This morning a spokesperson for the Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks clarified that, as I had suspected in an earlier post, the trappers did not have permission to use state equipment to oppose I-169, a ballot initiative to ban the inhumane and unnecessary practice of trapping.
Here’s the email from the FWP clarifying their position:
———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Aasheim, Ron <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Monday, July 7, 2014
Subject: Seeking clarification on FWP position on trappers using FWP trailer to campaign against a ballot measure
To: “email@example.com” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Cc: “Toby Walrath (email@example.com)” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Received your note requesting clarification on the MTA using the FWP furbearer display in their campaign against I 169.
We did not authorize the use of the trailer in conjunction with MTA efforts associated with I 169. We understand and respect the state statute that prohibits a public officer or employee from taking a position on a ballot issue.
In the way of background the educational furbearer displays were purchased with federal dollars that were matched by in kind contributions from the Montana Trappers Association in the mid 1990s. Since then we have made the displays and associated trailer available for a number of events over the years including, in many cases, educational events of the Montana Trappers Association.
We were not aware that the MTA was using the displays in conjunction with their efforts associated with I 169 nor were any FWP staff involved in any way. When we learned of the use we immediately called MTA President, Toby Walrath, and asked that they not display the trailer in a way that made it appear FWP was a part of their efforts regarding I 169 which we were not. Toby immediately agreed to our request and gave his membership that direction.