Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting


LTE: Protect bears, hounds

I support the efforts by Maine citizens to advance a ballot measure to protect Maine's bears and hounds. Although it has been referred to as the "bear-baiting referendum," this ballot measure also seeks to outlaw trapping our iconic black bears and chasing them down with dogs.

Most people would agree that cruelty to animals is wrong. So how can leaving a frightened bear to suffer in a 2 1/2-inch foot snare for up to 24 hours be thought of as anything but cruel? And how can allowing hunting dogs to chase a terrified bear for miles, possibly separating her from her cubs and leaving them to starve, be thought of as moral? The dogs are sometimes severely injured or killed by a cornered bear. I eavesdropped on a couple of hunters describing how they lost their dogs in the woods and finally had to go home without them, returning days later to find the dogs freezing and starving. Where is the reverence for life? As Mahatma Gandhi said, "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated."

Bear baiting actually increases the bear population through high-calorie supplemental feeding, which helps more cubs survive. The bear population remained fairly stable until bear baiting began in earnest, in the early 1980s, at which point it grew rapidly.

Inhumane hunting methods are not necessary to manage the bear population. When hounding and baiting were outlawed by referendum in Washington, Oregon and Colorado (trapping had already long been banned), the bear population in these states stabilized. If Maine's bear population did need to be decreased, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has stated that increased opportunities for still-hunting or stalking, including lengthening the hunting season and increasing the bag limit, are ways of managing the bear population.

Supporters of the referendum are encouraged to watch the newspapers for information about a hearing to be held in Augusta in the near future. You may respond online at fairbearhunt.com/hearing.

Wendy Andresen, Camden


Endorsements

Wildlife Alliance of Maine
Animal Welfare Society
Spay Maine
Maine Friends of Animals
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA)
Coastal Humane Society
Animal Refuge League
The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS)
Halfway Home Pet Rescue

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Media

Maine Bear Hunting Reform Narrowly Rejected by Voters

Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting expressed disappointment about the election results on Question 1, but thanked more than a quarter million Mainers who voted to end bear baiting, hounding, and trapping.

"We are grateful to so many Maine voters for supporting this proposed reform, and we look forward to working with them and with ‘no’ and non-voters to outlaw the practices of bear hounding and trapping, because we believe there’s substantial agreement on that issue."

Read more here »

View all media here »




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