Wednesday, November 21, 2007

a win for falconry

After much hard work by Bill Horn of the Wild Raptor Take Conservancy, our birds are now our property.

Up to this point, falconry birds have been the property of USFWS and falconers merely "possess" them. We trap or buy them from private breeders (not FWS), we pay the vet and food bills, we go to great lengths to recover them if they get lost, in all other ways we treat them as if we own them -- but they were never considered ours. FWS had the right to confiscate them at any time for any reason, and some of those reasons have been quite flimsy, particularly during sting operations.

Imagine if this was the situation with your family pet. Someone (you don't know who) has told the feds that they think there's something wrong with your dog -- unlicensed, it barks too much, they think you're doing something wrong. The feds could confiscate your dog before actual charges are made, before there is any proof that you have broken a law. And even when the charges prove false, you will probably never see your dog again.

A duck hunter has had more right to keep his dead quarry than falconers have had over their live birds.

This change is a truly great advancement to falconers' rights. AFAIK it will be enacted at the upcoming revision to the falconry regulations.

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