2020 State Legislative Candidate Questionnaire

                         

August 5, 2020

Dear State Legislative Candidate:

We realize that you receive numerous inquiries regarding your position on various issues, but we believe most of your constituents care about animals, therefore we ask that you take a moment to complete this brief questionnaire pertaining to issues that affect pets and other animals in Maine. 

For over 20 years, Maine Friends of Animals [MFOA] has been the state’s leading animal protection organization. Our mission is to promote the humane treatment of animals through education, advocacy and legislation. If you would like further information about the organization or have questions on the questionnaire, please  visit our website at www.mfoa.net and/or contact President and Executive Director Robert Fisk, Jr. at mfoa@falmouthstation.com.

MFOA has over 1,500 members and supporters throughout the state who are very interested in what their legislators think about animal welfare issues. We inform them and encourage them to vote and actively support animal-friendly candidates. Your suggestions and comments on these issues / bills are also welcome. Thank you for taking the time to respond and best wishes in your campaign.  

 

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                Maine State Legislature 2021-22

2020 State Legislative Candidate Questionnaire                                                                                          

1.  A puppy mill is an inhumane, large scale commercial dog breeding facility in which the health and well-being of the dog is disregarded in order to maintain low overhead and maximize profits. These dogs, many unhealthy and with physical and/or psychological impairments, are also sold to pet stores, including in Maine. Last year, MFOA sponsored and passed a bill that would eventually end the sale of dogs and cats in pet shops in Maine, thus taking a stand against out-of-state puppy mills. Would you have supported that legislation to end the sales of puppy mill dogs in Maine?   Yes ____ No ____

2.  Canned hunts are trophy hunts in which certain wildlife species are kept in a confined acreage to increase the likelihood of the hunter obtaining a kill. There are several hunting/game ranches on private land in Maine that raise exotic or non-native wildlife, e.g., elk, wild boar, fallow deer and bison, in a fenced enclosures with no chance of escape, thereby eliminating the “fair chase” concept. Clients, mostly out-of-state trophy hunters, pay large sums of money to participate in the “hunt” with a guaranteed no kill/no bill policy. Canned hunting has been banned or restricted in 20 states.  Would you support legislation to ban these hunting practices in Maine?   Yes ____ No ____

3. Do you believe the Endangered Species Act should be strongly protected in Maine? Yes ____ No ____

4.  In the 129th Legislature “Franky’s Law” (named in memory of Franky, the pug, who was kidnapped, tortured and killed in Winter Harbor, ME) was passed. It provides Maine courts, prosecutors and defendants with a resource to help handle animal cruelty cases through the assistance of volunteer attorneys and law students with an interest in animal law. Low priority animal cruelty cases that are often dismissed or pled out can now be more thoroughly and vigorously pursued. As we come to understand more about animals as sentient beings, we also witness repeated studies demonstrating a clear link between animal abuse often leading to spousal and child abuse.  A law such as Franky’s Law adds additional resources to the courts, without additional costs in cases of cruelty to dogs and cats.  Did you or would you have supported that legislation?   Yes ____ No ____                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

5.  In 2004 and again in 2014, Maine Friends of Animals, The Humane Society of the United States and many hunters led a state ballot initiative to ban the hunting of Maine black bears with the use of bait, hounds and traps. The common thread in these three practices is there is no “fair chase” — these methods are unsportsmanlike, inhumane and unnecessary. Non-resident hunters have purchased more permits than residents every year since 2005, allowing low skill, out-of-state “trophy hunters” to give a bad reputation to the Maine hunting tradition.  Despite the desperate need for an updated Black Bear Management Plan, the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife [IF&W] has canceled its 2019 search for a contractor to evaluate the role human food might play in the growth of the bear population stating, “methods needed to be reevaluated, the department was experiencing personnel changes, and the timing of the study isn’t great.” Although both of the previous referendums were marginally defeated, they brought public awareness to our current hunting practices. Would you support legislation to permit only fair chase hunting of bears as it is practiced in other states?   Yes ____ No ____

6.  Decisions regarding Maine’s wildlife are determined by a few legislators in its oversight committee, the Department of IF&W, and an inflexible hunting lobby. Those who enjoy Maine’s wildlife in a non-consumptive manner, such as wildlife viewers, kayakers, primitive outdoor campers, bird watchers, hikers and wildlife photographers, are essentially shut out of wildlife decisions although they far out-number hunters in numbers and money contributed to Maine’s economy. Would you support legislation that would provide non-consumptive wildlife advocates to be more structurally included in the process of making decisions that affect wildlife, including representation on the IF&W Advisory Council?   Yes ____ No ____                                                                                                                                                                   

7.  Caged laying hens are some of the most abused animals in all of farming. Chickens are intelligent birds with a complex social hierarchy.  These animals are stuck 24/7 in small cages with other birds not being able to open their wings, living and moving on cage wire floors. Jack DeCoster of DeCoster Egg Farms in Turner was prosecuted for habitually running afoul of labor and environmental laws, the most recent in 2016 for cruel and inhumane conditions to chickens. Massachusetts, Michigan, California, Oregon, and Washington have passed cage-free egg laws. Would you support a bill to prohibit the production of eggs in the state from hens that are not kept in cage-free housing systems?   Yes ____ No ____           

8.  Perhaps the most pervasive form of domestic animal cruelty we have in the state today is what is called “dogs chained for life.” Dogs are very social pack animals and unfortunately many are chained to a doghouse where they eat, drink, urinate, defecate and sleep in the same confined area day after day, night after night, month after month with no or very little human contact or medical care. Some have even frozen to death. Would you support legislation that would require dogs to be untethered for a time period each day?   Yes ____ No ____                                                    

9.  History repeatedly shows that attempts to control coyote populations by bounties, snaring, open season and trapping do not work because coyotes are biologically and behaviorally adaptable. Despite the fact wildlife biologists are nearly unanimous in the opinion that coyote management does not work, the hunting lobby persists. Proponents contend that coyote control is needed to protect deer in northern and eastern wintering habitat. Opponents say coyote control is ineffective by scientific standards, has never worked, it is unusually cruel in method, and that it is fiscally irresponsible to further burden an under-funded IF&W.  Would you oppose coyote control legislation?   Yes ____ No _____                                                                                                                                                                        

10. Like greyhound racing, which was exposed for its cruelty, harness racing is a dying industry. Over the last two decades, there has been precipitous declines in racing audiences and the money waged on betting. Nevertheless, Maine has funneled millions of taxpayer dollars from slot revenues to racing tracks each year. Without these massive subsidies, harness racing could not survive as it loses more money every year. Should the state be shoring up a dying, inhumane and outdated industry when those millions could go toward economic development, education, healthcare or other under-funded services? Would you support a review of the Cascade Fund from slot machines that primarily funds the harness racing industry in the state?  Yes ____ No ____                                                                                                                         

                                                                                     

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CANDIDATE INFORMATION

Question(s) #  _________  I would be willing to  _____ sponsor  

                                                                             _____ co-sponsor

Question(s) #  _________  I would be willing to  _____ sponsor  

                                                                             _____ co-sponsor

Other animal welfare issues of interest or animal legislation I would like to see:  

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Name:_______________________ City:___________________________________

Email: ______________________ website: ______________ Party affiliation: ____   

House or Senate District: (H)______ (S) _____ Cities/Towns in district: 

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PLEASE RETURN YOUR QUESTIONNAIRE IN THE ENCLOSED ENVELOPE 

                                        or to mfoa@falmouthstation.com 

 

 

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