Monetizing Animal Protection

By Peter Muller, V.P. of C.A.S.H.

A common obstacle to passing pending legislation that would implement animal protection is that opponents to our proposals have a monetary interest in not having the measure enacted, while our interest is “merely” ethical.  In our society’s decision-making process, it seems, money trumps ethics every time.

Let’s look at a few examples: We have been trying to outlaw the production of foie gras in New York State. Foie gras is produced by cruelly force-feeding ducks or geese huge amounts of corn using a gavage ( a funnel with an attached tube) until their liver enlarges to many times its normal size. This feeding method and the confined housing of the animals is cruel and results in great discomfort and diseased vital organs.

Making the case that foie gras production is cruel is straight-forward and acknowledged by most objective legislators. However, when pitted against the position that shutting down the foie gras production facility would have a negative financial impact on the economy of the area, putting 55 people out of work, the argument from cruelty is not persuasive.

Another case in point is the attempt to shut down horse-drawn carriage rides in New York City. Horse-drawn carriages in New York City traffic are frequently involved in accidents resulting in both human and animal injuries, and sometimes fatalities. The cruelty of forcing horses to draw carriages through congested, noisy NYC traffic is obvious. But shutting down a small industry and putting 165 people out of work, will motivate the New York City Council to vote against banning this form of animal cruelty.

I am proposing that we explore the idea of monetizing our goals. Can we establish enterprises which are profitable and provide employment which equal or surpass those of the enterprises that torment and kill animals to earn income?

I think there are such situations. Let me offer an obvious example:

Any attempt to limit or totally ban hunting in a region will bring the “fiscally concerned” citizens out in full force. Allowing hunting supposedly stimulates the economy. But let’s look at some alternatives.

The table shows the amount of expenditures and the number of participants of hunters and wildlife watchers in the United States.

We are using the latest data furnished by the US Government publication “2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation.”  We showed in the last issue of the C.A.S.H. Courier that the numbers of hunters claimed in that survey is overstated. See Cooking the Numbers: The USFWS Survey does NOT show an increase in Hunting from 2006 to 2011

We are using their numbers nevertheless since we can make our point in this case very easily, even with their exaggerated numbers in favor of hunting.

In all categories wildlife watchers outnumber and outspend hunters by millions of participants and billions of dollars.

Our strategy should be to encourage state legislatures as well as Congress to “Wake up and smell the roses.”

There is more revenue to be derived from accommodating wildlife watchers and discouraging hunting.

The two options, wildlife watching vs. hunting are not compatible. Wildlife watchers would not be attracted to an area where animals are blasted to smithereens while they are training their binoculars on them.

Expanding the opportunities for wildlife watching and concomitantly decreasing hunting opportunities will satisfy more constituents and generate more income to businesses, as well as generate more taxes to local governments.

Let’s promote wildlife watching and find or formulate other animal-friendly money-making enterprises to help legislators understand that the monetary advantage is not with allowing animal cruelty to continue.

If you would like to form a think-tank/action group for this purpose, please contact C.A.S.H.


Contact Us

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