New Jersey prepares to open a gruesome black bear trophy hunt

By on September 22, 2020 with 1 Comment

New Jersey is poised to allow trophy hunters to kill the state’s beloved black bears starting next month using barbaric methods like baiting the animals with piles of rotting sugary food. The plan would also allow hunters to chase bears off state lands, where bear hunting is not allowed, and onto private lands, just so they can be killed. Worse, it would allow the killing of baby bear cubs—a cruelty now allowed in only one other state, Alaska.

This unethical policy from the state’s Division of Fish and Wildlife is highly unpopular within the state, and a Humane Society of the United States poll last year showed that a supermajority of New Jersey residents oppose it. An even stronger majority is opposed to bear baiting. But unfortunately, attempts in the state legislature to prohibit baiting bears or bear trophy hunting have not been brought up for full floor votes.

We are now calling on Gov. Phil Murphy to fulfill his campaign promise to end this state-sanctioned cruelty by issuing an executive order to suspend the hunt. This is especially important this year in the midst of a pandemic. States surrounding New Jersey do not allow the controversial practice of bear baiting, so the state has become a haven for out-of-state trophy hunters looking to kill a bear using this unsporting practice. Exposing New Jersey residents to an influx of out-of-state visitors is simply not a smart idea—nor a safe one for its residents—at the present time.

A coalition of groups, including the HSUS, has presented the governor with other options. We have also submitted an administrative rule-making petition to the Department of Environmental Protection asking it to repeal the current rules permitting a bear hunting season and to update them with a truly comprehensive management policy.

The Division of Fish and Wildlife estimates the New Jersey bear population at about 5,000 individuals. While proponents of trophy hunting claim this is a large number, that is simply not true given the high rates of mortality among these animals. More than 2,000 bears have been killed by trophy hunters over just the past five years in New Jersey, and this number is in addition to the untold numbers of bears killed by poachers, vehicle strikes and orphaned cubs who die of starvation.

Bears are sentient and familial animals who spend prolonged periods raising and nurturing their cubs. They don’t need to be “managed” through trophy hunting—their populations self-regulate based on natural food availability and their own very slow reproductivity. Bears are also integral to the health and biodiversity of their forest ecosystem. These omnivores feed on berries, fruits and nuts, helping to disperse seeds through their feces. They also break logs while they’re grubbing for insects and other food, helping them decompose so nutrients can return to the soil.

On the other hand, science shows that practices like bear baiting can actually lead to conflicts with bears because the trophy hunters dump tons of human food in the woods as bait, unnaturally increasing bear densities in those areas. Moreover, bears who live close to urban and suburban areas, and are usually the ones said to be causing “conflicts,” are not the ones targeted by trophy hunters as these areas are off-limits to hunters.

Instead of offering its black bears for killing, New Jersey would do better to invest its resources into educating the public about how to effectively and humanely prevent conflicts from occurring in the first place, and enforcing trash management regulations. Commonsense steps like using bear-resistant trash cans, taking down bird feeders (especially in the summer and fall), and bringing pet food indoors are simple, efficient and easy steps that everyone can follow. Farmers can reduce conflicts by erecting electric fencing around lambing and calving pastures, bee hives, chicken coops and livestock feed.

Recently, we reported on Missouri’s plan to open its bear population to trophy hunters, and every summer we hear media reports about black bears killed simply after being spotted in neighborhoods. This is no way to treat these beloved American carnivores, and we will not stand for it. We are fighting attempts in Missouri to open a black bear hunt, and we will do everything in our power to stop this cruel hunt in New Jersey. Gov. Murphy has talked a lot about protecting black bears, and he signed an executive order in 2018 that banned bear hunting on state owned lands. But there is a lot more he can do to protect New Jersey’s black bears from trophy hunters, and we urge him to act decisively and urgently to do so.

Tell Gov. Murphy to suspend the black bear trophy hunt

HSUS responders transport dogs and cats, bring food to pets in hurricane-hit Florida

By on September 21, 2020 with 0 Comments
HSUS responders transport dogs and cats, bring food to pets in hurricane-hit Florida

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sally, our Animal Rescue Team, working with other responders in Escambia County, Florida, has transported 46 adoptable cats and dogs out of the local animal shelter there. They have also taken dog and cat food to families with pets and . . . 

Read More

200-plus wild animals removed from notorious Indiana roadside zoo

By on September 18, 2020 with 1 Comment
200-plus wild animals removed from notorious Indiana roadside zoo

An Indiana roadside zoo whose owner’s federal license was revoked for numerous violations of the Animal Welfare Act, including beating a leopard to death with a baseball bat and swinging monkeys around by their tails, has closed its doors. The animals are being moved to . . . 

Read More

HSUS Animal Rescue Team deploys in hurricane-ravaged Florida

By on September 17, 2020 with 0 Comments
HSUS Animal Rescue Team deploys in hurricane-ravaged Florida

Our Animal Rescue Team is on the ground in Escambia County, Florida, helping local authorities find and transport animals affected by flooding from Hurricane Sally to safety. The scenes on the ground are devastating. Diane Robinson, program manager for disaster services, was among those staff . . . 

Read More

A U.S. Senator attacks states’ efforts to end ivory trafficking, but progress continues on many fronts

By on September 16, 2020 with 2 Comments
A U.S. Senator attacks states’ efforts to end ivory trafficking, but progress continues on many fronts

Since 2017, U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan has introduced a bill that would undermine America’s war on ivory trafficking by hindering the ability of states to create laws fighting this illegal trade. The full Senate did not consider the bill the last time, and more Americans . . . 

Read More

New wolf pups on Isle Royale bring promise of recovery for a struggling population

By on September 15, 2020 with 1 Comment
New wolf pups on Isle Royale bring promise of recovery for a struggling population

The first wolf pups in several years have been born on Isle Royale in Michigan, the National Park Service reported this week. This is exciting news. We have followed the progress of the wolves on this remote island close to Canada for years and championed . . . 

Read More

New study finds most chicken meat sold globally comes from terrible animal suffering

By on September 14, 2020 with 10 Comments
New study finds most chicken meat sold globally comes from terrible animal suffering

The meat industry’s common practice of breeding broiler chickens to grow faster and bigger results in immense suffering and extremely poor quality of life for the animals, according to the largest study ever conducted on the topic. The two-year study was conducted by researchers at . . . 

Read More

Breaking news: Washington becomes seventh U.S. state to outlaw wildlife killing contests

By on September 11, 2020 with 29 Comments
Breaking news: Washington becomes seventh U.S. state to outlaw wildlife killing contests

Washington has just outlawed wildlife killing contests—the seventh state to do so in the past six years. The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission voted 7-2 this morning to pass a rule ending these gruesome spectacles where participants kill large numbers of wild animals simply for . . . 

Read More

New poll shows overwhelming support in Tennessee for ending horse soring with the PAST Act

By on September 10, 2020 with 7 Comments
New poll shows overwhelming support in Tennessee for ending horse soring with the PAST Act

More than 83% of Tennessee voters want Congress to end the terrible practice of soring walking horses and related breeds to win ribbons at competitions, a new Humane Society of the United States poll shows. Respondents belonging to both parties in the largely conservative state . . . 

Read More

Breaking news: Federal horse racing reform sprints ahead with key House committee vote

By on September 9, 2020 with 1 Comment
Breaking news: Federal horse racing reform sprints ahead with key House committee vote

Legislation to reform horse racing is in full gallop in Congress, with bipartisan members of the House and Senate joining forces to end the reckless drugging of horses and improve the safety of the tracks on which they run. The House Energy and Commerce Committee . . . 

Read More

Whales, dolphins and porpoises are disappearing at an alarming rate; Scientists issue urgent call to reverse the tide

By on September 4, 2020 with 3 Comments
Whales, dolphins and porpoises are disappearing at an alarming rate; Scientists issue urgent call to reverse the tide

Whales, dolphins and porpoises, known collectively as cetaceans, face momentous challenges to their survival today. Many of these animals are disappearing right before our eyes, like the Chinese river dolphin, declared possibly extinct in 2017, and the Mexican vaquita, a species of porpoise that is . . . 

Read More

California leads the charge to protect mountain lions but other states backslide

By on September 3, 2020 with 0 Comments
California leads the charge to protect mountain lions but other states backslide

California, which took the pioneering move of banning mountain lion trophy hunting three decades ago, is still standing strong for these iconic animals. This week, California lawmakers passed groundbreaking legislation to ban the use of certain rodenticides that have been held responsible for the illness . . . 

Read More

Top