Trophy hunters have slaughtered nearly 1,400 bobcats in Illinois since 2015. A new bill would stop the carnage.

By on March 3, 2021 with 1 Comment

Since Illinois reopened its bobcat hunts in 2015, after a 40-year hiatus, trophy hunters and trappers have killed nearly 1,400 bobcats using some of the cruelest methods imaginable, like steel-jawed leghold traps. These devices are so painful that the animals sometimes gnaw through their own limbs to escape. If they aren’t dead after hours of suffering, the trapper often finishes the job by strangling, clubbing or drowning the animals.

Now, a new bill seeks to end such cruelty forever by prohibiting the trophy hunting and trapping of bobcats in the state.

We are proud to stand among a strong coalition of environmental and animal protection groups supporting House Bill 1827, introduced by Rep. Daniel Didech. This is a commonsense bill that seeks to end unnecessary suffering for these gorgeous native carnivores, and it is one most Illinois residents would support.

Bobcats are one of the only species hunted purely for sport in Illinois. Nobody kills them to put food on the table and they’re typically killed by trophy hunters for a thrill or by trappers who sell their pelts to overseas fur markets.

In Illinois, these small animals have a long history of being persecuted. In 1977, after being nearly wiped out in the state due to overhunting and trapping, they were listed as a threatened species, which ended the trophy hunting and trapping. They had only begun to make a slow and modest return when the state reopened hunting in 2015. And the killing has only gotten worse over the years. During the 2020-21 season, trophy hunters and trappers killed more bobcats than in any previous season – a total of 361 bobcats, including 143 by trapping. This was more than twice the number killed during the first season in 2016-17.

Illinois’s treatment of its bobcats is not wildlife management; it is a handout to trophy hunters and trappers. Bobcats regulate their own populations based on available prey and they do not need to be hunted to keep their numbers in check. Bobcats are also shy and elusive and do not pose a threat to humans. Even when they live semi-close to humans they rarely come into conflict with them. In fact, spotting a bobcat in the wild is an incredibly rare event and one that is to be treasured.

Lawmakers eager to open season on bobcats have held out ridiculous claims and resorted to some of the most dastardly fear-mongering. In 2015, one lawmaker pushing the hunt made the absurd claim that he saw a bobcat walking across his yard and he thought he was “looking at a saber-tooth tiger.” This lawmaker clearly needed a new pair of eyeglasses, as bobcats, who weigh between 15 and 35 pounds, are just slightly heavier than an average housecat. And most Illinois residents did not agree with him even at that time about killing bobcats. A poll held that same year showed that a whopping 78% of Illinois voters opposed the use of steel-jawed leghold traps to kill bobcats and 66% opposed all hunting and trapping of bobcats.

We are grateful to Rep. Didech for paying attention to what Illinois residents want, and for working to end the unnecessary persecution of bobcats. Were Illinois to pass this bill into law, the state would be in good company. In 2019, California passed a moratorium on bobcat hunting, and state agencies in New Hampshire, Indiana and Ohio have all rejected attempts to open a bobcat season in recent years. However, bobcats continue to be hunted for their fur or for trophies in 39 states.

If you live in Illinois, please let your state lawmakers know that you want to see bobcats protected in the state and urge them to vote “yes” on HB 1827. These beautiful wild animals give back generously to the ecosystems they call home, and their presence is vital for the health of Illinois’s wild lands and their other inhabitants. They do not deserve to be slaughtered for a pelt or for fun.

Some Iowa lawmakers push a bad bill to benefit puppy mills, roadside zoos

By on March 2, 2021 with 6 Comments
Some Iowa lawmakers push a bad bill to benefit puppy mills, roadside zoos

A dangerous bill in Iowa threatens to undo decades of progress for animals in the state, including dogs suffering in puppy mills and wild animals in traveling exhibits. The bill, SF 483, introduced by Sen. Dan Zumbach, ostensibly seeks to prevent cities and counties from . . . 

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Trophy hunters kill 216 wolves in Wisconsin bloodbath

By on March 1, 2021 with 22 Comments
Trophy hunters kill 216 wolves in Wisconsin bloodbath

A no-holds-barred carnage of wolves in Wisconsin last week, which ended with trophy hunters killing nearly twice the sanctioned quota of animals in just under 60 hours, offers a terrible glimpse into just what lies ahead for these beloved native American carnivores unless the Biden . . . 

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House approves COVID relief package with historic funding commitments for animal-related pandemic prevention

By on February 27, 2021 with 0 Comments
House approves COVID relief package with historic funding commitments for animal-related pandemic prevention

Late Friday evening, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to approve the reconciliation package that incorporates the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. As a result of our efforts, the package includes significant funding commitments for public health surveillance, inspections, investigations and other preventative measures . . . 

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PREPARED Act would ensure safety of animals in puppy mills, roadside zoos during disasters

By on February 26, 2021 with 0 Comments
PREPARED Act would ensure safety of animals in puppy mills, roadside zoos during disasters

The devastation wrought by the recent deep freeze in Texas is a stark reminder of the urgent need for disaster planning that includes tens of thousands of animals in puppy mills, roadside zoos and other enterprises. Today, to address that need, Representatives Dina Titus, D-Nev., . . . 

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Beauty industry trade group wins Spira Award for championing end to new cosmetics animal testing

By on February 25, 2021 with 3 Comments
Beauty industry trade group wins Spira Award for championing end to new cosmetics animal testing

As we worked toward the introduction of the Humane Cosmetics Act in the last Congress, one of our most important partners was the Personal Care Products Council, the leading industry trade organization that represents more than 90% of the U.S. beauty industry, including our Be . . . 

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‘Pet’ Tiger rescued from freezing San Antonio gets forever home at Black Beauty Ranch

By on February 24, 2021 with 1 Comment
‘Pet’ Tiger rescued from freezing San Antonio gets forever home at Black Beauty Ranch

The freeze in Texas this month turned up a surprise for authorities in Bexar County as they scrambled to get people and pets out of harm’s way: a tiger cub wearing a harness and living as a “pet” outdoors. A neighbor had reported what sounded . . . 

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Deb Haaland, President Biden’s pick for Interior Secretary, has a track record of fierce advocacy for animals

By on February 23, 2021 with 3 Comments
Deb Haaland, President Biden’s pick for Interior Secretary, has a track record of fierce advocacy for animals

Rep. Deb Haaland, President Biden’s nominee to lead the Department of the Interior, has a proven track record of working on the side of animals. Humane Society Legislative Fund endorsed her history-making run for the U.S. House in 2018, and she has since worked swiftly . . . 

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Virginia, Maryland and New Jersey among states moving rapidly to end cosmetics testing

By on February 22, 2021 with 4 Comments
Virginia, Maryland and New Jersey among states moving rapidly to end cosmetics testing

Cosmetics animal testing is on its way out the world over and U.S. states are rapidly moving in the direction of that trend. Just this month lawmakers in three states—Virginia, Maryland and New Jersey—have moved decisively to end the sales of cosmetics tested on animals . . . 

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Three Montana lawmakers declare war on wolves, bears and other carnivores with flurry of bad bills

By on February 19, 2021 with 7 Comments
Three Montana lawmakers declare war on wolves, bears and other carnivores with flurry of bad bills

Strangling neck snares are among the cruelest methods of trapping animals. These devices, made of cable wire looped through a locking device, are designed to tighten around the animal’s neck as he thrashes around and struggles to free himself, cutting his mouth and breaking his . . . 

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As fur farms prepare to breed mink, global health bodies issue warning on high coronavirus risk

By on February 18, 2021 with 2 Comments
As fur farms prepare to breed mink, global health bodies issue warning on high coronavirus risk

Mink fur farms have emerged as hotspots for the coronavirus, with 11 nations in Europe, Canada and the United States reporting such infections and, in some cases, transmissions from animals to human workers. The infections have resulted in millions of animals, including pups, on fur . . . 

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Puppy-selling pet stores like Petland have made consumers sick. HSUS/HSLF petition asks feds to require health risk warnings at outlets.

By on February 17, 2021 with 1 Comment
Puppy-selling pet stores like Petland have made consumers sick. HSUS/HSLF petition asks feds to require health risk warnings at outlets.

U.S. health authorities have conclusively linked numerous human cases of campylobacteriosis—a bacterial infection with often severe and debilitating symptoms—to infected puppies sold in several Petland pet stores. Today we filed a petition with the Consumer Product Safety Commission asking it to require that pet stores . . . 

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