For Immediate Release: 23 September, 2004
Contact: Priscilla Feral (203) 656-1522

Friends of Animals calls upon West Virginia Governor Bob Wise to discontinue “Youth in the Outdoors,” a hunting program for children between the ages of 8 and 17.

Priscilla Feral, president of Friends of Animals, stated: “At any age, to kill a living, conscious being and call it sport is one of the most troubling ideas modern society has yet to come to grips with.”

Wildlife officials are not teachers. Their salaries depend upon the sale of hunting permits and taxes on guns and ammunition. In the midst of a nationwide decline in hunting, it is not surprising that these officials tap into an increasingly younger base to sell the idea of hunting.

When it comes to defining the key values to pass along to children, Governor

Wise should follow instead the example set by state education officials. In West Virginia schools, any form of violence is unacceptable. Firearms and dangerous weapons are prohibited as a matter of state policy.

Liza Ordeiro, Communications Director of the West Virginia Department of Education, told FoA Representative Bill Dollinger via telephone, “We see the value in teaching children to respect all life.” Ordeiro cited the West Virginia Student Code of Conduct section, which states: “Students will demonstrate compassion and caring.”

Most children have a natural affinity for animals. Urging young people to suppress that feeling, to choose to cause death, and even to associate all of this with a day’s outing, is not sound public policy. It prepares children to engage in violence, while stunting their potential to seek more creative futures.

West Virginia’s gorgeous mountains, parks, and forests offer so many healthful and exciting opportunities. The state’s outfitters are known nationwide for supplying the best in backpacking, hiking, rafting and kayaking, biking, rock climbing, canoeing, team-building trips, and the skill-building sport of orienteering.

Friends of Animals asks Bob Wise to discontinue plans for encouraging child hunting, and instead support positive activities that enable the children of West Virginia a chance to reach their best potential, indoors and out