It saddens me to say that I live in a state that participates in such a cruel tradition: the annual New Jersey black bear hunt. This year the hunt to control the state’s black bear population has been expanded into two parts. The first week lasted from Oct. 10 to Oct. 15 and the second will from Dec. 5 to Dec. 10.
Since the first day of the hunt a whopping number of 549 bears have been killed, marking it the second highest harvest since the hunt reopened in 2010. This black bear hunt has been held every year that Governor Chris Christie has been in office.
The aftermath of last week’s hunt ended with bad news, which may have made room for some good news. Pedals, a wild New Jersey bear who was famous for walking through backyards on his hind legs, was killed.
New Jersey senator Raymond Lesniak has changed the name of his S2702 bill to stop bear hunts “Pedals’ Law,” in memory of Pedals. The law was voted on Monday and passed the Senate Economic Development & Agriculture Committee, but can still be vetoed by Governor Chris Christie. The inspired law aims to end bear hunts for five years while a “non-lethal bear control program is implemented.”
This year’s New Jersey black bear hunt makes it the first time in decades — about 40 or 50 years — since hunters have been allowed to kill bears using bow and arrows. It gets worse: hunters are also permitted to kill baby cubs. How can somebody justify killing a baby? They are just trying to live and grow in their environment (not ours). How can somebody kill a cub’s parents? Right in front of their eyes. Who is going to teach them to survive in the wild? Baby cubs stick to their mom’s side for about 16-17 months.
Animal protection organizations such as The Humane Society of the United States have said that there is no scientific evidence that this bear hunt helps with the black bear population. There are other compassionate alternatives that we can think of, without anyone getting hurt in the process. For instance, The Humane Society suggests, “Instead of killing random bears not involved in conflicts, community-based education programs that emphasize the benefits of bears, combined with stringent law enforcement, are truly effective at reducing human-bear conflicts. For example, Yosemite National Park recently reported a 92 percent decrease in conflicts by educating the public and by enforcing special codes concerning humans and bears.”
How You Can Help
Please sign this petition to stop the New Jersey bear hunt. As of now, there are about 16,450 supporters. Join us animal lovers in this movement in hopes of making our state into a more compassionate one for animals!