In a surprise move, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and its affiliate group the Arizonans for Wildlife announced that they are suspending their efforts to gather signatures for a ballot initiative that would have banned hunting mountain lions and bobcats on Arizona.
This controversial action, if approved by voters, would have changed the way wildlife is managed in Arizona.
Even though the Arizona Game & Fish Department was prevented from commenting on the proposed ban, the fact is that the Department’s biological opinion was that mountain lions and bobcats were not in any kind of danger from overhunting in this state.
The program, as proposed by HSUS, was going to be exactly what California has had in place for years, and one just has to read to know what a failure that the lion ban has been in that state.
Fortunately, the issue is now a moot point.
In announcing that HSUS and Arizonans For Wildlife were ceasing in their efforts to gather 150,642 signatures to put the measure on the ballot, the acting CEO for HSUS, Kitty Block stated, “Facing an increasingly competitive state and national landscape, we are suspending efforts on our citizens’ initiative to ban trophy hunting of wild cats in Arizona. This difficult decision is the result of a perfect storm of local obstacles and emerging national issues and does not reflect Arizona voters’ enthusiasm for this proposal to ban inhumane trophy hunting practices.”
“The fact of the matter is, mountain lion hunting was never an issue for Arizonans,” said Evan Heusinkveld, president and CEO of the Sportsman’s Alliance. “From the state, this has been a case of a rich, Washington, D.C.-based animal rights organization attempting to force their radical agenda on unsuspecting citizens of Arizona. Just follow the money, and the picture becomes crystal clear as to who was pushing this ban.”
Though HSUS is suspending their efforts for now, Block promises that HSUS would be back to continue to fight for lions and other game animals. Heusinkveld said that HSUS had poured over $700,000 into the campaign to get the issue on the ballot.
While some are hailing this as a victory, it may be too soon to celebrate. While this battle may be over, the war is still ongoing.