North Dakota Measure 2 — Canned Hunting Contextualized

David Cassuto

There’s an odd debate going on within the North Dakota agriculture industry over Measure 2, which would ban canned hunting in the state.  On the one hand are those who support the measure because they believe canned hunts  reflect badly on the animal industry and also bring the threat of disease to livestock.  On the other side are those who say canned hunting is no different than other types of animal agriculture in that both businesses raise the animals for meat.   According to one measure opponent, “It would seem to me that the animal there is private property.  This (ban) is one step away from banning the slaughter of cattle, hogs and sheep, what have you.”     

Both sides agree that the real enemy are the animal advocacy organizations.  “Radical animal rights groups run with this bone in their teeth and use canned shooting as a draw for donations and membership. Just the annual budget of the HSUS alone can swamp any positive aspects of public relations by the ag community,” observes Dick Monson of North Dakota Hunters for Fair Chase (who support the measure).  Jason Schmidt of the North Dakota Stockmen’s Association thinks Monson is naive:  “I think he (Monson) is underestimating the motives of groups like HSUS or PETA,” Schmidt says. “They want to eliminate animal agriculture and this is just a small step toward that. The property rights issue is a slippery slope. If you give them that one thing in legislation, I don’t think they’re going to quit.”

It’s hard to know where to begin with this.  Does one side with those who oppose the measure on the grounds that there is no ethically relevant difference between slaughtering farm animals and staging canned “hunts” of imprisoned “wild” animals?  Or does one argue that enabling an industry built solely on the pleasure that “hunters” derive from shooting helpless, trapped animals is different and worse than raising and killing animals not for the fun of killing but rather because of a belief that killing is an acceptable by-product of animal consumption?

Is there an ethical divide here?  Or merely a distinction without a difference?  North Dakota voters will decide Measure 2 on November 2nd but the larger questions will, alas, remain with us for a long time.

7 Responses

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Pace Law Library, Animal Blawg. Animal Blawg said: North Dakota Measure 2 — Canned Hunting Contextualized […]

  2. The “property rights issue,” enforced by men for their convenience, is what gave us many millennia of the oppression of women and human slavery. Living things should not be classed as property. They do not exist on Earth for cowards to kill them with high powered weapons. The only thing I would settle for is fenced-off hunters hunting each other. Then we’ll see who the real men are.

  3. Wow, I like “distinction without a difference” description. I think it is important to keep in mind that animals in canned hunts, are usualy wild caught from foreign places, shipped here, then released on land away from their family and their ecosystem to be killed for fun. Farm animals, on the other hand are treated solely as products for human consumption. This is significant because–

    Looking through a human lens most people would probably support Measure 2. But if we look at this debate from the eyes of the animals there is no real difference.

    By the way, I read somewhere that proprietors of canned hunting establishments get a bunch of tax deductions for flying to Africa, shipping animals back, and allowing people to kill them.

    Finally, I have watched plenty of PETA videos to recognize how terrible factory farms are, but after watching this, I am not really sure what reflects upon humans worse.

  4. In addition to what doug said, it should also be noted that some canned hunts involve completely tame animals.

    Here is that moron Troy Gentry killing of a tame bear :

    He is exposed along with some of the delusions, self-deception and fraud that exist throughout the hunting industry.

  5. Wow Stephen that is fraudulent! Hunting wild animals is a sham too, with all the radar equipment, traps, tracking devices, scents, sprays, whistels, and heat seeking missles.

  6. “It’s hard to know where to begin with this.” That line from your post says it all. These issues are rife with conflict for those of us in a position to vote on them–yea, nay, or forego voting all together?

    In 2000, the voters of MT banned game farms through a citizens’ ballot initiative. It was supported by hunters on the basis of what they call “fair chase ethics” and disease concerns. It was supported by people who are unfavorable to all aspects of hunting because there’s something particularly odious about “hunting” confined, domesticated elk and deer. The game farmers went to court numerous times in the next several years claiming private property takings (they call their elk “alternative livestock”) but never prevailed.

    “The U.S. Supreme Court has decided not to hear arguments involving Montana’s 2000 game farm initiative, known as I-143, effectively ending all constitutional challenges to the case.

    By not considering the appeal by game farm owners, the Montana Supreme Court decision stands, in which the justices decided 4-3 that the initiative did not constitute a “taking” of property and that the ranchers weren’t due any compensation.

    In June, several elk farmers asked the U.S. Supreme Court to issue a “writ of certiorari” that would have brought the case before them. That request was denied in a list published on Tuesday.

    Continued here:

  7. “It would seem to me that the animal there is private property. This (ban) is one step away from banning the slaughter of cattle, hogs and sheep, what have you.”

    …one can only hope.

    The goal is to end all forms of human dominance of nonhumans and all forms commercial exploitation, be they canned hunts, livestock farming, pet breeding, the lot. Every last bit of it is wrong.

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