As a humane organization, the Animal Rescue League of Boston opposes hunting, in particular, inhumane practices such as trophy hunting, spotlighting (use of artificial lights that temporarily immobilize wildlife), and or hunting that involves use of baited traps. These practices are unnecessary, inherently cruel, and inflict needless trauma and suffering.
The Animal Rescue League also recognizes that laws permit hunting. Although we do not support the practice, we expect that hunting will be done within legal limits as regulated by the state and will be done by responsible, trained, competent and licensed persons. Every effort must be made to ensure animals are taken humanely and quickly and that all wounded animals are tracked and killed to end suffering and stress.
The Animal Rescue League further recognizes that at times it may be necessary to permit hunting as a tool for wildlife management. We expect such hunting to be monitored, controlled, and conducted by the proper authorities. The Animal Rescue League also expects that the management will be based upon verifiable and corroborative evidence and not merely as an excuse to increase the number of hunting days in an effort to increase revenue generated by license fees. Additionally, the Animal Rescue League supports and encourages the consideration of all available information to ensure that public safety is not threatened by hunting.
Additionally, when animals are hunted for human sustenance, the same guidelines must be followed, and endangered species must be avoided and protected.
Each year, there are a number of bills introduced in the state legislature or changes sought by the Department of Recreation and Conservation which have been aimed at, among other things, seeking to hunt additional species not currently allowed; seeking to use ammunition which has previously been banned; and seeking to use artificial lights to increase the advantage of a hunter.
At the same time, penalties for illegal hunting (poaching) have languished at the same low levels, some of which have not been revised for nearly a century. This only serves to encourage poaching because the minimal fines become the cost of doing business as usual. Additionally, Massachusetts is one of a few states which do not participate in a nationwide law enforcement compact relating to poaching activity. As a non-member, Massachusetts neither shares nor receives vital information that could help ensure compliance with hunting laws both within and without the Commonwealth.
Therefore, the Animal Rescue League will:
- Oppose any legislation which seeks to use inhumane practices
- Oppose any legislation which seeks to provide any hunter with additional advantages, including — but not limited to — hunting with artificial lights and use of bait.
- Oppose legislation which seeks to increase hunting days and methods based upon an alleged need to cull wildlife without an objective study determining whether hunting will, in fact, address the issues raised and whether all facets of public safety have been considered.
- Support legislation which will increase penalties and fines for poaching.
- Support legislation by which Massachusetts will participate in a nation-wide law enforcement compact to combat poaching here and in other states.