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From 5 September 2004 Issue

Hunters Under Fire For Abuse Of Taxpayer Money

Westchester, NY August 16, 2004 Members of several NYS activist groups have joined in commencing legal action against the NYS Dept. Of Conservation (DEC) for using tax payer money to fund hunter-training courses in satellite locations of Mt. Vernon, Yonkers and Rye.

This statement, under the heading COALITION FOR THE ETHICAL USE OF PUBLIC MONEY was prepared by Taffy Williams, Dir., NY Whale and Dolphin Action League: "We find the use of public funds to train hunters and bow hunters a misuse, discriminatory and unethical management of public funds. ..also, the use of taxpayer funds for hunting-related activities is a discriminatory use of public monies, since there are no programs to benefit birdwatchers, kayakers, nature-enthusiasts, etc. The link between hunting and other forms of violence has been established in such sources as the Journal of Interpersonal Violence (B.W.Boat, June 1995) and the Purdue University Press (Child abuse, Domestic Violence and Animal Abuse, 1999).

According to Anne Muller, President of the Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting, "Towns should be frowning upon the DEC's practice of building wildlife populations for hunting. The Bureau of Wildlife is running a private hunting business on taxpayer money. The excise taxes on firearms, bows and arrows are insufficient to pay for their sport of killing animals. (New York State is required to match 25% of the federal excise tax that is contributed to the State.) All of the Bureau of Wildlife's overhead costs are paid out of the general fund. With our money the Bureau of Wildlife increases "game" species which then create human-animal conflicts.

Councilperson Dee Barbato, (R-Yonkers) agrees: "While safety should always be paramount, in this time of heightened security for our waterways and water supplies, I would think that the DEC could find better ways to safeguard the citizens than using taxpayer dollars for these sessions."

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