We ask that ferret enthusiasts do not partake in the petition to the Sierra Club.
In March of 2019 UCFA’s lobbyists and advisors made it clear to us that petitioning the Sierra Club is not needed for the ferret movement and will do more harm than good. This information was openly shared via phone calls with other ferret organizations working toward ferret legalization. We trust our lobbyists and advisors who have effectively championed animal legislation at the state and national level. Their guidance has been invaluable to the connections we have made on behalf of all ferret enthusiasts.
The Sierra Club is a national organization with 3.5 million members, including many scientists who do not believe in our cause. Their mission statement is to “protect and restore the quality of the natural” environment. They are also well respected by many legislators here in California. By continuing to hold the Sierra Club responsible for this law it only continues to strengthen the opposition. (The Fish and Game Commission and Department of Fish and Wildlife govern ferrets in California. We are actively discussing our issue with the staff of both these agencies.)
Politics is about creating a network to succeed, no one can do it alone. Usually, you will see the same legislators’ names together on a bill, at events or supporting certain causes. UCFA members have been working tirelessly toward building a network of legislators to support decriminalizing ferrets. It is possible for a legislator who is interested in our cause to be informed by the Sierra Club that some ferret activists have been negatively targeting them for years. Those actions do not make us an appealing movement to work with and would be a fast way to lose a potential bill sponsor.
Over two years, a dozen individuals have shared with us openly that ferrets have a bad reputation in Sacramento. Ferrets need a new image and UCFA’s members have been doing a great job showing that the new ferret movement is organized, dependable and supportive. However, persistently targeting a well respected organization, such as the Sierra Club, does not help our cause.
UCFA has been talking directly to the Sierra Club regarding ferrets and our approach to address this antiquated law. Unfortunately, our advisors and our leadership believes that continued pressure from the ferret community will only damage our fledging relationship. There are diplomatic ways to effect change and we are using these methods to represent the our community in a professional manor.
We are grateful to our advisors for volunteering their expertise. With a professional advocacy plan and support we can decriminalize ferrets in California.
President & CEO, United California Ferret Alliance