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June 21, 2011

New Undercover Investigation Reveals Tame and Drugged Animals Shot for Trophies at Captive Hunts

Posing as hunters, The Humane Society of the Unites States’ undercover investigations unit traveled to captive hunting ranches in Texas and New York and to the live exotic animal auctions that supply these operations. The unethical and cruel practices were detailed in the television special, “Animal Planet Investigates: Captive Hunting Exposed,” which aired June 20.  The undercover investigation documented wildlife and exotic mammals at private trophy-hunting ranches held behind high fences so shooters, spending thousands of dollars, can kill the semi-tame, captive animals. The HSUS investigation also filmed exotic animal auctions in Texas, where animals are trucked in and sold--often to captive killing operations.

Footage showed one captive hunt operator admitting that he drugged animals at the ranch with tranquilizers. It also showed exotic animals ranging from a kangaroo to the endangered scimitar-horned Oryx offered for trophies. Investigators found animals so tame that they could walk up and hug them, while other animals were trained to visit feeding stations so shooters could kill them over bait. At the auction, investigators saw terrified animals pulled by their horns or legs into bidding rings and another animal that did not survive the arduous trip to the auction.

“These cruel shooting galleries will do anything to ensure that anyone who is willing to pay the price is able to kill rare trophy animals under the most unscrupulous circumstances, including drugging the animal,” said Andrew Page senior director of the Wildlife Abuse Campaign for The HSUS. “From Texas to New York, lawmakers need to get serious about prohibiting this barbaric practice.”

The investigation took place at the following facilities:

Cold Brook Hunts – Homer, N.Y.
Easton View Outfitters – Valley Falls, N.Y.
Creekside Outdoors – Forestville, N.Y.
Action Outdoor Adventures – Hondo, Texas

To crack down on captive hunts, Reps. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., and Brad Sherman, D-Calif., have introduced the Sportsmanship in Hunting Act (H.R. 2210) that prohibits the interstate trade of exotic mammals for the purpose of killing them for trophies or entertainment in fenced areas smaller than 1,000 acres, and also bans remote-controlled hunting of animals offered via the Internet. Original cosponsors of the bill also include Reps. Jim Moran, D-Va., George Miller, D-Calif., and Jim Langevin, D-R.I.

For footage of The HSUS investigation, click here: http://video.humanesociety.org/video/1010446395001/

Facts

  • At more than 1,000 commercial captive hunt operations in the United States, trophy hunters pay to shoot exotic mammals — from zebra to endangered scimitar-horned Oryx — confined in fenced enclosures.
  • Captive hunting ranches offer guaranteed trophies and often advertise "no kill, no pay" policies.
  • The animals on these ranches have frequently been bottle fed and have little or no fear of humans, making them easy targets for shooters.
  • Twenty-six states prohibit or restrict captive hunts.
  • In 2000, Montana voters approved a ballot initiative to ban captive hunting. The leading supporters of this campaign were lifelong hunters, including members of the Montana Wildlife Federation, the Montana Bowhunters Association and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. 

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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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