KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (Dec. 21, 2015) – A new law now on the books in Tennessee effectively nullifies a federal ban on killing black vultures.
Sen. Frank Niceley (R-Strawberry Plains) and Rep. Kelly Keisling (R-Byrdstown) sponsored legislation that repealed a state law prohibiting the killing of these federally protected birds.
Black vultures remain protected under federal law, but repeal of the state law will make it extremely difficult for the federal government to enforce its laws protecting the birds.
Gov. Bill Haslam signed the bill last April. It not only makes it legal to kill black vultures under Tennessee state law, it also prohibits the state from providing any cooperation with federal enforcement of its law.
“No state funds or personnel, or other state resources, may be used to enforce any prohibition against the disturbance of the habitat of, alteration, taking, attempting to take, possession, or transporting of a black vulture.”
The vulture issue came up because these federally protected birds were killing farm livestock and damaging property. According to an article in the Tennessean, Tennessee Cattlemen’s Association executive vice president Charles Hord testified in a Senate committee hearing, describing how the vultures are killing newborn calves across the state. Sen. Paul Bailey also displayed photographs showing buzzard damage at a Jackson County home totaling more than $25,000.
By removing one level of law, the Tennessee legislature made it much less likely that Tennesseans will face prosecution for protecting their livestock or property from these destructive birds. And because…