As reported by the NRA Hunters’ Leadership Forum website on Apr. 15, animal rights extremists north of the border were agitating to close down British Columbia’s grizzly bear hunt by winning the provincial election on May 9. Fortunately they failed—in large part because the province’s successful hunter-based wildlife conservation programs have created strong, viable bear populations. However, one critical element of this story was frequently overlooked: The animal rights extremist groups working to ban bear hunting were preying upon and using young school children to advance their anti-hunting agenda.
As Vancouver Island’s CTV News reported on Mar. 28, when the push against the bear hunt was initially launched, “Grade eight students from a Victoria middle school and an animal protection group [were] calling on the B.C. government to ban trophy hunting of grizzly bears ahead of the 2017 hunting season. Humane Society International/Canada and students from Glenlyon Norfolk School held a press conference at the Fairmont Empress on Tuesday to highlight the urgent need to protect B.C. wildlife.”
No doubt with the approval of teachers and school administrators, the anti-hunting Humane Society International, backed by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), was effectively in the classroom “educating” these impressionable children about the evils of hunting grizzly bears.
According to The Province newspaper, ending the grizzly bear hunt was also supported by the Grizzly Bear Foundation, which produced a report claiming hunting was a huge threat to the bears. To help stop this hunt, the report “zeroed in on childhood education as an especially important area, noting that one of the recommendations suggests developing educational material for elementary school kids.”
The truth is that animal rights extremists have numerous initiatives in place to recruit children and to demonize hunting. Here are merely a few examples:
The HSUS has a web-based program called “Resources for Parents and Educators” that supplies animal rights extremist lesson plans and worksheets to school teachers. HSUS has long made it clear that one of its main goals is to end all hunting in the United States.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) takes its anti-hunting stance to an outrageous extreme. In the PETA-produced article “Youth Hunting: Bad for Animals, Bad for Kids,” PETA member Tracy Reiman tries to connect the NRA and youth hunting to school shootings. Essentially, Reiman argues that teaching kids to hunt leads some of them to become murderers of their fellow school mates. How do you stop school shootings? Reiman’s answer: “Stop allowing kids to hunt.” In addition,PETA Kids produces video games, YouTube videos and various activities to “educate” children about animal rights. Its Teach Kind program provides educators with free animal-rights-based lesson plans and other teaching materials.
Friends of Animals(FOA) has a Just for Kids: Learning about Animals series of web and print publications. Claiming the goal is to instill children with compassion for animals, FOA produces pamphlets for youth that includes “Animal Rights: What is it?” FOA’s anti-hunting efforts include supporting Alaska State House Bill 105, which would create a wolf “buffer zone” around the Denali National Park and Preserve, banning all hunting and trapping of wolves. Currently that bill is in a House committee.
The NRA and You: Sending America's Youth the Right Message Given this concerted effort by animal rights groups to propagandize our children, the NRA’s many Youth Programs are needed now more than ever to inform and educate our children about wildlife conservation and the truth about firearm safety and America’s hunting and shooting sports traditions.
The NRA has established and supports numerous youth educational, gun safety and hunting and shooting sports programs. It also supports various youth summer camps that have strong shooting and conservation components and offers many scholarships and contests for young people interested in hunting, conservation and the Second Amendment. For details, click here.
The NRA’s Youth Hunter Education Challenge (YHEC) is the most comprehensive youth hunting program in North America. YHEC is often referred to as the NRA’s "graduate studies" program in outdoor skills and safety training for young hunters. Open only to those who have completed hunter-safety training at the state or provincial level, the program is conducted under simulated hunting conditions to provide the best practical environment for reinforcing and testing a young hunter's skills.
The truth is that hunting supports and protects game and non-game wildlife species alike, and that hunters have done more to protect our wildlife and their habitats than any other group in the nation. And the NRA will continue to lead the way in conveying that message to America’s youth.