Veto S2508: Ban on Educational Animal Programs

EXPIRED

UPDATE: "Nosey's Law" has been vetoed ("pocket veto") in New Jersey thanks to all the calls, emails, and work done to educate legislators!

However, work is already being done to get this passed into law under the new governor. While the next introduction may have some exemptions, we have seen this bill in other states which only exempted AZA-accredited zoos. Educational outreach programs in schools, libraries, and boy/girl scout meetings by private animal keepers may still be proposed to be illegal. Animal welfare laws already exist to protect animals. Those should be enforced without the continued needless legislation proposals which do nothing more than waste taxpayer money and allow legislators the veil to seem busy with unnecessary busy "work".

A win today, but work tomorrow. Legislators do not write these bills. Animal rights groups write them and then get sponsors in the legislatures by misleading them.

Animal rights groups will again feed the legislators false propaganda and misinformation, so we must do our job to educate legislators properly.

Great work to all those involved to stop this!

________________________________________________________________________________________________

The media is once again flooded with misinformation. "Nosey's Law" is not a ban on the use of elephants in circuses. It is a ban on taking a tortoise into a classroom for an educational program about reptiles. It is a ban on taking a ball python, a red-eyed tree frog, a parakeet, and a ferret into a library for an educational show discussing the differences between reptiles, amphibians, birds, and mammals. It is a ban on llamas and any other non-traditional livestock at the State Fair or county 4-H fairs. Basically, if an animal non-native to New Jersey is placed into a vehicle and taken anywhere where someone besides a veterinarian will see it in a private room, that it is an illegal activity and you are a criminal. Not even zoos are exempt!

Once again, the animal rights radicals have lied to legislators and the legislators once again fell for it.

According to New Jersey Title 23: “Exotic animal” means any species of mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian, fish, mollusk, or crustacean that is not indigenous to New Jersey..." While the New Jersey Fish and Game Council could list only certain species to be included in this law, that is not part of the bill, nor is it to be expected.

The only hope now to stop it is for Governor Christie (who is headed out of office next week) to veto it. So please take action and ask him to do so. This bill does not better animal welfare. This bill does not help animals. This bill is nothing more than government overreach introduced by those with an agenda to remove ALL animals from our lives. All "exotic" animals today and all domesticated animals to follow (which is already happening for those not paying attention).

Read a short article on the matter at www.animallaw.foxrothschild.com/2018/01/09/will-governor-christie-veto-noseys-law-which-if-passed-could-put-zoos-and-other-venues-that-educate-the-public-about-exotic-animals-out-of-business/.

TAKE ACTION by doing one or, preferably, all of the below

  1. Phone the Governor's office at 609-292-6000 and ask him to Veto "Nosey's Law" (S2508).
  2. FAX the Governor at 609-777-2922. You can use any or all of the sample letters below.
  3. Email the Governor at www.nj.gov/governor/contact. (see below for more)

Steps when emailing:

  1. Select a topic and click "Continue": either Agriculture or Education;
  2. Choose a subtopic such as Animal Health or Other Educational Issue;
  3. Fill in all fields except those marked (optional);
  4. At Subject type "VETO Nosey's Law" or "VETO S2508";
  5. Copy/paste one of the messages below (or edit) then click "Send Your Message."

Short email

I implore you to VETO "Nosey's Law" (S2508) as a fierce advocate of responsible animal ownership. I ask you to realize that this bill is very poorly-written, far overreaching, unjust, and will have tremendous negative effects upon both the people and animals in New Jersey. The New Jersey legislators were lied to and provided misinformation regarding the implications of this bill. Hopefully, you will do what is right for New Jersey, the animals, and responsible animal educators by slapping a big red VETO stamp upon S2508! Have a good day.

 

Longer email

I implore you to VETO "Nosey's Law" (S2508) as a fierce advocate of responsible animal ownership. I ask you to realize that this bill is very poorly-written, far overreaching, unjust, and will have tremendous negative effects upon both the people and animals in New Jersey.

S2508 goes so far as to make illegal even the programs, often done at no charge, offered by responsible animal keepers who provide educational services to thousands upon thousands of children and groups at schools, libraries, boy/girl scout meetings, and other gatherings. Please take heed and be cognizant of the unintended consequences of this bill.

Allow me to emphasize three of the major flaws with S2508:

  1. The definition of “performance” lumps, with extreme prejudice, any program including an animal into the same category as dogfighting. By the definition used, dog fighting and an educational talk about a tortoise at a school are one and the same.
  2. There are no exemptions. Any event, program, or other “performance” which does not violate animal welfare laws or harm animals in any manner should be exempt. There should be a blanket educational program exemption, even if there may be a monetary fee paid for such programs.
  3. This would be just another unnecessary law! New Jersey already has animal welfare laws. Enforce those laws, punish the criminals, and allow law-abiding, responsible citizens to continue educating others.

Thank you for your time and consideration on this matter. Hopefully, you will do what is right for New Jersey, the animals, and responsible animal educators by slapping a big red VETO stamp upon S2508! Have a good day.

 

Full-length message (great to use when faxing)

Re: Opposition and Request to Veto S2508, “Nosey’s Law”; prohibits the use of elephants and other wild or exotic animals in traveling circus acts

Dear Governor Christie,

I implore you to veto S2508, or “Nosey’s Law.” This bill is bad government policy and it is bad for New Jersey. I ask you to realize that this bill is very poorly-written, far overreaching, unjust, and will have tremendous negative effects on both the people and animals in New Jersey. While similar legislation is being introduced across the U.S., this bill is not the same. It goes far beyond others and demonizes legitimate animal educators. S2508 goes so far as to make illegal even the programs, often done at no charge, offered by responsible animal keepers who provide educational services to thousands upon thousands of children and groups at schools, libraries, boy/girl scout meetings, and other gatherings. Please take heed and be cognizant of the unintended consequences of this bill.

The bill infringes on the rights and freedoms of responsible animal owners who provide education regarding their animals to tens of thousands of New Jersey residents annually.

I am a fierce advocate of responsible animal ownership. It is unreasonable to punish those engaging in conscientious animal husbandry as a failed attempt to crack down upon those who behave negligently. This bill even chastises those providing valuable services to New Jersey residents.

Allow me to emphasize three of the major flaws with S2508:

  1. The definition of “performance” lumps, with extreme prejudice, any program including an animal into the same category as dogfighting. By the definition used, dog fighting and an educational talk about a tortoise at a school are one and the same.
  2. There are no exemptions. Any event, program, or other “performance” which does not violate animal welfare laws or harm animals in any manner should be exempt. There should be a blanket educational program exemption, even if there may be a monetary fee paid for such programs.
  3. This would be just another unnecessary law! New Jersey already has animal welfare laws. Enforce those laws, punish the criminals, and allow law-abiding, responsible citizens to continue educating others.

I must highlight the clear lack of research behind this proposal. Private keepers are the ones teaching people about animals. Due to the dreadful language used in this bill, education is considered a “benefit” and any “performance” which provides a “benefit” would be banned.

This bill would make the hundreds of beneficial, educational outreach programs performed each year by responsible animal keepers illegal. These events allow children to actually see these animals in person. Books and videos are great, but seeing the animals leads to much greater appreciation and fuels the desire to learn.

Where will the conservationists and biologists of tomorrow come from if the interest in animals is never sparked? Most of today’s professionals in these relevant fields only took those paths because of events such as these, which will now be banned.

Collective punishment is never the answer. Do not lump the incredible services provided by these educators into the same category as dog fighters. The atrociousness of this bill is staggering.

A ban will only make matters worse. A ban will actually create animal welfare and public safety issues which will lead to the problems you claim to be preventing.

This broadly sweeping ban will be unbeknownst to many. Who would imagine that taking a turtle, parrot or any other non-domesticated animal to a school for an educational seminar would be a crime? Citizens will not think to check to see if it is illegal and will be unaware. You will be making criminals out of people who just want to share the magnificence of these animals.

Prohibitions such as this proposed ban demonstrate an irrational approach over common sense. Similar performance bans do exist in some places. However, the language used in this bill is far more restrictive and unreasonable.

The captive care, or husbandry, of these animals has evolved drastically over the last two decades. The animals are now bred under human care and not imported from the wild. So much has changed and the misinformation presented by animal rights groups consists of remnants from a time which no longer exists.

Lastly, I have heard the argument that exotic animals are not cared for properly. Animal rights groups often throw around pseudo-statistics to support this claim.

While these groups demand that all exotics are kept improperly, that is not the case nor is there legitimate data to support it. As just one example, for the past several years reptiles have been found in 5% of U.S. households. If all these animals were kept improperly, shelters and rescues would be beyond flooded with surrendered reptiles and amphibians (collectively known as “herps”). This simply is not the case.

This bill will actually cause animal welfare issues by removing education as to which species make good pets and which do not. Unfortunately and occasionally, there are people who bring exotic animals home without proper research, which also happens with dogs and cats. I advocate for in-depth research before bringing any animal home, be it dog, cat, gerbil, snake, gecko, bird or fish. Just as we see with dogs and cats, there are irresponsible keepers, but they are a small minority. Collective punishment (punishment of the whole due to a few) is not the answer. Do not ban one of the greatest educational tools available to future pet owners.

Please feel free to contact stakeholders for any factual information regarding reptiles and amphibians, as well as other exotic animals. It is apparent you have either received false information or have failed to consult legitimate subject matter experts. Either I or the stakeholders will gladly clear it all up for you.

Thank you for your time and consideration on this matter. Hopefully, you will do what is right for New Jersey, the animals, and responsible animal educators by slapping a VETO stamp upon S2508. Have a good day.

Sincerely,

(your name here)

TEXT of bill

Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

1.    a. Notwithstanding any other law, or any rule or regulation adopted pursuant thereto, to the contrary, no person shall use an elephant 1or other wild or exotic animal1 in a traveling animal act.

b.    Any person who violates this section shall be subject to the penalties provided in section 10 of P.L.1973, c.309 (C.23:2A-10), except that the criminal penalties provided in subsection f. of that section shall not apply.

c.     As used in this section:

“Mobile or traveling housing facility” means a vehicle, including a truck, trailer, or railway car, used to transport or house an animal used for performance.

“Performance” means any animal act, carnival, circus, display, exhibition, exposition, fair, parade, petting zoo, presentation, public showing, race, ride, trade show, or similar undertaking in which animals perform tricks, give rides, or participate as accompaniments for the entertainment, amusement, or benefit of a live audience.

“Traveling animal act” means any performance which requires an animal to be transported to or from the location of the performance in a mobile or traveling housing facility.

2.    This act shall take effect immediately.”

Article written by USARK