Anti-hunting activists in Oregon and Florida are hoping to implement their radical agenda via the ballot initiative process rather than through their state legislatures.
In Oregon, an animal rights group is working to get a measure on next year’s ballot that would effectively ban all hunting and fishing. In Florida, activists are hoping to get a constitutional amendment on the ballot that would ban the hunting of certain “iconic species” and totally outlaw game preserves.
“If passed, IP 13 would immediately impact Oregon’s 940,000 sportsmen and women who participate in the outdoors in support of conservation efforts, food procurement, and tradition,” the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation says of the Oregon initiative. “For generations, Oregonians from across the state have relied on Oregon’s rich natural bounty to provide fresh meat and fish for their families. The proposed initiative would also significantly impact the state’s ability to manage and protect its natural resources, wildlife, and public lands.”
Oregon’s Initiative Petition 13 would remove all protections for anyone who intentionally harms or kills an animal. Under current law, hunting, angling, livestock raising, and other legal activities are protected (within reason) from the state’s animal cruelty laws.
IP 13 would remove those protections. Anyone caught killing an animal, even for the purpose of meat procurement, would be subject to felony charges.
The initiative also effectively outlaws livestock breeding by defining such activities as animal sexual abuse. Anyone caught touching an animal’s sex organs for any reason other than “good veterinary practices” would be subject to a felony.
The group pushing for IP 13, “End Animal Cruelty,” only needs just over 122,000 signatures by July to get the petition on next year’s ballot.
In Florida, activists are hoping to get five constitutional amendments on the ballot, all of which are supposedly designed to “keep Florida alive.”
One would outlaw hunting “Florida Iconic Species,” including Florida Black Bear, Florida Panther, Manatees, and Key Deer. Most of the animals on the list are already protected under federal or state law, but the measure also allows anyone to petition the state to add additional animals.
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New Florida Iconic Species must either be native to Florida, identified as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act, or be “symbolic of the state.” The measure does not define what it means by “symbolic,” nor does it list criteria for the petition to be granted.
Animals only have to meet one of the measure’s three criteria to be considered for the “Iconic Species” list.
Another initiative characterizes game preserves as “captive wildlife hunting” and summarily bans all facilities that engage in the business. Proponents argue that such preserves pose a threat to native species and risk disease transmission.
The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation points out that this initiative would threaten the state’s hunting traditions and undermine the Florida Wildlife Commission’s authority.
Activists need 900,000 signatures by November 30 of this year to add these measures to the ballot in 2022.