- Wikimedia Commons
This week I want to give you a quick overview of two questions that may appear on your ballot so you’re not caught off-guard without information to make an educated choice.
Public Question #1 (statewide): Shall the Constitution of the State of Indiana be amended by adding a Section 39 to Article 1 to provide that the right to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife shall be forever preserved for the public good, subject only to the laws prescribed by the General Assembly and rules prescribed by virtue of the authority of the General Assembly to: (1) promote wildlife conservation and management; and (2) preserve the future of hunting and fishing?
You can find a thorough and thoughtful explanation of why this is bad for Indiana on Hoosier Environmental Council’s web site. Because I can, I will take a less tactful approach here.
Fellow Hoosiers, we all already have the privilege of hunting, fishing and harvesting wildlife. You may do so now, next week, in a box, with a fox, in a house, with a mouse. You can go hunting here and there. You can go fishing anywhere! (well, there are some limits) Why would we need to AMEND OUR STATE CONSTITUTION to protect this? Protecting our right to hunt and fish by amending the constitution puts hunting and fishing on the same level as freedom of speech, the right to vote, and freedom of religion. Meanwhile, it weakens the state’s ability to protect endangered species and makes it difficult to pass new laws protecting wildlife.
A proponent of the amendment was recently quoted saying that the right to fish, hunt and farm has come under attack in recent years. He said, “Well, some of them [proposals to infringe on the right to fish, hunt and farm] had to do with the agricultural side. Different organizations were trying to come on the property and show how animals weren’t being treated well, and the reality of it is — it is farming.” Ummm…“it is farming” is not a good reason for inhumane treatment of animals. And I can’t even imagine what “it is hunting” might look like if it were protected by the state constitution. Nice try, guy.
In the same article, HEC is quoted saying, “There’s no threat to hunting and fishing, and there never has been.” For those who fish and hunt, please continue to do so in a responsible way. I respect your efforts to feed your family and have no interest in preventing you from doing so. Voting NO is not a vote against hunting. It’s a vote against an unnecessary change to our constitution that will have long-term effects.