Judge should toss baiting suit
A vegetable farmer, the owners of a mom-and-pop store and some hunters have sued in Ingham County Circuit Court to overturn the baiting ban imposed after chronic wasting disease was found in a captive deer in Kent County.
[/align][/align]I'm glad to see that, because any sensible judge will read Proposal G, recognize that the Natural Resources Commission is following its precepts, throw out the lawsuit and set a good precedent.
This is why hunters worked to pass Proposal G in 1996, requiring the commission to use "sound scientific management" in making such decisions.
Whose opinions do you think should get the greatest weight in "sound scientific management" of the deer herd? Scientists and wildlife professionals? Or vegetable farmers and store owners for whom it's a pocketbook issue? Or maybe some hunters who no longer know how to find deer without a pile of rotting vegetables?
Some say the DNR overreacted by banning baiting in the entire Lower Peninsula because of one localized case. But that's required by the Michigan CWD Surveillance Plan, established in 2002. And I'd rather see the DNR overreact than underreact, as it did when bovine tuberculosis was discovered in deer in the mid-1990s.
I can understand why farmers and store owners who sell bait might make a desperate effort in court to change the rules. They're being hurt economically in what are already hard times. But we don't manage a huge deer herd in this state to give people a reason to sell more vegetables.