Saturday, October 8, 2011

Pennsylvania Jobs Plan: Kill More Animals

Pennsylvania has its very own version of a jobs plan. It’s called expanded Sunday hunting. It’s not enough that Pennsylvanians are already allowed to kill pheasants, chukars, foxes, crows, and coyotes any day of the week, including Sunday. Now, House Bill 1760 introduced by Representative John Evans, chairman of the House Game and Fisheries Committee, aims to expand Sunday hunting to include additional unnamed “furbearing” species. (I wonder if this includes women wearing fur coats.)

According to a recent study conducted by the very partial National Shooting Sports Foundation, expanded Sunday hunting will provide 8,000 new jobs and $750 million in economic activity. Whether this is true or not, this study is all the validation the State of Pennsylvania needs to give hunters permission to persecute even more animals.

It’s well known that States love to promote hunting and dole out hunting licenses because of the money it brings into the State. Consequently, the PA Legislative Budget and Finance Committee is also backing expanded hunting at the expense of the lives of innocent animals. According to my State representative, they are currently exploring ways to “better promote the outdoors” through hunting. Yes, what better way to encourage citizens to explore all the wonders of the natural world than to arm them and their children with guns so that they can kill anyone who moves! Not surprisingly, the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) also supports expanding Sunday hunting. They insist that it will help to “properly manage wildlife populations and generate greater opportunity and interest in hunting, especially among youth.”

Currently, Pennsylvania is the only State in the nation to allow pigeon shooting whereby pigeons are trapped in boxes for weeks and then released only yards away from hunters who eagerly attempt to gun them down. The birds are frightened, hungry, and dehydrated. Once shot, a majority of birds die slow, agonizing deaths at the hands of children who are often present to pick up the dying birds and administer the final blow by breaking the birds’ necks, stepping on them, suffocating them, or cutting their heads off with garden shears!

There’s so much wrong with hunting before even considering the conflict of interest inherent in State money being tied to this deplorable yet tolerated custom. First of all, hunting is barbaric any day of the week. Secondly, tying the taking of innocent lives to money and jobs is sick and appalling. To mask hunting as a benefit to managing wildlife is pure hooey. And to encourage youth to be so callous towards animals is even worse. Teaching a child how to kill another living being is not a sport—it is child abuse, turning children into desensitized and compassionless monsters who torture animals and who will probably go on to commit violence against human animals.

There is simply no justification for taking the lives of other living beings, no matter how much we try to convince our human-centric selves otherwise. The truth of the matter is that the only population that needs managing is the human one. I think the animals would agree. If only we could get all those Elmer Fudds out there to turn in their guns and slap on a condom.

Take Action: If you live in PA, please tell your senator and representative that you are opposed to hunting any day of the week. Tell them to vote "no" to HB 1760 to expanding Sunday hunting, and to vote "yes" to SB 626 to end live pigeon shoots. Click here to find your legislator.

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