Animal Rights, Hunting, and the Activist Elephant in the Room

Bronx Zoo Elephant-Lawsuit

Bronx Zoo elephant “Happy” strolls inside the zoo’s Asia display, Tuesday Oct. 2, 2018, in New York. An animal welfare group has brought a legal action against the Bronx Zoo on behalf of Happy, who was separated from the zoo’s two other elephants after they fatally injured her mate, arguing that the animal has similar rights to a human being and is being “unlawfully imprisoned.” (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

By Larry Keane

Animal rights activists are at it again and now they’ve enlisted the support of New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson. The Nonhuman Rights Project Inc.’s latest target is the Bronx Zoo. The offending act is that zookeepers there deign to care for two grown elephants, Happy and Patty, in captivity.

Apparently, this a violation of their “legal personhood.”

They’ve gone as far as to organize zoo protests and petitioned the courts to sue the Bronx Zoo and Wildlife Conservation Society for a Writ of Habeas Corpus. Specifically, they want to sue on behalf of “Happy” for “unlawful imprisonment.” They say the zoo is illegally denying Happy the companionship she needs from two other female elephants in the zoo, Patty and Maxine.

Meet Happy

Happy is a 47-year-old female Asian elephant who has lived alone for 13 years. It wasn’t always this way. She was captured as an infant with several other elephants and was paired with another elephant, Grumpy, until that elephant was killed by Patty and Maxine, the same elephants with whom Nonhuman Rights Project contends Happy should be housed.

Happy was later paired with another elephant named Sammy, who had to be euthanized in 2006. Maxine, one of the elephants who attacked Grumpy, was euthanized last year due to advanced cancer. Zookeepers attempted to pair Happy with Patty, but after a week, it was clear the two wouldn’t bond well and the attempt was called off.

A zoo spokesperson called the lawsuit “ludicrous.”

The New York State Supreme Court Appellate Division last year thought so too. Nonhuman Rights Project’s case was thrown out.

Monkey Business

The thing is, they’ve tried this before with chimpanzees. In 2018, the same court denied the same group the same argument for a chimpanzee named Kiko. They lost spectacularly then, but they could have predicted that outcome too. That’s because they tried it before in 2015 at the State Supreme Court for two chimpanzees named Hercules and Leo. They lost that attempt to force Stony Brook University on Long Island to move the chimps to a Florida sanctuary.

The significance of these lawsuits to the firearms industry and hunters shouldn’t be underestimated, wrote James Delingpole for The Spectator. The driver of these cases is Stephen Wise, an activist and lawyer. Delingpole noted that Wise was dismissed as a nut in his early days. Now, he teaches at Harvard University. That means if Wise wins today or through his proteges in the future, “No more foie gras. No more crispy duck.”

It also means no more hunting.

Threats to Hunting

If the courts agree to Wise’s claims that Happy the elephant, or Kiko the chimpanzee are guaranteed the right to legal personhood, it’s not a far stretch to see the courts hearing cases of denial of legal personhood through harvesting of wild game. In other words – murder.

This is already happening. Look to New Jersey, where Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy campaigned on a promise to end the state’s black bear hunts. He tried, but was limited by law to prohibiting hunts on state-owned land, a prohibition he enacted in 2018. It was done despite the state’s Division of Fish and Wildlife noting the bear population could double by 2022 without hunting.

New Jersey bear hunters face more than legal obstacles. They’re getting death threats from activists who make unfounded emotional pleas instead of sound scientific decisions. It’s not just bear hunters either. Activists protested the First Annual Family Squirrel Classic earlier this year, an event to introduce new hunters to a centuries-old tradition of small game hunting. It’s the type of hunt many youth start on to work up to hunting bigger game.

NSSF Protecting Hunting

That’s why the National Shooting Sports Foundation isn’t dismissing these instances as fanatical examples of a fringe element. NSSF was leading the effort in North Carolina in 2018 to add the Tar Heel State to the list of 22 other states where hunting is a constitutionally-protected right. Eighty percent of the state’s lawmakers voted to add it as a ballot question. Voters spoke in 2018 and more than 2 million voters agreed to add it to the state’s constitution.

These efforts also deny the role the hunter-conservationist plays in wildlife conservation. Specifically, it ignores the role the firearms industry has performed, generating more than $38 billion in Pittman-Robertson excise taxes by firearms and ammunition manufacturers that goes directly to wildlife conservation. North American wildlife is at the healthiest levels ever, because of the efforts of hunter-conservationists.

It’s time to keep the activists from turning out courts into a zoo and our wildlife into a cartoon.

 

Larry Keane is SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel at National Shooting Sports Foundation.

comments

  1. avatar Knute(ken) says:

    Is Dan Zimmerman aware of the shadow banning currently being done by the TTAG IT dept.?

    1. avatar jwtaylor says:

      What shadowban are you talking about?

      1. avatar Knute(ken) says:

        The multiple deletions of the following comment under the current Josh Wayner article.
        “Pg2 says:
        July 17, 2019 at 18:26

        To All,

        I am not the real Pg2. I’m actually a fellow reader like you who has participated for some time in the comment sections, though I’ll withhold my username as I explain.

        As I’ve interacted with many of you over time, I’ve noticed some odd activity on TTAG, especially with a particular user using the moniker “Pg2”. Based upon my observations of how he/she interacted with others (choice of attack, word styling, etc.), it seemed dubious that Pg2 was the usual breed of Web Troll. Most interesting was how weird things would sometimes happen when he/she entered into a conversation, judging by the complaints by others. Some of you saw your inexplicably disappear after previously being visible and even replied to by someone else, while others joked that there were split personalities floating about. The common denominator seemed to be Pg2. Or is that Vlad? Or more? Three days ago, I saw Pg2 get into a pissing match with several of you, and some of the usernames suddenly didn’t match their previous writing styles. It looked a lot like something screwy was going on.

        To test this, three days ago I assumed Pg2’s identity and began posting numerous comments under that name at the end of several articles, all the way up to now. During all this time, I found only two simple posts from the “real” Pg2. And when I did, I replied (under that same name) immediately and loudly to get a reaction. I find it very interesting that Pg2 didn’t complain once. If you or I ever saw someone posting under our own monikers, we’d be livid and would say something right away. But Pg2 didn’t. Not a single time.

        However, something intriguing happened. Every time I posted under Pg2’s name, the IP address I was using was blocked within minutes. And only for that specific article. So I could continue to post normal comments under my normal username under a different comment section, but as soon as I imitated Pg2 again, access to that new article was shut off, too. At least, until I changed to a different dynamic IP address and started all over again. And the blocking only happened with the Pg2 name.

        So what’s my point? Neither you nor I have the ability to do anything to control this site, but IP blocking is an admin-level activity, and it only happened when Pg2 was cloned. If the real Pg2 had nothing to do with any of this, he/she would most likely speak up and tell everyone on TTAG that someone had just posted fake comments. But that never happened, and Pg2 always remained completely silent while the blocking happened in the background. Could it be that Pg2 is actually a TTAG admin who’s been posing as a site troll all this time? What about other names?

        Anyway, now that this experiment is over and Pg2’s validity as a commenter is in doubt, this will be my final post under that name. We’ll see what happens from here.”

        1. avatar jwtaylor says:

          Knute (Ken)

          That’s not what “shadow ban” means.

        2. avatar Knute(ken) says:

          So I take it that you aren’t interested in the content then? Only the semantics?

    2. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

      99% of the time when someone claims a shadow ban, they’ve only forgotten where they posted.

      1. avatar jaydc says:

        That’s called a shadow brain

    3. There is no shadow banning on TTAG. I’ve zapped some comments that hijacked posts to totally off topic subjects (this is a gun blog, not a pro/anti vaccination forum).

      1. avatar jwtaylor says:

        Thank you. That was getting old and so was having to weed through the same bullshit posts on every single article.

      2. avatar Knute(ken) says:

        So then your position is that the following was NOT deleted yesterday and today? Or is your position that this was one of Pg2 standard anti-vax rants?
        “Pg2 says:
        July 17, 2019 at 18:26

        To All,

        I am not the real Pg2. I’m actually a fellow reader like you who has participated for some time in the comment sections, though I’ll withhold my username as I explain.

        As I’ve interacted with many of you over time, I’ve noticed some odd activity on TTAG, especially with a particular user using the moniker “Pg2”. Based upon my observations of how he/she interacted with others (choice of attack, word styling, etc.), it seemed dubious that Pg2 was the usual breed of Web Troll. Most interesting was how weird things would sometimes happen when he/she entered into a conversation, judging by the complaints by others. Some of you saw your inexplicably disappear after previously being visible and even replied to by someone else, while others joked that there were split personalities floating about. The common denominator seemed to be Pg2. Or is that Vlad? Or more? Three days ago, I saw Pg2 get into a pissing match with several of you, and some of the usernames suddenly didn’t match their previous writing styles. It looked a lot like something screwy was going on.

        To test this, three days ago I assumed Pg2’s identity and began posting numerous comments under that name at the end of several articles, all the way up to now. During all this time, I found only two simple posts from the “real” Pg2. And when I did, I replied (under that same name) immediately and loudly to get a reaction. I find it very interesting that Pg2 didn’t complain once. If you or I ever saw someone posting under our own monikers, we’d be livid and would say something right away. But Pg2 didn’t. Not a single time.

        However, something intriguing happened. Every time I posted under Pg2’s name, the IP address I was using was blocked within minutes. And only for that specific article. So I could continue to post normal comments under my normal username under a different comment section, but as soon as I imitated Pg2 again, access to that new article was shut off, too. At least, until I changed to a different dynamic IP address and started all over again. And the blocking only happened with the Pg2 name.

        So what’s my point? Neither you nor I have the ability to do anything to control this site, but IP blocking is an admin-level activity, and it only happened when Pg2 was cloned. If the real Pg2 had nothing to do with any of this, he/she would most likely speak up and tell everyone on TTAG that someone had just posted fake comments. But that never happened, and Pg2 always remained completely silent while the blocking happened in the background. Could it be that Pg2 is actually a TTAG admin who’s been posing as a site troll all this time? What about other names?

        Anyway, now that this experiment is over and Pg2’s validity as a commenter is in doubt, this will be my final post under that name. We’ll see what happens from here.”

        1. avatar "keep yur paws off my dead guy" possum says:

          Chill out. Doubtful any of us will meet any of us. What Pg2 or I have to say is actually irrelevant because it don’t change nothing. With that however I still think this site or any gunm site is heavily monitored by the CI a , FB eye ,Homeland scrutiny and who knows who else. It my be awhile before I get my Neutrino Fusion Blomb built, I had a whole cardboard box full of neutrinos but I think a north Korean or an a Rab made off with it?

        2. avatar jwtaylor says:

          He specifically said he deleted the bullshit non-gun off-topic posts. He couldn’t have been more clear. Your multiple reposting of irrelevant threads is exactly the kind problem Dan is trying to fix. You’re part of the problem.

        3. avatar Knute(ken) says:

          OK. If no one is interested in the specifics of these serious charges someone (I know not who…. but Dan Z says he does) raised…. well, your attitude couldn’t be more clear. Facts not allowed.
          Got It.

      3. avatar RCC says:

        Hi Dan,
        Did you get my email re New Zealand gun buyback not working yesterday?
        RCC

  2. avatar Timothy Toroian says:

    Know what of you speak or soundth like a moron.

  3. avatar Eli2016 says:

    Meh… From what I’ve seen in the past couple of weeks this blog is an adult role-playing game. If you click on a blogger like “Ing” his name that is, it takes you to a role-playing game website. Yeah, no shit, I was surprised.

  4. avatar RCC says:

    Never underestimate the stupidity of people who think all nature, farming etc is cute and cuddly like a cartoon.

    Of course they all seem to be unemployed or underemployed who live in the middle of cities.

    1. avatar frank speak says:

      interesting to note “domestic violence” isn’t unique to humans….what’s next?….charging an animal with murder?….

  5. avatar former water walker says:

    Hmmm…I believe sentient beings have “rights”. Weren’t dolphins supposedly pocessed of vast intelligence? Not a hunter but this is some spurious BS. Yeah I’ve noticed Pg2 was more idiotic than normal(I’ve also been the “victim” of retarded trolls!).

  6. avatar "keep yur paws off my dead guy" possum says:

    Being half possum I can tell you us animals do not want any rights humans have to give us. As you give we become dependent on the giving, and once dependent, being the human that you are, the give turns to take. Humans are a very controlling species

    1. avatar jwm says:

      That last Ford made half a possum out of you?

      Or was your mom and dad involved in some ‘inter species erotica, bucko?’

      1. avatar "keep yur paws off my dead guy" possum says:

        Weman have needs too, wasn’t her fault a handsome possum came along. 🖖 Live long and prossum

        1. avatar jwm says:

          May the fossum be with you.

    2. avatar Dave, who still can’t afford a Creedmoor. Donations gladly accepted. says:

      Possum, you can be made fully human again by bestowing upon yourself a rifle chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor. But being a possum has its own virtues. I guess. I dunno. But, Possum Onward, brave and greatly esteemed possum!

  7. avatar will says:

    I think Elephants and many other animals should not be in zoos if they had a normal wild life. How ever if they would not have survived in the wild then maybe its a good zoo specimen. Zoos started long before mass communication no TV Wild kingdom or National Geographic, no internet. When the only way to experience wild life was in a zoo. Now we have many other ways to observe wildlife without caging it. I also think culling needs to be well regulated.

    1. avatar frank speak says:

      true…but that being said…zoos need to be made as humane as possible…which has not always been the case in the past…same goes for circuses…is archery hunting humane?…or flintlocks?…or pistols?…just askin’…..

      1. avatar jwm says:

        I agree about zoo animals. Only if they could not make it in the wild. Circus’s should not be allowed to use any but domesticated animals and only under strict supervision.

        I have bow hunted twice now with no success. Except for the experience and fun. If I’m the bow hunter no doubt its very humane. No animals have been taken so far.

        1. avatar Bob says:

          jwm, not to put words in frank speak’s mouth, but I think the idea was that bow hunting isn’t always humane…you have some half-assed bow hunters, that can afford the latest high tech high price high fpm bow, and all the related stuff, that couldn’t track a white tail to save their lives…so they gut shoot the deer, trail them for a whole 2 hundred yards, then run around telling their friends, “That deer died! That deer died!”…yeah, that deer died – 2 weeks late, from sepsis…if you’re good enough to make a clean, quick kill – then do it. Otherwise, go back to your video games.

  8. avatar Alan says:

    The idiots offering or making such threats should be prosecuted if possible, or perhaps told to ” bring their lunch”.

  9. avatar Chris T in KY says:

    It’s pretty sad when “The Hunting Community” can’t even make a cogent argument about the need for hunting wild animals. And that need has nothing to do with collecting a trophy.

    It’s past time that the Hunting Community include an emotional appeal, with a science based human preservation argument, for the control of wild animals that killed people.

    The black people in Africa I have no problem making this argument. Since their small children are usually the victims of wild animal attacks.

    Perhaps the problem is Liberals and the left don’t have children. See no use for them. And don’t see them as being worthy of protection. I know animal rights activists have equated the life of a human to be equal to the life of an animal.

    I know that Adolf Hitler also had that same point of view. And he was a vegetarian and a non-smoker. And he didn’t drink alcohol either.

    BTW
    I’m not a hunter. But I have researched the past 150 + years about the history of wild animal attacks all over the world.

  10. avatar Big Bill says:

    The politician involved is doing this for the publicity. He/she knows full well the suit won’t go anywhere. But it never hurts to be seen as an animal lover.
    The money men/people behind such suits have the money to burn, so they really don’t mind losing, as each loss provides experience, and tells the lawyers (who also make a lot of money off these suits) what doesn’t work, so they can try something else next time.
    And there will be a next time until they get a few things to coincide, like the right tactic in front of the right judge. Then they will use that as a “precedent” (even tho it probably isn’t a “precedent”) on the next try, and so forth.
    So, yeah, these are worth keeping an eye on, because no matter how ludicrous something sounds, somewhere someone will be convinced it’s true.

  11. avatar Phil LA says:

    If our cavemen ancestors saw what silly pussies we’ve become…

    1. avatar "keep yur paws off my dead guy" possum says:

      Amen to that

  12. avatar enuf says:

    The only animal rights protestors I ever liked was back when PETA would get some fine looking young women to put on body paint and little or nothing else and pretend to be furry little critters in a cage on a city street. I didn’t much care about their protest but pretty gals in body paint, bunny ears and cottontails pretending to hop like bunnies while topless was very beautifying of the crowded, noisy city sidewalks.

    They need to get back to their roots. They truly do.

  13. avatar Southern Cross says:

    Once animals are treated like people, it is only a short step to treat people like animals.

    1. avatar "keep yur paws off my dead guy" possum says:

      They already do, been arrested lately?

  14. avatar Adambomb286 says:

    Ironically, the same people who want to apply “personhood” and rights to animals are, for the most part, strongly pro-abortion.

    1. avatar Jeh says:

      The ones who want animals to have “personhood” are the same twisted folks who’d like to f**k them.

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