Tis the sea­son for bear hat­ing pro­pa­ganda/vi­o­lence

The Trentonian (Trenton, NJ) - - OPINION -

Oct. 9 marked the be­gin­ning of an­other black bear mas­sacre, which has been hap­pen­ing since 2010 when Gov. Christie be­gan vil­i­fy­ing black bears to cash in on cam­paign prom­ises to the NRA and other pro-hunt­ing groups like the NJ Out­doors Al­liance, who ral­lied for his elec­tion.

Hav­ing lost 14,000 hunters in the last five years—less than one per­cent of NJ res­i­dents hunted in 2016—the DEP is more des­per­ate than ever to spread its bear hat­ing pro­pa­ganda to at­tract hunt­ing clients and con­vince the pub­lic bears are a nui­sance.

This year it stooped to an all­time low—spread­ing the false claim that since the ad­di­tion of the Oc­to­ber hunt in 2016, over­all bear com­plaints have dropped 55 per­cent, and Cat­e­gory 1 com­plaints in­volv­ing en­coun­ters have dropped 65 per­cent. But the agency’s 2017 re­port mea­sures data from Jan. 1 to Sept. 20, not from Jan. 1-Dec. 31 like pre­vi­ous ones.

Re­ports also show bear ac­tiv­ity in­creased in 2011 and 2014 when the hunts were oc­cur­ring. And in­ci­dences of bears get­ting into garbage and bird feed­ers have es­sen­tially stayed the same since 2010. That’s be­cause killing bears won’t do any­thing to ed­u­cate them not be op­por­tunis­tic feed­ers. It’s up to hu­mans to use bear-re­sis­tant garbage cans and re­move bird feed­ers from March-Novem­ber, etc. It’s the DEP’s re­spon­si­bil­ity to ed­u­cate res­i­dents.

The ma­jor­ity of NJ res­i­dents think vi­o­lence to­wards an­i­mals is not recre­ation. What a shame the state’s wildlife agency is work­ing for the NRA rather than more than 99 per­cent of res­i­dents.

— Priscilla Feral, Pres­i­dent,

Friends of An­i­mals

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