Predator control legislation out of line

Posted: Thursday, April 03, 2008

I was disappointed to learn that House Bill 256 was recently approved by the Legislature. A companion bill, Senate Bill 176, is moving through the Senate.

This legislation would effectively remove any requirement for the politically appointed Board of Game to use the best wildlife science, or any science at all, as the basis for implementation of highly controversial predator control programs.

Gov. Sarah Palin has characterized Alaska's predator control program as "science-driven." Why change that now? Is there a problem with state biologists and policy makers using current scientific methods? Implementing intensive predator control policy (such as aerial killing of wolves and bears, or killing wolf pups in their dens) without accountability to the highest scientific standard is completely unacceptable.

Related legislation, HB 348, would effectively remove our right as voters to introduce ballot measures relating to any future wildlife management issues by redefining wildlife as an asset, as opposed to a resource.

This is simply an attempt by Palin to impose the wishes of the sports hunting lobby over the will of the majority of Alaskans.

Specifically, this bill could block the upcoming August vote on aerial predator control, which was introduced via ballot measure with the signatures of 56,000 voters. Alaskans have voted against aerial predator control twice in recent years, only to have their voices overturned by the Legislature. This bill is an attempt to block the democratic process.

These pieces of legislation would strip Alaska voters of their right to introduce ballot measures pertaining to wildlife resources, and they would introduce socially and scientifically unacceptable changes to existing predator control policy. If you care about these issues, please contact your elected officials before it is too late.

Vic Walker

Juneau



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