Letter: Rauner must veto bobcat bill

From Wayne Parcell
President and CEO, The Humane Society of the United States

It was an embarrassing day for rational and enlightened debate when, on the final day of the legislative session, lawmakers passed a bill to open a trophy hunting and trapping season on the state’s still-recovering bobcat population.

Although H.B. 352 was initially voted down, political arm-twisting by downstate legislators prompted a dozen lawmakers to flip-flop and secure enough votes to pass this ill-conceived bill. They are trying to conduct random, commercial killing of these shy and elusive creatures for the first time in more than 40 years.

And to what end? Who is benefitting from this slaughter? Nobody eats these beautiful cats, and they’re not posing any risk to public safety or livestock. In fact, they’re typically considered beneficial to farmers as their diet mainly consists of rodents.

It’s a shame that despite the myriad problems facing Illinois, some lawmakers chose to make passing this inhumane bill a priority – placing the interests of those who enjoy killing for killing’s sake and want to profit off of bobcat pelts above the vast majority of people in the state who want to maintain the policy of protecting animals just slightly larger than a common house cat. Most of these animals will languish in steel-jawed leghold traps before being bludgeoned to death. Now a bill that seals their death warrants sits on Gov. Bruce Rauner’s desk waiting to be signed.

Gov. Rauner needs to know that his constituents are opposed to this bill. Please call the Governor at 312-814-2121, and ask him to veto H.B. 352.

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