Cruelty is not directed only toward humans. Jeremy Benthaus, philosopher and founder of utilitarianism, said, “The question is not Can they reason? nor Can they talk? but Can they suffer?”

The question is answered with a resounding yes for the animals we hunt. It is time to recognize that suffering is exacerbated by the use of bait, traps and hounds for the purpose of killing Maine’s magnificent black bears.

In November, we have the opportunity to vote yes to put an end to these unsporting practices and return Maine’s bear hunt to sportsmanlike “fair chase” bear hunting. This measure is not an effort to end bear hunting, rather it is an effort to prevent unnecessary injustice. It is a chance to alleviate some of the needless cruelty in the world and take a stand to reduce the suffering associated with it.

The evidence from other states that already have rejected such cruelty overwhelmingly points to a future with a stabilized bear population, halting the growth we’ve been seeing from our bear feeding program of baiting and an increased interest in fair chase hunting.

Let’s take this opportunity to change Maine’s notorious distinction of being the only state in the nation to still allow all three egregious practices of hounding, baiting and trapping bears.

Cheryl Avis


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