Crafton '12, Miller '12 Analyze Vermont's Wildlife Management
October 25, 2011
A paper by Vermont Law School students Meredith Crafton '12 and Patrick Miller '12, titled "The Nelson Amendment," was recently listed on SSRN's Top Ten download list for Animal Law eJournal.
The paper examines the Vermont Legislature's handling of "Pete the Moose," a young moose calf living within a privately owned, 700-acre captive game facility. Pete, who was the focus of a grassroots campaign to prevent his allegedly imminent destruction, became the central figure in a debate over whether a private party could possess any ownership interest in wildlife animals.
"The fight to save Pete and the subsequent legislation invoke important traditional and contemporary issues of property rights, hunting rights, and animal rights, including the privatization and domestication of wildlife, the importation of big game into Vermont, and the ethics of allowing such facilities to operate in this state," the paper said. "This legislation, known as the 'Nelson Amendment,' was enacted, without discussion, as part of the fiscal year 2011 Joint Appropriations Act. The Amendment may have 'stayed' Pete's demise, but it eroded fundamental principles of wildlife management and hunting regulations by effectively rewarding a private landowner's continued attempts to thwart wildlife regulations and illegally entrap wild animals on his property. The facility where Pete lives and the Amendment threaten the health of wildlife in Vermont and the state's authority to manage and regulate that wildlife."