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VA – WILDLIFE – “No Kill” Bill Returns to Reignite Animal Wars

Another attempt to impose the “no-kill” philosophy on Virginia’s animal shelters is pending in the Virginia Senate, sponsored by a rural Republican who is the great champion of that (so-far) failed cause. After a long subcommittee hearing Thursday, his bill was put back in the shelter pen to await its fate for another week. If you think gun control is the most contentious issue facing legislators year in and year out, sit in sometime on a meeting of any subcommittee dealing with animal bills. Read the emails generated by the passionate advocates, which can be among the nastiest in inboxes. Legislators dread these issues. For five years I was in the middle of the Animal Wars as the lobbyist for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Its world headquarters is in Norfolk and as part of that it runs a regional animal care operation that includes a private shelter with a wide-open admission policy. That means PETA’s licensed shelter has a high euthanasia rate, making it a national and even international hate target for the no-kill movement. State Sen. Bill Stanley, R-Franklin County, had a bill to basically prohibit euthanasia at private shelters in 2015, which got me hired by PETA. It took five years to work that through, ending with a new state regulation put in place last year requiring private shelters to have adoption as their purpose, and to take various steps toward that goal, but with no prohibition or numerical limitations on euthanasia. Having failed in their goal to prohibit the practice or impose a quota that could be slowly reduced toward prohibition, Stanley and the no-kill advocates are back with Senate Bill 304. If a shelter puts down more than half the animals it takes in its care, his bill will take away its ability to obtain the fatal drugs used by its technicians. A veterinarian would have to do any future euthanasia procedures, a major impediment.  [full article]

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