The following is from The Wildlife Society on the violation of the state's role as trustee of Vermont's wildlife. They urge everyone to write to their legislature and ask for a repeal of Sec. E.702.1 TRANSFER OF REGULATORY OVERSIGHT AND SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS FOR FACILITY AND HERD MANAGEMENT in the 2010 Appropriations bill. Find contact information for your senators and representative here. http://www.leg.state.vt.us/legdir/legdir2.htm
For immediate release: June 02, 2010
TWS Contact: Jenna Jadin (301) 897‐9770 x 309; email@example.com
The Wildlife Society Sends Letter to Vermont Legislature Concerns Regarding Recent Bill Transferring Wildlife to Private Owner Statement recommends repeal of bill and return of wildlife to people of Vermont
The Wildlife Society (TWS) recently wrote to Vermont State Legislators in opposition to language in the state’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 appropriations bill (H.789). The problematic language allows for the transfer of publicly‐owned wildlife to the possession of a private businessman. The letter calls for a repeal of the section of the bill containing this language and the restoration of Vermont’s wildlife to its rightful owners, the public.
In the recently‐completed FY 2011 appropriations bill, legislators quietly included language which transfers ownership of illegally‐captured wild deer and moose to a private individual, Mr. Doug Nelson, and gives the Secretary of Agriculture, Food, and Markets sole authority over hunting within his 700 acre enclosure. On the surface, the language sets forth some regulations to protect native deer and moose populations from diseases carried by elk by creating a “special purpose herd,” however, this is hardly the underlying function of the language.
The language is a problem for multiple reasons, first of which is that taking wildlife out of the public domain and allowing it to be privately owned violates all precedent for wildlife management in the United States. As it is, this language amounts to little more than a license for Mr. Nelson to profit from Vermont’s publicly‐owned wildlife. Also a problem is that the language was quietly added without the benefit of a public hearing, opportunity for expert testimony, or engagement of the Fish and Wildlife Department or any conservation or sportsmen groups.
Michael Hutchins, Executive Director and CEO of The Wildlife Society said that "Wildlife is held in trust for all Americans; any legislation which threatens this long‐held tradition must be opposed, as it harkens back to the European aristocracy and is an anathema to the egalitarian ideals on which our country was founded."
TWS opposes private ownership of native wildlife because of the harm it causes to wildlife resources and long‐standing public values. All of the public should have an opportunity to access these resources for purposes such as fishing, hunting, trapping, and wildlife photography and observation, not just a wealthy, privileged few. These recent actions by the Vermont legislature will serve to undermine the foundation of wildlife management in North America by giving the public’s wildlife resources to an individual for his personal private gain. TWS urges people to write to their legislators to repeal this language and ensure that publicly‐owned natural resources are never used for personal gain.
Founded in 1937, The Wildlife Society (TWS) is an international non‐profit association made up of more than 9,000 professionals dedicated to excellence in wildlife stewardship through science and education. The mission of TWS is to represent and serve the professional community of scientists, managers,educators, technicians, planners, and others who work to study, manage, and conserve wildlife and their habitats worldwide.