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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

Hunting is not a sport! It is pure cruelty!

There is no such thing as GOOD sportsmanship in hunting. This bill is a joke. All hunting is cruel and unneccessary and should be stopped, especially canned hunts. People should find more productive things to do with the time.

We think we humans are superior to four-legged animals in every way. But we constantly show that we are not by our brutal, primitive ways.

Until we learn how to live in peace with our animal friends, man will never find tranquility. It simply amazes me that when some of us walk, our knuckles don't bleed! Hunters are nothing more than SPINELESS COWARDS with a rifle. If they think they are so tough, then go fight a grizzly bear or siberian tiger with your bare hands. We'll see who the tough guy is then. The time has come to hunt the hunter!

This is so sad. I can't believe we have degraded ourselves to putting a poor beautiful animal's head on our walls, or their skin on our own and their meat in our stomaches. I believe in hunting for food only, after all it's been proven that cat's and some other animals need nutrients from other animals. But confining something that we should be attempting to help?... that's wrong. I'm fully saddened by this, I felt so mortified when I read it. Some people are just jerks looking for fun. Nowadays it's getting even sadder, I'd prefer to watch deer and gazelle etc. from a distance, and watch as they live their lives free, instead of sitting on a fawn's skin or staring into the glass eyes of some poor buck or doe. I hope that you guys can help out this, and I hope this get's resolved... ,Liz

This is actually a question... I was reading your column on the Sportsmanship in Hunting Act of 2005. In it you stated, "The bill, if passed, would not forbid killing exotic (non-native) mammals in enclosures of less than 1,000 acres." And then stated, "The exempted hunting ranches ? those with 1,000 or more acres ? are offering exotic animals." I was under the impression that ranches under 1000 acres could no longer offer exotic species, while ranches over 1000 acres could. Is this correct and the above a typo? Please help me understand! Thanks! [Blog editors' note: You're correct, exotic mammals on ranches of 1000 or more acres can be killed under the bill. Whereas all birds and all native mammals can still be killed on ranches of any size. The larger ranches are more likely to have exotic mammals.]

"[ 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.]" Why do you think there are thousands of Scimitar Oryx running around America and the UAE? (IUCN. Oryx Dammah. Under the heading 'Conservation Actions' at http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/15568). The only reason there are so many is the economics. There is money to be made so O. Dammah is bred, simple as. It may seem harsh but all things die. Do you think it's fair that your house cats (non-native species) go out and kill mice or birds which have no way to 'fight back'? Maybe you should kill your cats for being 'unnatural' or unfair? Thought not. Life isn't fair, it never was.

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