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A bobcat rests near the glass of the exhibit at the Henson Robinson Zoo in Springfield, Ill, in June 2011.

Veto bobcat hunting bill

A final request to Gov. Pat Quinn:

Veto a bill that lifts Illinois’ decades-old ban on bobcat hunting and trapping.

EDITORIAL

The animals are not a threat to people (but their fur sure is valuable) and they aren’t overpopulating the state. They were only recently removed from the state’s endangered species list. In fact, the state’s existing hunting and trapping ban is a key reason the state’s bobcat population recovered enough to finally be removed from the list in 1999.

No hard evidence has been presented to show that bobcats are causing any meaningful damage, with critics saying the bill was passed with little input from experts. The Humane Society of the United States, the Illinois chapter of the Sierra Club and the Illinois Environmental Council all oppose the bill.

Bobcats can cause problems for hunters of wild game, and they prey on chickens and cats. But they also prey on animals that farmers don’t want: rabbits, mice and small rodents. They present, at most, a nuisance problem, hardly reason enough to hunt them down again, risking that they might once again become an endangered a species. Even limited bobcat hunting, as this bill proposes, is a problem.

The main reason a bobcat is hunted and trapped (often in a grossly inhumane way) is for its fur or to bag a trophy, neither of which measures up against the risk to the species.

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