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New Poll: Majority of Illinois Voters Oppose Bobcat Hunt Bill

A new statewide survey reveals an overwhelming majority of Illinois voters in all parts of the state want Gov. Rauner to veto a bill that would open a bobcat hunting and trapping season in the state. The survey found that 75 percent of voters want a veto, while only 17 percent support the bill. The House rejected the bill on the last day of the session, but downstate lawmakers forced a re-vote and nine Republican House members switched from “no” to “yes” and the bill passed with the bare minimum number of votes required to send it to the governor.

The survey showed that 72 percent of downstate voters want the governor to veto the bill, while only 23 percent support him signing it. The veto received bipartisan support with 82 percent of Democrats favoring that action, along with 65 percent of Republicans. The survey also had the following findings: by 78 percent to 13 percent, voters oppose allowing the use of steel-jawed leghold traps to kill bobcats; by 72 percent to 17 percent, they oppose hounding of bobcats and by 77 percent to 9 percent, they support a prohibition on the selling of pelts from hunted or trapped bobcats in the state.

Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States said: “These polling results demonstrate that there is no downstate clamor for reversing the state’s 42-year ban on killing these small and reclusive animals. On the contrary, by a three-to-one margin, downstate voters want Gov. Rauner to veto this bill and prevent killing of bobcats for sport and their pelts. Given that the results in other parts of the state are even more lopsided in favoring bobcat protection, it’s clear that Gov. Rauner should veto this bill if he wants to align himself with the people of Illinois.”

World renowned scientist and conservationist Jane Goodall, PhD, DBE is urging an end to the senseless trophy killing and trapping of bobcats on the heels of the new poll being released.

Jane Goodall, PhD, DBE, Founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and UN Messenger of Peace said: "I have just heard that the bobcat is in danger. Again. There are people who have worked so hard to bring back this beautiful cat from the risk of extinction. So that, once again, it can play its role in its environment. How tragic if all this work is wasted - as it will be if it becomes legal, once more, to kill them. How horrible to think that these intelligent, sentient animals might once again be subjected to agonizing deaths in steel jawed leg hold traps. Just so that a few people can benefit from trophies and fur. I write this as one more person who would speak on behalf of animals who have no voice."

The poll of 625 statewide Illinois voters was conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, Inc. from June 5 – June 8, 2015. The margin of error is plus or minus 4 percent.


Media Contact:
Naseem Amini, namini@humanesociety.org, 240-778-5545

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