The recent commentary by David Trahan, executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, deserves a response to some issues he raised.

For instance, he describes the Humane Society of the United States as “ruthless and willing to deceive the public.” He’s referring to the television ads showing what really happens when a bear is hounded or trapped. Ironically, those same two words — ruthless and deceptive — could easily describe these practices that Trahan and his followers endorse. All the Humane Society and its supporters did was to show the public what he and others didn’t want them to see. Why? No doubt because it’s emotional, a term Trahan doesn’t like, but then again cruelty always is.

Trahan also refers to the Humane Society as “outside invaders,” making them seem like an alien force intent on misleading us earthlings. What then, accounts for the nearly 78,000 Mainers who signed the petition to put the referendum on the ballot, and the more than 278,000 of our citizens who voted for it? Apparently, we all were duped by a devious, out-of-state conspiracy, but Mainers are not that easily fooled. They also do not need what Trahan describes as “real life experience with bears” to know when an animal is being treated inhumanely.

Throughout the campaign, we were urged to “trust our wildlife biologists.” Now, Trahan wants us to trust them in the future as well. But science needs to be objective, not biased by its cozy relationship with the powerful hunters’ lobby it supports and which supports it.

Finally, Trahan wonders about “the most important lesson we all learned in this referendum.” I think that the learning is a process that eventually will lead to the realization that wildlife can be managed without cruelty. The process is incomplete, and it will continue.

Don Loprieno, Bristol

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