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Barry Roth: Wider debate needed on hunting in Northampton conservation areas

Such a law, were it to pass, would mean a drastic curtailment of the ability of the average Northampton resident to enjoy and explore the natural world that surrounds us.

As it is, I personally avoid the Meadows during hunting seasons. For those who choose to go there during a hunting season, I would advise wearing bright orange so you are not considered fair game.

This law would mean walking through our woods with a constant fear and necessary vigilance, including wearing warning attire.

Such a serious piece of legislation to allow hunting in conservation areas deserves a lot more input and discussion than it has been given. Let there be an opportunity for open debate on the subject and then have a citywide vote on the matter.

Even holding a debate before the City Council would seem mandatory.

One citizen has argued that as a hunter who has contributed to conservation funds, he should be allowed to hunt on all conservation areas. This overlooks the fact that the very nature of hunting is to kill that which it seeks, whereas the name conservation means to preserve.

A conservation area’s purpose is to provide sanctuary to those within.

The citizen argues that his rights are being impinged upon by society. And in a strictly legal sense, he has a point. Of course, this assumes that all other living things on the planet have no legal rights other than as property. You can legally kill them for sport.

I personally don’t feel that is ethical.

This proposal also overlooks the vast tracts of land on which hunting is permitted in the state, which is underwritten by all taxpayers.

For those who believe wildlife is already under enough of an assault, this would mean one more loss of reverence for nature and more generally a loss of reverence for life.

I urge Northampton residents to let the Conservation Commission know how they feel about this change and to attend Thursday’s meeting.

Barry Roth lives in Florence.

Related

Kevin Lake: Northampton Conservation Commission chairman explores assumptions and facts about hunting

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

NORTHAMPTON — Following recent letters and columns in the Gazette about hunting on city conservation land, I want to respond as chairman of Northampton’s Conservation Commission. I don’t know where my colleagues on the commission stand on this issue. Massachusetts’ Open Meeting Law prohibits us from deliberating other than during public meetings. I speak only for myself. Although like most …

Legacy Comments1

Hunting has seasons, No need for constant fear. Mostly in fall months We don't have the choice to do our recreational choice, any time we want. Many puplic meetings were held B-4 Open Space Plan was adopted. Hunting was talk about, see Open Space Plan. Which was endorsed by 10 City Boards and the state. The request is base on the plan. Need to increase active recreation stated many times in plans goals. See Open Space Plan. Why should we be singled out to go thru the process/more meetings again when others don't have to. Because peaple disagree with us ?? Not all area by far would be opened to hunting , based on current MA laws. You personally don't think hunting is ethical. Your OPION not mine. Do we not have the right to our opion ?? Large tracts outside city open to hunting and ALL other recreational oppertunities. We tend to have the fewest places to go. Why should I have to travel and not you ?? This is my city too. This is an environmental injustice not to service ALL of the puplic and discrimination against us as a group, because of our beliefs. Strange for a city that is known to welcome all types. Maybe just not our type. Hamp Hunter

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