Animal Writes
8 April 2001 Issue
"Objective" Wildlife Experts?

by Stu Chaifetz 

"Objective" Rutgers Professor admits to receiving $120,000 from pro-hunting State Agency.

On March 27, Larry Katz, professor of animal science at Rutgers University, gave a speech at the Statehouse in Trenton regarding deer management in our state. During the Q&A section of the meeting, Stuart Chaifetz, co-founder of the League of Animal Protection Voters, stated that he had filed a
Freedom of Information Act request with the NJ Division of Fish, Game and Wildlife to discover how much money Fish and Game had given to Mr Katz. Chaifetz then asked, because Fish and Game had not responded to the request, that Mr Katz reveal the financial interest himself.

There are two simple facts to this issue:

1. Larry Katz has, in editorials and in public meetings across our state, promoted hunting, and the expansion of hunting opportunities.

2. Larry Katz has, in the past six years, received $120,000 from the NJ Division of Fish, Game and Wildlife, the state agency that promotes and profits from the sale of hunting licenses.

Fish and Game gave the money to Katz for research into finding reproductive control for deer. This is interesting because Fish and Game has been a long time foe of birth control for deer, and even more interesting because Mr. Katz has stated publicly that birth control won't work, which he then leads into a support for hunting. Just one example of this is an op-ed piece that ran in the Star-Ledger on Feb. 16, titled "Until Deer Contraception Works, We Must Hunt". It contained the following:

"We must consider laws to allow bow hunting in public parks and to modify the 450-foot distance requirement from buildings for bow hunters. We also need to educate landowners and property managers to develop effective wildlife management plans."

The editorial signature stated that Larry Katz is the "associate director of Rutgers University's New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station Center for Wildlife Damage Control."

Fish and Game has produced a document titled: "Governor's Report On Deer Management In New Jersey". On page 21 it contains the following recommendations for the NJ state legislature:

* "Amend the law to allow bow hunting for deer within 450 feet of buildings."

* "Lands purchased with public funds, such as dedicated open space monies, should be required to have wildlife management plans that include deer control and management elements."

* "Additional financial support should be provided for the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, Center for Wildlife Damage Control."

Chaifetz questions whether this is Quid Pro Quo, or a coincidence. "However," states Chaifetz, "it is my opinion that Rutgers has thrown away all of its objectivity and credibility when it comes to the issue of deer management in our state."

In the last line of his article, Katz wrote that all parties involved with the deer issue should "... communicate with one another civilly and honestly."

"We will hold Mr Katz to his own words," states Chaifetz. "Full disclosure of financial ties is mandatory to an open and fair debate about any issue. This is especially true about deer and hunting, for hundreds of thousands of lives are at stake, along with millions of tax payer dollars. I do not pretend to be
unbiased when it comes to the issue of hunting, and I am honest about this. And in the end, that is all we are trying to do; keep the debate over hunting honest."

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