ASPCA, deceptive? That’s a ‘bear-faced’ lie!

10 years ago

To the editor:
    This letter is to address the one written by a registered Maine Guide in which she attacked the ASPCA for supporting the bear referendum this fall which will prohibit shooting bears over baits. Let’s see now, ASPCA stands for American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

    On which side did she think this organization would be when people all but tame the bears and then blow their heads off? They’re not the ones being deceptive here, and I for one am tired of those who participate in such a horrendous practice wrapping themselves in the cloak of Maine’s hunting heritage!

    Anyone remember a president of the U.S. and avid hunter by the name of Teddy Roosevelt? When he let it be known he’d like to hunt a bear, the state made arrangements to have a young bear tied to a tree so Roosevelt could be assured of a successful “hunt.” Roosevelt was appalled by this unethical façade and refused to shoot the bear. He was a real hunter with ethics and dignity, who also saw the bear as a beautiful, regal creature who deserved to be treated fairly and given a sporting chance to survive and outwit him. When the general public heard about this incident, they were so touched by it that the “Teddy” bear was brought to the toy market and bought in huge numbers.

    The Maine Guide who authored the letter attacking the ASPCA hid the real motive for their support of this abhorrent practice, as well as bear trapping and hunting by dogs, also part of this referendum. She said Mainers should be in fear for their lives because the bear population would rise exponentially and we’d “perhaps” see bears “searching for food in your backyards.” The facts from the three states who’ve prohibited these reprehensible practices since the 1990s show convincingly this is absolutely false. In Oregon the number of nuisance complaints were 436 in 1993. In 2011, after 18 years of outlawing baiting and dog hunting, there were 457. Ditto, similar results in Washington state. Also in these states, as well as in Colorado, the number of real hunters has doubled or tripled. This is what I call a hunting heritage, not the farce we now have in Maine.

    The real reason why guides want to bait bears is greed, pure and simple. They rake in huge money from mostly out-of-state “johns” who pay them to be their “pimps” and provide a sure thing (prostitute); a bear to be part of their trophy wall. These “johns” don’t care to hunt — they just want a sure thing they can brag about back home, and they don’t care how they get it.

    Our Maine officials are in favor of keeping bear baiting and trapping because it brings in big money. My belief is that they think these practices stink to high heaven, but because big money is involved they’ll hold their noses and look the other way. I was taught, and I know the majority of Mainers believe, if something is wrong it is always wrong. It doesn’t become right because big money can be had. Anyone who has ethics or who is a true sportsman believes this as well.

    The magnificent wildlife that are entrusted to us in Maine deserve more than to be offered up as sacrificial prostitutes to anyone who can afford it. This referendum, let it be known that Maine will no longer pimp out its wildlife — that if they wish to “hunt” in Maine, they have to do it the way real hunters do it — with pride, dignity, sportsmanship, a rifle, some skill and a head held high!

Clare Kierstead
Presque Isle