FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Oregon Wild Statement on Wildlife Killing Fund (HB3636)
Wasteful Legislation Does a Disservice to Oregon
Conservation group condemns passage of stealth bill setting up a wildlife killing fundSalem, ORE Aug 01, 2011
Below is the statement of Rob Klavins, Wildlands & Wildlife Advocate for Oregon Wild:
"With less than twenty confirmed wolves taking tentative steps towards recovery in Oregon, it’s unfortunate that some members of the state legislature remain focused on creating new ways to make it easier to shoot them. It shows just how out of touch these anti-wildlife interests are. This stealth bill was purposely designed to fly under the radar of the conservation community and the Oregon public. It seems many legislators didn’t even know what they were voting on.
"By specifically calling for the killing of one of the state’s most endangered, maligned, and least threatening species, the bill sends a dangerous message and hijacks the Oregon hunting tag system to disseminate anti-wildlife rhetoric. The Oregon wildlife specifically called out and put at risk by this reckless legislation goes far beyond wolves. It also targets bears, cougars, beavers, bobcats, otters, and more.
"Most Oregonians would be shocked to learn that the state is spending vast sums of taxpayer money (at least $840,000) to kill wildlife. At a time when Oregon is facing very real problems, most folks don’t think killing endangered wildlife should be a priority.
"Every piece of wolf-related legislation considered this year was an attack on wolves, wildlife, and the Wolf Conservation plan. The only exception was a taxpayer-funded compensation program that pays the livestock industry for losses that may or may not not have even been caused by wolves. It’s time for anti-wildlife interests to put down the rifle and pick up the check. And it’s time for the state to start focusing on conservation
"Oregon already has a very weak wolf plan that has allowed the state to kill 4 wolves in the past two years (with one kill order and 28 landowner kill permits still outstanding) in addition to at least one wolf killed by poachers. With wolf recovery stalled by these losses, anti-wildlife interests and their political allies have promised this is just a start. They have promised to return to Salem next year and again ask for more “freedom” to kill wolves.
"For our part, we’re continuing to work to educate the public about the return of wolves and counter the campaign of purposeful misinformation and fear. Wolves tend to only make headlines when they’re at the center of controversy – often manufactured by their detractors – but for most people, wolves are a symbol of freedom, wildness, and the West. Their return represents an opportunity to right the wrongs of past generations and restore health to the landscape. It doesn’t hurt that the landscape Oregon’s wolves call home is some of the most stunning in the world. One of the best ways to combat anti-wolf vitriol is through education and exposing folks to the positive – if often overlooked – side of their recovery."