ALERT: Illinois Animal Program Ban Means No More Classroom Pets

ALERT: Illinois Animal Program Ban

Feb 28, 2023 |

From our friends at USARK

UPDATE 3/1: HB3695 has been assigned a hearing for March 7. Now is the time to voice your opposition by submitting a “Witness Slip.”

1. Click here:
2. Fill out Section I.
3. Section II can be skipped unless representing a group or organization.
4. In Section III, select “Opponent.”
5. In Section IV select either “Written Statement Filed” (if you sent a letter or email) or “Record of Appearance Only.”
6. Click the “I Agree” box and then click “Create(Slip)” in the lower right.

Very basic summary:

1. Ban on any animal species non-native to the U.S. being transported and then viewed by any audience;
2. the only exemption applies to programs in which the animal is not transported at a “non-mobile, permanent institution, or other facility;”
3. violation penalty is up to a year in jail and $2,500 fine (Class A misdemeanor);
4. This bill amends the current law (720 ILCS 5/48-11) which only applies to elephants but would include ALL non-native species and those of a “foreign character” if it passes.

Illinois House Bill 3695 (HB3695) is a broad-sweeping ban on educational animal outreach and other programs with any animal species not native to the United States. This bill amends the current law that forbids using elephants in such acts. Any program with these animals that “amuses, entertains, or benefits an audience” will be banned. Animal rights and pseudo-animal welfare groups will again feed the legislators false propaganda and misinformation, so we must do our job to educate legislators properly.

This bill bans much more than lions jumping through rings of fire. It is a ban on taking a Greek tortoise into a classroom for an educational program about reptiles. It is a ban on taking a ball python, a red-eyed tree frog, a parakeet, and a hedgehog into a library for an educational show discussing the differences between reptiles, amphibians, birds, and mammals. It is a ban on llamas and any other non-traditional livestock at the State Fair or county 4-H fairs. Basically, if an animal non-native to Illinois is placed into a vehicle and taken to any location where someone will see it, other than a veterinarian in a private room, then it would become an illegal activity, and you are a criminal. You could receive a year in jail and a $2,500 fine for taking a leopard gecko into your child’s classroom for a presentation.

Similar animal performance and traveling animal act bans are being proposed across the country at both the local and state levels. Full disclosure is never provided by proponents as to the consequences. Typically these are pitched to legislators as a way to end any animal abuse that may be occurring at small circuses and roadside animal shows. Animal welfare laws already exist to address any issues of cruelty or neglect, and these superfluous animal rights bills are pointless acts and schemes so that animal rights groups can continue to feed their industry, and incrementally remove animals from our lives. Current laws should be enforced without the continued unnecessary and repetitive legislation proposals which do nothing more than waste taxpayer money and legislator time.
While some legislators and supporters will claim that the examples we provide are not the intent of the law, legislative intent does not matter after a bill passes into law. When it is law, law enforcement officers must enforce the law and not the“intent.”Additionally, in this bill “performance” is so broadly and vaguely defined that it can include any type of program.

In this bill, “exotic animal” means: any animal that is native to a foreign country or of foreign origin or character, is not native to the United States, or was introduced from abroad.

HB3695 was introduced again by Representative Camille Y. Lilly and was assigned to the Judiciary – Criminal Committee on February 28. It has been introduced in previous sessions.

Full bill details Click HERE

For Tips on Sample Messaging and Sample Letters and Talking Points: Click HERE

For a Link to Amended Language Click HERE

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