FoA to ‘bait’ bear-hating Gov. Christie with donuts

Will demand more education and end to propaganda/annual bear hunt


Where: New Jersey State House steps, 125 W. State St., Trenton

When: Dec. 4 at 10 a.m.

Since his election in 2009, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has vilified black bears and ignored residents who don’t want black bears baited and hunted in December—instead cashing in on campaign promises to pro-hunting groups like the New Jersey Outdoors Alliance, who rallied for his election. Did you know that Christie even appointed the group’s president to his Department of Environmental Protection transition team, which addresses hunting policy? 

Friends of Animals (FoA), BEAR Education and Resource Program and residents will show Christie that New Jersey citizens can no longer be brushed off and bears aren’t a public nuisance by staging a protest and press conference on the steps of the New Jersey State House, 125 W. State St., Trenton, on Dec. 4 at 10 a.m. FoA’s message will be clear—end New Jersey’s horrific bear hunt for good, educate people on how to co-exist with bears and change policy, starting with passing the Bear Smart Bill (S.687).

“Cowardly hunters bait bears with junk food to easily shoot them in New Jersey from Dec. 8-13—so we’ll be bringing vegan donuts and other treats to the State House in Trenton to prompt Gov. Christie into speaking with us and outraged NJ residents who want the slaughter of bears in their state to end,” said Edita Birnkrant, FOA’s campaigns director. 

A life-size color cardboard cutout of Christie will be displayed, and a protester in a black bear costume will be on hand to “bait” the governor with donuts—the same monstrous fate that bears, including cubs, will face unless the hunt is cancelled. 

“The real public nuisance is Chris Christie and the violent hunters whom he panders to—a pathetic group which makes up less than one percent of New Jersey’s population,” said Birnkrant.

FoA decided to spring into action when the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife stooped to an all-time low to interest hunters this year—releasing bear-hating propaganda to media about how good bear meat tastes and offering cookbooks—instead of admitting defeat that it’s violent five-year Black Bear Management Policy is a failure. FoA believes it is obscene that hunters can lure bears with pizza, jelly doughnuts and other junk food in the woods of New Jersey before shooting them, just so they can turn their heads and hides into a rug or wall hanging. 

“The propaganda distracts from the real motive behind this trophy hunt—Gov. Christie’s blind allegiance to the National Rifle Association and wildlife agencies’ blind allegiance to hunters who generate revenue for them and the state,” said Priscilla Feral, president of Friends of Animals. 

Just as appalling as disseminating bear meat recipes is the implication that the state’s “bear problem” is connected to a black bear killing a hiker recently. News reports indicate the hikers involved in the incident were inexperienced. 

FoA is adamant that wildlife officials should be educating the public on what to do when they encounter a bear, such as staying together and not running, and teaching them to always carry bear deterrent spray, rather than wasting time spreading bear-hating propaganda. 

Of course preventing conflict is key, experts say. Deprive bears of all human sources of food, and the situation becomes a lot safer. So not only is bear baiting despicable, it’s dangerous to the public as it conditions bears to human foods and contributes to human-bear conflicts that are the justification for the hunt.

New Jersey residents need to know to never leave pet food outdoors, and if bears are around, do not put out bird seed. Bears that have been fed associate human scent with food, and that's a dangerous thing.

We couldn’t agree more. That’s why we strongly support New Jersey’s Bear Smart Bill, S.687, sponsored by NJ Senator Raymond Lesniak, which would prohibit bear baiting and make it mandatory for residents to use bear-resistant garbage cans—another solution to human-bear encounters the state has ignored. Instead they advocate for hunters, who buy licenses from them.

Shooting bears is not the sane answer. Better education is. 

“Our goal has always been to keep bears away from unnatural food sources and help bear country residents become bear smart. These objectives are great for public safety and people who live in bear country, but bad for bear hunters,” said Angi Metler, director, Bear Education and Resource Program.