Captive hunting, if ever there was an oxymoron!
And yes, it is just what it sounds like. For the thrill of guaranteeing the kill of an animal, ranches exist where animals are brought in, fenced and wanna-be hunters get to shoot them dead. The dictionary defines hunting as “to chase or search for (game or other wild animals) for the purpose of catching or killing.”
So how does putting the prey animal into captivity for a guaranteed kill fit the bill? It’s the equivalent of shooting an animal in a zoo.
There are over one thousand such ranches in the United States alone, half of them in Texas. It is a $1 billion a year industry. For a few thousand dollars, the testosterone-challenged can feel the thrill of our hunter-gatherer past. The difference being, you get airport pickup, lodgings, board and bringing home the animal’s head as a trophy to hang on your wall.
These ranches offer all sorts of animals. The right price will buy any exotic animal your heart desires. Zebras, yes. African Bongos (antelope species), sure — only $35,000 at this ranch. And here’s a deal: for only $25,000 you can bag a West Caucasian Tuk, a goat antelope which is found only in the Caucasus Mountain range and is on the threatened species list.
Is it just me? I don’t get it. Hunting to feed your family I understand. But how can you call capturing an animal, putting the creature in a fenced in area without possibility of escape from human predators to be shot at, and describe it as hunting? These so called hunters aren’t killing for survival; they are murdering animals without giving them a chance at escape.
On Monday evening Animal Planet aired a show, Animal Planet Investigates: Captive Hunting Exposed. Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) investigators went undercover to help expose the industry evils. They visited hunting ranches and exotic auctions in several states. Many of these animals are tame enough to walk up to and pet. Some are actually bred and raised for the purpose of captive hunting. A lot are even tranquilized by ranch workers making an easy kill for the “hunter” customer. Believe it or not, many hunters are against this practice.
There is something called The Sportsmanship in Hunting Act which would disallow the transporting of exotic animals across state lines for captive — also known as canned — hunting. U.S. Bill HR 2210 was recently introduced by U.S. Representative Steve Cohen (D-Tennessee) and co-sponsored by U.S. Representative Brad Sherman (D-California) and is supported by HSUS. “Abhorrent and cruel” is what Sherman calls captive hunting. I’d call that an understatement.
Currently, 23 states allow captive hunting of exotic animals. The practice of computer-assisted remote hunting would also be outlawed by the Sportsmanship in Hunting Act. The punishment for captive hunting is a fine and up to one year in prison. For computer-assisted remote hunting: A fine and up to five years in prison.
How You Can Help
Contact your legislators and ask them to support the Sportsmanship in Hunting Act, Bill HR 2210. Look up your senators and congresspersons here.
Photo Credit Flickr: rameshng