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For Immediate Release: 08/16/05

Animal Advocates Commend Governor Blagojevich’s Veto of Bill that Would Expand Use of Cruel Snares in Illinois

Springfield, IL — Animal welfare organizations, activated by more than 600,000 Illinois constituents, lobbied Governor Rod R. Blagojevich to veto House Bill 1486. Sponsored by the fur-industry lobby organization “Fur Takers of America,” HB 1486 would have allowed trappers to use wire neck snares to trap and strangle several species of fur-bearing animals. Citing humane concerns, Governor Blagojevich vetoed the bill.

Stating that snares “cruelly kill animals,” Governor Blagojevich also said that he refused “to support this particularly gruesome hunting method that’s been banned in Illinois for over fifty years.”

A coalition of animal welfare organizations, including the Animal Protection Institute (API), the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), and Illinois Humane, congratulated the Governor for vetoing the bill.

“We commend Governor Rod Blagojevich for saying ‘No’ to the fur industry’s attempts to further legalize a device that is known to cause immense pain and suffering to animals,” said Camilla Fox, Director of Wildlife Programs for the Animal Protection Institute. “With this action, the Governor has made a clear statement that snares have no place in a humane and civilized world.”

“Illinois Humane commends the Governor for making the only reasonable choice, and that is ensuring that public safety trumps a narrow interest that seeks to bring back an inhumane practice banned from this state years ago,” said Jane McBride, President of Illinois Humane. “It is good common sense to oppose the placement of these indiscriminate, inhumane devices out on the land in this state.”

Snares are generally made of a light wire cable looped through a locking device, and are designed to tighten around the neck or other body part as an animal struggles. The more the animal struggles, the tighter the noose becomes. While small victims may become unconscious in five to ten minutes, larger animals may suffer for hours or days.

Snares are notoriously indiscriminate and frequently capture non-target animals, including threatened and endangered species as well as domestic dogs and cats. Records obtained from state and federal wildlife agencies by API show that bald eagles, lynx, wolves, and other species listed under the Endangered Species Act have been injured and killed in snares.

“Governor Blagojevich’s bold and compassionate action will protect our pets from becoming entangled and killed in these barbaric devices,” said Ledy VanKavage, Senior Director of Legislation for the ASPCA.

“By vetoing this bill, Governor Blagojevich has preserved five decades of humane wildlife law in Illinois and has chosen a public policy based on animal welfare rather than the commercial and recreational killing of animals for their fur pelts,” said Michael Markarian, Executive Vice President of The Humane Society of the United States.

About Illinois Humane
Illinois Humane is an Illinois not-for-profit based in Springfield, IL, focusing upon companion animal cruelty and neglect investigations, spay/neuter initiatives and assistance, and animal welfare community outreach, education and public advocacy. Illinois Humane seeks to raise standards of respect and care for all animals. For more information, visit www.illinoishumane.org.

About API
The Animal Protection Institute is a national non-profit animal advocacy organization with 80,000 members and supporters, working to end animal cruelty and exploitation through legislation, litigation, and public education. API also operates a 186-acre primate sanctuary near San Antonio, Texas that is home to more than 400 rescued and retired snow monkeys, baboons, and vervets. For more information about API, API’s Primate Sanctuary, and the organization’s mission, campaigns, and activities, please visit www.api4animals.org and www.BanCruelTraps.com.

About the ASPCA
Founded in 1866, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animal (ASPCA) was the first humane organization established in the Western Hemisphere and today has 1 million supporters. The ASPCA’s mission is to provide an effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. The ASPCA® provides national leadership in humane education, government affairs and public policy, shelter support, and animal poison control. The NYC headquarters houses a full-service animal hospital, animal behavior center, and adoption facility. The Humane Law Enforcement department enforces New York’s animal cruelty laws and is featured on the reality television series Animal Precinct on Animal Planet. Visit www.aspca.org for more information.

About HSUS
The Humane Society of the United States is the nation’s largest animal protection organization representing more than 9 million members and constituents. The non-profit organization is a mainstream voice for animals, with active programs in companion animals and equine protection, disaster preparedness and response, wildlife and habitat protection, animals in research, and farm animal welfare. The HSUS protects all animals through education, investigation, litigation, legislation, advocacy, and fieldwork. The group is based in Washington and has numerous field representatives across the country. On the web at www.hsus.org.

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Contacts:
Ledy VanKavage, ASPCA, 917-621-7152 (cell)
Camilla Fox, API, 916-524-5291 (cell)
Jane McBride, Illinois Humane, (217) 652-2731
Michael Markarian, HSUS, 301-721-6426

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