Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting


Release: IF&W Halts Use of Taxpayer Money to Campaign Against Question 1 In Response to Lawsuit

Government lawyers promise no further expenditures and disclosure of additional government records

(Oct. 16, 2014) – On the eve of a court hearing, the state Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has announced it will expend no “additional funds or resources” in furtherance of what the proponents of Question 1 allege is the illegal diversion of taxpayer money to conduct a political campaign in opposition to Question 1. The representation was offered in response to Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting’s request for an emergency injunction, set to be heard Oct. 17 in Portland, Maine.

In court filings, the IF&W argues the requested injunction is not needed because “the Department has no plans to expend additional agency funds or resources to create new YouTube videos supporting bear hunting, hounding or trapping prior to the November 2014 ballot question,” and is not going to “create any other IFW visual media projects involving bears, bear baiting, hounding or trapping, or bear management prior to the November 2014 ballot election.”

The IF&W goes on to note that “IFW biologists and game wardens shown in the advertisements may have appeared during work hours” but that “no further expenditures on the part of IFW will be incurred….” Although the IF&W continues to maintain that its actions are lawful, the agency also delivered additional documents to the plaintiffs today, and promised the court that further disclosures will be forthcoming.

Katie Hansberry, campaign director for Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting, said: “The IF&W has strayed far beyond the bounds of acceptable conduct in politicking and spending state resources to defend the unsporting and inhumane practices of bear baiting, hounding and trapping. It’s impossible to unring the bell at this point, but it’s good to put the brakes on some of its overreaching and illegal activities and we’re asking the court to enforce their promises. The agency has long been an outlier on bear management issues, given that no other state allows all three cruel and unsporting practices.”

The Maine IF&W allows bear baiters to dump garbage in the woods, and is the only state wildlife agency to allow recreational bear trapping. Despite discouraging the feeding of bears, deer and other animals, the Maine IF&W allows seven million pounds of garbage to be dumped into the woods a year. Studies in Maine show bears are reproducing more frequently, as baiting activity has become so commercialized and gotten out of control.

IF&W’s campaign also tries to frighten Mainers into believing Question 1 will somehow threaten public safety, ignoring the fact that Question 1 contains express exemptions for the protection of property, public safety and research. The state’s nonpartisan Office of Fiscal and Program Review analyzed the economic effect of ending bear baiting and determined it will have “no net revenue impact” on state government, contradicting statements from IF&W personnel. In aid for with regulated funds by the committee of Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting, PO Box 15367, Portland ME 04112 fact, when other large bear hunting states banned baiting and hounding, they saw an increase in the number of hunters and licenses sold, and stabilized their bear populations and nuisance complaints.

Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting is a coalition of state and national groups, environmental and animal organizations, animal shelters and rescue groups, hunters, veterinarians, businesses, community and faith leaders and independent biologists.


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

All Endorsements

Endorse the campaign

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 »




  • [organisation logo]
  • [organisation logo]
  • [organisation logo]
  • [organisation logo]
  • [organisation logo]
  • [organisation logo]
  • [organisation logo]
  • [organisation logo]
  • [organisation logo]
  • [organisation logo]
  • [organisation logo]
  • [organisation logo]
  • [organisation logo]
  • [organisation logo]
  • [organisation logo]
  • [organisation logo]
  • [organisation logo]
  • [organisation logo]
  • [organisation logo]