A coalition of animal welfare and environmental groups announced a campaign urging Arizonans to vote against an initiative which is designed to give sole authority over wildlife policy to the state legislature. The Humane Society of the United States, the Animal Defense League of Arizona, and the Sierra Club’s Grand Canyon Chapter today filed an official state ballot committee—Arizonans Against the Power Grab—urging Arizona citizens to vote “no” on Prop 109.
The proposed ballot amendment is intended to prohibit Arizona voters and the state wildlife agency from having direct oversight on any future policies and initiatives related to wildlife management. If passed, this measure would put wildlife management under the control of politicians in the state legislature rather than experts with the training and experience needed to best manage wildlife, and would deny citizens the same opportunities on wildlife issues that they have on all other subject matter.
“Prop 109 takes away Arizona voters’ rights and is a giveaway to special interests that defend extreme and inhumane practices,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States. “If we let the politicians take away our right to vote on wildlife issues, what other issues will be next?”
Prop 109 is one of seven constitutional amendments referred to the ballot by the legislature this session. Its purpose is to prevent voters from weighing in on future ballot measures related to wildlife issues, and could even nullify previous measures such as the 1994 ban on cruel and indiscriminate steel-jawed leghold traps.
“Prop 109 is a blatant power grab, aimed at excluding Arizonans from having a voice in wildlife management,” said Stephanie Nichols-Young, president of Animal Defense League of Arizona. “We formed this committee to stand-up for direct democracy and wildlife in Arizona.”
“Prop 109 will undermine the current system of wildlife management in Arizona and give science a backseat to politics, which is the last thing Arizona’s wildlife needs,” said Sandy Bahr, Chapter Director, Sierra Club – Grand Canyon Chapter. “Our system of wildlife management has served Arizona well since 1929, when hunters and anglers helped form the Game and Fish Commission. This measure puts the power in the hands of politicians.”
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