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Monday, October 18, 2010

AZ Fact Check to NRA: “False”

The Arizona politicians in the pocket of the NRA are trying to pull one over on Arizona voters. They placed Proposition 109 on the ballot, which would amend the state constitution regarding the “right to hunt,” but it would do much more than that. It’s a power grab by politicians and special interests to take away the citizens’ right to vote on wildlife issues.

In fact, the NRA’s advertising materials urging Arizonans to support Prop 109 claim the measure “specifies that wildlife-management decisions will be based on sound science, not the emotion inspired by radical animal ‘rights’ groups.” But the Arizona Republic, the state’s largest newspaper, issued an "AZ Fact Check" item examining these claims and declared them to be “false.” Here’s what the Republic reported:

Although Prop. 109 would change the way wildlife is managed in Arizona, there is nothing in the ballot language that ensures wildlife-management decisions would be based on science. Rather, Prop. 109 would give more weight to hunters’ rights by making hunting and fishing “the preferred means of controlling and managing wildlife.”

The bottom line: Nothing in the ballot language specifies that wildlife-management decisions will be based on “sound science.”

So the NRA and its allies blather on about “science-based wildlife management,” but the effect of Prop 109 is to undermine that very principle: to weaken the professional wildlife management agency. For 80 years, the Arizona Game and Fish Commission has made wildlife management decisions and scientific expertise has been kept separate from partisan politics. Now the commission is going to have to get clearance from the politicians before it makes a move on anything.

It’s clear the backers of Prop 109 are the ones relying on “emotion,” not “science.” They want to scare Arizona voters into thinking there is a threat to hunting and fishing, and into giving up their own voting rights. The fact is there’s been no attempt to restrict hunting or fishing in the state, but Arizona voters have made the right calls when they have been asked to weigh in on practices such as steel-jawed leghold traps, cockfighting, and factory farm confinement.

A coalition of groups working to tell Arizona voters the truth about Prop 109 today held press conferences in Phoenix and Tucson unveiling a new TV ad opposing the measure, and you can watch the ad here.

If you live in Arizona, or know people who do, please help spread the word: Say “no” to the power grab by politicians, say “no” to taking away voting rights, say “no” to replacing science with partisan politics, say “no” to the false rhetoric of the NRA, and say no to Prop 109.

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