Monday, September 13, 2010

Tennessee hunting advocates want to protect their right to hunt

Tennessee voters will have the chance this fall to make Tennessee the 11th state to designate hunting and fishing as constitutional rights. "Advocates, including the Tennessee Wildlife Federation, say amending the state constitution will prevent radical animal rights activists and an increasingly urban state legislature from one day shutting down the activities," Anne Paine of The Tennessean reports. But some hunters and non-hunters find the proposal perplexing, saying that hunting and fishing don't appear to be at risk in Tennessee.

"We're trying to do something pro-active so we're not in a position like the people in Michigan when they outlawed dove season there," Mike Butler, executive director of TWF, a conservation group, told Paine. Butler noted that getting an amendment on the ballot is a long, complicated process and "if you wait until you need it, the reality of being able to get it done would be pretty difficult." Butler said he knew of no groups trying to band hunting or fishing in the state, but noted the state legislature could pass a law to do so.
"The citizenry has no protection over what the General Assembly might do when it comes to hunting and fishing," Butler told Paine. "Times will change as they always do. These uses of the land and the resources need to be protected." Animal rights group, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which opposes hunting, does not have a chapter in Tennessee, but an official with the group told Paine proposals like the Tennessee one are "frivolous." Ashley Byrne, a PETA official in New York, added, "All these amendments are a solution in search of a problem. If people have a right to hunt, why not a right to shop or golf." (Read more)

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