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Archive for the 'Hunting' Category

A divisive issue

Anyone looking for letters about killing wild turkeys in Rossmoor can find them below, under February 22, 2007.

Dear readers: I thought this provocative letter to the editor of “Nature Conservancy,” the magazine published by the Nature Conservancy, written by Dr. Michael J. Vandeman, might interest you. Dr. Vandeman gave me permission to also print it here for you to read.

You can respond to Dr. Vandeman’s comments with your own thoughts, if you feel so inclined, by clicking on “Comments” (below) at the end of his piece. /Gary

From Michael J. Vandeman, Ph.D.:
The Winter 2006 issue of “Nature Conservancy,” the magazine published by the Nature Conservancy, published the following letter:

“Divisive Issue. You can count me among your growing legion of ex-supporters; the recent article by Hal Herring did it for me (“Hunter, Angler, Conservationist,” Autumn 2006, Along with many environmentalists with strong feelings in favor of protecting — not exploiting — wildlife, I have no interest in conserving nature in order to provide playgrounds for those who take part in archaic ‘blood sports.’ Your organization would be far better off courting the progressive community of ecologically-minded activists, and I won’t be surprised to read that the dying and exhausted sport of hunting has turned out not to be a lucrative bedfellow for groups like yours after all. Mark Gross, Seattle, Washington.”

In that and the Spring 2007 issue are a series of letters addressing the same topic, mostly taking the position that since we are animals like other animals, therefore we can do whatever we want to.

In response, I wrote the following letter to the Editor:

February 21, 2007

Nature Conservancy

Re: “Divisive Issue” (Winter 2006 Issue, p.6)

To the Editor:

Times change. We learn new things, and old ideas become obsolete. It’s inevitable. For example, we can no longer safely assume that water from mountain streams is safe to drink. As Mark Gross stated so eloquently, exploiting wildlife and wildlife habitat, for pleasuring humans, is fast becoming obsolete (although dropping support for Nature Conservancy seems counter-productive to me). The rationalizations for such exploitation are transparently just that. Aldo Leopold is a good example of discarding obsolete notions (the killing of wolves) when they become clearly untenable.

This not to say that denigration of the “exploiters” is OK. I can’t really criticize 19th century Americans for not anticipating modern conservation biology. And I don’t think that difference of opinion necessarily means we can’t get along and work together. There will probably always be compromises “on the ground.”

But I don’t see any reason to compromise on telling the truth! Yes, we are animals somewhat like other animals, but we are not a natural part of any ecosystem. We are a species that is native to part of Africa, and everywhere else a very late newcomer, i.e. an exotic species. Like all exotic species, we have arguably no right to access, much less exploit, local ecosystems, especially when those activities threaten native species (except that, when it’s convenient, we claim that “might makes right”).

There is no honest way in today’s environment to rationalize hunting, fishing, and “collecting” of native species, or non-sustainable recreational activities like mountain biking.

Michael J. Vandeman, Ph.D.

Dr. Vandeman is a wildlife activist who has also dipped his hand in mathematics, computer programming, psychology, transportation activism, conservation biology, the impacts of mountain biking, theories of consciousness, and fraud in scientific research.

Ehrlich, Paul R. and Ehrlich, Anne H., “Extinction: The Causes and Consequences of the Disappearances of Species.” New York: Random House, 1981.

Errington, Paul L., “A Question of Values.” Ames, Iowa: Iowa State University Press, 1987.

Flannery, Tim, “The Eternal Frontier — An Ecological History of North America and Its Peoples.” New York: Grove Press, 2001.

Foreman, Dave, “Confessions of an Eco-Warrior.” New York: Harmony Books, 1991.

Knight, Richard L. and Kevin J. Gutzwiller, eds. “Wildlife and Recreationists.” Covelo, California: Island Press, 1995.

Louv, Richard, “Last Child in the Woods — Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder.” Chapel Hill, N.C.: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2005.

Noss, Reed F. and Allen Y. Cooperrider, “Saving Nature’s Legacy: Protecting and Restoring Biodiversity.” Island Press, Covelo, California, 1994.

Stone, Christopher D., “Should Trees Have Standing? Toward Legal Rights for Natural Objects.” Los Altos, California: William Kaufmann, Inc., 1973.

Vandeman, Michael J.,, especially,, and

Ward, Peter Douglas, “The End of Evolution: On Mass Extinctions and the Preservation of Biodiversity.” New York: Bantam Books, 1994.

“The Wildlands Project,” Wild Earth. Richmond, Vermont: The Cenozoic Society, 1994.

Wilson, Edward O., ”The Future of Life.” New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2002.

Posted on Friday, February 23rd, 2007
Under: Hunting | 1 Comment »

Time to outlaw “live lure” coursing

The time will come when public opinion will no longer tolerate amusements based on the mistreatment and killing of animals.
— Albert Schweitzer

Dear Gary:
(California) Assemblywoman Loni Hancock has introduced AB 2110 to outlaw the sport of live lure coursing. Golden State Greyhound Adoption testified on April 4 before the Assembly Committee on Public Safety, in support of this legislation.

The bill specifically does NOT make it illegal to engage in non-live bait lure coursing. If you see fit to write something in support of this legislation, and to encourage your readers to support this bill by writing their legislators, I do not know of a single greyhound rescue organization, or any other rescue organization, that would object.

Rather, we would laud and appreciate your support to banish this cruel, inhumane and totally unnecessary blood sport.
(Sheldon Satnick, Golden State Greyhound Adoption, Pleasant Hill, Calif.)

Dear Sheldon:
You definitely have my support in banning this uncivilized activity.

I wrote in February, after seeing Channel 7’s horrifying report on the subject, that "open field coursing is banned in England because of its cruelty. Yet it’s happening right here in the San Francisco Bay Area, and many compassionate people, including California State Assemblymember Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, want this blood sport outlawed."

Kim Sturla, director of Animal Place in Vacaville, Calif., said it best: "This is not a sport, this is a barbaric, inhumane activity in which a bunch of people cheer while dogs tear a terrified rabbit to pieces."

The next hearing on Hancock’s bill, AB 2110, is in the Assembly Appropriations Committee. No date has been set, yet, for the hearing.

Everyone reading this can help this bill get passed by writing individual letters ASAP to as many of the committee members as possible (all is best, and the Chair and Vice-Chair for sure!). Tell them that greyhounds ripping apart rabbits that can’t escape is not hunting and has nothing to do with killing animals for food as some of the participants have stated.

Ask them to please SUPPORT Assemblywoman Loni Hancock’s bill, AB 2110, to outlaw live lure coursing in California.

Members of the Assembly Appropriations Committee: Assemblymembers Judy Chu (Chair), Sharon Runner (Vice-Chair), Karen Bass, Patty Berg, Ron Calderon, Hector de la Torre, Bill Emmerson, Ray Haynes, Betty Karnette, Johan Klehs, Mark Leno, Alan Nakanishi, Joe Nation, Jenny Oropeza, Mark Ridley-Thomas, Lori Saldana, Mimi Walters, Leland Yee.

The address for the Governor and all Legislators: State Capitol Building, Sacramento, CA 95814.

Thanks for caring!

Posted on Friday, April 14th, 2006
Under: dogs, Greyhounds, Hunting, Killing, Live Lure Coursing | 2 Comments »

Open season in suburbia

Last week the Boston Globe ran a story by Megan Woolhouse of the Globe staff headlined, "Open Season in Suburbia." It was all about "suburban hunting," where more and more hunters, at least in Mass., are starting to do their hunting closer and closer to home. The story claims that deer, wild turkeys and other wildlife that people like to hunt are now being found in the suburbs.

I can’t argue with that. Seems like I can go for a walk just about anywhere in the San Francisco Bay Area and within five minutes spot wild turkeys or deer nibbling or pecking away in someone’s front yard.

So what happens when there are no more open spaces left because we’ve covered them all with houses, parking lots and freeways?

Will the California Department of Fish and Game start handing out licenses to hunters so they can hunt deer in our flowerbeds?

Will they issue fishing licenses so fisherpersons can drive down the street trolling in the gutters in front of your house for salmon?

Will hunters be able to buy bird hunting licenses so they can go dove, pheasant, and wild turkey hunting in our backyards?

That’s a little scary.

Posted on Monday, February 13th, 2006
Under: Hunting, Suburbia, Wildlife | 3 Comments »