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Interesting HSUS Response to Bush Pardons

I wrote about Bush pardoning intentional coyote killer and accidental bald eagle killer, Leslie O. Collier, on Surreal Speciesist Sunday. A similar pardon went to Milton "Kirk" Cordes, a member of Dakota Safaris, which is a private big-game hunting operation. According to, he "conspired to obtain mule-deer buck licenses that were given to out-of-state hunters who booked hunts with the group but couldn't get their own licenses in annual drawings. Prosecutors said nonresidents shot deer that were tagged with licenses belonging to Dakota Safaris members, thus violating laws that ban the transfer of hunting licenses to others."

If anyone was wondering how strongly the Humane Society of the United States feels about the injustice–the taking of sentient life unnecessarily–committed by poachers, the answer is: very strongly. Poaching is bad. Very bad. In "Pardon Me for Poaching," HSUS' Mark Markarian writes:

"Poaching is a national epidemic, and it's such a serious problem that it has forged alliances between hunting groups and animal advocates who are working together to catch poachers through reward programs and tip lines. Wildlife officials estimate that for every wild animal killed legally another is killed illegally — tens of millions of animals per year. And with scarce wildlife enforcement resources and countless acres of open land, only a scant few percent of poachers are caught and punished for their crimes."

Good, good.

But then comes the "interesting" part of the HSUS response:

"Rather than give a reprieve to the handful of poachers who happen to get caught, we need to set an example that such lawlessness will not be tolerated–that wildlife resources belong to all the people, and cannot be exploited for private commercial gain."

Wildlife resources belong to all the people? Wildlife are resources and they belong to someone other than themselves? I had no idea.

Finally, Markarian believes Bush's pardon "demonstrates little more than contempt for animals and the environment." I agree. But what does the HSUS' notion that wildlife are resources who/that belong to us demonstrate?

5 Comments Post a comment
  1. Dan #

    I don't distinguish between "poaching" and "hunting". They're both murder – a slaughter of the innocent – and both equally wrong. "Wildlife" does not need to be "managed" by arrogant human primates. A hands-off policy would be best. Nature took care of herself and her inhabitants millions of years before the human showed up as a johnny-come-lately, and she can continue to do her job well only if we mind our own goddamn business.

    December 3, 2008
  2. Roger #

    Yes – and yet the countermovements insist that the HSUS are an animal rights organisation. Parallel universe anyone?


    December 3, 2008
  3. Tim #

    HSUS truly only has one agenda: Tug at your heart strings and raise more money for HSUS. I have long followed HSUS and their "investigations" fund raising campaigns concerning "helping" animals. One thing is always constant: The donations raised never make it to help the animals. The name "Humane Society of the United States" has deceived too many donors for too long. They do not and have never been affiliated with any local animal shelters. The name "Corporate Fund Raising for our Executive Staff " is much more fitting.

    December 5, 2008
  4. I so agree with Dan. I am at my flicker photos site and gave some hunters who responded to my photos about serial killers and hunters similar personalities. I then posted a link to the hunting snuff videos on youtube which are so many of. He tries to tell me they are poachers not hunters and I told them that is the same damn thing. One just kill innocent animals for "fun" legally while another kill for "fun" illegally. Wildlife Agencies do not like Poachers because they wont make all the blood money from license.

    December 7, 2008
  5. Mary Martin #

    Just to be clear, I don't make a distinction between hunting and poaching. Part of my point, poorly made obviously, is that Mark Markarian does and HSUS does.

    December 7, 2008

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