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March 5, 2009

Wyoming Pulls the Plug on Internet Hunting

The Humane Society of the United States

The Humane Society of the United States, the nation's largest animal protection organization, today praised Gov. Dave Freudenthal for signing legislation to ban "Internet hunting," an appalling form of trophy hunting opposed by sportsmen and animal welfare advocates alike. The new law goes into effect July 1, 2009.

Rep. Seth Carson, D-Albany, introduced House Bill 207 to prohibit computer-assisted remote control hunting of animals. The law also makes it illegal to provide, sell, offer to provide, sell or use any computer software that allows a person to engage in remote control hunting.  

"The Humane Society of the United States is very grateful to the legislature for passing this important bill and to Governor Freudenthal for signing the legislation," said Heidi Hopkins, Wyoming state director of The Humane Society of the United States. "Traditional hunters know there's no sport in shooting an animal remotely while lying in bed wearing camouflage pajamas."

Wyoming is the 39th state to prohibit Internet hunting, and a federal bill expected to be introduced in the U.S. Congress this session would end Internet hunting nationwide.

Facts

  • Hunting via the Internet involves fees of more than $1,500 to schedule a session and place an order for a deer, antelope or other animal. The hunter then logs on to a website at an appointed time and watches a feeding station on the computer screen. The animal ordered is herded in front of the camera by on-site employees and the hunter uses his or her mouse to line the victim up in the on-screen crosshairs. A click of the mouse fires the rifle. The hunter's "trophy" is then shipped to his or her home.
  • The controversial practice originated in Texas with the launch of a Web site, Live-Shot.com, that allowed hunters to pay a fee and shoot captive animals on an exotic game ranch from many miles away with the click of a mouse or the few strokes of a keyboard. 
  • The HSUS is active in advocating for state legislation to combat Internet hunting — 39 states, including Texas, now ban the practice.

Timeline

  • 2009 – Wyoming enacts ban on Internet hunting. Connecticut has pending legislation.
  • 2008 – Three states (Florida, Oklahoma and Utah) enact bans on Internet hunting.
  • 2007 – Nine states (Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Nebraska and Oregon) enact bans on Internet hunting.
  • 2006 – Twelve states (Alabama, Colorado, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Rhode Island and South Carolina) enact bans on Internet hunting.
  • 2005 – Fourteen states (California, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin) enact bans on Internet hunting.
  • June 2005 – Texas bans the practice of Internet hunting, effectively shutting down Live-Shot.com.
  • March 2005 – Virginia becomes the first state to outlaw the practice of Internet hunting.
  • Jan. 2005 – Entrepreneur John Lockwood starts Live-Shot.com Web site, which offers hunters the opportunity to kill animals online.

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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the web at humanesociety.org.

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