Canned hunt

Canned hunt

A canned hunt is essentially a trophy hunt. The hunter is more likely than not to kill because the animal is kept in a more confined area, such as in a fenced-in area. According to the dictionary definition a canned hunt is a "hunt for animals that have been raised on game ranches until they are mature enough to be killed for trophy collections.

Legislation

In the United States Senate, a bill has been introduced by Frank Lautenberg to restrict certain activities related to canned hunting. The legislation, entitled the 'Sportsmanship in Hunting Act of 2005,' includes the following key provisions:

1. IN GENERAL- Whoever, in or substantially affecting interstate or foreign commerce, knowingly transfers, transports, or possesses a confined exotic animal, for the purposes of allowing the killing or injuring of that animal for entertainment or for the collection of a trophy, shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 1 year, or both.

2. EXCEPTION- This section shall not apply to the killing or injuring of an exotic animal in a State or Federal natural area reserve undertaking habitat restoration."

The bill was read twice and referred to the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary on Feb. 7, 2005.

Canned hunting has been banned or restricted in 20 states, including Alabama, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

In 2006, Alabama was the most recent state to pass legislation banning many forms of canned hunting. In 2007, a bill in the New York State Legislature to ban all canned hunting of certain "exotic" animals was defeated by legislative inaction.

Criticism

A number of groups object to the practice of canned hunting for reasons such as cruelty to animals or that it takes away what is known as "fair chase."

The Humane Society of the United States is an outspoken critic of canned hunting. In a statement, the HSUS called canned hunts "cruel and brutal activities," in which the hunted animal has "absolutely no chance of escape." It went on to say that animals have been "psychologically conditioned to behave as a target by life in captivity," among other objections.

Some hunting groups, especially those who focus on hunters' ethics, also object to canned hunting. These objections are on the grounds of "fair chase," the idea that an animal has a fair chance of escaping the hunter, and it's not too easy for the hunter to kill the animal. It is believed that canned hunts take this element away.

Hunting groups such as the Pope and Young Club and the Boone and Crockett Club do not accept animals killed in canned hunts for inclusion in their record books.

Safari Club International accepts animals killed in canned hunts for inclusion in its record books as well as in its award categories.

Canned hunting in the news

On August 15, 2006, Troy Gentry, half of the country music singing duo Montgomery Gentry, appeared in federal court in Duluth, Minnesota charged with canned hunting. Federal prosecutors allege that Gentry bought a bear named "Cubby" from Lee Marvin Greenly, then shot the tame bear while it was in an enclosed pen, tagged the bear as if it had been killed in the wild, then arranged for the editing of a videotape of the alleged "wild" kill. Gentry and Greenly are said to face a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison and a $20,000 fine if convicted.

Another less well-known incident occurred two years prior to the Dick Cheney hunting incident when the vice president participated in a canned hunt at the Rolling Rock Club in Ligonier Township, Pennsylvania. Cheney and nine companions killed 417 out of 500 ringneck pheasants, of which the Vice President himself is credited with killing 70, and an unknown number of mallard ducks.

In South Africa, the Minister of Environmental Affairs, Mr. Marthinus van Schalkwyk, recently announced new laws to stop the practise of "canned huntingin his country. South Africa environment minister announced long-awaited restrictions on lion hunting, declaring he was sickened by wealthy tourists shooting tame lions from the back of a truck and felling rhinos with a bow and arrow. This comes in response to the embroglio created over the potential canned hunt of the African rhino 'Baixinha.'

Dismissing threats of legal action by the hunting industry, Marthinus Van Schalkwyk said the new law would ban "canned" hunting of big predators and rhinos in small enclosures that offer them no means of escape. In addition, lions bred in captivity would have to be released into the open for at least two years before they could be hunted. Van Schalkwyk said a previously proposed six-month delay would not give lions enough time to develop self-defence instincts. "Hunting should be about fair chase ... testing the wits of a hunter against that of the animal," he told a press conference. "Over the years that got eroded and now we are trying to re-establish that principle."

In May, 2007 a much-reported hunting trip involved the killing of 1,051 pound pet pig in an alleged canned hunt. The pig was deemed "Monster Pig" by the media and it was believed that the pig was a feral hog. It was soon discovered that the pig, previously named "Fred," had been someone's pet and was then sold to a hunting facility only a brief time before he was killed. On May 3, paying customers Mike Stone and his 11-year-old son, Jamison, hunted him in a 150-acres fenced enclosure. Jamison shot Fred a total of eight times over a period of three hours.

A June, 2007 story on CNN detailed canned hunting in South Africa and includes a video of a canned lion hunt where the animal is shot against a fence.

See also

Notes

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