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Life Arts    H4'ed 6/30/10

Environmental and Animal Groups: Views on Hunting

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There are a number of local, state, national and international organizations that publicly concern themselves with caring for animals and protecting the environment. Some have their foundations a century ago or longer (such as Audubon Society in the late 1800s), while others are relatively new to the scene (such as Love Canada Geese in 2005). Among these groups are several that clearly state their opposition to any form of hunting (particularly the Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting), while others publicly align themselves with hunters (including The Wilderness Society ). Some organizations have chosen to maintain a neutral or "apolitical" stance with regard to hunting, or take exception to particular types of hunting or targets of hunting (such as Defenders of Wildlife, which focuses much of its effort on ending aerial hunting of wolves) but typically do not address the broader ecological impact of hunting.

Organizations Publicly Opposed to Hunting

All organizations in this group have adopted a public stance that is clearly anti-hunting. While in some instances the focus of the group is on a specific type of hunting, or a specific animal or geographical region, they support an end to hunting. In a few instances there are some organizations in this group that note that some cultures still rely on hunting for sustenance (most notably Inuit tribes), but they oppose hunting for any other reason, oppose hunting of any endangered species, oppose any "inhumane" forms of hunting, and are strongly concerned with the ecological impact of hunting.

AGRO -- A National Coalition to End Aerial Gunning of Wildlife

AGRO focuses on ending the practice on aerial gunning of wildlife, but additionally opposes any other lethal means of preventing wild animals from harming domestic animals. Their stance is that the natural world is sacred and that we need to reconnect with the natural world, which includes respecting the lives of animals.

From their website: "It's time for agribusiness to take responsibility and use well-documented, non-lethal precautions to protect their livestock from native wildlife and not rely upon killing." "For centuries, we've been 'conquering' the natural world rather than honoring it for its sacredness. If we continue to hold onto this belief, we won't grasp that the real basic concern for this century is not simply divine-human or inter-human relations, but our relations with planet Earth as sacred community."

The Animals Voice

The Animals Voice is primarily a website and magazine-based publication launched in 1987, but its use as a tool by activists for networking and dissemination of information has given it a fair amount of heft in pro-animal communities. They support animal liberation, and are against recreational hunting, typically advocating a vegetarian lifestyle.

"The Animals Voice Statement of Purpose:

The purpose of The Animals Voice is to effect the liberation of animals. Through our online database of hard-hitting editorial and photography, resources and networking, as well as through our award-winning, international animal rights magazine, we have already proven our potential among activists and adversaries as being a powerful force in the changes necessary for the betterment in the living and dying conditions for animals around the planet. We promise to continue our work in globally networking activists and organizations, and in educating and enlightening everyone who visits or reads our material about the desperate plight of animals and what part they can do to cause animal liberation."[1]

ASPCA: The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

The ASPCA was founded by Henry Bergh in 1866 and works to rescue abused animals and to support animal shelters nationwide. It was the first humane society to be established in North America, and is one of the largest in the world today. Henry Bergh believed that animals should be protected by the law, and the ASPCA has the legal authority to investigate and make arrests for crimes against animals. While its primary focus has been on maintaining shelters and preventing the abuse of domestic pets, the ASPCA also has a strong policy against sport hunting.

From their website: "Because there is no guarantee that wildlife taken in sport hunting will be killed outright or spared the distress of pursuit and possible wounding and escape, the ASPCA is opposed to hunting animals for sport, even if the animals killed in this way are subsequently consumed. The ASPCA does recognize that wildlife management may be necessary in situations where animal and human interests collide, but urges that management strategies be nonlethal wherever possible and never include avoidable suffering or distress."

Animal Aid

Founded in 1977, Animal Aid is a British organization that is against animal abuse and promotes a "cruelty-free lifestyle." Their campaigns range from promoting vegetarianism and veganism to ending activities such as the "game" bird industry, fox hunting, factory farming, and animal experimentation.

From their website: "Animal Aid are opposed to all forms of animal cruelty - and we therefore strongly oppose hunting. Hunting with hounds has no place in modern Britain. It should have ended years ago along with co*k-fighting, bear-baiting and dog-fighting. When animal cruelty is portrayed by some as a 'sport' to get pleasure from it debases society and promotes even more animal cruelty. It is not just foxes and other wildlife who suffer. Horses and dogs are also victims of hunting - viewed simply as 'sporting accessories' many sustain fatal injuries during the gruelling chase."

Big Wildlife

Founded in 2006 as a voice for carnivores such as bears, cougars, coyotes and wolves, Big Wildlife operates essentially as a public relations firm for wildlife, providing training for activists, supporting grassroots movements and animal campaigns, and educating the public about wildlife. According to Communications Director Brian Vincent (who is personally against all hunting), "We oppose all hunting of top and mid-level predators, such as bears, cougars, wolves, wolverine, coyotes, and others"[2]

Big Wildlife additionally supports a vegan lifestyle, is against the fur trade, and discourages "using words like 'manage,' 'cull,' 'harvest,' 'game species,' and 'resource' in reference to wildlife. Such words are often used by government officials, trophy hunters, the fur industry, agribusiness, and other interests to desensitize the public to the brutal reality of lethal control programs, trapping, snaring, and trophy hunting"[3].

Born Free Foundation

Started in England in 1984 by the stars of the film Born Free, Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers, Born Free is "devoted to compassionate conservation and animal welfare." Their goals include protecting endangered species, preventing animal suffering, establishing wildlife sanctuaries, and enabling people to live side by side with wildlife in their local communities without conflict. They are opposed to captive breeding, canned hunting, and trophy hunting.

From their website: "Whether its fighting the ivory trade and "sport' hunting, opposing killing wild animals for "bushmeat', or challenging the exploitation of wild animals in zoos and circuses, Born Free takes action on the front line for animals."

Born Free USA (previously Animal Protection Institute)

API was co-founded in 1968 by Belton Mouras and Ken Guerrero, and Born Free USA was established in the United States in 2002 as a companion organization to the Born Free Foundation. Their mission statement is "to alleviate animal suffering, protect threatened and endangered species in the wild, and encourage everyone to treat wildlife everywhere with respect and compassion."

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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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