With so many controversial elements, the definition is
often more elusive than the animals hunted.
What is a “canned hunt”? It depends who you ask.
To say that it’s an operation in which animals are shot
in an enclosure doesn’t really answer the question. For example, if
shooting an animal in a small pen is a canned hunt, what about on a
hundred acres? Or a thousand?
Some claim that there are other considerations: Is the
terrain flat grassland, or are there woods and other cover? Are the
animals tame? Are they fed by humans? Are they healthy? Does the ranch
allow baiting or the use of hounds? How are animals tracked? Do hunting
stands oversee the area? Can the animals avoid being killed, or are they
nothing more than target practice?
Hunters speak of “fair chase.” They say that the
defining element in hunting is not the kill but the chase — tracking an
animal for hours, or even days, in hopes of setting up the perfect shot.
But canned hunts, which are condemned by pro- and anti-hunting groups
alike, turn the notion of fair
chase upside-down: patrons are guaranteed a kill, making
a mockery of sport hunting. For example, the Boone and Crockett Club, a
hunting organization founded by Teddy Roosevelt, has called canned hunts
“unfair” and “unsportsmanlike.” Other pro-hunting organizations label
these operations nothing more than “canned shoots.”
The most obvious example of a canned hunt is the wanton
slaughter of a “trophy” animal in a small enclosure. But if the
enclosure is thousands of square acres, is that still a canned hunt?
Maybe. Often the animals on hunting ranches are tame, having been
hand-raised. Animals that instinctively would flee humans, instead
approach them seemingly without concern. The same truck that brings the
animals’ daily feed also brings the trophy-seekers. Fleeing animals are
chased by trucks. Hounds corner exotic game or tree big cats. Drugged
animals, too disoriented to run, are released on the premises. Animals
are kicked out of cages for waiting patrons. Some refuse to budge and
are shot nonetheless.
In short, there is no escape.
Go on to 50 Major U.S.
Research Labs Hit With Massive USDA Complaint
Return to 24 June 2001 Issue
Return to Newsletters
** Fair Use Notice**
This document may contain copyrighted material, use of which has not been
specifically authorized by the copyright owners. I believe that this
not-for-profit, educational use on the Web constitutes a fair use of the
copyrighted material (as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright
Law). If you wish to use this copyrighted material for purposes of your
own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright