Animal Rights Intrusion into Public Institutions

Summary

Misinformation on our hunting and angling traditions directed to impressionable students can have wide and long-lasting repercussions, especially as these students grow up to be voters, legislators, attorneys and public officials. On the whole, America’s students are not hearing about the value of science-based conservation and the integral role of hunting and angling in natural resource management. State legislators are encouraged to consider policies that promote the teaching in our public educational institutions of ethical and humane fish and wildlife management as well as the ecological, societal, and economic benefits of hunting and fishing.

Introduction

In the United States, state-based conservation is primarily funded by hunters, recreational shooters, anglers, and boaters through their purchases of hunting and fishing licenses and taxable gear. This funding mechanism is known as the ASCF or American System of Conservation Funding, and approximately 80% of the average state fish and wildlife agency’s operating budget is funded through this “user pays — public benefits” system, rather than through federal and state income taxes. Without hunting, recreational shooting, and angling states would not be able to fund the majority of their science-based conservation efforts. State fish and wildlife agencies would also be limited in their ability to open and maintain access for outdoor recreational activities enjoyed by the public. 

Despite the significant financial, ecological and societal benefits of regulated hunting and angling, their future is at risk. Consequently, actions that reduce hunting and angling opportunities will also directly reduce funding through the American System of Conservation Funding.  Animal rights groups like the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) oppose hunting and angling and they have established a presence in elementary and secondary schools as well as law schools across the country. They reach students through appalling, misguided, and deliberately misinforming publications, prepared lesson plans and other classroom materials. These materials do nothing to speak to the vast conservation and economic benefits provided by hunting and angling, nor speak to the need for science-based fish and wildlife management.

Points of Interest

  • Approximately 150 law schools now have “animal law” classes. These courses tend to challenge the basic concept of animals as property and to give students the tools necessary to be advocates for this “injustice”.
  • Animal law sections are popping up in most state bar associations and the number of firms and lawyers willing to represent animal advocacy causes on a pro bono basis is on the rise.
  • HSUS’s “Kind News” boasts a circulation close to one million K-6 graders and often features anti-hunting material that encourages children to take legal action and lobby legislators on various animal rights issues.
  • Hunters and anglers contribute more than a billion dollars each year toward the conservation of fish, wildlife and their habitats by buying hunting and angling licenses and certain taxable gear.
  • State fish and wildlife agencies consider regulated hunting and angling to be important tools for managing many fish and wildlife populations to sustainable, science-backed population levels.
  • Hunting and trapping can also help reduce human/wildlife conflicts such as; crop damage, predatory harm, vehicle collisions and unwanted wildlife in suburban and urban areas.

Moving Forward

Any misinformation directed to the public, particularly students, has wide and long-lasting repercussions. Students will one day grow up to be voters, legislators, attorneys and public officials. On the whole, America’s students are not hearing about the value of science-based conservation and the integral role of hunting and angling in natural resource management. State legislators are encouraged to shed light on the anti-hunting groups’ infiltration of our nation’s educational institutions and to consider policies that promote the teaching of ethical and humane fish and wildlife management as well as the ecological, societal, and economic benefits of hunting and fishing in our public educational institutions.

Contact

For more information regarding this issue, please contact:
Zach Widner (971) 303-1043; Zach@sportsmenslink.org

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