The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and all the mindless, meatless minions led by Wayne ‘Pied Piper’ Pacelle may have recently been focused on state legislation for sporting dog ownership and cock-fighting, but they reminded sportsmen in the past few weeks that a national ban on hunting is still their No. 1 agenda.
Like German panzers piercing the Ardennes, HSUS recently launched an all-out anti-hunting offensive that was aimed at the hearts and minds of the American public.
HSUS produced a one-hour television hit piece on so-called ‘captive hunting’ that aired on the Animal Planet network. The show portrayed game ranches and high-fence operations in the most negative light possible and, as you might expect, it was a huge distortion of facts. In almost every detail, it was a work of fiction, containing more lies and misinformation than a Congressional budget amendment.
Anyone who has ever visited or operated a game ranch recognized the show for what it was — outrageous anti-hunting propaganda. However, the millions of viewers never saw how game ranches preserve open space, promote conservation and land stewardship, create wildlife sanctuaries and even help propagate species such as the Scimitar Horned Oryx, Addax and Dama Gazelle to the point that they now number in the tens of thousands when they would otherwise be extinct.
The power of PR should not be underestimated. Bad public relations has toppled kings and presidents. It has destroyed multi-million dollar corporations. And, it has and IS changing the way the American public views hunting and agriculture.
From hunting to raising chickens, the Antis are publicly demonizing and legislatively attacking all animal-related activities and they have been doing it for years. Today’s American population is more urbanized than ever before, and many people do not even fully comprehend from where their food comes. There are also more Americans that do not hunt and do not fish than those that do. The public generally has little or no understanding of the outdoors, wildlife management, conservation, land stewardship and hunting. So what they see on television and the Internet is often their only exposure to outdoor issues and, if all they see is negative, anti-hunting, anti-agriculture, anti-commerce propaganda, then they will perceive these lies to be the truth.
We have to fight fire with fire, and we need to be just as aggressive as the Antis, if not more so, in our PR efforts. We need to adamantly and loudly rebuke the negative PR campaigns and educate Americans to the real issues, the real benefits of hunting, wildlife management, agriculture and about our outdoor traditions.
Educating the public and, especially children, about the outdoors is critical to our long-term success. All sportsmen MUST stand together and we MUST spread the word. Without sustained PR efforts of our own, our message becomes mute. Our voice will go silent. And silence is a losing strategy.
Stand up for the outdoors!
John Meng is the host of Outdoor Patriot and is president of the American Deer & Wildlife Alliance.
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