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USOC Forces 'Ferret Olympics' Name Change

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) - After nine years of slippery, slinky competition, the Ferret Olympics is being forced to change its name - the U.S. Olympic Committee has threatened to sue. An estimated 75 ferrets will vie for medals at the Ferret Agility Trials on Sunday in events including the tube run and the paper bag escape. Only "they are not Olympians anymore," organizer Melanee Ellis said with a laugh. Ellis started the Ferret Olympics in 1996, the year of the Atlanta games, as a fundraiser for a local ferret shelter.

The Ferret Olympics didn't attract much attention until the local newspaper reported on it in 2004, Ellis said.

Within two weeks of the story, she received phone calls from the BBC in London, "Late Show with David Letterman,""The Ellen Degeneres Show" and, eventually, the U.S. Olympic Committee. Ellis, 44, said she could hardly believe the woman on the phone was serious about the threat of a lawsuit for unauthorized use of a trademark. "I was very, very disappointed and upset about the whole thing," she said. U.S. Olympic Committee spokesman Darryl Seibel said the committee's legal department on average asks about 50 groups per year to stop using the name Olympics. "No one is being singled out," Seibel said. "But the accumulated effect of letting that go unchecked would hinder the ability we have to do what we do." In July, a Minnesota rock band changed its name from the Olympic Hopefuls to the Hopefuls but was allowed to keep its signature track suits. The ImprovOlympic, a comedy club in Chicago, also opted to change its name, to I.O., rather than fight a threatened trademark infringement lawsuit. As for Ellis and her ferrets, she wishes they had another chance at Olympic gold.

"I'm sure Spaz is the most upset," Ellis said about the top athlete in her ferret lineup. "He never did win a medal at the Olympics. He thought this would be his year."

*Call for Action!* USDA ferret specific regulations.

We're pleased to announce we have reached a major milestone in the effort to get the USDA and APHIS (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) to adopt ferret specific regulations under the Animal Welfare Act.

In March of 2004, several ferret organizations sent a petition to the USDA requesting a revision in the requirements for housing and transport for breeding farms, dealers and research institutions already under USDA control. The proposed changes would not apply to small breeders who sell privately; rather they would apply only to farms who breed ferrets for wholesale, their distributors, and the transport they use.

The USDA has accepted this petition, and has now requested public input. They ask 3 main questions condensed here):1. Should specific standards be implemented for the welfare of 
domestic ferrets? If yes, please explain what standards you believe are needed.
2. What specific problems have dealers, exhibitors, or research facilities had with the current handling, care, treatment, and transportation standards and how would ferret-specific standards eliminate them?
3. Should there be minimum age requirements for the transportation of domestic ferrets, and, if so, what factors should be considered in determining those requirements?

The deadline for responding is October 4, 2005. You may respond via mail (4 copies needed) or on the USDA web site (via EDOCKET). It is URGENT that the USDA get a strong response from the ferret community 
to move forward with the development of new regulations!

For the full text of the request for input and how to respond, go to
and click on Recent Documents. Scroll down to Animal Welfare; 
Standards for Ferrets, Docket No. 04-088-1.

The IFC will be hosting information on the our web site, including the Notice of Petition and Request for Comments; sample letters to the USDA; and the transcript of Dr. Sandra Kudrak's presentation at 
the 2005 International Ferret Symposium in St. Louis this spring. Dr. Kudrak's talk provides an excellent overview of the very complex multi-year process of creating new regulations, of where we are in the process and what is yet to be done.

The IFC web site is being updated and new information will still be added, so please be patient. But in the meantime, please think about what YOU will write in your letter to the USDA, and how you will pass this urgent need to the vets in your area and the other ferret groups that you are part of. Input is needed from both individuals and organizations.

It was the wonderful efforts of members of the ferret community last year urging the USDA to take action that got us this far. Let's keep up the good work!

Remember, October 4, 2005 is the deadline to submit your letters! More details will be posted on our web site over the next few days.

Cross posting permitted and encouraged!

The International Ferret Congress

Ferrets in the News!

National Public Radio (NPR) features Ferrets Anonymous!

LOS ANGELES - May 6, 2004: NPR interviewed F.A. members for a segment on California ferret legalization. To hear the segment you will need either a RealOne Player or a Windows Media Player. Click here to go to the NPR ferret segment.

PETsMART's Secret Ferret Sales

by Lee Donehower

OAKLAND, CA - November 16, 2004: It started Monday with an email from Claudia in L.A. urging me to sign a protest petition and put the story up on the Ferrets Anonymous front page. “Make sure it contains the link to the petition,” she told me. "As ferret lovers, we need to put a stop to PETsMART's decision to test the sale of ferrets in four stores with nationwide sales possible later in 2005.  We realize that in California we don't yet have the problem, although, when ferrets are legal, this could be a big problem.  Remember the puppy mills?" But I still wanted to see some documentation on PETsMART's alledged proposal.

Continue reading the rest of the article

Action requested of USDA on ferret protection

Currently, many legislative challenges are facing ferrets and the ferret community nationwide.  Many of these pending legislative actions have not only repercussions on the welfare of ferrets, but also their health.

Now, an action is being brought before the United States Department of Agriculture and the Animal Plant Health Inspection Service that would request a revision in the requirements for breeding farms ALREADY under USDA control.  The proposed changes would not apply to small breeders who sell privately; rather they would apply only to breeders who breed ferrets for wholesale to the pet industry, their distributors, and the transport they use.

This action requests that the departments review the current protection provided for ferrets, and revise them to provide more breed specific needs.  Currently, no ferret specific guidelines are available for the protection of the health and welfare of farmed ferrets - and several groups would like to see this matter addressed.

Within the next several months, proposed regulations will be available for public review and commentary.  At this time, however, it is critical to convince the Department of Agriculture that ferrets need - and deserve - breed specific protection equal to that of dogs and cats.

YOU CAN HELP! Please contact:

Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman
1400 Independence Avenue SW
Room 312-E
Whitten Building
Washington, DC 20250

(202) 720-3631

Bobby Acord, Administrator APHIS
1400 Independence Avenue SW
Room 200-A
Whitten Building
Washington, DC 20250

(202) 720-3668
Fax (202) 720-3054

and your federal congressional delegation - use the below websites if you are unsure who to contact.

and let them know that the general public is concerned about the welfare of these popular animals, and for the health of ferrets across the United States, better regulations should be implemented - most specifically, breed specific regulations.


by Jeanne Carley

As you should know by now, our bill SB 89, authored by Senator Dede Alpert, passed the Senate last year but has not come out of the Assembly policy committee, Water, Parks and Wildlife. In the interim, the state of California elected a new governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, who we hope will be more receptive to this issue. He did tell two of our members during his campaign that he would sign SB 89 if it made it to his desk.

But, my father and I were in Sacramento recently meeting with one of the Governor's staffers and it's clear that the Department of Fish and Game intends to try to convince the Governor's office to oppose our bill and they may just well do it! So here's what you need to do and you need to do it now, because they are very close to taking whatever position they will on our bill.

If you live in California, sit down TODAY and write a short, one page letter to the Governor urging him to NOT allow DFG to oppose the ferret amnesty bill. Tell the Governor that ferrets are a domesticated pet that does not belong in the hands of a wildlife agency. Tell the Governor that ferrets are legal in the rest of the country and should not be banned in California. Tell him that you are aware of the 1996-97 Nationwide Ferret Survey by the Department of Fish and Game in which all 50 states said they had no suspected or documented ferrets breeding in the wild either now or in the past.

Write to:
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
Governor's Office
State Capitol
Sacramento, CA 95814

Please write as soon as you read this. To delay means we might miss our chance and letting the Governor know how much we care. If you don't live in California, please don't write, it's pointless. If you do live in California, please include your address in your letter. Remember, just because you support this issue doesn't mean you own ferrets. And if you don't write, the law may never be changed.

Schwarzenegger Supports Ferrets

Mary Jo

Well, I went to the party for the debate held at Cal Expo (the state fair grounds).  I shook Maria Shriver's hand which was nice, but well, I really went there to get the skinny on Arnold.  After Arnold's brief speech and watching Vladie DeVac (sp?), the Sacramento Kings forward, fall down on the runway, I decided that wasn't enough excitement.

I was wearing my shirt that says on the back "FERRET LOVERS UNITE" in an arch around a big ferret, then below the ferret it reads "ELECT ARNOLD," then in smaller print "RECALL DAVIS, ELECT SCHWARZENEGGER."

I have certain "privileges" at Cal Expo, so I park in the back.  I decided to see if I could talk to Arnold as he was leaving.  I was successful! First, I asked him if he would sign my shirt and he did, right above the word "lover."  Then I asked him "do you support SB89, the ferret amnesty bill?" He replied, "you bet," then I asked him, "if SB 89 reaches your desk as governor would you sign it?" His response, "you can count on it!"  I was so excited I just turned around and left.  After I was about 15 feet away I realized I hadn't even thanked him!  So back I went.  He rolled down his window for me again.  I said "I forgot something, can I shake your hand?" With a big grin on his face, he said "do you always do things in two parts?" I said "well yes, most of the time. Thank you so much for your support of the ferrets," and I shook his hand.  I was on cloud nine!  All excited and acting like a kid all the way home.

So now, California, you have your answer.  He will sign the bill.

We just have to get off our a** and on our feet and get him elected. Call every voting age friend and relative and ask them to vote for Arnold.  Tell them you are tired of living as a criminal and they can help.  Have each of them call others.  If you won't be in town, get an absentee ballot.  If you aren't registered I think it is too late, but you could still make the phone calls.  If you live out of state and know people inside of California, help us out and give them a call.  Ask every person you speak with, to make at least 10 more calls.  Time is SHORT!

Come on! No more talk, it is time for action!!!!! Do it for the love of our fur children, act NOW!

Evening Magazine

OAKLAND, CA - February 11, 2003: Ferrets hit the airwaves in the San Francisco Bay Area last night on the KPIX Channel 5 (CBS) Evening Magazine show. Though the piece was barely over 4 minutes in length, the story presented ferrets and their owners in a positive light. Video was shot for the piece at a Bay Area ferret Christmas party, the home of two ferret owners in Oakland, and at the home office of The Ferret Company in Woodside. There are some great shots of ferrets playing with toys and each other, having their nails clipped, and some emotional scenes of ferret owners whose first ferrets have passed on. Hats off to Jeanne Carley's assistant Amy who did a great job of presenting our side of the legalization issue.

You can download a video clip of the ferret portion of the show, but, be warned: it is a huge file (5 mb) and will only run on Windows machines with Windows Media Player v9.0 installed. Download is not recommended for dial-up modem users (at 56k, it would take at least half an hour). So, if you have DSL and meet the other requirements above, DOWNLOAD HERE.

Pat Wright Gets 96,000 Votes!

OAKLAND, CA - November 6, 2002: In a field of seven candidates for Lieutenant Governor of California, Pat Wright came in fourth with 96,364 votes, 1.47% of those cast and more than twice the number of petition signatures gathered for last year’s ferret legalization bill. Running as a “Ferret Legalization Coordinator” (which clearly appeared on every California ballot), Wright’s campaign as a Libertarian Party candidate clearly raised the consciousness of Californians on the ferret issue. More to the point, 6,575,459 Californians who cast a vote for Lieutenant Governor saw the word ‘ferret’ on the ballot.

Though the ferret legalization issue pales in comparison to the bigger issues of state government, Wright’s campaign served to awaken Californians to one of state government’s inequities and stirred many of them to sound off about it via the ballot box. Hats off to Pat Wright for substantially increasing the awareness of Californians to the ferret legalization issue!

Poll Results with 99.99% of vote counted:

Name Party
Cruz M. Bustamante (i) Democratic
Bruce McPherson Republican
Donna J. Warren Green
Pat Wright Libertarian
Jim King American Independent
Paul Jerry Hannosh Reform
Kalee Przbylak Natural Law

Ferret Training Tips - Exotic Pets: November 7, 2000

Ferrets are intelligent animals, and although some may be strong willed, they are quite readily trainable. The key is patience and consistency. Training techniques must be adapted to individual personalities, but some basic principles apply.

Continue reading the rest of the article

Ferret Photo Contest Winner
The Boston Globe: September 7, 2000

A Rhode Island Ferret has won the Boston Globe's Animal Beat Photo Contest 2000. View the photo.

Ferret shelter could use help
Las Vegas Review-Journal: September 6, 2000

A story in Monday's Review-Journal stated the 24 Karat Ferret Shelter was in need of volunteers, supplies, donations and people willing to adopt ferrets.

Interested parties should contact shelter owner C.J. Jones at (702) 876-8224.

The original article.

Rescuer of ferret at Tyson home won't let it be a trophy
By Ryan Oliver, Las Vegas Review-Journal: September 4, 2000

Nine months after rescuing an albino ferret at Mike home from near death, the manager of a Las Vegas ferret shelter says she hasn't found it a suitable adoptive home...

But time may be running out on the Tyson ferret, 52 other ferrets, and two mallard ducks -- one of which is missing a leg -- being housed at Jones' home.

Jones said she recently had to go on disability because of a problem with her arm and is scheduled to undergo surgery. The financial pinch and the daily strain of taking care of so many animals, many of which have medical problems themselves, are more than she can handle, Jones said.

Continue reading the rest of the article.

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