Monday's hunting trip to Pennsylvania by Vice President Dick Cheney in which he reportedly shot more than 70 stocked pheasants and an unknown number of mallard ducks at an exclusive private club places a spotlight on an increasingly popular and deplorable form of hunting, in which birds are pen-reared and released to be shot in large numbers by patrons. The ethics of these hunts are called into question by rank-and-file sportsmen, who hunt animals in their native habitat and do not shoot confined or pen-raised animals that cannot escape.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported today that 500 farm-raised pheasants were released yesterday morning at the Rolling Rock Club in Ligonier Township for the benefit of Cheney's 10-person hunting party. The group killed at least 417 of the birds, illustrating the unsporting nature of canned hunts. The party also shot an unknown number of captive mallards in the afternoon.
I’m not a hunter, and never will be, but my wife’s grandfather and uncles duck-hunt and I suppose that’s fine for them. But what Cheney does is the equivelent to shooting fish in a barrel. That’s not hunting—that’s skeet shooting with living targets. And I'm not the only one who thinks so...
"This wasn't a hunting ground. It was an open-air abattoir, and the vice president should be ashamed to have patronized this operation and then slaughtered so many animals," states Wayne Pacelle, a senior vice president of The Humane Society of the United States. "If the Vice President and his friends wanted to sharpen their shooting skills, they could have shot skeet or clay, not resorted to the slaughter of more than 400 creatures planted right in front of them as animated targets."
Does one get bored after shooting their 30th pheasant? The 40th? 60th?
That’s a callous disregard for life that speaks of sociopathy. That’s not a kid killing or torturing animals that’s the supposed moral leadership of the country gunning down living birds for shits and giggles.
A serious question: When somebody can suit up for the day and kill fifty to a hundred of anything—where does one draw a line? Birds only? Or would Cheney and pals shoot deer in a corral? Big game in a zoo? It’s the stuff of science fiction—but these are the kind of maniacs that would be hunting people if they could.
I don't think it's a stretch to say that it's no wonder these fucking cavemen can send people off to war without a second thought. Pro-fucking-Life my ass. It's all about personal gratification and nothing else. Nobody that would spend a weekend mindlessly slaughtering animals for fun (not even sport) should be entrusted with life and death decisions about anything. There is something fundamentally wrong with a person like that.
And as far as the guy he shot, if this was one of those expeditions and he was a party to it, any sympathy for him just flew out the window. Every one of them should receive a nice “peppering” of birdshot.
A 78 year old asshole is every bit as deserving as a cage-raised quail.
UPDATE: Posted a varition of this as a diary at Kos, and it got over 250 comments. In case you're interested...
Also, more at pharyngula:
Blowing away a horde of pen-raised animals, released in front of you to scurry into your gunsights, is not a sport. It's disgusting bloody-mindedness, a lazy, cowardly, vicious sort of abuse.
They say that torturing and killing helpless animals is one of the signs of a sadistic sociopath. Somehow, it's fitting that our vice-president is the kind of guy who takes glee in unfeeling butchery.
firedoglake has several excellent posts on the whole thing. just go and scroll...