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CASH Courier > 2001 Fall Issue

Selected Articles from our newsletter

The C.A.S.H. Courier

From the Fall 2001 Issue

IN THE WAKE OF TERRORIST ATTACKS, SUSPEND HUNTING NOW!

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 Watchís "Suspend Hunting" campaign?

Itís simple: Ė As a wildlife protection organization we spend a certain amount of time in the woods posting and patrolling.  Weíve 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 motherís uncle) where they are. The thought is chilling against the background of terrorism, and a grand-scale follow-up to WTC.

Obviously, protecting the countryís 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 blackout.

These towers are frequently sited in areas where there is hunting.

These photos were taken in areas where there is hunting.

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 hunted.

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 launchers afield.

Itís horrifying enough to think of accidents that can and have occurred with firearms. For example, a drunken hunterís 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 werenít 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 land.

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 fishing!

We were asked by talk show hosts why hiking and biking shouldnít also be banned. Our answer was that they donít have a season. If there is no "season" then wouldnít 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, someoneís lurking with a firearm is written off as plain vanilla hunting. Further, hikers and bikers donít carry weapons at the ready. They donít hide behind trees and lurk in groups in camouflage.

We were told we had an "agenda" (as though they donít) Ė 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 Ė thatís 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

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