Tuesday March 19, 2019
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Bear ‘harvest’ and other ‘authorized’ hypocrisies

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In the early 1970s, the black bear population in Florida was fewer than 300. In October 2015, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s “harvest objectives” for the week-long bear hunt was 320 bears.

Weapons allowed included shotguns, bows, pistols, revolvers and crossbows. Rules prohibited the use of bait or dogs to lure the bears, and permitted the killing of bears only weighing more than 100 pounds and without any cubs present. 33 stations were set up where hunters had to record each kill within 12 hours. Non-compliance of rules inculcated a fine of $50 to $500 and 60 days in prison.

In 1974, the black bear was categorized as a threatened species in the state and soon, hunting was banned. In 2012, when the numbers rose, the animal was taken off the protected list. In October 2015, with 3000 or more bears inhabiting Florida’s forests and swamps, the state saw an “authorized hunting” season for the first time in 21 years to cull the numbers.

It is rather hypocritical that a nation which causes so much hullabaloo over the moralities of the Yulin Dog festival doesn’t create that much of a furor in this case of “authorized hunting” where bears are “harvested” with the likeness of crops. Even though a few other states also employ hunting seasons to cut down the bear population, Florida, being the nation’s third most populated state with 20 million residents is hardly likely to need such a rash measure to cull the black bear numbers.

Despite several protests and lawsuits, 3,778 hunting permits were issued by the state, each permitting one kill. The permits were priced at $100 for Florida residents and $300 for non-residents. While Florida has indeed seen a rise in black bear-caused nuisance with 49,000 statewide incidents within the period of 1994-2014 (according to a National Geographic article), such a step spells disaster in the direction that we have come with respect to animal protection over the years.

Though a majority of the FWC signed off on the hunt citing “environment management”, the step is “an assertion of the dominance of one species over another”, as said by Laurie MacDonald, Florida director for the Defenders of Wildlife according to a tampabay.com article.

People opposing the hunt argued that a better waste management system that ensured no open dumpsters or trash cans would ensure less interaction between humans and bears as the smell of food was the main reason that bears were lured into residential areas. Others cited human development as the main issue which caused an infiltration by humans into the bear territory.

In a report on abcnews.go.com, Diane Eggeman, division director for the state’s hunting and game management agency, said that hunting was the “only effective tool we have for managing these growing populations at large scale”.

However, co-founder of the Central Florida Bear Hunters Association Brad McNaughton wasn’t among the hunters. Despite stating that the bear season was necessary he felt that “It’s going to take several years before they work out the kinks and there will be times when it’s not pretty.”

The process undertaken with vague objectives is rather poor as it doesn’t ensure a proper surgical method and targets a random bear population rather than pinpointing individual bears prone to nuisance. Moreover, inexperienced hunters might kill bears which are too young or wound others which might result in grave consequences later on.

Such was the primitive drive to hunt that within a span of just two days, 295 bears were killed. In a statement released late on Sunday, the Commission declared the “harvest” over in all four of the state’s seven BMUs (Bear Management Units) that offered bear hunting.

While the petition against the Yulin Dog Festival gained more than 4 million signatures, such an incident taking place in the States itself couldn’t be stopped by the common man’s choice. FWC called for public input on the decision and out of the 40,000 inputs, 75% opposed the decision. The Commission still went ahead.

The muted reaction to this “authorized hunting” season shows the selective reaction of the media and the masses to animal cruelty.

While dogs are viewed as our furry companions and are thus considered a taboo form of food, none bat an eyelid at the prospect of a pig, cow, or chicken going through similar torture in the “authorized” slaughterhouse procedures.

Such is our mindset, that a tradition which predates written history in China garners a worldwide protest at the atrocities committed on dogs and even cats at the Yulin Dog Festival, but we turn a blind eye to the daily torture that farm animals go through as they are gassed, often unsuccessfully, their throats slit and they are hung up upside down to drain out.

Social media doesn’t tell us how phrases like “free range” and “barn raised” are just fancy words hiding the appalling conditions in which chicken and turkey are raised. Male chicks are thrown alive into shredders after they are born as they are deemed of “no use”. Turkeys and chickens are pumped up with hormones to make them fatter and juicier and millions of these birds are killed for Christmas this year, yet we don’t see any media frenzy to shut down the poultry farms.

Four million is also the number of people celebrating the Gadhimai festival, in Nepal, which involves the large scale sacrificial slaughter of animals including water buffaloes, pigs, goats, chickens, and pigeons – to please Gadhimai, the goddess of power. The sacrificial aspect was called to a halt in July this year and the next festival in 2019 will be a “momentous celebration of life” instead of an animal sacrifice, according to the Gadhimai temple chairman Ram Chandra Shah.

As the masses rush to sign petitions urged on by photographs of animals in distress, they forget that what the media is showing them is mirrored indirectly in the meat farms and slaughterhouses in their very own countries and states; that the beef burger which tastes so good now was perhaps a few hours ago, an animal in utter distress, lying fully conscious as a result of a missed stun attempt, and condemned to a long drawn painful death.

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Top 3 Cities in Florida to Buy Real Estate in 2019

Looking forward into 2019 and beyond, Florida is a friendly and welcoming place to invest

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If you are like most people, then for summer vacations or to retire has crossed your mind. There is so much to enjoy for the whole family, either indoors or outside, having fun in the sun. Florida is one of those states that has it all because the weather is ideal year-round, the beaches are pristine, and there’s always a new way to take it all in.

When you think about buying in Florida, you probably think of a few places first, like Miami, and you would be right to do that. But, there are several other cities that will give you a high-quality lifestyle, while providing you with a solid financial real estate investment, as well.

Let’s take a detailed look at the top 3 cities in Florida to buy real estate, and why.

Florida
Buying a home in Florida In 2019, Pixabay

Miami, Florida

When you think about Miami, many things come to mind, but if you haven’t visited in person, it’s hard to get the full picture. Miami is a vibrant mix of old-world character and new modern lifestyle, all wrapped up in one. You can find neighborhoods in Miami, such as Belle Meade, that have homes built in the 1930’s that stimulate your senses and imagination. You can literally imagine yourself living in a new beach-side, pioneer town, just discovered by people. But, amidst the old-world feel, are touches of modern amenities, giving you the perfect balance of history, character, and contemporary creature comforts.

Another well-known fact about Miami is that it’s home to the best nightlife in the world, literally epic, and people flock to Miami’s South Beach to be a part of it all. There are famous night clubs like Liv in the Fountain Bleu hotel, where celebrities can be seen any day of the week, partying and having fun. Of course, there are luxurious condos on South Beach in buildings built by world renowned architects and designers. They can be small, yet well-appointed studios, to large, over- the-top penthouse condos.

Miami
Another well-known fact about Miami is that it’s home to the best nightlife in the world, literally epic, and people flock to Miami’s South Beach to be a part of it all. Pixabay

Another way to invest in Miami’s real estate market is buying a luxury mansion on Star Island, Coral Gables, or any number of prestigious addresses in Miami. These properties are ultra-exclusive and can have 10 bedrooms or more. They can be adorned with stylish furnishings, and have amenities like saltwater swimming pools, arcades, Italian marble, and more.

Before you run out and see the homes for sale in Miami, you might want to contact a respected Realtor, because investing in Miami real estate comes with a hefty price tag. It’s not uncommon to spend a million dollars or more on a property that still may need renovations.

Orlando, Florida

The one place everyone with kids is already familiar with is Orlando, FL. Home to Mickey Mouse and the entire Disney World family, Orlando represents some of the most innocent times and memories we have as children. It also has one of the hottest real estate markets in the nation, with a median home value of $250,000. It is much different than Miami, since most of the homes in Orlando are newer and full of cutting-edge technologies and building materials.

Orlando real estate investing makes sense, and with so many attractions (Universal Studios, Epcot, Sea World) bringing millions of tourists per year, it will stay that way. Orlando’s home values have increased steadily through the years and investors can expect to see that trend continue in the future.

Treasure Coast of Florida

If you enjoy a more laid-back lifestyle, and you appreciate the outdoors, beaches, and waterfront activities, then the Treasure Coast may be the place for you to invest in 2019. It is comprised of several small cities, such as Port St Lucie, Stuart, Palm City and Hutchinson Island. The reason that it makes sense to invest here is because there’s any and every type of real estate available at affordable prices. But, just because it’s more budget friendly, doesn’t mean there aren’t new and breathtaking waterfront mansions that can cost millions.

But, for the most part, you can buy a property for considerably less, depending on what type of real estate you want. The Treasure Coast is truly special, and one of the untouched coastal gems in Florida. The waterways are pristine and wind through all the cities, respectively. People love all the golfing communities, which are built around championship courses and amazing golfing centers.

According to top Treasure Coast Realtors, there are numerous single-family homes for sale in Port St Lucie situated on oversized, waterfront lots. Owners have deep-water ocean access, plus room for large yachts and other water toys.  

For those looking to retire beach-side, there are oceanfront condos available on Hutchinson Island in full-service buildings. Who wouldn’t want to wake up to a salty breeze from the Atlantic Ocean from your bedroom window? These buildings offer full fitness centers, concierge services and endless outdoor activities at your doorsteps.

Also Read: How Real Estate Regulatory Bill can help ailing Real Estate sector

Conclusion

Looking forward into 2019 and beyond, Florida is a friendly and welcoming place to invest your money that will not only pay dividends, but give you the quality lifestyle you want to enjoy. No matter if you want to live on the beach, near Florida attractions, or near the electric nightlife in Miami, Florida delivers. Just remember that hiring a local Realtor will save you both time and money, because they know the areas better than anyone else. Make sure you research the agents before you hire them to ensure they are the authority in the cities you want to live and invest your money.