To: Martin County Local Planning Agency and Honorable Edward Ciampi
Aides: Pat Spaulding, Teri Pryor, Carol Merrigan, Jan Henslee, Anna Colgan
From: Jan L. Manganaro, Jensen Beach, Florida
Date: October 20, 2009
I am writing to implore you all to vote NO to the canned hunting re-zoning issue. I am a proud Florida native and Martin County resident. PLEASE don't make Martin County stand out by being the "infamous pariah" county of Florida by allowing J & R Outfitters to kill animals for sport and show. You are all aware of the potential environmental hazards of having this facility operating here in Martin County. These hazards affect the animals, the local residents, the surrounding property and the very land on which this would operate. In addition, the majority of Martin County residents want no part of this activity in their county. In this democratic-based country, doesn't the majority count? Following are just a few reasons which support my position regarding this issue:
(1) Canned hunts are illegal or restricted in 23 states. Our great Country and particularly Florida are becoming increasingly proactive and progressive in protecting our wildlife species which directly impacts our environment. Why go backwards in time? We need to get with the program and hop on the animal rights and environmental preservation bandwagon. This so-called "preserve" is detrimental to both. The pollution, waste and smells emanating from this facility would be seriously detrimental to the environment, humans, animals, and our precious water supply by contaminating the soil. According to the J & R Outfitters website, they are slaughtering animals and selling them by the pound. Are they a licensed slaughterhouse? Are they properly disposing of the waste of these possibly diseased animals? If so, where is the required certification? Do they have veterinary certification required on each imported animal (required by the USDA) guaranteeing that it is not diseased?
(2) Canned hunts can be directly related to the spread of serious wildlife diseases, most notably chronic wasting disease. When animals are concentrated in numbers, share food plots, or congregate at bait stands, the likelihood of disease transmission increases. Disease transmission is not only a risk to captive animals but also a potential threat to free-roaming wildlife. Many states have banned canned hunts because of the seriousness of this threat. This disease is highly infectious and transmissible via saliva, urine, feces and blood. Wildlife researchers have proven that the movement of captive animals between game farms plays an important role in the spread of CWD. Game farms, through escaped animals, fence-line transmission or environmental contamination, spread CWD to the wild, where it is predicted to cause dramatic declines of game populations. There is a wealth of information on this topic on the Humane Society of the United States' website (HSUS.org). I would respectfully request that each of you read about this potentially dire situation before making a final decision.
(3) The noise factor. The surrounding residents shouldn't be subject to hearing gunshots going off all day. These weapons are extremely loud and as you know, bullets can travel over one mile. There is a “proper” gun range located in Martin County where they can fire their weapons, if necessary. There are bound to be stray bullets sooner or later which endanger the local residents and their children and pets.
(4) Future development of the surrounding area. This would directly impede any future "constructive" development in the surrounding properties, especially schools, churches, municipal centers, parks, etc. Who in their right mind would want to be anywhere near this facility and its filth and noise and the probable rotting smell emanating from it?
(5) Fox Brown Road residents. Ask yourselves………would you want to live on Fox Brown Road? Would you want to visit family members there or knowingly subject them to this dangerously caustic mess in their neighborhood?
(6) J & R Outfitters illegally operated this facility for a long time with blatant disregard for the law, knowing this property was not zoned for this type of activity, but deliberately continued on. They operated as a slaughterhouse (boasting $.60/pound steaks) and as a commercial property housing overnight visitors all the while profiting greatly from this with complete disregard for their neighbors and the residents of Martin County. Why should they be rewarded for this? Have they ever been charged with violating the zoning code? Fined? Admonished? They are proven criminal violators and don't deserve the smallest consideration in this matter.
Please make the majority of Martin County residents proud from both moral and legal positions by voting NO for this zoning change. There is absolutely no benefit to Martin County (not even tax revenues) and no possible reason to vote in favor of this change. The only people who will benefit and profit are the unethical operators of this so-called "hunting camp". Voting for this would set Martin County and Florida back light years from a currently progressive and protective wildlife and environmental State.
I was personally appalled at the 4-1 voting result of the Sept. meeting calling this "not a moral issue but a zoning issue". It is most certainly both, and one must question your personal and/or professional agendas in voting favorably for this re-zoning despite the overwhelming majority sentiment. Why not conduct an informal vote of the residents? Perhaps just the residents of the surrounding area including Fox Brown Road?
A very concerned Martin County resident
Jan L. Manganaro