Five Formidable Foes of Hunting—Part 2

Five Formidable Foes of Hunting—Part 2

Anti-hunting organizations in America leave no stone unturned—including contacting federal or state legislators— in an effort to shut down hunting. While the vast majority of hunters obey laws and provide the majority of funds that pay for on-the-ground management of wildlife that everyone enjoys freely, these groups sue to stop hunting, sue to stop professional wildlife management practices and sue state and federal agencies to end hunting everywhere.

As a hunter, you should recognize these groups by name. Stay abreast of their actions before you or your favorite hunting method or game species becomes their next target. Earlier this month, I covered five of the best-known anti-hunting extremist groups in America: HSUS, PETA, Defenders of Wildlife, In Defense of Animals and the Sierra Club. (For the full story, click here.) But these fanatical groups keep coming. Here are five more.

Fund for Animals
"We speak for those who can't," and "Animals have rights, too." These were the words of Cleveland Amory, author of Man Kind? Our Incredible War on Wildlife—a stinging and satirical attack on sport hunting and commercial trapping in America—who founded the New York-based Fund for Animals in 1967.

Since 1971 when the group lobbied to pass the Airborne Hunting Act to stop “the aerial slaughter of wolves in Alaska,” the Fund has specifically worked to ban hunting. The self-proclaimed leading animal-welfare organization championed the listing of more than 100 species on the federal endangered species list, including grizzlies, elephants and multiple huntable species. Just a few of its anti-hunting lawsuits have included attempts to stop bear hunting in California, bison hunting outside Yellowstone National Park in Montana, wolf hunting in Minnesota and bear baiting in Wyoming—all moves to halt necessary wildlife management.

In addition, the Fund’s website touts stopping the implementation of dove hunting in Iowa in 2001, working in conjunction with then Gov. Tom Vilsak—now the head of the U.S. Department of Agriculture—and stopping dove hunting in Michigan in 2006.

To increase its scope, in 2005 the group became an HSUS affiliate of the HSUS and regularly partners with other anti-hunting groups. Other suits it has filed or joined include attempts (or successes) to ban lead shot or lead bullets in California and the hunting of mountain lions with dogs in several states. Its website reports, “The Fund won a landmark ruling this year (2006) declaring that new sport hunting programs on dozens of national wildlife refuges are unlawful.” Hunters dollars largely contribute to the purchase and maintenance of those national wildlife refuges through the sale of Federal Duck Stamps—not U.S. tax dollars.

American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) is one of the top groups working to stop all hunting with, and the breeding of, hunting dogs. You’ve surely seen this group’s tear-jerking print and TV ads exploiting the smallest possible unkempt puppy—all to meet its fundraising goals. Despite what their advertisements may lead the viewer to believe, the ASPCA does not support animal shelters.

The New York-based ASPCA's website cites this position statement on hunting: “The ASPCA is opposed to hunting animals for sport, even if the animals killed in this way are subsequently consumed. The ASPCA does recognize that wildlife management may be necessary in situations where animal and human interests collide, but urges that management strategies be nonlethal where possible and never include avoidable suffering or distress.”

The bottom line: No one supports cruelty to animals, but in the case of the ASPCA and its misleading practices, hunters must stay informed and warn others not to donate to the group.

Friends of Animals
While the Friends of Animals (FoA) champions the spaying of cats and dogs to control populations, you only have to go one page deeper than the website's home page to learn the group opposes deer hunting, geese hunting, hunting ranches and wolf hunting. The Connecticut-based group provides twisted details about how wolves are managed. And, yes, there’s even a petition to sign for those who wish to stop wolf hunting around Yellowstone National Park.

On the bizarre side, FoA touts a report it funded, summarizing the report by stating: “Friends of Animals (FoA) concluded a nationwide survey into the magnitude, characteristics and underlying causes of highway collisions between deer and automobiles, and has determined that hunting is an important cause of many deer/auto collisions.” What? you ask, as we all scratch our heads and wonder.

The FoA website's section for kids begins with: “A respect for all living things can be cultivated at any age. Kids have the ability to be extremely compassionate toward animals and it’s never too soon to teach them that animals have as much right to a safe, happy, healthy life as they do. Take a look at our 'Animal Rights: What is it?' pamphlet we created just for kids, as well as our photo of the week, and 'Just for Kids' Pinterest board.” It could be a good time to go check your kids’ school bookbag!

Western Environmental Law Center
Based in Eugene, Ore., the Western Environmental Law Center is a nonprofit public interest law firm that champions protecting and stopping hunting and trapping. Focusing on the cuddly and often misunderstood-by-the-public species such as the Canada lynx, Mexican gray wolf, Northern spotted owl, wolverine, grizzly bear and Pacific gray wolf, it specializes in filing frivolous lawsuits and then getting reimbursed for its attorney fees—whether it wins or loses.

While the organization claims it merely works to protect western wildlands and promote a healthy environment, it boasts, “Over the last 20 years, we've provided legal representation at no cost to more than 400 organizations. Your donation helps protect and defend the West.”

WildEarth Guardians
This nonprofit grassroots environmental group joins the pack in using grizzly bears to solicit donations. Under the guise of stopping logging and cattle grazing, WildEarth Guardians also works to close public roads on public lands—U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management parcels—thus barring access to hunters. In a direct assault on hunting and in contradiction to state fish and wildlife agencies that determine what the best methods are to humanely hunt and trap, the group professes: “The outrages against wildlife are many: from barbaric traps, poisons and snares to coyote body-count contests, prairie dog shoots and rattlesnake round-ups. We confront this persecution of wildlife directly.”

Headquartered in Santa Fe, N.M., the group works to end trapping and the hunting of prairie dogs, mountain lions, wolves, bears and other species. This statement exposes their misunderstanding of prairie dogs alone: “We are working toward a day when prairie dogs are recognized and protected as intelligent, social creatures with a key role in the prairie ecosystem.”

WildEarth Guardians is perhaps best known for its decade-long legal action against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), which culminated in 2011 with the USFWS agreeing to move forward with the protection of more than 800 species under the Endangered Species Act.

Of course, remaining consistent with other anti-hunting groups, every page of WildEarth Guardians' website features a bold "Donate" button. So as with other groups that try and disguise their anti-hunting mission, hunters should make certain their families, friends and hunting buddies are not donating to this group. Post this news on bulletin boards at local sportsmen’s clubs to help others remain alert and informed.