As of January 1, 2001, the Make-a-Wish Foundation — the group that fulfills terminally ill children’s last wishes — will no longer aid children who want to go on hunting trips as their final wish. Rock star and pro-hunting advocate Ted Nugent and the Hunt of a Lifetime Foundation are filling that gap, however, by fulfilling such dreams.
The Make-a-Wish Foundation is certainly free to set up whatever criteria it sees fit in helping terminally ill children’s last wishes, but at least it could be honest about why it no longer grants hunting wishes. According to the Phoenix-based group, it has nothing against hunting per se, but says that hunting is just too unsafe for terminally ill children to participate in. According to Make-a-Wish spokesman Jim Maggio,
When you take into consideration the fact that the child may have been weakened by the effects of that life-threatening illness, and all the treatment protocols and medications that may accompany that — it’s simply to great a risk to the safety of that child than we’re willing to assume.
This sort of half-hearted explanation actually makes Nugent look like a sage commentator when he notes that in the case of Zachary Martin, 16, who Nugent will be taking along with him for a big game hunt in South Africa, Martin’s parents and doctors have all given their blessing for the hunting trip. “Somebody at the Make-a-Wish foundation knows better than those people?” Nugent told Fox News. “I think not.”
Why not just come out and say that the group started feeling the heat of animal rights protests beginning in 1996 after it helped a young man fulfill his dream of hunting in Alaska’s wilderness? Hiding behind alleged medical reasons seems like an extremely transparent excuse.
The Make-a-Wish Foundation still will sponsor fishing trips, but its anti-hunting stance will certainly embolden animal rights activists to go after the group over helping terminally ill children kill fish. As Nugent told Fox,
Last time I checked your tuna salad is dead. Fishing, hunting and trapping are all the same and it is the proper and scientifically sound utilization of natural resources. Hunting is not only honorable and essential, but it’s probably the last pure function that a living being can be part of. It’s birth, life and death. Mankind knows all about killing. We have to eat. Meat is food.
It won’t be long until the activists start making the same argument to the Make-a-Wish Foundation urging an end to horribly cruel fishing trips.
Young hunters’ wishes can come true, after all. Robert Shaffer, Fox News, January 22, 2001.