A canned hunt is a trophy hunt in which an animal is kept in a confined area, such as in a fenced-in area, increasing the likelihood of the hunter obtaining a kill. According to one dictionary, a canned hunt is a "hunt for animals that have been raised on game ranches until they are mature enough to be killed for trophy collections." There have been criticisms of this method of hunting from both hunters and animal welfare advocacy groups. This is also sometimes referred to as vanity hunting.
Legislation in the U.S.
Canned hunting has been banned or restricted in 20 states of the US, including Alabama, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
In 2006, Alabama was the most recent state to pass legislation banning many forms of canned hunting. In 2007, a bill in the New York State Legislature to ban all canned hunting of certain "exotic" animals was defeated by legislative inaction.
A number of groups object to the practice of canned hunting for reasons such as cruelty to animals or that it takes away what is known as "fair chase."
The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) criticizes canned hunting. In a statement, the HSUS called canned hunts "cruel and brutal activities," in which the hunted animal has "absolutely no chance of escape." It went on to say that animals have been "psychologically conditioned to behave as a target by life in captivity," among other objections.
Some hunting groups, especially those who focus on hunters' ethics, also object to canned hunting. These objections are on the grounds of "fair chase", the idea that an animal has a fair chance of escaping the hunter, and it's not too easy for the hunter to kill the animal. It is believed that canned hunts remove these elements.
Hunting groups such as the Pope and Young Club and the Boone and Crockett Club do not accept animals killed in canned hunts for inclusion in their record books. Boone and Crockett Club refers to the activity as a "canned shoot", as they claim that there is no hunting involved.
Safari Club International no longer accepts animals killed in canned hunts for inclusion in its record books and award categories.
In 2014, 62 cities across the globe participated in the first-ever global march against canned hunting. The march was organized by Campaign Against Canned Hunting. People from many parts of the world took part: Africa, Asia, Australia, Canada, Europe, Middle East, New Zealand, South America and the United States.
Canned hunting in the news
In 2005, internet hunting became a major news story when a man in Texas set up a webcam and remotely controlled gun to allow hunters to shoot from their computers. According to the Humane Society, most internet hunts involve game ranches where animals are kept penned, making them essentially canned hunts.
On August 15, 2006, Troy Gentry, half of the country music singing duo Montgomery Gentry, appeared in federal court in Duluth, Minnesota charged with canned hunting. Federal prosecutors allege that Gentry bought a bear named "Cubby" from Lee Marvin Greenly, then shot the tame bear while it was in an enclosed pen, tagged the bear as if it had been killed in the wild, then arranged for the editing of a videotape of the alleged "wild" kill. Gentry and Greenly were said to face a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison and a $20,000 fine if convicted. On November 27, 2006, Gentry pleaded guilty to a charge of falsely tagging the bear. Under the plea agreement, he agreed to pay a $15,000 fine, give up hunting, fishing and trapping in Minnesota for 5 years, and forfeit both the stuffed bear and the bow used to shoot the animal in 2004. Gentry posted a statement on the duo's website on November 9, 2010, apologizing for his actions.
Another less well-known incident occurred two years prior to the Dick Cheney hunting incident when the vice president participated in a canned hunt at the Rolling Rock Club in Ligonier Township, Pennsylvania. Cheney and nine companions killed 417 out of 500 ringneck pheasants, of which the Vice President himself is credited with killing 70, and an unknown number of mallard ducks.
In South Africa, the Minister of Environmental Affairs, Mr. Marthinus van Schalkwyk, in 2006, announced new laws to stop the practise of "canned hunting" in his country. South Africa environment minister announced long-awaited restrictions on lion hunting, declaring he was sickened by wealthy tourists shooting tame lions from the back of a truck and felling rhinos with a bow and arrow. This comes in response to the imbroglio created over the potential canned hunt of the African rhinoceros 'Baixinha.'
Dismissing threats of legal action by the hunting industry, Marthinus Van Schalkwyk said the new law would ban "canned" hunting of big predators and rhinos in small enclosures that offer them no means of escape. In addition, lions bred in captivity would have to be released into the open for at least two years before they could be hunted. Van Schalkwyk said a previously proposed six-month delay would not give lions enough time to develop self-defence instincts. "Hunting should be about fair chase ... testing the wits of a hunter against that of the animal," he told a press conference. "Over the years that got eroded and now we are trying to re-establish that principle." This measure was later overturned.
In May 2007 a much-reported hunting trip involved the killing of 1,051 pound pet pig in an alleged canned hunt. The pig was named "Monster Pig" by the media and it was believed that the pig was a feral hog. It was soon discovered that the pig, previously named "Fred," had been someone's pet and was then sold to a hunting facility only a brief time before he was killed. On May 3, paying customers Mike Stone and his 11-year-old son, Jamison, hunted him in a 150 acres (0.61 km2) fenced enclosure. Jamison shot Fred a total of eight times over a period of three hours.
A June 2007 story on CNN detailed canned hunting in South Africa and includes a video of a canned lion hunt where the animal is shot against a fence. On November 30, 2014, CBS 60 Minutes broadcast a story ("The Lion Whisperer") about one man's sanctuary in South Africa for 26 lions, raised in captivity, who he rescued from the fate of canned lion hunting. In November 2015, the Professional Hunters' Association of South Africa (PHASA) voted to disassociate itself from the practice of canned lion hunting in South Africa. Unless the conservation value of canned lion hunting is demonstrated to PHASA, the organization will remain against the practice and, under penalty of expulsion, no PHASA members will be permitted to participate canned lion hunts.
In November 2017 PHASA came under fire over the body's reversal of its 2015 policy against the hunting of captive-bred lions.
In popular culture
- The child protagonists of the Glendon Swarthout novel Bless the Beasts and Children (novel), and its 1971 film Bless the Beasts and Children (film) are set against a canned bison hunting ranch.
- The title song from the album Countdown to Extinction by Megadeth, is about canned hunting.
- The 2004 book Lord of the Kill by Theodore Taylor, follows the story of young Benjamin Jepson, whose father is an animal rights activist. The book is critical of the so-called "shooting facilities" of the United Sportsmen, and canned hunting generally.
- Carl Hiaasen's novel Sick Puppy begins and ends with canned hunts of imported African rhinos, which are a favorite activity of the book's antagonist, corrupt lobbyist Palmer Stoat.
- The canned hunt of a Kodiak bear figures in the plot of CSI season 5 episode 14 ("Unbearable").
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- http://www.hsus.org The Humane Society of the United States
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- Page, Andrew (July 30, 2006). "Canned hunts kill element of fair chase". The Patriot-News. Retrieved August 4, 2006, unarchived report found on bigcatrescue.org on 2011-12-2, dead link under article. Check date values in:
- "Boone and Crockett Club Position Statement". Boone and Crockett Club.
- Your African Safari, "Campaign against canned hunting in South Africa: interview with Chris Mercer"
- Humane Society Wildlife Abuse Campaign, "Fact sheet on Internet Hunting". Archived from the original on October 28, 2008.
- "Country star accused of illegally killing tame bear". Archived from the original on August 21, 2006. Retrieved August 16, 2006.
- "Cheney faces heat for 'canned hunt'". MSNBC, Jeannette Walls with Ashley Pearson, December 18, 2003.
- "Huntersouthafrica supports Dart safaris". Archived from the original on October 23, 2006. Retrieved October 22, 2006.
- Nullis, Clare (February 22, 2007). "South Africa bans hunting caged lions". Archived from the original on April 1, 2012. Retrieved October 26, 2011.
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- "Eight Shots, Three Hours, One Death: The Story of a Canned Hunt". Archived from the original on June 6, 2007. Retrieved June 1, 2007.
- "CNN "Shooting Lions in South Africa"". Cnn.com. June 8, 2007. Retrieved April 11, 2018.
- Clarissa Ward. "The lion whisperer". CBS News. Retrieved April 11, 2018.
- "PHASA Distances Itself From Captive-Bred Lion Hunting".
- Ben Osborne, "Megadeth Lyrics – Countdown To Extinction ", The Realms of Deth, Jun 11, 2012
- Theodore Taylor (2002). Lord of the Kill. Blue Sky Press. ISBN 978-0-439-33725-0.
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