Green River Star -

Letter:HB 271 is very bad for Wyoming


Dear Editor,

This bill, which would allow private game farming of greater sage grouse, is both misguided and dangerous to our Wyoming lifestyle. The most damaging provision would be the loss of Wyoming’s legacy of disallowing the privatization of native species. Disallowing private citizens to “propagate, breed, possess, release, kill, hunt, sell...farmed sage grouse,” or any other native wild species, has been a pillar of Wyoming conservation and management efforts, and has been upheld by the citizens of Wyoming many times.

Privatization of native species drastically increases risks of unintended consequences; usually in the form of the spread of disease or the introduction of other unforeseen impacts into our native wildlife populations. A few unintended consequences Wyoming currently experiences are brucellosis, chronic wasting disease, red deer escaping from an Idaho game farm, lake trout in Yellowstone Lake, burbot in the Green River Drainage, and the impact of the spread of West Nile Virus on greater sage grouse in northwest Wyoming after dense gas well and waste water discharge. HB 271 has no provision for liability of unintended consequences that game farming sage grouse introduces.

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department leads the world in sage grouse conservation management. This bill would strike a serious blow to this effort and a proven Wyoming conservation strategy. Allowing industry to trade non-imprinted farm raised sage grouse for conservation credits to ease conservation requirements in core areas will only hurt future sage grouse viability.

A thought that farmed sage grouse could some day be hunted is also misguided and is actually offensive to most sportsmen. My dictionary defines a hunter as “a person who hunts wild animals.”

The hunting experience involves a deep understanding of a wild animal, and with that understanding usually comes a deep respect for that animal’s ability to survive in extreme conditions in which you and I cannot. Respect for the animals habitat also is an integral part of the hunting experience. Stephen Covey’s book about highly effective people suggests we “seek first to understand, then to be understood.” HB0271 seeks to privatize and profit from greater sage grouse, not develop an understanding of what is required to maintain their existence. Wyoming citizens have always chosen not to sell out our native wildlife for short term profit. We understand that Wyoming is blessed with world class mineral deposits and world class native wild species.

Wyoming’s citizens understand Wyoming’s resources, and given a voice, reject selling out either resource, and demand that their representatives figure out how to properly maintain both.

Please read the bill. It has already passed the House and is quickly moving through the Senate. Keep Wyoming native species forever free, not farmed.

Brian Strampe

Green River


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