From Animal Defenders of Westchester (ADOW)

We advocate on all animal protection and exploitation issues, including experimentation, factory farming, rodeos, breeders and traveling animal acts.

Why are hunters the only advisers for DEC?

Letter as published on The Journal News
May 30, 2017

​​W​e recently made an astonishing discovery: In order to serve on the New York State Department of Conservation advisory board ​you must be a hunter.

This is an agency created to protect New York State's wild animal populations.

According to the DEC website: "At the time of designation, board members must hold a valid New York state hunting, fishing or trapping license and have held one three years prior."

This deck-stacked​, biased​ requirement guarantees a lethal outcome for wildlife — the very beings this agency is supposed to protect.

The DEC has permitted​ the federal Wildlife Services to conduct massive slaughters of wildlife out of sight of the public without​ notification. Freedom of Information requests have turned up taxpayer-subsidized killings of owls, egrets, ducks, sparrows, woodpeckers, hawks, provided​ for private businesses such as golf courses, farms and homes, racetracks. Poisons, firearms and snares have been employed.

Non-target animals are often killed, including bears, bobcats, foxes, otters and turtles. Family pets have been killed and people injured by Wildlife Services’ methods.

At the same time, the DEC has outrageously gutted the ability of wildlife rehabilitators to care for wildlife, leading them to file suit against the DEC. ​Th​e DEC's failure to include rehabbers in decision-making is also a direct result of their "Hunters Only" advisory board hiring policy.

State Sen. Tony Avella has introduced a bill to end this outrageous discrimination, S0332​7/A6519, which calls for​ non-hunters to be ​allowed to serve on ​the DEC advisory board​.

Passage of this bill will profoundly affect the treatment of our wildlife. We ask that all decent, principled New York State citizens support S0332​7/A6519.

Kiley Blackman


The writer is founder​ of Animal Defenders of Westchester.

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