Lawmakers move to make hunting a constitutional right


January 31st, 2012

Lincoln, NE – The Legislature moved one step closer Tuesday to putting a constitutional amendment to protect hunting on the November ballot.

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Lawmakers picked up where they left off last year in debating the proposed constitutional amendment. It would say that people have the right to hunt, fish and harvest, or trap, animals, subject to rules like those to promote wildlife conservation.

Sen. Amanda McGill said amending the constitution to protect hunting and fishing rights is unnecessary. (Photo courtesy Nebraska Legislature)

Supporters say they want to protect those rights and traditions against possible anti-hunting moves by groups like the Humane Society of the United States. Opponents call the amendment unnecessary. Among them was Lincoln Sen. Amanda McGill.

“We don’t have any real threat against hunting and fishing in our state. I would argue we don’t have a real threat anywhere in our country,” McGill said. “We may have one organization — HSUS — that may think that they are trying to accomplish that goal. But they have no pull here in Nebraska.”

But Omaha Sen. Pete Pirsch, sponsor of the amendment, says it’s needed. “We can tell that there is a serious threat. That one particular group you mentioned (HSUS) alone has over a $100 million in annual receipts and has indicated through statements their intent is to eliminate all hunting, all fishing, all harvesting wildlife everywhere as soon as they can,” he said.

Sen. Pete Pirsch says there is a "serious threat" to hunting and fishing rights in Nebraska. (Photo courtesy Nebraska Legislature)

HSUS President Wayne Pacelle says there’s no group threatening hunting and fishing. Nevertheless, senators advanced Pirsch’s proposal on a voice vote. It would need one more vote of approval by at least three-fifths of the senators in order to be placed on November’s ballot for voters to decide if they want to add it to the state constitution.

In an afternoon hearing, the Agriculture Committee considered a proposal that would make it illegal to get a job at an animal processing facility for the purpose of disrupting operations. The bill would also require people who have video evidence of animal abuse to turn it over to authorities.

Sen. Tyson Larson of O’Neill, the bill’s sponsor, said the idea is to combat tactics used by some animal rights groups. He described several recent incidents. “In the past couple of months, a large egg producing company in Minnesota has been targeted by a video taken at their facilities by an undercover operative in the company’s egg farms over a three month period. A turkey farm in North Carolina was recently targeted,” Larson said. “These videos have been edited substantially before being released to the public. My intent is to make sure that members of these groups are responsible to report these instances instead of using them for their own gain.”

Sen. Dave Bloomfield of Hoskins also described an incident at an egg producing facility in his district where one person threw a live chicken into a shredder while another person took a picture in an attempt to disrupt the operation.

No one spoke in favor of the bill. The only opposition came from Alan Peterson of ACLU Nebraska. Peterson said he wasn’t defending the actions of some groups opposed to animal agriculture. But he said the bill was too vague. “For someone to be charged with a major felony, as this bill calls for, because they had a quote intent to disrupt’ at the time they took the job, without a definition of what disrupt’ means, is pretty dangerous,” he said.

Larson agreed that the language was a little vague, and offered to work on it. The committee took no action on the bill.

4 Responses

  1. sarahs says:

    Considering that Wayne Pacelle, head of HSUS started his “career” as a hunt sabeteur, harrassing hunters in different areas of the USA, while still in college and with his stint with Friends of Animals even in the Yale Forrest, and was arrested several times throughout this career…..I think that speaks for itself. It is clear he does not like hunters. I would think a believer in classic utalitarianism would not. Of course being a vegan and working to end “meat” eating and costing the USA billions in the farm industry, it even becomes more evident on his beliefs. It is not about helping animals but doing away with the human animal bond. Much of what the HSUS and PETA does, not counting ALF borders on the fringes of the Animal Enterprise Terriorism Act barely is just inside the law yet bending the law every way they can.

  2. doug williams says:

    “The entire animal rights movement in the United States reacted with unfettered glee at the Ban in England …We view this act of parliament as one of the most important actions in the history of the animal rights movement. This will energize our efforts to stop hunting with hounds.” Wayne Pacelle, CEO, Humane Society of the US (HSUS), London Times, December 26, 2004

    “If we could shut down all sport hunting in a moment, we would.” Wayne Pacelle, Senior VP Humane Society of the US (HSUS), formerly of Friends of Animals and Fund for Animals, Associated Press, Dec 30, 1991

    “Our goal is to get sport hunting in the same category as cock fighting and dog fighting.” Wayne Pacelle, Senior VP Humane Society of the US (HSUS), formerly of Friends of Animals and Fund for Animals, (Bozeman (MT) Daily Chronicle, October 8, 1991

    “We are going to use the ballot box and the democratic process to stop all hunting in the United States … We will take it species by species until all hunting is stopped in California. Then we will take it state by state. Wayne Pacelle, Senior VP Humane Society of the US (HSUS), formerly of Friends of Animals and Fund for Animals, Full Cry Magazine, October 1, 1990.

    any more proof needed..??

  3. Charlie says:

    Since the hunting law passed in the UK its been a tense and aggressive environment for hunters and I would personal love to see a law made giving us the right to partake in a sport! its truly outrageous that we are unable to do what we want because a few people in a government building decided that something they have never seen happen is cruel. Then they don’t even make the rules clear, just have a read of the laws that allow you to go Shooting with dogs legally !

  4. Donna says:

    Bravo, Nebraska! It’s nice to see some positive legislation going through to combat these anti-animal groups, for a change, instead of ban after ban being proposed.

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