My Letter to Mike Simpson

8.09.2007
Subject: Support The Bear Protection Act, H.R. 3029

This one is a no-brainer! Support The Bear Protection Act, H.R. 3029! In the U.S. there is no national legislation governing bear parts trade. Rather, a complicated patchwork of state laws is in place, which makes law enforcement and successful prosecution of offenders difficult.

From Alaska to Maine and in numerous states in between, American black bear carcasses have been found with their abdomens sliced open and their gallbladders removed. Bear viscera are used in traditional Asian medicines in the United States and in other countries across the globe. The trade not only affects bears here at home, but also highly endangered bear species such as the Asiatic black bear in China and other countries in Southeast Asia.

The Bear Protection Act would facilitate state wildlife law enforcement and protect bears both here and abroad without infringing on a state’s ability to manage its bear populations or manage bear hunting. This bill is simply about deterring the poaching of bears for their parts, and ensuring the apprehension and prosecution of offenders.

In addition to the widespread support this legislation has already received in Congress, dozens of representatives of state wildlife agencies have also stated their support for additional enforcement assistance in managing their resident bear populations.

As long as bear gallbladders can be legally traded to and from the U.S., smugglers have a loophole to use while trading in parts and products from endangered Asian bears. Currently, if offenders are caught, they merely claim that the product for sale is a legal American bear part or product. This claim will no longer work if the United States prohibits the export of bear viscera.

Bears should not be slaughtered for their internal organs and I urge you to do everything you can to help ensure that the Bear Protection Act is enacted this year.

Thank you.

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