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Environmental and Animal Groups: Views on Hunting

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One major component of WMI is the Hunting Heritage Action Plan, which espouses the belief that "A critical link exists between hunting and wildlife conservation." They claim that a decline in the sale of hunting licenses is putting funding for conservation initiatives at risk, and that "hunting recreation" provides "billions of dollars in economic activity," additionally expressing concern that a decline in hunting may result in a loss of "important parts of the American fabric of life and rural culture." Numerous state wildlife departments and similar organizations have joined Hunting Heritage Action Plan in order to gain support for hunting. [82]

The Wildlife Society (TWS) [edit]

In 1936, the Society of Wildlife Specialists was formed at the First North American Wildlife Conference in Washington, D.C. The following year, its name was changed to The Wildlife Society. The Society publishes scientific journals, technical reviews, position statements, and books. The Society monitors legislation affecting wildlife and natural resources but is primarily a professional scientific and educational organization. Despite their self-identification as a "science-based" organization, TWS receives much of its funding from pro-hunting organizations and their affiliates, such as the donation of Wyoming Commissioner Hunting License that was auctioned off at a fundraiser for $7,750. [83]

Among its position statements, TWS advocates for "the replacement of lead-based ammunition and fishing tackle with nontoxic products, while recognizing that complete replacement may not be possible in specific circumstances."[84] TWS also accepts "the use of wildlife resources for food, clothing, shelter, hunting, fishing, trapping, viewing, recreation, and as an indicator of environmental quality," adding that "Certain activities, such as hunting, fishing, trapping, wildlife rehabilitation, wildlife feeding, wildlife viewing, and other appreciative or recreational uses of wildlife, can have both positive and negative effects on natural resources."[85]

TWS subscribes to The North American Model of Wildlife Conservation, which maintains that wildlife are Public Trust resources, eliminates markets for "game," allocates wildlife by law, states that wildlife should only be killed for a "legitimate" purpose, that wildlife are an "international resource," that science is the proper tool for discharge of wildlife policy, and that hunting should be "democratic." TWS is against baiting, canned hunting, hunting of endangered species, and favors regulations on uses of poisons and traps, but they fully support sport hunting, use of lethal methods to eradicate "invasive species," the fur trade, and a view of wildlife as "resources" for human use.

"Today hunting has many social values, including recreation, subsistence, heritage, utilization of the harvestable surplus to benefit people, and control of overabundant wildlife populations. Sociologists have documented that hunting provides deep, central life meanings for many participants and their families and, in many cases, core identities to social, conservation, and cultural groups throughout the world. Among themes that have been identified are a historical connection to a time they value, an honest relationship with nature, and pursuit of the ideal of self-reliance. Further, hunting often elicits a deep passion among participants that transcends gender, race, and socioeconomic class. Additionally, outdoor pursuits such as hunting help teach valuable lessons in ethics and responsibility and help participants develop a conservation and land ethic."[86]

Organizations Adopting an "Apolitical" Stance [edit]

Either on their websites or when contacted directly and asked for their views on hunting, organizations in this group outright decline to publicly state their views on hunting, or advocate only partial regulation of certain types or targets of hunting, but do not publicly endorse hunting or form alliances with hunters either.

Animal Defense League (ADL) [edit]

Founded in 1934, the Animal Defense League is a no-kill animal shelter in San Antonio, Texas. According to Beth Johnson, "We are an apolitical group concerning sport hunting and focus our attention on the stray dog and cat population in San Antonio."[87]

Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) [edit]

AWI was founded in 1951 with the stated purpose of "alleviating suffering inflicted on animals by humans." Their aim is to decrease cruelty and increase compassion towards animals on farms, in laboratories, and in the wild.

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According to AWI president Cathy Liss, "Our focus has been on those practices which cause extreme suffering-for example, we have fought against penning of foxes and coyotes (and I'm pleased to report success in prohibiting this brutal practice in Florida) and against the use of the barbaric steel jaw leghold trap. That said, we have not taken a position against killing if it is done painlessly and does not deplete populations or species. We do advocate strongly for non-lethal, humane means of managing wildlife conflicts, and we have a grant program to support research into development and expansion of such techniques. We were one of the first organizations to support use of immunocontraception of wildlife."

Defenders of Wildlife [edit]

Founded in 1947 as Defenders of Furbearers, Defenders of Wildlife made a mission of protecting coyotes and other wildlife from lethal poisoning and steel-jawed leghold traps. Their focus is presently on the prohibition of aerial gunning of wolves, though they also address issues such as habitat conservation, global warming, international conservation, conservation science and economics, biodiversity, and legal efforts to protect and conserve wildlife and their habitats.

"Defenders of Wildlife is neither an anti-hunting nor a pro-hunting organization, but most of its 430,000 members are non-hunters and their concern is with the restoration and protection of all species of wildlife and their habitats."

"It has opposed hunting of some species and proposed reductions in bag limits to leave more prey for the wild predators . . . Its 'bottom line' goal is sustained populations of all native wildlife species for the enjoyment of all and for their intrinsic value."[88]

Generally speaking, Defenders of Wildlife opposes any changes in regulations that allow for the hunting of protected or endangered species, that permit any type of traps or poisoning, that involve aerial gunning, or that increase bag limits or the length of hunting seasons [89]. However, they do not advocate doing away with sport hunting altogether, and support subsistence hunting [90]. The recent signing of the CARE document by Defenders president Rodger Schlickeisen indicates that Defenders may be moving towards a more permissive stance on hunting.

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Earth Island Institute [edit]

Founded in 1982, Earth Island Institute was started by David Brower, who was previously an executive director of the Sierra Club. It was original conceived of as an organization that would lend support to fledgling environmental projects by helping to get grants and funding for small organizations. Over 100 projects have been supported by Earth Island Institute in the past 25 years, with some going on to become independent organizations, such as the Rainforest Action Network.

The Earth Island Institute project directory includes anti-hunting groups like Big Wildlife as well as many other animal and environmental organizations (such as the International Marine Mammal Project, the John Muir Project, and The Red Panda Network). However, according to one of the Executive Directors, John A. Knox, "Earth Island does not have a policy regarding hunting. That's a very broad topic, and if we did have a policy it would most likely concern a specific human and animal circumstance"[91]

Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) [edit]

NRDC was founded in 1970 as an organization of law students and attorneys interested in environmental protection law. Their mission statement describes their purpose as "to safeguard the Earth: its people, its plants and animals and the natural systems on which all life depends." According to Derek Samson at NRDC Membership, "NRDC has no official policy regarding outdoor activities such as hunting, trapping, and fishing, except for specific wildlands or habitat campaigns where harm to the environment is posed by the activity."[92]

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Recent Psychology PhD graduate in the process of moving to Canada to begin my postdoctoral career working with kids. Also love animals, the outdoors, travel, cooking, drawing, movies, music and photography.

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Environmental and Animal Groups: Views on Hunting

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Many people are unaware where the loyalties of var... by Psychology Girl on Wednesday, Jun 30, 2010 at 8:28:48 AM
I wonder what your general psychological assessmen... by Stefan Thiesen on Wednesday, Jun 30, 2010 at 10:09:34 AM
Thanks for your comment, Stefan. I believe while t... by Psychology Girl on Wednesday, Jun 30, 2010 at 12:20:07 PM
the hallmark of a certain psychological disorder -... by Stefan Thiesen on Thursday, Jul 1, 2010 at 3:55:34 AM
"the mental health of hunters) is that most hunte... by Ms Nan on Thursday, Jul 1, 2010 at 6:00:30 PM
Dear MS Nan: I do understand your arguments, but a... by Stefan Thiesen on Friday, Jul 2, 2010 at 3:46:43 AM
In fact you are so far out there into the culture ... by John Bessa on Thursday, Jul 8, 2010 at 4:35:50 PM
Thanks for the due diligence, Psychology Girl.Your... by martinweiss on Wednesday, Jun 30, 2010 at 3:09:45 PM
It's gratifying to see that there are other folks ... by Psychology Girl on Wednesday, Jun 30, 2010 at 8:35:49 PM
That is a bold statement! But probably it is asyou... by Stefan Thiesen on Thursday, Jul 1, 2010 at 4:12:33 AM
who killed 400 birds in one day ( together with hi... by Mark Sashine on Thursday, Jul 1, 2010 at 12:46:26 PM
Mark - I also think that these "survival" skills a... by Stefan Thiesen on Friday, Jul 2, 2010 at 3:59:38 AM
Humanity is obviously too far advanced to need to ... by John Bessa on Friday, Jul 9, 2010 at 9:30:32 AM