September 18 was National Hunting and Fishing Day and, in response, The Fund for Animals issued a press release asking for “a more humane way to celebrate National Hunting and Fishing Day on September 18 — look at, but don’t touch, the wildlife.”
The odd thing is that The Fund for Animals continues to claim there is some sort of tension between viewing and shooting wildlife, when both activities clearly coexist today.
For example, Heidi Prescott said in the press release,
The benefits of watching wild animals outweigh any good that might come from killing them. Both from a compassionate and a monetary stance.
But then the Fund stupidly includes the following figures from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to buttress their non-argument,
. . . in 2001, 66 million wildlife watchers spent $38.4 billion on their hobby, while 13 million hunters spent only $21.6 billion.
Hmmm…so wildlife watchers spent $38.4 billion all the while hunters spent $21.6 billion — looks like the best of both worlds to this writer.
However if we accept the proposition that the USFWS should try to maximize money spent on either activity, it should clearly try to increase hunting since wildlife watchers spent only about $580 per person compared to hunters who spent about $1,660 per person — almost three times as much.
Adding another 5 million wildlife watchers, for example, would add about $2.9 billion to total spending. Adding another 5 million hunters would add an additional $8.3 billion. No wonder so much focus is put on luring hunters.
Look but don’t touch! Press Release, Fund for Animals, September 16, 2004.