I guess our local animal rights boys on this board will be happy to hear this news..
Locke vetoes rollback of animal trapping ban
By PAUL QUEARY
The Associated Press
May 20, 2003
OLYMPIA (AP) -- A drastic rollback of Washington state's voter-approved ban on most animal trapping was vetoed Tuesday by Gov. Gary Locke, who said opponents of the prohibition went too far in overturning the voters' wishes.
Locke said he could have supported an alternative proposal -- which died in the House -- to address increased complaints since the initiative's 2000 passage of animals killing livestock, chewing up young trees, tearing up lawns, gnawing holes in dikes and feasting on juvenile salmon at hatcheries.
"If there's a way that we can cure it without repealing it, then that's a preferred course," Locke said.
The bill, Senate Bill 5179, would have allowed the use of body-gripping taps to address animal problems, for scientific research and for population control. The fur of animals trapped for those reasons could be sold.
That would have been a virtual repeal of Initiative 713, which banned the use of such traps to capture any mammal for recreation or commerce in fur. The initiative's backers argued the traps were cruel and inhumane. Nearly 55 percent of voters agreed, passing the initiative in November 2000.
"What this boils down to is the will of the voters and their desire for the humane treatment of wild animals in this state," said Lisa Wathne, regional director for the Humane Society of the United States, the biggest backer of the initiative.
Opponents of the initiative said the alternative that Locke touted wouldn't have gone far enough to repair the initiative's damage.
"It was more of the same," said Ed Owens, the initiative's prime opponent and a lobbyist for trapping, hunting and fishing interests. Owens dismisses the initiative as wildlife management by politics instead of science.
The failed alternative would have exempted moles, gophers and mountain beaver -- three of the most destructive species -- from the trapping ban. That plan would also have allowed special trapping permits for parks, airports and other public lands, as well as for livestock owners trying to protect vulnerable animals during the calving and lambing seasons.
But it would have retained the ban on the sale of trapped fur.
The sale of fur is a key question, because allowing trappers to sell the pelts lowers landowners' costs for getting rid of the animals and generally increases the incentive to trap.
Overriding Locke's veto would take a two-thirds vote in both the House and Senate. The Republican-controlled Senate passed it 35-13, more than a two-thirds margin, but the House vote was a narrower 52-46.