The voices of reason and compelling humanity have been heard by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and they are moving forward with a draft rule prohibiting the incessantly cruel operation of fox and coyote enclosures.
This “barbaric” treatment of animals, detailed in a previous column, was discussed last month at a meeting of the FWC. Major Curtis Brown, with FWC’s Captive Wildlife and Investigations Section, presented the Commission with three options for consideration:
- Prohibit the enclosures outright; or
- Continue to allow the enclosures with stricter regulations; or
Phase out the enclosures by January 2013.
The Commission heard testimony from about eighty members of the public, with comments ranging “. . . from calling the practice a ‘valued family tradition’ to a ‘cruel practice and threat to traditional hunting'”.
A “valued family tradition”? Do we value the senseless torture and killing of animals in this country and is that what we want our family legacy to be? Apparently there are those who do, but we can only hope for them the dark ages are quickly coming to a close.
In his June 24th blog posting Scott Maxwell writes, “My favorite line in today’s story about the proposal to ban fox and coyote hunting in pens came from the hunters who argued that it was important to allow them to ‘hunt’ in pens because . . . ‘letting their dogs chase prey in enclosed areas prevents them from running into roadways.’ ‘Cuz heaven knows these guys don’t want any animals getting hurt.” Is this why Hollywood often relies on reality for story ideas because in their wildest dreams they couldn’t make this stuff up?
In response to this blog posting, Mr. Maxwell received the following comment from one of his readers. “This the same hunters who leave thier animals to die in the forest every year? Every year after dog season the sides of the roads through the hunting areas are lined with hunting dogs wandering loose and abandoned, most have no collars so even if rescued they cant be returned to thier owners. so as they say ‘that dog wont hunt’. Truth is that people who hunt in fenced areas want a guaranteed kill this showing its not about sportsmanship, but about the ability to inflict pain or death on other creatures. What a way to bolster thier own ego. I would have said manhood but obviously a real man wouldnt hunt something that had no chance to win the event.”
Said Dale Middleton of Seville, Florida, “We’re not a blood-killing sport like everybody thinks we are”. Oh really? Commission Chairman Rodney Barreto must have been shaking his head when listening to all these nonsense comments from the hunting community that supports this operation.
“As long as I’ve been with the Commission, we’ve vigorously supported hunting in Florida. I don’t believe this is fair chase,” Barreto said. “I feel Florida needs to be a leader in America. We need to end the use of these enclosures and end them now.”
While this column is sickened by hunting, which we consider to be no more than legalized killing to satisfy some people’s bloodlust, we do applaud the Commission’s decision “. . . to move forward with a draft rule prohibiting the operation of fox and coyote enclosures.”
The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), which served on the 2010 FWC stakeholder committee, praised the Commission’s unanimous decision. Said Jennifer Hobgood, Florida state director for The HSUS, “We thank Chairman Rodney Barreto and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commissioners for their strong leadership and decision today to end an inherently cruel practice that has caused the needless suffering of countless animals.”
FWC staff was directed by the Commission to bring a final rule back for consideration to their September meeting in Weston, Florida (near Fort Lauderdale). In addition, FWC staff has “. . . agreed to explore further options for dog-hunting of foxes and coyotes on open public lands around the state.”
While this would appear to be the end in Florida of hunting fox and coyote in these enclosed pens we should not mark this issue as complete on our fighting animal cruelty to do list.
Mack McLeod, president of the state Houndsman Association, stated “. . . his group will continue to fight the ban.” Until the Commission issues their final vote you can expect those who perpetuate this cruelty to try and rally their supporters to change the commissioners minds. Don’t let that happen.
Continue to tell the FWC you want the final rule adopted to reflect the permanent prohibition of all operations of fox and coyote penning. You can contact the FWC at:
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Farris Bryant Building • 620 S. Meridian St. • Tallahassee, FL
32399-1600 • (850-488-4676)
While this issue places focus on a practice associated with hunting, before voting wildlife commissioners still “. . . expressed support for traditional hunting.” Today’s column supports the ending of fox and coyote penning operations, but in a broader sense we also hope people will reconsider the horrors of so-called “traditional” hunting and put an end to the pointless killing of so many animals in order for certain men to follow their caveman instincts that no longer have anything to do with the direct need for survival.
Remember, tell the Commissioners to take positive action for animals by finalizing a rule to permanently prohibit fox and coyote pens now!
Orange County Animal Services is holding its Pet Amnesty Day this Saturday. During this outreach and education event, Orange County residents with dogs and cats over four months old can receive FREE rabies vaccines (five pets maximum per household). You also can talk to their staff about pet-related issues in your community or surrender unwanted dogs or cats at this location at no cost to you.
Date: Saturday, July 10, 2010
Time: 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Location: Lila Mitchell Community Center
5151 Raleigh St., Orlando, FL 32811
For more information about this event, please call (407) 836-3111 or visit their website at www.ocnetpets.com.