Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Cable Restraint Bill

Thoughts on the Cable Restraint Bill

Bill to allow the DEC to develop Rules and Regulations for the use of cable restraints was introduced in the Assembly and Senate again this 2009 Legislative Session. And like similar bills at least the last decade failed to make it out of the respective Environmental Conservation Committees. So they could be voted upon by the full legislature.

Why haven’t the bills gotten past the Environmental Conservation Committees?
- They have no additional cost to the State.
- They do not require additional state resources or personnel.
- They are non-controversial and have little organized opposition.
- Cable Restraints are safer to use in urban and suburban locations where pets may be inadvertently caught.
- They can be more effective than many other devices.
- Their use can potentially reduce the costs of nuisance animal control for both the public and NWCO’s

My conclusion is that the advantages of cable restraints have not been a factor with the Assembly and Senate. More importantly, there has been no obvious political mileage in considering a cable restraint law.
- There is little public pressure to change the current law that outlaws snares.
- Most of the members of the Assembly and Senate Environmental Conservation Committees are from urban and suburban locations and have little contact with nuisance wildlife.
- The public is generally ignorant about modern cable restraints and how they are used, and why they may be preferable to other methods.
- There is little political mileage by spending their time on a bill that has little public support. Such a bill is easy to ignore to spend time on issues with more public interest.

Do I think a cable restraint bill should be passed? Most definitely Yes; do I think it will become law in the foreseeable future? No; unless there is a concerted campaign by NWCO’s, trappers, Spa’s, animal rights organizations and others to contact their legislators and pressure them to pass a bill allowing cable restraints to be used in New York State. There must also be an aggressive education campaign to educate SPCA’s, animal Rights Organizations, and the public that cable restraints are not snares, but are a humane and effective method of capturing nuisance animals with minimal danger to pets.

I do not believe NWCO’s can do it alone, but we must combine forces with other groups. What can we do? I suggest that:
- NWCO’s establish a dialogue with other groups interest in safe, humane animal capture.
- That NWCO’s establish a dialogue with groups concerned with the safety of pets in urban and suburban areas.
- That NWCO’s establish a dialogue with other groups with an economic interest in more effective animal capture techniques. eg. Fur trappers.
- That NWCO’s, in association with other groups undertake an education campaign to educate politicians and the public about cable restraints.
- That NWCO’s pressure their legislators and the members of the Environmental Conservation Committees to act positively on introduced cable restraint bills.

To summarize, we must make it politically advantageous to support a cable restraint bill. We must give our representatives a reason to consider a cable restraint bill ahead of the numerous other bills introduced each year. We must make it more advantageous for them to act on a cable restraint bill than to let it die in committee. Without these changes, I fear that we will not see a cable restraint bill passed in the foreseeable future.

Bert Mead

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