California lawmaker introduces bill to ban black bear hunting

By on January 26, 2021 with 0 Comments

A groundbreaking bill introduced in California today would end all trophy hunting of black bears in the state. If successful, California would be the first state to implement such a ban, setting a magnificent precedent for the rest of the nation to follow.

The bill was introduced by State Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, and it reflects concerns over the fragile state of black bear populations in California. The state endured devastating wildfires last year, and wildlife there, including California’s iconic bruins, are struggling to forage and survive in the changing forest ecosystems.

Each year, trophy hunters kill more than 1,000 bears in the state. This places unnecessary pressure on these animals who reproduce at an incredibly slow rate. Female bears don’t even begin reproducing until they’re about four or five years old. They only give birth every two to three years to an average of three cubs, and just a few of those cubs even survive into adulthood.

In addition to their slow reproductive rates, bear numbers are naturally limited by the availability of food, so there is no truth to the assertion that they need to be hunted. Amazingly, if a female is in poor body condition—such as from lack of food—her body will actually reabsorb her eggs during hibernation and she will produce no cubs that winter.

Climate change has also added to the stress bears face, making simple actions for survival, such as finding enough food or staying in their dens long enough to hibernate, difficult.

Most California residents are opposed to black bear hunting: a whopping 70% according to a poll conducted last month by the Remington Research Group for the Humane Society of the United States. This number included majorities in the three top bear-hunting counties of Shasta, Humboldt and Trinity.

The poll also showed that 71% of residents believe that the state should prioritize policies that promote non-lethal methods to reduce conflicts between bears and people.

The number of Californians who hunt black bears, on the other hand, is very low—fewer than 0.1% apply for a bear tag each year.

California wildlife managers looking to reduce bear-human conflicts, which usually happen over food, would get better results by emphasizing co-existence education campaigns. Such conflicts are easy enough to resolve with just a few simple steps like securing garbage, removing outdoor pet food, taking down bird feeders and cleaning up barbecue grills. Hunting cannot resolve this problem because hunters don’t target animals involved in neighborhood conflicts—they’re out in the woods looking for the most impressive trophy. In other words, agencies can’t hunt their way out of human-bear conflicts—only education coupled with actions like trash management work. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has already done some great work to address conflicts with bears through its Keep Me Wild program, and we appreciate the steps they’ve taken to make room for these effective, non-lethal approaches, including hazing, relocation and rehabilitation. We hope it will continue to expand on these efforts.

California has already been a pioneer in ending the cruel trophy hunting of its native carnivores. Back in 2012, with overwhelming public support, the legislature outlawed the use of packs of hunting hounds to chase down bears and bobcats. In the ‘90s, California voters outlawed the trophy hunting of mountain lions. More recently, in 2015, the state banned the trapping of bobcats and followed it up with a trophy hunting moratorium in 2019. It is fitting, and right, that the state should lead the nation by banning the hunting of black bears.

The Humane Society of the United States has been working toward such a ban for a long time and we are extremely grateful to Sen. Wiener for his efforts. If you are a California resident, the bears of the Golden State need your help. Please contact your state lawmakers. Let them know you support ending the hunting of bears in the state and that they should commit to getting this bill passed immediately.

Biden administration withdraws Trump-era plan for higher line speeds at chicken slaughterhouses

By on January 25, 2021 with 0 Comments
Biden administration withdraws Trump-era plan for higher line speeds at chicken slaughterhouses

The Biden administration has withdrawn a deplorable pending rule that would have allowed qualifying chicken slaughter plants in the United States to permanently dial up line speeds from an already inhumane and lightning-fast 140 birds per minute to 175 birds per minute. The U.S. Department . . . 

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Breaking news: Efforts to open an early wolf trophy hunting season in Wisconsin defeated

By on January 22, 2021 with 9 Comments
Breaking news: Efforts to open an early wolf trophy hunting season in Wisconsin defeated

An attempt by some Wisconsin lawmakers to ​force ​a ​rushed and unlawful wolf hunting season in the state beginning next month has been narrowly defeated by the state’s Natural Resources Board. In November, we reported how we had ​helped stop an effort by the Wisconsin . . . 

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Our 100-day plan for animal protection under the Biden-Harris administration

By on January 20, 2021 with 8 Comments
Our 100-day plan for animal protection under the Biden-Harris administration

The inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris heralds a new beginning. Most Americans are looking forward to putting the challenges of last year behind them. But many are still facing the difficulties of illness, unemployment and economic uncertainty because of the . . . 

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Federal court orders Jeff Lowe to surrender all cubs, mothers

By on January 19, 2021 with 3 Comments
Federal court orders Jeff Lowe to surrender all cubs, mothers

A U.S. District Court has ordered Jeff Lowe, a notorious big cat exhibitor who took over the running of Joe Exotic’s zoo, GW Exotics, to ​surrender all big cat cubs and their mothers in his possession over allegations of mistreatment. The preliminary injunction in the . . . 

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HSUS, allies sue Trump administration for delisting wolves

By on January 14, 2021 with 5 Comments
HSUS, allies sue Trump administration for delisting wolves

In October last year, the Trump administration stripped federal protections for wolves, giving state managers in the lower 48 states the ability to greenlight trophy hunting and trapping seasons on these animals. Today, we and our allies sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over . . . 

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37 chimpanzees once used for research are still locked up in a lab. We are suing the NIH to release them to sanctuary

By on January 14, 2021 with 18 Comments
37 chimpanzees once used for research are still locked up in a lab. We are suing the NIH to release them to sanctuary

Thirty-seven chimpanzees languishing at a New Mexico primate laboratory are still waiting for the National Institutes of Health to fulfil a promise it made in 2015—to retire them to sanctuary after a lifetime spent in research. Today, we’re giving these animals a helping hand by . . . 

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New ad makes a powerful plea to end rhino horn use in Vietnam

By on January 13, 2021 with 2 Comments
New ad makes a powerful plea to end rhino horn use in Vietnam

Vietnam is one of the world’s largest consumers of rhino horn for use in traditional medicine. The demand there has helped push this distinctive animal to the brink of extinction. The animals are killed for their horns and a small number remain alive and suffer . . . 

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Gorillas at zoo in San Diego test positive for coronavirus

By on January 12, 2021 with 2 Comments
Gorillas at zoo in San Diego test positive for coronavirus

Gorillas at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park have tested positive for the coronavirus in the first known cases of its transmission to non-human primates. The animals are believed to have contracted the virus from an asymptomatic zookeeper. This is distressing news on many levels. . . . 

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House members reintroduce bill to ban cub petting, keeping big cats as pets

By on January 11, 2021 with 2 Comments
House members reintroduce bill to ban cub petting, keeping big cats as pets

A bill that would prohibit public contact with big cats like tigers, lions and leopards and ban the possession of these animals as pets was swiftly reintroduced in the U.S. House today, suggesting that the measure is poised for early action in Congress. The Big . . . 

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In its final days, Trump administration launches lame-duck attack on migratory birds

By on January 8, 2021 with 2 Comments
In its final days, Trump administration launches lame-duck attack on migratory birds

The Trump administration, in its final days, is attempting to undo crucial, century-old protections for migratory birds as a handout to the construction and oil and gas industries. A new rule published this week by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would exempt industries from . . . 

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Lawsuit over puppy that would cost $26,000 after interest exposes Petland’s deceptive sales and lending practices

By on January 7, 2021 with 6 Comments
Lawsuit over puppy that would cost $26,000 after interest exposes Petland’s deceptive sales and lending practices

A recent court case in Florida shines the spotlight on the questionable tactics Petland uses to dupe customers and make large profits off the sales of sick puppies—most of whom come from puppy mills. The case involved a Petland store in Plantation, Florida, which sold . . . 

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