Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Pete the Moose

Last year, at the very end of the session, legislation was passed that made it legal for people to own wild animals. The bill was snuck through on account of a very charismatic moose in the Northeast Kingdom: Pete. Pete was a baby moose, who was orphaned and raised back to health by a almost-too-perfectly-woodsy hermit. Long story short, Pete was raised on a ranch that was composed of wild and non-wild species mixed together, and this legislation made it so all those wild animals became the property of the ranch owner. Today, this legislation was reversed in the house and it is no longer legal to own wild animals in the state of Vermont.
The story of Pete the Moose brings to light the clearly yet unanswered question of humanity's relationship to the "wild," but in terms of law-making another issue is highlighted: unfitting, and devastating, laws can get made, if they are brought to committees at the right time and are allowed to fly under the radar. I was glad to see this legislation pass today, and to have last year's law reversed. The vote was done by role call, and it was my first time seeing that process (for an overly-eager intern like myself, it proved most stimulating.)

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