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Predator Defense and Friends of Animals Intervene for Oregon Bears

December 05, 2003 | Bears

Oregon — Joining a coalition primarily composed of environmental interest groups, Predator Defense and Friends of Animals have presented a legal challenge to the Oregon government's outlandish plan to kill bears.

The plaintiffs are currently filing suit in the District Court of Oregon against Wildlife Services, a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Wildlife Services intends to kill black bears because the bears claw trees owned by coastal Oregon tree plantations.

Predator Defense and Friends of Animals deplore the killing of bears to suit the convenience of the timber industry.

The lawsuit charges Oregon's Wildlife Services with violating the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which requires agencies to thoroughly analyze the environmental effects of its actions, consider alternatives, and implement those alternatives when appropriate. Lee Hall of Friends of Animals stated: "Although NEPA does not necessarily promote recognition of the animals' individual interests, we believe that bears are beneficiaries of proper respect for the environment — their home."

Brooks Fahy of Predator Defense decried the trapping and killing of bears which has been going on in Oregon for decades. Bears emerging from their winter hibernation sometimes peel bark to lick the sweet cambium under-layer. This is generally in the early spring, before until other foods become plentiful. Wildlife Services baits the hungry bears, traps them, and leaves them to struggle in vain in traps for days, until trappers return to shoot the bears. The timber industry is the beneficiary of this gruesome project, but the taxpayers foot the bill.

"Such drastic means to protect property interests are wholly inappropriate and unnecessary," said Fahy. "Modern society should not tolerate them."

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