The main force behind the effort to ban the hunting of California’s black bears and bobcats with hounds is the world’s largest anti-hunting group – a group that won’t be satisfied unless all hunting is illegal. Of course I know that claim sounds like a lot of hyperbole. And it’s expected that the opposition to a bill like this would make this argument. But it is also the truth. And I can prove it.
The group I refer to is the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), a multi-million dollar fundraising machine that does not operate dog and cat shelters as its name might imply, but instead seeks to change laws that permit people to hunt, raise livestock for food, use animals for life saving medical research and more. They claim to oppose particularly cruel forms of hunting. But their record shows otherwise. Here are real examples of the HSUS agenda:
They Oppose All Hunting with Dogs:
In 2003, HSUS championed legislation, California Assembly Bill 342, to ban all hunting using hounds, a move that would have stopped one of the most effective means of controlling raccoon populations, which can carry rabies. It would also have stopped the most effective means of controlling coyote numbers which increasingly cause trouble in suburban areas. Realizing they lacked the votes to pass that bill, they failed in a last minute desperation move to pare the proposal down to just bears. It was never about bear hunting with hounds. It was about all hunting with hounds.
They Oppose All Bear Hunting:
It’s also about all bear hunting. In California, HSUS is saying that the problem is hunting bears with hounds. Yet HSUS opposed efforts in Maryland and New Jersey to open bear hunting seasons to control over population. Neither of these proposals included hunting with hounds.
They Oppose Bird Hunting:
In 2003, HSUS advocated for legislation to ban mourning dove hunting in California. Mourning doves, which look more like common pigeons than white turtle doves, are the number one game bird in America and are hunted in 41 states. Hunting has no impact on their population.
They Oppose Hunting on Sundays:
This year, HSUS is an opponent of legislation allowing Pennsylvania sportsmen and women to hunt on Sundays. California is one of 39 states that permit people to choose which day they want to go hunting.
They Oppose Getting Youth Involved in Hunting:
HSUS opposes efforts to get more young people outdoors and into hunting. It has been the leading opponent of apprentice hunting licenses, which have successfully and safely introduced new comers to hunting under the supervision of an experienced mentor. Accident numbers show that apprentice hunters are the safest hunters in the woods.
They Oppose Bowhunting:
HSUS and the Fund for Animals, which merged together in 2005, oppose hunting with a bow and arrow despite its usefulness at controlling white-tail deer numbers in more urban and suburban areas. Bowhunting has been shown to be both safe in higher populated areas and an effective method of hunting. It is also the fastest growing segment of American hunters.
HSUS: Against all Hunting
It’s hard to believe that an organization opposes all hunting. But it’s true about the Humane Society of the United States. The organization’s CEO, Wayne Pacelle, learned the ropes of the animal rights lobby working for the Fund for Animals, which was founded to abolish all hunting. He left to run the government affairs shop at HSUS, and rose to the CEO position in 2004.
HSUS later merged with the Fund for Animals and hired its senior staff, including ardent opponents of hunting Michael Markarian and Heidi Prescott, veterans of earlier efforts to ban hunting across the United States.
Here are quotes from HSUS that explain the agenda of the organization.
“As a matter of principle, The HSUS opposes the hunting of any living creature for fun, trophy, or sport because of the animal trauma, suffering, and death that result. A humane society should not condone the killing of any sentient creature in the name of sport.” The Humane Society of the United States “Statement on Wild Animals, March 2012.
“We are going to use the ballot box and the democratic process to stop all hunting in the United States … We will take it species by species until all hunting is stopped in California. Then we will take it state by state.” Wayne Pacelle, Senior VP Humane Society of the US (HSUS), formerly of Fund for Animals, Full Cry Magazine, October 1, 1990.
“If we could shut down all sport hunting in a moment, we would.” Wayne Pacelle, Senior VP Humane Society of the US (HSUS), formerly of Fund for Animals, Associated Press, Dec 30, 1991.
Senate Bill 1221 is not about hunting bears and bobcats with hounds. It’s about one more step in a crusade by anti-hunting organizations to ban all hunting. Despite all of their attempts to mainstream their image, the Humane Society of the United States can’t escape its actions, or the words they have written. Thank goodness for that.
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