Letter: Sanctuaries, refuges shouldn’t be open to hunting

Posted 3/31/20

To the editor:

In these turbulent times, we are all seeking refuge in a variety of ways. A favorite for myself and my family, is wherever nature is untouched. I was recently shocked to learn that …

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Letter: Sanctuaries, refuges shouldn’t be open to hunting

Posted

To the editor:

In these turbulent times, we are all seeking refuge in a variety of ways. A favorite for myself and my family, is wherever nature is untouched. I was recently shocked to learn that in the midst of a pandemic caused by the human exploitation of animals, many of our most treasured sites of refuge, including Sachuest Point, are being targeted by what appears to be a financially driven effort to commodify the wilderness closest to our home.

The Rhode Island National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) Complex has released a draft Hunting and Fishing Plan for Public Review which proposes to open the following sanctuaries and refuges to hunting:

• Block Island NWR 

• John H. Chafee NWR 

• Ninigret NWR 

• Sachuest Point NWR 

• Trustom Pond NWR 

Wildlife included in the proposal include: ducks, mergansers, coot, saltwater fish, geese, whitetail deer, coyote, fox, turkey, and mourning dove.

According to the NWR, “Hunting and fishing provides opportunities for communities, families and individuals to enjoy the outdoors, support conservation efforts, and participate in these popular American traditions.”

The above are designated a national wildlife refuge. A refuge is defined as a condition of being safe or sheltered from pursuit, danger, or trouble. It would follow then that a wildlife refuge should mean an area designated to keep wildlife safe, the complete opposite of the intent of this proposal. 

To many of us, enjoyment of the outdoors, especially within such a refuge, relates to the immense respect we have of living things within their natural environment. It is a gift to be able to share it. Killing wildlife, in the name of conservation and management of wildlife, is in most circumstances cruel and unnecessary. Lastly, the majority of us would agree that hunting should more accurately be referred to as a past American tradition, one that most of us are not proud of.

The real question is, why does such a small minority get to steal life, to cause unnecessary suffering, as well as steal from the majority the natural gifts of this earth? The majority of Rhode Islanders know and agree that this is incomprehensible. Could perhaps money and special interest be involved? 

If you agree that these proposals are not in the best interest of Rhode Island and not in the best interest of wildlife, then please submit your comments to the following email or mailing address before June 1.

E-mail rhodeislandcomplex@fws.gov, or send mail to:

Rhode Island NWR Complex

50 Bend Road

Charlestown, RI 02813

Will we allow special interests along with government agencies to hide their destruction of life with deceiving words such as conservation, American tradition, and enjoyment of the outdoors? At a time when the global loss of land, forests, wildlife and plant species is immense one must remember that these losses start in our communities. We are presented with an opportunity to take action. Your voice could literally save lives.

Stay safe and healthy. 

Cindy Tavares

54 Oliver Hazard Perry Road

Portsmouth

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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.