Hunt of a Lifetime/Young Scouts Outfitters Fulfill Hunting Wish of Seriously Ill Young Man

The Ottawa Citizen recently reported that Hunt of a Lifetime and a Canadian outfitter, Young Scouts Outfitters, are teaming to help seriously ill 17-year-old Jacob Brubaker fulfill his dream of hunting in Canada. Brubaker has a congenital heart condition which has required four open heart surgeries so far.

Hunt of a Lifetime was created after the Make A Wish Foundation announced it would no longer sponsor any activities involving hunting or firearms.

There were a number of oddities in the Ottawa Citizen story. The most egregious was the repeated description of Hunt of a Lifetime as a “controversial organization.” for example, the paper notes that Hunt of a Lifetime is “a controversial organization that arranges hunting and fishing trips for youngsters…” When did arranging hunting and fishing trips become “controversial”?

The Citizen repeats a perplexing quote from Canadian Make A Wish co-founder Robb Lucy who said, “it just seems like an anathema to try to do something for a child and the family and the extended family that provides some joy, but then also takes another life.”

So, if a dying child’s dream was to work with a world class chef, is Lucy going to insist that they prepare a vegan meal? If a child wants to visit Disney, is Make A Wish going to make sure they’re not paying for any hot dogs or hamburgers?

The problem is it is absurd for Lucy to compare a dying child with a deer, which he implicitly does.

Finally, the article notes that Brubaker lives in “southern Pennsylvania,” but avoids saying what city he lives in. The reason for this is explained in the very last paragraph of the article,

Ms. [Tina] Pattison [of Hunt of a Lifetime] now asks the media not to reveal the exact location of where the children live because “the kids are getting mean and nasty calls from animal activists.”

Imagine that.


Outfitter to grant child’s last wish that others wouldn’t — a deer hunt. Kelly Cryderman, The Ottawa Citizen, August 25, 2001.

Wisconsin Considers Agri-Terrorism Bills (Plus An Incredibly Misinformed Activist)

When People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ Ingrid Newkirk said that she hoped foot-and-mouth disease came to the United States, lawmakers in Wisconsin were apparently paying close attention. The state legislature is currently working on a number of bills that would provide for criminal penalties to threaten or commit acts of what is being dubbed “agri-terrorism.”

Sandy Chalmers, a spokeswoman for the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel,

On the one hand you have a marginal and largely irrelevant fringe group that has shown a pattern of using outrageous statements to get in the newspaper. But on the other hand, we have to take any threat seriously. So, are we concerned? I think vigilance is the most appropriate term. We have to be vigilant and proactive. We have to be prepared for anything.

Part of that preparation includes new proposed laws designed to increase the penalties for damaging agricultural facilities. Several legislators are working on a bill modeled on Iowa’s strict law where vandalizing and/or terrorizing agricultural property is a Class C felony punishable by up to 10 years in jail and a $10,000 fine if the total damage is more than $10,000.

Wisconsin lawmakers are also looking at Pennsylvania and Indiana statutes which provide criminal punishment for intentionally exposing agricultural animals to an infectious disease.

State Sen. Sheila Harsdof would like to extend the laws to target people who make threats to infect animals saying that, “There must be some recognition of the damage that can occur simply by making threats.”

But will any new laws be any more effective than the old laws have been in ensnaring extremist animal rights advocates. Tom Thieding, executive director of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation, is skeptical. He told the Journal Sentinel,

It’s great to have a strong law on the books, but the sophistication of these wackos is so high tech and so stealth of night that our justice system is just not able to capture these people in the act. You want it in place in the event you catch these guys in the act, but it’s not going to be a deterrent. They’re going to be intent on doing it regardless of the laws that are out there.

On a side note, less than a week after the Journal Sentinel ran its story, an odd letter from animal rights activist Karen Payleitner appeared in the Journal Sentinel which give some insight into how these folks can make such ludicrous claims about animal agriculture, research, etc. — they’re too wrapped up in their fantasy world to even pay attention to their own organizations. Payleitner wrote,

I am a vegetarian, have been a member of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals for nearly 12 years and am a member of many other animal rights organizations. The suggestion that any of us would do something so despicable as to infect livestock with a hideous disease that would harm our own or someone else’s loved ones is not only ludicrous, it is deeply offensive. It is equally contemptible to suggest that we, of all people, would want to cause horrible suffering in animals that we also love and respect.

Well at least she got one thing right, when Newkirk and Bruce Friedrich said how wonderful it would be if foot-and-mouth disease came to the United States they were once again demonstrating how offensive and contemptible PETA is.


Lawmakers work to head off ‘agri-terrorism’ in state. Jessica Hansen and Meg Jones, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, June 3, 2001.

Ludicrous to think groups would do harm. Karen Payleitner, Letter to the Editor, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, June 9, 2001.

Gene Therapy Restores Sight to Blind Dogs

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania recently published a study in Nature Genetics describing how they used genetic therapy to do something straight out of a science fiction story: they restored the sight of three blind dogs.

The dog suffered from a genetic condition similar to one that afflicts more than 10,000 Americans. Due to inbreeding, the dogs have a genetic defect that prevents Vitamin A from being transported to the retina. As a result the retina never develops properly and the dogs — and children who suffer a similar genetic condition — are born with very poor sight which only diminishes as they age.

To treat this condition, the researchers took cells from the retinas of the blind dogs. They then exposed the cells to a specially formulated virus which carried a correct copy of the defective gene. The treated retina cells were then injected back into the dogs.

The results were astounding. The dogs’ left eyes received injections in a part of the eye away from the retina and their vision did not change. The right eyes, however, received injections directly behind the retina. Vision in the right eyes appeared to be completely restored.

Researchers showed a video for the media which showed the animals navigating through a dimly lit, cluttered room and completely avoiding all obstacles within the field of vision of their right eye.

Ophthalmologist Albert Maguire, one of the researchers in the study, said, “We have to be careful not to fill people with false expectations or false hopes. But, that said, it’s hard not to get very excited about this, because it’s a very dramatic result. I mean, basically these dogs were blind and now they are not blind anymore.”

Scientists have been able to restore sight to blinded mice before, but only temporarily. This is the first such success in reversing genetic blindness in a large animal. Moreover, the restored sight lasted at least 9 months after the initial injections, though further observations and research will obviously be required to see if the treatment is permanent or will require additional injections.

If continued studies with dogs finds that the procedure appears safe, initial human clinical trials of a similar technique could begin in three or four years and have implications for a number of genetic vision-related diseases that affect as many 200,000 Americans.


Gene therapy restores dogs’ sight. The BBC, April 27, 2001.

Gene Treatment Restores Vision in Blind Dogs. Rick Weiss, Washington Post, April 28, 2001.

New gene gives some sight to 3 blind dogs. Faye Flam, Philadelphia Inquirer, April 28, 2001.

Gene therapy restores vision in dog. Malcolm Ritter, Associated Press, April 27, 2001.

Gene therapy used to restore sight to blind dogs. Will Dunham, Reuters, April 27, 2001.

Another RICO Lawsuit Filed

In the first week of August,
a group of New Jersey furriers filed a lawsuit accusing the Animal Defense League of Jersey, the Animal Liberation Front and others of violating
federal racketeering laws. The lawsuit alleges that the ADL was part of
a conspiracy to illegally impair the operation of a legitimate business.

For its part, the ADL took
the odd tactic of putting itself on record in support of some acts of
violence against animal enterprises. ADL spokesman Darius Fuller told
the New Jersey Star-Ledger that although his group is distinct from the
ALF, physical destruction of property is sometimes a necessary act. “It’s
just a simple question of which is more important, life or property,”
Fuller said. Fuller also told the Star-Ledger that his group has regular
contact with the ALF.

Somebody give Fuller a little
more rope — he is on a roll.

Meanwhile, the Animal Defense
League of Pennsylvania and the Coalition to Abolish the Fur Trade announced
a conference in Philadelphia on legal challenges against animal rights
groups and how to respond to them. In a joint press release the two groups,
who were named as defendants in another Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization lawsuit filed by Jacques Ferber, claimed “Jacques Ferber Furs is abusing this RICO suit in an attempt
to achieve an injunction against CAFT and ADL. Yet another step
taken to drive off those fighting to end oppression. Who will be next?”

One of the interesting things
to note about the press releases issued from the various animal rights
groups about these RICO lawsuits is that although lawsuits against pro-life
activists and groups really set the precedent for going after protesters
who express support for illegal actions, none of the animal rights groups
has referenced this precedent much less given an opinion on the application
of the law in those cases. I, for one, would like to know if CAFT and
others believe anti-abortion protesters were also the targets of “oppression.”