House Bill 594 (H594) is another “traveling animal act” ban that misleads as to its intention. This bill text is nearly identical to a bill on the opposite side of the country so it is obvious that animal rights groups are pitching this text from state to state.
This bill, titled “Traveling Animal and Public Safety Protection Act,” includes an introduction rife with misinformation with the intent to spark emotion from the reader. The animal rights groups always fight with emotion over fact and they target legislators who fall for their games or sympathize with the animal rights agenda to remove all animals from our lives.
H594 prohibits using certain animals (list below and even includes tortoises and small monitors) in traveling animal acts, which will include the educational outreach programs provided by many animal keepers. The punishment is a Class II misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of 60 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.
PLEASE READ THE LAST SENTENCE AGAIN! With all of the problems in our world, we actually have to fight a bill that could land you in jail for 60 days because you took a tortoise to a classroom to talk about reptiles. This is the state of our government and also displays how deep the pockets and connections of the animal rights movement are in our society.
NOTE: It does not matter what legislators state as the intent of the bill. Laws are not enforced by legislators!
Regardless of what species are involved, this bill is unnecessary, redundant, and a waste of North Carolina tax dollars. Animal welfare laws are already in place and measures like this bill only punish responsible citizens instead of actually penalizing criminals.
The unintended consequences are many. It is a ban on educational programs in classrooms, public libraries, at Scout Troop meetings, and more. This is essentially a ban on taking certain animals anywhere besides the veterinarian.
The bill is straightforward and simply states, “No person shall cause a performance of, or allow for the participation of, an exotic or wild animal in a traveling animal act.”
The definitions allow for broad interpretation (this is intentional). “Traveling animal act” covers any transportation of animals for a “performance.” Performance is defined to cover any exhibition or display where there may be photographs, contact (i.e. touching a tortoise’s shell), etc.
The only exemptions are facilities with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the World Association of Zoos, Aquariums (WAZA), or the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS), state-licensed wildlife rehabilitation centers, and certain academic/medical/research facilities. Please note that “environmental education programs” are only exempt if you qualify with an entity included in the above exemption list.
Species included in the bill are below (reptiles in bold text). REMEMBER: This is just the initial list. Species can be added each year! STOP it now even if your species is not included! This is just the beginning.
a. Canidae (other than domestic dogs).
b. Cetartiodactyla (other than alpacas, bison, cattle, deer, goats, guanacos, llamas, swine, and sheep).
c. Crocodilia. [This means any alligator, caiman, or crocodile, no matter the size.]
g. Felidae (other than domestic cats).
k. Nonhuman primates.
l. Perissodactyla (other than horses, donkeys, and mules).
q. Testudinidae. [This means all tortoises.]
s. Varanidae. [This means all monitor lizards/varanids, no matter the size.]
The bill sponsors are Representatives Ball, Harrison, John, Fisher, Hunt, and Insko. You can find full contact details (phone, email, fax, etc.) for these legislators by clicking their names. The bill went to the House Committee On Rules, Calendar, and Operations.
Remember to be civil and professional at all times!
Email list: Cynthia.Ball@ncleg.gov, Pricey.Harrison@ncleg.gov, Joe.John@ncleg.gov, Susan.Fisher@ncleg.gov, Rachel.Hunt@ncleg.gov, Verla.Insko@ncleg.gov, Destin.Hall@ncleg.gov, Kelly.Hastings@ncleg.gov, Brenden.Jones@ncleg.gov, Brenden.Jones@ncleg.gov, John.Szoka@ncleg.gov, John.Torbett@ncleg.gov, Gale.Adcock@ncleg.gov, John.Bell@ncleg.gov, Jamie.Boles@ncleg.gov, William.Brisson@ncleg.gov, Dana.Bumgardner@ncleg.gov, Becky.Carney@ncleg.gov, Grey.Mills@ncleg.gov, Howard.Hunter@ncleg.gov, Jon.Hardister@ncleg.gov, Jimmy.Dixon@ncleg.gov, Ted.Davis@ncleg.gov, Carla.Cunningham@ncleg.gov, Michael.Wray@ncleg.gov, Erin.Pare@ncleg.gov, Amos.Quick@ncleg.gov, Robert.Reives@ncleg.gov, William.Richardson@ncleg.gov, Jason.Saine@ncleg.gov, Shelly.Willingham@ncleg.gov
Committee members and full contact information:
NO to H594
North Carolina Representatives,
As a dedicated advocate for animal welfare, I implore you to vote NO to House Bill 594 (H594). North Carolina already has extensive animal cruelty and welfare laws including N.C. GEN. STAT. § 14. Enforce those current laws! H594 is yet another superfluous law that will not accomplish its stated purpose and is nothing more than a solution looking for a problem. Are you aware this bill can put someone in prison for two months for conducting an animal education program with a tortoise to a school class? Is this really how legislators should be spending their time and my tax dollars?
It seems H594 lacks research. For example, the bill would ban educational programs including any tortoise or monitor lizard. For both of these, some species weigh less than one pound as adults. On the other end of the size spectrum, programs with larger tortoises and monitor lizards provide education as to why certain species are not good pet choices for most people and families.
The fact is that this legislation is unnecessary. Punish the “bad actors” and the criminals. No new law is needed to protect animals as North Carolina can already prosecute animal abusers.
Superfluous and redundant laws are becoming commonplace. Tax dollars and legislative resources are continually being wasted to propose duplicative laws. Even worse, collective punishment is becoming an accepted practice in our government. Instead of focusing on criminals, many new laws choose to punish good citizens.
Among other overreaching measures, this bill bans many educational outreach programs before students and Scout troops, classifying such beneficial programs as inherently cruel. Those who would travel with their animals to teach schoolchildren about tortoises or certain lizards will be made into criminals!
This bill is far-reaching and rife with unintended consequences, including making criminals out of those dedicated individuals who responsibly conduct educational programs with animals. Thank you for your time and consideration on this matter. Please realize that H594 is illogical and unjust. Have a good day.
What to do:
1. Call officials;
2. Email officials;
3. Fax and mail letters;
4. Attend hearings and voice opposition, if possible;
5. SHARE this and encourage others to complete the Alert!!!
Bill full details: https://www.ncleg.gov/BillLookUp/2021/H594
This post and its contents are cited in entirety from USARK.
Original Post: https://usark.org/alert-nc-2021/