From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November/December 2007:
WASHINGTON D.C.–HR 767, a bill that if passed would allow the National Wildlife Refuge system to authorize hunters to shoot feral cats, unanimously cleared the U.S. House of Representatives on an October 23, 2007 voice vote, and entered the Senate without organized opposition.
Then, after page one exposure in the October 2007 edition of ANIMAL PEOPLE, HR 767 ran into Lee “The LocoMotive” Zucker, owner of The LocoMotive vegetarian restaurant in Eugene, Oregon. Zucker called many of the national animal advocacy groups and regional humane societies whose first word was that HR 767 could not be stopped.
Assigned to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works on November 8, HR 767 had not emerged a week after Thanksgiving. Alley Cat Allies president Becky Robinson was guardedly optimistic that it would not be acted upon before the end of the first session of the 110th Congress.
“My D.C. folks tell me its being held in the Senate committee, not to be brought forward,” American Humane president Marie Wheatley told ANIMAL PEOPLE.
Friends of Animals on November 13 issued the first nationally distributed electronic activist alert about HR 767, and began calling Senators. “We’ve got a chance to stop this bill,” decided FoA president Priscilla Feral. “Let’s do it.”
Titled the Refuge Ecology Protection, Assistance, and Immediate Response Act, or REPAIR Act, HR 767 was introduced by Representative Ron Kind, of LaCrosse, Wisconsin-where birder Mark Smith in 2005 organized a campaign to seek state legislation to allow hunters to shoot feral cats. Passed by the Wisconsin Conservation Congress, the proposal died due to the threat of a gubernatorial veto.
HR 767, potentially doing the same thing at the national level, was pushed by the American Bird Conservancy, an organization built on opposition to neuter/return feral cat control.
HR 767 “sneaked under the radar because they did not use any of our usual search words, like feral or even animal,” said Wheatley. Instead, HR 767 mentions “harmful nonnative species” and “invasive species.” A cursory look at HR 767 suggested to most readers that it was a routine reauthorization of ongoing refuge conservation
The devil was in the details–and may still be, as even if the Senate does not act on HR 767, a similar measure could be slipped through as a rider on any Interior Department appropriation bill, the avenue that former Senator Conrad Burns of Montana used in 2004 to undo key provisions of the 1971 federal law that protected wild horses from sale to slaughter.
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