Texas Proposition 6 Vote: The Right to Hunt and Fish

TEXAS PROPOSITION 6 VOTE: THE RIGHT TO HUNT AND FISH

White-tailed_deer   The agenda of prominent animal rights groups is known far and wide: no hunting, no fishing, and no animal agriculture. They are well funded, well organized, extremely radical, and will stop at nothing to take away our way of life. Recent attempts by anti-sportsmen groups like HSUS and PETA to hinder tradition throughout the nation have caused the implementation of state constitutional amendments protecting the rights of hunters and anglers. With the first amendment of its kind dating back to 1777 in Vermont, 17 other states have since seen the need for an extra layer of protection for their biggest conservationists and followed suit. The wording is simple, but adds enormous amounts of needed protection. For example, Proposition 6 in Texas, for which the people are voting tomorrow and would bring the number of amendments across the U.S. up to 19, would add text to the state constitution preserving the right to hunt and fish, and recognizing such activities as the preferred method for wildlife management. More specifically it would add a section 34 to Article 1 of the Texas Constitution, stating: “Sec. 34. (a) The people have the right to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife, including by the use of traditional methods, subject to laws or regulations to conserve and manage wildlife and preserve the future of hunting and fishing. (b) Hunting and fishing are preferred methods of managing and controlling wildlife. (c) This section does not affect any provision of law relating to trespass, property rights, or eminent domain. (d) This section does not affect the power of the legislature to authorize a municipality to regulate the discharge of a weapon in a populated area in the interest of public safety” The Proponents The proposition, that was SJR 22 while in the legislature, was authored by State Senator Brandon Creighton. He said, “With recent lawsuits across the country successfully denying citizens certain hunting rights, our Texas heritage is threatened and needs protection. Our state has an obligation to take a strong stand on this issue.” We couldn’t agree more. Much of the support, though, is purely because of the economic implications of losing hunting and fishing as a market, which would shatter the state’s economy. The 2.7 million people who hunt or fish in Texas each year contribute $4.1 billion to the Texas economy. That translates to over 65,000 jobs for Texas workers and $415 million in state and local tax revenue, out of which $55 million was contributed to conservation projects in 2014. Projections estimate that if the legislature allowed the passage of laws putting an abrupt halt on sportsmen activities then the economy would lose $11.3 million in spending DAILY. This would cause a ripple effect of $7.2 billion in losses within a year. Hunting and fishing is not only imperative to maintain a traditional way of life in Texas but vital to sustaining a vibrant economy. Sportsmen create a huge revenue stream for conservation, and do so without the extra government expenditures to limit animal populations directly. The money for fertility control and professional culling operations comes out of taxpayer dollars. The activities of sportsmen have and always will be a win-win for the American people and it is important that the people of Texas vote Yes on Proposition 6 to codify their rights in the highest law of their land. The Opposition Although slim, there are a few individuals and organizations that have come out against Proposition 6 in Texas, namely animal rights groups like PETA who have called hunting a “coward’s pastime.” In the sake of fairness we offer up their arguments for you to judge, feel free to express your opinion in the comment section below. The first argument comes from Texas House Democratic Roland Gutierrez, who represents district 119. Although he claims to enjoy hunting and fishing, he has stated, “When we do these things to our constitution and make voters go out and vote for these things, it demeans the document and it demeans us." Yet Representative Gutierrez would rather sit behind a desk and do nothing rather than write needed laws or have meaningful conversation. Case-and-point, despite speaking out against Proposition 6, SJR 22 at the time, he saw it as a political risk and abstained from voting instead of sticking to his beliefs. This is just another example of a politician looking out for his own interest and ignoring needed facets of Democracy. He talked the talk, but failed to vote. PETA, of course, had a statement on the issue as well. Lisa Lange, the senior vice president of People for the Ethical Treatment of animals, criticized the amendment and hunting itself, calling it a “bloody pastime.” She went on to say that, “An amendment to ‘protect’ the right to hunt and fish is bizarre and frivolous.” These comments are expected coming from a PETA spokesman who freely and proudly admitted to the organization giving money, over $1,500, to a domestic terrorist group during a Fox News Channel Interview. In no way is this amendment bizarre or frivolous. In fact, as we previously mentioned, it is a historical trend that is reaching states all across the country as more and more people recognize the threat of big animal rights groups attempting to strip citizens of their rights. Of course PETA would be against this proposition; they spend millions of dollars each year lobbying for the end of hunting – exactly what this amendment would protect against. Conclusion The arguments against Proposition 6 are the only thing frivolous in the conversation over this common sense fix to a nationwide problem. The amendment’s wide and bipartisan support could be seen in its passage through the state legislature 27 to 3 in the senate, and 111 to 1 in the house. Nearly all of the opposition comes from Washington D.C.-based special interest and radical animal rights activists that have no business in pragmatic conversation to begin with. Put in the words of Governor Greg Abbott, “Proposition 6 protects your rights as a Texan to hunt and fish. Texans have long lived off the bounty of the land. Hunting and fishing are family traditions, and we know how to conserve our natural resources for future generations.” Texas voters, we encourage you to support the governor, state’s economy, and millions of sportsmen that need this extra layer of protection against overbearing regulation on tomorrow’s ballot with a YES for Proposition 6.  

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