Editorial-Opinion July 2005

Steve Burch | July 2, 2005

There is a storm coming and we have to prepare for it now. The coming storm is an attack by anti-hunters on hunters and hunting right here in Georgia. The storm is scheduled to hit about 16 months from now.

The cause of this storm is home-grown. State Senator Eric Johnson (R-Savannah) has spear-headed a constitutional amendment that will be on the ballot for the November 2006 election. The amendment seems to provide a constitutional right to hunt and fish in Georgia — a protection for sportsmen across the state. There is more appearance of protection than actual protection in the amendment. Sportsmen risk much and gain little with passage.

Looking at it from the antis side, it is difficult to see how they can lose. If they lose the vote, we aren’t going to get to hunt any more than we are now. I expect they will lose the vote. But I also expect that they will come down here and spend more than half a million dollars campaigning in metro Atlanta on TV, radio and in print. I expect they will concentrate that effort in the last two weeks of the election, starting about opening day of gun season next year. That way they launch their message just as citizens start to pay attention to election issues, and they won’t show us their tactics so early that we can fashion measures in time to counter the antis spin.

Additionally, I think that they will leave Georgia with more money than they brought. These groups routinely beg for money to help them do thing A and then take the money raised and spend it on thing B. There is great opportunity for the antis to raise money from direct-mail campaigns loaded with intentionally misleading information damning hunters as being a threat to wildlife, rather than the salvation for wildlife that we are.

Right now, it can be fairly said that less than 8 percent of Georgians support the abolition of hunting. However, more than 8 percent will vote against the amendment, and the antis will claim all of those people as opposed to hunting. It will be a lie, but it will fly in the non-hunting world.

If we win by say 60 percent to 40 percent, the antis will claim that 40 percent of Georgians are opposed to hunting, and make money doing it.

Alaska won a similar vote by only 57 percent; Maine by 55 percent. I don’t think Georgia would fare much better than those two states.  Do you?

We must begin to prepare for this fight now. Between us and the antis is the vast non-hunting public which has been generally supportive, if unaware, of the good things we do for wildlife and their community. We must emphasize the good things we do.

We must also begin to go on the offensive. For instance, when was the last time anyone attacked PETA and got any free media for it?

PETA is a master at media manipulation and attacking people who find it difficult to defend themselves.

Right now, PETA is attacking J. Lo for wearing fur, KFC for raising chickens, and Iams for producing quality dog food. And they do it with impunity.  Those days are over.

This month, more than 30 gas stations in metro Atlanta are said to be participating in PETA’s “Too Hot for Spot” campaign messaging folks not to leave a pet in a hot car. Good message, but the messenger is a fraud. These stations need to understand that they are supporting a group that supports eco-terrorists like the Earth Liberation Front which has claimed credit for torching a car dealership , among other illegal acts. These stations need to know that PETA is hypocritical in its claim to ethics because it kills the very animals it claims to be protecting.

I like this “Too Hot For Spot” idea. I want to make things Too Hot For PETA. The names and addresses of the 30+ stations in metro Atlanta are posted on our website. Over the next month, I will be posting answers the owners of these stations give to questions like why they are supporting an organization that cheers eco-terrorists and pays their legal bills? Why do they support a group that kills 86 percent of the animals in its care when neighboring care groups adopt out 70 percent of theirs. I plan to be polite. If you find a station, you be polite too. But I want PETA posters removed. Now is the time to begin educating our non-hunting brothers and sisters about the character of those who would denounce us.

Their storm starts in 16 months. We should start now. Don’t you agree?

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