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Editorial: Lawmaking Without Knowledge

Editorial: Lawmaking without knowledge

Western Outdoor NewsPublished: Sep 06, 2019

Here in California, as with all states, our legislators are elected by the majority. Unfortunately, the majority live in cities and most have absolutely no clue about wildlife management or the realities of living “in the wild,” whether it be humans living in the outdoors, or animals.

Why then, should the “majority” make the decisions about wildlife management when they know nothing, or next to nothing, about it? And even more unfortunate is that it has been determined by “someone” that the only folks who know anything about wildlife management, those in the Department of Fish and Wildlife, can’t speak publicly about legislative issues.

Oh, you’ll hear the upper echelons of the DFW talk about issues, but they are appointees by whoever is governor, and they are beholden to that person and party. You’ll seldom, if ever, hear the head of the DFW say anything based solely on the realities of wildlife management. They are all couched in party loyalty, and generally stupid.

Two perfect examples are Assembly Bills AB 44 (Laura Friedman, Burbank), Fur Products Prohibition, and AB 273 (Lorena Gonzalez, San Diego), Recreational and Commercial Fur Trapping: Prohibition. Gonzalez is from Burbank, and Friedman is from San Diego, both of them obviously fur trapping meccas here in California. These two wouldn’t know how to set a trap, where to put it, what to do with it, or even what the uses of “fur” are, even though they undoubtedly both wear leather and use fur products daily.

They are both examples of legislators who want to pass laws about things they know absolutely nothing about. They are both most certainly recipients of big cash donations from the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), and probably lesser donations from the pitiful People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), to sponsor such legislation.

So, let’s at least try to educate some folks: Trapping furbearers, especially those that live in or around water such as muskrats and beaver, is extremely important for maintenance of levees, canals, river banks and other water-control structures that are used for movement of water or protection of homes and structures. Both species burrow into banks, destabilizing the structures and allowing water erosion from within, ultimately to collapse.

Both species, especially muskrats, are extremely prolific and hard to control. And now, with the addition of the unwanted nutria to California, trapping is even more important.

Trapping has little if any impact on species populations other than in controlled areas where control is wanted, and the furs are a valuable commodity in the use of clothing for warmth, style and fashion. All told, anyone who wants to outlaw fur trapping is simply uneducated and unaware of the benefits of trapping. Quite probably influenced by animal-rights advocates and anti-hunting, anti-trapping groups who are equally uneducated and unaware.

Trapping, under the laws of those trained and educated specialists within the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, are the only ones who can, or should, dictate how the wildlife of California should be controlled.

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