Legislation allowing livestock owners to kill wolves receives public hearing
The House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee held a public hearing this week on a bill that would allow livestock owners to kill a predator – including wolves – if they are witnessed in the act of depredation. Rep. Shelly Short, R-Addy, sponsored House Bill 1191 as a way to give her constituents in Northeast Washington another tool to deal with the increasing number of livestock kills. “If you own animals, you are at risk,” Short testified. “It really leaves my folks back home with limited help.” Short’s bill gives permission to kill a threatening predator to the owner of the livestock being threatened, the owner’s family members, the owner’s agents, and the owner’s employees. The permission would apply across all lands where livestock are found; both public and private. “This is about giving people options. Right now, livestock owners have no recourse – no action they can take – even if they witness one of their animals being killed and eaten,” said Short. “I think we all understand that the wolves are here and they’re here to stay. But it’s disingenuous for the other side to say ‘deal with it’ without giving folks over here any options. At the very least, a livestock owner should be able to protect their property, and with lethal force if necessary.” Also at the public hearing, committee members considered Short’s House Bill 1112, which would require the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) to identify the sources of scientific information reviewed and relied upon before taking significant agency action.
Short said the proposal was an effort to bring more accountability, transparency and oversight to an agency that makes a lot of decisions affecting her constituents in the 7th Legislative District.
“When you live in an extremely rural district like ours, interaction with – and exposure to – an agency like fish and wildlife is to be expected,” Short said. “We just want to make sure the decisions being made have sound, peer-reviewed science to back them up. Our citizens deserve the assurance that the agency’s policy decisions are based on factual science and not a particular political agenda.
The bill defines “significant agency action” as an act that:
· results in substantive requirements for a non-state actor with penalties for noncompliance;
· establishes, alters, or revokes any qualification or standard for the issuance, suspension, or revocation of a license or permit;
· results in significant amendments to an existing policy or program;
· results in the development of technical guidance, assessments, or documents used to implement a state rule or
· results in the development of fish and wildlife recovery plans.
“Significant agency action” does not include rule making by the WDFW associated with fishing and hunting rules.
###Washington State House Republican Communications