For the past few months a game called
Deer Hunter has topped the software charts. A hunting simulation
which lets the player go trudging through a forest looking for deer, the
games received lukewarm reviews from computer gaming magazines but
has generated a following among hunters.
Which, of course, upsets animal
rights activists to no end. Action for Animals Network recently posted
a release on its web site asking people to call Best Buy, a computer chain
in the Midwest, asking it to stop carrying Deer Hunter. In
the words of Action for Animals Network, “please call or write Best
Buy to let them know that this type of game promotes cruelty to animals
and that it certainly isnt a family game. Ask them to discontinue
selling this item.”
Up until now the only groups calling
for the removal of computer games for lacking “family” values
have been right wing groups, but it looks like at least some animal rights
advocates see this as an important cause as well.
The reader might wonder what would
be next? Will animal rights activists demand an end to the sale of programs
which simulate the dissection of a frogs? Isnt software like this
exactly what animal rights activists have been asking for — simulated
rather than live hunts? And shouldnt the Action for Animals Network be required to
produce even a shred of evidence that Deer Hunter promotes
cruelty to animals?
Action for Animals Network, “Cruel Game,” Press Release, March 1998.
Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) introduced
much-needed legislation in the House of Representatives to reform so-called
baiting laws that make it illegal for hunters to Hunt in areas baited
to attract animals. Over 4,200 people have been charged with hunting in
a baited area over the last 5 years; all but 300 of those cases end in
guilty pleas or convictions.
Rep. Young’s bill would not overturn
the baiting prohibition, but instead remove the strict liability requirement
of the law and replace it with a lower liability standard.
The strict liability provision
currently means that in most parts of the country a hunter can be prosecuted
for being in a baited area even if he was completely unaware that the
area was baited. Former Minnesota Vikings coach Bud Grant was charged
in March, for example, for hunting in a baited area in Nebraska on a trip
that had been arranged by that state’s tourism office. Grant claimed he
did not know that there was some corn in a field where the guide took
his party. Under the strict liability requirement such a defense is irrelevant.
Three states — Texas, Louisiana
and Mississippi — already operate under the lower liability standard,
which requires officials to prove that hunters knew they were hunting
in a baited area, after a federal appeals court overturned the strict
liability portion of the anti-baiting law in those states.
The Fish and Wildlife Service,
which is expected to oppose the bill, argues hunters regularly claim they
do not know an area was baited. As Kevin Adams, chief law enforcement
agent for the Fish and Wildlife Service said, “It’s very common for
hunters to say they didn’t know (the bait) was there, when in fact they
either did know or more often than not they took no steps at all to determine
whether it was baited or not.”
This may or may not be true, but
it should be the burden of the state, as in any criminal investigation,
to prove wrongdoing rather than just assume it.
Philip Brasher “Bill Would make it tougher to prosecute ‘baiting’ hunters”
Associated Press April 30, 1998.
In their campaign to stop hunting,
the Fund for Animals took a swipe at hunters following the tragic shooting
at a school in Jonesboro, Arkansas which left several people dead.
According to Michael Markarian,
director of campaigns for the Fund for Animals,
These children were
taught by their families to hide in tree stands or behind duck blinds,
to lure animals with calls or scents, and to shoot from ambush. They used
these exact same skills, dressed in camouflage, on the day they lured
their classmates and teachers outside with a fire alarm and shot them
The Fund for Animals never explains
why, if hunting causes children to be violent to other children, so few
children who hunt engage in such horrible acts of violence or why violence
predominates in urban areas where youths have little opportunity to
hunt. We would also be amiss if we didn’t note that since most animal
rights terrorists convicted of violent crimes are vegetarians, it would
logically follow that abstaining from meat leads people to a life of violence
The Fund for Animals has a 30-page
report on the horrors of children learning about hunting in their schools.