Where conservation groups stand on hunting

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Where do nation's top conservation groups stand on hunting?

Tuesday, October 30

By Ad Crable, Lancaster New Era Staff Writer.


  The umbrella of groups committed to conservation grows ever larger. On one hand, we are all in this together and it would seem wise to support as many conservation efforts as possible.

But what if you are a hunter and the group wants to save wild land but is opposed to hunting? Do you overlook the group's stance and send a check because the bottom line is open space and wildlife habitat are being preserved?

Or do you slam your wallet shut in a huff in the belief you would be underwriting the "anti's?"

Without editorial comment, the National Shooting Sports Foundation has assembled a scorecard of 21 conservation-related groups, giving each's stance on hunting.

Here's a summary of "What They Say About Hunting." The full booklet is available for $1 and may be ordered from the NSSF's Internet Web site, http://www.nssf.org

American Forests, world leader in tree planting for environmental restoration. Hunting and fishing under proper regulation are valuable tools in the professional management of forest ecosystems and are legitimate forms of forest recreation.

American Humane Association, dedicated to the prevention of cruelty, especially for children and animals. Opposed to the hunting of any living creature for fun, trophy or for simple sport. Not opposed to killing of animals as last resort to manage wildlife, but should be performed by "responsible officials."

The Humane Society of the United States, dedicated to the ethical stewardship of wildlife and its environment. Strongly opposed to "game" hunting. Not opposed to killing of animals for the welfare of wildlife, but such killing should be done by officials. Not opposed to hunting for subsistence.

The Fund for Animals, dedicated to animal protection. Recreational killing of wildlife "piteously unfair and cruel slaughter of innocent animals; also ecologically destructive."

Friends of Animals, dedicated to "protecting animals from cruelty, abuse and institutionalized exploitation." Opposes hunting in all forms for being "cruel, deceitful, socially unjustifiable and ecologically disruptive."

Defenders of Wildlife, dedicated to restoration and protection of all species of wildlife and their habitats. Neither anti- or pro-hunting. Has opposed hunting of some species and feels national wildlife refuges should be managed for nonconsumptive purposes.

Delta Waterfowl Foundation, supports waterfowl populations, sponsors wildlife research and promotes conservation of natural resources, especially aquatic areas. "Openly and proudly supports hunting" and "legacy of waterfowl hunting."

Ducks Unlimited, mission to aid waterfowl by enhancing and protecting wetlands and associated uplands. Strongly supports hunting "as a recreational activity, tool of wildlife management and a wholesome family activity."

International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, committed to conservation, protection and management of wildlife and related natural resources. Supports properly regulated hunting as appropriate management technique for fish and wildlife.

The Izaak Walton League of America, committed to conservation of soil, forest, water and other natural resources and promotion of their use. Supports hunting as a valuable management tool. Hunting seasons should be set based in assuring healthy reproducing populations of game species and a balance of predatory animals and birds.

National Audubon Society, dedicated to promoting conservation of wildlife and the natural environment. Not opposed to hunting if done ethically and doesn't deplete the resource. Has advocated restrictions on hunting when convinced welfare of a species requires it, based on sound scientific information.

The National Rifle Association of America, strives to protect rights of individuals to use firearms. "Proper hunting is in complete accord with the moral tenets of man and the historical facts of existence."

The National Wildlife Federation, committed to protecting nature and wildlife. Supports hunting, considers wildlife populations as a renewable resource and urges hunters and nonhunters to unite because fundamental problem facing wildlife is not hunting but habitat destruction.

Outdoors Writers Association of America, organization of professional communicators. Recognizes legal hunting as an appropriate use of natural resources.

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, works to protect elk, other wildlife and their habitat. Strongly supports hunting.

The Sierra Club, protects wild places. Believes responsible use of the earth's resources can include properly regulated hunting.

The Wilderness Society, seeks to preserve wilderness and prevent degradation of federal lands. Views hunting as a legitimate use in wilderness areas and federal lands.

The Wildlife Legislative Fund of America, defends hunting, fishing, trapping and scientific wildlife management. Combats animal-rights movement. Believes regulated hunting is a "wholesome recreation experience and reliable wildlife management tool."

The Wildlife Management Institute, private educational organization to advance professional management of natural resources. Strongly supports hunting as a "legitimate, healthful and worthwhile recreational activity."

The Wildlife Society, represents professional wildlife and conservation researchers. Supports hunting as a useful, biologically sound way to remove surplus animals that usually outstrip available habitat.

World Wildlife Fund, worldwide conservation organization to protect rare and endangered species around the world. Does not oppose hunting by indigenous peoples to meet basic needs or regulated hunting in U.S. that does not threaten any species.
 
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