Stop Subsidizing CA Fur Trapping: Tell CA Fish & Game Commission to Comply with State Law

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Petition by Project Coyote and the Center for Biological Diversity

A coalition of wildlife conservation groups successfully ended bobcat trapping in California in 2015. But the job was left undone: thousands of gray foxes, beavers, badgers, and other fur-bearing animals are still subject to cruel trapping for profit and recreation in California. It's come to light that the state's oversight of its trapping program does not comply with existing state law. 

Join us in calling on the California Fish and Game Commission (Commission) to comply with a never-enforced provision of California law. If implemented, it could mean the end of commercial fur trapping in the state.

California law requires that the state's costs of managing a fur-trapping program must be fully recovered through trapping-license fees. But those fees cover only a tiny fraction of the hundreds of thousands of dollars the state spends on wardens, biologists, and administrators to oversee trapping. The Commission has never raised fees to cover these costs and instead has allowed an illegal taxpayer subsidy to prop up the industry. Absent that subsidy, fur trapping would likely no longer exist in the state.

That commercial and recreational fur trapping is still even allowed at all in California is shocking to most, but the fact that state wildlife managers have been illegally subsidizing this barbaric and antiquated practice at taxpayer expense is simply outrageous and unacceptable. 

BACKGROUND

By law (Pavley - SB 1148), the Commission is required to adjust the fees charged for trapping licenses to cover all departmental costs. This law has been in effect for several years, but the Commission has not complied!  

The Commission will soon be issuing trapping licenses for the 2016-2017 season, and yet the state issues these licenses in violation of the law. Trapping license fees do not cover the actual cost of implementing the state’s trapping program. The current cost of a trapping license is just $117, which is at least 15 times less than it should be to generate enough revenue to cover the cost of the fur-bearing and non-game mammal trapping program, based on publicly available information. Existing law requires that license fees be adjusted to cover the program costs of the Fish and Game Commission and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife in the management and implementation of the state’s trapping program.  

What you can do:

1. The Commission is considering taking regulatory action on this issue and we need your support! Please sign this petition that will be delivered to the California Fish and Game Commissioners, and let them know that the illegal subsidy of trapping must end immediately, and that you support a ban on all commercial and recreational fur trapping in the state. After signing, please share this petition widely with friends, family, and colleagues.

If you want to send your own personalized letter (see below for talking points) you can email the Commission directly at fgc@fgc.ca.gov. (Please also cc your letters to info@projectcoyote.org.)

For more information about this issue, see our action alert and read our joint letter to the Commission on this issue here.

2. Join Project Coyote, the Center for Biological Diversity, and allies at the upcoming Fish and Game Commission meeting and make your voice heard in support of this petition. More information and the meeting agenda can be found here (public testimony is limited to a few minutes and should be delivered during the Public Forum, agenda item #4 on Feb. 8):

What: California Fish and Game Commission Meeting

When: Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2017 (agenda here) @ 8:30 a.m.
Where: DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, Sonoma Wine Country, One DoubleTree Drive, Rohnert Park, CA

More info.: http://www.fgc.ca.gov/meetings/2017/Feb/02080917agd.pdf

3. Help keep this issue in the public eye by submitting Letters to the Editor to your local paper(s). Use the talking points below and our tips and tools for writing LTE’s.

Talking points (please personalize & be sure to include your complete contact information to ensure that your letter is counted in the official record):

  • A Fish and Game Code provision was added with the passage of SB 1148 (Pavley) for the 2013-2014 trapping season that requires license fees be raised to cover program and implementation costs from fee-based programs. Yet the Commission has failed to comply with this straightforward requirement for four years now. We cannot stand for a fifth year of non-compliance.
  • If the Commission cannot ensure that trapping license fees are raised to a level that would realistically cover the state’s trapping program implementation costs, the Commission should eliminate the fur-trapping program.
  • Fewer than 100 Californians engage in commercial trapping for the fur trade. As public trustees of California's wildlife, the Commission should require licensing fees that are in line with the true cost incurred by this tiny minority of people who enjoy trapping animals for fun and profit.

Project Coyote is a national coalition of scientists, educators, ranchers, and citizen leaders promoting compassionate conservation and coexistence between people and wildlife. To learn more about our work, visit our website here and sign up for Project Coyote’s E-Team to stay apprised of this and other related issues.

The Center for Biological Diversity’s mission is to secure a future for all species. To learn more about the Center and join us in this mission, visit us here.

Thank you for taking action for California’s precious wildlife!

 



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