#Animal Welfare
Florida Governor, Rick Scott, and members of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission
United States of America

On October 24, 2015, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation (FWC) – with the full support of the government of the State of Florida – essentially allowed “trophy hunters” to wage war against the peaceful and non-aggressive Florida Black Bear despite many months of passionate pleas by more than 175,000 concerned citizens. To add insult to injury, the FWC deceitfully labeled the event as “conservation.” What did these Bears do to warrant their destruction? Nothing! They had not killed a human or pet, nor had they harmed other wildlife or livestock. Worse yet, although the FWC established a “kill limit” of 320 Bears, as many as 400 to 500 Bears were MURDERED, many of whom were lactating mothers with cubs … some of which later died because they were too young to survive on their own. This MASSACRE made national headlines.

How could such a tragedy occur? First of all, the FWC sold 3,778 bear hunting licenses for just 320 Bears. With that many eager participants salivating for an opportunity to pose next to a fresh kill, the Bears didn’t stand a chance. Secondly, the hunting administration plans were created and implemented with such incompetence that two local hunting associations refused to attend the hunt and discouraged their members to do the same. Thirdly, countless numbers of Bears were lured onto private property and slaughtered there, then secretly carted away by hunters in order to avoid inspectors, who were comparatively small in number and completely overwhelmed by the management demands presented by several thousand motivated hunters. The FWC was repeatedly warned about the “Armageddon” their grossly inept hunting plans would cause to the Bears, but they simply did not care.

To make the GENOCIDAL HUNT legally possible, the FWC, with Governor Rick Scott’s tacit approval, terminated the 21-year ban against bear hunting. Despite a massive public outcry in opposition, the FWC took this action even though they publically admitted that the hunt would do little or NOTHING to prevent future altercations between the Bears and humans. The FWC also intentionally ignored the documented fact that because of fast-paced deforestation from residential and commercial construction, dramatic reductions in food supplies due to climate change, and an alarmingly high number of deaths due to vehicular collisions, Bear populations, believed by experts to already be at all-time lows, are already being aggressively reduced. Instead of employing the various non-lethal, “compassionate conservation” methods which have been scientifically proven to reduce or eliminate human-animal conflicts, as other jurisdictions have successfully done, the FWC has chosen the cruel and barbaric practice of allowing bloodthirsty “recreational hunters” to terrorize and KILL innocent, non-threatening Florida Black Bears.

What is the purpose of the hunt? FWC and Governor Scott’s have FALSELY claimed that the justification for the trophy hunt is that there are too many Black Bears and the concern that negative contacts with humans is higher. The real reason for the hunt is to placate commercial land developers who are interested in turning more and more of Florida’s vanishing pristine wilderness into commercial parks, hotels, high-priced housing, theme parks, fancy condominiums, shopping malls, and even fracking location – all in the name of PROFIT. And, of course, the wealthier that land developers become, the greater their election campaign contributions will be for those running for elected positions in the Florida Government.

SADLY, despite world condemnation regarding last year’s trophy hunt, the FWC is in the process of authorizing yet ANOTHER DIASTEROUS HUNT in October 2016 against the innocent and under-populated Florida Bear. Trophy hunters everywhere are waiting with bated breath so they can purchase new permits for another SLAUGHTER, which experts believe will result in a death toll even greater than last year’s. In the heartless pursuit of millions of dollars of tax revenue from a highly lucrative, multibillion dollar tourist industry, the Florida Government FALSELY peddles itself as a travel destination that supposedly respects and honors its wildlife and environment. They’re hoping that tourists and business travelers coming to Florida will simply IGNORE the systematic destruction of the bears, panthers, manatees and other wildlife creatures and their habitats. In other words, “spend your money and SHUT UP.”

To save the Florida Black Bear and their immensely important contribution to the environment, we must band together and DEMAND that the anti-hunting ban, which until last year, was working very well for 21 years for all stakeholders, be RESTORED. We must also advocate for the utilization of non-lethal, “compassionate” conservation techniques, instead of resorting to the simple-minded and grossly ignorant strategy of bear killing. In particular, non-residents with a concern for the protection and preservation of wildlife who have plans to travel to Florida for business or recreation need to MAKE THEIR VOICE HEARD and consider whether they are interested in contributing millions of dollars in tax revenue to a state government planning to KILL more Bears for the sake of land developers, despite the vast majority of its citizens OPPOSING the hunt.


We, the Undersigned, as demonstrated by our individual signatures to this Petition, hereby affirm our SOLIDARITY with the Florida Black Bear and all the Florida residents supporting compassionate conservation and, therefore, PLEDGE not to engage in any travel to the State of Florida, whether for purposes of recreation or business, including the hosting of business events and conventions within the State, until such time as the following remedies have been implemented:

(1) That the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and/or the Governor of Florida immediately CANCEL any plans for allowing the hunting of the Florida Black Bear in 2016, immediately SUSPEND any authority granted by permits or licenses that may already have been issued for any such hunting, and immediately restore the 1994 BAN against future hunting which was lifted in 2015;

(2) That the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, with the full participation of independent, credible experts, immediately evaluate, for speedy implementation, viable, “compassionate,” non-lethal, and species-appropriate conservation strategies and techniques to control Bear populations as a substitution for hunting, and allow for public review and commentary of such strategies and techniques; and

(3) That the authority of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission over the lifting of said BAN in the future be lawfully altered such that said lifting cannot occur without first putting the matter to a vote at public referendum.

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The Pledge NOT To Travel To Florida For Recreation Or Business Until Former BAN Against Florida Black Bear Hunting Is RESTORED! petition to Florida Governor, Rick Scott, and members of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission was written by Joseph Delgado (Founder/Director For People Ending Animal Cruelty Everywhere - P.E.A.C.E.) and is in the category Animal Welfare at GoPetition.