Animal Law Voter Initiatives: The Results

Gillian Lyons

Early this week, Professor Cassuto linked us to a website which ran through all of the animal welfare based initiatives included on ballots across the country. Well, the results are in, and here they are:

The Losses:

Arkansas:  Capturing 83 % of the vote, Issue 1, which proposed a constitutional amendment that would secure the right for residents to hunt, fish, trap, and harvest wildlife in the state, was adopted by Arkansas residents.   As a result, Arkansas’s constitution will include this (slightly disturbing) article:

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Injustice, Texas Style

Bridget Crawford 

 NPR reports here on the shooting of 51 buffaloes who wandered from one Texas ranch onto another.  NPR reporter Wade Goodwyn missed the irony in a statement by the owner of the ranch whence the buffaloes roamed: “Slaughtering animals, to me, and I think the state feels the same way — in fact I know the governor’s office does — is a terrible injustice,” according to the ranch owner Wayne Kirk.  But in NPR’s own words, Kirk’s ranch “is primarily a hunting property, and even when they’re on the right side of their fence, buffaloes are there to be killed.” 

 Ummmm…so slaughtering animals is okay as long as someone pays Mr. Kirk for the privilege of doing so?

Bill to Ban Canned Hunting in NY in the Pipeline

Once upon a time, the NY State Legislature passed a bill outlawing canned hunting only to have then Governor Pataki veto it.  The current law permits canned hunts except that the animals can’t be tied to a stationary object of confined in a pen or box.  The current bill, which is pending in the Assembly Codes Committee, would ban hunting in fenced areas, essentially ending the practice in NY.

Hat tip for the skinny to the Animal Law Coalition blog, which has an informative and excellent post here.

–David Cassuto

Canned Hunting of Endangered Species is Illegal

From the Stuff You Probably Thought Was Too Obvious to Have to Sue About Desk:

elk-hunt-01A district court in Washington D.C. has struck down a Bush Era U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service rule that allowed canned hunting of endangered species.  Canned hunting is the shooting of semi-tame animals on fenced  “ranches” (see here for some previous posts).  During canned excursions, the animals have nowhere to run — even if they knew they were in danger — and thus can be slaughtered with ease.  Such “hunts” require no skill (indeed, many “ranches” offer a guaranteed kill).  Reviled by most hunters, they are primarily the province of folks like Dick Cheney and his fellow “sportsmen.”

The Endangered Species Act, Section 9 makes it illegal to “take” any animal on the endangered species list.  Yet, among the animals FWS allowed to be canned and killed were the scimitar-horned oryx, addax and dama gazelle, all endangered African species.  Thus the lawsuit.

To the chagrin of the Safari Club and their ilk, the court found that charging  “sportsmen” big bucks to shoot endangered animals violates the Endangered Species Act.  Kudos to the Humane Society, Defenders of Wildlife, Born Free USA, Kimya Institute and several others for forcing the courts to state the obvious and thus stop at least this part of the slaughter.  Read the HSUS press release here and the Safari Club’s Orwellian spin on how killing these animals actually protects them here.

–David Cassuto