The slim young beagle was dodging traffic on a Virginia freeway when two People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals field agents spotted him. They had barely got out of their car when the friendly puppy jumped on them. His collar didn’t have a name but it did have a phone number, so they took him to PETA’s headquarters in Norfolk to feed and clean up while they made contact with his owner.
As soon as the call went through, it became clear how this friendly dog ââended up alone on the side of the road: he had been used for hunting. Countless dogs used by hunters get lost or abandoned at the end of the season or when they refuse to obey, a common practice known as “hound dumping”.
The owner of the beagle didn’t want him to return – he hadn’t even bothered to give it a name – but he was willing to drive an hour and a half to the office to retrieve his tracking collar. He got the necklace, but Augie got a new name and a new family.
By working for an animal rights organization, you never know what the day will bring you. All you know for sure is that it’s your job to help animals that others have failed. This often means cleaning up after some of the same people who claim to respect them: the hunters.
PETA has rescued injured deer after being shot by hunters and then lost, another common occurrence. Separate studies by the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department and a member of the Maine BowHunters Alliance found that the “injury rate” for bow hunting exceeds 50%, meaning that for every deer killed by a hunter in the arc, at least one other escapes injured.
PETA has pushed authorities to prosecute hunters who post videos showing cruelty to animals, such as the recent Pennsylvania deer torture case, and filed a lawsuit against the bow hunter who started the devastating fire. of California Rim, which has killed countless animals including birds, foxes, mice, deer, squirrels, coyotes, bears and even cows and horses. PETA has persuaded more than 40 airlines to stop shipping the grisly memories of trophy hunters. And the list continues.
Witnessing the devastation caused by the hunters makes it all the more difficult to digest their worn out excuses for blowing up animals full of bullets and arrows.
A tired refrain is that of âmanaging populationsâ. But hunters know full well that their “management” is not to reduce deer populations (after a hunt, the ensuing spike in food availability encourages reproduction and results in more twins) but rather to kill deer. wolves, coyotes and other animals that keep populations in check naturally to ensure that hunters will have plenty of live targets. This is why you cannot shoot a doe during the breeding season. The hunters want her to deliver more deer to be slaughtered.
âKeep fundingâ is another popular refrain, but the facts do not support this claim. Most federal wildlife management and conservation programs are funded by general tax revenues, such as personal and corporate income taxes, with about 95% federal funding, 88% nonprofit funding and 94% of total funding for wildlife conservation and management came from the non-hunting public.
Those who kill animals for fun also boast of âpreventing starvation,â but again, the opposite is true. One veterinarian concluded that “starvation is a likely fate” for many animals that hunters injure, and when they kill the largest and strongest members of a herd or pack, the young, the old and sick find it harder to find enough food.
Whatever flimsy justifications hunters use to defend the indefensible, true defenders of wildlife don’t turn forest homes of animals into war zones, and they don’t relish a pain-steeped hobby. and misery.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Michelle Kretzer is a senior writer covering hunting and wildlife issues for the PETA Foundation, 501 Front St., Norfolk, VA 23510; www.PETA.org.