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C.A.S.H. Letters to the Editor > 2004

C.A.S.H. Letters

PUBLIC ATTITUDES TOWARD HUNTING

3/2/04

Dear Post-Standard:

Raise your hands if you would accept the results of a study about public attitudes toward child abuse, conducted by pederasts. No hands? How about a study about public attitudes toward hunting, conducted by hunters? The latter is what we have with the study lauded in Michael Kelly's 2/22 outdoors column, Study finds youths in hunt."

The study, "Factors Related to Hunting and Fishing Participation Among the Nation's Youth," conducted by the business, Responsive Management, does not "find" what it purports to find; it manipulates or invents it.

Responsive Management, which is responsive only to consumptive users of animals, is an opinion MANAGEMENT business, not an opinion RESEARCH business. They are hired by such organizations as the National Shooting

Sports Foundation, Safari Club International, and various hunting oriented state game agencies (whose salaries are dependent upon the sale of hunting licenses). It proudly states, on its web site, that its clients include most sportsmen's organizations. Their self-description, "The premiere survey research firm on natural resource and outdoor recreation issues," is superimposed over a photo of a hunter.

What do they do for these pro-hunting/trapping/fishing agencies and organizations? They provide marketing and business plans, policy analyses, and public relations plans, aimed at changing public attitude toward these forms of animal killing - or they just skew the polling questions in such a way that it appears that the public accepts the killing.

Executive director, Mark Damian Duda, writes "outdoor" (i.e. hunting) columns and has received numerous awards from pro-hunting organizations and agencies. Other staff members are likewise participants in animal killing.

Responsive Management's appeal to clients notes that, ".outdoor recreational opportunities ultimately depend upon the positive opinions and attitudes of Americans. They key to instilling this commitment is through effectively designed public relations campaigns. Public relations is the most effective way to form a favorable opinion. It is clear that public relations efforts must target specific groups with specific messages." They advise on "the types of messages that will and will not resonate with the public."

RM will "focus an organization on where it wants to be and what communication strategies can help get it there." Its policy analysis first step, "initiation," begins when a potential problem is identified. It is clear what this "problem" is - a decline in hunting in the past 2 decades.

It acknowledges that rarely does someone become a hunter without "hunting initiation," before the age of 20, by a father or father figure, or by exposure to hunting. The solution is to indoctrinate children into hunting.

RM would have us believe that "Ninety-one percent of American youths think it is OK for boys to hunt" and that "34 percent had shot a gun within the past year," when their web site's inflated hunting figures state that only 7% of Americans hunt each year. Whom did RM poll, the children of the mutants from "Deliverance."?

RM's agenda is most evident in their comments on public opinion on trapping. They blame the public revulsion at this depraved activity, not on its inherent cruelty, but on lack of public understanding. RM is clearly not neutral on the topic: "Regulated trapping is an important way for biologists to collect information about wildlife. Research shows that even endangered species can benefit from trapping." They warn trappers that trappers must recognize that the public cares deeply about wildlife and does not take lightly the killing of wildlife, but that these unfortunate ethical quirks on the part of the sentimental public are explainable because "the public is highly uninformed about trapping."

RM's focus is "allaying the fears of Americans toward the perceived harm caused by trapping." RM, at no point, acknowledges the real, not "perceived," harm caused to animals caught in these sadistic devices. RM assures their clients that trapping, itself, is not the problem; the words used to describe it to the public are what counts. The proof that the public is so uninformed is that photos of actual animals, writhing in pain, in traps, actually upsets them!

Causing suffering is not the issue; activists exposing the suffering and the public reacting to it in an emotionally appropriate way, are. Trappers cannot deny the reality - the cruelty - so they are advised to pretend that they have "scientific methods" and "credibility through reason" on their side, to bamboozle the public into accepting it.

The obfuscation of those who derive perverse pleasure and profit from killing animals is transparent to those of us who view animals, themselves, as nature's ends, not means to rapacious human ends.

Go to www.all-creatures.org/cash to learn why the vast majority of Americans of all ages oppose hunting.

Susan Gordon, Representative
The Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting
Box 562
New Paltz, NY 12561


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