THE ‘RIGHT TO HUNT’ AMENDMENT PROTECTS CRUELTY
There is a proposed Constitutional amendment right now in the Oregon Legislature, House Joint Resolution 5, that would enshrine the “right to fish, hunt or harvest wildlife and gather wild foods by traditional methods or manners” in our state Constitution. At face value, this may seem like a proposal that simply benefits the Oregonians who harvest a deer or elk each fall to fill their freezers.
Unfortunately, the proposal is far more insidious than that. The language of HJR 5 would prevent Oregon voters from using the ballot initiative on any wildlife management issues. Oregon voters proudly rejected the cruel practices of using bait to kill bears and using dogs to hunt cougars or bears in 1994. Citizen initiatives such as these allow for us to actively ensure that wildlife conservation and management reflects the ethical conservation values of our citizens instead of a few special interest groups.
The proposal also uses the deceptive phrase “traditional methods and manners,” which is used to make cruel hunting practices such as trapping, snaring, baiting and hounding sound more palatable. The language is intentionally vague to avoid sparking resistance from the majority of Oregonians who oppose such inhumane and unsporting methods that have nothing to do with subsistence hunting. I urge you to contact your state legislators and tell them that HJR 5 should not proceed.
PROPOSED AMENDMENT WOULD SILENCE VOTERS ON WILDLIFE
House Joint Resolution 5, a proposed amendment to the Oregon Constitution that would declare a constitutional right to “fish, hunt or harvest wildlife or gather wild food,” is actually a deceptive attempt to silence Oregon voters on the subject of wildlife conservation.
As written, HJR 5 would make this proposed right “subject only to laws enacted by the Legislative Assembly and rules adopted by state agencies to promote sound wildlife conservation and management.” Noticeably omitted is the citizen ballot initiative process. This proposed amendment would make it impossible for citizens to bring issues of their choosing to the ballot — a Constitutional right in itself. The amendment is designed to prevent Oregonians from any attempts to engage in wildlife conservation, as we did in 1994 when Oregon voters chose to end the inhumane and unfair practices of hunting of bears using bait and the use of dogs to hunt cougars or bears.
Oregonians have a right to engage with the democratic process to update and improve wildlife conservation and management to better reflect science, ethics, and our state’s values. The wildlife here belongs to everyone. Whether you hunt or don’t hunt, HJR 5 sets an extremely dangerous precedent of subverting democracy, and would force wildlife management to be stuck in the past.
Great Old Broads for Wilderness
FIGHT BIG LIES FROM BIG MEDICINE
In 2019, the Oregon Legislature passed Senate Bill 770, establishing the Task Force on Universal Health Care, charged with recommending a universal health care system to offer equitable, affordable, comprehensive, high quality, publicly funded health care to all Oregon residents. In November 2022, Measure 111 was passed, declaring health care a fundamental human right of all Oregonians.
The next step is SB 704, to establish a Universal Health Plan Governance Board, which will create a comprehensive plan for implementing the Universal Health Plan beginning in 2027.
Inevitably, the medical industrial complex will fight this bill as it nears a vote in the Legislature. They will tell you that universal health care would raise your taxes and cost too much; they won’t tell you that their opposition is based on the money that they suck out of the current system. We are all paying far too much for health care; if you agree, you can help fight their lies.
Let your legislators know of your support for SB 704. And write or call the senators on the Committee on Healthcare: Chair Deb Patterson (D), District 10, Salem; Vice-Chair Cedric Hayden (R), District 6, Salem; Daniel Bonham (R), District 26, The Dalles; Winsvey Campos (D), District 18, Aloha; Chris Gorsek (D), District 25, Troutdale.
OREGON STILL HAS MORE WILDERNESS TO PROTECT
Throughout much of our great state’s history, Oregon’s public lands and rivers have been treated as places for a privileged few to exploit and extract profit. The environments harmed constitute the backbone not just of our state, but our country: swaths of untouched natural land capable of inspiring awe in even the most skeptical of adventurers. These natural treasures are some of the last remaining wildlands on Earth.
Here in Oregon, rafting companies, kayakers, businesses and conservationists have been fighting to safeguard the world-class Rogue River and its surrounding wildlands from the harms of human greed for decades. Last week, Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley continued their efforts toward that long-standing goal by reintroducing the Oregon Recreation Enhancement Act, a bill that would safeguard new wilderness and recreational areas, including places like the Wild Rogue and the Molalla Rivers while also protecting an additional 100,000 acres of public lands from new mining claims.
Thanks to our senators, we are once again taking active steps towards protecting our public lands, carbon-storing forests, recreational opportunities, wildlife habitat and clean water. After multiple attempts by proponents of old-growth logging to kill these protections, we are more excited than ever to see Sens. Wyden and Merkley’s Oregon Recreation Enhancement Act back and alive in the halls of Congress. We applaud their persistent efforts to get it across the finish line and, like countless others across this state, will be standing with them in solidarity every step of the way.
Public Lands coordinator for Oregon Wild
NO TO FACTORY FARMING
Oregon’s agricultural system cannot handle factory farming. Many of our agricultural laws were put in place before factory farming existed and don’t adequately protect our air, water and communities from factory farm pollution. You can see that all around our state. For example, the Lower Umatilla Basin in northeast Oregon, home to Oregon’s largest mega-dairies, has been a groundwater management area for decades due to high levels of nitrate.
This past June Morrow County declared a state of emergency over groundwater contamination. Residents with wells are unable to use their water and are now dependent on bottled water. This is unacceptable; all Oregonians deserve access to clean, safe water.
Even with all of these demonstrated issues with factory farms in our state, more are trying to move in. There are three proposed chicken factory farms in Linn County, not far from Eugene, that, if approved, would further entrench factory farms in Oregon.
Let’s not let this happen in Oregon. We can — and should — put stronger protections in place for our environment and our communities.
It’s past time for a moratorium on new or expanded factory farms in Oregon. We need a pause until we have regulations that will protect Oregon and everything that makes our state special. Contact Sen. Floyd Prozanski and ask him to support the Factory Farm Moratorium Bill.
SUPPORT THE RIGHT TO REPAIR
From as young as I can remember, my parents have taught me the importance of conservation. Although this sounds simple in theory, our capitalistic society is continuously shoving “The Next Big Thing” down our throats, making these values rather difficult to uphold. Companies like Apple purposely slow down cell phones by depleting batteries and restrict access to the tools and information that are needed to fix these self-induced problems. Not only does this create an unnecessary financial burden on consumers, but it further enables overconsumption, which is detrimental both for the environment and our bank accounts.
In simple terms, we need the right to fix our own stuff. Passing the Right to Repair bill in Oregon would require manufacturers to make available to consumers and third parties the tools necessary to maintain electronics, simultaneously increasing their life span and decreasing overall waste and expenditure. We ask that Sen. Floyd Prozanski support this bill for these reasons, not only for the benefit of Oregonians, but for the environment as well.