By Anne Muller
Wildlife Watch launched a "Suspend Hunting" campaign that
exceeded our wildest expectations for publicity and public support.
Pam, Anne and Joan - Photo
by Peter Muller
On Nov. 7th on the steps
of the Capitol with Joan Lyons and Pam Frank of FIREPAW in Albany,
we appealed to Governor Pataki to suspend hunting in the wake of
terrorist attacks. No one was there
from the media. Learning that all
the major press offices were inside the Capitol, we paid a visit
to them to explain our perspective and the reason for the demonstration. Our
small effort paid off in spades. We
ended up with publicity that made it to the front page of Fox news
online for two days.
Wildlife Watch was interviewed by radio stations in several states,
we had 500 hits a day on our website, at least 50 threatening e-mail
posts were sent to us by hunters, the Colorado game commission wants
us to change our name because they are afraid to spread their "Wildlife
Watch" program across the country because they may be identified
with an anti-hunting group. Hunters
from across the country had mistakenly attacked them to the point that
they called an Albany reporter to find out what was going on.
What is Wildlife Watch’s "Suspend Hunting" campaign?
It’s simple: – As a wildlife protection organization we spend a certain
amount of time in the woods posting and patrolling. We’ve
always been struck by the vulnerability of power lines, gas lines,
substations, and nuclear power plants just from misplaced shots. Following
9-11, when the country was asked to bring vulnerability to the attention
of the government and law enforcement, it seemed a patriotic duty to
bring this very real threat to our national security to the attention
of the Governor and the newspapers. No,
nothing is unimaginable following 9-11. Realize
that the huge power lines run all the way to Canada and are part of
a national power grid. The gas pipelines
are heavily marked showing everyone (and their mother’s uncle) where
they are. The thought is chilling against
the background of terrorism, and a grand-scale follow-up to WTC.
Obviously, protecting the country’s major systems would be prudent.
We took our camera and set out to make our point. Following are the
photographs that we hope you will share with others so that we can
continue to press for a suspension until terrorists are rooted out.
Large Towers, such as the one to the left, carry the
power-cables that form the national power-grid. If there is insufficient
electrical power in one region, power can be transferred from one
part of the country to another.
At the juncture where the cables are supported by the
towers, porcelain insulators keep the cables from making contact
with the towers. (See Photo - Right). If
those insulators were to be shot out it could short-circuit the entire
line. A coordinated attack could conceivably cause a national power
These towers are frequently sited in areas where there
These photos were taken in areas where there is
Natural gas is distributed nationwide by large pipelines
that run through the country.
The pipelines have valves at frequent intervals. Even
where there are no valves the gas companies place signs clearly marking
the paths of the pipelines. Explosives dropped into any of these
could severely disrupt the distribution network.
These pipelines frequently traverse areas that are
These photos were taken in areas that are hunted.
To the left is Indian Point nuclear power plant. This
picture was taken less than 500 yards from the plant from an area
that is hunted. Terrorists disguised as hunters could carry rocket
It’s horrifying enough to think of accidents that can and have occurred
with firearms. For example, a drunken hunter’s bullet sent hundreds
of thousands of gallons of oil gushing onto the Alaskan tundra from
the TransAlaska pipeline several years ago. But to think that there
could be an intentional act of terror, to realize there could be multiple
and coordinated attacks is not so far fetched anymore.
SUSPEND HUNTING NOW is the shibboleth. No, we weren’t
saying that hunters were terrorists (although that has been the simplistic
response from some talk show hosts and from hunters), though they certainly
are terrorists for wildlife; we are saying that a legal hunting
season provides a perfect backdrop for terrorists to operate against.
It gives carte blanche to lurkers with firearms. It
actually serves as camouflage for terrorist activities.
Additionally, Joan pointed out the vulnerability of farms to bioterrorism:
animals and vegetables are vulnerable to anyone who would enter the
How much would it take to get something into the water supply or directly
affect animals that will be ultimately consumed? The NYC Department
of Environmental Protection apparently felt the same way and put the
reservoir areas that provide NYC with water off limits to hunting and
We were asked by talk show hosts why hiking and biking shouldn’t also
be banned. Our answer was that they don’t have a season. If there is
no "season" then wouldn’t it be difficult to "hang out" with
a loaded weapon near a power line and not be suspect? If someone called
the police, they would come. Yet during hunting season, someone’s lurking
with a firearm is written off as plain vanilla hunting. Further, hikers
and bikers don’t carry weapons at the ready. They don’t hide behind
trees and lurk in groups in camouflage.
We were told we had an "agenda" (as though they don’t) – and
we said that as a wildlife protection organization we were well-positioned
to understand the dangers of a hunting season at this point in time.
THE NPR POLL
An NPR poll showed that 76% agreed that hunting should be suspended.
Another 12% said that they thought we had an agenda, but hunting should
be suspended anyway. Hello – that’s 88% of the public that AGREES!
Even hunters agree: Thank you to Lisbet Chiriboga for bringing the
following to our attention:
I just caught the tail end of a segment on the Fox
News channel about a hunter who shot a deer and, according to him,
since he is an "ethical" hunter, he followed the dying
animal so he could "retrieve it". He showed the reporter
how he ended up on the grounds of the Mirant power plant that gives
power to Washington D.C. He said he walked into the plant wearing
his orange suit and carrying a shotgun. He said he was concerned
that he was able to gain access so easily...because "what if
he was a terrorist". ..What IF? I'm happy to see Wildlife Watch's
campaign is staying in the news. Lisbet