MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

October 25, 2008

Senator promotes Hunters Bill of Rights

An Oklahoma state senator said he is promoting a change to the state constitution that would protect hunters and fisherman from animal rights activists.

Earl Garrison, D-Muskogee, said that State Question 742 is also known as the Hunters Bill of Rights.

“We’re trying to put in our constitution the right for Oklahomans to hunt, fish and trap like we always have,” he said. “This will protect our children and grandchildren’s ability to hunt and fish like we always have in Oklahoma. I think it’s a good thing because most hunters and fishers are conservationists first.”

Garrison said one reason to establish constitutional protection is that hunting and fishing are important Oklahoma traditions.

“For most Oklahomans it’s a heritage we can pass on to our children and grandchildren,” he said. “Hunters are some of the most sensitive people in the world; they understand the value of passing this on to the next generations.”

Garrison said putting specific language in the state constitution would fend off any intrusions by animal rights activists.

“And you never know when extremist groups might come in and say this is not a good thing,” he said. “I think there is some fear that some groups will make it against the law to even hunt and fish because they think it’s cruel to animals.”

Dorothy Farmer, director of Promoting Animal Welfare Society, said she does not understand why existing laws are not good enough.

“We’re already able to get a hunting and fishing license to go hunting and fishing, so why mess with something that’s not broke?” she said. “Some of your animal rights groups might try something like that, but I doubt if they could get it to pass. And they would have to do it in each state. I’ve never worried about it. We’ve been hunting and fishing for years, and it hasn’t happened.”

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