It’s January, which means a number of state legislatures are back in session. And that also means HSUS is busy prowling the halls for its “state lobby days” and trying to push a number of bills, from hunting restrictions to farming restrictions to pet-buying restrictions.
Some folks tweeted us a video the other day of HSUS lobbyist Scott Beckstead testifying in Oregon against a proposal to codify the state Department of Fish and Wildlife’s recent decision to delist gray wolves as endangered. HSUS, of course, doesn’t want wolves delisted because it would potentially allow hunting of the animals, and HSUS is very much opposed to hunting. (It’s unclear what limits on wolf populations HSUS supports. You’d think they could be prowling the periphery of every small town in Oregon before HSUS might agree to reasonable limits.)
A couple of state reps from both sides of the aisle challenge Beckstead, with one warning, “Be very careful.” Beckstead warns that opening the door to future wolf hunting could backfire if, say, a hunter posts a pic on social media with his take. The not-so-subtle message is that HSUS would be happy to pour gas on the fire.
But the lawmakers pushed back at this notion, noting that the grizzliest videos they’ve seen haven’t been a hunter with a dead animal—they’ve been wolves chasing down and ripping apart still-alive prey.
It’s an interesting point. Instead of letting HSUS play offense against hunting, what if hunters showed fields of dead sheep and said, “This is what HSUS supports”? It’s not demagoguery if it’s true—and that’s the cost of HSUS’s litigation and lobbying against letting wildlife managers use science to manage dangerous predators.