September 8, 2016

Maryland: Judge Rules Against PETA, a Win for Scientific Management and the Sportsmen’s Community

On August 25, Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Steven G. Salant ruled that the Montgomery County Department of Parks’ bowhunting deer management program does not violate Maryland’s animal cruelty code. The case began with a lawsuit filed against the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission by a member of the animal rights group, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

Eileen Cohhn, a member of PETA, sued for allowing archery hunting to be used as a method for deer management in Parks property.

The lottery-based deer management program provides local sportsmen and women the opportunity to participate in select hunts during the fall and winter. Unlike alternative, non-lethal management techniques, hunting is widely regarded by the scientific community as the most efficient and effective tool to deal with isolated pockets of deer overabundance. Additionally, hunting generates critical conservation funding through the American System of Conservation Funding and has a strong, positive impact on Maryland’s economy. Maryland hunters contribute $266 million in annual spending; and, in 2015 hunters provided nearly $14 million in conservation funding for the state.

Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?

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