Animal Law

Top Animal & Environmental Law Tweets of the Week – 3/6/2017

If you follow my Twitter account at all, you’ve probably noticed that I am anti-Trump and his administration. Not only am I disgusted by his (and his administration’s) misogyny, sexism, bigotry, and racism, I am also staunchly against his anti-science and anti-animal platform. Personally, I do not see how any animal advocate can support him. In the short amount of time Trump has been in office, we have already begun to see attacks on the environment and its inhabitants. More than ever we need transparency, accountability, and an informed public. So I thought this would be a good time to bring back my Top Tweets of the Week, which serve to highlight news articles about animal and environmental law issues. Please note that not all of the tweets may necessarily have to do directly with the Trump administration (and not all the tweets are bad news!). In no particular order…

After a long and contentious effort to reform Alaska’s cruel practices, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service took action in August 2016 to protect these animals on national wildlife refuges. The Center for Biological Diversity is already in court defending this rule from challenges by the state of Alaska and trophy hunters — now we have to defend it from Congress. The U.S House of Representatives passed a resolution to repeal this rule, and now the Senate is poised to do the same.

The proposal would virtually eliminate annual Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) funding, slashing it from $300 million to $10 million among other cuts that would altogether reduce the EPA’s total budget by a quarter. The plan also includes a $13 million cut in compliance monitoring, which the EPA uses to ensure the safety of drinking water systems. State grants for beach water quality testing would also be eliminated.

The Animal Welfare Accountability and Transparency Act, introduced this week by Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), would compel USDA to restore open, online access to [documents detailing the quality of animal care in facilities regulated by the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) and Horse Protection Act (HPA)]. The bill takes an additional step for animal protection by preventing AWA- and HPA-violators from taking advantage of certain tax benefits—this ensures that American taxpayers won’t further subsidize animal cruelty.

“This is nothing short of a public lands giveaway at the expense of our health and our climate,” said Jeremy Nichols, WildEarth Guardians’ climate and energy program director. “President Trump may try to hand over our lands to the likes of Exxon and BP, but today and throughout the next four years, we’re taking a stand and sending the message that we will not allow our public lands to be handed over the oil and gas industry without a fight.

“USFWS caved to Wyoming’s insistence on keeping the predator zone,” said Wolf Conservation Center’s Maggie Howell. “With the service on the cusp of delisting wolves across the United States, any concessions that are allowed in Wyoming by the federal government could set a precedent for other states to bargain with. It is both wrong and dangerous to allow a state with a history of hostile and extreme anti-wolf policies to set an example for other states to follow. Today’s ruling to uphold the USFWS’s 2012 decision is bad news for wolves beyond the state’s borders.”

“Wyoming’s plan to shoot wolves on sight throughout most of the state was a bad idea when it was proposed, and it’s a bad idea now. The Court’s decision to lift federal protections for wolves in Wyoming will be a step backwards for wolf recovery in the West.” Today’s D.C. Circuit decision overturns a 2014 federal court ruling that rejected U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s attempt to remove Wyoming wolves from the federal endangered species list.

The proposal (SB 1304) by Sen. Linda Stewart, D-Orlando, also seeks to regulate burn schedules in state forests and parks to allow for the regrowth of oak trees, saw palmettos and other berry-producing plants that feed black bears.

It is our obligation to ensure the preservation of the iconic species as well as the safety of our neighborhoods,” Stewart said in a prepared statement.

In the final months of Barack Obama’s administration, the EPA unveiled a new effort to tackle lead poisoning, air pollution and other problems suffered by communities of color situated next to waste treatment plants, smelters and other sources of toxins. But this plan will be cut down in its infancy should the environmental justice office be dismantled.

New York City’s requirement that pet shops purchase cats and dogs only from federally licensed breeders and that the animals be spayed or neutered before they are sold to customers does not violate the Commerce Clause, a federal appeals court has ruled. “We are pleased that the court upheld this commonsense legislation, which helps ensure that cats and dogs are humanely sourced and that consumers can make informed choices when bringing pets into their homes,” said Law Department spokesman Nicholas Paolucci.

The proposal, Senate Bill 268, was touted by supporters who described coyote-killing contests as an immoral and “barbaric” blood sport. They described the aftermath of a 2014 contest in which nearly 40 coyote carcasses were dumped in the desert outskirts of Las Cruces.

We got rid of dogfighting, we got rid of cockfighting, and it’s definitely time to get rid of this,” said Kathy McCoy, a former state representative from Sandia Park. The bill is sponsored by Sens. Jeff Steinborn, D-Las Cruces, and Mark Moores, R-Albuquerque. It now advances to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The Kentucky Senate Agriculture Committee on Tuesday unanimously passed a bill that seeks to designate horses as livestock, according to a news release from the Kentucky Equine Education Project). SB 139 does not seek to make horse owners exempt from taxes on feed, supplies and equipment, unlike House Bill 112, which was approved by the Kentucky House Agriculture Committee in February of last year.

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