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CFA's Legislative Group


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The CFA Legislative Group is charged with providing guidance to those individuals or member clubs who are opposing unreasonable animal control legislation in their geographic area. The committee members review and analyze proposals, offer opinions, and provide information to those working to overcome the pressure to limit and control the activities of pedigreed cat breeders as a way to end what has been termed "Pet Overpopulation".

We continuously put forth a broader perspective, and this has led to our preference for the term, "cat and dog population surplus" since "pet" "overpopulation" implies that too much reproduction is the sole source of the problems which result in unnecessary euthanasia in shelters, and that people's pets are entirely responsible . Neither premise is correct.

The CFA Legislative Group has instead emphasized that there are many complex factors involved, including shelter operation policies, abandonment and relinquishment of once wanted animals, unnecessary limit laws, and lack of acceptance of pets in rental housing. Though we recognize that overpopulation is an important factor, it is the uncontrolled matings of feral cats and the unplanned reproduction of free roaming pet cats which need to be the focus. The numbers of cats of a recognizable breed found in shelters is negligible to extremely low in proportion to that of cats which are random bred, homeless, feral and/or unweaned kittens.

Euthanasia of dogs and cats can not be completely eliminated. There will always be some animals for whom this is the most humane option when they are suffering or dangerously aggressive, yet many animal control agencies are unable or unwilling to provide the data needed to understand the true extent of this factor. CFA has worked with other organizations to initiate standardization of basic animal control information throughout the country.

The Legislative Group has also urged cat fanciers to oppose laws that unfairly target responsible pet owners in addition to breeders of pedigreed cats. Some of these laws are primarily designed to find new sources of funds for animal control and actually serve to discourage pet ownership without effecting the problems leading to shelter euthanasia.

Our objectives over the last five years have included the encouragement of acceptable and effective alternatives to legislative restrictions. We have circulated and published information and reports of innovative community action plans and successful programs. A recent mailing to cat fanciers of the San Francisco SPCA "Adoption Pact 1995" report describes a dramatic example of a major city and county which has eliminated euthanasia of all adoptable dogs and cats without government mandates.

During 1994 the CFA Legislative Group increased our network of informed contacts across the country. These highly talented people within the cat fancy provide grass roots opposition to detrimental laws and also actively work on positive programs. The Committee continues to put forth CFA's views to reinforce the value of preserving the breeding of pedigreed cats and to encourage ethical breeding practices that will help reduce the number of unwanted cats.

In the past few years the CFA Legislative Group members and other cat fanciers have been successful. We have defeated many unreasonable laws, assumed positions on community Task Forces and councils, effectively presented our views at hearings, and established beneficial association with dog fancy groups and feral cat trap/alter/release groups. The Legislative Committee Matching Fund has provided for mailings of flyers and reports and other grass roots activities. We have supported the collection of data and initiated epidemiology studies which have given us useful information. At the American Humane Association October 1993 meeting in Baltimore, the "cat lobby" was stated as being a major detriment to the forces in favor of coercive laws.

Since 1993 we, and aligned groups such as the National Pet Alliance, the Texas Coalition and the San Francisco SPCA, have defeated several critical state bills in California, Texas, Florida and elsewhere along with numerous county and city ordinances. The Legislative Group, its network and our partner groups have had an impact on detrimental legislation.

We urge cat fanciers to be alert to laws in your state and community, and to become active. We appreciate the courage and willingness of those who go to hearings and fight for the ability of all cat fanciers to breed pedigreed cats without bureaucratic, expensive and coercive restriction. We need everyone's help to support those willing to speak out and to make telephone calls, write letters and send faxes. The pressure does work.

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To correspond with the CFA Legislative Group, please send email to legislation@cfa.org