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January 11, 2011

Legislation Introduced to Prohibit Fox and Coyote Pens

New poll reveals Indiana voters overwhelmingly support prohibitions on penning and canned hunts

The Humane Society of the United States applauds Reps. Dave Cheatham, D-69, and Linda Lawson, D-1, for introducing House Bill 1135 to prohibit fox and coyote pens in Indiana. Pens are fenced enclosures where dogs are released to chase down captive foxes and coyotes, often in competitions. The dogs often kill the fenced wildlife, leading to a constant demand to buy wildlife to restock enclosures. 

A statewide survey conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, Inc. has revealed that Indiana voters strongly support, by 85 to 9 percent, legislation to prohibit the practice of fox and coyote penning in Indiana.  The survey results were consistent in every political demographic, with all political affiliations expressing iron-clad opposition to penning and support for legislation to ban it. 

The poll comes after the Indiana Natural Resources Commission voted in November to permit fox and coyote penning facilities with the provision that no new enclosures will be permitted after January 2012.  This regulation is pending.   

“As a lifelong sportsman and hunter, I believe that the issue of ‘penning’ foxes and coyotes should be publicly debated and addressed by the General Assembly,” Rep. Cheatham said. “This practice represents a fundamental departure from past practices in our state. It is important enough be determined by the Legislature. I am hopeful that my colleagues in the House and Senate will allow this issue to move through the process.”

“We thank Representatives Cheatham and Lawson for introducing legislation that would shut down a cruel practice before it spreads in our state,” stated Anne Sterling, Indiana state director for The HSUS. “Voters want a strong, clear policy that prohibits this staged animal cruelty that has absolutely no legitimate role in conservation.”

The statewide survey also revealed that voters widely support pursuing a complete prohibition on canned hunts, fenced enclosures where hand-fed animals are shot to be used as trophies.  

The survey of 625 Indiana voters was conducted statewide from Dec. 14 through Dec. 16, 2010. The margin of error is plus or minus four percent. The questions and results are below. 

QUESTION: Many hunters oppose the shooting of captive animals for sport or trophies at so-called “canned hunts,” because it violates the ethic of sportsmanship and fair chase.  Do you support or oppose the practice canned hunts where captive large animals like deer, elk and exotic non-native mammals are shot in enclosures?

 

STATE

MEN

WOMEN

DEMS

REPS

INDS

SUPPORT

10%

15%

6%

5%

16%

9%

OPPOSE

80%

73%

86%

89%

75%

76%

UNDECIDED

10%

12%

8%

6%

9%

15%

QUESTION: In 2006, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources limited the number of canned hunts permits to the 12 then operating in Indiana.  Some have proposed that the DNR prohibit the practice completely. Do you support or oppose the complete prohibition of canned hunts in the state of Indiana?

 

STATE

MEN

WOMEN

DEMS

REPS

INDS

SUPPORT

81%

72%

89%

89%

75%

79%

OPPOSE

9%

12%

6%

4%

15%

8%

UNDECIDED

10%

16%

5%

7%

10%

13%

QUESTION: Another canned hunt practice is called fox penning.  Captured wild foxes and coyotes are placed in fenced enclosures where packs of dogs are judged on how they chase down the captive foxes and coyotes. The dogs often kill the fenced wildlife during the competition. Do you support or oppose for the practice of fox and coyote penning?                                         

 

STATE

MEN

WOMEN

DEMS

REPS

INDS

SUPPORT

8%

11%

5%

5%

9%

10%

OPPOSE

87%

82%

91%

91%

84%

86%

UNDECIDED

5%

7%

4%

4%

7%

4%

QUESTION: Would you support state legislation to ban the practice of fox and coyote penning in the state of Indiana?

 

STATE

MEN

WOMEN

DEMS

REPS

INDS

SUPPORT

85%

79%

90%

90%

81%

84%

OPPOSE

9%

12%

6%

5%

12%

10%

UNDECIDED

6%

9%

4%

5%

7%

6%

Fox and Coyote Pens           

  • On Nov. 16, 2010, the Natural Resources Commission accepted a regulation package to allow pens with the amendment that no new permits will be issued after January 2012.  The NRC is currently taking public comment on the rule.
  • On March 16, 2010, the NRC voted to accept the Department of Natural Resources recommendation to prohibit pens, but two weeks prior to a vote on a prohibition regulation, the NRC chose to abandon the proposal in favor of a task force to examine current pens operating.
  • Indiana has one known fox and coyote pen and has hosted as many as a handful in the past.
  • On July 16, 2008, the NRC passed a regulation to stop the trade of live coyotes to stock pens in other states.  The NRC took the position that selling live animals to pens in other states can be cruel, commercializes Indiana’s wildlife and is a wildlife disease threat.
  • The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission prohibited pens by law in September 2010.
  • Regulating pens through permits has proved unsuccessful in the limited states that host pens.  Wildlife officials cite consistent illegal activity related to violating permits.  In the past few years, major state investigations have led to 50 arrests and more than 1,000 citations issued to those involved in operating pens.
  • Five major Indiana newspapers have editorialized in support of a complete prohibition of fox and coyote pens.

Canned Hunts

  • In recent sessions, legislators have introduced legislation to overturn efforts to phase out canned hunts in Indiana.  Indiana is the only legislature where legislation has been introduced to legalize these facilities.
  • Canned hunts offer “no kill, no pay” opportunities for individuals to shoot a tame, fenced animal to be used as a trophy.
  • Captive hunting facilities are directly responsible for spreading Chronic Wasting Disease and other wildlife diseases that can affect wild deer populations and devastate the state economically.
  • About half of U.S. states have complete prohibitions on canned hunts.

-30-

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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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