Pro-wildlife citizens deserve seat at DNR's table
From Animal Defenders of Westchester (ADOW)

We advocate on all animal protection and exploitation issues, including experimentation, factory farming, rodeos, breeders and traveling animal acts.

Pro-wildlife citizens deserve seat at DNR's table

Letter as published on The Cap Times
August 1, 2017

Since 2011 it has been abundantly clear that democracy for non-favored groups is an endangered species in Wisconsin. Nowhere is this clearer than with the Department of Natural Resources and how wildlife is “managed” in this state.

Approximately 13 percent of the state population participates in hunting or trapping. Despite such a small number of citizens relative to the total state population being involved in the “consumptive use” of wildlife, they are given 100 percent control of how wildlife management decisions are made in this state. While it is true that their killing-license fees fund much of the DNR, this is clearly done by design to exclude "non-consumptive" users from having a seat at the table.

I do not know of any non-hunter who would have an issue paying fees to fund the DNR and wildlife management in this state. We want and deserve a seat at the table. After all, wildlife is allegedly part of the public trust and is supposed to benefit ALL state citizens. Unfortunately, each time that pro-wildlife advocates and other non-consumptive users have tried to become involved in the funding apparatus of the DNR or wildlife management planning, we are immediately shot down by the hunting- and agriculture- lobby-controlled Legislature, the supposedly independent Natural Resource Board, and the special-interest-controlled executive leadership of the Wisconsin Conservation Congress.

Pro-wildlife groups are also specifically excluded from the DNR’s wildlife advisory committees, which are stacked with anti-wildlife agriculture groups and state hunting groups and their paid lobbyists. As taxpaying citizens of this state, ALL of us deserve the right to be involved in the decisions that impact the resources in the public trust such as our wildlife. We want to be a part of the funding apparatus and we want a seat at the table.

Paul Collins, Madison

Return to: Letters
Read more at Stop Hunting/Trapping