Which Animals Matter (yet again)?

Seth Victor

To paraphrase the oft quoted excerpt from Animal Farm, all cute and fuzzy animals are equal, but domesticated cute and fuzzy animals are more equal than others. This sentiment was yet again demonstrated over the last week. In one corner, we have human pets, who are mercilessly being tortured for the pleasure of a rather repugnant fetish in crush videos. After U.S. v. Stevens struck down a law aimed a regulating depictions of cruelty, Congress quickly passed a narrower bill that was signed into law by President Obama on Friday. As reported by ALDF, “the more narrowly written law that emerged makes it a crime to sell or distribute videos showing animals being intentionally crushed, burned, drowned, suffocated, impaled, or otherwise subjected to serious bodily injury. It exempts depictions of veterinary and husbandry practices, the slaughter of animals for food, as well as depictions of hunting, trapping or fishing.” Hopefully the narrower scope will survive the inevitable legal challenges.

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New Jersey Bear Hunt Approved

Seth Victor

New Jersey has been talking about reinstating a bear hunt for some time, and it received final approval on Wednesday. The effort to curb the bear population is not dissimilar to other attempts to kill large mammals. The difference is that while ranchers have been a major supporter of wolf hunts under the questionable guise of livestock protection, the New Jersey bear hunt is backed both by recreational hunters and suburbanites. Questioning hunting is a whole separate debate. It’s the suburbanites that are really troubling. People saunter in, knock down a forest or field, and put up energy demanding houses. Somewhere between trying to get the sewer system to handle the sudden over-population of toilets and naming the neighborhood after what used to be there, a bear gets into a trash can, and suddenly the whole thing is the bear’s problem.

Now there will be six days of reckoning in December for the local bruins in northwest New Jersey (originally reports stated that the area would be north of I-78 and west of I-287. Now it seems the hunt will be north of I-80.). The hunt has been approved and supported by Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin, even while state biologists predict that the hunt would not actual curb the bear population. The expected birth rate for New Jersey black bears is around 400 cubs, while the last two hunts in 2003 and 2005 yielded 328 kills and 298 kills, respectively.

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