The Oregon Legislature starts its 35-day "short session" February 1. Originally intended for emergency housekeeping measures, the short sessions (held in even-numbered years) often see controversial policy proposals. A number of animal-related bills are in the works, including these:
House Bill (HB) 4080 would authorize rural areas to form "predator damage control districts" to raise money for killing wildlife - including bears, gray wolves, red foxes, gray foxes, coyotes, cougars, bobcats, beavers, fishers, martens, minks, muskrats, otters, raccoons, rabbits, rodents and birds - deemed a theat to private property. In practice, the money would go to "Wildlife Services," a program in the U.S. Department of Agriculture with a reputation for cruel and unnecessary killing, including indiscriminate killing of coyotes. We succeeded in killing a similar bill last year but have our hands full again this year.
HB 4130 would allocate at least $5 million to building structures to help wildlife cross highways safely, reducing vehicle collisions and making it easier for wildlife to migrate throughout its habitat. We have been in a work group helping to shape this legislation and strongly support it. Thank you to Representative Ken Helm of Beaverton for being the driving force behind this measure.
SB 1504 would prohibit gambling on greyhound races. We support this bill because the gambling enables the racing, which leads to mistreatment of the dogs during their racing lives and abandonment of the dogs after that. Greyhound racing does not currently occur in Oregon, but gambling occurs here on greyhound races elsewhere. Thank you to outgoing Senate President Peter Courtney for making this bill part of his legacy.
For a complete list of the bills we are tracking, our positions, and our reasons for them, go here. To see the full text of a bill, along with its history, scheduled events and other information, click on the bill number in our list. You should feel free to contact your state legislators at any time about any of these bills. Click here to find out who your legislators are if you don't already know (you have one senator and one representative). Click the link to their websites for contact information. We will also let you know of strategic times to comment on the pending legislation we consider most important.
Thank you for your interest in animal welfare!