Monday, December 01, 2003

Beyond parody

Stolen from Friday's WSJ "Best of the Web Today":
My selection for this year's Charlie Tuna Award goes to the Animal Protection Institute (API) of Sacramento. This is no easy feat considering some of the stunts pulled off by former Fish and Game Director Robert Hight.

The API pushed SB 1645 as law, which requires that anybody taking furbearing mammals or non-game animals must purchase a trapping license, available only by paying a fee ($78.50) and passing a fairly complex test. Now get this: Fish and Game Code 4005 defines non-game animals as including mice, rats, gophers and moles.

So now you need a trapping license to set out mousetraps?

Terry Knight of the Lake County Fish and Wildlife Committee asked Scott Paulsen, DFG chief of law enforcement, that question at a committee meeting Thursday night.

"We're not enforcing this for personal use," said Paulson, who then added that, because of the force of law, the statute must be enforced for commercial use.

That means if you hire a neighbor to set mousetraps at your house, or perhaps hire your gardener or a pest control service, that they must have a trapping permit -- or face being arrested.

The DFG did not support the bill, but the Animal Protection Institute pushed it through anyway, according to Knight.

"I can see the headlines now, 'Mice trappers face jail term,' " Knight said. "But if you get the permit, the real problem you're facing is that it takes too many mice to make a fur coat."

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