Saturday, May 23, 2009

Markets for hunting

In New England, battles about repugnant transactions often pit social liberals against social conservatives, with the liberals trying to make some transaction possible that the conservatives believe should be banned, as in debates about Same sex marriage in Iowa, and New England.

But there are other kinds of transactions that liberals find repugant and conservatives defend. One of these concerns buying and selling permission to shoot captive game in game farms: Slaughter to some, game to others: Hunting preserves offer captive animals

"For the privilege of killing two boars, Cabral's father and grandfather paid $1,200. By their reckoning, that gets them enough bacon, pork chops, and ham to last their families nearly a year.
"I see it like I'm going grocery shopping," said Russell Mulgrew, Cabral's grandfather.
Not everyone shares that view. Opponents, including some hunters, say captive hunting is anything but sporting for one simple reason: There is no fair chase when the animal has no hope of escape.
As commercial interest grows in Maine to expand these preserves and opposition ratchets up across the country, a deep-seated ethical debate over the ranches is being pushed into the public eye.
"It's morally and ethically wrong to enclose animals and charge a fee to kill them. It's a theme park environment where the prize is a dead animal," said Robert Fisk Jr., president and director of Maine Friends of Animals.
New England's captive parks attract hundreds of hunters each year. In Maine, 388 animals were killed in 2005, although that fell to 262 by 2007. The parks rarely make headlines unless it's about someone notable - such as Massachusetts' former governor William F. Weld boasting about shooting a wild boar in 1991 but initially failing to say that it was in a New Hampshire game park.
Vermont banned new game preserves late last year, largely over concerns about disease, especially chronic wasting disease, a contagious, fatal neurological illness among deer. An effort to outlaw seven existing shooting ranches in Maine for ethical reasons, which was supported by Fisk's group, failed last month. Two other Maine bills are pending: one to permit a new game preserve and the second to expand the variety of animals at others. New Hampshire has two game parks, but no new ones are allowed.
Big-game shooting preserves are prohibited in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. Still, it is estimated that there are more than 1,000 game ranches in at least 28 states, according to the Humane Society of the United States, which has an ongoing campaign to end captive hunting. Debates over the ranches have surfaced from New York to North Dakota in recent years."

In England, a legal ban on hunting foxes with dogs (the whole picturesque business, but no fun for the fox) seems to be falling into disuse:

Death knell for hunting ban as police abandon monitoring operations:
"Police forces are to stop monitoring hunts in a change of policy that sounds the death knell for the hunting ban, The Times has learnt."
"Richard Brunstrom, Chief Constable of North Wales and the Acpo spokesman on rural affairs, said: “Hunting is definitely not a policing priority. It is not illegal to wear a red coat and ride a horse in a public place.” The new guidance undermines one of the most controversial pieces of legislation introduced by the Labour Government, which took up 700 hours of parliamentary time. Since the Hunting Act came into force in 2004, there have been eight prosecutions, of which only three have been successful, with one pending. Hunting has thrived. Mr Brunstrom said that police had to chose which areas of law enforcement to devote scarce resources to. He said: “If you look at hunting, the penalties do not include a prison sentence for offenders. This puts the Hunting Act to the lower rather than the higher end of offences. Parliament had the chance to include imprisonment as a sentence but did not do so.” "
"A spokesman for the League Against Cruel Sport said: “We fought for 80 years for the hunting ban and, while we accept it is not a high priority for police, a ban was the will of Parliament and is the will of the people and we are going to press for more prosecution cases to be brought.” "

See also The hunt ban: a bad law with nowhere to run

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