In November, Idaho residents will be voting on a controversial amendment that will make hunting, fishing and trapping a right protected by the state’s constitution.
The amendment, HJR 2, was introduced by Sen. Lee Heider (R-Twin Falls) under the guise of protecting traditional hunting methods and the heritage of hunters, but probably isn’t much of a surprise considering that it’s coming from a state that thinks it’s cool to use live animals as bait to kill wolves.
Idahoans Against Trapping launched a campaign against the amendment and makes some very good points about why it shouldn’t be voted for, starting with the obvious: Idahoans already have the right to hunt, fish and trap and if it’s defeated, nothing will change.
The group also argues that changing the state’s constitution to cater to special interests sets a bad precedent, the amendment will lead to lawsuits at the taxpayers’ expense, it will interfere with regulating wildlife and that issues involving cruelty, such as trapping, should remain open for public debate.
According to the group, “The intent of this proposed amendment is to eliminate the right of Idaho citizens to decide wildlife issues by majority vote. Its passage would take those decisions out of the Legislature and the initiative process and put them in the courts. State laws pertaining to wildlife would be regularly challenged as unconstitutional. Judges would be saddled with the difficult task of determining where regulation ends and prohibition begins. The rights of our children and grandchildren to weigh in on these issues will have been eliminated.”
Possibly the most disturbing thing about this amendment is that it will forever protect the cruel and barbaric practice of trapping in the state. Traps are notoriously inhumane and they don’t discriminate. Animals who are caught can be left to suffer in agony for long periods before anyone bothers to check their traps, while non-target animals, pets and people are needlessly put at risk.
An undercover investigation of trapping conducted by Born Free USA and Respect for Animals last year brought to light the horrific brutality that goes on behind the scenes of what some like to defend as a sound wildlife management practice.
The amendment is supported by the Idaho Fish and Game Commission, along with the National Rifle Association (NRA), which wants ensure hunters can use traditional methods and “eliminate any opportunities for well-funded animal rights activists to ban the use of certain methods like archery tackle or dogs for hunting.”
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