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Office of Governor Gary Locke
Contact:  Governor's Communications Office, 360-902-4136

Gov. Gary Locke Vetoes Body-gripping Traps Legislation

OLYMPIA - Gov. Gary Locke today vetoed legislation that would have allowed the use of body-gripping traps to capture animals for recreation or fur trade.

Substitute Senate Bill 5179 would have essentially repealed Initiative 713 that voters passed in 2000. The initiative banned body-gripping traps for use in capturing animals for recreation or commerce in fur but allowed certain types of traps to be used to deal with animal problems. Such trap use requires a special permit through the state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW).

The governor had supported legislative efforts that addressed specific animal problems but viewed the Legislature’s final bill as outside the spirit and intent of the initiative.

Locke’s veto message said the following:

“Early this session, I supported legislation that would have addressed the specific problems associated with Initiative 713. This legislation would have allowed the use of traps on moles, gophers and mountain beavers, and provided additional protections for livestock. At that time, I also indicated my opposition to legislation that would repeal the core principles underlying the initiative. Whenever possible, improvements to address unintended consequences of an initiative should be pursued before consideration of a repeal. Because this bill effectively repeals the initiative, even though an alternative legislative solution exists to address the problems of the initiative, I have vetoed the bill in its entirety.

“We need to put this issue behind us by looking for ways we can creatively implement solutions, rather than perpetuate problems. With this message, I am requesting members of the Fish and Wildlife Commission to closely oversee DFW’s implementation of Initiative 713, consistent with its spirit and intent. Specifically, I would like the Commission to recommend changes to help protect livestock and reduce damage to public property, and to conduct an educational outreach program around the state that explains the availability of the special permit program allowed under Initiative 713.”

The governor’s message also said, “In the meantime, I also would expect that given current financial constraints, DFW would use its limited enforcement resources on higher priorities rather than against homeowners, businesses and the timber industry that have trapped for moles, gophers and mountain beavers. I would like the Commission Chair to provide me with a report in person by December 1, 2003.”

Editor’s Note: The complete text of the governor’s veto message is available by calling the Governor’s Communications Office at 360-902-4136.

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