Oregon Prohibits Certain Animal Traps and Fur Commerce, Measure 97 (2000)

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The Oregon Prohibits Certain Animal Traps and Fur Commerce Act, also known as Measure 97, was on the November 7, 2000 ballot in Oregon as an initiated state statute, where it was defeated. The measure would have banned body-gripping traps, exchange of mammal furs, and certain animal poisons.[1]

Election results

Oregon Measure 97 (2000)
ResultVotesPercentage
Defeatedd No867,21958.8%
Yes 606,939 41.2%

Election results via: Oregon Blue Book

Ballot title

Bans Body-Gripping Animal Traps, Some Poisons; Restricts Fur Commerce[2]

Proponents

Elizabeth Furse and Jennifer Kirkpatrick

Support

[3] Former Congresswoman Elizabeth Furse, the Co­-Chief Petitioner of this measure, and of Protect Pets & Wildlife-Oregon, said this of the measure's compromising nature:

"Measure 97 will restrict the use of cruel and dangerous traps and will prohibit the use of two toxic chemical poisons. Nothing more. This measure balances public safety and humane treatment with the interests of property and livestock owners"

Other supporters were as concerned with danger to humans as they were with animals' well being. Jennifer Kirkpatrick, a chief petitioner on the campaign had a bear trap shut on her wrist once, losing the use of her hand for nine months. She said,

"I found a trap in a pond near my home where many local residents walk their dogs and recreate. There were no warning signs. I lifted the trap from the water and it snapped shut on my wrist. The pain was incredibly intense. I could not get the trap off. I struggled against panic, knowing I had to keep control and get help. Within an hour the trap was removed, but the pain did not stop. My hand was paralyzed and had no sensation except pain. I had sustained nerve damage that took almost a year to heal, and no medication alleviates the pain of nerve damage."

Veterinarians rallied around the measure as well, concerned with the "agonizing" pain that traps cause, calling it "animal cruelty."They pointed out that they must treat many animals each year, including family pets, that have been victims of animal traps. They believed these injuries and deaths were needless and could be prevented.

Many people submitted graphic stories of their encounters with animal traps and the experience of finding injured animals due to the traps, to the Secretary of State in support of this measure.

Opposition

[4] Opposition to the measure included foresters who were concerned with the damage animals cause to forests and said the measure would eliminate the tools they use in order to sustain the forests. The Society of American Foresters said,

"Carefully planned trapping by professional foresters is biologically sound and environmentally safe. Current trapping methods have been developed and tested over time and have proven highly effective and environmentally sound. In many situations, alternatives to such methods that are as safe and effective do not exist."

The Special Districts Association of Oregon who control water, sanitary, park, and irrigation districts, were also concerned with their methods of controlling rats, mice, and other "destructive" animals being taken away. They said that the measure would make it more likely for rodents to enter homes.

Owners of family farms felt the measure was poorly written and seemed as if it was out to intentionally "hurt" them. Some farm owners submitted a statement of opposition to the Secretary of State, saying, "No one supports the needless suffering of animals. ."..sometimes we find it necessary to control over-populations of pests like moles, gophers and predators like coyotes."

Some of the opposition said the language of the measure was simply too broad. Roy Hyder, a retired member of the Oregon State Police agreed with this and encouraged people to vote no on the measure:

"Oregonians should read the measure to understand that Measure 97 threatens the very wildlife it claims to protect.
Definition of a 'body-gripping' trap in Measure 97:

Body-gripping trap means a trap that grips an animal's body or body part.

This extremely broad definition opens the door to lawsuits against farmers and ranchers using animal management tools like squeeze chutes that grip a calf or a lamb's body. This definition also includes humane instant-kill mole and gopher traps used by private property owners to protect their lawns and gardens.
Measure 97 is a poorly written measure that goes too far. The measure includes a 'notwithstanding any other provisions of Oregon law' that overrules existing laws. It also bans two poisons that already cannot be used in Oregon today!"

See also

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