Letter From the President – Spring 2014

Joe’s Journal

Another winter has come and gone, and this one has taken with it the job of another New Mexico Game and Fish official. Former Chair of the state Game Commission Scott Bidegain resigned after being accused of helping to illegally hunt a cougar on his family’s cattle ranch in February. Upon learning that charges were pending, C.A.S.H. went into action demanding that Bidegain be replaced by someone with an interest in preserving and protecting wildlife instead of slaughtering them for recreation. This prompted angry letters in New Mexico’s newspapers from hunters crying that C.A.S.H.’s extreme “knee-jerk reaction” of banning hunting and fishing not be heeded.

Knee-jerk reaction? Hardly. We have been studying the operations of the hunting cartel for nearly forty years and our research points us in a single direction – the North American model of wildlife management is an exercise in needless violence and exploitation, all for the sake of a tiny minority who enjoy killing harmless and helpless animals. “Wildlife Management” as they like to call it, is responsible for destroying habitat, the destruction of billions of animals, and the deaths of tens of thousands of people through hunting accidents and automobile collisions with wildlife.

Bidegain is not the only hunting agency official in recent years to have been nabbed for illegal or unethical hunting:

• In 2007 New Mexico’s Game and Fish Director Bruce Thompson resigned after illegally hunting on private property without permission.
• In 2012 the head of California’s Fish and Game Commission went to Idaho to kill a mountain lion, despite the fact that mountain lion hunting is illegal in California. Soon afterwards, Dan Richards was removed as president of the Game Commission by a unanimous vote.

As the great comedian Richard Belzer once said, “How many ladles of putrid stew must you have before you realize the whole pot is bad?”

If state game agencies are the pot, its officials and its constituents are the putrid stew. It’s a system that is irredeemable and must be dismantled and rebuilt upon an ethic of respect and protection for wildlife and habitat. We will never stop fighting the violence and exploitation that passes as routine business; the hunters know this and they have been using every opportunity to speak out against us. We’re on their radar because we’re making a difference.

Never forget that hunters and their puppets in state government are always working against the animals. A recent bill in Georgia would have allowed hunters and trappers to cage wildlife and set their dogs upon the captive animals if they claimed that doing so was a “training exercise.” Videos posted online show hunting dogs barking around a raccoon in a cage, which is lowered and raised repeatedly. Recognizing that this bill would have legalized torture, activists including those from Georgia Animal Rights and Protection and the League of Human Voters Georgia went into action and successfully killed the bill in the state senate.

Reacting to anti-wildlife initiatives is vital, but we also must build an ethic of respect for wildlife in young people before the violent anti-wildlife forces pollute their minds and destroy their hearts. Let’s take our kids out of our homes and into the outdoors. Give them a camera, a set of binoculars, and a book on animal tracks. Teach them that nature has a value far greater than whatever people can imagine it to be. When children are taught to enjoy the outdoors and respect its inhabitants, killing wildlife through hunting, trapping, and fishing will never come into their minds. Studies have shown that if a child is not brainwashed into becoming a hunter by age sixteen it is very unlikely that they will ever become hunters at any stage of their lives. Elmer Fudd’s Kryptonite: education, understanding, and empathy.

Have a wonderful summer. Go hiking, boating, camping and wildlife watching. And if you’re in an area affected by drought as we are here in New Mexico, set some water out for the birds and for the critters who will cross your property. They will be happy you did.



Contact Us

Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting / C.A.S.H.
P.O. Box 562
New Paltz, NY 12561