Walmart’s Pro-Hunting P-R Grant

In September, it was announced that a $35,000 grant had been awarded by the Walmart Foundation to help hunters provide venison to food banks in Georgia. Hunters are expected to donate dead deer to state-inspected meat processors, who would then pass the meat on to local charities.

The putative gift of an anticipated 20,000 pounds of flesh is being touted as a benefit to the poor citizens of Georgia. This assumes, of course, several facts not easily proven:

1. That the “beneficiaries” – however impoverished they may be – would want to eat deer meat in the first place.

2. That the meat is safe to eat. Regardless of state and federal regulations, poorly-processed, contaminated meat is regularly discovered in supermarkets and restaurants, and food banks are far less likely to be monitored as strictly as commercial enterprises are.

3. The presence of lead in hunted animals is a common occurrence. Lead is one of the most toxic materials that any living being can ingest.

4. That food pantries will have the ability to safely store the venison and distribute it before it goes “off.” (Assuming it has not already gone bad before arriving at food banks.)

In a statement that meshes nicely with this transparent attempt to spin the story to the mutual advantage of hunters and Walmart, Todd Holbrook, CEO of Georgia Wildlife Federation, said hunters will provide 60,000+ meals throughout the state this year. (The long hunting season in Georgia runs from September to February.)

Holbrook gushed in the Georgia DNR’s August bulletin about how the Walmart grant “exemplifies the best of our outdoor traditions.” Then the same old phony euphemisms are used to say that “sportsmen” donate “harvested” deer. Deer are not stalks of corn that are cut down painlessly. Very real and often protracted suffering is an inevitable part of deer hunting, and no amount of disingenuous charitable donations can ever make up for that.

This is only one of the many public relations ploys the mega-corporation that is Walmart has undertaken to obscure the very real harm they do to animals – from sometimes building their giant warehouses in wetlands to selling a wide variety of guns and other hunting equipment, to routinely killing birds who get trapped in their stores.

Among the chief selling tools is the mythology that Walmart promotes regarding their late founder, multi-billionaire Sam Walton. The attempt to paint the phenomenally successful businessman as a lovable old codger without pretensions has been aided by first-person stories printed about him over the years. One old friend, a Texas businessman named Drayton McLane (who happens to own the Houston Astros baseball team), told the Dallas Morning News that he misses hunting quail with Walton since his demise.

Describing his buddy as an unassuming Arkansan with simple tastes, he marvels at the fact that Walton’s private jet was somewhat messy because he let his hunting dogs run loose in it. Another virtue touted by McLane was Walton’s preference for humble peanut butter sandwiches.

Regardless of Walton’s occasional vegan diet, he clearly had a taste for killing wildlife, too.
Beyond his own lifetime of killing sprees, Walton and his heirs have done a lot of damage to wildlife through their enormous chain of stores. With their “everyday low prices” on everything from hunting knives to elaborate tree stands, they make it easier for more people to participate in animal killing. What is perhaps more relevant, Walmart promotes a “culture” of hunting that runs contrary to the fact that hunters form a tiny percentage of the population.

And of course, making money is what it is all about. As one Walmart manager in Maine put it, “Moose hunting season is the first major season that we have here. [In]our several categories from fire arms to coolers we see a large increase in sales.”

What We Can Do

We need not allow Walmart to foist an inaccurate perception of the acceptability and normalcy of hunting onto the general public – a perception that could encourage gullible persons to view hunting as part and parcel of “the American way,” rather than the anachronistic anomaly that it truly is.

Tell local Walmart managers that you will not buy any goods at their stores as long as they sell firearms and other hunting supplies. Write to corporate headquarters and say the same.

Walmart Home Office
702 SW 8th Street
Bentonville, AR 72716-8611
(479) 273-4000


Contact Us

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