In case you missed it, the Commissioner of the California Department of Fish and Game, Daniel Richards, just returned from a hunting trip to Idaho where he paid $7000 so he could participate in a canned hunt so he could kill a mountain lion, brag about it, and eat it. While legal in Idaho, his callous disregard for California’s prohibition on cougar killing represents his staunch anti-environmental agenda, which is deeply at odds with his position as the head of the DFG.
While legal in Idaho, hunting mountain lions has been illegal in California since voters approved Prop 117 in 1990. What kind of sport is it when you pay large sums of money in which dogs chase a mountain lion into a tree so you could shoot it easily? Richards then had a photo taken of himself smiling with the big dead cat. He sent the shot to a pro-hunting website, saying he was “glad” that killing cougars is legal in Idaho. Richards knows full well that it’s illegal to kill them in California because Fish & Game is in charge of enforcing that law. While legal (in Idaho), participation in this “hunt” is a terrible decision for a Commissioner to make, assuming of course, that he actually cares about an animal he is supposed to be working to protect.
California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom has urged the Richards to resign over the killing of the mountain lion, saying the killing of a cougar doesn’t reflect California values and the incident is a distraction that interferes with commission issues. I’ll say! The last person I want in charge of managing California’s environment is an anti-environmentalist who views himself as representing hunters. There is a huge conflict of interest within wildlife management agencies because hunters – a SMALL minority- oversee wildlife and their habitat that is supposed to belong to everyone. Wildlife agencies are mandated to protect the environment but they do the opposite. Their policies promote optimal hunting opportunities at the expense of animals, the environment and taxpayers.
At a time when it is increasingly impossible to get Democrats and Republicans to agree on anything, it is especially poignant that both Democrats and Republicans have called for his resignation. Richards’ response to the Legislature was, and I quote, “Do you really think a California commissioner is actually obligated to follow California laws across these United States? Really?” Yes, you moron, we really do. If I was the State Commissioner of the Drug Enforcement Agency, I would probably think twice about taking a trip to Amsterdam to shoot up heroin, brag about it, post pictures on a website promoting the use of drugs, and then expect the population back home to believe me when I say “Don’t do Drugs.” Hopefully, his inane comments will end with his removal from the commission.