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Animal Defenders of Westchester
P.O. Box 205
Yonkers, NY 10704


Controversial pheasant fund passes

By Gabriel J. Wasserman
Poughkeepsie Journal      
Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Ulster County will allow a coalition of sportsmen to spend tax dollars on raising pheasants for hunting.

Lawmakers voted 27 to 4 Monday night to authorize a $7,000 allocation for the Federated Sportsmen's Clubs of Ulster County.

The money can be spent to raise game, birds or fish; on conservation education; or on related activities and equipment.

A separate vote of 23 to 8 quashed a controversial proposal to ban the use of county money for the clubs' pheasant programs.

Animal rights activists and others had pushed for the ban, calling the county's investment a sponsorship for animal cruelty and a waste of tax money.

Hunters, however, said the pheasant help stimulate interest in a constitutionally protected form of recreation that is safe and environmentally sound. And, they said, pheasant hunting boosts the local economy.

The program funding became controversial last month when opponents staged a protest outside the county government's Fair Street headquarters in Kingston.

Scores of hunters and numerous other local residents interested in the issue came to watch the Legislature's proceedings Monday night.

Under terms of the agreement, the Federated Sportsmen group is required to make its accounting available to county government representatives. The accounting must document how the funds are being spent to support game, fishing, conservation or related goods and services.


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