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WA/OR ALERTS - API insidious anti-ownership bills

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Posted by wittsd on March 29, 2003 at 16:43:04:

(please cross-post as desired & take a few minutes to read.
Thank you.)


WA HB1151 - final public hearing
under the "Senate Health and Long Term Care Committee"
Tuesday, April 1st at 1:30pm (go figure...)
Cherberg building in Senate hearing room 4
Capitol Complex
Olympia, WA

This is a call for any possible attendees to the hearing; more
people required especially from responsible herp owners, DVMs,
PhDs, etc.

For further information regarding co-ordination at the meeting,
*against* this bill, please contact Jeanne Hall of Phoenix
Exotics -
and/or follow ongoing discussions on the Phoenix Exotics email
(400, or so, *very* concerned owners & interested individuals,

Background context for WA HB1151:
This bill was introduced to ban an extensive list of animals
from private ownership, not just "pets", but also non-exempted
USDA facilities.
PAWS & API who wrote the bill support the banning of *all*
exotic animals, so will be back for other species, later, should
they get this "leveraging" bill into law.
Originally, the list of species to be banned under 1151 included
green iguanas and boas with the potential to grow more than 8
Although these species have now been removed in order to make
the bill "more palatable" (!), an insidious addition to the text
means that ANY other species which has the "potential to be
dangerous" can also be banned, apparently without the need for
further legislation!
Judging by the "experts" called in from API, PAWS and others,
there will be imminent demands for further species bans
(iguanas and other non-venomous reptiles, small exotic cats,
wolfdogs, etc.) as soon as HB1151 is passed.

Audio recording of WA HB1151 hearing (01/30/03)
- summary of contents of this hearing:
at 1hr 12mins; "danger (from salmonella, from green iguanas,
etc.) is SEVERE and PRESENT in all cases"
at 1hr 02mins; "90% of reptiles carry salmonella; 93,000 cases
caused by reptiles in the U.S."
at 1hr 00mins 45 secs; "(the bill) includes those animals
(i.e. green iguanas, boas over 8ft, etc.) deemed most dangerous
according to curators and experts from AZA".
n.b. API states that AZA unconditionally supports WA HB1151,
even though some of their breeding programmes rely on private/
non-exempted USDA operations for facility space/breeding stock.
AZA have thus far refused to respond to queries regarding this,
which is also contrary to their statement last year not to be
against private ownership.

original bill text:

revised/current bill text:


Please do NOT trust the legislators in WA (who are unfamiliar
with exotics) to kindly exempt those species in which you have a
personal interest; already, there have been back-words on
many "promises" for exemptions, plus the addition of the "catch
all" phrase to allow ANY other species to be added at will.

Please also support the fight against this bill if you do not
live in WA. If this passes in WA, it will be introduced
in *all* other states where legislation is less tight.
... In the last few days, an almost identical bill has been
introduced in OR (HB3065) as an declared "EMERGENCY" which
includes the larger boas, but not green iguanas (*yet*...).

Please also note that the AR group pushing this bill in WA, PAWS,
is requesting that all their supporters blindly write in to the
committee to state that "HB 1151 is a well-written, common sense
bill that protects public health and safety" REGARDLESS that of
the ignorance of their members as to the actual issues involved.
i.e. a straight forward request to BAN, dogmatically, without
asking people to use their brains, consult the WA State
Department of Health, etc., in order to find out that the real
scale of these "problems", which is very slight indeed...

(For reference, this is PAWS list of "incidents" over the last
8 years in WA which they are using to suggest that the dangers
are extreme enough to warrant an outright ban...
What "emergency", huh? Most of the eight "incidents" aren't even
attacks, or else list species not even covered by the latest
version of HB1151.
IMO, on balance it is probably safe to say that animals who have
nearer-to 24*7 care & attention from a familiar owner present
*less* risk than from staff at AZA zoos who only see the animals
in their care for a few minutes each day and have much less
"hands on" interaction.
(e.g. yet *another* tiger attack on AZA staff (at Sacramento Zoo)
within the last week).


PLEASE take action (letter, attendance, etc.) for the benefit of
owners and animals, alike; both now, and in the future.
We need to stop the rot BEFORE it becomes a case of "And then
they came for me...".

Previous sample letters to the Washington Senate Health and Long
Term Care committee:;;;;;;

- (partial!) list of issues against original HB1151.

or a simplified format, such as the following adapted from the

Honorable Senators.

Thank you for your leadership in Olympia.

I am a Washington State resident (or am not a WA state resident)
and I am urging you to please OPPOSE HB 1151. This bill is NOT a
Public Safety Issue, it's a Animal Rights Issue.
It unfairly & incorrectly assumes that all private ownership of
"controversial" pets is a Public Safety Issue, but exempts the
very facilities which have been the source of the majority of
the incidents that made this issue a problem. Continued
education is the key, NOT more restrictions on law-abiding
citizens who share their lives with a "controversial" pet.

Thank you/Yours faithfully/...


Many thanks for any mutual assistance possible in fighting
against such bills based on the hyping-up of public intolerance,
fear and misunderstanding.

With best wishes for all your ongoing work & responsible

David Witts.
( )

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