July 21, 2019

Maine: New Law One Step Closer to All-Out Ban on Wildlife Feeding

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LD 1818, a bill that is supported (and written by) the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW), gives authority to the commissioner of MDIFW to limit and/or stop the feeding of deer, bear, moose, and wild turkey, if the commissioner “has reason to believe that the type or location of feed may create a public safety hazard or may have a detrimental effect on deer, bear, moose and wild turkey…”

Hiding behind the threat of Chronic Wasting Disease, LD 1818, goes too far, in my opinion, in granting authority to the commissioner to exercise personal judgement based on their own perspective (a weighted measure) to limit or stop wildlife feeding. LD 1818 was presented as an emergency measure. Unfortunately, the idea of giving the commissioner authority to stop feeding wildlife outside of the presence of Chronic Wasting Disease, does not meet any standards of necessary emergency ruling. This one got away from the legislators…or did it?

It is no secret that the MDIFW has fought against the feeding of wildlife, particularly deer. This newly enacted bill now gives authority to the commissioner to do just that based on the commissioner’s perspective of what constitutes a “public safety hazard.”

Playing around with laws and authority in hopes of preventing or limiting the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease is one thing, but giving a commissioner pretty much Carte Blanche authority to make such determinations exceeds the boundaries of democratic checks and balances as well as a call for “emergency” establishment of law.

Commissioners come and commissioners go and with each successive commissioner, they bring with them political agendas and ideology that may be out of step with the wishes of the majority.

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