Monthly Archives: December 2015

Short Hills Deer Hunt Supporters – Taking Refuge In Lies

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The sheer size of these vehicles means that they are incompatible with the ecosphere of a park.

The sheer size of these vehicles means that they are incompatible with the ecosphere of a park. Consider that there may be 20-30 of these trucks driving around the park each day of the hunt.  There are no limits on the number of hunters or vehicles in the park on any hunt day.

Written by:  Heather Clemenceau

Photos by: Short Hills Wildlife Alliance

“Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted”

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson ~

Nothing like putting things in perspective.

Throughout the 2015 Short Hills Park deer slaughter, hunt supporters collectively jumped on the martyrdom bandwagon. Spurious claims of racism and abuse of hunt supporters are all ridiculous and cannot stand the barest scrutiny. The complainants, who include Brock University students, native hunt supporters, Food Not Bombs, HALT (Hamilton/Halton Animal Liberation Team), and Christian Peacemaker Teams, are consistently unable to support a single slanderous claim of their own making with a photograph or video of abuse or misbehaviour by the hunt protesters. At the start of the hunt several of them finally decided to go for the whole loaf and slandered us on CFBU Brock University Student Radio. And when confronted about the accusations, the student radio organizers hastily yanked the program.

Evidently not one of these counter protesters can grasp the significance of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s quote above. There is no person or culture that is or should be immune to critique – the charge of racism against those who are opposed to the hunt is just an updated, politically correct version of the cry of blasphemy – a fashionable position for those who want to mask their role as censors. My view is that criticism of the deer hunt or the hunters can never be off limits. In addition, this particular issue invites scrutiny because the counter protesters make claims that are put before the public that they urge the public to accept, via the student radio program and various social media channels. Left unchecked, these false claims equate the anti-hunting position with racism, while the narratives of others are hushed, creating an unmanageable template for the future. To our knowledge, no organizers of the student radio program asked for proof from these students, nor did they attempt to contact anyone from the Short Hills Wildlife Alliance for a rebuttal. The original broadcast is gone, but a copy is presented here and annotated with the most objectional statements:

Listen to the CFBU Brock University Student Radio Show:

 

 

1:34“It’s a spiritual hunt, they use every part of the deer.” (this does not explain the bag of deer skins nor the deer heart and other body parts found in the park immediately after the 2014 hunt.  And they certainly don’t use the deer who have been injured and escaped to die a lingering death).

2:50“It’s a bit of a mixed bag of protesters.”  (The most unintentionally ironic and laughable sound bite of each hunt. Lather, rinse, and repeat).

3:48“Their [anti-hunt] signs read all sorts of derogatory comments, derogatory language, quite a hostile and intense experience last year.” (Amazingly, no one supporting the hunt has presented any photographic or video evidence of derogatory comments or language at any hunt at Short Hills – because they never happened and don’t exist. Mouths open, lies come out).

4:19 – “It was a very aggressive time, folks would jump into the backs of the vehicles, people were spat on, antennas were broken, people opened the doors to get into the cars, children were intimidated.” (Once again, where is the evidence? Why did the police not remove or charge any of the anti-hunt protesters? Everything at the hunt is videotaped by the OPP/Niagara Regional Police, and this is the age of smart phones – evidence,  if it exists,  is easy enough to capture. Have any of these infantile, flower-child idealists noticed that the demonstrators they refer to are virtually all middle-aged and well-educated professional people, mostly women, who would never consider leaping into a truck bed, snapping off an antenna, or yanking open a door with two or more hunters inside the vehicle with unencased weapons? (personally,  my Ninja days are long over – it’s been several years since I could leap into the bed of a truck and wrestle hunters with my bare  hands, while ripping off an antenna with my teeth). Spitting is an assault, and such records, if they actually existed, would be trivially easy to source through FOIA requests. I have never even seen children at either of the protests I’ve attended (if you’re old enough to smoke, you are not a child). This particular segment of the audio is the most fanciful invention yet. One can only wonder what inaccurate generalizations will be made next year if there is a hunt).

5:26“The more supporters were there, the more the protest would de-escalate.” (Of course, when you make shit up, the reality that you actually see at the hunt gives the impression that the peacemakers have actually accomplished something when they have in fact done nothing).

6:40“The peace food table will be provided by community members.” (Yes, and they ask for the public’s donations in order to feed themselves).

The hunters and their supporters all use Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook to convince the public that the anti-hunt demonstrators are hostile and violent. Of course, anyone with critical thinking skills would start to wonder why the scant photos they do provide do not support the subtext.

 

Food Not Bombs, the organizers of the “peace food table,” carries with it a profound history of social unrest. The group may even be on the FBI’s domestic terrorist watch. Food Not Bombs serves almost exclusively vegan food (no meat, dairy or other animal products (at least when it’s convenient), in an attempt to show their stance towards nonviolence against animals. However,  they seem to have little difficulty with the serving of venison at the “peace food table.”

As it turns out, the “peacemakers” charged with protecting the hunters from the protesters might not be so peaceable after all. The Christian Peacemaker Teams’ Twitter feed about the protest also perpetuated numerous overtly false or misleading statements about the protesters. A religious extremist group with

Poaching is now a regular occurrence on the outskirts of the park. Drive by the perimeter and you can easily see trucks parked, and sometimes you can see the hunters in full camo emerging

Poaching is now a regular occurrence on the outskirts of the park. Drive by the perimeter and you can easily see trucks parked, and sometimes you can see the hunters in full camo emerging. Does hunting in the park contribute to poaching by others? Does it create a sense of entitlement in non-First Nations hunters?

Mennonite roots (they preach non-violence, but lying is apparently OK), they are best known for offering themselves as human shields for Saddam Hussain in 2005 after the invasion of Iraq. Their purpose was to disable the US military – what they accomplished was something entirely different. About a half-dozen of the Peacemakers ended-up getting kidnapped by guerilla Iraqi soldiers – one was eventually killed,  because war is a serious business best left to professional soldiers. They had to be rescued, putting soldiers at-risk with a dangerous mission. They were also accused of not initially expressing gratitude towards the soldiers who freed them (I guess they’re so anti-war, they resent being rescued). So, are the Christian Peacemakers, a group whose funding comes in part from the Mennonites, a religious or a political group? The Canada Revenue Agency warned the Mennonite church about their political activities back in 2012 when they reminded them that it’s not acceptable for a charitable organization to engage in political activities. Aside from this,  the Mennonites themselves are hardly known for compassion towards animals – they,  along with the Amish,  are big time puppymillers and some work as kill buyers,  supplying horses for the cruel equine slaughter industry.

Damage to the park is proof positive that the hunting activity does not preserve the area and is hardly low impact. Anyone who engages in unethical hunting practices, which includes leaving huge six inch ruts where none previously existed, undoubtedly merits opprobrium. Indeed, it was Paleo-Indians who helped hunt mega-fauna like the mammoth to extinction, the Maori in New Zealand who exterminated the flightless moa, and pre-historic Pacific Islanders who extirpated more than a thousand species of birds. These are not racist statements but statements of fact. Neither is this statement meant to detract from the thousands of species extinctions caused by all of us collectively. As human beings, this is a reflection on all of us as a species; it’s one of our defining, less endearing traits. And this makes our determination to preserve the park all that more urgent.

If our objections to the hunt reflect a skewed world-view, should it not be possible to critique our philosophy without going to the trouble of lying?

 

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“We cannot have peace among men whose hearts find delight in killing any living creature.”

~ Rachel Carson ~

 

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Stop Being Spun By Outrageous, Fake, Click-Bait Petitions!

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Written by:  Heather Clemenceau

The internet has a long tradition of baiting and misleading the inattentive.  There are now so many fake petitions on the internet and Facebook that we can hardly debunk all of it.  So I’m rounding up the most recent and egregious examples of fake animal petitions with outright false info and misleading headlines that I hope you won’t share.  YouSignAnimals,  Petitionhub,  Kim’s Petitions, Signatures4Life,  and Best Animal Petitions (and  many others that have morphed into prominence) are probably all getting money  for clicks or money for valid email addresses.   At the very least, they often give the impression that there are no laws or animal activists fighting for the rights of animals in countries around the world.

Initially, I signed these as well, and although I can’t prove it, the recent influxes to my email account of Bank phishing spam and “lawyers” acting on behalf of wealthy Nigerian princes *may* be tied to the harvesting of my email.  Anyone have a similar observation? How to stop this endless circle-jerk?  I’ve also left Facebook groups where the majority of posts consist of circulating these bogus petitions.

Lies, Damn Lies, And Viral Content

YouSignAnimals internet domain was registered in August 2014, and they often brag about victories for animals that occurred BEFORE they even registered their domain name or had a presence on Facebook. They give animal advocates the false impression that these petitions serve any useful purpose.

Here are some examples of victories claimed by these groups and their counterparts.  In some cases it’s difficult to provide backup for the claims on the original petitions because they are removed from the internet within a few weeks after launch.

Example #1 – Reinstatement Of Conservation Officer Bryce Casavant

Recall the facts surrounding the suspension of Conservation Officer Bryce Casavant from British Columbia – he refused to kill two orphaned bear cubs.  YouSignAnimals claims that their petition was responsible for him being reinstated to his original job.  Unfortunately he did not get his initial job back; the latest news was that the conservation officer was transferred to another office, according to an article from August 28, 2015.   The ONLY petition quoted in the media which did make a difference, which may have afforded Mr. Casavant a paid suspension, was the one on Change.org  with over 300K signatures.  This is the petition with real targets that went straight in the mail boxes of officials in British Columbia.  How can YouSignAnimals, who seem to have removed all references to Mr. Casavant, show that their petition made any difference?

Example #2 – Cat Killer Michael Patrick Stackhouse

Cat killer Michael Patrick Stackhouse, admitted to stomping on a cat that he had thrown into the street, and killed it in front of children and neighbours. He rejected a plea deal that would have reduced his sentence if he plead guilty to a charge of animal cruelty causing death. He was sentenced in November 2014, three months after YouSignAnimals.org was registered as a domain.  Although there are a few articles in the media, none of them mention any petition which might have influenced the outcome. Most petitions targeting Police/Prosecutors/Judges are being written long after these cases are being deferred to justice and basically ask them to do what they are already doing based on the local laws. So there is no evidence that YouSignAnimals or its counterparts had any influence on the outcome here as they have claimed.

Example #3 – Rescue Of Raju The Abused Elephant

Raju is another example of a victory falsely claimed by YouSignAnimals.  For years, international organizations and foundations fought hard to achieve this victory.  Some 30 police officers became involved in the rescue, and along with a determined team from the Elephant Conservation and Care Center in Mathura (ECCC) they were finally able to free him.  Here is a petition from Change.org with almost 500,000 signatures.  The Care2 community was also responsible for over 75,000 signatures to free Raju. So let’s please give credit where credit is due.

Example #4 – Dog Fighting In MDAS Shelter

YouSignAnimals presented a petition claiming that the Miami-Dade Animal Shelter (MDAS) staff were willingly allowing dogs to fight each other, right inside the facility. The petition accused Director Alex Munoz and Chief of Operations Kathleen Labrada of fighting the dogs as well as poor medical care, and falsification of public records. This too was a blatant fraud, accusing innocent people of dog fighting. These graphic and shocking pictures are not even taken from MDAS, but are from the Hesperia Animal Shelter.  Once again there is a Change.org petition that relays the actual facts. Someone at YouSignAnimals has been scavenging pictures from all over the internet and using them to create fictitious stories to post to their advantage to get you to give up your email.

Example #5 – Pet Tattooing In New York

YouSignAnimals again credited itself with victory against dog tattooing and piercing in New York in 2015.  But success had already been declared in December 2014 and the story was widely covered in the media including the New York Post and Time.  “It’s simply cruel,” said Assembly member Linda Rosenthal in the New York Post. The Manhattan Democrat sponsored the legislation. It was signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. A Care2 Petition with over 200,000 signatures had a live target and may have had some influence as well.

Example #6 – Brazilian Ban On Cosmetic Tests With Animals

YouSignAnimals claimed victory for the Brazil ban on cosmetic testing for animals. The only problem was that the Cruelty-Free Brazil campaign welcomed passage of Bill 6602/13 to ban testing – in June 2014 – two whole months before YouSignAnimals was even registered as a domain on the internet!

To perpetuate these petitions,  one person created all of these Facebook pages – he goes by the name of Nigel Cameron (most likely an alias).  Some of these sites don’t even contain petitions,  but readers are asked to “support these adoptions by adding your name to our list.”  Seriously?  Ask yourself how that is supposed to help animals – it helps Nigel Cameron,  or whoever he really is,  grab your email address!

Example #7 -Texas shelter EUTHANIZES all animals because they didn’t want to come in over the holidays!

Yousignanimals claimed that the Hamilton Texas animal shelter announced on their Facebook page that animals at the shelter had been euthanized because employees were unwilling to come and take care of them during the holidays.  Of course this is a flat-out lie too,  and a google search of the image used in the petition reveals that it is at least 5 years old and not representative of this shelter at all.  As a result,  people are spamming their Facebook page with negative comments!

Embassy Against Animal Abuse

Nigel Cameron Against Animal Abuse

Petition Hub

YouSign Petitions

Yousign.org

Online Shelter

Kim’s Petitions

Animal Rights Warriors

Best Animal Petitions

Stop Cruelty Towards Animals

Animals Petitions

247 Animal Petitions

Signatures 4 Life

DailyPetition

Sensational Stories Have A Tendency To Spread Faster Than The Truth…

While many of these petitions outline abuses that actually happened,  they are sometimes years old (ancient technology used to capture the videos is a clue).  In other cases,  the facts have been altered or there are fact-based petitions receiving wider circulation on the internet with live rather than obscure targets or no targets at all.  How can we expose these imposters once and for all?

In addition, all these sites are hosted on Godaddy, which is owned by a trophy hunter (Bob Parsons) who not only killed an elephant and bragged about it, but is a “valuable”member of Safari Club International.  I don’t definitively know what they are doing with our emails but I’m sure they wouldn’t go to all this trouble unless they were making money from the suffering of animals and the naiveté of people.  Consider that while animal advocates are wasting time signing and forwarding completely fictitious petitions,  real, active petitions are ignored.  Some animal pages on Facebook contain little else beyond these fake petitions and if the administrators of these pages are going to allow these petitions, then animal advocates should leave the groups and join more productive pages. Virtually all the complaints I’ve made about these petitions have fallen on deaf ears.

So far,  the snowballing viral effect of fake petitions seems to be sufficient to crush debunking voices. Please consider whether there is a legitimate petition already available with more power and credibility next time you see a YouSignAnimals or PetitionHub/Kim’s Petitions (who is Kim anyway?)  Even if there are no other active petitions available, in many cases the facts are completely wrong or the case is years old and already resolved (but resuscitated for email harvesting).

I’m sure there are dozens if not hundreds more examples where Nigel Cameron has claimed responsibility for victories for animals.  It is unacceptable for these sites to crown themselves with victories achieved with so much hard work by major international, national and local organizations, associations, foundations, grassroots rescuers, etc, which they do not even have the decency to mention.