DARIEN, Conn. – As we reported last week, Bradley M. Campbell, the commissioner of New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection, has approved a controversial black bear hunt. Obviously the six-day killing period, slated to take place beginning on 5 December, will hinder the state and local communities’ work to create viable and peaceful alternatives to shooting bears.

“Commissioner Campbell has been on and off with the hunt, watching for fluctuations in the number of bears,” said Daniel Hammer, a program coordinator for Friends of Animals. “Bears are considered a problem, but the real problem is that leaders react, rather than sensibly respond.”

Most New Jersey residents do not want a bear hunt, and believe that state officials need to address waste management in the state’s bear habitat. Friends of Animals’ bear consultant, Winthrop Staples III, a Wildlife Technician at Alaska’s Denali National Park and Preserve, said, “In plain language, someone is liable to be killed by a bear because the New Jersey political class is too timid to mandate bear proof containers.”

Want this hunt called off? Here’s what to do:

Call the Office of Acting Governor Richard Codey. Tell the office that you are aware that the Governor can order a stop to the hunt. Politely ask for it to be promptly done.
Telephone: 609-292-6000; 609-777-2459
Facsimile: 609-292-3454; 609-777-0357
Webmail: http://www.state.nj.us/governor/govmail.html

Contact Governor-Elect Jon Corzine at the State House and politely request that the Governor-Elect live up to campaign promises to oppose the killing.
Telephone: 609-826-5100
Facsimile: 609-984-4747

Contact the Congressmembers listed below. Each supported the Corzine campaign. Politely request that they urge the Governor-Elect live up to campaign promises to oppose the killing.

Rush Holt: 202-225-5801
Frank Pallone: 202-225-4671

If you are from outside of New Jersey, tell these leaders that you will be far more likely to make plans for business or pleasure in the state of New Jersey if they do the right thing and end the killing before it begins.

Until the hunt is stopped, politely explain that you’ll be writing to the media and to friends and family to educate people this week about the sensible way to respect other animals. Keep us informed of your progress so that we can keep others informed.