THE LEAGUE OF HUMANE VOTERS®-NY SENT THE FOLLOWING LETTER TO THE CHAIR OF THE FINANCE COMMITTEE OF THE NYS SENATE

(SHORTENED FROM ORIGINAL):

Dear Senator:

In this time of urgent need to protect people both medically and economically, I’m sure you would agree that using taxes for anything other than those two broad and urgent matters should be off the table. The League of Humane Voters® of New York urges you to restrict taxpayer money from contributing to the welfare of the firearms business and the horrific treatment of our wildlife for a small minority that enjoys this “sport.” Millions of dollars have been poured into the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) that end up funding the Bureau of Wildlife, and its cooperating bureaus, simply to promote more hunting (more use of firearms and ammunition). We’re at a point in time when we can say with certainty that the allocation of public funds for the less than 3% of the New York public that enjoys killing animals cannot be justified and should not be sustained by NYS. The Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration (Pittman-Robertson or P-R) Act of 1937 (16 U.S.C. 669 et seq.) placed a dedicated excise tax on firearms and ammunition that is turned over to the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). The FWS keeps 8% and apportions the rest to the states based on the area of the state and the number of hunting licenses the state has sold. However, states MUST match every $3 received with $1. P-R funds are provided to a state’s game division. The game division is that part of the DEC that manages wildlife to be targets for hunters, all to benefit the firearms industry from which it derives much of its income. This is truly a self-serving, circular, and airtight scheme that offers no benefit to the public. In fact, it deprives the public of funds for important societal needs. Furthermore, it causes state governments to help support the firearms industry despite any rhetoric to the contrary.

If there ever was a time to withdraw General Funds for this purpose, it’s now.   We need to stop the flow of public money for this purpose now in our budget decisions. By removing state funds from the bureaus within the DEC that have economic ties to the firearms industry, millions of dollars will be freed up for the welfare of the general public in this unprecedented time of need. Hunting and firearms use are fused. State government needs to stop supporting the firearms industry. Being anti-gun and pro-hunting is a house divided. Every bullet from an assault rifle or a handgun that is shot into people, animals or things pays into the so-called “Conservation Fund” to promote more use of firearms against animals. Perhaps now we can understand why there are no funds available for families of victims wounded or murdered by firearms. Instead, the funds are channeled into the bureaus that management wildlife for hunting (or more use of firearms)!

There’s an immediate need for taxpayer funds to be spent to battle coronavirus and a collapsing economy. The League of Humane Voters® of NY is asking that the millions of tax dollars that have contributed to the horrific treatment of our wildlife by less than 3% of the New York population are used for essential public needs. We urge you to remove state funds from the bureaus within the DEC that have economic ties to the firearms industry.

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Further, LOHV®-NY began a petition to ask that general funds be withdrawn from the wildlife management bureau. See here:

https://www.change.org/NoTaxesForHunting-AllTaxesForFightingCOVID-19AndAidingEconomy

Nevertheless, the 2020 NYS budget passed quickly with a Bond Act called Restore Mother Nature Bond Act. In spite of the huge need for funding to battle Covid-19 and bolster the tanking economy, the following enormous allocations were made:

$550 million for open space land conservation and recreation;

$550 million for water quality improvement and resilient infrastructure;

Should the Act be approved by voters in November, this will likely be administered by the DEC. And, that’s the concern: How will it support wildlife management’s goals and connection to the firearms industry?

We’ll be following this.

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Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting / C.A.S.H.
P.O. Box 562
New Paltz, NY 12561
845/256-1400