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Activists launch effort to defeat ballot proposition on right to hunt and fish

Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, speaks at a news conference Friday, Sept. 3, 2010, at which a coalition of animal rights and environmentalists announced an effort to defeat Proposition 109. The ballot initiative would establish a constitutional right to hunt and fish in Arizona and would give the Legislature exclusive authority to enact laws regulating hunting and fishing. (Photo by Lauren Saria/Cronkite News Service)

Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, speaks at a news conference Friday, Sept. 3, 2010, at which a coalition of animal rights and environmentalists announced an effort to defeat Proposition 109. The ballot initiative would establish a constitutional right to hunt and fish in Arizona and would give the Legislature exclusive authority to enact laws regulating hunting and fishing. (Photo by Lauren Saria/Cronkite News Service)

A ballot proposition promoted as a way to safeguard the right to fish and hunt in Arizona would politicize decisions about wildlife by giving the Legislature sole authority, leaders of a new campaign against the measure said Friday.

“It’s just one more bad idea from one of the most dysfunctional legislatures we’ve seen,” Sandy Bahr, director of the Sierra Club’s Grand Canyon Chapter, said at a news conference announcing the effort against Proposition 109.

Authored by Rep. Jerry Weiers, R-Glendale, and referred to voters by the Legislature, Proposition 109 would establish the “right to hunt, fish and harvest wildlife lawfully.” It would prohibit any law or rule that unreasonably restricts hunting or fishing.

It also would give the Legislature exclusive authority to enact laws regulating the manner, methods and seasons for hunting and fishing. Lawmakers could still delegate rule-making authority to the Arizona Game and Fish Commission, which currently establishes policy for hunting and fishing.

Calling their effort Arizonans Against the Power Grab, the state Sierra Club, The Humane Society of the United States and the Animal Defense League of Arizona filed paperwork Friday establishing a committee to oppose Proposition 109.

Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, said that giving lawmakers exclusive authority to make laws involving hunting and fishing would hinder the ability of citizens to put forward their own ballot initiatives, and not just on hunting and fishing.

“Today it’s wildlife,” Pacelle said. “But it could be any other cause in the future.”

Weiers didn’t respond Friday to a message left with the House Republican spokesman. Cronkite News Service was unable to reach representatives of hunting and outdoors groups that registered support for the measure.

Twelve other states include the right to hunt and fish in their constitutions, while Tennessee, South Carolina and Arkansas are voting on similar propositions this year, according to Arizona State University’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy.

Bahr called the ballot measure a “proposition in search of a problem” that would undermine a system that now uses science rather than politics to regulate hunting and fishing.

“The people of Arizona support animal welfare,” she said.

Some provisions of Proposition 109:
• Declares hunting and fishing a constitutional right of Arizona citizens.
• Specifies that wildlife belongs to the state and its citizens.
• Gives the Legislature exclusive authority to enact laws to regulate hunting and fishing.
• Allows the legislature to delegate rule-making authority to the state Game and Fish Commission.
• Prohibits any law or rule that unreasonably restricts hunting or fishing using traditional means.

8 comments

  1. It becomes increasingly evident that HSUS wants no more bond between human and animal, especially those one eats. It also seems that the vegan animal rights social movement is on the fringes of zero population growth as the answer to a better world. What a gloom and doom picture of the world because of our relationship with animals. They seem to present a picture of fear mongering in eating poultry products, eating dairy, and meat of any kind. I have to stop and think where did we go wrong to put human survival above that of an animal’s right not to feel pain, or be able to act in a natural manner. The one thing I find it difficult to understand, we know that HSUS donates to those running for government positions and donates to keep them in office or out of office or to win an election. Just wondering when the government is going to wake up to the real agenda of the vegan animal rights movement and how much they cost cities and counties across the USA in good old american dollars. Maybe we need to start adding the lawsuits, the livelihoods they take, the cost of animal laws that do not work and they just keep moving to take animals out of humans hands. I believe at the least the cost of the vegan animal rights movement would be several billions dollars a year that HSUS needlessly takes out of the USA economy. California is the least friendly state for pet ownership as Ohio will fast become a non farming state if our Governor listens to Wayne Pacelle.

  2. Prop 109 is a blatant power grab, aimed at excluding Arizonans from having a voice in wildlife management, and will enable politicians to control wildlife management instead of biologists.

    Its intent is to prevent voters from weighing in on future ballot measures related to wildlife issues, and could even nullify previous measures such as the 1994 ban on cruel and indiscriminate steel-jawed leghold traps, snares, and poisons on public lands.

    Voters should reject this power grab by politicians and special interest groups.

  3. More BS from the right-wing, whackjob legislators owned by the NRA.

  4. In the early 90′s, Wayne Pacelle introduced British-style hunt sabotage to the United States. He trained many activists and organized hunter harassment days, for which he was arrested many times. In response to this radical violation of peoples’ rights, all 50 states passed laws against hunter harassment.

    HSUS also wasted government resources on legislation banning so-called “internet hunting.” Even after an August 20, 2007 Wall Street Journal cover story (“Internet Hunting Must be Stopped – If It Ever Starts”) revealed that no one actually hunts online, Pacelle and company continued to go state by state to ban what Wayne called “pay per view slaughter.” He later whined that federal legislation against internet hunting was languishing in the Homeland Security committee.

    I don’t have a position on the Arizona issue, but I do know that HSUS is a gigantic scam and Wayne Pacelle is a chronic liar, publicity hound and the biggest power grabber in the animal rights movement.

  5. Previous attempts to limit voters’ access to ballot initiatives and to set a different bar for wildlife issues have been soundly defeated. Back in 2000, the Arizona Republic described a similar proposition as “an ill-founded fear that undercuts majority rule,” and “a bad tonic for a problem that doesn’t exist.” The same problems plague Prop 109. Voters shouldn’t be deprived of their right to vote on wildlife issues through the referendum process. The state’s wildlife belongs to all of its citizens, not just hunters.

  6. God gave mankind dominion over the animals, we have to eat and this country is supposedly governed by and for the people. NOW, if you choose not to eat animals that is your choice; or be governed by those YOU believe are more superior to you or your fellow man. I WILL stand on my own and will question if I would share with starving bleeding hearts! If by and for the people mean anything, it means the animals AND THE LAND belong to US! Some will resist, including ME!

  7. Hillary Dopp:
    Love your comment! My husband and I also noticed that Wayne was trying to make people think on The HSUS website a while ago that Internet Hunting was going on. We were like, “There isn’t any internet hunting going on!” What a fraud!

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