What would you do if you discovered a homeless female bear rummaging through your trash can, looking for a bit of food to eat, and leaving a mess on your driveway? Get a sturdier trash can with a lock on it, perhaps? Or go on a shooting rampage, killing her kind wherever you can find them?
New Jersey has decided that killing makes more sense when it comes to managing bears. Bob Martin, commissioner of the state’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), has signed off on a plan to permit the slaughter of black bears in the state beginning in December. The cost of a license to kill a bear is $2—making it a bargain for people who get their kicks by wielding powerful guns or who take pride in seeing the head of an animal mounted on a wall or in using an animal’s skin as a rug. Lock and load, New Jersey, lock and load.
Even the Sierra Club fought the efforts of “sportsmen” to reinstitute the bear hunt. “It’s never been about managing bears, it’s only about hunting bears,” an organization spokesperson said of the DEP’s bear-management plan. New Jersey has reduced funds for conservation officers and made cuts in nonlethal bear management programs, including a bear warden program, education programs, and bear aversion therapy. Simple trash management would help enormously; the single biggest factor leading to complaints about bears is garbage. And yet, trash laws have not been enforced. So the slaughter won’t solve the problem of nuisance bears, but it will take the lives of docile bears living in the forest. Not only is nonlethal bear management humane, it also works.
Please take a moment to politely urge New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to put an end to the ridiculous bear slaughter in New Jersey. If you live outside New Jersey, please let Christie know that if he sanctions the bear slaughter, you will not spend your tourist dollars in his state.
The Honorable Chris Christie
Governor of New Jersey
P.O. Box 001
Trenton, NJ 08625
To learn more about ways to help free-roaming animals, please visit http://www.HelpingAnimals.com/wildlife.asp.