Fund for Animals Asks Nation's Sports Media to Stop Promoting Hunting
From The Fund for Animals, Wednesday, July 11, 2001
SILVER SPRING, MD — The Fund for Animals, a national animal protection group founded in 1967 by bestselling author and humanitarian Cleveland Amory, has sent an open letter to the editors of more than 2,000 newspapers asking them to stop promoting hunting and fur trapping in the outdoor columns that appear in most sports sections. A similar letter went to the presidents of sports cable channels ESPN and ComCast Sports Net, asking them to cancel their hunting programs.
Quoting Marv Levy, legendary former head coach of the Buffalo Bills, who said, "I don't consider hunting a sport; I consider it murder," the letter by Fund for Animals program coordinator Norm Phelps pointed out that in genuine sports all of the competitors are willing participants, the competition is roughly equal, the stakes are the same for both sides, and everyone lives to play another day. Phelps, a former hunter, wrote in the letter, "While the hunter is armed with a lethal long-range weapon, either a firearm or a bow, the animal's only hope is to be lucky enough to escape. Can you image a hockey game in which only one team carried sticks?"
Phelps further wrote, "People who do to dogs and cats what hunters do to deer, geese, doves, and squirrels are prosecuted for animal cruelty, referred for psychiatric evaluation, or both. But animals who live in the wild are just as capable of suffering fear and pain as our companion animals. What is cruel to one is cruel to the other. Hunting is legalized cruelty to animals."
Heidi Prescott, national director of The Fund for Animals, noted that sport hunting in the United States has been declining for the past quarter century. "America's values are changing," she said. "Today, only a tiny fraction of Americans hunt. We're maturing as a society, and The Fund for Animals is calling on America's sports media to reflect that change."
Michael Markarian, The Fund's executive vice president, added that, "Hunting teaches kids that it's OK to terrorize and kill for fun. At a time when violence in our schools is a national epidemic, that's the wrong message for America's sports media to be sending."
For a copy of the three-page letter, contact The Fund for Animals at 301-585-2591.
GRRRRRRRRRRR, Spectr, I was having a good day until I read this garbage.............
I would just love to find out how many of these jerks pay the butcher to do their hunting for them..... man it just pi..... me off.
Or, going off of karstic's idea, do as they did and send out one letter to 2000+ newspapers as well. ###
As a forum, we can gather a hundred ideas and put together a intelligent, well thought out letter supporting hunting and the shooting sports. ###What happened to the "California Hunter's Action Group" that everyone was so fired up about two months ago? ###This is a perfect opportunity for us hunters to be proactive instead of on the defensive.
Ponscm, what happened is two things. One, I could not get a fire burning under the groups collective butt. Second, I got a bunch of responses asking me to take them off of the list because they were not interested in the politics.
Sorry to say this, but that is exactly why I believe our way of life is on its way out. The majority of the hunting community will not stand up and be noticed. We just kind of limp along, complaining about all the wrongs being done to us but not getting active.
Most of us have a little speech put together about how much money and time we contribute to the wildlife like that is going to make a difference.
In my humble opinion, the only way the huntings sports (eventually fishing also) are going to survive is if we stop being passive and get as loud and public as all of the antis who are whitling away at us.
I have a hard time visualizing that actually happening unfortunately.
I would love to be proven wrong on this.
I'll agree with you BigDog. ###Part of the problem is that our main focus is going and hunting. ###Defending our sport is secondary. ###The antis' main focus is stopping us. ###They don't have something else they'd rather be doing. ###
As a group, we're very lazy and not motivated to do what's necessary. ###By the time we get around to doing something, it'll likely be too late. ###
Good point Big Dog, we as hunters need to get involved in the politics of our sport or we ###risk losing out. Fisherman are now realizing the consequences of noninvolvent. New regulation and closure are currently being discussed which would have a large impact on southern California Sportfishing. If we do not become involved as part of the process we will be left having to do deal with rules and regulations proposed by non-hunters which are unfavorable to our sport.
I have sent a letter in support of our sport to my local paper. How 'bout you? It takes about as much time to read and respond to the new posts on the board as it does to write a simple letter thanking and encouraging your paper to continue covering hunting and fishing.
My cousin in rural Wisconsin can't believe all of the BS going on like this. ###He is kind enough to forward their local newspaper (printed once a week). ###Open to the sports page and there is ALWAYS a hunting/fishing story & photo. ###Several times they'll print five or six turkey photos. ###
Hunting is great and politics suck. ###Looks like we need to at least write. ###How'd we go about writing to lots of newspapers? ###Anyone have a list?
big dog, you are right on the money.. i do a few things but not enuf.. i have called congressmen, senators and have sent a couple of letters.. on a local level i need to do more...
question who has a pro hunting, nra, sportsmen for bush, bumperstickers on their car?? i have one on my truck but i cannot put on my company car... and i dont have one on my wifes car because she is not well versed enuf to explain it to anyone..
My bumper carries NRA, Golden Ram and Du right now.
I have this great sticker from the Ted Nugent group that says "I love animals, they taste great". Cept the wife gives me sh)* every time I bring it out to put it on my truck.
Like I said in an earlier post write to your local paper and let em know you appreciate what they are doing. If we each did this to two or three local papers, collectively we would get our voice heard.
On my personal truck I have NRA, QU, DU and CWA stickers
On my company truck to get around putting them on the truck, they are on a personal 6' wide Knack toolbox ;)
Cathy Henkel, sports editor of the Seattle Times, has taken issue with a point I made in a recent column regarding hunting coverage.
My column commented on a letter the Fund for Animals sent to newspapers requesting an end to hunting coverage in sports sections.
In that column, I said the Fund's letter "would be laughable, except that the Seattle Times sports department essentially has adopted this extension of political correctness.
"The Times' virtual blackout on hunting coverage," I continued, "can only be considered blatant and extreme in a profession that's supposed to look objectively at the world."
In an e-mail to the Spokesman-Review, Henkel said, "We have no such philosophical bent against hunting. We don't do as much of it as we did in the old days because less people are hunting, and we have less space. Period."
In a telephone conversation, she elaborated that Times readership surveys show "hunting is about the last thing our readers want to read about."
Then she said my column was a "cheap shot" and "shoddy reporting." She chided me when I said she's only confirming that my column was accurate and she laughed at me when I pointed out I was writing a commentary, not a news report.
I'm detailing this bit of shop talk because hunters and anglers need to understand the trend in mass media and why I would bother at all to write a column about animal rights groups targeting the First Amendment.
Let's be clear. My column was about the unmitigated gall of the animal rights fund-raising and propaganda industry, not about the Seattle Times.
The Times is simply an example of the way hunters and anglers should be concerned.
Covering the state lottery involves more than publishing the winning numbers each week, and covering hunting involves more than regurgitating a dozen or so press releases a year.
There's nothing cheap or shoddy in pointing out that the Times' outdoors columnist does not cover hunting, at least never in straight or positive form.
Searching the Times' sports archives, I found the occasional feature on mass-appeal, big-readership sports such as rugby and orienteering, but none on hunting.
The Seattle Times is a regional newspaper, the state's largest, which is why it was singled out as an example in my column.
Within its readership are roughly 180,000 hunters who provide a huge chunk of the operating budget of the state's wildlife management agency.
Hunters and other citizens have a reason to be concerned when a major newspaper's sports section makes a decision to reduce coverage and run only briefs and derogatory columns about an activity that has so much impact on government, communities, recreation, wildlife and the economy.
Henkel insinuated I was saying their lack of coverage was in response to the letter from the Fund for Animals.
Henkel said she didn't receive the letter.
I'm not surprised. The Fund for Animals has a propaganda budget totaling tens of millions of dollars.
But you can't blame the Fund for not wanting to waste 34 cents in postage preaching to the choir.