We’re going to change the ban on ferrets with the help of our state legislators. Since March of 2019 our partners have been meeting with legislators all over the state to educate them about our cause. There hasn’t been a bill for ferrets in the California legislature since 2005 but we’re determined to change that. We believe it’s time to work with the state agencies. With support from agencies and organizations that were formerly opposed to bill efforts in the 1990s & 2000s, compelling data, and a passionate and respectful base, we will be able to provide a strong foundation for a bill.
Other paths to changing the ban and why they are not viable options:
- Permits: Permits fall solely on the Fish & Game Commission. They are a policy-making agency and will not change a policy that affects another department without that agency’s support.
- State-Wide or City Ballot: Too expensive to collect enough signatures to get on a ballot. Then there is a high probability that the issue would fail because of having to educate individual California voters. Yes, we all know and love ferrets but public perception is still extremely skeptical.
We’re focused on the one thing that all ferret enthusiasts can agree on: decriminalizing domestic ferrets. Not a single ferret enthusiast believes it should be a crime to own these pets. We’ve moved away from legalizing ferrets for several reasons.
1. Legalizing ferrets is a broad statement that is easy to oppose. It also opens the door to defeated past bills and complications. Decriminalizing ferrets is a new avenue for our cause by having a more focused idea.
2. We’re working overtime to rebrand the ferret movement. Unfortunately, due to the long history of this issue we need a new and positive approach to advocacy. We needed a new organization respected by other interest groups; we need to make friends at the Capitol and be patient and supportive of those we want to help us. We’re a small passionate movement and with a new attitude we can get it done.
We understand that the Sierra Club is a well respected conservation-based organization who supports the State’s stance. Our political network has advised us not to petition the Sierra Club. We understand that the history with this organization can be frustrating and ask that no ferret enthusiast engage in any petitions, letter writing campaigns, or public protest regarding ferrets at this time. We have established a dialogue with the state leadership of the Sierra Club. We need to maintain a professional attitude and want to protect our fledgling relationship with this organization.
In June of 2019, UCFA leaders traveled to Sacramento to met with the Fish & Game Commission. We understand the challenges to the ferret issue when in front of the Commission. To effectively change this law we need to coordinate with several state agencies including the Fish & Game Commission. We do not need them to classify ferrets as domestic to change this law. We ask that ferret enthusiasts respect our lobbyists, leadership and allies and allow them time to meet and discuss ferrets with the Commission. Please do not pressure the Commission to change their stance on ferrets at this time.
The Department of Fish and Wildlife has been long time opponents to changing the ban on ferrets. We’re working to address the issue with the cooperation of this state agency to find regulations that they feel are necessary to protect California wildlife while also decriminalizing domestic ferrets. We ask that ferret enthusiasts allow our lobbyist, leadership and allies time to work on the ban in a diplomatic manner. Please do not pressure the Department of Fish and Wildlife on this issue at this time.
We’re rebuilding the ferret movement’s relationship with United States Humane Society and are looking forward to working with this well-respected animal protection organization.