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PostPosted: 10 Apr 2007, 10:08 
A bill has been introduced to ban the steel live restraint nation wide. Please help me in contacting these representatives sponsoring this bill. I have listed the bill below, and my letter to my senator. Feel free to use the facts or use my state as an example.
Nita Lowey, U.S. Representative
State: New York, District 18
Party: Democrat
Birthday: Jul 5, 1937 / 69 years old
Religion: Jewish

To contact Nita Lowey, visit her official website, or phone her office at (202) 225-6506.

Rep. Gary Ackerman [D-NY]
Rep. Shelley Berkley [D-NV]
Rep. Joseph Crowley [D-NY]
Rep. Peter DeFazio [D-OR]
Rep. Barney Frank [D-MA]
Rep. Raul Grijalva [D-AZ]
Rep. Michael McNulty [D-NY]
Rep. George Miller [D-CA]
Rep. Christopher Shays [R-CT]

Last Action: Mar 26, 2007: Referred to House Judiciary

H.R. 1691: To end the use of conventional steel-jawed leghold traps on animals in the United States
HR 1691 IH


110th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 1691
To end the use of conventional steel-jawed leghold traps on animals in the United States.


IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES


March 26, 2007

Mrs. LOWEY (for herself, Mr. SHAYS, Mr. CROWLEY, Mr. DEFAZIO, Mr. GRIJALVA, Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts, Ms. BERKLEY, and Mr. MCNULTY) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce, and in addition to the Committees on Ways and Means, Foreign Affairs, and Judiciary, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


A BILL
To end the use of conventional steel-jawed leghold traps on animals in the United States.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the `Inhumane Trapping Prevention Act'.


SEC. 2. DECLARATION OF POLICY.

It is the policy of the United States to end the needless maiming and suffering inflicted upon animals through the use of conventional steel-jawed leghold traps by prohibiting the import or export of, and the shipment in interstate commerce of, such traps and of articles of fur from animals that were trapped in such traps.


SEC. 3. PROHIBITED ACTS AND PENALTIES.

(a) Prohibited Acts- It shall be unlawful for any person--

(1) to import, export, or transport in interstate commerce an article of fur, if any part or portion of such article is derived from an animal that was trapped in a conventional steel-jawed leghold trap;

(2) to import, export, deliver, carry, or transport by any means whatever, in interstate commerce, any conventional steel-jawed leghold trap;

(3) to sell, receive, acquire, or purchase any conventional steel-jawed leghold trap that was delivered, carried, or transported in violation of paragraph (2); or

(4) to violate any rule made by the Secretary under this Act.

(b) Penalties- Whoever knowingly violates subsection (a) shall, in addition to any other penalty that may be imposed--

(1) for the first such violation, be imprisoned for not more than 5 days or fined under title 18, United States Code, or both; and

(2) for each subsequent violation, be imprisoned for not more than two years or fined under title 18, United States Code, or both.


SEC. 4. REWARDS.

(a) General Rule- The Secretary shall pay, to any person who furnishes information which leads to a conviction of a violation of any provision of this Act or any rule made under this Act, an amount equal to one-half of the fine paid pursuant to the conviction.

(b) Exception- Any officer or employee of the United States or of any State or local government who furnishes information or renders service in the performance of his or her official duties is not eligible for payment under this section.


SEC. 5. ENFORCEMENT.

(a) In General- Except with respect to violations of this Act to which subsection (b) applies, this Act and any rules made under this Act shall be enforced by the Secretary, who may utilize by agreement, with or without reimbursement, the personnel, services, and facilities of any other Federal agency or any State agency for purposes of enforcing this Act and such rules.

(b) Import and Export Violations-

(1) IMPORT VIOLATIONS- The importation of articles in violation of section 3(a) shall be treated as a violation of the customs laws of the United States, and those provisions of law relating to violations of the customs laws of the United States shall apply thereto.

(2) EXPORT VIOLATIONS- The authorities under the Export Administration Act of 1979 (50 U.S.C. App. 2401 et seq.) (as continued in effect under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act), including penalties, shall be used to enforce the provisions of this Act relating to the export of articles in violation of section 3(a).

(c) Enforcement Authorities- Any person having authority to enforce this Act (except with respect to violations to which subsection (b) applies), may, in exercising such authority--

(1) detain for inspection, search, and seize any package, crate, or other container, including its contents, and all accompanying documents, if such individual has reasonable cause to suspect that in such package, crate, or other container are articles with respect to which a violation of this Act (except with respect to a violation to which subsection (b) applies) has occurred, is occurring, or is about to occur;

(2) make arrests without a warrant for any violation of this Act (except with respect to a violation to which subsection (b) applies) committed in his or her presence or view, or if the individual has probable cause to believe that the person to be arrested has committed or is committing such a violation; and

(3) execute and serve any arrest warrant, search warrant, or other warrant or criminal process issued by any judge or magistrate of any court of competent jurisdiction for enforcement of this Act (except with respect to violations to which subsection (b) applies).

(d) Forfeiture-

(1) GENERAL RULE- Except with respect to exports to which the provisions of the Export Administration Act of 1979 (50 U.S.C. App. 2401 et seq.) (as continued in effect under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act) apply, and imports to which the customs laws of the United States apply, pursuant to subsection (b), any article of fur or conventional steel-jawed leghold trap taken, possessed, sold, purchased, offered for sale or purchase, imported, exported, transported, delivered, received, carried, or shipped in violation of this Act or any rule made under this Act, shall be subject to forfeiture to the United States. Those provisions of law relating to--

(A) the seizure, summary and judicial forfeiture, and condemnation of property for violations of the customs laws of the United States,

(B) the disposition of such property or the proceeds from the sale thereof,

(C) the remission or mitigation of such forfeitures, and

(D) the compromise of claims,

shall apply to seizures and forfeitures incurred, or alleged to have been incurred, under the provisions of this subsection, insofar as applicable and not inconsistent with this Act.

(2) ENFORCEMENT- Such duties as are imposed upon the customs officer or any other person with respect to the seizure and forfeiture of property under the customs laws of the United States may be performed with respect to seizures and forfeitures of property under this subsection by the Secretary or such officers and employees as may be authorized or designated for that purpose by the Secretary, or, upon the request of the Secretary, by any other agency that has authority to manage and dispose of seized property.

(e) Injunctions- The Attorney General of the United States may seek to enjoin any person who is alleged to be in violation of this Act or any rule made under this Act.

(f) Cooperation- The Secretary of Commerce, the Secretary of the Treasury, and the head of any other department or agency with enforcement responsibilities under this Act shall cooperate with the Secretary in ensuring that this Act, and rules made under this Act, are enforced in the most effective and efficient manner.


SEC. 6. DEFINITIONS.

In this Act:

(1) The term `article of fur' means--

(A) any furskin (as such term is used under Note 1 of chapter 43 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States), including any raw furskin classified under heading 4301 of such Schedule; or

(B) any article, however produced, that consists in whole or part of any such furskin.

(2) The term `conventional steel-jawed leghold trap' means any spring-powered pan or sear-activated device with two opposing steel jaws, whether the jaws are smooth, toothed, padded, or offset, which is designed to capture an animal by snapping closed upon the animal's limb or part thereof.

(3) The term `customs laws of the United States' means any other law or regulation enforced or administered by the United States Customs Service.

(4) The term `import' means to land on, bring into, or introduce into, any place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, whether or not such landing, bringing, or introduction constitutes an entry into the customs territory of the United States.

(5) The term `interstate commerce' has the meaning given such term in section 10 of title 18, United States Code.

(6) The term `Secretary' means the Secretary of the Interior.


SEC. 7. RULEMAKING.

The Secretary may make rules to carry out this Act.


SEC. 8. EFFECTIVE DATE.

This Act shall take effect one year after the date of its enactment.

This bill is in the first stage of the legislative process where the bill is considered in committee and may undergo significant changes in markup sessions. The bill has been referred to the following committees:

House Energy and Commerce
House Ways and Means
House Foreign Affairs
House Judiciary


------------------------

Dear Mr. Frank,

This letter is with regards to your co-sponsorship of HR1691. The only explanation that I can give myself as to why you would sponsor such an incorrect and damaging piece of legislation is that you're misinformed. So please allow me a moment to give you some insight on how you may be making the biggest mistake of your career.

HR 1691 will end the use of conventional steel-jawed leghold traps on animal sin the United States. Just in that sentence alone, there are errors. The conventional steel-jawed leghold does not grip the leg at all. These traps were designed to grip the ankle and foot of animals, but are erroneously termed leghold from a myriad of cartoons and cinematic embellishments. Also, the traps of today are not the steel jawed toothed monstrousities of yesteryear. These traps have broad faces to reduce trauma to the leg, some even have rubber cushioned jaws, shock springs to prevent pulled muscles, swivels to prevent twisting. They are more humane than the handcuffs and zipties that police use every day.

I would like to send you a copy of the 'Best Management Practices'. These studies were done by independant research companies on the effectiveness and use of the 'conventional', as you like to put it, steel live restraint. These Best Management Practices (Or BMP's as we'll refer to them for the remainder of this letter) showed in detail through veterinarian performed necropsies the true amount of damage that these traps caused, showing that they (properly set up and maintained) are infact THE most humane method of animal capture currently on the market, moreso than the 'conventional' Cage trap, which results in broken teeth, skinned faces, broken claws, bleeding paws.

I would love to send you a copy if you would be so kind as to provide the mailing address for your office.

One of the most common misconceptions of the steel live restraint (and that's what it does, it restrains) is that the animal will chew its leg off to get out of the trap. This is not true. The only animal in North America that has knowingly chewed its own leg off is.... This might surprise you.... A human (Aron Ralston). The idea that animals chew their legs off came partially due to trapping in this country over 100 years ago. Back then, there really was only one size of trap. This trap was much too big for raccoons because it was designed to be used for Beaver. Because of it's toothed design, it closed farther on the leg than most other traps do and restricted blood flow. Today's traps have modifications to prevent this from happening to ensure a healthy leg when they return 8-12 hours later to check their traps. The raccoon would bite at the trap on its foot, and not realizing it, but also be able to get his snout in under the jaws due to the large size and bite at his own foot. They did not realize what they were doing, nor did they feel it. However, very rarely did these animals escape the trap as the joint and the gripped part of the ankle was still in the trap and they could be dispatched.

Today's restraints are designed with broad faces, double jaws, and soft catch rubber padding to reduce the potential for vascular restriction, reduce the potential for little noses toget in under the jaws , and prevent any sort of lacerations, broken bones, or damaged musculature. That way should you catch a housecat in a coyote trap, you can release the animal unharmed and unscathed, but perhaps a little wiser about approaching good smelling holes in the ground.

Fisheries and Wildlife departments have trained biologists who love wildlife, and want nothing more than to see it flourish for centuries to come. They have deemed that this method of animal capture and control is an incredibly effective and efficient tool to maintain populations. In fact, the foothold trap has been used in more than 30 states for the capture and relocation of wild animal, and in more than 10 states for the capture and relocation of ENDANGERED SPECIES. The reason this method was preferred was because of the LACK of harm and damage that comes to the animal in the trap, whereas the extensive damage most sure to come from Cage and Box traps.

I have a video that I would like to send your office if you'd be so kind to give me a mailing address and an aide or yourself to address it to. It's called Destroying the Myth. This video goes into the construction of today's steel live restraint, and shows many animals captured and released, unharmed, along with scientific studies, and references incase you'd like to do your own follow-up.

I'd like to remind you that for every good article you find on the internet, you will find 100 bad. Unfortunately, in an unregulated atmosphere such as the world-wide-web, it's like playing the game Grapevine. I'm sure you played it as a kid. One child would tell another, "My shirt is blue." And by the time that same story got told at the end of 20 children, it was, "Tony has the measels." Well the same can be said for the internet, only it's more volatile. One shred of emotion or misinformation can become an inflagration of mistakes, wrongs, and misconceptions. So I ask you that if you're going to do the research, that you contact MassWildlife for the hard-copy original information.

In conclusion, I'd like to draw your attention to our own state. Mr. Frank, in the 5 year period since 1996-2001, after the ban of the steel live restraint, our beaver population exploded from 24,000 beaver to over 71 THOUSAND BEAVER. Today, it is estimated that the state houses over 100 thousand beaver. The state's carrying capacity is only 27,000 beaver. To maintain a population at current numbers, you have to remove 10-15 percent every year (USFWA). But given the current methods, the take has dropped to 2600 prior to the ban, to less than 250 beaver after the ban.

A recent coyote study was done in our state. It is estimated that there are over 10,000 coyotes in Massachusetts. The state can only support 2000-5000 coyotes in Massachusetts! Do you know how many were trapped last year? 1. Do you know how many were shot? 174. These numbers aren't even a drop in the bucket compared to what we used to harvest prior to the trap ban.

Prior to the trap ban, 1 in 17 raccoons tested positive for rabies. Do you know what the current number is? 1 in TWO. That's 50 percent of raccoons have rabies. Prior to the trap ban in 1996, do you know how many skunks had rabies? 1 in over 20. Now? 1 in 3. That's 33 percent, Mr. Frank.

The fox population has been practically destroyed due to the spread of Mange due to the blooming coyote population. Coyotes survive mange year after year, but foxes can't bounce back.

We are ambassadors to the animal kingdom and it's our job to make sure that they are healthy and happy, and we are guilty of severe dereliction of our duties as being their keepers. We are letting the die, instead of managing their populations to ensure a diverse and healthy gene pool.

And if that doesn't bother you, the number of human deaths in the past 10 years as a result of mosquito borne diseases has increased over 600 percent. People are dying every year, children, the elderly, even healthy young adults in Massachusetts. Where do mosquitos come from? They come from stagnant water. Where does stagnant water come from? It comes from beaver dams.

I hope you'll reconsider your terribly misinformed position on this matter, and pull your sponsorship of this bill. I'll be informing the residents of Massachusetts, particularly in your district, of your decision one way or another, as I have the wonderful ability and opportunity to speak to communities state-wide, and sportsmen's associations state wide on a regular basis. I hope that the news I give them will be positive.

A little food for thought: Of a population, 10% are anti-trapping. 10% are pro-trapping. The other 80% have no pre-disposition one way or the other, and are just looking for the truth to be presented. That's my goal. To talk to that 80 percent. Science is on my side. I hope you are as well.

Sincerely,
Mrs. Elizabeth Stephens
Secretary, Massachusetts Trappers Association, Inc.
4 Wildwood Rd
Millbury MA 01527


Last edited by Lil Bit on 10 Apr 2007, 14:12, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: 10 Apr 2007, 10:11 
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HATCHET MAN
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Great letter Elizabeth. Thanks for the heads-up. Could you post this in the Trap Line Forum as well?

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PostPosted: 10 Apr 2007, 10:26 
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CONGRATS Lil Bit.

Very good letter.

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PostPosted: 10 Apr 2007, 11:13 
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Excellantly crafted letter Lil Bit. I used some of your stats in a letter of my own that I sent to my state's my congressmen.

Thanks for the heads up.


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PostPosted: 10 Apr 2007, 20:13 
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here is a link to it,
http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h110-1691

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so when does trapping start again?


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PostPosted: 24 Apr 2007, 11:58 
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That is a really nice letter. It clearly explains the facts of trapping. I will have to write a letter to them here in Oregon. Thanks for the heads up about it

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PostPosted: 21 May 2008, 17:53 
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THE LAST WORD
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Good letter. If it does pass, I hope Bush or McCain are in office to veto it.

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Rev. 6:8 and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was death , and Hell followed with him.


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