Outdoors: Pete the moose saved, but at what cost to wildlife?
Lawmakers' last-minute change overrides authority of Fish and Wildlife Board at Big Rack Ridge
Hallelujah! Pete the Moose, his pregnant girlfriend, Patty, and their entourage of whitetail deer friends are saved!In case you missed it, that's more or less how early news accounts described a last-minute move by a handful of legislators that spares scores of moose and deer in a captive-hunting facility in Irasburg from the cold-hearted scientists at the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department. Under rules the biologists helped set in 2008, Pete and his pals had to be destroyed if the owner of the facility -- a 700-acre fenced compound called Big Rack Ridge -- wanted to continue offering pay-to-shoot "hunts" for trophy elk, red deer, fallow deer and other exotic game.
The Fish and Wildlife Board adopted the rules governing captive-hunting facilities under the direction of the Legislature after years of expert testimony and public input, and with the unanimous approval of the Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules. It banned any new facilities, but otherwise gave Vermont's two existing game preserves almost everything they wanted, save for one thing: in order to receive a permit under the rules, they could not have any moose or whitetail deer in their enclosures.
The reason why is simple. Fish and Wildlife is required by law to sustain a healthy deer herd, and the captive deer industry is the No. 1 source of spreading wildlife diseases into new areas. Among many recent examples are costly outbreaks of chronic wasting disease in Michigan and both CWD and tuberculosis in New York.
Read more: http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/article/20100606/COLUMNISTS01/6060324/Outdoors-Pete-the-moose-saved-but-at-what-cost-to-wildlife#ixzz0q5wm1sNe