Congressman Steve Cohen (D-TN-9) today joined with Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA-27) to reintroduce legislation -- the Sportsmanship in Hunting Act -- to halt the practice known as "canned hunting," the interstate shipment of captive non-indigenous mammals for the sole purpose of being shot in a fenced enclosure for entertainment or for trophy. The bill would also prohibit hunting via the Internet.
"Canned hunts are cruel and unsportsmanlike," said Congressman Cohen. "The practice of killing tame, exotic animals within the confines of an enclosure where the animals have no chance of escape is contrary to the principles of fair chase, sportsmanship and common decency. Captive hunts are out of step with common principles governing responsible hunting and should be banned."
"Canned hunting is not a real sport," said Congressman Sherman. "It is abhorrent and cruel, and there is really no hunting involved. The idea that someone can kill an animal with the click of a mouse from the comfort of their own home is revolting. There is certainly no real sportsmanship involved in this practice. Canned hunting should be banned."
"The Humane Society of the United States thanks Rep. Cohen for introducing this important legislation to crack down on captive hunts," said Michael Markarian, chief operating officer for The Humane Society of the United States. "Congress must put a lid on the trade in tame, exotic mammals shipped across the country just to be drugged, fenced, and shot for trophies."
At more than 1,000 commercial "captive hunt" operations around the country, trophy hunters pay a fee to shoot confined exotic mammals -- from zebra to blackbuck antelope -- in fenced enclosures. A facility in Texas even allowed their clients to kill animals remotely via the Internet. The prospective web "hunters" could sign up through a website, pay a user fee, and with a click of the mouse shoot a remote rifle. Captive hunting ranches offer guaranteed trophies and typically advertise as "no kill, no pay." The animals on these hunting ranches have often lived their lives being fed by hand and thus have little or no fear of humans, making them easy targets.
More than 20 states have already passed a full or partial ban on captive hunts, and more than 35 states have banned hunting via the Internet. However, regulation of the transport and treatment of captive exotic mammals for captive hunts falls outside the traditional domains of state regulatory bodies.