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CASH Courier > 2006 Spring Issue

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The C.A.S.H. Courier

ARTICLE from the Spring 2006 Issue

To Hunt or Not to Hunt

By Yu-Fen (Flora) Wang

Flora is a precocious young student who lives in California. She discovered C.A.S.H. on the Internet. She asked to interview Joe Miele. This is what she submitted to her class.

After the Vice President, Dick Cheney, accidentally shot a fellow hunter, the controversial issue of sport hunting has bubbled up into the public forum once again.

However, for Joe Miele, Vice President of C.A.S.H., the issue of sport hunting has always been something he has been passionately involved in. Miele, who has been working with the Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting (C.A.S.H) for approximately four years, explains that he “particularly became involved with the issue of sport hunting when a local New Jersey area became a hunting park.”

One of the topics surrounding hunting is the enforcement of hunter harassment laws. Joe gave an example of how these laws are being abused by hunters. “I know hunters who go crazy with the hunter harassment laws. There was even a case in Pennsylvania where landowners themselves were arrested for harassment - and they were on their own property! The hunter harassment laws are being used to allow hunters to run over owners of private property.”

He adds that “It’s ridiculous to think that the people out there with the guns are the ones that need to be protected.”

Miele acknowledges the fact that hunters helped to rehabilitate some natural habitats. However, he states “I would be hard-pressed to believe that hunting groups would be willing to save these habitats if they couldn’t hunt. Groups like Ducks Unlimited have saved hundreds of acres that are habitat for ducks and other waterfowl, but it’s because they want to kill them. They protect them so they can kill them.”

Joe and C.A.S.H are working to change the entire wildlife management system. They believe that this is the way to truly save America’s wildlife. “Our main focus is on changing the public’s view about hunting, and educate them about the role that state and federal agencies play in increasing hunted animal populations. By increasing game species for hunters, they are also increasing conflicts that arise between the public and wild animals. What we try to expose is that wildlife management policies are made for hunting, not to help the animals themselves.”

Miele explains that the problem lies in relying on hunters as a way to earn money. “Agencies have to constantly create an overabundance of animals because that’s the only way they earn money. Their sale of hunting licenses, and taxes collected on firearms, ammunition, bows and arrows, keep them in business. If there weren’t any hunters, the game agencies wouldn’t survive…They manage to keep hunting going, but not for ecological balance.”

An alternative to current policies would be managing for wildlife watching. “We want to show how wildlife is being harmed and hope that someday, sport hunting will be abolished altogether. In its place, we hope to see pro-wildlife programs, like Wildlife Watching, which already has more people than hunting. The studies all show that wildlife watching far exceeds hunting in participation and income generated.”

Joe Miele, of the Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting, thinks it’s sad that “hunters don’t respect animals as we do…they shut off emotion which allows them to feel joy and not remorse when they end an animal’s life.”

Yu-Fen (Flora) Wang was born in Taiwan. She just recently moved to San Diego and is attending high school. She enjoys writing, participating in Speech and Debate, being a Peer Counselor and also a TA for the San Diego Chinese Academy. Her interest in protecting wildlife came from the years she spent in England when she was small. Her friend, Stuart, took her on long walks in the British countryside and taught her to respect and treat animals as equals. Flora hopes to be a lawyer and a writer when she grows up.

Go on to THE CENTRAL PARK COYOTE – HAL
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