29 July 2014
Animal welfare charity, the League Against Cruel Sports, are appealing to the animal loving public of Northern Ireland to support their anti-hunting campaign by attending a rally against fox and stag hunting this Saturday 2nd August, from 2pm at the Stormont Buildings.
The Rally which is being held by Noelle Robinson, Green Party Councillor for Bangor Central in partnership with the charity, will highlight that Northern Ireland is now the only region within the UK that has not introduced a complete ban on fox and stag hunting.
In 2002, the introduction of the Protection of Wild Mammals Act made it illegal to hunt a wild mammal with a pack of hounds in Scotland. In 2004, after 80 years of tireless campaigning by the League, England and Wales followed suit and the Hunting Act was passed. Ten years on, there is currently no hunting legislation that exists in Northern Ireland and as such hunting foxes and stags with dogs, continues to be legal.
The charity have therefore given this campaign priority status and hope they will be able to ensure that this barbaric practice is also made illegal in Northern Ireland.
Janice Watt, Senior Public Affairs Officer in N.I said: “It is vital that we gain the support of both the N.I public and politicians in order to resign this cruel and blood thirsty sport to the history books where it belongs. It is not acceptable in the modern age for any animal to be chased to exhaustion, and then ripped apart whilst still alive.
“The public were outraged at the leniency shown to dog fighters convicted this year in our courts – but what is the difference between setting dogs on a domestic pet, and setting dogs on a fox or stag? The answer is none. We are urging people to show their support for this campaign by attending the rally at Stormont on Saturday.”
Official figures released this month revealed more individuals were prosecuted for hunting with dogs last year in England and Wales (2013), than in any other since the 2004 ban came into force. A total of 341 convictions under the Act, make it the most successful piece of wild animal legislation, with one person on average prosecuted under the Act every week, and over two-thirds of these convicted.
Sportsmen, conservation organizations and outdoor personalities met at the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance (USSA) headquarters yesterday to develop strategies to counter the recent increase in cyber-attacks on hunters.
The group makes up the Hunter Advancement Task Force with most members sharing a common theme of having been targeted by animal rights activists through social media.
“This is a great opportunity to start developing ways to hold those responsible for the recent wave of cyber-attacks against sportsmen accountable,” said Nick Pinizzotto, USSA president and CEO. “The task force is not only working to stop direct attacks on hunters but also discussing how best to educate the public on the vital role sportsmen play in the conservation of all wildlife.”
Attendees included outdoor television personalities Melissa Bachman and Jana Waller, Colorado hunter Charisa Argys along with her father Mark Jimerson, Doug Saunders of the National Wild Turkey Federation, Bill Dunn of the National Shooting Sports Foundation and John Jackson of Conservation Force, Dennis Foster of the Masters of Foxhounds Association, Tony Schoonan of the Boone and Crockett Club and Mark Holyoak of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. Other attendees included USSA President and CEO, Nick Pinizzotto, Evan Heusinkveld, USSA vice president of government affairs, Bill Horn, USSA director of federal affairs, Michelle Scheuermann of Bullet Proof Communications and author Michael Sabbeth.
Bachman, a television producer and host, found her life and career threatened after posting a photo of an African lion she harvested to her Facebook page last year. Almost immediately, Bachman came under attack from anti-hunters around the world. Bachman also found herself the target of death threats that “hit way too close for comfort” when anti-hunters showed up at her office.
“Regardless of your beliefs about hunting, Americans can all agree that threatening someone’s life is simply unacceptable.” said Bachman.
Other members of the task force have also had personal experiences with cyber-bullying including Waller who has had not only threats to her life, but also to her career. Waller, the star of Skull Bound TV, found herself having to defend her livelihood after an anti-hunter called her show sponsors to accuse her of poaching.
“The whole issue of harassment is so important,” said Waller. “I am scared it is going to deter people from standing tall and proud as hunters.”
While attacks on outdoor-celebrity hunters have been going on for years, average hunters have largely avoided the wrath of the anti-hunting community. Earlier this year, however, Charisa Argys was thrown into the spotlight when a picture of her legally harvested mountain lion appeared online. The image brought a flood of criticism and threats not only to her, but to family members as well.
“Just because some anti-hunters in Europe went ballistic over a legal hunt, this issue is going to be associated with me for the rest of my life,” said Argys. “It is never going to go away. It’s going to be there forever. It could affect my job prospects and my life.”
This initial task force meeting was just the first of many to develop short and long-range strategies to protect hunters from cyber harassment.
“In the short term we are developing aggressive legal approaches to pursue both civil and criminal legal actions to prosecute anti-hunting harassers.” said Bill Horn, USSA director of federal affairs. “In the long term, we would like to cultivate strategies to provide additional legal protections for hunters who are finding themselves the target of cyber bullying.”
Pinizzotto added, “What this group discussed today and the ideas generated are a terrific first step in protecting hunters now and in the future. We have some of the brightest minds in our industry working on this critical issue. I look forward to continuing this discussion and adding additional key groups and individuals to the team in the coming weeks.”
By Michael Beckel 21 hours ago
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.”
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.”
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.
Watch The Best Speech You Will Ever Hear – An extraordinary presentation on veganism by Gary Yourofsky
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.
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.”
The writer is associate director, International Youth Outreach, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
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.