If the Radicals Can’t Get Us One Way, They’ll Try Another
By: Kenneth Strand Date: 01/8/2012 Category: | Animal Rights Extremism | Canine Issues |
By now, most of the field trial community is aware of the disastrous actions taken by the US Fish and Wildlife Service utilizing the provisions of the Pittman-Robertson Act. For those who may not be familiar with what has happened within the past year, I will review the situation and provide some insight into why this is occurring.
Under the Pittman-Robertson Act, money derived from federal taxes we sportsmen pay on the purchase of firearms, ammunition, archery equipment, etc. is supposed to be allocated to state wildlife agencies for purchase and maintenance of public use grounds and wildlife restoration projects. Since its enactment in 1937, the P-R Trust Fund has accumulated more than $3.4 billion under the control of the USFWS.
Under this act, an event can be barred from these areas if it fails a four-point test:
- Destroys habitat or interferes with habitat restoration;
- Disrupts or destroys wildlife on these areas;
- Interferes with other public use of these areas; and
- Requires additional facilities or habitat changes.
The USFWS selects the targeted areas and notifies the state that events such as field trials should be barred from them. The hammer is that if the state doesn't go along with the ban, the agency will withhold P-R funds.
Most of us know that we lost the Green River field trial grounds, a truly wonderful field trial venue in Illinois. What you may not know is that last December, field trial clubs in Michigan were notified that four field trial grounds are no longer available for their events per the 'recommendation' of USFWS.
It's hard to blame the State of Michigan for going along with these directions: it was either capitulate or lose the annual $5.5 million in allocated funds. You can bet this is just the tip of the iceberg - it's going to happen all across the country if the animal rights and environmental activists have their way.
Field trialers, this is your wake-up call!
Why is this happening?
The scary answer should send a shiver through the entire field trial community. The USFWS has been infiltrated by animal rights humaniacs. When you find that a former Humane Society of the US executive now occupies a key position in the agency and you know that HSUS is vehemently opposed to hunting in any form, everything becomes clear.
When I went to Zimbabwe two years ago to represent the National Animal Interest Alliance in the fight to permit downlisting of the elephant from endangered to controlled-harvesting status so that natives in Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Namibia could conduct controlled hunting safaris, I saw the problem firsthand. Elephants are over-running those three countries. Zimbabwe can handle 40,000 elephants with minimal confrontation and damage. At the time, the elephant population had reached 67,000 and was increasing at a rate of seven percent per year. The result was decimation of crops, demolition of villages, and deaths of native people. Among 136 countries debating the issue was the delegation from the US headed by (you guessed it) USFWS. And guess what the US delegation's position was? To hell with the people, save the elephants that are overrunning the countries.
I attended the US strategy sessions each night to gain insight for my appearances on local and South African television. I was shocked to look around the room and see a half-dozen people wearing HSUS badges! They and their no-hunting philosophy dominated the US delegation. You can bet I celebrated when science and common sense prevailed and the final vote went against their position and the elephants in the three countries were downlisted.
My point in telling you this is to make you aware that it is not state and local government that is the problem, it is our infiltrated federal government agencies. The anti-hunting activists don't have to schedule protests or disrupt field trials. All they have to do is get USFWS to do it for them.
Fortunately, there are some bright spots on the horizon. Spurred on by such groups as the national Wilderness Institute and supported by the American Kennel Club, NAIA, and sportsmen's organizations, Representative Don Young (R-AK) requested that the General Accounting Office audit P-R funding. I can hardly believe the abuses that were uncovered. Among the most blatant were:
- At the direction of the White House, millions of dollars have been taken from the fund and diverted to finance animal rights groups intent upon curtailing hunting and fishing in America.
- USFWS appointees paid themselves $600,000 in bonuses.
- USFWS appointees took expensive junkets around the country and the world, including 71 foreign trips over 3.5 years by Robert Sousa, assistant regional director of the federal aid division of USFWS.
- USFWS used $31 million of the tax money as a slush fund.
- $100,000 was spent on programs benefiting the African rhinoceros even though the money is supposed to be spent in the US.
- Liquor bills of those given federal grants were paid with our excise taxes in violation of federal rules.
- Money was used to fund regional meetings at casino hotels in Puerto Rico, Atlantic City, and Lake Tahoe.
As a result of the GAO findings, Representative Young introduced HR 3671, a bill that would curb abuses and mismanagement of the trust fund that have occurred over the past 63 years. AKC worked with the committee staff to add language that would include hunting tests and field trials as legitimate activities on public lands. The bill passed the House by an overwhelming vote and was sent to the Senate, where the Environment and Public Works Committee added language that while field trials should be allowed, the states should determine whether they would be appropriate. When the bill went back to the House, Representative Young made a strong statement from the floor in support of field trials. He made it clear that field trials are a quite compatible activity on lands acquired with P-R funds and has assured AKC that if USFWS fails to heed this message, he will introduce corrective legislation in the next Congress. Meanwhile, President Clinton is expected to sign HR3671.
Most of those involved in battling anti-dog legislation instigated by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, HSUS, the Fund For Animals, and other animal rights groups come from the conformation ranks. Frankly, they have had little support from the field trial fraternity in this effort. Now that our ox is being gored, trialers have at last joined in the fight.
Anti-dog legislation affects all of us whether it is breed-specific laws, breeding restrictions, limits on the number of dogs we can own, unreasonable license fees for intact animals, or any other permutation. Some animal rights organizations proudly support terrorism in support of their agenda whether it be vandalizing animal research facilities and destroying years of vital medical research; torching a McDonald's restaurant because it serves meat; sending death threats, letter bombs and razor blades to animal research scientists; releasing polar bears and tigers from zoos, or releasing thousands of mink from fur farms to die on highways or starve to death. These humaniacs campaign to elevate the legal status of animals, but what they are really doing is demeaning humans.
Animal rights groups like PeTA and HSUS are basically fund raising organizations. The majority of their money is spent on lobbying, advertising, and direct-mail solicitation of more funds. They support little or no research and fund few projects that actually benefit animals. (PeTA did donate $4500 from their millions to a shelter the same day they donated $45,000 to defend a man in Texas who had burned down a mink farm.)
If there is anyone out there involved with purebred dogs who is still donating money to any of these organizations, he should be ashamed. Such donations support the animal rights agenda and the eventual demise of the sport of purebred dogs as we know it.
About The Author
All Authors Of This Article: | Kenneth Strand |