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15 Scary Anti-Hunting Organizations to Watch

15 Scary Anti-Hunting Organizations to Watch

It's downright scary how animal rights extremist groups operate to shut down hunting. Here's just one example of how they systematically stop hunting using the judicial system. 

With reports of grizzly attacks making the news, and restraining orders and then a halt to the much-anticipated grizzly bear season handed down by a federal court judge in Missoula, Mont, the battle to hunt de-listed grizzlies continues. As NRAHLF.org reported, on Aug. 30, U.S. District Court Judge Dana Christensen issued an order that delayed grizzly hunts in Wyoming and Idaho, which were supposed to begin on Sept. 1. Two weeks later, the judge issued a stay for yet another 14 days. Then on Sept. 24, Judge Christensen reinstated legal protections for grizzly bears in and around Yellowstone National Park, and thereby halted planned hunts in Wyoming and Idaho.

The judge wrote that allowing the bears to be killed “would cause irreparable injury” to people in the organizations who are seeking to halt the hunts and protect the bears. Those groups included the Sierra Club, the Center for Biological Diversity, the National Parks Conservation Association and the Northern Cheyenne Tribe.

Take note of these groups and recognize that there are multiple other anti-hunting, animal rights extremist groups active in the United States and outside our borders today. Here’s a list of the 15 most egregious. The first two deserve to be ranked as such. The rest are in no specific order. At the end you'll also find ways to counter their attacks.

1. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), Headquarters: Washington, D.C.
Established in 1954, and calling itself “the nation’s largest and most effective animal protection organization,” the HSUS is the nation’s No. 1 anti-hunting, animal rights extremist organization. It describes its mission regarding hunting as conducting campaigns to stop “inhumane and unsporting hunting practices such as ‘canned hunts’ of captive exotic animals.” The HSUS participates in raising money for a variety of anti-hunting and anti-trapping campaigns nationally. You might be surprised to learn that, according to Humane Watch, the HSUS gives less than 1 percent to local pet shelters as noted on this website multiple times. For examples of how this organization operates, check out these articles:


2. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), Headquarters: Norfolk, Va.
With its “I’d rather go naked than wear fur” and anti-flesh-eating campaign, this organization of 6.5 million worldwide members believes humans have evolved past the need to hunt. Founded in 1980, it claims to be the world’s largest animal rights group. On its website PETA proclaims, “Quick kills are rare, and many animals suffer prolonged, painful deaths when hunters severely injure but fail to kill them.” The organization prefers to leave nature alone as if nature will balance itself. What PETA does well is educate its members on how to combat hunting and also works to get its materials into the school system as noted in the NRAHLF.org article, “Anti-Hunters Seek to Educate Our Children about Hunting and Firearms.”

PETA also encourages its members to defy the hunter harassment laws that the NRA Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) has worked to get passed in every state. Considering PETA’s Facebook page has more than 5 million likes from an unsuspecting public, consider sharing some of these story links:


3. Born Free USA, Headquarters: Washington, D.C.
Focusing on “animals used in entertainment, captive exotic animals, trapping and fur, and the international wildlife trade,” this group spun off the movie “Born Free” in 1984, from founders Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, who starred in the movie. It opened a headquarters in the United States in 2002 and prides itself on “compassionate conservation.” It claims to “work tirelessly to ensure that all wild animals, whether living in captivity or in the wild, are treated with compassion and respect and are able to live their lives according to their needs.”

The organization targets trapping, too, and encourages members to start anti-trapping campaigns, providing tools and resources on its website. It also runs a “Fur for the Animals” campaign, which collects all items made from animal fur to donate to animal rescue and rehab centers. The furs are used to provide “familiar comfort, warmth and bedding” to animals within these centers.

For additional insight on this organization, read the NRAHLF.org article “Facts Show Hunting Is Conservation at NYC Debate.”

4. Center for Biological Diversity, Headquarters: Tucson, Ariz.
With a stated mission to “work through science, law and creative media to secure a future for all species, great or small, hovering on the brink of extinction,” the Center for Biological Diversity, founded in 1989, proudly claims on its website that it has “sued Trump 87 times—and we’re just getting started.” Its latest press release is titled “Zinke Sued for Refusing to Release Documents on Efforts to Strip Protection from American Burying Beetle.”

It has poured significant efforts into a campaign to stop wolf hunting, or as it says, “the slaughter of wolves,” and urges its membership to take action against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s delisting of gray wolves. Since it also is concerned about the world’s human population explosion, it has offered “endangered species condoms” on Earth Day.

You’ll see this group petitioning the EPA to prohibit lead ammo, too.  For more information, check out these articles:


5. Defenders of Wildlife, Headquarters: Washington, D.C.
Beginning in 1947 and claiming to be a major national conservation organization, Defenders of Wildlife can be found in courtrooms across the country, filing injunctions to stop hunting.

According to the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance, “Defenders of Wildlife … often seeks to recoup its legal costs for the suits from taxpayers.” It currently is battling wolf hunting, the border wall and climate change – to name a few items.

6. International Fund for Animal Welfare, Headquarters: Yarmouth Port, Mass.
Established in 1969, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) has a presence in more than 40 countries and has campaigned to end commercial whaling, fox hunts and seal hunts, to name a few. IFAW is vehemently opposed to hunting with dogs. Note that it does not disclose its membership numbers. It works to undermine wildlife management through filing lawsuits and pushing for ballot initiatives and legislation to end hunting

7. American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Headquarters: New York City
As the first established humane organization in the Western Hemisphere, organizing in 1866, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) rescues animals from abuse and works to pass “humane” laws. Its website states, “The ASPCA is opposed to hunting animals for sport, even if the animals killed in this way are subsequently consumed.” The ASPCA is working to end all huntingand urges that wildlife management strategies be nonlethal. Currently, the ASPCA claims 1.2 million members.

8. Western Environmental Law Center, Headquarters: Eugene, Ore.
As its name implies, this organization, which organized officially in 1993, focuses on Western states. Its most recent claims to victory in the courts include cases involving Mexican wolves, Colinvolve orado cougars and Oregon beavers. Most of the court cases claim that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is not using science correctly. It has likened the management of Oregon’s beavers, for example, as a “wild West approach to animal management.” It is against all hunting and trapping.

9. In Defense of Animals, Headquarters: San Rafael, Calif.
With a quarter of a million supporters throughout its 30-year history, the organization states, “Hunting is a violent and cowardly form of outdoor entertainment that kills hundreds of millions of animals every year, many of whom are wounded and die a slow and painful death. Hunters cause injuries, pain and suffering to animals who are not adapted to defend themselves from bullets, traps and other cruel killing devices. Hunting destroys animal families and habitats, and leaves terrified and dependent baby animals behind to starve to death.”

Prohibiting hunting in national wildlife refuges has been one of its key campaigns. It does not believe that hunting is conservation and says that natural carnivores are the real ecosystem managers.

10. Sierra Club, Headquarters: Oakland, Calif.
Founded by John Muir in 1892, the extremely political organization has veered off course from its grassroots environmental foundation to calling for abortion rights, which appears to be fine with its 3.5 million members and supporters. The Sierra Club has a history of being against hunting, including standing against the use of hounds to hunt bears and bobcats in California a few years ago, which the state legislature banned. The Sierra Club joined the aforementioned ASPCA in pushing for the anti-hound-hunting law that went into effect in January 2013. According to Sportsmenvote.com, the Sierra Club also is opposed to all forms of trapping. This group uses the guise of protecting public lands and national parks to champion the “conservation” of hunted species such as marmots, bison and wolves.

11. Friends of Animals, Inc., Headquarters: Norwalk, Conn.
In a statement that sounds like a repeated chorus, Friends of Animals, (FOA) notes, "The premeditated killing of wildlife is abhorrent to most people, particularly when hunting is condoned under false pretenses, under the guise of 'wildlife management, overpopulation control,' or 'protection of crops and public safety.'… We believe that wildlife, which by law belongs to all of us, has rights and deserves protection, and that the non-hunting majority needs a voice, an active advocate.”

What began in 1957 as an organization in New York that promoted spay-neuter programs has evolved into pushing for animal rights extremist advocacy and veganism. In fact, in a recent interview with “60 Minutes,” FOA President Priscilla Feral noted she would rather see animal species go extinct than see them be hunted

One of its latest actions included filing a legal brief to save elephants in Africa from U.S. hunters, especially in regard to changing the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s recent loosening of restrictions in regard to the import of trophies from Zimbabwe. According to a release on its website, “In addition to the lawsuit, FOA is pushing for legislation in New York known as the Big Five African Trophies Act that would prohibit the trophies of elephants, lions, leopards and black and white rhinos from being brought into its port. New York is the busiest port of entry in the U.S.”

12. The Fund for Animals, Headquarters: New York, N.Y.
Founded in 1967 by animal rights advocate Cleveland Armory, this group partnered in 2005 with the HSUS to create an animal protection litigation section with full-time lawyers. It is the largest of these types of departments nationwide and includes a cadre of law students and pro bono attorneys. It also has formed the Humane Society Legislative Fund, a non-profit dedicated to political and lobbying activities on behalf of animal rights.

13. Howling for Wolves, Headquarters: Hopkins, Minn.
A relatively new organization founded in 2012, Howling for Wolves opposes recreational wolf hunting and trapping. Its founder, Dr. Maureen Hackett, is a physician who specializes in psychiatry. She has been interested in wildlife and environmental issues ever since she took a sled-dog trip to the northern woods of the state and heard wolves howling. As with other anti-hunting organizations, this group is suspicious of local wildlife agencies’ methods and statistics. Howling for Wolves prefers “science-based nonlethal conflict prevention plans that promote human and gray wolf coexistence.”

14. WildEarth Guardians, Headquarters: Santa Fe, New Mexico
According to WildEarth Guardians, an organization formed in 1969, the Wildlife Services branch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is there because it “wages a clandestine war on America’s wildlife.” It states that every year the Wildlife Services’ killing machine poisons, traps and guns down millions of our nation’s most majestic animals—from imperiled swift foxes to bald eagles—at the request of a minority of ranching and agricultural interests. It also believes that modern scientific research is not behind wildlife management and says “archaic prejudices” exist against predators such as cougars, coyotes, bears and wolves.

One of the smaller organizations, with about 4,448 listed as members in its last annual report in 2017, WildEarth Guardians’ income surpassed more than $4 million. And here is the kicker: $709,447 came from government grants.

15. National Parks Conservation Association, Headquarters: Washington, D.C.
Founded in 1919, the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) has 1.3 million members and supporters and claims to be the voice of America’s national parks. The organization has been firmly behind anti-hunting efforts from Florida’s Big Cypress National Preserve to Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska. It does not trust state wildlife agencies’ motives or research.

How You Can Fight Back
Knowledge is the key to combating attacks on America’s hunting heritage. Here are a few ways you can keep yourself informed while joining the battle to save hunting.

1. Check this NRA Hunters’ Leadership Forum website regularly to stay on top of the state, national and international issues impacting hunting’s future. Share the news links while also sharing the NRAHLF.org material telling the story of hunting and where hunters’ dollars go.

2. Bookmark Humane Watch, as this non-profit organization continues to keep an eye on the HSUS. In fact, it revealed in a poll in early October 2013 that most U.S. donors have a false impression of how the HSUS spends its money, a topic covered regularly on this website. Almost 37 percent of people polled gave money because they thought the organization donated money to local shelters, when in truth, it only gives about 1 percent. Almost 88 percent didn’t know this fact.

3. Sign up for free e-newsletters, including the bi-weekly NRA HLF e-newsletter (email ehealy@nrahq.org) and the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation’s “Tracking the Capitols,” which lists state legislation affecting hunting, recreational fishing shooting, trapping and other conservation issues.

4. Check in with Sportsmen Vote, as well as the NRA Institute for Legislative Action “Hunting Alerts” page for additional information on current topics regarding hunting, shooting, fishing and conservation. Find out what’s trending with topics such as “public lands access” and “gun control.”

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