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Can It! Say NO to The Sportsmanship in Hunting Act of 2005

November 14, 2005 | Animal Rights / Hunting & Wildlife Management / Hunting Ranches

Let's Stop Promoting "Man's Dominion" Over Nonhuman Life

On 9 February 2005, Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) introduced a bill (S. 304) with the short title "The Sportsmanship in Hunting Act of 2005." Proponents of the bill claim it will "crack down on 'canned hunts,' the abhorrent practice of confining tame, exotic animals in an enclosed space and shooting them at close range." [1] As Senator Lautenberg has acknowledged, it is important to note what the bill does and does not do.

What the Bill Would NOT Do

By its own terms, the bill would not prohibit the stalking and killing of any birds, such as doves, turkeys, quails and pheasants, nor any native mammals, such as white-tailed deer and elk. Yet these animals make up the vast majority of animals killed on hunting ranches.

The bill, if passed, would not forbid killing exotic (non-native) mammals in enclosures of less than 1,000 acres, including animals on 2,437 ranches, in Texas [3] alone, which have 2005 Hunting Lease Licenses for 1,000+ acres. Additionally, of the more than 8,000 total ranches licensed for hunting by the state of Texas, all could offer native mammals and birds.

The exempted hunting ranches — those with 1,000 or more acres — are offering exotic animals, including those in danger of extinction, such as scimitar-horned oryx, addax and dama gazelle.

The bill does nothing to impede hunters from frequenting private hunting ranches.

What the Bill Would Do

If passed, the bill would provide a cover of legitimacy to trophy hunting ranches over 1,000 acres.

S. 304 glorifies the hunting industry with the label of "sportsmanship."

Any hunter's success is a violent act, forced on an unwilling animal.

As its title suggests, it accepts the concept of "fair chase" formulated by the Boone and Crocket Club, which Theodore Roosevelt founded to promote competition for antlers, horns and skulls. The "fair chase" is "intended to enhance the hunter's experience."[2] Within such a paradigm, the nonhuman interest in life and freedom is never seriously considered.

In our quest to obtain respect for animals, we don't need conflicting messages. We need strong, unequivocal advocacy.

Can The Act That Sells Out Endangered Antelopes
The Sportsmanship in Hunting Act impedes the effort to protect and respect endangered antelopes and other animals.

In 2005, pressed by legal action from Friends of Animals, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed as endangered the scimitar-horned oryx, addax, and dama gazelle. These antelopes, native to arid northern Africa, are now all highly endangered due to habitat destruction caused by agribusiness, armed conflict, mining, and poaching.

Private canned-hunting ranches in the United States, mainly in Texas, breed and keep some of these antelopes, and charge tourists for the opportunity to take home trophies. It is hypocritical in the extreme to refer to U.S. tourists who kill these antelopes as "sportsmen," while identifying African hunters of the same animals as poachers.

Yet, pressed by ranchers, the government exempted U.S.-bred antelopes from their "endangered" designation. With a few limited requirements, the new rule allows any person to kill, export, or sell live antelopes.

Plotting of ranches with over 1,000 acres with 2005 Texas Hunting Lease Licenses

Plotting of ranches with over 1,000 acres with 2005 Texas Hunting Lease Licenses
Data used to plot this map was provided by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Members and supporters of Friends of Animals thank the Environmental Law Clinical Partnership of the University of Denver for their steadfast work in the legal challenge to keep all antelopes the highest level of legal protection possible.

S. 304 would provide a cover of legitimacy to thousands of trophy hunting ranches, including ones with endangered antelopes, such as:
777 Ranch (TX)
15,000 acres
scimitar-horned oryx and addax

Canoe Creek Ranch (KY)
15,000 acres
scimitarhorned oryx and addax

Casa Grand Game Ranch (TX)
3,700 acres
addax

Circle E Ranch (TX)
2,000 acres
scimitarhorned oryx and addax

Comanche Spring Ranch (TX)
5,400 acres
scimitar-horned oryx

Continental Ranch (TX)
47,000 acres
scimitarhorned oryx and addax

Diamond K Ranch (TX)
5,000 acres
scimitar-horned oryx and addax

High Adventure Ranch (MO)
1,000 acres
scimitar-horned oryx and addax

Indianhead Ranch (TX)
10,000 acres
scimitar-horned oryx and addax

More or Less Game Ranch (TX)
1,200 acres
scimitar- horned oryx

Wild Horse Prairie Ranches (TX)
7,500 acres
scimitar-horned oryx

Y.O. Ranch (TX)
60,000 acres
scimitar-horned oryx and addax

Please encourage your legislators to oppose this bill. You can locate your Senators through http://www.congress.org or write to them at:

The Honorable ______________
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
Congressional Switchboard 202-224-3121

Footnotes

  1. "Take Action: Stop Canned Hunting," The Humane Society of the United States
  2. "Fair Chase Statement," Boone and Crocket Club
  3. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department report of Hunting License Leases report 31 August 2005

Comments

Thank you Texas ranchers for breeding the antelopes and keeping them from going into extinction. Your hard work, time and money will keep the antelope around so that my children and grandchildren will be able to enjoy thier beauty. The large wild herds of antelope i saw in South dakota this year tells me that they will be here for a very long time. Again, thanks for all the hard work farmers and ranchers. Dan [ Blog editors' note: The antelopes living on Texas hunting ranches are being bred to be killed and that does nothing for conservation. If anyone's children ought to have a glimpse of the beauty of North African antelopes, it should be North African children.]

NO! to the Sportsmanship in Hunting Act of 2005

Just what's fair about the chase??? An unarmed animal running for it's very life! Who's chasing the hunter?? When do the animals get the chance to fight back??

I'm sorry but when were animals ever armed?...

Please say NO to canned hunts! There is NOTHING sportsman like about them!

no!

NO MORE K I L L I N G !!!!!!

Canned hunting is a travesty---how can you call that hunting? To hunt means to seek and find not fall over it in your path! The facilitators and participants alike should be royally ashamed of themselves! Isn't there enough killing in the world without adding innocent animals to the mix? A big resounding no to canned hunting!

"sportsmanship hunting"? destruction of innocent lives that have done nothing to merit their deaths or the death of their offspring or communities? sounds like "natural terrorism" to us. there is nothing "sporting" about condoning and participating in violence and death for the sake of enjoyment and entertainment - think about it - sounds more akin to psychopathy...what healthy human being turns to death for pleasure - apart from terrorists?

There is nothing humane or sportsmanlike about canned hunts. The animal is trapped and in many cases, is not killed with the first shot. Furthermore, hunters on these canned hunts are not real hunters since all they want is a trophy. Shame on these so called hunters and shame on the owners that allow canned hunts on their lands! We did not inherit this Earth, we are borrowing it from our children!

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