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Williams Leads Legislators in Effort to Protect Black Bears

Letter to Fish and Game Commission condemns plan to increase annual quota

Nearly 20 state legislators have joined Assemblyman Das Williams, D-Santa Barbara, in opposing a proposal before the California Fish and Game Commission to increase the annual quota of black bears allowed to be killed annually by nearly 20 percent.

On Monday, the legislators sent their letter to the commission condemning the proposed increase to bear hunting.

“These new regulations are in no way justified or fiscally prudent,” Williams said. “This annual cycle of unjustified expansions will chew up constituent and department staff time.”

For the past three years, expansion proposals have been shelved after vigorous opposition.

In February, the California Department of Fish and Game unveiled a proposal that would raise the annual quota of black bears to be harvested from 1,700 to 2,000 bears. The majority of those bears killed are through the use of hound hunting, which involves using packs of dogs to chase bears to exhaustion so they can be shot when they are helpless of escape. The dogs’ collars are fitted with transmitters so that the hunter doesn’t have to actively pursue the prey during the chase.

California is among 17 states that allow hound hunting of the 30 states that allow bear hunting.

Joining Williams in the letter to the commission are Assembly members Toni Atkins, D-San Diego; Jim Beall Jr., D-San Jose; Marty Block, D-San Diego; Bob Blumenfield, D-San Fernando Valley; Mike Eng, D-Monterey Park; Paul Fong, D-Cupertino; Isadore Hall, D-Los Angeles; Fiona Ma, D-San Francisco; Anthony Portantino, D-La Cañada Flintridge; Jose Solorio, D-Santa Ana; Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco; Mary Hayashi, D-Hayward; and Mariko Yamada, D-Davis; and Sens. Ron Calderon, D-Montebello; Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley; Ted Lieu, D-Long Beach; Alan Lowenthal, D-Long Beach; and Fran Pavley, D-Santa Monica.

The commission is expected to discuss the issue this Thursday.

— James Joyce is a field representative of Assemblyman Das Williams, D-Santa Barbara.

 
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