Letter to the Editor

Area judge has chance to make right decision

Sunday, August 5, 2012

To the Editor:

This coming Monday, Aug. 6, at 1 p.m., Circuit Court Judge Frank M. Nardi will again be given the opportunity to serve the people of Indiana.

His third floor courtroom in the Owen County Courthouse in Spencer will be the setting for yet another battle on high fence "canned" hunting: A hearing to grant or deny a summary judgment, filed by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

Judge Nardi's court originally set the hearing for April 1, moved it to June 1, then to July 5, and now has it placed on Monday's docket.

Most Hoosiers are aware of the debate created by high fence hunting preserves: The ethics of hunting animals confined to high fence enclosures, whether these animals are wildlife or livestock, and the danger to Indiana's wild deer herd from chronic wasting disease, a mad-cow like illness that can be carried by animals raised for, and transported to, high fence hunting preserves.

There is no cure for chronic wasting disease.

It has now spread to 18 states and these states have spent millions of sportsmen's dollars and their tax revenue to combat the disease.

In 2005, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources handed down an administrative rule outlawing high fence hunting.

The people who oversee Indiana's wildlife recognized the cultural and physical dangers wrought by this activity, and took action to stop them.

Until that rule is upheld in court, the hunting preserve owners continue to operate under a court injunction.

The members of the Indiana Wildlife Federation and the Indiana Sportsmen's Roundtable, more than 4,000 Hoosiers who hunt, fish and enjoy wildlife, urge Judge Nardi to act.

At this time, the law is clear: High fence hunting is illegal in Indiana.

Judge Nardi should rule so.

Further delays are a disservice to all the sporting conservation groups and the people of Indiana.

Barbara Simpson, Executive Director,

Indiana Wildlife Federation, and

Gene Hopkins, President,

Indiana Sportsmen's Roundtable,