The first major deadling of the 2021 Oregon Legislature is this Friday (March 19). Bills need to be scheduled by Friday for a "work session" or they die (with a few rare exceptions). Now is a good time to take action on several bills:
House Bill 3365 would end the cruel and unnecessary testing of cosmetics on animals in Oregon. It needs to be scheduled by Friday for a work session. Please see if your state representative is on the House Business and Labor Committee and, if so, ask your Representative to support the bill. Go here to see who is on the committee. Go here to see who your state representative is if you don't know (type in your address where indicated). You can point out that the cosmetics industry itself is neutral on the bill, and four other states (Virginia, Nevada, California, and Illinois) have already adopted similar laws. The bill also has specific exemptions to continue to allow animal testing conducted for legitimate medical purposes and to fulfill legal safety requirements, and it's modeled on a federal proposal that was negotiated with the cosmetics industry. Be sure to note you are a "constituent" (meaning you live in the representative's district) and give at least your city (address is better).
Senate Bill 583 would put a moratorium on new factory dairies (2,500 cows or more). It also needs to be scheduled by Friday for a work session. The bill is in the Senate Committee on Energy and Environment, which is chaired by Senator Lee Beyer from the Springfield area. Regardless of where you live, please urge Senator Beyer to schedule the bill for a work session. Among the points you can make are that these "mega dairies" pollute the air, drain and pollute our water resources, and subject dairy cows to extreme confinement (no pasture) and excessive production demands. If you are a constituent of Senator Beyer (meaning you live in his district), be sure to note that. Go here to see who your state senator is if you don't know.
House Bill 2843 and House Bill 2844 would better protect beavers from being hunted and trapped for their fur and because some people consider them a nuisance. House Bill 2843 would ban hunting and trapping of beavers on federal public lands. It also needs to be scheduled by Friday for a work session. Representative Brad Witt has the power to do that. Please encourage him to do it. House Bill 2844 would take beavers off the list of "predatory" animals, which would allow regulation of hunting and trapping of beavers on private land (presently they can be killed any time, any way, and in any number). Representative Witt has scheduled this bill for a hearing at 3:15 p.m. Thursday, March 18. You can comment for the hearing record until 3:15 Friday. Go here to do that. As general points, you can note that beaver dams are good for watersheds, that beavers shouldn't be killed just for fur, and that they should be managed in non-lethal ways if possible to prevent any excessive impacts on private property.
We also like House Bill 2676, which would ban the sale of new fur products in Oregon, and House Bill 3008, which would ban traveling animal acts. Representative Witt also has the power to schedule these bills for a work session and should be encouraged to do so.
You should also free free to contact your state representative and state senator on any of these issues. To see who they are, go here and enter your address.
For a list including these and other bills we are tracking, the current status of those bills and our position on the bills, click 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.
So far we are tracking almost 80 proposals with a potential to impact animal welfare. We have weighed in already on a bill to ban coyote-killing contests (yes), find funding for wildlife road crossings (yes), extend a fund to promote wildlife management for all Oregonians (yes), make it easier to license a dog (yes), put business interests ahead of other interests in agency rulemakings (no), take steps to prevent zoonotic diseases (yes), and change responsibility for taking care of animals in a natural disaster (important to think about).
You should feel free to contact your state legislators at any time about any of these bills. Click here to find out who your state legislators are if you don't already know (click the "Senate" tab to see who your state senator is and the "House" tab to see who your state representative is; the "Congress" tab is for federal law, not the legislature discussed here).
Another great way to help us advocate for animals is to attend your legislators' open houses and ask about animal welfare issues. Even asking simply, "what is happening on animal welfare issues?" helps to make animal welfare more important to policy makers. You can also ask about specific issues, too, of course. To find out about their open houses, sign up for their email newsletters. To do that, go to the same link that tells you who your legislators are (here), type in your address including the city, click on the tabs for House and Senate, and click on the link in each tab to the legislator's web page (second link). That page will have a box in the upper right to sign up for their email updates.
Please also feel free to contact us with any questions or comments.
Thank you for helping us advocate for animals!