New State Laws Interfere with Animal Welfare Ballot Initiatives and Local Regulation

HunterRepublican Vice Presidential nominee, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, aggressively supported the extreme bill passed by the state legislature that effectively banned all wildlife ballot initiatives. Click here for the full story.

But Alaska was not alone in passing a law this year to protect hunting, fishing and development and traditional husbandry practices from regulation by local governments or through ballot initiatives.

In Oklahoma the legislature passed SJR 38 which will place before the voters the proposition that "[a]ll citizens of this state shall have a right to hunt, fish, trap, and harvest game and fish, subject only to reasonable regulation as prescribed by the Legislature and the Wildlife Conservation Commission…. Traditional methods, practices and procedures shall be allowed for taking game and fish that are not identified as threatened by law or by the Commission. Hunting, fishing, and trapping shall be the preferred means of managing game and fish that are not identified as threatened by law or by the Commission." 

In other words, if this proposition passes in Oklahoma, citizens and animal welfare organizations will not be able to regulate or limit the hunting, fishing, or trapping of wildlife through ballot initiatives.

California AB 815 also prohibits any local ordinance or ballot initiative pertaining to hunting and fishing. Under this new law only state agencies can regulate hunting and fishing. Trapping can, however, still be regulated by local governments.

Arizona bill, S.B. 1373 which passed this year, makes clear husbandry practices related to egg laying hens "is not subject to further regulation by a county, city, town or other political subdivision of this state". Only the state Department of Agriculture may regulate the treatment of these animals.  

California AB 2427 prohibits any city or county from prohibiting any person or organization from operating a business that is licensed or certified by the state. Specifically, no county or municipality can prohibit or regulate particular procedures of veterinarians, or other authorized healing arts practitioners that are within the "professionally recognized scope" of the practice.    

These types of bills are often incomprehensible and their applicability to animal welfare may not be obvious. If you become aware of a bill like this or believe a bill may limit animal welfare efforts through local regulation or ballot initiatives, contact Animal Law Coalition.