‘Radical animal rights movement’ gets new foe

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http://news.yahoo.com/radical-animal-rights-movement-gets-192320330.html

By Michael Beckel 21 hours ago

An Iowa-based organization dedicated to combating “the radical animal rights movement” and led by a former Missouri Republican senator’s chief of staff has launched a new super PAC, according to paperwork filed with the Federal Election Commission.

The Protect the Harvest Political Action Committee told the elections regulator that it “intends to raise funds in unlimited amounts” to call for the election or defeat of federal candidates.

Which politicos will be targeted, however, is still unclear.

Neither the super PAC’s treasurer, Brian Klippenstein, nor its attorney, Mark Roth, responded to requests for comment from the Center for Public Integrity.

Super PACs are legally allowed to solicit unlimited contributions to produce political advertisements — so long as their spending is not coordinated with any candidates’ campaigns.

Klippenstein currently serves as the executive director of Protect the Harvest, a 501(c)(4) “social welfare” nonprofit established in 2011 to educate the public about “the benefits of farming, ranching and hunting” and to advocate “for the right to conduct such activities.”

The nonprofit may engage in politics, although federal law mandates that influencing elections may not be its primary purpose.

On its website, Protect the Harvest warns that “the animal rights movement in America, led by the Humane Society of the United States, has evolved into a wealthy and successful attack group determined to end the consumption of meat, threaten consumer access to affordable food, eliminate hunting, outlaw rodeos and circuses and even ban animal ownership (including pets) altogether.”

That’s “baloney,” said Joe Maxwell, the Humane Society of the United States’ vice president of outreach and engagement. He said his organization is “leading efforts to ensure that we have good stewards of the land and the animals on our farms.”

Protect the Harvest, Maxwell asserted, is “nothing but a front group” that is “in bed with industrialized agriculture.”

There’s more to this story. Click here to read the rest at the Center for Public Integrity.

In the Words of Farley Mowat

The world has suffered another great loss with the death of author, naturalist and avid animal advocate, Farley Mowat. I never had the opportunity to meet him, but I do feel extremely fortunate to have received an endorsement for my book from him, just two short years before his passing.

He didn’t use the internet, so I sent a manuscript to his assistant, who had to hand deliver it (presumably on snowshoes) to him at his place in eastern Canada. This is what he had her send back to me, which now holds a special place on the back cover of the book:

“Robertson’s new book could be titled The Big and Dirty Game, because that’s what it is about — the dirty, bloody business of killing other animals for sport and fun. Fun? Sure, that’s what the Sportsmen say . . but read about it for yourself . . .”   ~ Farley Mowat, Author of Never Cry Wolf and A Whale for the Killing

One of Farley Mowat’s many classic books, A Whale for the Killing, written in1972, was an autobiographical account of his moving to Newfoundland because of his love for the land and the sea, only to find himself at odds with herring fishermen who made sport of shooting at an 80-ton fin whale trapped in a lagoon by the tide. Although he had started off thinking folks around there were a quaint and pleasant lot, he grew increasingly bitter over the attitudes of so many of the locals who, in turn, resented him for “interfering” by trying to save the stranded leviathan.

Mr. Mowat writes, “My journal notes reflect my sense of bewilderment and loss. ‘…they’re essentially good people. I know that, but what sickens me is their simple failure to resist the impulse of savagery…they seem to be just as capable of being utterly loathsome as the bastards from the cities with their high-powered rifles and telescopic sights and their mindless compulsion to slaughter everything alive, from squirrels to elephants…I admired them so much because I saw them as a natural people, living in at least some degree of harmony with the natural world. Now they seem nauseatingly anxious to renounce all that and throw themselves into the stinking quagmire of our society which has perverted everything natural within itself, and is now busy destroying everything natural outside itself. How can they be so bloody stupid? How could I have been so bloody stupid?’”

Farley Mowat ends the chapter with another line I can well relate to: “I had withdrawn my compassion from them…now I bestowed it all upon the whale.”

And Farley Mowat writes here of the wrongheadedness of hunting intelligent animals, such as geese, in his foreword to Captain Paul Watson’s book Ocean Warrior:

“Almost all young children have a natural affinity for other animals, an attitude which seems to be endemic in young creatures of whatever species. I was no exception. As a child I fearlessly and happily consorted with frogs, snakes, chickens, squirrels and whatever else came my way.

“When I was a boy growing up on the Saskatchewan prairies, that feeling of affinity persisted—but it became perverted. Under my father’s tutelage I was taught to be a hunter; taught that “communion with nature” could be achieved over the barrel of a gun; taught that killing wild animals for sport establishes a mystic bond, “an ancient pact” between them and us.

“I learned first how to handle a BB gun, then a .22 rifle and finally a shotgun. With these I killed “vermin”—sparrows, gophers, crows and hawks. Having served that bloody apprenticeship, I began killing “game”—prairie chicken, ruffed grouse, and ducks. By the time I was fourteen, I had been fully indoctrinated with the sportsman’s view of wildlife as objects to be exploited for pleasure.

“Then I experienced a revelation.

“On a November day in 1935, my father and I were crouched in a muddy pit at the edge of a prairie slough, waiting for daybreak.

“The dawn, when it came at last, was grey and sombre. The sky lightened so imperceptibly that we could hardly detect the coming of the morning. We strained out eyes into swirling snow squalls. We flexed numb fingers in our shooting gloves.

“And then the dawn was pierced by the sonorous cries of seemingly endless flocks of geese that cam drifting, wraithlike, overhead. They were flying low that day. Snow Geese, startling white of breast, with jet-black wingtips, beat past while flocks of piebald wavies kept station at their flanks. An immense V of Canadas came close behind. As the rush of air through their great pinions sounded in our ears, we jumped up and fired. The sound of the shots seemed puny, and was lost at once in the immensity of wind and wings.

“One goose fell, appearing gigantic in the tenuous light as it spiralled sharply down. It struck the water a hundred yards from shore and I saw that it had only been winged. It swam off into the growing storm, its neck outstreched, calling…calling…calling after the fast-disappearing flock.

“Driving home to Saskatoon that night I felt a sick repugnance for what we had done, but what was of far greater import, I was experiencing a poignant but indefinable sense of loss. I felt, although I could not then have expressed it in words, as if I had glimpsed another and quite magical world—a world of oneness—and had been denied entry into it through my own stupidity.

“I never hunted for sport again.”

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What Sayeth The Wise Hunter To The Young Boy?

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

What Sayeth The Wise Hunter To The Young Boy?
By Gary Yourofsky
An Animal Rights Poem from All-Creatures.org

All of God’s creatures have rights, a fact that most people don’t seem to recognize. This includes both human and non-human animals, but not all of them can speak for themselves.

What Sayeth The Wise Hunter To The Young Boy?
By Gary Yourofsky
Animals Deserve Absolute Protection Today and Tomorrow (ADAPTT)

Boy: O Wise Hunter, how can I learn to respect animals and to respect life?

Hunter: Buy a rifle and get a hunting license. Then hunt the animals down and kill them.

Boy: And that will help me attain a respect for animals and for life?

Hunter: Yes, of course it will, boy. Plus, if you go hunting with your father or your grandfather, then you can really bond with them.

Boy: But couldn’t I bond with them at a baseball game or at an amusement park?

Hunter: I guess so. But then you couldn’t kill anything.

Boy: O Wise Hunter, what happens to some of the deer during the winter?

Hunter: Well, some of the weak ones starve to death. And that’s a very cruel way to die. So – instead – hunters shoot some deer, cut off their heads for trophies, dismember their bodies and eat their flesh in order to save them from the cruelties.

Boy: But, uh, uh, how come hunters never shoot starving deer – only big, healthy ones?

Hunter: Uh, uh, uh, boy. Now you just keep quiet about that.

Boy: And another thing, Wise One, if hunters were really concerned about starving animals, wouldn’t they feed them?

Hunter: Let me get this right, boy. You’re saying that we should be feeding starving deer – instead of killing them? But…

Boy: Is it true, Wise Hunter, that deer-car accidents have more than tripled over the past 30 years?

Hunter: Well, uh, yeah.

Boy: But I thought hunters killed deer in order to reduce the herd so deer-car accidents would decrease.

Hunter: Well, uh, you sure ask a lot of questions, boy.

Boy: O Wise Hunter, how come the Department of Natural Resources always promotes the killing of animals?

Hunter: Well, just between you and me, the hunting community and the DNR are allies. You know, real good buddies.

Boy: You mean most of the people who work for the DNR – hunt?

Hunter: Yes, of course, boy. And those fees from the hunting licenses – around 90 percent of that money goes toward the hiring of DNR officers and the marketing of programs to recruit young people, like yourself, into the hunting community.

Boy: What about the commission that oversees the DNR in Michigan?

Hunter: You mean, the Natural Resources Commission?

Boy: Yes, Wise Hunter.

Hunter: Well, uh, eight of the nine commissioners ‘live to hunt and hunt to live!’

Boy: Ohhh. You mean, people who hunt make decisions about the fate of wild animals?

Hunter: Now, now, boy. You just keep that bit of information to yourself.

Boy: Would hunters ever try to conserve some of the land if they couldn’t hunt on it?

Hunter: Let me get this right, boy. You mean, we should just conserve some of the land and some of the animals that live on that land for the heck of it – with no killing. Uh, that would be a pretty kind gesture of humanity.

Boy: I know, Wise Hunter, I know.

Hunter: Well, uhhh…

Boy: O Wise Hunter, how can I help advance the, uh, sport of hunting?

Hunter: Tell people to have compassion for hunters.

Boy: You mean, tell people to have compassion for those who have no compassion?

Hunter: Yes, boy.

Boy: But, uh, Wise Hunter, these things you say make no sense.

Hunter: I know, boy, I know. But if we say these things enough, the public will eventually believe us and then they will make sense.

Boy: Ohhh!


Watch The Best Speech You Will Ever Hear – An extraordinary presentation on veganism by Gary Yourofsky

Animal rights: Clean kill still ends precious life

Wildlife Photography © Jim Robertson

Wildlife Photography © Jim Robertson

[The nice thing about letters to the editor is that this sometimes the truth gets published, even in Missoula, Montana.]
April 13, 2014 10:11 am

In so many ways, animals are the same as you and I. Mothers give tender loving care to their babies and will fight to the death to protect them. Parents may go without food to feed their young. They play games, have tempers, get jealous, frustrated, angry, feel the loss of loved ones, pain, anxiety, hunger, happiness, and sing with joy at just being alive and most of all, their lives are precious to them and they will fight tooth-and-claw to keep it. Yes, they have the same emotional attributes you and I have.

Best of all, the animals we call wild are free, free from human imprisonment and enslavement. They’ve managed themselves for millions of years without human interference.

Then, men with guns appeared. Five billion passenger pigeons once darkened the skies of this land, now not a single one is alive today. Sixty million buffalo were callously slaughtered, left to rot on the prairies, and had not 260 miraculously escaped detection, hidden away in a remote valley in Yellowstone, the bison too would now be extinct.

All the wolves were slaughtered by guns, poison and traps to the last whimpering pup; other animals were also victims of these idiotic genocides. And there are those who say the bison and wolves should be exterminated again. Some management.

A recent letter implied it was OK to kill an animal if the kill was clean. Well, no death in the wild is clean, no, not from the barrel of a high-powered rifle, or painfully caught in a steel trap waiting for their executioner to bludgeon them to death.

Yes, their lives are as precious to them as ours are to us. They are different in that they kill to survive and not for sport or a few silver dollars.

Leonard Stastny,

Missoula

Most people are repulsed by hunting

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Most people are repulsed by huntingThe survey cited in Ken Perrotte’s March 27 column wasn’t “recent” at all–it took place nine years ago ["Support for hunting continues to rise"].

It polled people by telephone from only one area of the country, and at the time it was conducted, fewer than half of respondents said they accessed the Internet daily.

Today’s generation considers animal rights to be one of the most important social justice issues of our time, and that’s why PETA created our youth division, peta2.

PETA has the most youth engagement of any social action group: We work with more than 300 college groups nationwide, and our Street Team has more than 83,000 dedicated high school and college-age supporters.

According to the youth-culture research company Label Networks, PETA is the No. 1 nonprofit for which 13- to 24-year-olds in North America would volunteer, and Elle Girl readers voted animal rights the “Coolest Political Cause.”

People of all ages want animals to be treated with respect and compassion, and only about 6 percent of the U.S. population hunts. The fact that pro-hunting organizations have to carefully choose their words to make the ugly, bloody reality of hunting more palatable to the public just goes to show that most people are repulsed by the idea of killing wildlife for “fun.”

Ryan Huling

Los Angeles

The writer is associate director, International Youth Outreach, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

 

Who Should Read Exposing the Big Game?

Imagine you’re a hunter and you just bought a copy of Exposing the Big Game to add to your collection of books and magazines featuring photos of prize bull elk, beefy bison and scary bears (the kind of animals you objectify and fantasize about one day hanging in your trophy room full of severed heads). This one also includes pictures of “lesser” creatures like prairie dogs and coyotes you find plain ol’ fun to trap or shoot at.

You don’t normally read these books (you’re too busy drooling over the four-legged eye candy to be bothered), but for some reason this one’s burning a hole in your coffee table. So you take a deep breath and summon up the courage to contemplate the text and its meaning. Several of the words are big and beyond you, and you wish you had a dictionary, but eventually you begin to figure out that Exposing the Big Game is more than just a bunch of exposed film featuring the wild animals you think of as “game.”

This book actually has a message and the message is: hunting sucks!

You don’t want to believe it—the notion that animals are individuals rather than resources goes against everything you’ve ever accepted as truth. But reading on, you learn about the lives of those you’ve always conveniently depersonalized. Finally it starts to dawn on you that animals, such as those gazing up at you from these pages, are fellow earthlings with thoughts and feelings of their own. By the time you’ve finished the third chapter your mind is made up to value them for who they are, not what they are. Now your life is changed forever!

Suddenly you’re enlightened and, like the Grinch, your tiny heart grows three sizes that day. The war is over and you realize that the animals were never the enemy after all. You spring up from the sofa, march over to the gun cabinet and grab your rifles, shotguns, traps, bows and arrows. Hauling the whole cache out to the chopping block, you smash the armaments to bits with your splitting maul. Next, you gather up your ammo, orange vest and camouflage outfits and dump ‘em down the outhouse hole.

Returning to the book, you now face the animals with a clearer conscience, vowing never to harm them again. You’re determined to educate your hunter friends with your newfound revelations and rush out to buy them all copies of Exposing the Big Game for Christmas…

Or suppose you are a non-hunter, which, considering the national average and the fact that the percentage of hunters is dropping daily, is more than likely. Avid hunters comprise less than 5 percent of Americans, while you non-hunters make up approximately 90 percent, and altruistically avid anti-hunters represent an additional 5 percent of the population. For you, this book will shed new light on the evils of sport hunting, incite outrage and spark a firm resolve to help counter these atrocities.

And if you’re one of the magnanimous 5 percent—to whom this book is dedicated—who have devoted your very existence to advocating for justice by challenging society’s pervasive double standard regarding the value of human versus nonhuman life, the photos of animals at peace in the wild will provide a much needed break from the stress and sadness that living with your eyes open can sometimes bring on. As a special treat cooked up just for your enjoyment, a steaming cauldron of scalding satire ladled lavishly about will serve as chik’n soup for your anti-hunter’s soul.

So, who should read Exposing the Big Game? Any hunter who hasn’t smashed his weapons with a splitting maul…or any non-hunter who isn’t yet comfortable taking a stand as an anti-hunter. The rest of you can sit back and enjoy the pretty pictures.

______________________________________________________________

The preceding was an excerpt from the book, Exposing the Big Game: Living Targets of a Dying Sport.

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Anti-hunters Outnumber Hunters by Three to One

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It’s like the 1% vs. the 99% ratio. This graph came from an opinion piece entitled, “Who Owns the Wildlife?” which starts out:

More and more we as a society are facing problems with how wildlife of all types are managed in the United States. We see increasing conflicts and polarization between hunting and anti-hunting groups. On the one side, invoking the pioneer tradition of our ancestors, hunting groups contend that the right to hunt is undeniable and is essential to the sound management of our wildlife resources. On the other hand, anti-hunting groups contend that the need to kill wildlife animals is no longer justified and hunting represents a next to barbaric act against living, feeling animals.

Long line of hunters on a mountain trail.

Long line of hunters walk a mountain trail. Hunters contend that they are the only ones who should have a say in how wildlife are managed.
[I just want to interject here that as a wildlife photographer/watcher, the parking permit I purchase (the same one that comes with a hunting or fishing license) allegedly goes toward enhancing habitat. I recently saw the results of my contribution when I pulled down what used to be a quiet road which ends at a river and found that the "game" department had built a huge paved parking lot with 20 lined, blacktop spaces for trucks and boat trailers. They also put in a boat launch with a brand new dock and installed a shiny new 2-seater pit toilet--all for the sake of duck hunters and sport fishermen. Meanwhile, they did nothing for ducks or wildlife habitat.]

 

On one side, hunters contend that because they pay the bills for the management of wildlife resources through their licenses and a federal excise tax on their hunting equipment, they are the only ones who should have a say in how wildlife are managed. On the other side, anti-hunters argue that moral objections to the slaying of innocent animals overrides any priority as to who has a say in these matters. 

And the arguments go on and on….

Anti-Hunting Group Gathers 78K Signatures to Ban Bear Baiting in Maine

http://www.outdoorlife.com/blogs/newshound/2014/02/group-delivers-more-78000-signatures-ban-bear-baiting-maine

by Gayne C. Young

Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting, a group that vehemently opposes hunting bears over bait, with hounds, and by trapping, delivered more than 78,000 signatures to Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap’s office on Monday in an attempt to ban such methods on November’s ballot, The Bangor Daily News reports.

The group claims that the signatures were gathered in 417 cities and towns throughout the state over the last four months.

“This is a very important issue to Mainers across the state. Unfortunately, Maine has the notorious distinction of being the only state that allows all three of these inhumane, unsporting and unnecessary practices,” Katie Hansberry, Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting Campaign Director, said upon delivering the signatures.

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife disagrees. According to a fact sheet put out by the agency, roughly 80 percent of bears taken in the state are done so over bait. Eleven percent are done so with hounds. Three percent by trapping. Despite the high percentages for baiting and hunting with hounds, the statewide success rate for hunting bears with these methods stands at only 30 percent.

Because of this, and because these hunt methods are vital to the management of Maine’s bears, the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, all three candidates for governor and the Maine AFL-CIO all oppose the ban.

Furthermore, David Trahan, Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine Executive Director, said banning these methods would not only reduce the number of bears killed by hunters but would lead to an increase in nuisance bears that would have to be killed by the state.

Maine has 30 days to certify the petition before it can be placed on the ballot. A similar ban was rejected by voters in 2004.

Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, All Rights Reserved

Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, All Rights Reserved

Spain animal rights groups call for ban on hunting with dogs

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/140116/spain-animal-rights-groups-call-ban-hunting-dogs

Animal rights groups on Thursday urged Spain to ban the use of dogs in hunting, which they said leads to the abandonment of roughly 50,000 greyhounds each year when they become too slow to hunt with.

Greyhounds, known as “galgos”, are used in Spain for hunting, but when the end of the November-February hunting season comes around their owners often decide they have no further need for them.

Campaigners say many are just abandoned and often starve to death or die in car accidents.

In some cases hunters dispose of their greyhounds by hanging them from trees or throwing them down wells, or they torture poorly performing dogs by breaking their legs or burning them.

“For them they are not pets, they are tools just like a wrench is to a plumber, they have no affection for the greyhounds,” Beatriz Marlasca, the president of BaasGalgo, an association dedicated to the rescue of abandoned greyhounds, told a news conference.

“We either stop this from above or else it will never end. We must eliminate the root of the problem starting by banning hunting with dogs,” she added at the news conference attended by three other animal rights groups.

Marlasca’s group alone finds homes for around 200 abandoned greyhounds a year in Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands.

“A ban on hunting with dogs, as already exists in other European nations, would be a measure that would avoid much suffering to all these animals,” said Silvia Barquero, the vice president of Pacma, a small animal rights party.