You may remember that the New Hampshire Fish and Game Commission (‘the Commission’) made a decision, in a close vote, to make it legal to hunt and trap bobcats in the state despite overwhelming opposition from the public.
The Commission’s decision has been reviewed, in the usual way, by the Joint Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules which decided, following a heated public hearing, to block the proposal. They have referred the matter back to the lawmakers of New Hampshire and the Commission.
I presume that they have made recommendations for the state legislature and the Commission to reconsider the matter. Apparently they appear to have said that trapping bobcats could result in the trapping of federally protected Canada lynx. In addition, the hunting of bobcats in New Hampshire could harm the finances of the Fish and Game Commission.
There appears to be no reference to the moral aspect of killing a wild cat species in the state when its population in that state is quite small. In fact there appears to be no reference to the killing of bobcats for the sheer pleasure of it and whether that is immoral and inhumane (it obviously is). These are the sort of matters which concern the majority of citizens of the state. The role of the Commission is conservation not to support killing animals for fun.
In the public hearing before the review of the Commission’s decision by the Joint Legislative Committee two dozen people testified and most of them were against the hunting of the Bobcat. This does not surprise me.
The law-making process is quite complicated but as you can see decisions made by governmental agencies such as the Commission are reviewed by a cross-party committee (i.e. this is a bipartisan committee). This ensures that the review is balanced and not biased politically. In addition the review provides a check on any poor decision-making by a government agency.
As I understand it, there is no doubt in the minds of the majority of New Hampshire’s citizens that the decision to restart hunting and trapping of the bobcat in the state after more than a quarter-century is a poor one. The blocking of the decision does not mean that it will be blocked permanently, as I understand the law-making process. It does mean that it will be reviewed and I hope that the review brings a fresh decision that the hunting and trapping of this precious wild cat species will not be recommenced.
It would seem to me that public pressure on the ground and through petitions and websites like this one have coloured the thinking of the lawmakers (legislature) of New Hampshire and I am cautiously confident that, at the end of the day, the bobcat will not be hunted and trapped. Let’s see if I’m correct.