Groups Hope to Block Michigan Mourning Dove Hunting

A coalition of animal rights groups calling itself The Committee to Restore the Dove Shooting Ban is collecting signatures in Michigan to block that state’s recent approval of dove hunting. Earlier this year, Michigan became the 41st state to allow hunting of mourning doves.

The group needs to collect 158,000 signatures by March 2005 in order to place their proposed ban on the November 2005 ballot. The earliest such a ban would go into effect would be 2006, which means dove hunting will almost certainly proceed in Michigan this year and next.

Michigan will likely approve trial hunts for the first few year, these being held in counties that border Indiana and Ohio — both states which already allow dove hunting. That would be followed by studies of the impact of hunting on the dove population before deciding whether to expand the hunt into other parts of Michigan.

Fund for Animals president Michael Markarian told the Detroit Free Press,

Voters will have the final say in whether the bird of peace should be blasted into pieces. There is no reason to shoot them, other than for target practice.


Coalition to launch petition drive to ban dove hunting. Bob Gwizdz, Booth Newspapers, August 6, 2004

Opponents of mourning dove hunting to mount petition drive aimed at 2006. Associated Press, August 5, 2004.

Makah Loses Appeal

Last month this site noted that the Makah Indian Tribe was awaiting a judgment on its latest appeal in its quest to once again hunt whales. Earlier this month the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied the tribe’s request for a hearing before the full court, leaving in place a decision by a three judge panel of the court halting the whale hunt.

The three judge panel ruled that the whale hunt is subject to the Marine Mammal Protection Act despite the tribe’s treat with the U.S. government guaranteeing it the right to hunt whales.

Obtaining a permit to hunt whales under the Marine Mammal Protection Act will requires a full-scale environmental analysis of the hunt and years of delay.

Fund for Animals director Michael Markarian told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer that,

The Court of Appeals has been emphatic on this point . . . and it’s obviously something the American public doesn’t want.

Makah tribal member Wayne Johnson, however, said of the ruling that,

It’s another treaty broken by the United States.


Court rebuffs Makah’s appeal over whaling. Lewis Kamb, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, June 8, 2004.

Makah whaling review denied. Christopher Dunagan, TheSunLink.Com, June 8, 2004.

Neiman Marcus Loses Domain Dispute with Fund for Animals

As mentioned on this site a couple weeks ago, Neiman Marcus filed a complaint with a domain name arbitration group over The Fund for Animals’ use of the domain names,, and

Neiman Marcus claimed that the domain names were confusingly similar to its trademarked name. In denying Neiman Marcus’ claim, however, the National Arbitration Forum’s Charles K. McCotter, Jr. wrote that,

. . . it is unreasonable to believe that a reasonable consumer would be confused as to what the website is about or whether it is owned, sponsored or affiliated with [Neiman Marcus].

This is the correct decision, but completely at odds with previous decisions by the National Arbitration Forum that took similar domain names from animal rights groups and transferred them to Neiman Marcus. Just another example of how screwy and wrong domain name arbitration systems remain.


Fund for Animals wins web dispute to keep NeimanCarcass.Com. Press Release, Fund for Animals, May 18, 2004.

HSUS and Fund for Animals On Mourning Dove Hunting Bill in Minnesota

The Humane Society of the United States and the Fund for Animals issued a press release this week complaining about the close vote that saw the Minnesota legislature approve a bill authorizing the first mourning dove hunt in that state in nearly 60 years.

According to the HSUS press release, a bill that would have stricken the mourning dove provision from the bill originally passed 35-31, but when it was brought up for reconsideration, two senators switched their votes and another abstained, which led to the amendment’s defeat and the mourning dove hunt staying in the bill.

The press release quotes HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle as blaming the entire bill on business who want to sell more ammunition to hunters,

By the narrowest of margins, the Senate has decided to reverse a policy that has endured for nearly 60 years and to allow the target shooting of harmless mourning doves. Legislators who voted to allow the needless target shooting of harmless doves dismissed the views of mainstream Minnesotans and instead sided with gun and hunting manufacturers who simply want to sell more ammunition.

Fund for Animals president Michael Markarian added,

Hunting mourning doves serves no wildlife management purpose. There is no overpopulation problem and the birds pose no threat to any person or agricultural interest. In fact, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service indicates that dove numbers are rapidly dropping in Minnesota.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service did in fact show a dramatic drop in the number of doves observed in Minnesota, but this seems more likely to due with the population dynamics of the mourning dove population. In referring to the rapidly dropping population, I’m assuming Markarian is referring to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s estimates that in 2002 there were 16.4 million breeding pairs in Minnesota compared to only 9.3 million in 2003.

But mourning dove populations take very large jumps, both positive and negative, over the years — likely due to the migratory nature of the birds. For example, in Kansas the number of breeding pairs declined by almost 30 million in 1995, only to increase by almost 30 million in 1996. (Another possibility is that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s method of estimating the dove population is prone to gross variations from year to year).

There is, however, a generally accepted decline in the mourning dove population due to development, but the total population in the United States is estimated to be in excess of 500 million. Certainly it is not a species that is in any danger of becoming threatened due to hunting.


HSUS Decries Legislation to Allow Target Shooting of Doves in Minn.,; Dove Hunting Has Been Banned for Nearly 60 Years. Press Release, Humane Society of the United States, May 11, 2004.

Mourning Dove Population Status 2003. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 2004.

Mourning Dove Population Status 2002. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 2003.

Neiman Marcus Challenges Fund for Animals NeimanCarcass Domain Name

Neiman Marcus recently filed a complaint to have the Fund for Animals’ ownership of the NeimanCarcass.Com/.Org/.Net domain names stripped from the animal rights group and handed over to Neiman Marcus.

Neiman Marcus filed the complaint with the National Arbitration Forum and argues that the domain names are confusingly similar to Neiman Marcus’ trademark.

The Fund for Animals’ issued a press release on April 20 accusing Neiman Marcus of trying to bully the names away. In the press release, Michael Markarian said,

It is laughable that any reasonable person could be confused between a luxury retailer selling fine apparel, jewelry and housewares, and a non-profit animal protection organization selling t-shirts and bumper stickers with campaign slogans. Neiman Marcus is simply engaging in ‘cyber-bullying’ to insulate itself from public criticism of its socially irresponsible practice of selling fur.

The group that hosts the NeimanCarcass web sites, Carol/Trevelyan Strategy Group, agrees and argued in a filing with the National Arbitration Forum that, “Courts have held that ‘parody and satire are deserving of substantial freedom — both as entertainment and as a form of social and literacy criticism.'”

For once, I agree with the animal rights activists. If Neiman Marcus can claim that NeimanCarcass is infringing on its trademark, then its hard to see how something like FundforAnimalsSucks.Com wouldn’t also be infringing. The bizarre thing, however, is that Neiman Marcus has won previous such domain name disputes that it filed with the National Arbitration Forum.

In August 2003, for example, the National Arbitration Forum ordered that Compassion Over Killing had to hand over NiemansKills.Org and NeimansKills.Com to Neiman Marcus. In that decision, the National Arbitration Forum absurdly ruled that (emphasis added),

RespondentÂ’s and domain names are confusingly similar to ComplainantÂ’s NEIMANS mark because the disputed domain names fully incorporate the mark and merely add the generic word “kills.” RespondentÂ’s addition of the generic word “kills” and RespondentÂ’s variation of the generic top level domain name “.org” and “.com” are insufficient to circumvent the Panel from finding the domain names confusingly similar to the NEIMANS mark. See Pfizer, Inc. v. Papol Suger, D2002-0187 (WIPO Apr. 24, 2002) (finding that because the subject domain name incorporates the VIAGRA mark in its entirety, and deviates only by the addition of the word “bomb,” the domain name is rendered confusingly similar to ComplainantÂ’s mark); see also Vivendi Universal v. Sallen, D2001-1121 (WIPO Nov. 7, 2001) (finding the domain name was confusingly similar to Complainant’s VIVENDI UNIVERSAL mark, because Non-English speakers would associate the domain name with the owner of the trademark); see also Rollerblade, Inc. v. McCrady, D2000-0429 (WIPO June 25, 2000) (finding that the top level of the domain name such as “.net” or “.com” does not affect the domain name for the purpose of determining whether it is identical or confusingly similar).

Respondent’s omission of the MARCUS portion of Complainant’s mark and addition of the word “kills” is insufficient to avoid a finding of confusing similarity. See Maple Leaf Sports & Entm’t Ltd. v. Toronto Maple Leafs!, D2000-1510 (Jan. 24, 2001) (finding that the domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s marks, where Complainant holds many trademarks that contain the term “LEAFS”); see also Body Shop Int’l PLC v. CPIC NET, D2000-1214 (WIPO Nov. 26, 2000) (finding that the domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s THE BODY SHOP trademark).

That’s just plain stupid, and indicative of the problems in the way that domain disputes are resolved. The full text of the Compassion Over Killing decision can be read here.


The fur’s flying on three web sites. Gerald P. Merrell, The Baltimore Sun, April 26, 2004.

The Neiman Marcus Group, Inc. and NM Nevada Trust v. Compassion Over Killing. National Arbitration Forum, October 7, 2003.

“Cyber Bully” Neiman Marcus Tries to Shut Down Web Site, Stifle Criticism of Fur Sales. Press Release, Fund for Animals, April 20, 2004.

Maryland DNR Rejects $75,000 from Fund for Animals and HSUS

The Fund for Animals and the Humane Society of the United States made a financial offer to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources in March: withdraw plans for a Fall bear hunt season, and the two groups would donate $75,000 to the DNR to compensate property owners for damage from bears as well as help education Maryland residents on managing bear-human conflict.

On April 14, the Maryland DNR said it was willing to accept the $75,000 from the groups but could not agree to the stipulation that the bear hunt season be withdrawn,

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) today accepted a funding offer from the Fund for Animals and the Humane Society of the United States to mitigate bear and human conflicts. While accepting the funding, DNR rejected the stipulation that the proposed bear hunting season be cancelled.

The funding offer, $75,000 in total, would be used to further the financial resources DNR currently dedicates for bear damage compensation and bear-human conflict management. Specifically, these funds would be used to compensate individuals who document bear damage and to implement an aversive conditioning and bear education campaign in bear-occupied areas.

“While we may not agree on the hunting regulation proposal, I hope that the Fund for Animals and Humane Society of the United StatesÂ’ commitment to assist us is sincere and that we can count on their financial and philosophical support for the remaining non-lethal and education strategies in our bear management plan,” said DNR Wildlife & Heritage Service Director Paul A. Peditto.

This was, in this writer’s opinion, a clever strategy to take, especially Peditto’s comments when he had to know full well that HSUS and the Fund would both interpret this as a rejection. Oddly, the conservative Washington Times ran an op-ed by Gene Mueller who completely missed the point here> Mueller chastised the DNR for getting into bed with animal rights groups and wrote,

I’ll wager the well-heeled Fund for Animals and the Humane Society are having parties right now, celebrating the fact that they got a foot into the door of an agency that regulates all the hunting and fishing of an American state.

Hardly. In fact The Fund for Animals and Humane Society of the United States released a press release the same day noting that the DNR had rejected its offer,

The Fund for Animals and The Humane Society of the United States learned today that the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has rejected a substantial financial offer for solving bear conflicts and compensating farmers for bear damage. In a March 17 letter, the two organizations offered collectively to provide $75,000 to compensate farmers for bear damage and expand educational programs to solve bear conflicts, if the DNR’s plan for the first bear hunt in fifty years was withdrawn.

In that press release, Fund president Mark Markarian said,

It is clear that the DNR is not seeking to solve bear conflicts in western Maryland, but simply to put bears in trophy hunters’ sights. Hunting bears for trophies or rugs will not provide money to farmers and will not provide the relief that citizens are demanding. Governor Ehrlich’s administration should look for constructive solutions and new funding partnerships, not trophy hunting opportunities.

And HSUS senior vice president Wayne Pacelle offered this bit of trivia,

There are fewer black bears in Maryland than there are pandas in China or endangered grizzly bears in Montana.

I’m not sure what the population of pandas in a country the size of China has to do with the population of bears in a state the size of Maryland, but such comparisons probably makes perfect sense to animal rights activists.


DNR, animal rights groups in bed. Gene Mueller, The Washington Times, April 21, 2004.

Maryland Rejects $75,000 Offer To Cancel Bear Hunt. Press Release, The Fund for Animals, April 14, 2004.

Letter to DNR Offering $75,000 for Solving Bear Problems. Letter, Michael Markarian, Fund for Animals, March 17, 2004.

DNR Accepts Funding From HSUS, Fund for Animals. Press Release, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, April 14, 2004.