*UPDATE* 6/26/2019: Animal advocates made a strong showing on Tuesday’s hearing before the Environment Committee. The majority of people present provided passionate testimony against lifting the ban on Sunday hunting; against allowing bear baiting, moose hunting, or spotlighting; and against rolling back provisions against cruel and unnecessary trapping.
*But it’s not too late to make YOUR voice heard. Now is the time to contact members of the Environment Committee.*
Send an email to Environment Committee members (see how below) and explain why it’s important to you that we maintain our progressive approach to wildlife management and preserve ONE day a week when residents can enjoy the outdoors without fearing hunting conflicts.
How to contact your legislators about key wildlife bills:
- You can find more information on these topics that you can incorporate into your letter if you wish via the “Learn more” links below.
- Address your letter to: Senator Gobi, Representative Pignatelli, Senator Timilty, Representative Cahill, Senator Rush, Senator Kennedy, Senator Eldridge, Senator Fattman, Representative Garry, Representative Arciero, Representative Gentile, Representative Carey, Representative Ciccolo, Representative Haggerty, Representative Robertson, Representative Kelcourse, and Representative Orrall
- One email to all of the committee members at once is fine! Email your letter to the following address. You can just copy and paste into your email “To” address box: Anne.Gobi@masenate.gov, email@example.com, Walter.Timilty@masenate.gov, Daniel.Cahill@mahouse.gov, Mike.Rush@masenate.gov, Edward.Kennedy@masenate.gov, James.Eldridge@masenate.gov, Ryan.Fattman@masenate.gov, Colleen.Garry@mahouse.gov, James.Arciero@mahouse.gov, Carmine.Gentile@mahouse.gov, Daniel.Carey@mahouse.gov, Michelle.Ciccolo@mahouse.gov, Richard.Haggerty@mahouse.gov, David.Robertson@mahouse.gov, James.Kelcourse@mahouse.gov, Norman.Orrall@mahouse.gov
- You can also check to see if any of the Environment Committee members are YOUR legislators here. If they are, follow up with a polite phone call or, to have even more of an impact, have an in-person meeting.
- And even if your legislator is not on the Environment Committee (check here to see a list of Committee members and the cities and towns they represent), you can still contact your state representative and state senator (find out who they are here), and share your opinion!
Feel free to let us know if you have any questions or would like help submitting testimony at advocacy@MSPCA.org.
Next Tuesday, June 25, we will testify before the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture (Environment Committee) in opposition to several bills that will repeal the restrictions on trapping, allow hunting on Sundays, and make several other unsporting practices legal. The hearing is at 12:30pm at the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife Headquarters in Westborough.
Join us at the hearing to speak out and/or take action by letting your legislators know that you oppose any effort to repeal restrictions on cruel body-gripping traps or to repeal the centuries-old restriction on Sunday hunting.
TAKE ACTION against Sunday hunting legislation!
A number of bills are filed each session that would eliminate in whole or part the statewide ban on Sunday hunting. 86% of Massachusetts residents want to maintain the ban on Sunday hunting while hunters represent just 1% of the Massachusetts population. Sunday hunting bills prioritize a small minority over an overwhelming majority of Massachusetts residents who do not hunt, and who enjoy non-consumptive uses of nature and wildlife. Learn more.
TAKE ACTION against trapping legislation!
A number of bills are filed each session that remove or weaken current restrictions on cruel body-gripping traps used to capture fur-bearing animals. Some of the bills would effectively allow a return to the days of recreational trapping with these inhumane and indiscriminate devices, practices that 64% of Massachusetts voters rejected in 1996 when they voted in favor of a ballot initiative known as the Wildlife Protection Act. Learn more.
OPPOSE spotlighting (hunting with artificial light)!
S. 468, S. 478, and H. 890 expand an already-archaic Massachusetts state law that permits spotlighting, which involves shining a bright light at a target animal to blind, and thus paralyze it. Nocturnal animals’ eyes are made up almost entirely of rods, the photoreceptors that allow animals to see in the dark. At night, a nocturnal animals’ pupils are wide open to let in as much light as possible, and spotlighting literally temporarily blinds them. The animal freezes because he or she cannot see, remaining still while they wait for their eyes to adjust. While blinded and frozen in place, they are shot. Most states ban spotlighting because it is considered so unsporting, but these bills expand the practice. Spotlighting is also dangerous to public health because hunters often spotlight not far from dark roads and cannot easily see passing cars or people who may be in the surrounding area and harm’s way.
OPPOSE Moose hunting!
S. 468 and S. 474 seek to lift the existing law prohibiting moose hunting, which has been in place since 1913. There is no data showing that a moose hunt is necessary for population control. While the most common concern raised regarding moose is car collisions, this issue can be, and has been, addressed with more effective methods than hunting. With over 200,000 moose and an estimated 765 collisions per year, Alaska experiences more moose-vehicle accidents than anywhere else in North America. To deal with this situation, the Alaska DOT undertook several humane methods to reduce collisions, such as erecting fences, constructing under and overpasses, and increasing lighting in dark areas. As a result, collisions were reduced overall by 70%, and by 95% in lighted areas with fences. Additionally, 86% of Mass residents agree that with less than 1,000 moose in the state, moose hunting should remain prohibited. Given the small moose population in Massachusetts and the Commonwealth’s residents’ overwhelming opposition, there is simply no reason to re-introduce moose hunting in Massachusetts.
OPPOSE Bear baiting!
S. 468 seeks to lift the ban on bear baiting, which has been illegal in Massachusetts for several decades. One of the fundamental principles of hunting is “fair chase,” but there is nothing remotely fair chase about bear baiting. Bear baiting actually often starts weeks before hunting season to accustom bears to feeding in a certain area. Large piles of bait are put out—food like donuts, candy, corn, and other high-calorie items. Then, once hunting season begins, the animals, as expected, return to the area where they have been habituated to go for food, and are shot while eating. Because it is considered so unfair and unsporting, most states ban deer, elk, and other big-game baiting; only twelve states permit bear baiting. Also, permitting bear baiting would directly contravene MassWildlife’s extensive efforts to reduce human-bear conflict by educating Mass residents about the hazards of habituating bear to human food sources.