Writing Letters Regarding Legislation
By Vanessa N Weber (firstname.lastname@example.org)
As of this writing there have been over 80 bills put forward Nationally in 2009, supporting the Animal Rights agenda. Almost every state has now been targeted by these extremists. Writing and e-mailing letters in opposition to these unreasonable pieces of legislation is one of the best ways of tackling this problem. Calling is the least effective response. If you can team up with others and physically go to your capitol to address lawmakers in person, this is the most preferable action. Cultivating relationships with your local representatives is key. Keeping a list of your legislators on or next to your computer at the ready, is a really good idea.
Most bills are introduced in January, but some have continued to emerge over the summer, as they have gone through committees and been accepted in various forms through the House or Senate. Fall is a good time to get to know your legislators personally and to let them know where you stand on various issues.
There are more and more bills coming out on a regular basis and if you can get in the habit of dropping a line in the mail to your representatives, so much the better. Below is a list of points that you can copy and use to stream line this process.
It is highly recommended that you identify the bills affecting your state and take action now. A good resource for information on current legislation is http://capwiz.com/naiatrust/issues/, or you can do a search on ‘legislation’ and the name of the state. After finding the official state website, then do a search on ‘pets,’ ‘animals,’ or ‘dogs’ for a list of relevant legislation and its status as it moves through the system. Currently the CKCSC is trying to design other ways of accessing this information, but currently these are the best ways to find out what is going on.
The bills in question are as extreme as limiting breeders to 3 puppies a year, and as crazy as defining a ‘puppy mill’ as having more than 40 intact dogs. These bills have not accounted for living conditions, space, food, personnel, veterinary care, or any other levels of care these dogs might have. What if the mother dog decides to have 6 puppies instead of 3, does that count? What if all the dogs live in your house, are well fed, get proper exercise, attention, grooming and veterinary care? One recent bill forgot to include a ‘dwelling’ as an appropriate ‘enclosure’, so don’t assume that a piece of drafted legislation is likely to make any sense!
Many bills sound like a good thing, such as ‘Puppy Lemon Law’ and ‘tethering bills’. Just because the bill sounds like a good thing, doesn’t mean it is. These bills can have serious unforeseen consequences. Lemon laws are unreasonable to breeders who are already testing parents, and conducting conditional sales. Tethering bills are harmful to people who are already properly protecting their pets – like tying them outside while they garden.
Each bill requires some research on just what it is truly trying to do – and whether it is truly helping animals or taking away the rights of responsible breeders and owners. The Animal Rights movement is trying to incrementally take away all of our rights and all of our pets, while claiming it is trying to help animals. We believe in helping animals without going to such drastic measures.
The most important and useful thing that you can do is write letters of opposition to these bills. To do so, you need to know what the bills say, what the opposition is to them, and who to write. If you are not sure, you can download the bills from your state’s website, read them, and then ask questions about them. In addition to http://capwiz.com/naiatrust/issues/, you can get critical opinions from breed related e-mail lists, the AKC website, www.akc.org, where you can also search for ‘legislation’ and sign up for legislative alerts. The AKC also has a list of organizations by state that have banded together to fight this in case they can use your assistance.
Finally you can join specific breed e-mail lists. If you are not sure which Cavalier or other breed websites to join, go to www.yahoogroups.com, and search for Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, or other breed related websites. Join more than one list if possible, or ask your breeder which ones are best.
At the very least, you should review each bill closely and write to your state and local legislators as follows:
- Identify yourself (ideally) as a constituent.
- State your affiliations and qualifications to speak on the issue up front (I own pets/breed/show etc).
- Reference the bill (by number or title), up front.
- Always be compassionate discussing animal issues, the other side (AR) accuses us of being the opposite.
- Be courteous. Use a civil tone.
- Be brief. Keep it to one or two pages at most.
- If opposing, explain why the bill is
- Has unintended consequences
- Will be costly
- Offer alternatives
- Make sure you talk about how the bill will impact you and the people you know.
- Tell stories to illustrate your point.
- Talk about how the bill will impact your district first, then the state.
Finally, keep that this list of pointers and your legislators handy and don’t forget to check on new legislation at regular intervals. The flood isn’t stopping anytime soon.
Feel free to contact Vanessa if you have questions at Cavlegiscom@hotmail.com.