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February 2, 2010

Statement by The HSUS on Expansion of Black Bear Trophy Hunt in California

Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, made the following statement in response to the California Department of Fish and Game's proposal last week to expand black bear trophy hunting and ease current restrictions:

"The California Department of Fish and Game's proposal to expand trophy hunting of black bears is unwarranted, inhumane and reckless. The Humane Society of the United States will work hard to block the Department's proposal and to ban all hound hunting of bears in California."

The proposal would allow an unlimited number of bears to be killed in California; expand the hunt to San Luis Obispo, Modoc and Lassen counties; and legalize the use of high-tech global positioning systems to make it easier for hunters to make their kills. The populations of bears in San Luis Obispo, Modoc and Lassen counties are quite small and have not been adequately studied to determine what impact a trophy hunt might have on their health and stability.

The use of packs of dogs to pursue and harass black bears is already permitted in the state, and it is cruel and unsporting. The Department has compounded that problem by allowing hunters to use global positioning systems and "tip switches" or "treeing switches" in their search-and-destroy method of high-tech hunting. GPS devices attached to dogs' collars allow hunters to monitor the chase from afar, while the treeing switch alerts hunters when a bear is cornered in a tree by sending a signal when the dogs raise their heads.

The proposed regulatory package will be presented to the California Fish and Game Commission on Thursday.

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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the Web at humanesociety.org.

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