People for the Ethical Treatment of Hunters

Today, I have the distinct pleasure of picking apart a little blog (I can’t in good conscience call it an article) I read last night. I also think we may need to start a new group: People for the Ethical Treatment of Hunters.

In what I can only assume is a thinly-veiled attempt to attack Paul Ryan on all things Paul Ryan, Ingrid Newkirk (co-founder and President of PETA) penned “When Paul Ryan Supports Hunting, He Turns His Back On American Values.”

Wait, don’t laugh, it gets better.

What starts out as an accusation of bribery quickly morphed into denouncing Safari Club International (SCI), talking about Cecil the Lion, attacking the Congressional Sportsman’s Caucus, implying hunting is dwindling in Ryan’s home state of Wisconsin, mocking his Catholic religion, and saying taxpayers foot the bill for hunting in America.

You can’t make this stuff up, so let’s just use facts to show Ingrid how very wrong she is.

First and foremost, hunting IS an American tradition and the values instilled in hunters are pure. When my ancestors came here in 1856, they lived off the land; hunting and fishing for their meat, farming, keeping dairy cows, and living their American dream. This country was founded by men who did for themselves and hunting is a rich tradition passed down throughout the generations in families and communities across this great nation.

Newkirk’s assertion that “Speaker Ryan would ignore public sentiment, take SCI’s money and do SCI’s bidding” as a co-sponsor of HR322 as a Representative in the Wisconsin assembly is media spin at it’s finest.

HR322 was proposed in January of 2013 by Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL) and intends to update the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976. The TSCA gives the EPA authority to require reporting, record-keeping and testing requirements, and restrictions relating to chemical substances and/or mixtures. While certain substances are excluded from TSCA, like food, drugs, cosmetics and pesticides, the law still puts unnecessary restrictions on American companies who’s components are already bound to excise taxes and manufacturing laws. Ryan signed on as co-sponsor of the bill four months later in April of 2013 and is one of 90 Republicans and 6 Democratswho support HR322 which, has been stalled since its introduction in September of 2013.

Alleging that Paul Ryan was somehow pivotal (he wasn’t) in passing this legislation (it hasn’t), Newkirk then writes “just 5 legislative days after doing what SCI wanted, Ryan accepted a $1,000 check from SCI.” The “smoking gun” she wields from also shows SCI gave $1000 to Glenn Grothman (R-WI) and $2000 to Ron Kind (D-WI) -neither of which co-sponsored HR322. Ryan’s campaign contributions in 2014 came from several industries, the least of which were hunting organizations.

I’m not going to talk about Cecil the Lion or Newkirk’s malicious vendetta against the Safari Club International, nor will I allow her to bait me into a discussion on whether or not ‘most American’s want the Congressional Sportsman’s Caucus to exist’. I will, however, address her following rhetorical question: “Do we want our national leaders supporting a hobby that teaches children to kill others?”

Ignorant, inflammatory, false statements like this are disgusting.

First of all, hunting is not a hobby, it’s a tradition and a sport. Secondly it does not teach children to “kill others”. On the contrary, part of hunter safety classes is teaching hunters young and old how to handle firearms safely.

Lastly, we are not killing ‘others’, we are harvesting meat to feed our families and to give back to our communities through programs like Hunt for the Hungry. Maybe PETA wants to contact the families who receive venison and tell them they don’t deserve donated meat, or that a over-populated deer’s starving belly hurts just as much as their children’s starving bellies.

Empathetically, of course.

On to my favorite part: hunting in Wisconsin. Newkirk claims that Paul Ryan’s support for hunting no longer represents the Dairy State, saying 2014 Wisconsin hunting license sales were the lowest they’ve been since 1976. What she fails to acknowledge is the reason for low sales. Many factors are responsible for the slump in license sales and we saw this in 2009 as well. It’s not a lack of hunters, it’s a lack of deer due to severe winters (not global warming, I assure you) and crippling regulations on hunting paired with the end of programs like Earn a Buck that encourages hunting. As Paul Smith says in the article Newkirk herself linked: For every disgruntled hunter there’s one who wouldn’t think of changing his or her annual date with the November gun season.

Moving on to attacking Catholic hunters, Newkirk writes: “Ryan’s bloodlust is also contrary to many Americans’ religious beliefs, including his own.” Funny, but there’s a little book called the Holy Bible that says, and I quote: “Now then, take your weapons, your quiver and your bow, and go out to the field and hunt game for me, and prepare for me delicious food, such as I love, and bring it to me so that I may eat, that my soul may bless you before I die.Genesis 27:3-4 ESV. To use the Pope, who is protected by armed detail and whose own speech to congress this year was co-written by the EPA, as an authority over the Bible itself is a sick bloodlust for Catholics, not hunting to feed one’s family.

Newkirk hit her lowest point when she wrote “Ryan’s zeal for hunting isn’t even representative of conservative values. Hunting celebrates death, exposes children to gun violence and wastes millions of taxpayer dollars every year through the bloated U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its state agencies. And the U.S. taxpayer foots the bill. ”

I told you we can’t make this stuff up.

Hunting is conservation, so it does emphatically represent conservative values. It does not “celebrate death.” Hunting in and of itself is a respectful appreciation for life and hunters are taught to harvest living animals in an ethical manner. Hunting does not “expose children to gun violence,” it teaches children to respect the power of firearms and to safely handle guns and their time out in nature. And hunting most certainly does not “waste millions of taxpayer dollars every year,” it injects millionsinto the economy, creates jobs, and provides children and families a sport that involves respecting and appreciating nature and God’s creation. The US taxpayer does NOT foot the bill for hunters, however hunting revenue does help wildlife conservation.

In fact The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) and the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) prove:

When you combine license and stamp fees, motorboat fuels, excise taxes on hunting and fishing equipment generated by the American System of Conservation Funding and membership contributions to conservation organizations, hunters and anglers directed $3 billion towards on-the-ground conservation and restoration efforts in 2011 – that is over $95 every second. That doesn’t include their own habitat acquisition and restoration work for lands owned or leased for the purpose of hunting and fishing, which would add another $11 billion to the mix.”

Ingrid Newkirk concludes her bitter diatribe by saying “America hates oppressors.”

It’s obvious that Newkirk and her ilk at PETA are the very definition of oppression. Using lies and twisting facts to work to end the long standing tradition of hunting in America would oppress my right to live off the land. Hunting, shooting sports, sport fishing, and even the National Rifle Association continue to enjoy a healthy level of support. Saying these are outdated and evil traditions is not only unethical, it’s oppressive.