million, unchanged for the last four years. China produced 12 million (up 33.3%), the Netherlands 4.8 million (up 6.6%), Poland 4.3 million (up 16.2%), the US 3.4 million (up 21.4%), Canada 2.2 million (down 4.4%), Finland 2.0 million (down 4.8%), the Baltic States 1.4 million (down 30.0%), Russia 1.3 million (unchanged), Sweden 1 million (down 16.7%), and Belarus 800,000 (up 33.3%).
As has been the case for several years, Western observers continue to keep an eye on the dramatic swings in Chinese pelt production, and any signs of improvement in the quality of pelts, but with little hard information to go on. No official figures are published by the government, and since the majority of China's pelts cannot compete with those from countries with superior expertise in mink husbandry, they are consumed domestically rather than passing through the international auction system. Estimating Chinese output is therefore a guessing game.
The rollercoaster ride began a decade ago, in 2000, when China produced some 3.3 million pelts. Although it already ranked as the world's number two, it was far behind Denmark, with 10.9 million. It then embarked on a feverish expansion, peaking in 2007 with an estimated output of 18 million pelts, or about one-third of world output. The following year, production plunged to about 12 million, with the blame being pinned on inexperience in mink husbandry, resulting in substandard pelts and low prices. In 2009, the last year in which Oslo Fur Auctions issued its report, output slumped further to just 9 million.
This year, however, FFS predicts output will recover to 12 million again.
No one really knows, but Sandy Parker is as skeptical of this prediction as he is of the prediction of US output. While the forecast of 12 million "may have come from usually reliable trade sources," indications were that farmers' inexperience had once again "taken a heavy toll," he wrote. "If the doubts concerning the US and Chinese crops prove correct, the new world crop would be about 47 million mink, only 1% bigger than last year's."
Other than China, the biggest mover and shaker for the last several years has been Poland, which continues its expansion trend dating all the way back to 1994, when it produced just 30,000 pelts. Over the last five years (2006-10), it has seen average annual growth of 19.1%, firmly establishing itself as the world's fourth-largest producer with 4.3 million pelts in 2010.
Starting in the late 1980s, mink farms in the US saw their numbers contract, but productivity and efficiency rise. Economies of scale were achieved through farm mergers and the pooling of resources in feed and processing cooperatives. Advances in animal husbandry, meanwhile, resulted not only in more pelts per breeding, but also pelts that were very high quality and larger than ever before.
NASS data do not reflect farm mergers or changes in pelt size, but are still good indicators of the contraction and consolidation phase of the industry, and improvements in productivity.
Between 1989 and 2005, the number of individual farms reporting to NASS fell from 940 to 275. Since then, their numbers have fluctuated in a narrow range. In 2009, 278 farms reported, up from 274 the year before.
The trend in productivity over the same period has been quite the reverse. In 1989, the average farm produced 4,897 pelts. By 1999, that number had risen to 7,067, and in 2009, it stood at 10,272. This was virtually unchanged from 2008, suggesting a plateau may finally have been reached, but the overall trend has been unmistakable. Even over the most recent five-year period, 2005-2009, as opportunities for greater efficiency became more fully exploited, average pelt production per farm rose 7.05% while the number of farms rose just 1.1%.
Another measure of productivity on mink farms is the number of pelts produced per female bred, which reflects both the number of kits born and their survival rate. Litter size, of course, is mostly governed by mink biology, while uncontrollable factors such as extreme weather impact survivability. But farmers do have control over the quality of care they give their animals, and this directly affects how many pelts they harvest.
Data compiled since 1970 by NASS and its predecessor, the Crop Reporting Board, reveal that each breeding in the 1970s resulted, on average, in 3.43 pelts going to market. In the 1980s, this average grew to 3.72. In the 1990s, it grew again to 3.80, and for the period 2000-09 it reached 4.16.
In 2009 alone, the average was 4.23, up from 4.03 the year before. The best result ever, 4.37, was set in 2006.
Prices for American farmed mink at the spring 2010 auctions (2009 crop) rebounded with gusto from the depressed prices of a year before, when all buyers took heed of the global economic turmoil, and those representing Russian clients were virtually absent due to government restrictions on the outflow of hard currency.
When the final hammer came down, the crop had earned a record $185.9 million, according to NASS. This was up a precipitous 58% from $117.3 million a year earlier, and effectively on a par with the previous record set in 2008 (2007 crop) of $185.8 million.
The average price for individual American pelts also rose, to $65.10 from $41.60 the year before. This was just 60 cents shy of the record of $65.70 set in 2008.
Meanwhile, the average price over the five-year period 2005-09 came to $56.28, up 52.1% from the $37.00 average over the preceding five years.
International Apparel Trade - Imports
Over the last few decades, China has emerged as the world's dominant manufacturer and exporter of fur apparel. The US, in contrast, has seen its production of fur apparel reduced to a shadow of what it was forty years ago, making it a net importer by a large margin.
According to the Commerce Department's International Trade Administration, the US deficit in 1989, when Harmonized Tariff Schedule statistics began, for "articles of apparel etc. of furskin" (HS 4303)(1) was $286 million. The smallest deficit was in 1992 ($64.5 million), and the largest in 2004 ($314.6 million).
In 2009 the deficit stood at $114.7 million, marking the fifth straight yearly decline.
However, the narrowing trade balance does not reflect increased exports, or any known increase in domestic production for home consumption. All it really indicates is falling imports to the US.
Thus the slides of the deficit and imports both began in 2005. Within five years, imports fell from a record high of $334.1 million to $136.1 million last year.
By source, major shippers to the US in 2009 were China (43.7%)(2), Canada (17.5%), and Italy (11.9%).
When imports first began falling, analysts attributed it to excess inventory built up by retailers following a string of profitable seasons. Then the recession hit, and the slide continued.
In 2010, the corner has been turned, in dollar terms at least. Imports for the first three quarters came to $111.4 million, up 25% from the same period a year earlier, with the most important quarter for fur imports still to be tallied.
In terms of volume, however, imports are likely little changed, given the price increases at the wholesale level in the last year. Furthermore, most of the increase in imports has been in furs other than mink, suggestive of retailers looking to keep their lower price points filled.
International Apparel Trade - Exports
American exports of fur apparel are on an altogether smaller scale. In 2009 they were worth $21.4 million, down from $34.3 million the year before. In the last two decades, a high was set in 1997 of $94 million, and a low in 2005 of $18.8 million.
As reported by the International Trade Administration, major consumers of US exports in 2009 were Canada (15.1%), the UK (12.6%), and Japan (7.4%).
Given the comparatively small figures involved in the export trade, year-to-year changes can be pronounced without necessarily being significant. For example, imports by China(2) have fluctuated so wildly in the last few years that it is impossible to determine a trend. In 2008, it imported fur apparel manufactured in the US valued at $7.4 million, making it the leading importer by a large margin. But in 2009, those imports were valued at just $1.6 million.
One market, the UK, deserves special mention though, since it shows all the signs of a trend.
Over the period 2004-09, the value of US fur apparel exports to the UK rose steadily from a paltry $158,000 to $2.7 million. This included a jump of 142% in 2008 alone, consolidated with a further rise of 26% in 2009, making the UK the second largest consumer of US fur apparel.
Statistics from the UK's HM Revenue & Customs confirm this, with imports of US fur apparel growing by 2,800% in the same period.
Curiously though, over the same period the UK's total imports of fur apparel from all sources have fluctuated within a fairly narrow range, so it is not a simple case of importing more fur. It's just importing more American fur.
Meanwhile fur consumption in the UK has taken on a new twist in the last few years that does not show up in any trade statistics: a craze for vintage furs, especially among younger consumers. The volume is unknown since sales are made mainly on-line or at street markets, but if the media are to be believed, a whole new generation is discovering the merits of nature's finest insulator at true entry-level prices.
Once dominated by traditional furriers and boutiques in high-end department stores, with their racks of mink, fox, and chinchilla, the retail landscape for fur apparel in the US has been changing in recent years. More affordable fur types are now commonplace in non-specialized clothing outlets, while fur-trimmed garments and accessories can be found everywhere from sporting goods to toddler wear. Meanwhile, on-line shopping goes from strength to strength.
Despite this diversification, however, it is reasonable to assume that US fur retail has followed imports downwards, and the only official statistics published by the industry support this assumption. These are for sales (including services such as storage, cleaning and remodeling) through traditional furriers with membership in the Fur Information Council of America (FICA).
Since setting a new record of $1.82 billion in 2005-06 (April to March), FICA's members saw their sales drop sharply. Now compiling results on a calendar-year basis, FICA reported this November that sales in 2009 had fallen to $1.26 billion, the lowest this decade. If one considers erosion of the dollar's purchasing power, this ranks in the same league as another low, of $1 billion, in 1991-92. The economy was in another recession, winters were unseasonably warm, and animal rights was a cause célèbre of supermodels and celebrities.(3)
This time around though, the weather and fur's popularity are no longer issues. Right through the first half of the decade, sales were showing strong growth, and the fashion media were awash with the story "Fur is back!"
Then the current recession hit, and despite the best efforts of government, the economy is yet to turn around, with 9.8% of the US workforce still unemployed as of November.
Nonetheless, "Fur is back!" stories are hitting the news again in late 2010. With fur apparel imports picking up, another bitterly cold winter already under way for much of the country, and reports of retail sales and credit card spending picking up around Thanksgiving, the current fur season should be, at least, better than last.
Supporting this optimism is a miserly recovery in the Combined Consumer Confidence Index (present situation + expectations) of the Conference Board.
Back in February 2009, the last of the three big months in the fur retail calendar, the Index hit 25.0, down from 75.0 a year earlier and the lowest in its history (1985 = 100). It then started to recover, and has spent the last two years in the 45-63 range. As of November 2010, it stood at 54.1.
One could say that consumers are twice as confident as they were in early 2009. But it would probably be more truthful to say they are only half as anxious.
Despite being the world's largest economy and an important market for fur, the US currently accounts for just 9% or so of global fur retail. Thus American mink farmers today find themselves in the same boat as farmers everywhere, with the global marketplace as the key to their prosperity, while watching for signs of a US recovery.
Prior to the meltdown, the global market was robust and growing. Fur was back in vogue from Shanghai to Milan, while strong economic growth in the biggest consumers, China and Russia, saw more disposable income than ever before being spent on fur.
In 2006-07, according to the International Fur Trade Federation (IFTF), global fur retail stood at $15.02 billion, the highest since it started keeping track in 1999.
But the following year, 2007-08, with the meltdown in full flow, sales fell by 13.25%, to $13.03 billion, before posting a small recovery to $13.33 billion in 2008-09.(4) IFTF's next results, for 2009-10, can be expected in March of 2011.
IFTF does not publish a country-by-country breakdown of its surveys, but acknowledged that while European demand had stagnated between 2007 and 2009, "demand from the Asian markets has seen an increase. We are very pleased that during the worst of the recession our product remained in demand."
The single Asian market which did most to help the trade through these troubled times would undoubtedly be China.
Like all major economies, China felt the pain of the recession, but comparatively speaking, the pain was not that great. In the first quarter of 2009, its GDP growth fell to its lowest in almost 20 years, but it still stood at 6.1%, a figure most governments would be happy with even in good times.
Meanwhile, as Chinese exports began to fall, the government allowed the economy to move towards greater dependency on an internal market by raising wages and lowering prices. Domestic consumption began to grow, with overall retail sales in 2009 rising 16.9%, and in 2010, GDP growth is expected to be back up around 10%.(5)
Evidence of this speedy recovery, and its benefits for the fur trade, are clear today. As Sandy Parker wrote earlier this month: "October/November retail sales in China reportedly set records, with stores moving huge numbers of garments - hundreds over a single weekend - that Western retailers can only dream about. As a result, skin inventories are described as at an all-time low."(6)
The other major fur market, Russia, was altogether harder hit by the recession. Pre-2008, soaring energy and commodity prices created enormous wealth that saw newly-affluent consumers investing in quality purchases, including furs. But when the bottom dropped out of the oil market, foreign credit dried up, capital fled the country, and the government was forced to devalue the ruble. Buyers all but disappeared from the pelt auctions, and retailers found themselves with massive debts to Greek and Chinese manufacturers, and few customers.
By 2009, Russia's GDP growth was in negative territory, shrinking by 7.9%. But signs of recovery were already being seen, and in 2010, GDP is expected to grow by about 3.1%. Fur retail sales are said to be up over last year, but no one is forecasting a quick return to pre-recession levels.
It would not be an overstatement, therefore, to say that American mink farmers, already earning record prices again for their pelts, would not be where they are today without China.
Is this a precarious situation for the future? Not really. As great as China's consumption already is, the market will only grow as the affluence of its 1.3 billion people grows. Meanwhile, the smaller markets of South Korea, Japan, North America, and Europe, will continue to provide important support, and in time Russia, with its lengthy winters and deep cultural attachment to fur, will re-emerge to play second-fiddle to China.
Also complementing the China factor is an important and emerging market that transcends national borders. Now the fur trade is focusing anew on the market for high-end, investment-quality goods, or "luxuries".
Following a year and a half of declining sales, 2010 will see "a full rebound in luxury goods sales to pre-recession levels," according to Luxury Goods Worldwide Market Study, published last October by consulting firm Bain & Co. This highly positive appraisal, predicting 10% growth in luxury sales (8% in the apparel sector), is tied unsurprisingly to continued strong growth in China, but also to an "unexpected rapid return of US shoppers to luxury stores."(7)
Specifically, Bain expects spending on luxuries to increase fully 30% in China, and 12% in the US, but only 6% in Europe. Only one major market for luxuries, Japan, is forecast to shrink, by 1%, but the Asia-Pacific region without Japan is expected to see 22% growth.
Marketing strategies are playing a key role in this growth, says Bain. Luxury sales online will grow 20% in 2010, while strong growth is also expected through discount luxury outlet stores and a proliferation of brand-owned stores.
The strong focus by luxury brands on key markets inevitably means intense interest in China. And since China is already the world's biggest producer, consumer, and exporter of fur apparel, the synergy should prove irresistible.
(1) Chapter 43 of the US Harmonized Tariff Schedule, of which HS 4303 is a part, does not include all items of fur apparel. The Fur Products Identification Act lists sheep as among the species yielding fur. However, for the purpose of the HTS, sheepskin jackets, for example, are covered by Chapter 62 (apparel articles and accessories, not knit etc.), while sheepskin boots come under Chapter 64 (footwear, gaiters etc. and parts thereof).
(2) The International Trade Administration compiles statistics separately for China and Hong Kong. Figures in this report combine the two.
(3) See "Strike a pose." By Sarah Ferguson, New York Magazine, Nov. 7, 1994.
(4) "Global fur sales remain stable during 2008/2009 recession." International Fur Trade Federation press release, Mar. 16, 2010.
(5) "World Bank boosts China 2010 GDP growth forecast to 10 per cent." By Peter Feuilherade, suite101.com, Nov. 5, 2010.
(6) Sandy Parker Reports, Nov. 15, 2010.
(7) "Bain & Company projects 10% surge in worldwide luxury goods sales in 2010, erasing recessionary declines." Bain & Co. press release, Oct. 18, 2010.
US mink: State of the industry - 2009. By Simon Ward, Communications Director, FCUSA, June 23, 2009.
US Mink: State of the Industry - 2008. By Simon Ward, Communications Director, FCUSA, May 25, 2008.
US Mink: State of the Industry - 2007. By Simon Ward, Communications Director, FCUSA, Mar. 4, 2007.
China, where American mink gets glamour. Report on US-China fur ties, by the Global Agriculture Information Network (GAIN) of the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, May 16, 2007. (PDF)
For further information contact: Teresa Platt, Executive Director, Fur Commission USA, 826 Orange Avenue, #506, Coronado, CA 92118-2698 USA, (619) 575-0139, (619) 272-2467/fax, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.furcommission.com.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced that, subject to receipt of further public comment, it intends to remove wolves in the Western Great Lakes region as a listed species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). FWS indicated that it will publish a new delisting proposal for the wolves by April 2011 and will wrap up the process by the end of 2011. In its press release, the FWS noted that “wolves continue to exceed recovery goals and are no longer threatened with extinction.”
STATES - in alphabetical order
Robertsdale - (12/20/10) City Council voted unanimously to modify the existing ordinance. That change updates one out-of-date regulation discovered by authorities. "With the new one, there will actually be set fines, like $50 for dogs running at large instead of up to $250 and court costs. It will be a little more beneficial for the dog owner. There are several things in there that we like better than the old ordinance" said Police Chief Brad Kendrick. New ordinance should be ready for consideration by the council in three to six months.
Denver - (12/06/10) City Council rejected a measure to exempt pit bulls classified as service animals from Denver's ban on the breed, a move that exemption supporters say challenges the Americans with Disabilities Act. The council voted 9-4 to reject the exemption.
Fort Collins - sale of dogs, cats and other small animals at pet stores would be banned in Fort Collins under a proposal that might be headed to the April 2011 municipal ballot. In addition to cats and dogs, the sale ban would apply to birds, reptiles, amphibians and animals such as mice, hamsters and ferrets.
St. Johns County - (12/10/10) County Commission this week for revamping the 13-year-old dangerous dog ordinance. Under new provisions, pet owners deemed as having a dangerous dog or cat must carry at least $100,000 worth of liability insurance. They must also register their animal within 14 days after it's deemed dangerous and obtain a certificate, which is renewed annually. If owners fail to do so, they'll be penalized $500. A dog or cat is labeled dangerous after it has aggressively bitten, attacked, endangered or has inflicted severe injury on a human being on public or private property while off the owner's property. The label will also apply if the animal has severely injured or killed a domestic animal or been used for fighting. Animals will also be deemed dangerous if they're involved in an unprovoked chase or other dangerous approach on the streets, sidewalks or public grounds.
Macon - (12/13/10) Public Safety Committee passed ordinance regarding dangerous dogs in compliance with the state law. A dog will have to have shown aggression in some manner before being deemed dangerous. If a dog inflicts injury without provocation, it could be ruled as dangerous and its owner will need a fifteen thousand dollar liability insurance policy to keep the pet.
Kansas City - door to door enforcement of limit law. KCMO not only ticketed but confiscated animals if the owner was over the limit regardless of the health or living conditions.
New Orleans - first time in the LA/SPCA's 60 year history of providing Animal Control for the City, the City Administration has indicated there are viable alternatives available. With this in mind, the LA/SPCA is optimistic about the opportunities this may bring. The LA/SPCA will always be an advocate for the animals in this region and will continue to support the animals of New Orleans.
Dearborn - (12/02/10) City Council presented a breed neutral update to their vicious dog ordinance tonight at a study session in the Mayor's office. The new classification for nuisance dogs is “dangerous,” and adds to the existing “vicious dog” classification. A draft of the new ordinance defines a dangerous dog as one that a reasonable person believes poses a “serious and unjustified imminent threat of serious physical injury or death to a person or a companion animal,” or a dog that bites without provocation.
Garden City - (12/6/10) new vicious dog ordinance to be introduced at tonight's council meeting is NOT breed specific!
Thank you Jodi Preis
Keego Harbor - City Council laid down the law for the animal kingdom at a Nov. 18 meeting. With a 4-0 vote, the Keego council voted to adopt a new dangerous and exotic animal ordinance that lays out rules for pet owners. The ordinance is designed to protect the public’s health and safety while giving animal owners due process when a creature is officially suspected of being dangerous or potentially dangerous. According to the ordinance, one main definition of a dangerous animal is one that has caused serious injury to a person or other domesticated animal. However, it exempts animals that are provoked or that are performing proper guarding activities. In contrast, a potentially dangerous animal is one that has caused a minor injury or has aggressively chased people or pets.
Sterling Heights - a proposed ordinance fortifying pit bull policies postponed until Feb. 1.
Philadelphia - Mayor and Board of Aldermen Ward 4 Cecil Nichols told city officials last week that the ordinance needed to be better enforced. The current ordinance states that dangerous dogs, such as pit bulls, are not permitted to be outside of a proper enclosure unless they are muzzled and restrained by a leash. The owner must also make sure that a proper enclosure is set up for the dog along with proper vaccinations. Anyone found in violation could be fined and have their dog impounded until the owner complies.
- December 7, 2010 by Ken Anderson
- The Nebraska Farm Bureau is creating what it calls "an Ag Advocacy Fund."
- Farm Bureau president Keith Olsen announced the establishment of the special
- fund during his annual meeting address in Kearney.
- The purpose, according to Olsen, is to have resources available to respond
- to unexpected challenges as they arise. In his words, it would "allow
- Nebraska Farm Bureau to react quickly to assaults on the farmers and
- ranchers of Nebraska."
- Olsen did not specifically mention the Humane Society of the United States
- when announcing the Ag Advocacy Fund. But earlier in his speech, he listed
- the actions of the HSUS as one the top challenges facing agriculture.
- Although HSUS has not introduced any animal welfare legislation in Nebraska,
- the group has recently hired a state director and held a town hall meeting
- in Lincoln.
AB13 - Revises provisions relating to certain offenses committed by juveniles involving hunting activities or target practice.
Referred to Committee on Judiciary.
AB19 - Revises provisions governing the issuance of certain fishing licenses and permits.
Referred to Committee on Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Mining.
SB17 - Establishes provisions relating to the reissuance of certain drugs for certain animals
Referred to Committee on Commerce, Labor, and Energy.
2011 Bill Draft Requests - BDR
52 Assemblyman Atkinson
Revises provisions to allow game animals that are struck and killed by vehicles to be processed for meat.
122 Senator Lee
Revises provisions concerning the use of lead in fishing equipment used in streams in Nevada.
150 Assemblywoman Smith
Joint Requester: Assemblyman Bobzien
Makes various changes concerning dream tags and the Wildlife Commission.
214 Legislative Committee on Public Lands (NRS 218E.510)
_CR: Urges proactive habitat protection, restoration and mitigation to prevent listing of the Greater Sage Grouse as an endangered species.
223 Assemblyman Hambrick
Revises provisions governing cruelty to animals.
252 Assemblyman Carpenter
Revises provisions governing tags for hunting mule deer.
312 Assemblyman Goicoechea
Revises provisions relating to stock water.
357 Senator Copening
Makes various changes concerning cruelty to animals.
388 Assemblyman Manendo
Revises provisions relating to dog breeding
510 Assemblyman Munford
Makes changes relating to the branding and inspection of horses.
(12/02/10) Nevada wildlife commissioners might make it legal to shoot a 'lone wolf' though federal fines would remain. The wolf is listed as a federally protected species, killing one could result in fines of up to $100,000 whatever Nevada does with its own classification, argued Bob Williams, Nevada supervisor of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The discussion was largely prompted by a federal judge's August decision to reinstate wolves as an endangered species in Idaho and Montana and concern the federal government might infringe on Nevada's right to manage wolves, which could threaten big game and livestock.
Thank you Zuzana Kukol
Washoe County - Washoe County Animal Control Board (WCACB) - DRAFT OF AN ORDINANCE AMENDING THE WASHOE COUNTY CODE BY REPEALING CERTAIN SECTIONS OF CHAPTER 55 RELATING TO RIDING A HORSE WHILE INTOXICATED, KEEPING A NOISY ANIMAL, ABANDONING INJURED ANIMALS AND IMPOUNDING UNSPAYED PETS; BY ENACTING PROVISIONS REGARDING ANIMAL CONTROL IN WASHOE COUNTY, INCLUDING ESTABLISHING VARIENCE PERMITS, PROHIBITING THE KEEPING OF PRIMATES, RECOGNIZING COVENANTS, CONDITIONS AND RESTRICTIONS IN THE PERMIT PROCESS AND ESTABLISHING POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS DOG PROVISIONS AND BY REVISING PROVISIONS TO THE AUTHORITY OF ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICERS; BY AMENDING THE PROVISIONS RELATING TO CRUELTY TO ANIMALS AND OTHER PROVISIONS REGARDING THE CONTROL AND PROTECTION OF ANIMALS, AMENDING CERTAIN FEES FOR THE KEEPING OF DOGS AND CATS IN CONGESTED AREAS, AMENDING PROCEDURES IN MAKING DANGEROUS DOG DETERMINATIONS AND THE REGISTRATION OF DANGEROUS DOGS AND SETTING FORTH UNLAWFUL ACTS RELATING THERETO, PROSCRIBING CRIMINAL AND CIVIL PENALTIES FOR VIOLATIONS OF THE ANIMAL CONTROL PROVISIONS, ALLOWING THE UTILIZATION OF WASHOE COUNTY'S CIVIL ENFORCEMENT PROCESS AND PROVIDING FOR OTHER MATTERS PROPERLY RELATING THERETO.
(The 47 page draft is available upon request)
Washoe County (12/27/10) animal control advisory board hearing this evening. The county is proceeding with a total primate ban for non-USDA and perhaps many possible USDA uses, and an extensive all-species exotic cat ban.
Thank you Tim Stoffel
2011 - LSRs
Guilford County - Board of Commissioners adopted new animal rights legislation earlier this year, but perhaps the most controversial topic tethering was taken out for further discussion, largely because there are strong opinions on both sides and everyone seems determined to make especially certain they get this part of the law right. The potential new anti-tethering law has been a hot topic of discussion among animal rights advocates across the county, and it was the only subject discussed at a Wednesday, Dec. 1 meeting of the Guilford County Animal Welfare Committee.
Senate approves Pearson for U.S. District Court in Northern Ohio
Sent: Thursday, December 23, 2010 5:18 PM
Judge Benita Pearson was recommended for the District Court position by Sen. Sherrod Brown and nominated by President Obama in December, 2009.
Pearson is currently an Adjunct Professor at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law where she teaches Animal Law. Listed in her Senate questionnaire responses were memberships in Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), and American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). Senate Questionnaire for Judicial Nominees
Her association with animal rights groups, particularly ALDF, was questioned by Senator Jeff Sessions (R, AL):
"In your questionnaire, you noted that you are a member of the Animal Legal Defense Fund ("ALDF"). As you noted during your hearing, you also teach Animal Law at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. According to the syllabus you provided, your course includes a section devoted to constitutional standing. The ALDF advocates that animals should be considered "legal persons" and have "standing" in court. Do you believe that animals should be conferred legal standing to bring a lawsuit?"
Judge Pearson Response: "Existing laws do not confer standing upon animals. On a case by case basis, however, courts have addressed whether standing should be conferred upon the legal representative of an animal. See, e.g., Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555 (1992) (finding that respondent lacked standing); Animal Legal Defense Fund v. Glickman, 154 F.3d 426 (D.C. Cir. 1998) (en banc) (finding ALDF had standing to challenge the treatment of primates). If confirmed as a United States District Judge, I will enforce applicable legal precedent."
The National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) expressed its opposition to Pearson's nomination as a federal judge, claiming she has ties to animal activists and urged Senate members to vote against her appointment. NCBA Vice President of Government Affairs Colin Woodall said Pearson's connections to the Animal Legal Defense Fund, an organization that advocates giving animals the same legal rights as humans, would make it difficult for her to be an impartial judge in cases regarding actions by animal rights activists.
December 21, 2010. U.S. Senate confirmed U.S. Magistrate Judge Benita Y. Pearson by a vote of 56-39 to sit on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.
Vote Number: 290 http://www.facebook.com/l/a4f1f-j-EX0edXdfuTl4ekuvMeA;tinyurl.com/27we7fa
ANIMAL LEGAL DEFENSE FUND
ALDF describes itself as attorneys active in shaping the emerging field of animal law. They specialize in "filing groundbreaking lawsuits to stop animal abuse and expand the boundaries of animal law." ALDF advocates changing the legal status of animals from property to personhood.
"Everything we are doing lays the foundation for the one day when animals will have rights" ...."We need to get in their faces and sue the animal users so often they don't know which courtroom they're supposed to appear in next." Valerie Stanley, ALDF Attorney June, 1996
ALDF is a partner in The Great Ape Legal Project, a joint project between ALDF and the Great Ape Project International, working to establish legal rights for nonhuman great apes.
The ALDF website explains, "Through this groundbreaking enterprise, ALDF is working to improve the legal status of nonhuman animals, who continue to be viewed by the courts despite the clearer vision of scientists, philosophers and animal guardians everywhere as mere property. "Animals have never been made a part of our legal system," explains ALDF President Steve Ann Chambers. "As a result, there is no legal recourse when they're exploited and abused."
According to the Great Ape Project mission statement, "the exploitation of great primates in laboratories, circus, entertainment shows and zoos can be considered a kind of slavery, reminding what men used to do with others of his own kind who were considered to be inferior a little bit more than one century ago."
ALDF also works to establish Student Animal Legal Defense Fund Chapters at Law Schools. Student chapters work with ALDF to advance the interests of animals through the legal system. Currently 152 U.S Chapters and 8 International Chapters have been established.
Posted by SAOVA News
Bristol - Borough Council President Ralph DiGuiseppe reiterated Monday that he wants a muzzle ordinance for all pit bulls and pit bull mix breeds. DiGuiseppe had told borough solicitor William Salerno last month to begin drafting up an ordinance, which would require all pit bulls to have a muzzle on when off private property. DiGuiseppe wants the ordinance to be voted on in February. Pennsylvania state law prohibits breed specific legislation
S0200 - TO AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, BY ADDING SECTION 47-1-145, TO ENACT THE "PROVISIONS FOR COST OF ANIMAL CARE ACT OF 2011", TO PROVIDE THAT THE CUSTODIAN OF AN ANIMAL TAKEN INTO CUSTODY DUE TO CIVIL OR CRIMINAL VIOLATIONS BY ITS OWNER MAY PETITION THE COURT FOR EXPENSES RELATED TO PROVIDING CARE TO THE ANIMAL, TO ESTABLISH PROCEDURES FOR HEARING SUCH PETITIONS AND FOR THE COLLECTION AND USE OF FUNDS ORDERED TO BE PAID, TO PROVIDE THAT A PERSON WHO FAILS TO PAY SUCH FUNDS FORFEITS RIGHTS OF OWNERSHIP TO THE ANIMAL, TO PROVIDE FOR THE DISPOSITION OF SUCH AN ANIMAL, AND TO PROVIDE FOR THE RETURN OF FUNDS WHEN A PERSON IS NOT FOUND TO BE IN VIOLATION; TO AMEND SECTION 47-1-130, RELATING TO CRUELTY TO ANIMALS, TO PROVIDE THAT AGENTS OF THE SOUTH CAROLINA SOCIETY FOR THE PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO ANIMALS, OR ANY OTHER SOCIETY DULY INCORPORATED FOR THAT PURPOSE, MAY ASSIST WITH A LAWFUL INVESTIGATION OF THIS CHAPTER, BUT MAY ONLY EFFECTUATE AN ARREST OF A PERSON IF THEY HAVE BEEN VESTED WITH THE POWER TO ARREST BY A SHERIFF OR THE GOVERNING BODY OF A COUNTY OR MUNICIPALITY; AND TO AMEND SECTION 47-1-140, RELATING TO NOTICE PROVIDED TO THE OWNER OF ANIMALS WHICH HAVE BEEN SEIZED FROM OTHERS UPON ARREST, TO REMOVE SPECIAL PROVISIONS FOR AGENTS OF THE SOUTH CAROLINA SOCIETY FOR THE PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO ANIMALS, OR ANY OTHER SOCIETY DULY INCORPORATED FOR THAT PURPOSE.
Referred to Senate Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources
South Fulton - (12/15/10) City Commission approved the first reading of an ordinance to update a portion of the city’s animal control ordinance, adding a line under the section prohibiting animals being kept in such a manner as to become a nuisance. The addition is, “Not more than five dogs shall be kept at any one residence.”
HB413 - Relating to the confidentiality of certain information held by a veterinarian. Author: Aycock Subjects: Animals (I0035) Occupational Regulation--Health Occupations (I0540) RABIES (S0111) VETERINARIANS (S0072)
Austin - (12/16/10) City Council voted unanimously to approve the Pet Trader Ordinance. * Anyone who receives "consideration" for a dog, cat, puppy, kitten (any age) is now a Pet Trader unless it is the City Pound or a 501 (C)(3) Nonprofit Rescuer Group. (All rescuers are not nonprofits.) * All sales are forbidden from a location other than where the cat or dog was bred. * Sale of agricultural livestock is exempt. * A Pet Trader must pay a $50 Sales Fee unless the animal is sterilized. (This will be interesting to watch the Pet Police enforce.) * Microchip is mandatory. * Veterinarian must give buyer a signed document (a guarantee!) that the animal has no known disease or illness at the time or that is likely to adversely affect their health in the future, or describe any known disease, illness that is likely to affect their health in the future. In addition to documentation of sterilization. * Pet Trader must provide the usual paperwork for the dog and cat, all medical records, etc.
Thank you Mary Beth - Responsible Pet Owners Alliance
Davis County - (12/14/10) Animal Control will again be a separate department of county government, come Jan. 1. The Davis County Commission announced Tuesday that it will revert from division status with the Sheriff's Office to a separate entity.
Salt Lake County - proposed dog breeding ordinance, the "Volume Dog Breeders" ordinance, would require anyone in the unincorporated county to obtain an annual license if they breed more than one litter of dogs during a 12-month period. It would not apply to those living in cities within the county. Dogs used for breeding purposes would have to be given a rest between breeding cycles with no more than two litters delivered during an 18-month period. Standards for protecting breeding dogs from the elements would be required as well as annual examinations by licensed veterinarians. Detailed records of any dog being bred would have to be kept for a minimum of five years.
HB1541 - A BILL to amend and reenact §§ 3.2-6500 and 3.2-6569 of the Code of Virginia and to amend the Code of Virginia by adding a section numbered 3.2-6503.1, relating to care of agricultural animals by owner; penalty
Vienna - city officials are considering revising their vicious dog ordinance to REMOVE the breed specific language from the law. Vienna code 507.10 defines a vicious dog as any breed of pit bull terrier or Staffordshire bull terrier, as well as any dog with the propensity to attack human beings or other domestic animals. Under the code, any dogs defined as "vicious" must wear a muzzle and leash when outside of the residence. Dog owners must purchase public liability insurance on the dog, and "Beware of Dog" signs must be visible to the public. Failure to comply with code regulations could result in fines up to $300.
Dept. of Agriculture to Consider New Breeder Regulations - (12/8/10) the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) Board considered extensive, onerous regulations for breeders who sell 25 or more dogs each year. Responsible dog owners and breeders were encouraged to attend the hearing and indicate on the sign-in form that you are attending in opposition to the proposed regulations as currently written.
Thank you Judy Chevalier
IN OTHER COUNTRIES – OF INTEREST !!!
Glen Eira - Pitbull owners have two years to declare and register their dogs with Glen Eira Council following changes made to the domestic animals act. Councils will now be able to seize, impound and euthanise "dangerous dogs" found roaming the streets. American pit bull terrier, Canary mastiff, Argentinian mastiff, Japanese mastiff and Brazilian mastiff dog breeds will have to comply with the new legislation.
Bill regulating responsibility for cruelty to animals has finally been passed, and the new law comes into force on Jan. 1, 2011. The new law stipulates fines for committing acts of cruelty to animals leading to the animals being injured or dying.