Published in the Courier News on March 13, 2004
After appeasing hunters and developers with last year's
slaughter, Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bradley
Campbell now realizes what a public relations debacle it was.
Gov. James E. McGreevey naively assumed the public would
quickly forget. To his dismay, far more New Jersey citizens expressed their
outrage on this issue than on any other.
Taking responsibility for one's mistakes is not taught in
Political Ambition 101. Though Campbell now admits the bear population
numbers are less than half of those used to justify the hunt, he still
dishonorably claims that the hunt was appropriate. He is furiously
backpedaling over the lies, while trying not to make enemies of former
Campbell's letter to the Fish and Game Council stated
that, while he cannot support a bear hunt this year, he acknowledges
that there is still a "huntable" population -- a population
that can be hunted without endangering the viability or long-term population
of bears in New
Animals are huntable when there are enough of them to
recreationally slaughter without threatening the future population and,
therefore, future killing fun.
He assured the Farm Bureau (three farmers are on the
council) that he would allow them much greater flexibility to destroy
Despite the governor's opposition to another hunt, and
Campbell's sucking up to the Fish and Game Council, the council ignored them
(and the public) and voted 8-3 in favor of another bloodbath.
Your pro-hunt editorial states that Campbell's decision
against a hunt is "far too influenced by politics." If politics
could be abused last year to kill bears, I welcomed its use, this year,
Experts in the field had criticized last year's
inaccurate, misleading population estimates, but the documentation was
ignored, as the agenda was to have a bear hunt, no matter the lack of
evidence to support it.
Campbell tried to assure the council that not killing
bears this year would publicly "build support for New Jersey's hunting
traditions." That is the only reason their jobs exist.
It is time for New Jersey citizens to demand a permanent
ban on bear hunting and the dismantling of the council. It should be
replaced by an entity that, instead of being tied at the hip to hunters and
the weapons industry, will protect wildlife and represent the more than 98
percent of us who do not hunt.
The writer represents the Committee to Abolish Sport
www.all-creatures.org/cash ; the New Jersey
Animal Rights Alliance: at
http://www.nj-ara.org ; and the Bear Education
and Resource Group: