HSUS Activists Reportedly Not Happy at Being Caught on Film

Pro-seal hunt filmmaker Raoul Jomphe claims that representatives with the Humane Society of the United States were displeased that the caught them on film ignoring the suffering of a seal that the animal rights activists were using as a prop for a fund raising video.

According to the Ottawa Citizen,

In the documentary . . . the animal rights activists pulled the dying seal out of the water as it tried to escape, and continued filming their promotional video. It is not known how the seal was wounded.

According to Jomphe and his documentary, the HSUS activists filmed for over an hour while the seal lay suffering.

Interviewed in Jomphe’s film, HSUS activist Rebecca Aldworth says she only had the seal’s well-being in mind,

I asked somebody to pull the seal out, because at that point I was thinking there might be a chance of getting the seal back to land. If this seal could still crawl, an hour later, could still swim, maybe there was a chance we could bring the seal back to the Atlantic Veterinary College and save the seal.

Jomphe said that based on the condition of the seal, he would have humanely killed it rather than allow it to continue to suffer.


Activists Angry at being caught on tape. The Ottawa Citizen, March 5, 2007.

Activists Complain about Mitt Romney’s Canned Hunt

Animal rights activists are up in arms after Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney bagged some quail on a hunting trip while on a trip to Georgia.

According to the Boston Herald,

. . . the political outing backfired when it was revealed the birds had been fenced in.

Humane Society of the United States’ Michael Markarian complained about Romney hunting at the Cabin Bluff animal preserve, telling the Boston Herald,

Many of these private hunting preserves are basically providing drive-through killing animal opportunities. These animals are often tamed and bred on the property, fed by people and accustomed to people. They have no chance of escape. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals spokeswoman Jennifer McClure told the Boston Herald,

Stalking and shooting animals is a cowardly, violent form of recreation, and if Romney wants to keep his political career alive, then he should stop supporting this dying blood sport.

Right, because hunting really killed the careers of politicians such as George W. Bush and John F. Kerry.

Anyway, opponents of such animal preserves like to call them canned hunts or refer, as the Boston Herald does, to the fact that the animals are fenced in. But this sort of criticism is silly in the case of preserves like Cabin Bluffs which sits on no less than 45,000 acres.

That’s one incredibly large can.


Mitt under fire for hunt: Romney catches flak after quail kill. Dave Wedge, Boston Herald, January 5, 2006.

Feds Hold Hearing on Makah Whale Hunt in Seattle

On October 11, the National Marine Fisheries Service held its third public comment session in Seattle, Washington, to hear opinions about the request by the Makah tribe to once again begin harvesting small numbers of whales.

The Makah killed their first whale in 70 years in 1999, but subsequently the Ninth Circuit Court ruled it needed a formal exemption from the Marine Mammal Protection Act. The Makah have filed for such an exemption, and the NMFS has held public comment sessions as part of that process.

More than 100 people showed up for the session, most of the opposed to resumption of even small scale whaling. Animal rights activist Carol Janes, for example, told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer,

I travel a lot for my work, and it means something when I say I’m from Seattle. [People] know about Mount St. Helens and the Mariners. I don’t want that meaning to change to: ‘That’s the place where they kill whales.’

The Humane Society of the United States’ Kitty Block told the Seattle Times,

We are worried about the precedent this would set. This law has saved millions and millions of animal lives.

We don’t want to come across as anti-tribal. And I am not denying their treaty right. But what does this do to our marine-mammal protection? And it is not just conservation; it is a humane issue. There is no humane way to kill a whale.

. . .

We have developed relationships with these animals [through whale watching tours]. It’s like a bait-and-switch: We go out there to see them — I’ve seen footage where people are leaning over and touching them — and now they are leaning over with a harpoon. It breaks a trust relationship.

Makah and Native American activists appealed to their long history of hunting whales, and the treaty they signed with the U.S. government guaranteeing the tribe the right to hunt whales (the tribe voluntarily refrained from hunting whales for decades after commercial whale hunting caused a drastic decline in the number of whales).

David Sones, vice chairman of the Makah Tribal Council, told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer,

The animal rights groups would rather just see our culture disappear and that’s their right. But we really believe that we will get this waiver.

Bob Anderson, director of the Center for Native American Law at the University of Washington, noted that the current Makah predicament is a largely result of the tribe electing to work with federal officials in the mid-1990s instead of going its own way. Anderson told the Seattle Times

If they had gone out and just gone whaling, that would be allowed. By doing something they didn’t have to do, they triggered this federal action, and that resulted in the 9th Circuit ruling. Now the Makah are bound.

A final decision on the resumption of whaling by the Makah is likely years away, as once the National Marine Fisheries Service makes its decision on whether or not to grant a waiver that decision will be litigated for years regardless of which side the Fisheries Service comes down on.


Hearing shows Makahs, public divided over whaling rights. Claudia Rowe, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, October 12, 2005.

Makah Tribe seeks federal waiver to let it once again hunt for whale. Lynda Mapes, Seattle Times, October 11, 2005.

Third Makah whaling hearing draws 120 in Seattle. Jim Casey, Peninsula Daily News, October 12, 2005.

HSUS Opposes Hunting at Federal Wildlife Refuges

The Humane Society of the United States is opposing plans by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to expand recreational hunting on wildlife refuges in Massachusetts and nine other states. The USFWS is taking public comments on the plan through September 3.

The HSUS is focusing on the Massachusetts because hunting is currently not allowed on the Great Meadows and Assabet River refuges in that state. Such hunting would be allowed as early as this October if the USFWS plan goes through.

The HSUS opposes all hunting in wildlife refuges. In a 2003 press release about the possibility of opening up hunting in the Great Meadows and Assabet River refuges, the HSUS said,

A wildlife refuge should be just that: a refuge for wildlife. It should be one place in which animals are safe from the hunting and trapping already allowed on both public and private lands in Massachusetts.

HSUS’ Heidi Prescott told the MetroWest Daily News,

We believe the Fish and Wildlife Service is compromising the biological and ecological integrity of our national wildlife refuges by providing hunters the opportunity to kill the animals that live on the wildlife refuges.

HSUS also has a pending lawsuit that goes to the heart of what sort of evaluation of the impact of hunting must be conducted prior to expanding hunting in wildlife refuges. HSUS maintains that the USFWS has to prepare an environmental impact statement. USFWS says that the environmental impact statements are unnecessary since the agency has conducted environmental assessments that found expanded hunting would not impact its mission of maintaining habitat in the refuges, and might even promote species diversity by lowering deer population levels.

Currently, according to HSUS, hunting is allowed on more than half of all federal wildlife refuges.


Animal rights group blasts hunting plan. Jfon Brodkin, MetroWest Daily News, August 12, 2005.

Reject Hunting and Trapping at Massachusetts Refuges. Press Release, Humane Society of the United States, August 15, 2003.

Hunting Heritage Protection Act Introduced in Senate

Several U.S. Senators recently introduced Senate Bill 1522, the Hunting Heritage Protection Act, that would effectively establish a right to hunt and trap on federal lands in much the same way that many states have amended their constitutions to guarantee similar rights to hunting and trapping in those states.

The goal of the bill is to place obstacles in the way of removing federal lands for public hunting. For example, the bill would establish that agencies would have to report to Congress when they plan to forbid large tracts of land from being recreationally hunted,

The withdrawal, change of classification, or change of management status that effectively closes 5,000 or more acres of Federal public land to access or use for recreational hunting shall take effect only if, before the date of withdrawal or change, the agency head that has jurisdiction over the Federal public land submits to the Committee on Resources of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources of the Senate written notice of the withdrawal or change.

Additionally, the bill would require annual reports from federal agencies on all actions they’ve taken during the year that impact recreational hunting.

The bill would also direct federal agencies to,

. . . manage Federal public land under the jurisdiction of the agency head in a manner that supports, promotes, and enhances recreational hunting opportunities . . .

That sort of language would open up restrictions on hunting to challenge in federal courts in much the same way that animal rights activists have used similar provisions that protect marine wildlife to challenge activities such as whale hunting by the Makah.

The bill does make a major exemption of all land that is under the jurisdiction of the Secretary of Interior, which includes national parks and national monuments, but might be interpreted to make it more difficult to transfer lands to the Secretary of Interior if the lands would thereby become off-limits to recreational hunters.

The full text of Senate Bill 1522 can be read here.

New Jersey’s Fish and Game Council Proposes Bear Hunt

The New Jersey Fish and Game Council has again proposed a bear hunt this year, saying that it is the best way to deal with complaints about the state’s bear population which has grown to an estimated 3,400.

Of course the Fish and Game Council proposed a hunt last year, but that was ultimately halted by state environmental chief Bradley Campbell who blocked the hunt. That ultimately ended up in court, where the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that the Fish and Game Council could not proceed with a hunt without Campbell’s approval.

This year might be different, however, as the Council has been working with Campbell on plans for a hunt to be combined with a comprehensive bear management plan.

The current plan is to hold public hearings on the bear hunt proposal in September, and then Campbell has to decide whether or not to agree to the hunt which is currently planned to start December 5.


New Jersey bear hunt likely. United Press International, August 10, 2005.

Game Panel Approves Hunt To Control N.J.’s Bear Population. Associated Press, August 10, 2005.