Sunday, July 09, 2006

This is Sick

We've never been much into hunting. We know plenty of hunters who enjoy the sport and utilize all they kill. They are responsible hunters. We understand the need for hunting to help control animal population. But we read about a practice that is just plain sick: Internet Hunting, or Remote Control Hunting.

This AP article caught our eye:
States Ban Hunting of Live Animals over the Internet

Louisiana has joined 21 other states in banning Internet hunting, the practice of using a mouse click to kill animals on a distant game farm.

The cyber-shooting idea was the brainchild of Texan John Lockwood, who started the web site

The idea was this: Hunters sign up on the web site and pay some $1,500 or more. They schedule a session, then log on at their appointed time to watch a feeding station on the computer screen. The animal that was ordered—from wild hogs to antelope—is in the area, and when it approaches the food, the hunter moves on-screen crosshairs into place. A click of the mouse fires a rifle to kill the animal.

The armchair hunter's trophy animal would then be mounted and shipped for display.

Texas outlawed the practice last year.

Humane Society executive vice president Michael Markarian was pleased with the decision in Louisiana.

"Responsible hunters know there's no sport in shooting an animal remotely while lying in bed and wearing camouflage pajamas," Markarian said in a statement today.

Meanwhile, the game farm's web site now says hunters must come to the farm, where they "can now offer a unique hunting opportunity for disabled and handicapped hunters, as well as others, who may need the assistance of our system while hunting."

Where is the sport in this? You pay for a particular animal to be brought to a feeding location so that it is within range, you use your mouse to aim a carefully controlled weapon, and then you kill the defenseless animal, likely bred and raised solely for this purpose. Real hunting includes the risk of not finding your prey, of missing due to the kick of the gun or your own breathing, and alerting your prey before you can shoot. This is nothing more than a video game.

Vice President Dick Cheney probably finds it quite enjoyable, when he's not shooting someone in the face.

We were curious where Missouri stands on this sick practice. The Humane Society of the United States web site includes a section on Internet hunting.
This pay-per-view slaughter bears no resemblance to traditional hunting. Even pro-hunting groups denounce Internet hunting because it violates the ideals of a "fair chase."

According to the Humane Society site, Missouri is not among the 22 states which ban Internet hunting (see below). (The Humane Society site lists Louisiana as pending; the AP article notes Louisiana has passed legislation banning the practice.)

It's time for Missouri to ban Internet and remote-controlled hunting.