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Hey Peta, Beat This!

Aug 17, 2007
Just about everybody has heard about PETA, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Quite simply, they are an avowed enemy of hunting. PETA is a well-funded group which acts upon emotions, not common sense or the reality of nature. Their articles brim with hatred and anger and are absolutely filled with bias and misinformation. Unfortunately, their steadfast arrogance towards anyone who disagrees with them is completely blinding. In particular, I am talking about wildlife conservation groups; whether created by hunters or not, PETA hates them.

I recently logged on to the PETA website and found an article entitled "Why Sport Hunting is Cruel and Unnecessary". After fighting back laughter at the absurdity of the conclusions, I decided to vent by writing. There was so much worthless fodder to work with that I could fill a library in response, so I had to focus my effort: This article will focus on PETA's blatant disregard for the benefits of hunting conservation groups.

PETA's writers state, "Before you support a wildlife or conservation group, ask about its position on hunting." My response is "What the heck does their position on hunting have to do with benefitting the environment and conserving wildlife? Before you support a wildlife conservation group find out what they do for wildlife."

I am amazed PETA condemns such groups as Ducks Unlimited, The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, The Mule Deer Foundation, Pheasants Forever, and other conservation groups just because the groups support hunting. The fact of the matter is, no matter how much PETA boasts about their commitment to the advancement of animal rights, they haven't done a thing except make loud noise. Hunting conservation groups quit talking and starting working, some have been quietly and efficiently saving wildlife for as much as 70 years.

To further my point, let's do a little compare and contrast. In 2002, The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation successfully conserved over 427,000 acres of elk habitat across Oregon, Washington, and Montana; 169,000 acres of those are permanently protected. In 2003, the RMEF launched 16 conservation easements permanently protecting another 56,000 acres and completing 236 habitat stewardship projects enhancing over 240,000 acres for elk habitat. RMEF's activities list is as long as it is distinguished and includes educational programs, legislative action, and habitat conservation to protecting elk for future generations.

How many acres of elk habitat was PETA responsible for saving since 2002? NONE. They were probably too busy getting ready for the "Holocaust on Your Plate" tour to worry about saving elk herds and habitat.

Let's take another organization that PETA condemns because of its hunting traditions. Pheasants Forever is a grassroots organization which seeks to conserve wild pheasant habitat. Through their activism, over three million acres of habitat has been developed and preserved. Standing strong with over 100,000 members and 600 chapters nationwide, they actively demonstrate the commitment the hunting community has for the wild. PETA reports nothing in their "distinguished" list of victories about their efforts to save habitat for pheasants. Perhaps the PETA writers just misplaced the information at the time of publication.

The final patty on PETA's grill is the granddaddy of them all, Ducks Unlimited. Founded in the 1930's out of concern for dwindling duck populations, DU has developed into one of the largest conservation organizations of all. DU has become the leader in wetland development and works alongside government agencies to design, develop, and promote natural wetlands. Every year, DU members raise millions of dollars for the advancement of habitat protection and every year, more land is conserved as a continuous effort to help ensure ducks for future hunters. Ducks Unlimited Canada currently owns 300,000 acres of the prime nesting grounds for the plains region.

What has PETA done in term of ensuring the future of waterfowl and wetlands? According to the PETA victory list, 300 Canadian geese were protected against being removed from a golf course. Way to think big guys.

PETA is a ridiculous group who claims to care about animal life, but their actions only serve to advance their own political agenda. In short, PETA is about promoting PETA. The problem is that people listen to them and if we fail to address their assertions about hunting, we are in danger of losing what we hold so dear. PETA would paint the picture that hunters are out to rape the land and murder anything that moves for the simple joy of destroying it.

They could not be farther from the truth. As hunters, we love the wild. The thrill of the hunt isn't in the kill, but the experience. The essence of hunting fills the spirit and mends the soul. Hearing becomes keener, sight becomes sharper, and smells become richer as the wild pours through our very being, revealing instincts and insights into the ways of nature we never realized dwelled within us. We hunt for the love of nature and as a means to interact with it on the deepest of levels.

Hunters have such a profound love for the wild, they have acted in phenomenal ways to preserve it. The numbers simply do not lie. Hunting Conservation groups have saved millions of acres of habitat, rebuilt struggling wildlife populations, developed educational programs, pursued legislative actions, and above all continued to secure the future of our hunting traditions by securing the future of wildlife. I have illustrated just three of the numerous organizations available to all those who support wildlife conservation. I strongly recommend that all hunters join one or several of these organizations to help ensure the future of our sport. Please see our resources page for links to conservation groups that may pertain to your specific interests.

And to the members of PETA I ask, "What have you done to compare to this?". Never mind, I am sure that you are too busy planning your next protest at the local KFC.
About the Author
Kelsey Hilderbrand is a life long hunter, shooter, and founder of High Mountain Hunting Supply
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