elections are now behind us. They did not go well for animal welfare advocates.
On the state level, candidates whose campaign promises included bringing back
and possibly expanding the WI wolf hunt, won. On the federal level, candidates
-- including the one for the top position -- who appear to favor big business
over any humane or environmental concern, won.
money and special interests won.
in 2016, our state legislature passed much-needed laws that included pets in
restraining orders to keep them from suffering at the hands of domestic abusers
and made it legal to remove at- risk pets from hot cars, they also ignored
efforts to regulate the ownership of "exotic" animals and prohibit
hunting and tracking in state parks.
fact, they actively supported the hunting special interests (such as NRA,
Safari Club, WI Bear Hunters Association, and others) by making it legal to use
bright lights to "shine" wild animals at night, eliminating the B
license requirement for training hound dogs on bears or baiting bears, and
changing the hunting season for wolves (should they be delisted as endangered
again) so that there will be more opportunity for hunting wolves with hounds.
On top of that, they passed AB 433/SB 338, Hunting & First Amendment
Rights, which is essentially an "ag gag" - type law protecting
So. Removing the
licensing requirement for training on bears and the long baiting season has
resulted in a larger number of hounds being trained, which in turn appears to
have resulted in a record number of hounds being killed by wolves during bear
training in 2016. Proponents of wolf hounding are using the higher number of
hounds killed to justify actively pursuing the delisting of wolves from the
protection of the Endangered Species Act on a federal level. In preparation for
that, the hunting season has been adjusted so that there will be less
opportunity for the wolf quotas to be met before hounding season starts (as has
happened in the past). AND AB 433/SB 338 will ensure that "wolf
watchers" will be arrested if they observe too "aggressively" or
photograph possible abuses.
please, that studies show the vast majority of Wisconsin citizens to be opposed
to the wolf hunt to begin with, and even many main-stream hunters oppose wolf-
just one of the many challenges facing us for 2017. Going in to the elections,
our hopes were high that the upcoming legislative session beginning in January
would also see a renewed effort to regulate the ownership of "lions and
tigers and bears", as well as the continuation of our unfinished war
against puppy mills. Since Act 90/s.173.41, the WI Dog
Seller Program went into effect in June 2011, many Wisconsin breeders and
sellers have been regulated and have either given up the business OR have come
into compliance under ACT 90. However, Wisconsin pet stores still import
puppies from "commercial breeders" in other states. One of our dreams
is a state-wide requirement for pet stores to feature only pets from legitimate
rescues instead of selling commercially- bred animals. Another -- to have the
same standards of care required for hunting and pet dogs that are mandated for
commercial breeders in Wisconsin.
Post election, some of
our supporters have asked us, given the make-up of our state legislature and
their past voting records, is it even worth continuing the fight?
answer to that is simple: if we don't, who will??? If we don't, animals will
lose. People who enjoy a quiet walk in the woods will lose. Humanity -- the
quality of being kind to other people or to animals -- will lose.
politicians hope that we will quietly fade away. Guess what? We will not