Environmental Groups Urge DeSantis to Veto Florida Bill Allowing Killing of Bears in Self-Defense

As Florida awaits Governor Ron DeSantis’ decision on House Bill 87, environmental and conservation groups are rallying against the proposed legislation that would permit individuals to kill bears in self-defense without facing legal repercussions.

The bill, branded as the “Self Defense Act,” has sparked controversy, with critics arguing it is based on unfounded claims about so-called “crack bears” terrorizing residents as per the article covered by orlandoweekly

Sponsored by Panhandle House Republican Jason Shoaf, HB 87 asserts that individuals can use lethal force against bears if they believe it necessary to prevent imminent harm to themselves, their pets, or their property.

However, opponents like Sierra Club Florida and Defenders of Wildlife assert that the bill circumvents existing wildlife management protocols and poses significant risks to bear populations. Join the further discussion on Reddit

Sierra Club’s Florida chapter director, Susannah Randolph, condemned the bill as built on misinformation, highlighting that no documented cases support the existence of drug-addicted bears causing such threats.

Environmental advocates are urging Governor DeSantis to veto the bill, emphasizing the potential consequences for bear conservation and public safety.

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The legislation, which passed predominantly along party lines in the state legislature, has drawn widespread criticism for its perceived disregard for wildlife conservation efforts and potential escalation of conflicts between humans and bears.

With over 38,000 signatures on a petition urging a veto, the pressure mounts on DeSantis to decide the bill’s fate before the July 1 deadline.

As the clock ticks, environmental groups continue their push for gubernatorial action, arguing that adequate trash management and education initiatives could mitigate human-bear interactions more effectively than legalizing lethal responses.

Governor DeSantis’ decision is anticipated to reflect his stance on wildlife protection and public safety concerns across Florida.

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