It is said that truth is treason in the empire of lies. The recent uproar over the hunting of Cecil the lion proves that the animal kingdom, or empire, is no exception. While the media portrays hunters as blood thirsty trophy seekers, the truth is that hunters spend more money to preserve and conserve animal habitats and species than does PETA, and it is not even close. According to PETA’s 2014 financial report its gross revenue was $51,933,001.00 (PETA 2014 Financial Report).
In contrast, the US Fish and Wildlife Service collects nearly $200 million in hunters’ federal excise taxes that are then distributed to State agencies to support wildlife management programs, the purchase of lands open to hunters, and hunter education and safety classes. Proceeds from the Federal Duck Stamp, a required purchase for migratory waterfowl hunters, have purchased more than 5 million acres of land that support waterfowl and many other wildlife species.
The $200 million number does not include the revenue collected by the states for hunting and fishing permits as well as other taxes and charitable contributions paid by hunters to support wildlife conservation and habitat.
In Africa, the fees paid by hunters to harvest big game can run into the tens of thousands of dollars to hunt one animal. That money goes to support the local economies and employs the people in those communities. When large game is harvested the majority of the meat goes to the local people and is one of the main sources of protein in their diet.
If rules were broken in the hunting of Cecil then let the offending parties be punished in accordance with the law. But the use of Cecil to further demonize and attack law abiding hunters and as an excuse to make hunting more restrictive cannot go without a strong and vocal defense from the hunting and fishing community. It is just a simple statement of fact that hunters spend more and contribute more to the preservation and conservation of wildlife and land than do the self proclaimed animal-rights activists.
Hunting and fishing are part of our heritage and traditions and make no mistake that those who seek to limit our rights and liberties do so with the purpose of fundamentally transforming America.
The vast majority of hunters and fisherman are “good stewards” of nature’s bounty and make a big contribution towards ensuring the future of many species of wildlife and the habitat in which they live and flourish.