SCI Demands Transparency from California Wildlife Resources Committee
On July 15, 2014, Safari Club International’s (SCI) California Chapters sent a letter to the California Wildlife Resources Committee (WRC) demanding transparency and a fair playing field for public participation in the meetings and decision-making of the WRC. The letter responds to repeated instances of exclusion and discrimination against hunters in the activities of the WRC.
Recently, the WRC has allowed only certain interest groups to present at meetings. Animal rights and anti-hunting organizations have been given exclusive access to the WRC’s decision-making process. A “Predator Policy Workgroup” was established under the WRC to review and recommend changes to predator management policies and state regulations. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and Project Coyote are members of the workgroup. To SCI’s knowledge, no organization or individual representing the hunting community was asked to participate in the workgroup.
“SCI is dedicated to establishing a stronger presence at the state level and actions like those above cannot go unchallenged,” said SCI Government Affairs Chairman Eddie Grasser. “In order to combat blatant anti-hunter sentiments occurring across the country, and particularly in California, we need to utilize opportunities to voice our concerns on both the state and federal level. Discrimination against hunters in the workings of the WRC must be addressed, so that all citizens of California have the opportunity to weigh in on important conservation decisions.”
The current issue is perpetuated by the WRC’s lack of “formal procedures” that allowed the Committee to operate without parameters that would prohibit bias and unfairness in the WRC’s operations. SCI’s California chapters have asked that the public be permitted to play a role in establishing such procedures. Their goal is to make certain that the WRC’s agenda and its subcommittees are fairly represented by all constituencies interested in the WRC’s and Commission’s responsibilities.
“We support our California chapters in this endeavor and are appalled by the actions of the WRC. Preventing California chapters and other members of the public from playing an active role in the state’s wildlife management decisions is an injustice that must be corrected.” concluded Grasser.