AUSTIN, Texas, Dec. 8, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Texans for Saving Our Hunting Heritage today announced the launch of a coalition that seeks to expose unethical practices within the deer breeding industry that threaten animal health and welfare, human health and welfare and our hunting heritage.
"Hunting is part of the fabric of Texas. It is about camaraderie, family values, conservation and tradition. We are working to ensure future generations' access to wild deer and wild deer hunting," Jenny Sanders, executive director of Texans for Saving Our Hunting Heritage, said. "We want the sport of hunting to live on, but with the increased practice of shooting domesticated, genetically-manipulated deer in shooting preserves, that opportunity is threatened. It's time for hunters to take a stand against the irresponsible and unethical practices of those deer breeders who damage our image with the non-hunting public."
The creation of Texans for Saving Our Hunting Heritage is a proactive effort by Texas hunters who anticipate repeated legislative action by deer breeders in the 84th Texas Legislative Session that would:
- Legalize the sale of venison, which violates the Public Trust Doctrine and can lead to market hunting;
- Take authority for oversight of deer breeding away from Texas Parks & Wildlife Department and grant it to the Texas Animal Health Commission;
- Oppose any effort to have released breeder deer clearly marked so that hunters know what they are shooting; and
- Defend the antiquated "10-day rule" whereby a pen-reared deer can be hunted just 10 days after it is released from captivity, which violates the standards of fair chase that most hunters embrace and exposes humans to the risk of residual pharmaceuticals in consumed meat.
Texans for Saving Our Hunting Heritage launched a Facebook page on October 1, 2014, to educate Texans about fair chase hunting. Since then, the page has attracted more than 10,000 "likes" and has created a spirited dialogue from hunters and wildlife enthusiasts across Texas.
There are 4 million wild deer in Texas, attracting more than 1 million hunters, and generating more than $2 billion for the state's economy. Alternately, deer breeders in Texas, at just under 1,300 in number, represent a cottage industry that threatens the greater hunting community through the use of extreme, irresponsible practices that exploit a public resource—native, whitetail deer.
"Texans for Saving Our Hunting Heritage is made up of avid hunters, and in no way are we anti-hunting," Sanders said. "What we are concerned with are certain deer breeding practices that expose unwitting hunters and their families to residual pharmaceuticals in venison, that facilitate the spread of disease to wild deer, and that lend themselves to the perception of put-and-take-hunting, which threatens our hunting heritage. Further, we have no problem with the wise use of high fences as a wildlife management tool. There are many well-managed ranches across Texas that need a high fence to keep their deer densities at an acceptable level."
Fair chase hunting, as defined by most sportsmen, is the ethical, sportsmanlike, and lawful pursuit and taking of a game animal in a manner that does not give the hunter an improper advantage over such animals. During canned hunts, people pay thousands of dollars to kill captive-raised, tamed deer in a contained environment.
Certain deer breeding practices involve forced ejaculation, artificial insemination, bottle raising, and administration of drugs and nutrients to create abnormally large antlers. These deer are then sold to ranch owners who will guarantee a kill to customers who are willing to shoot artificially-produced deer.
Additionally, numerous antibiotics, sedatives and other drugs are administered to breeder deer, which could be retained in venison consumed by hunters and their families. There is no agency in Texas that manages withdrawal intervals prior to processing liberated breeder deer, or that conducts meat inspections prior to consumption, as is required in the livestock industry. Breeders need to address this issue in order to protect consumers of venison from deer that have been medicated.
For more information or to join Texans for Saving Our Hunting Heritage, please visit https://www.facebook.com/texanshuntingheritage
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SOURCE Texans for Saving Our Hunting Heritage