Fight for Bear Protection in Maine

Target: Humane Society of the United States

Goal: Protect Maine bears from cruel hunting and baiting practices

The Joint Standing Committee for Inland Fisheries and Wildlife in Maine recently deemed an important bear protection measure as “ought not to pass” despite many aspects of cruelty involved in bear hunting. The bill, backed by the Humane Society of the United States, sought to protect bears from unsporting practices that cause unnecessary suffering, such as snares and hound chases. While the Joint Committee unanimously opposed the bill, the Humane Society can still fight back with a referendum in 2014 (proposing a ban for the same aspects of bear hunting as the original bill) and continue to fight for an end to bear baiting in the state for good. Urge them to continue this legal battle until cruel bear baiting is illegal in Maine.

A nearly identical measure was voted down in 2004, but it is likely that the increasingly severe issue of bear baiting will not be ignored by animal rights groups. The Humane Society has already pledged to ask voters to pass a new law via a November 2014 ballot question, but it would only serve to eliminate certain aspects of hunting. Since the bear protection act is very likely to be voted down, it is necessary to take additional steps to ban bear baiting in Maine, and increasing awareness may be a key factor.

Sportsmen and women of Maine successfully rallied against the bear protection act earlier this month by swaying the committee to vote not in favor. This interest group convinced the small committee that the measure was unnecessary and even infringed on hunter’s rights. If animal rights groups can take the same approach by raising awareness and rallying support to protect Maine bears, their proposals have a greater chance of success in the future.

At present, the bear protection act seeks to ban bear trapping and hunting with dogs, prohibit the tracking of wounded bear with hounds, ban hunting between January 1st and July 31st, and limit the bear bag limit to one bear per hunter. Opponents of  the bill claim it infringes on their rights to hunt, but animal protection groups understand that hunting methods are often cruel and unnecessary.  Bears are lured into snares and left to suffer for hours before they are found and shot. Hunters that use hounds to bait bear are no better, causing the animal unnecessary physical and emotional suffering. Defenseless bears are chased by hounds until they are forced to take shelter in trees due to extreme exhaustion. They are then shot from the branches and killed.

Too many believe they are entitled to kill or harm animals because it is their right as hunters. This is a sadly misled perspective, and one that causes unnecessary suffering to precious wildlife. Urge the Humane Society of the United States to raise awareness of cruel bear baiting methods, and continue to fight hunting interest groups in court until Maine bears receive comprehensive protection.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Humane Society of the United States,

I applaud you for your efforts to protect bears from cruel baiting and hunting methods in Maine. While the 2013 bear protection act is not likely to pass, I urge you to continue this fight by initiating a referendum in 2014 that would effectively ban certain aspects of bear hunting, and I encourage you to raise awareness of this issue as many are not familiar with the cruelty of bear baiting.

If hunter’s rights groups can successfully sway a committee against bear protection laws, a well-informed group of citizens can rally together to raise a voice for justice. Please do not give up, and please do not wait another decade to present additional protection measures. Bears in Maine need your help now, and I support your cause.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Forest Service Northern Region via Flickr

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3 Comments

  1. yvonne marie green says:

    I have been made known of bearbaiting/hunting for awhile. It truly saddens me! With the cruelty of the hunters at their feet & then, the barbarity of the baiting!!! Enough is enough!

  2. Betty Kelly says:

    Bear baiting should be banned in USA. Bears and other wild life need orotection from Human Cruelties.

  3. Those of us closely involved in dog sport have been long aware that the Humane Society of the United States is nothing more than an activist animal rights movement that has “appropriated” the identity of a long established and respected animal welfare organization. It is endlessly frustrating to hear their representatives quoted by media as though they were – often the same media that is finally alert and skeptical towards PETA.

    According to Activistcash.com ” HSUS has accumulated $113 million in assets and built a recognizable brand by capitalizing on the confusion its very name provokes. This misdirection results in an irony of which most animal lovers are unaware: HSUS raises enough money to finance animal shelters in every single state, with money to spare, yet it doesn’t operate a single one anywhere.”

    Like many groups of this kind, they have a habit of exploiting natural disasters to excite the donation stream. Hurricanes Katrina and Rita were no exception. Complaints from animal rescuers on the ground have been gathering for months, and now the Louisiana Attorney General has opened an investigation.

    Attorney General Charles Foti Opens Inquiry into Humane Society of the United States

    March 27, 2006: (Baton Rouge, LA)-Attorney General Charles C. Foti, Jr., announced today that his office has opened an inquiry into allegations involving funds raised for pet /owner reunions by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). The Attorney General’s Office is asking the HSUS for an accounting of all funds HSUS raised for the purpose of pet rescue and reunion with pet owners in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

    [...]

    The Attorney General is asking anyone with information about questionable fundraising activities by animal groups or any other groups to please contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Section at 1-800-351-4889 or visit our website at http://www.ag.state.la.us.

    If you want to support animal welfare causes, your safest bet is to donate to your local shelter.

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