Environmental and Animal Groups: Views on Hunting

Introduction

There are a number of local, state, national and international organizations that publicly concern themselves with caring for animals and protecting the environment. Some have their foundations a century ago or longer (such as Audubon Society in the late 1800s), while others are relatively new to the scene (such as Love Canada Geese in 2005). Among these groups are several that clearly state their opposition to any form of hunting (particularly the Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting), while others publicly align themselves with hunters (including The Wilderness Society ). Some organizations have chosen to maintain a neutral or “apolitical” stance with regard to hunting, or take exception to particular types of hunting or targets of hunting (such as Defenders of Wildlife, which focuses much of its effort on ending aerial hunting of wolves) but typically do not address the broader ecological impact of hunting.

Purpose

This wiki is designed primarily with the objective of providing information for anyone interested in learning more about the specific views on hunting held by numerous purportedly pro-animal and pro-environment organizations. As with any wiki, it is intended as a work in progress, with the goal of encouraging collaborative efforts to add more information and more groups as new knowledge is found or developed. The initial outline is focused on identifying organizations that belong to three main groups as described above:

  • Organizations that publicly oppose hunting
  • Organizations that ally themselves with hunters
  • Organizations that are self-described as neutral, or oppose only limited types or targets of hunting

Within each group, organizations will be added as support for their group membership becomes available (whether as quoted on their websites, or confirmed by an official representative via documented communication), and anecdotes, examples, and other information related to each organization’s views on hunting will be used to develop a clearer view of where these environmental and animal organizations stand on hunting.

The Animals Voice[edit]

The Animals Voice is primarily a website and magazine-based publication launched in 1987, but its use as a tool by activists for networking and dissemination of information has given it a fair amount of heft in pro-animal communities. They support animal liberation, and are against recreational hunting, typically advocating a vegetarian lifestyle.

“The Animals Voice Statement of Purpose:

The purpose of The Animals Voice is to effect the liberation of animals. Through our online database of hard-hitting editorial and photography, resources and networking, as well as through our award-winning, international animal rights magazine, we have already proven our potential among activists and adversaries as being a powerful force in the changes necessary for the betterment in the living and dying conditions for animals around the planet. We promise to continue our work in globally networking activists and organizations, and in educating and enlightening everyone who visits or reads our material about the desperate plight of animals and what part they can do to cause animal liberation.”[1]

ASPCA: The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals[edit]

The ASPCA was founded by Henry Bergh in 1866 and works to rescue abused animals and to support animal shelters nationwide. It was the first humane society to be established in North America, and is one of the largest in the world today. Henry Bergh believed that animals should be protected by the law, and the ASPCA has the legal authority to investigate and make arrests for crimes against animals. While its primary focus has been on maintaining shelters and preventing the abuse of domestic pets, the ASPCA also has a strong policy against sport hunting.

From their website: “Because there is no guarantee that wildlife taken in sport hunting will be killed outright or spared the distress of pursuit and possible wounding and escape, the ASPCA is opposed to hunting animals for sport, even if the animals killed in this way are subsequently consumed. The ASPCA does recognize that wildlife management may be necessary in situations where animal and human interests collide, but urges that management strategies be nonlethal wherever possible and never include avoidable suffering or distress.”

Animal Aid[edit]

Founded in 1977, Animal Aid is a British organization that is against animal abuse and promotes a “cruelty-free lifestyle.” Their campaigns range from promoting vegetarianism and veganism to ending activities such as the “game” bird industry, fox hunting, factory farming, and animal experimentation.

From their website: “Animal Aid are opposed to all forms of animal cruelty – and we therefore strongly oppose hunting. Hunting with hounds has no place in modern Britain. It should have ended years ago along with cock-fighting, bear-baiting and dog-fighting. When animal cruelty is portrayed by some as a ‘sport’ to get pleasure from it debases society and promotes even more animal cruelty. It is not just foxes and other wildlife who suffer. Horses and dogs are also victims of hunting – viewed simply as ‘sporting accessories’ many sustain fatal injuries during the gruelling chase.”

Best Friends Animal Society[edit]

Best Friends was started in Arizona in the 1970s as a no-kill shelter that eventually grew into a large animal sanctuary, currently situated in Angel Canyon, Utah. They gained non-profit charity status in 1991 and provide a home to over 1,500 animals, and their primary goal is No More Homeless Pets, a community that is part of the larger Best Friends Network. They have a significant internet presence through this network, which provides news and information as well as a way for animal activists to connect both online and off. Their Animal Help staff responds to over 20,000 requests for assistance each year, and while their focus is on domestic/companion animals, they also have a strong anti-hunting stance, which was shared by Member Liaison Dori Jeurink:

“Best Friends is a no-kill organization, and we are dedicated to kindness towards all creatures. Therefore, we do not support activities that objectify animals, reduce their quality of life, or harm them in any way.” [2]

Born Free Foundation[edit]

Started in England in 1984 by the stars of the film Born Free, Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers, Born Free is “devoted to compassionate conservation and animal welfare.” Their goals include protecting endangered species, preventing animal suffering, establishing wildlife sanctuaries, and enabling people to live side by side with wildlife in their local communities without conflict. They are opposed to captive breeding, canned hunting, and trophy hunting.

From their website: “Whether its fighting the ivory trade and ‘sport’ hunting, opposing killing wild animals for ‘bushmeat’, or challenging the exploitation of wild animals in zoos and circuses, Born Free takes action on the front line for animals.”

Born Free USA (previously Animal Protection Institute)[edit]

API was co-founded in 1968 by Belton Mouras and Ken Guerrero, and Born Free USA was established in the United States in 2002 as a companion organization to the Born Free Foundation. Their mission statement is “to alleviate animal suffering, protect threatened and endangered species in the wild, and encourage everyone to treat wildlife everywhere with respect and compassion.”

Born Free USA has been involved in causes aimed to prevent funds earmarked for conservation from supporting hunting, opposing a Senate bill aimed at hunting conservation. Born Free USA “objects to this bill because it would fund projects related to hunting and habitat improvements for that purpose.”

Coalition to Prevent the Destruction of Canada Geese[edit]

Founded in 1993 to put a halt to the needless killing of Canada geese in Rockland County, New York, the Coalition is focused on nonlethal conflict resolution between humans and Canada geese, but publicly condemns hunting of other animals for sport as well. They also list other anti-hunting sites on their website.

The Coalition to Prevent the Destruction of Canada Geese is also actively involved in exposing the role wildlife agencies play in promoting hunting. Since wildlife agencies often rely on hunting license fees to pay managers’ salaries, and most agency managers are (or were) hunters, the primary motivation behind wildlife agencies’ supporting hunting is based on obtaining more resources, not “managing” wildlife.

From their mission statement: “We also work to expose how the economic infrastructure of government wildlife management actually perpetuates human-wildlife conflicts while simultaneously encouraging a bias that favors killing as a form of problem solving. We seek a complete renovation of this operating philosophy. Until such time, we advocate the use of humane, non-lethal methods to resolve or minimize the conflicts between Canada geese and humans.”

Coalition to Abolish the Fur Trade (CAFT)[edit]

Formed in 1997, CAFT is a grass-roots campaign against the fur trade in Great Britain.

“Although we only focus on anti-fur campaigns we are opposed to all animal cruelty / animal use, including all forms of hunting”[5]

Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting (CASH)[edit]

CASH is a committee of Wildlife Watch, Inc. and its mission is “to accomplish what its name says in the shortest possible time.” CASH provides materials to effectively argue against different methods of hunting as well as other lethal methods of resolving human-wildlife conflicts (baiting, trapping, etc.). Member Peter Muller’s No-Cull website provides responses to common rationales used by hunters to “justify” deer hunting, including basic points to make as well as documents supporting anti-hunting perspectives:

Argument from Overpopulation[edit]

Some hunters argue that without hunting, wildlife populations will exceed “social carrying capacity.” In fact, hunted herds have been shown to demonstrate a greater percentage increase in population one year after a hunt than unhunted herds[6].

Argument from Ecological Destruction[edit]

Some hunters argue that “culling” deer populations is necessary to preserve plant life, or that “culling” predators is necessary to preserve prey species. However, many more factors are involved in environmental changes such as decreases in a particular plant species[7], from climate change to soil erosion, and hunting is more likely to contribute to imbalances in the ecosystem than to serve as a “corrective” for ecological change.

Argument that Overpopulation contributes to Car Collisions[edit]

Some hunters argue that if it weren’t for hunting, there would be even more wildlife-car collisions. In fact, more animals are on the move during hunting seasons, resulting in a consistent increase in collisions between wildlife and automobiles[8].

Argument that Overpopulation contributes to Lyme Disease[edit]

Some hunters argue that the more dense the deer population, the more rampant Lyme Disease will be. In fact, the population of ticks carrying Lyme disease is related to the population density of rodents rather than deer[9][10].

Argument that Non-Lethal Methods of Population Control are Impractical/Expensive[edit]

According to CASH, “Immunocontraception is relatively inexpensive and has worked successfully in parks and urban/suburban settings”No-Cull.

Compassion Over Killing (COK)[edit]

Paul Shapiro was a high school sophomore in Washington when he started Compassion Over Killing in 1995. While the primary goal of COK’s campaigns is the promotion of a vegetarian lifestyle and an end to animal abuse, focusing on an end to animal cruelty in agriculture, it does support an anti-hunting stance. Literature on the website describes hunting as a form of animal abuse and cruelty[11][12].

Friends of Animals[edit]

Founded in 1957, Friends of Animals “advocates for the right of animals to live free according to their own terms.” They are a strongly anti-hunting organization that also supports a vegetarian lifestyle. One of their main goals is to abolish hunting altogether, and they are “unequivocally against hunting and the destructive methods of ‘wildlife management’ that caters to, and fosters hunting. Hunting is an act against Nature on both moral and biological grounds.”[13]

According to Friends of Animals, hunting is cruel, deceitful, socially unjustifiable, and ecologically disruptive:

Hunting is Cruel[edit]

Hunting causes gratuitous pain to wild animals.

Hunting is Deceitful[edit]

Hunters try to disguise the reality of hunting with euphemisms such as “harvests,” “culls,” “wildlife management,” “bag limits,” “sport,” “game,” and many others.

Hunting is Socially Unjustifiable[edit]

It is an unnecessary waste of life and resources.

Hunting is Ecologically Disruptive[edit]

Hunting disrupts natural ecological dynamics. “Wildlife management” of deer in particular actually increases the number of deer, but alters the proportion of males to females since hunting almost solely targets male deer, and since hunters seek out “trophy” deer it is typically the strongest of the species that are killed.

The Fund for Animals[edit]

Cleveland Amory, an author and animal advocate, founded The Fund for Animals in 1967. In 2005, the Fund became part of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). “The Fund has won landmark lawsuits to protect animals from hunting and trapping, and the organization is currently fighting for animals with the help of the Animal Protection Litigation section. This group of full-time attorneys, law clerks, and pro bono law firms are defending animals in federal and state courts from cruelty and abuse. The Fund’s current cases seek to protect endangered species, stop the abuse of circus elephants, keep national wildlife refuges safe for animals, and much more.”[14]

As an HSUS subsidiary, the Fund no longer has separate public positions. Fact sheets issued by the Fund for Animals before the merger are available on the Internet Archive.[15]

Sport Hunting is Ecologically Destructive[edit]

Hunters kill many endangered and threatened animals, including bald eagles, golden eagles, grizzly bears, Florida panthers, and whooping cranes. In addition, hunters annually position themselves along the migratory flyways and massacre, often indiscriminately, millions of ducks. Though some states are outlawing lead in bullets, many hunters still use toxic lead shot.

Hunting Disrupts Natural Selection[edit]

Individuals who would not normally have reproductive success will have it because hunters do not select the weakest animals as nature does. By often killing the ablest, hunters downgrade the quality of the gene pool.

State Wildlife Agencies Propagate ‘Game’ Species[edit]

On average, over 90 percent of funds go to “game” species projects, when non-game animals make up a majority of the ecosystem. State agencies also spend millions of dollars burning and clearcutting forests and stocking “game” animals. Finally, further funds are directed towards enforcing hunting regulations, providing hunter education courses, and building target shooting ranges.

Hunters Endanger Non-Hunters[edit]

Non-hunters are not safe walking in the woods during hunting season, have fewer chances to view wild animals, and are not given the same voice in determining how wildlife is treated. Although hunters make up less than 10% of the public, they are given an undue influence in determining wildlife and land “management” policies.

“For these reasons and others, The Fund for Animals opposes sport hunting and seeks a restructuring of state wildlife boards and commissions to ensure that all parties legitimately concerned about wildlife are proportionately represented.”

Global Anti Hunting Coalition[edit]

Founded by Anthony Marr in 2009, this brand-new organization currently has a myspace page and a blog, but is already being promoted by other organizations that oppose hunting, who are posting Mr. Marr’s 36-states-in-6-months Compassion for Animals Road Expedition #7 (CARE-7). “All groups and individuals opposed to hunting, trapping, and culling (including recreational hunting, trophy hunting, whaling, dolphin slaughter, seal massacre, wildlife population reductions, the illegal wildlife trade, the fur industry, etc.) can become part of this newly formed coalition, which has the capacity to significantly strengthen any local campaign by bringing the attention, people, resources, and pressure of our growing network of allies to bear on animal exploiters, torturers, and murderers. On December 9, 2009, with barely a week’s notice and with little backing behind us, we made a sizeable impact at Shawnee Mission Park in Kansas City by means of the Funeral Motorcade for the Deer, which garnered coverage by at least 2 TV channels, 2 newspapers and 2 radio stations.”[16]

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS)[edit]

Founded in 1954, The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) “seeks a humane and sustainable world for all animals—a world that will also benefit people. We are America’s mainstream force against cruelty, exploitation and neglect, as well as the most trusted voice extolling the human-animal bond.”[17] The HSUS supports both local humane societies and a Human Wildlife Services program. Their campaigns target such activities as dogfighting and cockfighting, abusive puppy mills, factory farming, canned hunting, internet hunting, horse slaughter, dove shooting, pheasant stocking, bear trophy hunting, contest kills, poaching, fox pens, and the fur trade[18].

The Human Society’s policy statement on wildlife and hunting makes it clear that “The HSUS actively seeks to eliminate the most inhumane and unfair sporthunting practices, such as the use of body-gripping traps, baiting, use of dogs, pigeon shoots, stocking of animals for shooting, and fee-hunting on enclosed properties. Unfortunately, the welfare of animals may, on occasion, necessitate the killing of wildlife. When such killing is permitted, it must be used as a last resort, be demonstrably necessary, and be conducted by responsible officials, and the methods utilized must result in an instantaneous and humane death. The legitimate needs of human subsistence may also sometimes necessitate the killing of wildlife. In such cases, killing should be accomplished in a humane and non-wasteful manner. Individuals of endangered or threatened species must be protected from subsistence hunting.”

In Defense of Animals (IDA)[edit]

In 1983, veterinarian Elliot Katz began IDA — initially called Californians for Responsible Research — when he joined with others to take legal action against UC Berkeley for violations of the Animal Welfare Act. Today, IDA campaigns against animal abuse in Korea, animals in entertainment, dissection, foie gras, fur, puppy mills, and vivisection, among other atrocities.

The IDA Wildlife Campaign includes literally dozens of anti-hunting campaigns, and IDA is a proponent of banning sport hunting, blood sports, trophy hunting, and aerial hunting. Their website includes non-lethal alternatives for coexisting with wildlife without conflict.

International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)[edit]

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) was started in 1969 in New Brunswick, Canada by a small group of people who wanted to stop the the commercial hunt for seal pups in Canada. IFAW now has offices worldwide dedicated to several animal protection campaigns: providing emergency relief during disasters, ending commercial whaling, stopping ivory poaching, fighting the illegal wildlife trade, ending the seal hunt, helping dogs and cats, supporting humane education, and banning hunting with hounds.

While IFAW’s anti-hunting activities tend to be directed towards specific campaigns, such as ending trophy hunting of bears and banning canned hunting and captive breeding, they are generally against sport hunting, though there may be minor variations between international offices. The Animal Welfare Manifesto makes it clear that IFAW favors strong restrictions on trophy hunting and wildlife hunting as well as the banning of commercial whaling, elephant hunting, fox hunting with dogs, and seal hunting. In addition, James Isiche, the regional director of IFAW in East Africa, takes an anti-sport hunting stance[19]. IFAW does, however, work with more “apolitical” groups as well as state and federal wildlife agencies from time to time, so IFAW may be a borderline case for inclusion in the anti-hunting category.

Last Chance for Animals (LCA)[edit]

Founded in 1984 by Hollywood actor Chris DeRose, LCA began as an anti-vivisection organization using nonviolent strategies and “direct action.” LCA has expanded its campaigns to include protests against factory farming, the fur trade, animal experimentation, and animals in entertainment. They also campaign against pet theft, puppy mills, and animal fighting and promote animal sanctuaries, humane education, and vegan activism. Along with Compassion Over Killing and several other organizations, they are a member of the Coalition to Abolish the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act.

LCA’s statement of philosophy: “Last Chance for Animals (LCA) recognizes that animals have the ability to experience pain, and as such they deserve certain basic rights protecting them from pain caused by humans. LCA believes that non-human animals should not be subjected to suffering and exploitation by humans because alternatives exist for nearly every traditional ‘usage’ of animals. LCA opposes the use of animals for scientific curiosity, entertainment, clothing, and food. LCA recognizes the use of non-human animals in medical experimentation as both immoral and of questionable scientific validity due to the tremendous biological difference between species. LCA’s work advocates conscious and informed lifestyle decisions, and the organization is committed to disseminating truthful information about societal animal abuse to improve the treatment of animals.”

Although hunting is not one of LCA’s campaign areas, “Yes LCA is against hunting . . . If you go to youtube our founder Chris DeRose recently did a video asking President Obama to demand an end to all Whaling”[20]

Love Canada Geese[edit]

Love Canada Geese is primarily a website by Choo and Earl Rosenbloom, but is included here as it is also a source of information on Canada geese and humane (cruelty-free and non-lethal) methods of geese population control. In addition, many articles on the site address problems with hunting and non-lethal alternatives to wildlife “management.” According to Choo, “Love Canada Geese is definitely opposed to hunting of all animals” and “We need to get the message out there that hunting should be banned.”[21] The website also includes an article by Barry Kent MacCay that debunks several common Hunting Myths.

Northwest Animal Rights Network (NARN)[edit]

Northwest Animal Rights Network was founded in 1986 as a Seattle-based animal rights organization concerned with ending animal exploitation in the food, entertainment, experimentation, and fashion industries. NARN’s campaigns include anti-cruelty litigation in Washington State, banning foie gras in Seattle, demonstrating against vivisection and animal experimentation, supporting activists in prison, and vegan outreach. NARN is also against factory farming, the fur trade, and the use of animals in entertainment such as circuses, rodeos, dog and horse racing.

While hunting is not one of NARN’s main campaign issues, according to Peter Keller (a member of the Board of Directors), “we are indeed against hunting. We recently partnered with the Global Anti-Hunting Coalition in the stance against hunting, and co-ordinated an action with them in their tour across the US and had a successful protest action with them to start off this years’ tour for them. In short, we oppose any violence taken against any animals, and hunting is an egregious form of it. We also work for the animals that are confined and tortured for the food, fashion, research, and entertainment industries, because we feel animals shouldn’t be used for those purposes”[22].

PREDATOR DEFENSE
Helping people & wildlife coexist since 1990
www.predatordefense.org

Progressive Animal Welfare Society (PAWS)[edit]

Founded in 1967, PAWS operates both an animal shelter and a wildlife rehabilitation center. Also known as People Helping Animals, PAWS devotes time to both companion animals and wildlife in its campaigns, and takes a very explicit anti-hunting stance. Their work is focused in Washington State, where they made a point of encouraging non-hunting citizens to participate in the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife 2008 wildlife management survey, since “92% of those surveyed held hunting licenses!”[23]

PAWS operates a no-kill shelter, promotes spaying and neutering clinics, and led a campaign to ban the use of cruel traps on wildlife in 2000[24]. PAWS began wildlife rehabilitation in 1981. “Our goal is to return the animals to the wild with the best possible chance of survival. We do not keep any wild animals permanently in captivity, for display or for educational purposes.”[25]

PAWS also educates adults and children on how to peacefully co-exist with wild animals, works to pass legislation to protect wild animals in Washington State, and provides practical humane solutions for solving conflicts with wildlife. Their vision is for “this world to be a place where all people recognize the intrinsic value of animal life, are mindful of the impact of their daily behaviors and choices on animals, and consistently demonstrate compassion and respect” and their core beliefs include “the recognition and respect of the intrinsic value of animal life,” “the right of animals to be free from cruelty, neglect and abuse,” and “the preservation of wild species and their habitats.”

“Wild animals are best served by being allowed to live undisturbed in their natural environment. Wild animals should not be owned as household pets or property. Wild animals of any kind should not be used for commercial exploitation.”[26]

Royal Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) — Australia[edit]

The first Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Australia was founded in Victoria in 1871. It joined with subsequently founded societies to become the Royal Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in 1923.[27] Its mission is to prevent cruelty to animals, and its campaigns include promoting cage-free farming, improving the treatment of dairy cows, promoting spaying and neutering of companion animals, banning duck hunting, opposing the live export trade of animals, and encouraging humane methods of animal control, among many others.

RSPCA Australia has clearly worded policies against hunting animals for sport as well as specifically against hunting wild animals for sport.

Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) — United Kingdom

More: https://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Environmental_and_Animal_Groups:_Views_on_Hunting

7 thoughts on “Environmental and Animal Groups: Views on Hunting

  1. Thank you Jim–I left a message on the above related “Environmental and Animal Groups: Views on Hunting.” I was a loyal, active member of “Wild Earth Guardians,” until I found out that a staff member was a “proud hunter.” They went to the Dark Side, and are now collaborating with ranchers and hunters. What a shame. And, “Defenders of Wildlife should, perhaps change their name?”
    You have worked very hard on this expose’ for sure–we, & the animals thank you. We need to expose these groups who claim to be “for” animal protection, etc, etc. I hope that caring people who are still supporting these groups will stop sending money to them, and let others know about them.

    http://www.foranimals.org

  2. I had to laugh, I was watching a PSA video Christopher Walken has done for the HSUS “Who Are Your Wild Neighbors”, and this one followed, it reminded me of Cecil and the elefant killed by the German trophy hunter:

  3. In my humble opinion environmental and animal groups( it will probably take a grassroots effort, dismantling of the “old guard” and the complete remaking of our “movement/cause”) need to realize how many common core values we have and unite for the sake of both. The opposition/extracting/exploitive industries just love our lack of cohesion and will to act. I don’t think you can be an “environmentalist” in 2015 and eat meat, or, and you will love this…have kids. Same goes for animal folks, the breeding of humans and nonhumans for the anthropocentric ego has got to stop and SOON.

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