It’s called "canned hunting." It’s an underground industry banking $1 billion a year that’s only outlawed in 11 states, partial bans in 15, and completely legal in the remaining 24.
Sometimes referred to as "Guaranteed Kill," the business is little more than a high-priced act of handicapped hunting. For the right amount of money hunters can treat themselves to a trophy of an exotic animal, and if the stakes are raised they can even bag endangered ones.
Recently members of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) posed as hunters and infiltrated four "canned hunting" facilities with hidden cameras for an Animal Planet feature.
"I think these are people who don't want to spend a lot of time to bag a trophy," says HSUS director of investigations Mary Beth Sweetland. "They just want it to be easy, quick and guaranteed. It's almost an ego trip for someone to be able to hang an animal's head on their wall and not quite explain to others who may see that so-called trophy that this animal had absolutely no chance of escape."
The farms in question -- three in New York and one in Texas -- bring the high-paying pretend hunters to a confined space where animals have little to no area to move. And as if it isn’t easy enough footage of these captive-hunt ranches shows an operator admitting to administering tranquilizers to the animals. A kangaroo and even an endangered scimitar-horned Oryx are shown to be so stoned and dazed, investigators could just walk up and hug them.
"These cruel shooting galleries will do anything to ensure that anyone who is willing to pay the price is able to kill rare trophy animals under the most unscrupulous circumstances, including drugging the animal," says Andrew Page, senior director of the Wildlife Abuse Campaign for The HSUS. "From Texas to New York, lawmakers need to get serious about prohibiting this barbaric practice."
There is said to be over 1,000 captive-hunt ranches in active operation many of which with animals for game in fenced areas. Many of these ranches in question feature a "no kill, no pay" policy. The animals are bottle-fed and raised to have no fear of human, dulling all instinct and nature to make them easy prey.
Lifelong hunters from the Montana Wildlife Foundation, Montana Bowhunters Association, and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation urged their state government in 2000 to ban these captive hunts. Representatives Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., and Brad Sherman, D-Calif. Introduced a Sportsmanship in Hunting Act (H.R. 2210) to prohibit these captive hunts, original cosponsors of the bill also include Reps. Jim Moran, D-Va., George Miller, D-Calif., and Jim Langevin, D-R.I.
You can see more about the HSUS investigation here or in the video below.
Image: devra / via Flickr