OK, so you just read the title of this article. You might be thinking, “What the hell is this guy talking about? Anti-hunters aren’t winning.”
By some figures, you’d be right. According to a 2011 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Study, the number of Americans purchasing hunting licenses is trending upward for the first time in 25 years, as 13.7 million hunters drove $33 billion in revenue. The sale of guns and ammunition for hunting continues to roll along, and the economic engine fueled by those dollars funds over 600,000 jobs annually. Not to mention there’s more hunting-oriented content in the media marketplace than ever before—a show about a crew of redneck hunters beat out American Idol in cable TV’s ratings battle.
But that’s not the whole story.
Behind groups like the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) Center for Biological Diversity, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and In Defense of Animals (IDA), the anti-hunting movement is strong…real strong. PETA’s efforts to coerce, threaten and downright harass hunters is at an all-time high, and their sadistic misinformation campaigns continue to persuade independents that ethical hunting is the enemy.
We need to fight back harder and with a smarter tone. Resting on our laurels is not an option, and neither is ignoring the ways antis are winning. Here are five examples of anti-hunting successes that can’t be ignored and how we can fight back.
- Let’s face it, PETA has more high-profile celebrity dollars rolling in these days than the collection plate at the Church of Scientology. It’s been the organization’s calling card for years.
While we take pride in stars like Justin Tuck, Shaq, Tom Brokaw and Bo Jackson publicly enjoying hunting pursuits, it’s just not the same as stripping down for a buck-naked photo shoot. PETA’s celebrities go all out for the cause, including the famous shot of a bikini-clad Pam Anderson labeled and ready to head to the butcher’s table.
Take, for instance, PETA’s annual Sexiest Vegetarian Contest. They line up and trot out dozens of celeb carrot eaters for an online vote and advertise the heck out of the promotion. Almost every celebrity entered tweets or posts to Facebook in support of the effort, further widening PETA’s pop culture reach. It’s that reach and committed advocacy that sets this anti-hunting group apart from their opponents. While many high-profile athletes, politicians and country singers kill animals and eat meat, few take their passions to the airwaves with as much tenacity as PETA’s Tinseltown followers. Those that do—including former vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan— are often met with public pushback. That needs to change.