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Can It! Say NO to The Sportsmanship in Hunting Act of 2005

November 14, 2005 | Animal Rights / Hunting & Wildlife Management / Hunting Ranches

Let's Stop Promoting "Man's Dominion" Over Nonhuman Life

On 9 February 2005, Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) introduced a bill (S. 304) with the short title "The Sportsmanship in Hunting Act of 2005." Proponents of the bill claim it will "crack down on 'canned hunts,' the abhorrent practice of confining tame, exotic animals in an enclosed space and shooting them at close range." [1] As Senator Lautenberg has acknowledged, it is important to note what the bill does and does not do.

What the Bill Would NOT Do

By its own terms, the bill would not prohibit the stalking and killing of any birds, such as doves, turkeys, quails and pheasants, nor any native mammals, such as white-tailed deer and elk. Yet these animals make up the vast majority of animals killed on hunting ranches.

The bill, if passed, would not forbid killing exotic (non-native) mammals in enclosures of less than 1,000 acres, including animals on 2,437 ranches, in Texas [3] alone, which have 2005 Hunting Lease Licenses for 1,000+ acres. Additionally, of the more than 8,000 total ranches licensed for hunting by the state of Texas, all could offer native mammals and birds.

The exempted hunting ranches — those with 1,000 or more acres — are offering exotic animals, including those in danger of extinction, such as scimitar-horned oryx, addax and dama gazelle.

The bill does nothing to impede hunters from frequenting private hunting ranches.

What the Bill Would Do

If passed, the bill would provide a cover of legitimacy to trophy hunting ranches over 1,000 acres.

S. 304 glorifies the hunting industry with the label of "sportsmanship."

Any hunter's success is a violent act, forced on an unwilling animal.

As its title suggests, it accepts the concept of "fair chase" formulated by the Boone and Crocket Club, which Theodore Roosevelt founded to promote competition for antlers, horns and skulls. The "fair chase" is "intended to enhance the hunter's experience."[2] Within such a paradigm, the nonhuman interest in life and freedom is never seriously considered.

In our quest to obtain respect for animals, we don't need conflicting messages. We need strong, unequivocal advocacy.

Can The Act That Sells Out Endangered Antelopes
The Sportsmanship in Hunting Act impedes the effort to protect and respect endangered antelopes and other animals.

In 2005, pressed by legal action from Friends of Animals, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed as endangered the scimitar-horned oryx, addax, and dama gazelle. These antelopes, native to arid northern Africa, are now all highly endangered due to habitat destruction caused by agribusiness, armed conflict, mining, and poaching.

Private canned-hunting ranches in the United States, mainly in Texas, breed and keep some of these antelopes, and charge tourists for the opportunity to take home trophies. It is hypocritical in the extreme to refer to U.S. tourists who kill these antelopes as "sportsmen," while identifying African hunters of the same animals as poachers.

Yet, pressed by ranchers, the government exempted U.S.-bred antelopes from their "endangered" designation. With a few limited requirements, the new rule allows any person to kill, export, or sell live antelopes.

Plotting of ranches with over 1,000 acres with 2005 Texas Hunting Lease Licenses

Plotting of ranches with over 1,000 acres with 2005 Texas Hunting Lease Licenses
Data used to plot this map was provided by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Members and supporters of Friends of Animals thank the Environmental Law Clinical Partnership of the University of Denver for their steadfast work in the legal challenge to keep all antelopes the highest level of legal protection possible.

S. 304 would provide a cover of legitimacy to thousands of trophy hunting ranches, including ones with endangered antelopes, such as:
777 Ranch (TX)
15,000 acres
scimitar-horned oryx and addax

Canoe Creek Ranch (KY)
15,000 acres
scimitarhorned oryx and addax

Casa Grand Game Ranch (TX)
3,700 acres

Circle E Ranch (TX)
2,000 acres
scimitarhorned oryx and addax

Comanche Spring Ranch (TX)
5,400 acres
scimitar-horned oryx

Continental Ranch (TX)
47,000 acres
scimitarhorned oryx and addax

Diamond K Ranch (TX)
5,000 acres
scimitar-horned oryx and addax

High Adventure Ranch (MO)
1,000 acres
scimitar-horned oryx and addax

Indianhead Ranch (TX)
10,000 acres
scimitar-horned oryx and addax

More or Less Game Ranch (TX)
1,200 acres
scimitar- horned oryx

Wild Horse Prairie Ranches (TX)
7,500 acres
scimitar-horned oryx

Y.O. Ranch (TX)
60,000 acres
scimitar-horned oryx and addax

Please encourage your legislators to oppose this bill. You can locate your Senators through or write to them at:

The Honorable ______________
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
Congressional Switchboard 202-224-3121


  1. "Take Action: Stop Canned Hunting," The Humane Society of the United States
  2. "Fair Chase Statement," Boone and Crocket Club
  3. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department report of Hunting License Leases report 31 August 2005


I can't stand all of this inhumanity! Hunting altogether should be banned! Animals and the environment are very important to this world and without them we WILL die! Every being has its purpose and none of us are here to be tortured, slaughtered or eaten. Say NO to hunting! Thank you Friends Of Animals, for your continued efforts on behalf of our animals, our friends, our family.

Canned hunting is a disgrace, and those that participate in this so called "sport" are nothing more than mere cowards. If these people need the thrill of the hunt, they should sign up for a tour in Iraq. However, remember, the prey in Iraq, has the capability to shoot back, making it a "real sport," where only real "men" need apply. Instead of these cowards, running to purchase hunting licenses, lets see how fast these hunters make it to their local military recruiter where there really needed, if they must kill. I'd be willing to bet these macho, tough guys, don't want any part of this sport! And oh yes...before you tell me to sign up for duty...I already served my year in hell, in a place called Vietnam, where I had to fight and survive an equally skilled hunter. [Blog editor's note: The comment begs the question why anyone should "need the thrill of the hunt." The concept of masculinity seems to be part of the problem when a form of violence is linked with "real men." Replacing a hunting license with a stint in the military will only change who is being pursued, while still imposing violence on animals -- with humans in place of non-humans. ]

Canned hunting is not sportsmanship. It is a cruel, inhumane and unnecessary method of killing animals in confined quarters.

How can you say sportsmanship? This is the furthest from sportsmanship. This bill allows the killing of innocent creatures, for what, your own enjoyment, satisfaction, sick pleasure? It's disgusting.

I hope for a better day for all animals, a day when humans respect all forms of life. "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." - Mohandas Gandhi Sherry Marsh adds: Please, no more senseless hunting.

Canned Hunts are cruel and inhumane. PLEASE STOP them.

they say that hunting is a sport.sporting events are equal on each side the only way that "hunting" can fill this,is when the animal also has a gun.then it is equal.any man that can get up at the crack of dawn ,spend countless money on special clothing freeze,while he "hides"in a tree or shrubs,just to say that he out smart a defenceless animal is really a .........It takes a big man to do that.

NO. Stop the cruelty.

Bloodlust is barbaric in ANY form! This is just the gladiator mentallity updated for the 21st century.

How easy it is for hunters to dismiss what they do - often by calling it part of * conservation * or * pest control * when the simple fact of what is going on - is a love of killing - anything and everything. How sad it is that this is the sort of people who are putting into the minds of the children, who will take over the care of our world and all who live on it's lands and in it's waters once we are gone, that this is normal and acceptable treatment of our wildlife ! To hear the words out of the mouth of an 8 year old saying that she loves animals, and is so glad she ' got one ' when she was given permission to kill a bear ! This is SICK ! It disgusts me - IT FRIGHTENS ME ! These animals were not put on this earth for us to exploit - the lack of respect for animal life seen by hunters is horrifying to say the least. * Oh which head will I keep * says one hunter who killed two bear cubs - proceeded to tease the dogs with them ... throwing the smallest to the dogs so they can tear it to shreds ! How brave would these people be - if the animals could shoot back ? If one goes out and kills a deer, uses the leather and eats the meat - well I can turn my head to that .... better than buying a cow from the supermarket ! However I believe that the majority of people who hunt for meat, have a whole different attitude towards and respect for the animals they take - unlike the selfish beasts who kill for bloodsport fix only to the skin or the head !


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