Thursday, September 29, 2005

Senator Urges DEP Commissioner to Expand Trash Initiatives, and to Let Them Work

United States Senator Frank Lautenberg has asked Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell not to hold a black bear hunt, and to expand upon current State trash management initiatives.

In his letter to the DEP, Senator Lautenberg urges Commissioner Campbell to expand upon recent initiatives to provide residents access to bear-proof trash bins, and to include an organized, enforced approach as recommended by Friends of Animals, and international animal advocacy organization with approximately 17,000 members in New Jersey.

The organization praised Senator Lautenberg’s action as “a needed, constructive approach on an issue mired in rhetoric. The only long-term, effective and socially acceptable means of living with bears is managing human trash. Problems develop when bears associate humans with food. Hunting will do nothing to lessen surviving bears’ attraction to trash, or to address the nexus of the problem: food.”

The Senator’s press release follows:


WASHINGTON, DC ““ In a letter sent today to New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bradley Campbell, United States Senator Frank R. Lautenberg urged the department to reconsider the upcoming bear hunt.

“I am writing to you on behalf of many concerned constituents regarding the possibility of another black bear hunt this fall. I urge you to reconsider possible viable alternatives to this hunt. This is a divisive, controversial issue in our State and I ask that you do everything in your power to avert a hunt, and to expand upon recent bear-proofing initiatives in New Jersey and give them an opportunity to work,” wrote Lautenberg.

In his letter to Commissioner Campbell, Lautenberg argued that removing unnatural food sources is the most important component to reducing the presence of bears where they are not wanted. This requires education and waste management near populated areas. This method may also reduce black bear breeding rates, as black bears breed more successfully and earlier when there is excess food.

“Many experts believe that the hunt will do little to reduce human-bear encounters because the bears are drawn to populated areas by the food supply. Therefore, I urge you to reconsider alternatives to the hunt, including food waste management,” concluded Lautenberg.