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Animals In Print
The On-Line Newsletter

From 19 March 2006 Issue

Houston Zoo Doesn't Sell or Donate Animals For Canned Hunts

Animals In Print wants to announce a retraction as follows. We at AIP always want to bring you the best in reporting and always true and factual information. We apologize to the Houston Zoo. Following is a letter of explanation from Brian Hill, representing the zoo.

The mistaken information listing the zoo as a source of animals for a canned hunt can be found at http://www.all-creatures.org/aip/nl-31oct2001-canned.html , a special on Canned Hunts. Only the mention of Houston Zoo is incorrect, the article is informative and truthful. You may want to visit this website and learn more about canned hunts.

_Brian alleges these facts to be true.

Quote "It’s a long story. It started in 1992 with a series of articles by Dwight Silverman at the Houston Chronicle. In his first piece, Dwight targeted the San Antonio Zoo, claiming it had a close, even symbiotic relationship with Texas ranches where exotic animals are hunted. The piece had its genesis in the demands of several zoos for the return of animals they had sold to a San Antonio Zoo board member who owned a hunting ranch. Deep in that article, Dwight mentioned that the Houston Zoo had sold a giraffe and a sable antelope to B. J. “Red” McCombs, then-owner of the San Antonio Spurs NBA team. In a matter of a few days the Houston Zoo confirmed that the animals were alive and well. In fact, McCombs had purchased both animals as a present for his wife. McCombs offered to fly Silverman down to his ranch on his private jet to confirm the animals were alive. Silverman declined the offer.

Then in 1994, the HSUS published an investigative piece (Michael Winikoff, "Blowing the Lid off Canned Hunts," HSUS News, Summer 1994). The article received wide attention and again repeated the assertion that the Houston Zoo had sold hoofed stock directly or indirectly to canned hunts. Information from Winikoff’s article was later utilized in a Fund for Animals item titled “Canned Hunts: The Other Side of the Fence.” That article again repeated the assertion that the Zoo had sold hoofed stock directly or indirectly to canned hunts.

The advent of the Internet and the World Wide Web provided new life to these assertions, giving the articles a venue for wide distribution. At least one Web site still references the Winikoff article and even provides a link to it – a link to HSUS News that actually takes the reader to the Web sites education page. So, the assertions live on in various forms, passed along from hand to hand and site to site, taking on the trappings of an urban legend.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Brian Hill
Houston Zoo
713 533 6531
bhill@houstonzoo.org 

Return to Animals in Print 19 March 2006 Issue

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