MIAMI (CBSMiami/NSF) — Animal rights group in Florida are set to hold rallies Monday opposing the state’s plans to bring back an annual bear hunt.
They also plan to update a request that Florida Gov. Rick Scott intervene in the matter.
The Animal Rights Foundation of Florida announced the protests will occur at noon outside Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission regional offices in West Palm Beach, Ocala, Lake City, Lakeland and Panama City.
“Commissioners are ignoring the majority of Floridians who have said they oppose a bear hunt,” Animal Rights Foundation of Florida Campaigns Coordinator Nick Atwood said in a prepared statement. “A trophy hunt is not a solution to human-bear conflicts.
To protect public safety, Florida’s state wildlife agency should invest in bear-resistant trash cans, and not waste its limited resources on a hunt.”
Around the same time, The Humane Society of the United States plans to deliver to the Capitol petitions against the proposed bear hunt. The Humane Society had earlier asked Scott to halt the pending hunt. Scott spokeswoman Jeri Bustamante responded in an email Friday that “it is for FWC to decide.” The commission is expected to give final approval Wednesday for the state’s first bear hunt in more than 20 years.
The commission will meet in Sarasota. The wildlife commission on April 15th gave tentative approval to the mid-October hunt, which is expected to last from two to six days, depending on when quotas are reached in different regions — the eastern Panhandle, Northeast Florida, east-central Florida and South Florida.
The hunt is considered one way to control the bear population as Florida has seen a growing number of bear and human conflicts.
Opponents of the proposed hunt have argued the state should consider relocating problem bears and that people need to be held more responsible for leaving out unsecured food and trash that attracts bears.
(The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.)