Eye on the Antis – December 2005

Back in the 1950s, the American Humane Society was responsible for setting up animal shelters across the country, a needed and valuable venture that dealt with stray dogs and cats. Apparently some folks wanted the organization to get more involved in animal-rights’ issues. A split occurred, and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) was formed. The result is what has been referred to as the hijacking of the humane movement.

By taking “humane society” in its name, the HSUS benefited greatly as people donated and supported what they thought were the animal-shelter folks. So it should come as no surprise that HSUS uses word-play in their fight to ban hunting on National Wildlife Refuges (NWRs).

In a release about its fight to ban hunting on National Wildlife Refuges, HSUS says, “Rather than making our national refuges a place of protection and shelter for wildlife, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has strayed far from its own policy directing that ‘wildlife comes first in the National Wildlife Refuge System,’ and is rapidly converting these treasured natural places into playgrounds for sport and trophy hunters.”

The average person would hear that statement and think that critters on NWRs were in trouble — because of hunters. They might even get behind an HSUS lawsuit to stop new hunting opportunities on some refuges.

The reality is that wildlife is doing very well on refuges — because of hunters. In the first place, those millions of acres that HSUS seems so concerned about were purchased with sportsmen’s dollars through the Federal Duck Stamp program. If it weren’t for us, there wouldn’t be any NWRs in this country.

Try this scenario… ban deer hunting on Piedmont NWR. Then give it about 10 years. How many sane, reasonably intelligent folks would agree that its wildlife was better off than when hunters were part of the equation? Certainly no one who ever visited Red Top Mountain or Hard Labor Creek state parks, back when the parks were a place of “protection and shelter” for deer.

Get rid of hunters — as HSUS proposes — and you can kiss wildlife conservation goodbye. Despite ongoing examples backed with scientific study that the “leave it alone and let nature take its course” model of HSUS is devastating to wildlife and ecosystems, the animal-rights, anti-hunting crowd keeps at it.

Sunday Hunting is Dangerous, Says HSUS
Wayne Pacelle, the president and CEO of HSUS, is worried about your safety, that’s why he says that he opposes an effort to allow hunting on Sundays in a Montgomery County, Maryland.

“Sunday hunting will create a heightened risk to public safety,” Wayne said. “Hunting may only be on private land, but bullets and arrows know no boundaries. Montgomery County residents are rightly concerned that Sunday hunting will endanger them along with their dogs, horses, and other animals, and we urge the public to voice their opposition to this proposal.”

It’s a wonder that there are any people, dogs, horses or other animals left in Maryland, what with all those bullets and arrows flying across property boundaries every Monday through Saturday. Could this — hunting as a danger to public safety — be a glimpse of future HSUS tactics to ban hunting, one county, one state at time?

Certainly HSUS doesn’t believe that people and pets are in particular danger just on Sunday, so why shouldn’t we believe that they will use these same tactics to ban all hunting?

This may be stating the obvious, but bans on Sunday hunting were carry-overs from the old blue laws, when about everything was banned on Sunday. Today, hunting on Sundays is only restricted in seven states. It has nothing to do with public safety.

Remember the motive, in their own words: “The HSUS strongly opposes the recreational hunting and killing of wild animals, as the sport is fundamentally at odds with the values of a humane, just, and caring society.”

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