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Help the McNeil Bear Sanctuary off linmits to hunting

Feinstein, Cardin Take On Aerial Wolf Hunting

Mike Lillis / The Washington Independent / 7/29/09

Big day for Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) on the gun-control front. First she introduced a bill to prohibit foreign felons from buying firearms; now she's pushing a proposal to end the practice of hunting from airplanes. Co-sponsored by Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), the bill aims to close a loophole in the ban against aerial hunting that allows the practice to continue in the name of wildlife management. Alaska, for example, allows private hunters to pick off wolves from the air, citing a need to protect other species like caribou and moose - an issue that gained prominence last year with Sarah Palin's arrival on the national stage.

Under the bill, only certain state and federal officials would retain the right to hunt from the sky, leaving exception for instances of "biological emergency." The bill also bumps the fine for aerial hunting from $5,000 to $50,000.

"Shooting wildlife from airplanes is not sport - it is cruel and inhumane," Feinstein said in a statement. "It undermines the hunting principle of a fair chase and often leads to a slow and painful death for the hunted animals. This practice should be banned."

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