Protecting Arizona: The Animal-Rights’ Game Plan for Lions

Last year, we warned sportsmen of an impending attack on hunting that would have ramifications on hound hunters, deer hunters and wildlife managers, while also saddling taxpayers with larger issues that range from monetary costs to potentially dangerous situations. That dire warning, ignored by many in the press, is coming to fruition.

The Humane Society of the United States, the largest anti-hunting, animal-rights organization in the world, which purports to save puppies and kittens but in reality has waged an ideological war upon wildlife management and the livestock industry, issued a “study” on the “deadliest” states for mountain lions.

The faux study, which is only thinly disguised propaganda, tries to capitalize on the killing of “Cecil” the lion and to turn that wholly emotional and misdirected outrage to their benefit and ultimate goal of ending hunting one species and one state at a time. Riddled with emotional rhetoric and deceptive numbers, we warned that the issuance of this media-friendly propaganda was the first step in animal-rights movement’s bid to stop mountain lion hunting in the five identified states, which are Idaho, Montana, Colorado, Utah and Arizona.

Once again, here’s the animal-rights movement’s game plan:

  • Issue faux report for media coverage and to gin up emotion related to “Cecil” the lion issue, attempting to link the notion of “endangered” African lions to American mountain lions.
  • Introduce legislation into one or more of the five states listed as the “deadliest” (which just happen to be those with the best lion habitat and highest populations). The legislation either outright bans hunting lions, or ban the most effective means to manage the population, such as the use of dogs.
  • When the Sportsmen’s Alliance stops the legislation, file lawsuits that result in hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees, and sometimes temporary rulings that stopping hunting while the courts sort the issue out.
  • When the Sportsmen’s Alliance successfully defends scientific wildlife management from management by court order, pay signature gatherers to circulate petitions to qualify a ballot initiative to ban the hunt.
  • Use their bottomless pocket of cash to throw millions into media buys using emotional and misleading television commercials to sway uneducated urban voters to pass bad initiatives.

Today, we are at step two of the animal-rights movement’s plan.

In Arizona, state Sen. Steve Farley has introduced legislation that would ban mountain lion and bobcat hunting. Farley, a democrat from Tucson, is endorsed by the Sierra Club and the Humane Voters of Arizona, the latter of which is an animal-rights organization closely tied to HSUS and its lobbying and fundraising arm, Humane Society Legislative Fund. Humane Voters of Arizona gives Farley a “Superstar Legislator” ranking on their scorecard.

The Sportsmen’s Alliance and its allies will stop this misguided, ideological piece of legislation in Arizona. But as you can see from the game plan, that’s just the beginning. And this is just the first state.

At every turn the Alliance will fight back. But the fight is an expensive one, and that favors the animal-rights movement and HSUS – which have deep pockets and nothing but time. Running up huge tabs in court and ballot initiatives means nothing to them, and they can just keep attacking time and again. Sportsmen have to defend, and win, every battle. The animal-rights movement just has to win one battle to claim victory and end hunting one species and one state at a time.

The five-point plan used by the animal-rights movement is a “death by a thousand cuts” approach that uses political, legislative, lawsuits and abuse of the initiative process to pass an ideological agenda. Keep watching, Arizona and Colorado in particular, more legislative attacks will come, more political pressure will follow and lawsuits and ballot initiatives are inevitable.