The stage for drama—and the truth about hunting—is set as the nationally-syndicated radio program Intelligence Squared U.S. (IQ2US) hosts a live debate titled “Hunters Conserve Wildlife” at New York City’s Kaufman Center on Wednesday, May 4, from 6:45–8 p.m. Representing hunters and conservationists worldwide and arguing for the motion are our Anthony Licada, editor-in-chief of Field and Stream, and Catherine Semcer, COO of Humanitarian Operations Protecting Elephants (H.O.P.E.). Representing anti-hunters—no big surprise—are animal rights extremists Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), and Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA and the Born Free Foundation.
Framing the Debate In 2014, a permit to hunt a single endangered black rhino was sold for $350,000 as part of a program to support the species’ conservation in Namibia. The funds that hunters raise through legal hunting—whether through the purchase of permits in Africa or licenses and taxes purchased in the United States—contribute significantly to wildlife conservation efforts. Hunting is also an important tool in the effort to control animal populations—to the benefit of humans and wildlife alike. But are big-game revenues really benefiting conservation and local communities? And is hunting a humane way to maintain equilibrium and habitats, or are there better alternatives?
Conducting the Debate Here’s how the face-off will go down. Moderated by author and “ABC News” correspondent John Donovan, the debate will use the traditional Oxford-style format as Licada and Semcer stand up for our hunting heritage and then the other side tries to destroy them. Before the debate begins, the audience will register its opinion using an electronic voting system with results announced later in the program. Alternating between panels, each debater gives a 7-minute opening statement. Donovan then will take questions from the audience and inter-panel challenges. The debaters make 2-minute closing arguments, then the audience delivers the final verdict by voting again as to whether they are for, against or undecided. The two sets of results are compared, and the winner is the side that sways the most audience members in between the two votes.
Pre-Event Polling: Stand Up for Hunting Today! Prior to the debate, IQ2US is running a “Hunters Conserve Wildlife” poll on its website as I type this. To be a part of hunters’ eventual victory and vote for the proposition “Hunters Conserve Wildlife” today, click here.
Share this link with everyone in your hunter network. The results will be part of the program. Winning this pre-event poll is the first step toward putting animal rights extremists on the defensive—where they belong—from the start.
When I touched base with Catherine Semcer and mentioned my husband and I would be front-and-center supporting her and Licada, she couldn’t stress the importance of the pre-event poll enough, saying, “As you can see from the number of votes already cast, animal rights extremists have mounted a campaign to drive the poll in their favor. They have the momentum, but we can take it from them and set the stage for Anthony and I to show the listening public how shallow and unethical the anti-hunting position is.”
Fortunately, the goal of IQ2US is to provide a forum for discussion grounded in facts with reasoned analysis. With the facts—and the American people—on our side, the debate will shed welcome light on what we hunters do for conservation; how regulated hunting is a necessary wildlife management tool; and how hunters fight poaching and the illegal use of our renewable wildlife resources. It’s why hunters are called “America’s first conservationists.”
If you can’t attend the “Hunters Conserve Wildlife” debate at the Kaufman Center (129 W. 67th Street, New York, NY 10023) May 4, be sure to tune in for what promises to be an electrifying event that sets the record straight. The live debate will air on 200 public radio stations as well as webcast and podcast, or you can click here to watch it live.