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Category: PETA

Constitutional right to hunt, fish on four state ballots

A hunter and his son. Those going to the polls in Arizona, Arkansas, South Carolina and Tennessee on Nov. 2 will be asked to decide  whether hunting and fishing deserve the added protection of being a state constitutional right.

"When you have something protected in your constitution, then it is very difficult to use the courts or other types of ballot activities to thwart, for example, hunting and fishing," state Sen. Steve Faris (D.-Ark.), the bill's lead sponsor there, told Reuters.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 10 states -- Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin -- guarantee the right to hunt and fish in their constitutions.  California and Rhode Island have language in their respective constitutions guaranteeing the right to fish but not to hunt.

"They start with cats and dogs, and the next thing you know, someone says it's inhumane to shoot a deer," added Faris.

The "they" Faris refers to are animal-rights organizations, which are decidedly anti-hunting.

Ashley Byrne, a New York-based campaigner for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, described the hunting and fishing ballot proposals as "a desperate attempt to prop up a dying pastime," adding that although PETA had not mounted any campaigns against the amendments, it would "continue to educate people about how hunting is cruel and unnecessary."

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PETA takes shot at 'American Idol' singer Kristy Lee Cook's new hunting series, 'Goin' Country'

Kristy Lee Cook hosts her own hunting series, Only one episode of "American Idol" contestant Kristy Lee Cook's new hunting show, "Goin' Country with Kristy Lee Cook," aired on Versus before the animal rights organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals started firing shots at the singer.

"Instead of angering thousands of would-be fans by killing helpless animals on camera in an attempt to get her '15 Minutes of Shame,' Kristy Lee Cook's fame crusade would be better served by following in the footsteps of fellow Idol alum-turned-country-stars Carrie Underwood and Kellie Pickler -- as well as Simon Cowell -- all of whom have used their fame and talent to speak up for animals,” a PETA spokesperson said in a statement released to FOX411. Underwood is a vegetarian, Pickler has spoken publicly about only wearing faux fur and former judge Cowell is an animal adoption advocate.

"Goin' Country," a reality show which started its eight-episode run Sunday, follows Cook while she participates in hunts across the nation, all while trying to also bag a recording deal. Featuring some of the performer's new music, each episode follows the seventh-season "Idol" finalist as she heads to Texas in search of trophy whitetail deer, visits Kansas and Wyoming for pheasant hunting, takes part in her first black bear hunt in Wisconsin and Illinois, and is challenged while turkey hunting in Tennessee and Missouri. Cook is joined by friends, family and celebrity hunters, including country music star Aaron Tippin, Grammy-nominated artist Jake Owen and former "Idol" contestant Blake Lewis.

Cook did not take the comments lying down, defending not only herself but all hunters, and issued the following response:

"Given that hunters have done more for American wildlife conservation than any other group in history, I make no apology for being one," she said. "Indeed, I join the ranks of millions of American hunters who celebrate our outdoor heritage and who conserve millions of acres of wild lands. These same people support more than 600,000 jobs across the country and provide a critical voice to encourage more investment in American conservation."

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Pamela Anderson joins PETA in anti-seal hunt ad campaign

Pamela Anderson poses in the new PETA tee-shirt. Pamela Anderson is in Canada today to help launch a new anti-seal hunting ad campaign by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

Anderson will be making an appearance at the Ontario legislature in Toronto to call for an end to the annual hunt, which takes place every spring on the eastern coast of Canada.

"I can only hope that by bringing attention to the slaughter, the international outcry will force the Canadian government to end this shameful practice," Anderson said in a statement.

The advertising campaign will feature the Canadian native as well as other celebrities wearing PETA's "Save the Seals" T-shirts.

Ads will appear in entertainment magazines and on blogs beginning this fall, to focus attention on the hunt and to keep pressure on the government year-round instead of just during the hunting season, when protests are expected.

--Kelly Burgess

Photo: Pamela Anderson poses in the new PETA T-shirt. Credit: Gabriel Bouys / AFP/Getty Images

Note: To follow this blog on Twitter please visit @latimesoutposts

Wolf hunts in Idaho, Montana still stirring up controversy


The wolf hunt in Idaho is proceeding with remarkable hunter success in some of the state's 12 hunting zones, and in Montana, where limited hunting is underway, the general season opens Sunday.

Hunting wolves in both states, made possible after the removal of the predators from the endangered species list last spring, is controversial, and animal rights groups are trying to stop the hunts.

The latest campaign was launched by Defenders of Wildlife, which is asking for donations to pay for an ad to be placed in New York's Times Square through Dec. 15. "Hundreds more wolves will be targeted in the coming weeks and months, threatening the very recovery of these amazing animals," the group states on its website. The group also is urging people to sign an online petition that will be sent to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, "urging him to withdraw his flawed delisting rule that prematurely removed vital protections for wolves in the northern Rockies region--before a lasting wolf recovery slips from our grasp."

Sportsmen's groups, meanwhile, are backing state wildlife agencies claiming that wolf numbers in the northern Rockies have increased to the point where the animals need to be managed, via controlled hunting, to minimize interaction with ranchers and threats to livestock.

The U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance, in an action alert sent to members, cited a recent study by Montana State University that links the reintroduction of wolves into Rocky Mountains to a decline in elk numbers in the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem.

The study, published in July, found that wolves have caused elk in the region to change their foraging habits to such an extent that herds are producing fewer calves. All elk are losing weight in the winter and the presence of wolves, the study claims, causes elk to browse more on woody shrubs or low tree branches in safer forested areas rather than grazing on grass in open meadows where they're more vulnerable to wolf predation.

Through Wednesday in Idaho, which has a statewide quota of 220, 73 wolves had been killed, one of them  by an alleged poacher. In Montana, which has a quota of 75, 12 wolves have been harvested during special back-country hunts.

-- Pete Thomas

Photo of gray wolves courtesy of Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks

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PETA targets Aquarium of the Pacific over seafood promotion

Volunteer diver Dirk Burcham waves to Sofia Ferguson, 2, at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach.

News item: People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sharply criticizes the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach for a promotion designed to help consumers make responsible choices when dining at area seafood restaurants.

A letter sent by PETA vice president Tracy Reimanto to aquarium president and CEO Jerry Schubel contained this quote: "Encouraging aquarium visitors to eat fish is like serving poodle burgers at a dog show."

Reaction: Poodle burgers sound disgusting. Seared albacore with fennel and arugula sounds wonderful. Perhaps PETA would be better served by focusing on real issues and go after, say, restaurants that serve shark-fin soup, which might thereby help to stop the brutal practice of finning --  the slicing of fins from live sharks at sea.

People are going to eat fish, and PETA cannot change that. So the Aquarium of the Pacific is to be commended, not criticized, for its "Seafood for the Future" program. It has partnered with more than a dozen restaurants so far. They've stamped their menus with logos next to seafood items that are harvested in a sustainable manner, or farmed in a way that does not harm the environment. Patrons who chose those items are rewarded with free passes to the aquarium.

Said Schubel to the Long Beach Press-Telegram: "The entire program is very consistent with our mission because we are committed to conserving wild stocks of fish. And one of the best ways to do that -- since seafood is so popular -- is to influence the choices that people make so that they will choose seafood wisely."

That mission is "to instill a sense of wonder, respect, and stewardship for the Pacific Ocean, its inhabitants and ecosystems," and the photo atop this item is just one bit of evidence that the facility is fulfilling its mission.

-- Pete Thomas

Photo: Volunteer diver Dirk Burcham waves to Sofia Ferguson, 2, at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

Note: To follow this blog on Twitter please visit @latimes.outposts

Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry targeted by PETA over views on hunting

Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry, left, and lead singer Steven Tyler share the spotlight during a concert in this 2001 file photo.

It's no secret that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is against hunting and fishing, and many believe this group's collective heart is in the right place.

But PETA might also be labeled, by some, as a cheap-shot artist specializing in juvenile criticisms against whomever falls into its cross-hairs. And anyone who hunts or fishes, especially if that person is a celebrity, is a potential target.

The latest big name to land in this category is Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry, who told Outdoor Life magazine he has enjoyed hunting since he was a kid and that he only kills what he eats. Perry further stated that "hunters are conservationists and their heads are in the right place."

PETA Senior Vice President Lisa Lange, in her blog, grabbed hold of these words and penned some lyrics of her own. They were less than kind:

"People who take out their aggressions and frustrations on helpless animals are usually compensating for other shortcomings in their life. We don't know how Joe measures up, but it's interesting that he seems to feel so satisfied when he's handling long phallic-looking weapons."

Presumably and understandably, Perry did not shoot back.

-- Pete Thomas

Photo: Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry, left, and lead singer Steven Tyler share the spotlight during a concert in this 2001 file photo. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times

Canada's seal hunt to proceed amid criticism, but with some support


Canada has its reasons for allowing the slaughter of more than 300,000 seals during an annual hunt that remains in progress in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. One is to thin the population of mammals that deplete certain stocks of fish.

Canada's Department of Fisheries and Oceans said in a statement that Canada's harp, gray and hooded seal population totals about 6.4 million, or triple what it was in the 1970s.

Thus, so the reasoning goes, thousands need to be culled so 12,000 fishermen can continue making a living (and so the furry pelts can be sold overseas for handsome profit). Critics of what many label a barbaric practice abound. But there are supporters, including scientists, who say the killings are justified, that seals are a renewable resource. 

Freelance writer Charles W. Moore, in a story for the Chronicle Herald, wrote: "Aside from sentimental idiocy fostered by the cuteness of whitecoat seal pups (which, as noted, haven’t been hunted in Canada since 1987), there is no rational reason not to hunt seals, and bringing the seal population down from its current record levels is ecologically beneficial."

Interestingly, the same could be said of California sea lions off the West Coast of the United States. They number about 300,000, up from 10,000 in the 1950s, and are believed to be at or close to historic highs. They've impacted salmon runs and are a constant nuisance and threat to the livelihoods of fishermen.

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Youth hunters unfairly targeted by PETA in wake of tragic shooting

A hunter carries two shotguns across a pasture near Pratt, Kan.

News item: An 11-year-old boy shoots and kills his father's pregnant girlfriend in Pennsylvania with a youth-model shotgun, prompting the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals to send a letter to the state's governor urging him to push for legislation that would ban hunting for people under 18.

"When parents teach their kids to hurt and kill animals -- to take lives -- they run the risk of destroying the child's sensitivity to the suffering of others," explained PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk.

Reaction: Nonsense! And shame on PETA for using an isolated tragic incident to foster its agenda and indict youth hunters around the world. Overall, children who hunt with their parents develop close family bonds and a strong conservation ethic, and they're taught to respect weapons and use them responsibly. They probably are least likely to shoot someone.

I agree with Rick Story, senior vice president of the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance, who countered, "There is not a single shred of evidence indicating hunting had anything to do with this attack."

-- Pete Thomas

Photo: A hunter carries two shotguns across a pasture near Pratt, Kan. Credit: Craig Hacker/For The Times

PETA's anti-fishing campaign reels in a whopper of a critic

Tim Pruitt of Alton, Ill., displays state-record 124-pound sea kitten, er, catfish, he reeled from the Mississippi River near Alton in 2005.

You may have heard about PETA's new anti-fishing campaign, which refers to fish as sea kittens.

The primary goal of the campaign is to steer kids away from fishing by associating fish with cute and cuddly animals. The colorful PETA website shares Sea Kitten stories, sells Sea Kitten T-shirts and implores children to join its Sea Kitten crusade.

An angler might irreverently respond that when a sea kitten grows up it becomes a catfish, which when seasoned with Cajun spice is downright delectable.

Fishermen might also point out that a big old catfish, long past its sea kitten days, is one of the ugliest denizens on earth (see photo).

But PETA has cast its campaign into the mainstream and received more than a few bites.

Ken Kurtis, owner of Reef Seekers dive shop in Beverly Hills, sent out a mass e-mail Tuesday after reading a Canderville comic in Tuesday's L.A. Times pertaining to the campaign.

Kurtis wasn't sure what the cartoon meant so he visited the PETA website "because I couldn't believe someone at an organization like PETA could seriously concoct something so stupid and insulting."

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About the Bloggers
Outposts' primary contributor is Kelly Burgess.