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North Dakota Hunters Speak out in Favor of Measure 2

National animal welfare groups also support Measure 2

The Humane Society Legislative Fund, the political arm of The Humane Society of the United States, has released television ads to run throughout the state between now and Election Day featuring licensed North Dakota hunters who support Measure 2, which would ban the killing of captive deer and elk in fenced enclosures from which they cannot escape. The practice, known as “canned hunting,” is one opposed by responsible sportsmen and animal welfare advocates, and the ad from the Humane Society Legislative Fund demonstrates the unusual alliance.

“One cannot stage a dogfight on their property and claim property rights as a defense,” said Craig Schmidt, a lifelong hunter from Minot, N.D., who appears in the TV ad. “Shooting a tame animal within a fence is just not acceptable even if it’s done on private property, and it has nothing to do with real hunting.”

Voters in Montana approved a similar measure a decade ago, and nearly half the states have banned or restricted captive hunts, including leading hunting states Alabama, Tennessee and Wyoming. This week, Theodore Roosevelt IV, a lifelong hunter and great grandson of the former president, wrote an opinion piece for a North Dakota newspaper indicating how this practice is at odds with the moral standards of hunting and of any fair-minded person.

Michael Markarian, president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund, said, “Shooting hand-fed animals in a fenced enclosure, in guaranteed kill arrangement, is unsporting, unfair and inhumane. The true sportsmen of North Dakota stand together with animal welfare advocates in opposing this mockery of hunting.”

Neither the HSLF nor HSUS played any role in writing or qualifying Measure 2, but both groups support the measure. The measure was advanced by rank-and-file hunters in North Dakota, operating behind North Dakota Hunters for Fair Chase, which gathered nearly 14,000 signatures of voters to qualify the petition for the November ballot. A number of other major hunting organizations, including the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, support Measure 2. The four hunters featured in the ad are not affiliated with the group of sportsmen who qualified the petition, but they are avid hunters and North Dakota residents, and they also wanted to speak out on the subject.

As canned hunting operations from around the nation infused the opposition campaign with funds, HSLF could no longer sit by and see the sportsmen’s group outspent and the issue misrepresented.

“Like Measure 2, this ad campaign is designed to level the playing field,” said Markarian. “We want North Dakota voters to make an informed decision on this measure, and we are confident that they will favor this narrow and sensible reform once they see the range of support this measure has.”

To view the advertisement, click here.

Media Contacts: Craig Schmidt, North Dakota hunter featured in advertisement supporting Measure 2: 701-509-6843, or Pepper Ballard, HSUS public relations: 240-751-0232, pballard@humanesociety.org

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