Proposed ballot initiative in Oregon would ban hunting, fishing and trapping

(Pat Droney, Law Enforcement Today) OREGON- While crime continues to spiral out of control in Oregon cities such as Portland, it must be gratifying to state residents that some in the state are laser-focused on issues such as eliminating hunting, fishing and trapping.

That is the hope of coastal elites in the state, who are hoping to put a dagger in Oregon’s tourism and sporting industries.

According to an op-ed in a publication called CFACT, a ballot initiative proposed for the 2022 ballot called Initiative Petition 13 (IP13), otherwise known as the Abuse, Neglect and Assault Exemption Modification and Improvement Act would ban the harvesting of any animal by hunting, fishing and trapping and would only allow a self-defense objection.

IP13 would also criminalize hunting for food and common breeding practices such as animal insemination, typically used for breeding horses, for example.

If you thought leftists were wacky already, this takes it to a whole new level. Proponents of this initiative say it will turn Oregon into a “sanctuary state” for animals and are hoping other states will follow Oregon’s example.

Supporters of IP13 have until June 22, 2022, to collect the 112,000 valid signatures necessary to get it on the ballot for the November 2022 election.

Ironically, the proponents of this measure are cutting off their nose to spite their face.

According to the author of the piece, Bonner Cohen, Ph.D., if this ballot initiative somehow becomes law, it would not only end the practices of hunting, fishing and trapping in the state, but would also have a significant, negative impact on all wildlife in Oregon due to eliminating the primary source of funding wildlife management efforts.

Without revenues from license fees, so-called Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson funds, the state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife will be unable to carry out its mission.

The Pittman-Robertson Fund was established in 1937, known as the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act.

The act authorizes that excise tax revenue from the sale of firearms and ammunition will be directed to state fish and game agencies for a variety of projects related to wildlife, conservation efforts and shooting programs. That tax currently amounts to 11%.

Dingell-Johnson, also known as the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Recreation Act, allows for a 10% excise tax on sport fishing and boating equipment.

The money can be used by the respective state to fund fishing and boating recreation management. That fund is a cooperative effort between state and federal wildlife agencies, the fishing tackle industry, anglers and boaters.

Any state law banning hunting and fishing would have a detrimental effect on revenues for wildlife conservation, reducing the number gained from these federal laws to near zero.

“It is quite ironic that proponents of this ill-advised campaign claim they want to protect animals, but this initiative will ultimately hamstring the men and women who have dedicated their lives to preserving wildlife through sound science-based conservation efforts,” said Jacob Hupp, associate director of state services at the Sportsmen’s Alliance.

“Unfortunately, there is no humor in this irony and the Sportsmen’s Alliance and our partners in Oregon are in the process of organizing to defeat this dangerous campaign that threatens the livelihood of Oregonians.”

The Sportsmen’s Alliance is a national organization that supports conservation programs.

According to 2018 data from Pew Charitable Trusts, the economic contributions to Oregon’s economy from hunting, fishing and so-called “wildlife watching” visits is staggering.

It accounted for over 5,500 jobs, $196 million in salaries and wages, $622 million in sales, $27 million in state and local tax revenue, and $45 million in federal tax revenue. In other words, it would have a devastating and substantial negative economic impact on Oregon.

Aside from the economic impact from banning fishing, hunting and trapping, the initiative would in essence criminalize everything from slaughtering livestock to typical animal husbandry practices, such as branding and dehorning cattle, castrating bulls, and docking horses, sheep and pigs, according to Mary Ann Cooper, vice president of public affairs for the Oregon Farm Bureau.

Stunningly, the measure would reclassify animal breeding and artificial insemination as sexual assault of an animal—a Class C felony.

The individual behind this ridiculous initiative measure is a man named David Michelson, described as a Portland animal rights activist.

Oregon is also not the only state where such a measure is being proposed.

A similar proposal is being put forth in Colorado, called the Protect Animals from Unnecessary Suffering and Exploitation (PAUSE) Act. Taken together, the two initiatives would ban animal agriculture in both states.

In Colorado, the economic impact from such a ban on only the hunting and fishing industries would be devastating, according to the Colorado Wildlife Council, where 25,000 jobs are supported by the two industries. They report that anglers contribute $2.445 billion annually to Colorado’s economy, while hunters result in a $843 million windfall for the state.

As the Council noted, license fees on hunters and fishermen accounts for most of the funding to protect and manage Colorado’s wildlife population, including managing threatened and endangered species programs, wildlife reintroductions and habitat conservation.

Were these two revenue sources eliminated, Colorado taxpayers would be on the hook for those funds. As always, the devil is in the details.

As Cohen wrote, those pushing the short-sighted initiative in Oregon have a very good chance of getting IP 13 on the ballot, noting that if they concentrate their efforts in cities such as Portland and Eugene, chock full of leftists who do not hunt or fish, they will likely gather enough signatures.

As he noted, this campaign will drive a further wedge between the urban areas of Portland, along with other urban coastal areas of the state, and rural parts of the state east of the Cascade Mountains. Ironically, this area is in the midst of a push to secede from Oregon and join the neighboring not-so-crazy state of Idaho. Passing of this measure may just move that effort into overdrive.

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