Tuesday, July 04, 2006

News: The Fake Science of the WHA

Chuck Sykes, wildlife biologist, host of a TV show and consultant to the WHA, has updated the WHA website with some pretty questionable “scientific” statements. Reading the statements makes me wonder how any scientist could come up with such gibberish. Of course, you have to consider that it is the World Hunting Association that pays his salary and you know the old saying: “The piper calls the tune”. Or in this case, what to say."

Sykes tells us about the safety of the “chemical immobilization process to be used in the white-tail deer competitions.” He speaks of drugs like Xylazine* and Telazol* (*Read the footnote to understand what side effects these drugs can have in animals). He tries in vain to put a scientific spin on what essentially is nothing more than tranquilizing animals for fun and sport. I am sure the majority of serious wildlife scientist’s cringe at the very notion that animals should be doped up to their eyeballs just for fun. Especially since scientists and veterinarians use utmost caution in tranquilizing wild animals and only do so as a very last resort. Serious scientists know of the high risk associated in administering drugs to wildlife.

Sykes then goes on in the same breath to say that “The WHA believes that Chemical Immobilization is a very serious event that must always be done properly and can never be taken lightly.” You bet! Having "hunters" without special training shooting immobilization drugs at animals for fun and sport does not sound “very serious” to me. Even if they are, according to Sykes, followed around by a licensed veterinarian.

We are led to believe that there will be veterinarians on hand to provide the post “capture” care to the animals and that these veterinarians also will perform other scientific procedures on the immobilized animal. This makes me really think that the WHA just doesn’t get it why hunters are upset and outraged about this scheme to make hunting a spectator’s sport. Hunters, even the 20 to 30 something years old’s which the WHA tries to attract, have not, and will never will support a sport where "hunters" shoot for fun potentially lethal drugs at animals behind high fencing that have no way of escaping or avoiding what’s coming to them. Besides the ethical hunting questions behind this "sport", there are also the ethical medical questions of administering drugs to animals with all the known side effects for no medical or scientific purpose whatsoever, but for fun and money- up to 60,000 dollars for the lucky tournament winner.

Chuck Sykes goes on to claim that the "WHA believes in responsible herd management. We will be harvesting a large number of does, as well as a number of cull bucks…” That almost made me laugh if I would not feel a distinct sense of nausea the more I read about this high fence fun-and-games-drugging-sport. Notice how he carefully avoids the words ‘wildlife management’. That is what real hunting is, a modern and very effective way to control wildlife populations. Sykes on the other hand talks about “herd management”; meaning culling does and inferior bucks on a commercial game farm. This has absolutely nothing to do with wildlife management but he tries to imply that this is what he talks about.

Funny thing is, every time the WHA releases a statement on their website they end with “...that hunters should be open minded about this”. You need to have a very open mind to be that gullible as to believe that the WHA even vaguely might have any other interest than making a ton of money. In fact you have to be so open minded that you run the risk that your brain might fall out. He closes the letter with “Thank you for hearing some factual evidence…” So far we have heard no factual evidence, only half smart propaganda and made-up facts in order to gain credibility for something that is outrageous and convoluted and that could very well mean the end of hunting altogether if this scam is permitted to take place as planned in October of 2006. I’ll bet the anti hunters and animal rights people will be sitting on the sidelines and waiting as we speak, ready to pounce at the chance to discredit hunting even more using the WHA and their unethical sport-game-shooting-fun approach as an example.

Also new on the WHA website is a short video introduction, showing us some of the competitors in the tournament. The “Dark Archer” ( Brett Hankins, Prostaff of Natural Gear Camouflage and Mathews Bows.) The “Doctor” ( Karl Zainitzer, Producer and Manager of X-treme Outdoors. LLC ) The “Machine” ( Hack Albertson, I have found no hunting industry connection about him. ), and the “Lone Wolf” (Billy Stephenson. I have found no hunting industry connection about him.) You can see them like serious hunters stalking monster bucks with dart arrows and dart guns behind the high fence of a deer farm, smiling in the hopes of getting one of these big cardboard checks with $ 60,000 printed on them to show off to the camera. They just don’t get it.

Oh yes, at the end of the video they show a few of their men - I refuse to call them hunters - shaking hands with what appears to be a wheelchair bound person. Now if I would be a handicapped person I would be highly offended by this cheap stunt to appear to be charitable minded. So far all we have seen of Faberman and his World Hunting Association is that they don’t give a damn what other people think or how they feel and happily carry on with their plans and still worse, tell us, the majority, that we are not open minded and old fashioned. In other words they are right and we are all just imbeciles that need to lighten up. In fact they see themselves as Gods gift and salvation to our hunting heritage. I wonder who’s close-minded here, or simply does not take “NO” for an answer. Like I said. They simply don’t get it.

In all of this we need to remind ourselves that it is illegal in most civilized countries to harass and torment wild animals for fun. This is the reason why the WHA can only operate on high fence wild game farms.

Check back here often, as I will keep you updated on the action taken by the hunting community and industry to stop this unethical and immoral scam. This issue is still red hot and the final words have not been spoken yet. In the meantime keep up the pressure on the WHA, their competitors, and the companies who call these “hunters” their pro-staff. Let them know how you feel about their association or their pro-staff members association with the WHA.


Known and frequent side effects of the immobilizing drugs Xylazine andTelazolthe are; muscle spasms, cramps, disorientation, high heart rate, panic attacks, insomnia, appetite loss, extreme fatigue, hallucinations, confusion and loss of orientation. All of these are symptoms that are highly detrimental to an animal. The after-immobilization care should consist of at least 24 hours of close observation of the patient in a controlled medical environment. As an animal behaviorist, I have worked closely with many veterinarians and spent a lot of time in clinical animal observation areas. I have seen first hand how much time and dedication is needed to observe an animal and make sure it has a full recovery from immobilization. The procedures are very similar to those in place for humans. And it is quite expensive too! Somehow I am having a hard time believing that the money driven WHA would go to such extreme and (very) expensive lengths to monitor an animal that has been tranquilized for fun and money by a person with a bow or gun in the hopes he will win the $ 60,000 jackpot.

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