One of the most potentially devastating legislative bills ever to wildlife conservation and to our wildlife conservation profession in Tennessee has been filed in the Tennessee General Assembly. House Bill 1112/SB 1568, known as the deer farming bill, will be voted on next Tuesday 29 March by the House Sub-committee of Conservation and Environment. That committee can defeat this bill for this year.
· Would give white-tailed deer livestock status by allowing private landowners to own them, breed them, sell them or their products, import or export them across state lines
· Would allow landowners to have, sell “canned hunts” inside deer pens
· Would place farmed white-tailed deer under Tennessee Department of Agriculture, not the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency
The bill would undermine the very foundations of wildlife conservation in North America - - the 200 year old Public Trust Doctrine that says wildlife belong to the people and must be held in trust for the people by the state and cannot be owned by private individuals. Giving wildlife ownership by private individuals to trade and sell will end wildlife conservation as we know it. It will also end the hunting tradition based on FAIR CHASE, not shooting animals in pens.
WHAT YOU CAN DO to help defeat this bill
Contact each of these key legislators by phone and email. Either will do but both would be best. Let them know what you feel about this bill.
It would be best if you would identify yourself as a constituent, not a college student. Make your message short, a ¼ page or less. Below are some bullet points to consider.
Act now. Contact the legislators below by 28 March. Your employment future and wildlife conservation depends upon it.
Also attached is the summary of a 4 ½ hour forum on deer farming held 4 march at the state TWS meeting
UT Student Chapter The Wildlife and Fisheries Society
Deer farming bill. Bullet points for opposition.
Opposition to deer farming bill HB 1112 (Niceley) SB 1568 (Ketron)
· White-tailed deer are owned by the people and cannot be privately owned and should not be converted to livestock.
· Wildlife under current law cannot be bought and sold for profit; no exception should be made for “farming” white-tailed deer. This would be a law enforcement nightmare.
· Deer brought in from other states could carry lethal diseases like chronic wasting disease that could devastate Tennessee’s deer herd and deer hunting and the $136 million per year boos to Tennessee’s economy.
· Deer shipped in from other states may bring in diseases, such as bovine TB that could threaten a nearly one billion $/year Tennessee’s cattle industry
· Diseases transmitted to cattle and deer by farmed deer have cost taxpayers in other states hundreds of millions of dollars and could cost Tennesseans hundreds of millions $
· White-tailed deer should be managed by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency not the Department of Agriculture
· Real hunters don’t shoot pets! It is unethical to shoot deer in pens.
· White-tailed deer are wild animals and deserve to run free not be put in pens
· The main people to benefit from this bill are those from out of state who want to make money from it by selling Tennesseeans deer of deer products.
Key legislators who will vote on this bill. Contact information.
House Sub-committee of Conservation and Environment
· Representative Ron Lollar, Chairman Bartlett 615-941-7084 firstname.lastname@example.org
· Rep. Charles Curtiss – Sparta – 615-741-1963 email@example.com
· Rep. Brenda Gilmore – Nashville - 615-741-1997 firstname.lastname@example.org
· Rep. David Hawk – Greenville 615-741-7482 email@example.com
· Rep. Mike Kernell – Memphis – 615-741-3726 firstname.lastname@example.org
· Rep. Pat Marsh – Shelbeyville – 615-741-6824 email@example.com
· Rep. Art Swann – Maryville – 615-741-54-81 firstname.lastname@example.org
· Rep. John Tidwell – New Johnsonville 615-741-7098 email@example.com
· Rep. Richard Floyd – Chattanooga – 615-741-2746 firstname.lastname@example.org