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Court Rejects Humane Society of U.S. Attempt To Muzzle Bear Experts

For Immediate Release                                               Contact:

October 22, 2014                                                          James Cote, Campaign Manager

                                                           (207) 860-6600




Attempt by Humane Society of the United States to Muzzle Maine’s Bear Experts Soundly Rejected by Maine Court


Augusta, Maine- Today Justice Joyce Wheeler soundly rejected a motion for a Temporary Restraining Order that would have silenced Maine’s bear experts in regard to Question 1 on the November 4 ballot. Plaintiffs apparently failed to meet any of the necessary criteria.


In her order, Justice Wheeler notes:


  • “In the meantime, DIFW’s advocacy activities are based on their experience and expertise and relate to initiatives that it perceives would have serious consequences for their effective management of Maine’s bear population.”


  • “Restricting speech on contested public issues is directly contrary to the public interest, which favors a robust and dynamic public discourse.”


  • “This statutory language expressly directs DIFW to advocate for its positions regarding wildlife management, including bear management.”


  • “Furthermore, the Department is mandated to ‘encourage the wise use of [wildlife] resources.”


  • “…this court concludes that there is a free speech argument.”


  • “Plaintiffs have failed to articulate an irreparable injury”


“Outside anti-hunting groups have not been content to pour millions into Maine to buy this election. They frivolously sued the state of Maine to stop the only actual bear experts involved in this campaign form telling the public the truth. Today the court completely rejected their argument, and fully supported Maine’s biologists and Game Wardens ability to make sure that voters know the risks behind Question 1,” said James Cote, Campaign Manager for the Save Maine’s Bear Hunt/NO on 1 Campaign.

Public opinion continues to be overwhelmingly supportive of the Department’s participation.




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