Canned Hunting The Unknown Cruelty Of Animals 

Within the United States the growing multi-billion-dollar industry of canned hunting is on the increase within 28 states, there is no current legislation or policy that regulates this form of hunting on a federal level. (2) Canned hunting is a form of hunting where an animal, normally exotic mammals, are put into an enclosed area to be obtained as a trophy. The industry involves going to a game reserve, paying to hunt, and then hunting the animals within the closed space. (11) This form of hunting typically involves the animal being shot in the chest or related areas then bleeding out to avoid injuring the head for the trophy. It is one of the most painful ways for an animal to die and most consider it to be animal cruelty but no policies are regualing what animals they can canned hunt and when or where for a majority of states. (3)

Currently there are multiple regulations on hunting in open areas and licences/permits need to hunt, but none for canned hunts. Only a few states such as Wyoming, Arizona, and Alabama have acknowledged canning as a problem and begin implementing policies at a state level to regulate it. (9) Nationally, there is the Fish and Wildlife Service which doesn't prohibit the private ownership of endangered animals which allows for canned hunting with any animal privately owned. (2) This is where the problem and issue begins, because of the private ownership allowing for animal cruelty whichout proper regulations. The second largest private landowner Ted Turner had created a massive business around a motto of promoting conservation while making a profit off of canned hunting of bison, deer, African antelopes, and turkeys. ( 7) Furthermore, there are estimated by the Humane Society of the United States that more than 1,000 canned hunting operation like Turners, and it’s increasing greatly since 2017. (2)

While some states are beginning regulation, most states like Texas are supporting and profiting off of the industry. Within Texas, one of the largest canning hunting states(1), there are approximately 4,000 tigers while around 3,820 of those represent the decline of tigers in the wild.(6) It’s also known that in Texas there are 500 hunting ranches that practice canned hunting and the state allows for exotic animal hunts to occur there. (6) This all represents the increasing of an industry that support the abuse and cruelty of animals.

Additionally, the issue of canned hunting has not been addressed as animal welfare or the negative effects it has on the surrounding environments. (11) Canned hunting occurs on game farms or hunting ranches filled with animals from overpopulated zoos, circus, or imported. (1) These places have a direct connect to natural parks and forests unlike the natural environment the animals come from, resulting in the spread of diseases from the captive and wild animals. (12) This makes the issue of canned hunting extreme as animals within nature parks get spread diseases dangerous. As such occurred in Indiana at a captive (canning) faclicitie, where the captive animal had widespread diseases like bovine tuberculosis and chronic wasting disease. (13) Although, first steps were taken through the Public Trust Doctrine for Canada and the United States for the management of wildlife. (10) This doesn’t necessarily apply to the privately owned canning hunting or practices within the 28 states that have no regulation state wide.

At the time, the Trump Admission had formed an advisory board in 2017 that was for the increasing of recreational trophy and captive hunting(4), which includes canned hunting. Within the International Wildlife Conservation Council (IWCC) those on Trump’s admission claimed that the general sport of hunting is a commendable method of conservation.(5) Furthermore, Trump then pushed forward with a policy that supports increasing hunting in national parks. All of the above would promote policies that would increase the industry for canning hunting and the animal cruelty involved.(4)

Along with the Animal Welfare Act (regulation of the treatment of animals in research,transport, exhibition, etc.)(14), Endangered Species Act (prohibits any negative treatment of endangered animals or their habits)(15), and Humane Slaughter Act (policy to decrease the suffering of livestock animals)(16) there needs to be a policy directly relating to canned hunting because none of these Acts or any previous Doctrines can be used to directly regulate or prevent canned hunting.

Purpose and Research Question

The purpose of this research paper is to examine the policy options in regulation canned hunting at a state and federal level to decrease environmental impact and animal cruelty experienced. At this time only a few states (Wyoming, Arizona, Alabrama, Minnosoda, Delaware, etc.) have any regulation such as size of enclosures, transportation of animals, and the actual hunting practices. (10) The ultimate goal is to have a policy or policies that would regulate it nationally with an increase in regulation on private land owning practices, who make a large profit off of the animals.

In order to achieve a complete elimination of canned hunting it would take extremely strong legislation and it should be established the classification of animals used for canning hunting.(10) Due to the fact that those animals are treated like livestock but don’t apply under the Humane Slaughter Act, but they’re not wild animals there is not complete classification for them. All of this is another reason for the establishment of policies throughout the states.

The research question for this paper will include the following: 1) What are the best policies against canned hunting at a state level? 2) What are the best policies at a federal level? 3) What would be the best way to regulation and enforce the policies throughout the states? 4)How would the policies be implemented on private land ownerships?

When looking toward the options, it should be kept in mind that the policies are not to completely eliminate the practice of canned hunting because it’s still an economical industry. Although the options would be ways to gradually change canned hunting from being a “unfair chase” with animal curitlity(7) to being “fair” to the animals in their living and hunting conditions.

07 September 2020
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