by Karen Mehall Phillips - Saturday, January 7, 2017
NRAHLF.org contributor Michael Sabbeth hit the nail on the head during his Dallas Safari Club seminar, “Lethal Compassion: Defend Hunting Better by Analyzing the Minds and Motives of the Anti-Hunter.” His point: Take control of the rhetoric spewed by anti-hunters to reframe the debate in hunters’ favor.
“If your goal when debating anti-hunters is to simply let each person tell his side, you will lose every time,” said Sabbeth, stressing that the right approach wins every time simply by pouncing on the fact that anti-hunters, like everyone else, are morally accountable for the consequences of their beliefs.
Case in point: DSC member and hunter Corey Knowlton, who at the 2014 DSC show paid $350,000 when a black rhino hunting permit in Namibia was auctioned off in the name of conservation. The rhino was a problem animal that was killing other smaller rhinos.“When we tell the true story of hunting and wildlife conservation, the American public will come down on our side."Proceeds were donated to the Namibian government to help save the threatened black rhinoceros. As noted by DSC Executive Director Ben Carter, this was the best way to ensure the greatest impact on increasing the black rhino population, yet Knowlton was slammed by anti-hunters and called “barbaric” on social media platforms.
Sabbeth said this scenario should have been our finest hour in showing how important hunters are. “We didn’t say how antis favored the death of small rhinos, more poaching, dirty water and less habitat,” he said. “The cost of their anti-rhino-hunting policy was more dead rhinos. The antis can’t see the relationship between what they’re doing and the consequences.”
NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, who was walking the aisles at the DSC show earlier this week, has always said, “When we tell the true story of hunting and wildlife conservation, the American public will come down on our side. We are no longer held hostage by the networks and big news outlets as we go around the media directly to the American people.”
This sentiment has been echoed repeatedly by NRAHLF.org contributor and researcher Mark Damian Duda, executive director of Responsive Management. Backed by his firm’s various research initiatives and surveys, he explains, “The data shows that the majority of the American public approves and supports legal and regulated hunting.”
So then why are we hunters even under attack? Fortunately, at the DSC show we’re focusing on digging ourselves out of the hole as we speak!
Editor's Note: Michael G. Sabbeth is a lawyer in Denver, Colo., who lectures regularly on ethics and rhetoric. The author of "The Good, The Bad and The Difference: How to Talk with Children about Values," he is currently working on the book "No More Apologizing! Arguments to Defend and Advance Hunting and the Shooting Sports."
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