Virginia: “Animal Welfare” Bills Prefiled

Virginia’s 2023 bill prefiling ended yesterday, with a number of anti-hunting and gun control measures in the mix for this session. This is going to be a very active year and we caution Virginia sportsmen to be on guard to engage when needed and called upon.

Two “animal welfare” bills should be on every hunters watchlist as big problems.  House Bill 1989, prohibiting contests and competitions that offer cash or prizes for the capture or killing of fur-bearing animals and House Bill 1984, requiring constant water supply for animals, are both typical of the animal extremist approach by pulling a “bait and switch” on the reader where the welfare of animals is not the true motivation of regulation.

HB 1989 prohibits contests involving coyotes and fur-bearing animals, but the purpose of this legislation goes well beyond contests. HB 1989 is about undermining the effective management of fish and game populations by restricting the control of predator populations – like coyotes – that when left unchecked, increase negative human-wildlife interactions, spread disease, and limit effective population management. National animal rights groups have targeted wildlife contests across the country, and it looks like the bill sponsor, Kaye Kory, representing an area in liberal Northern Virginia, has been recruited to carry the animal extremists’ water in the Virginia legislature.

“Wildlife contest bills stigmatize organized events where people hunt wildlife for recreation and provide a critical wildlife management check on burgeoning populations that cannot be controlled otherwise,” explained Todd Adkins, Vice President of Government Affairs for the Sportsmen’s Alliance. “How is a coyote contest any different than a fishing derby or a big buck contest?  It’s not, but animal extremists know they cannot end hunting in one fell swoop so this is nothing but another means to that end.”

HB 1984, also sponsored by Delegate Kory, requires dogs to have continuous water available at all times, irrespective of actual need or circumstance. Virginia already has a law requiring adequate water for dogs at suitable intervals to maintain normal hydration and health. Owners of sporting and hunting dogs understand what their dogs need to be healthy, and in many situations, continuous water is not needed and can even be a problem when training a puppy to be housebroken or during transportation or while on a hunt. Responsible dog owners do not need Delegate Kory and her animal-extremist friends telling them how to take care of their dogs.

These bills have not received their committee assignment yet, but the Sportsmen’s Alliance will continue to monitor these issues and let you know when action must be taken.

In the meantime, please forward this email to your family, friends, and fellow sportsmen and urge them to sign-up for updates and join the Sportsmen’s Alliance for regular updates and action items. As always, you can check and follow us on social media for breaking updates. Sportsmen throughout every state must stay actively involved to defend our hunting, fishing, and trapping heritage for present and future generations to enjoy.

About the Sportsmen’s Alliance: The Sportsmen’s Alliance protects and defends America’s wildlife conservation programs and the pursuits – hunting, fishing and trapping – that generate the money to pay for them. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation is responsible for public education, legal defense and research.  Its mission is accomplished through several distinct programs coordinated to provide the most complete defense capability possible. Stay connected to Sportsmen’s Alliance: OnlineFacebookTwitter and Instagram.