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Observations on the Future of Gamefowl

Posted by gamecocksunlimited on May 18, 2012

OBSERVATIONS ON THE FUTURE OF GAMEFOWL

By Jim Beers
Given to North Carolina Gamefowl Breeders
In Asheville, North Carolina
On 11 August 2007

Thank you for inviting me to your banquet this evening. It is an honor to accept your invitation. Given the difficulties you have endured lately, from Federal legislation to Governors running for President and from urban voters in places like Oklahoma imitating their cousins in places like New Jersey and Massachusetts to politicians in Louisiana diverting attention from corruption and mismanagement at your expense, your invitation to speak here is like being asked to speak to Marines in Iraq. That front-line combatants like you might find something I have to say worthwhile is humbling.

I am neither a lawyer nor a lobbyist. Nothing I say in any way is meant to conflict with what those sorts of advisers may tell you. I am an old wildlife biologist and law enforcement officer that has worked in Washington as a bureaucrat and Congressional Fellow. I was unceremoniously fired by political appointees in the late 1990’s for my work to protect trapping and state fish and wildlife programs. The US Fish and Wildlife Service was already being controlled by radical groups like The Defenders of Wildlife at that time. These same persons now administer The Defenders of Wildlife and were responsible for defeating Congressman Pombo who was mentioned here this morning. He challenged them when millions were stolen from the hunting and fishing funds for state agencies and in this last election the “Defenders” and their allies spent millions to defeat him and send a message to any potential political opponents. I testified twice before Congress about the theft of millions of dollars from the hunting and fishing excise taxes and was paid $150,000 to go away and keep- my mouth shut for 3 years. Since then I have been writing and speaking about government corruption and the role of the environmental and animal rights radicals in cahoots with bureaucrats, professors, veterinarians, and politicians. It is this perspective that forms my observations to you this evening.

Recently a friend sent me an e-mail video that showed a man with a large eagle on his forearm flushing a deer from the edge of a field out onto the field. As the deer sprinted across the field the man released the eagle that quickly overtook the deer, grabbed it at the back of the neck, rolled over twice while holding onto the deer, and finally held the deer down while spreading its wings over the vanquished deer. From the few words heard on the video, I suspect it was filmed either in the Balkans or in central Asia.

Now I shared that video with many friends and acquaintances, several of which have berated me for speaking about the rights of gamefowl owners. Without exception they were fascinated by the eagle/deer encounter and even laughed about what fun it would be to see it in person. They also agreed that if there were “sufficient” (whatever that means) eagles around that training and using eagles like that should be allowed.

As I have said repeatedly in the past about other such animal uses, “what is the difference between using an eagle to kill a deer or a hunter shooting a duck and cockfighting?” If the use of gamefowl by owners can be superceded by the state or Federal government because it is called “cruel” by many urban or even a majority of politically active citizens then how can we ever stop the similar elimination of everything else like trapping (NJ bans trapping AND even trap possession, MA bans trapping) or hunting cougars (CA) or hunting cougars with dogs (OR) or fishing (certain European countries) or the property rights of those that “slaughter” domestic animals for food (proposed for chickens and cattle) or those that “slaughter” horses (recent Federal law), etc.? If Constitutional guarantees regarding private property can be dismissed because some of us “like” horses (or dolphins or seals or wolves) then ultimately no animal or plant property is safe.

You are bellwethers for so many others. As you go, so goes everyone that owns or uses animals as either private property or as public property. As you go, so go the management of natural resources and the husbandry of animals for human uses. As you go, so goes the traditions and freedoms that have sustained families for generations and this country’s guarantees of liberty and tolerance.

Think that is exaggeration? There are other similar structures under assault. Please try to not reject the following four analogies because of your personal view about the topic but consider the analogy itself.

1. Family authority is constantly challenged by radical groups using government coercion to impose sexual mores and tolerance for sexual practices and even abortion access through Federal funding for schools.

2. Marriage is under assault by same-sex attracted groups and others advocating government intervention and dictates regarding traditional marriage and cohabiting couples of every dimension seeking legal and social benefits for themselves and children born out of wedlock.

3. The “unalienable Right to Life” mentioned in the Declaration of Independence is under assault by government interventionists regarding abortion, partial-birth abortion, and euthanasia of the handicapped and ill and aged and others.

4. Gun rights under the 2nd Amendment are under constant assault as urban politicians and others try to have courts and politicians do what was done in Europe and Russia and China and every dictatorship from Hitler to Mugabe – eliminate gun ownership by individual citizens. Remember those bucolic films of happy Russian farm workers under communism stacking hay with those WOODEN pitchforks? In addition to guns, even the possession of METAL pitchforks was forbidden by communist dictators!

In each case, the radicals move incrementally. The radicals use some current news item. The Federal politicians capitalize on a public emotional outburst, the Federal bureaucrats come up with a proposal that gives them more authority (and people and funding), the state bureaucrats shrug about the loss of state authority and remind state politicians about the potential for Federal funding, and some professor jumps into the fray about how he agrees and if he had more funding he could confirm the political decision. Increasingly the courts ignore the simple dismissal of state Constitutional authority and the explosive burst of Federal authority and so precedents are set for the Federal government to control more of our lives and the state governments to become quaint appendages of Federal bureaucracies and Federal politicians that rule for lifetimes like ancient aristocrats.

The users and owners of animals are the targets of choice for environmental and animal rights extremist agendas. The use and management of public lands and public resources like forage and timber and wildlife and fish are similarly targeted for incremental extinction by radicals operating just like the anti-gun, anti-family, anti-life, and anti-marriage organizations cited above.

First, the Bad News. Environmental and animal rights radicals have been on a roll lately. For the past 15 years, the listing of Endangered Species and the declarations of public land closures and the suppression of rural life and rural economies has been staggering. Predator introductions, logging elimination, ranching restrictions, game herd reductions, and road closures contributing to forest fires and reduced access have paralleled the pressures on hunting and gamefowl owners and trappers to name but a few.

Thirty-five years ago the beginning of this environmental and animal rights
hysteria as justification for all the abuses we see today was begun with passage of The Animal Welfare Act, The Endangered Species Act, The Marine Mammal Protection Act, and “energizing” of The Wilderness Act passed shortly before these laws. UN involvement with Federal agencies and European values were used as both justifications and models.

Finally, all these terrible laws that began stripping state authorities and making the Federal government a venue for imposing the agendas of any powerful group, no matter what the Constitution or traditions dictated, were passed in a state of hysteria similar to today. Once again please try to set aside what your personal attitudes were and consider these precedents.

In the late 1960’s and early 1970’s we had a bitter confrontation between the President and the Congress. Both were unpopular as we ”pulled out” of Vietnam. Partisan feelings among the electorate were high. So what did both parties and all politicians do? They passed “feel-good” laws to divert us and to make us think more kindly of them. The Senate sponsor of the Marine Mammal Protection Act was heard to say privately that the “best thing about those marine mammals was that weren’t any within a thousand miles of Arkansas”. This same phenomenon can be seen on History Channel programs about Roman Emperors that built things like Circus Maximus and Baths where the public enjoyed every depravity. This diversion was believed to make it more dangerous for any rival to try an assassination while the current Emperor waged persecutions and wars that might have otherwise antagonized the public and made replacement of the Emperor a popular idea.

I believe that today the President/Congress confrontation and the Iraq War are similar to that late 1960’s’early 1970’s period. All of our politicians are eager for diversions (LA?, NM?) and to make our perceptions of them warm and fuzzy. It is a dangerous period for us all.

Now, the Good News. The environmental and animal rights campaigns have, like every radical movement down through history, sewn the seeds of their own destruction.

Many things are currently being overlooked and masked by the media and government. A few of the many such things waiting for an examination after something blows sky-high (just like the excuses for all the excesses of the past 3 ½ decades) include:

– The continued taking of private property by government without compensation.
– Millions spent by government on a bird that didn’t exist, the Ivory-billed Woodpecker.
– Destruction of rural economies and American lumber supplies by false claims about an Owl.
– Horrendous forest fires caused and maintained by Federal Wilderness, Roadless, non-management policies and never-ending outright acquisition and easement control of private property by government and government-supported radical groups.
– Corruption and scandals concerning Billions in government funds, tax exemptions, and land transfers by agencies and various Land “Conservancies”, “Trusts” and “Alliances”.
– The unmentioned shift of state bureaucracies from representatives of state government and interests to Federal subcontractors and national animal rights agendas.
– The effects of marine mammals on depressed commercial fish stocks.
– The loss of vital local government funding as more land is eased by “Trusts” and “Conservancies” and bought outright by Federal agencies that are either exempt from or simply do not pay any local taxes.
– The loss of big game herds and hunting income to Federally protected predators.
– The “stacking” of state and Federal agencies with anti-use and anti-management employees that sympathize more with European and UN agendas than American freedoms and traditions.
– The continuing pollution of the Potomac River on the spawning grounds of Endangered sturgeon by government agencies for decades while prosecuting citizens for far less egregious infractions.
– Unproven assertions about global warming to justify even greater Federal authority consolidation and control of citizens and their activities.
– Cities that declare themselves immune to Federal immigration laws (“Sanctuaries”) while forcing extreme environmental, animal rights, and gun laws on rural communities under penalties consisting of fines and imprisonment.
– Politicians using “engineers” (Minnesota bridge collapse) and “scientists” (Endangered Species and Marine Mammal legislation et al) as scapegoats for their abdication of American Constitutional principles and the use of tax dollars.

No matter how many teachers and professors and veterinarians and government “scientists” and reporters deny the reality of what is happening and weave their own interests and preferences into their explanations masquerading as “science” there is an approaching crisis that will not be amenable to the lies and distortions of the past. I am speaking of the introduction, spread, and protection of wolves and grizzly bears. From New Mexico to Washington to the Great Lakes and soon into New England wolves are spreading and adapting. Grizzly bears are likewise spreading across the Northern Rockies for the same reason (Federal laws and policies implementing environmental and animal rights goals from public land closures and rural economy destruction to elimination of hunting and ranching and logging to Federal land purchases and more easements purchased by subsidized “Conservancies”).

Mark my words; children, especially, will begin dying more and more as wolves and grizzly bears settle into areas and reduce the wild animals and other foods that they feed on. As ranches go out of business livestock will become scarce too. As the wolves and bears chase remaining game animals into towns and as the wolves and bears become first less fearful of men, and then curious about people and their pets, and finally aware of children at bus stops or women working in gardens or old men taking walks or small kids playing outside – the same thing will happen that happened down through the ages. What will happen is markedly increased “unprovoked attacks” resulting in death and humans consumed like a rabbit or foal.

Read Will Graves’ book “Wolves in Russia” to learn of thousands of such wolf attacks in Asia and Europe over the last two centuries. When you realize that when wolves (or even more, grizzly bears) will attack in winter for food or in the summer when feeding their young for food or that rabid wolves are all too common and the source of horrendous death and destruction or that wolves spread all manner of deadly diseases you will no longer doubt the coming crisis. In spite of all the denials and pooh-poohs about wolves and bears and how attacks are the result of “human error” or “being in ‘their’ habitat” or not “picking up garbage” the truth will come out when the attacks on Americans take off. These deadly predators were eliminated for good reason and their introduction and protection back into a more populous and structured “lower 48” was the height of idiocy and misinformation.

Then, I firmly believe, questions and discussion will no longer be avoided and bottled up. How can we get rid of them? Answer: It is no longer practical thanks to everything from self-serving and idealistic private property owners (from absentee owners and billionaires to animal protection zealots) to laws and regulation and newly-minted Federal authority intended to hobble any attempts to control animals. Who will pay for “controls”? Answer: All of us. Why were we never told that wolves carry brucellosis (undulant fever), anthrax, chronic wasting disease, mad cow disease, rabies, distemper, tularemia, parasites (helminthes, trichinella, echinococcus, tapeworms, etc), hoof and mouth, and neosporosus caninum (causes spontaneous abortions in hoofed animals)? Why can’t people carry handguns to defend themselves or their families or their property where wolves or grizzly bears HAVE BEEN INTRODUCED AND PROTECTED? Why aren’t the bureaucrats and professors responsible for introducing the wolves responsible for their impacts? What is the role of government regarding animals?

When the subject of government role and past mistakes explodes on the public, the public forum to reassert the property status of animals and the “control” of animals will emerge and be too much to cover up any longer. As this happens, all of the “things waiting for open examination” that I mentioned earlier will suddenly be fair game. In this environment, the rights of gamefowl owners and horse owners and other animal owners and users, as well as the legality of recent government interventions and Federal authority growth will become subjects for public discussion and debate.

Does this mean I think things will automatically turn around? No. Gamefowl ownership and use like horse ownership or pet use or hunting with dogs and so many other things will be restored just like they were destroyed: one election and one legal action and one political step at a time. For instance:

1. Local and state authority needs to be reasserted: Federal intervention repealed.

2. Urban constituencies (like Oklahoma City voters overriding rural counties or Boston and Chicago and New   York City and Los Angeles/San Francisco domination of their states by imposing their values on their rural neighbors) should be limited in their abilities to impose their standards (from guns and hunting to gamefowl) on rural communities. This can be done in the state legislature by state politicians with a mandate from the electorate.

3. Federal domination of state agencies and bureaucracies must be rolled back.

4. Keeping authority at the lowest (and therefore most accountable to the voters) level must replace the trend to sending all authority to a Federal and then UN or “International Agreement” level”.

5. Consider repeal of the 17th Amendment. US Senators appointed by State Legislatures (as they were for over 100 years) REPRESENT THAT STATE. US Senators elected by a popular vote REPRESENT THE NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL AGENDAS THAT PAY THEM THE MOST AND PROVIDE THEM WITH REELECTION TOOLS AND MONEY.

6. Elect state and local politicians that protect and restore your rights. Work to defeat those that don’t protect your rights or sell them to a Federal government for funding they control.

7. Finally, don’t be afraid to speak about your traditions and rights in a forthright manner. This is especially important with young Americans.

An example of what I mean here may be helpful. I was asked recently about what I thought about dog fighting. This happens often and especially after I have written about something like gamefowl or trapping and it has been raised to me several times since this NFL Quarterback fiasco that took place just North of here. I answered that I don’t make choices based on the bad behavior of millionaire sports thugs. Just like the sports thug that shot his chauffer in New Jersey or the Baltimore sports thug that was involved in a fatal barroom stabbing or the sports thug whose bodyguard beat up people in a “club” the behavior of the dog fighting sport thug is reprehensible. Likewise I don’t accept government power-growth based on some old lady that needs help and attention so she keeps 50 cats in her trailer. Don’t ask me to set limits on pets or other animals based on some older persons aberrations. Don’t ask me to accept banning shotguns because one of those guys shoots someone. Don’t ask me to ban knives because these bums stab each other in bars. Don’t ask me to ban bodyguards because one of these bums tells the bodyguard to beat up someone. If there is gambling going on (though why that is always mentioned as so dreadful in our casino/lottery-drenched culture is a mystery to me) arrest the gamblers. If they are using or selling drugs, arrest them. Those things are all illegal and the laws should be enforced.

If they are killing animals in an unacceptable fashion, establish state or local methods and standards that reflect community values as the basis for local laws.

I have watched with interest all the one-sided emotional outbursts everywhere resulting from this NFL quarterback affair. I have owned many dogs (mostly well-trained retrievers that were devoted and valued pets and hunting partners). They protected my home and my tent while I slept, they retrieved dead ducks and crippled geese, they found pheasants and grouse, and they made my life richer by their presence. The idea of fighting them is repugnant to me.

I ask you to consider for a moment that the very same people so outraged about dog fighting are, in most cases, the same people who have been very enthusiastic about wolf and grizzly bear introduction and protection by the Federal government for 35 years. For 35 years the government has promulgated these wolves and bears and made it a Federal violation subject to fines and imprisonment and enforced by sophisticated enforcement officers and techniques to even harm, much less kill, a wolf or bear that is killing your rabbit-hunting dog or watchdog or retriever or shepherd or even your young daughter’s pet dog. Whether the wolf or bear is on your property or in your yard or in your barn or anywhere you must allow it to maul and kill your dog. The dog might die quickly but more often is left alive and torn apart to die a lingering and hideous death. This travesty alone is one of the reasons I am such an outspoken critic of these predators and the Federal programs of the last 35 years. In the last 35 years thousands of dogs (no one keeps track) have been killed by these government predators on ranches and farms and towns, behind trailers, in yards, and as they hunted rabbits and birds for their unfortunate owners. Were one of the dogs I owned to have ever been so attacked, I would have been undeterred by such unjust laws and disposed of the wolf then and there despite the consequences. So the people seeking to trap me about dog fighting turn a blind eye to their “pet” dog killing project as they try to sanctimoniously capitalize on the lurid reporting about dog deaths and injuries that are far less horrific than watching your dog torn to pieces or ripped apart before your family and often left only half alive to suffer until “euthanized”.

Although speaking in support of dog fighting is something that simply invites an avalanche of condemnation, I am forced to confront the conundrum I face. Were I to oppose dog-fighting based on my perceptions of dogs as “different” or “special”, I would be no better than those I condemn for banning bullfighting or hunting or trapping or guns based on their personal feelings. So I am damned if I support it or damned if I oppose it. Because if I oppose it, I am no better than the anti-hunters and anti-trappers and anti-ranchers and anti-loggers and all the rest WHO IMPOSE THEIR PERSONAL VIEWS ON OTHERS DESPITE THE CONSTITUTION AND THE RIGHTS OF THEIR FELLOW CITIZENS.

So my answer is, I oppose dog fighting but in this Republic I leave its disposition up to local communities to decide what the LOCAL COMMUNITY desires and I will respect their wishes. This is the American Way and the attitude that should guide those who oppose guns or logging or animal ownership or the management and use of natural resources or public use of public lands or what sort of duck or goose meat I eat (a Chicago eatery is charging $60 for a cheap sandwich with which they now have to “give” you some pate’). Would I encourage standards for dogfights? Certainly. Would I ever attend a dogfight? Certainly not, like someone opposed to hunting; just don’t do it yourself but don’t deny others their rights and freedoms and traditions. Would I buy a coat from China that had dog fur trim? Yes I would. Animals are animals: they are property and they (both wild and domestic) must be maintained for OUR benefit, be it economic or traditional. They are NOT private property IF government can dictate their disposition based on the whims of others or powerful coalitions. That is what determines their VALUE and without value they will indeed disappear eventually. The concept that animals have “rights” in their own right, as opposed our benevolence, is repugnant, wrong-headed, and a mortal danger to a free Republic that was created to and exists to provide “Domestic Tranquility” for its citizens.

Just like this issue is difficult and allies are virtually non-existent, so too are many other issues we are dealing with. But I am optimistic that laws that elevate animals to human status are wrong and cannot ultimately persist. If human dignity and common sense standards can be maintained anywhere, I believe it will be in the United   States. Our future is what we make of it and although there are undoubtedly problems, there are reasons for hope. I believe that other animal owners and animal users will understand this when the time comes to reassert the values put forth in The Declaration of Independence and The US Constitution. Communicating with and involving others by explaining THEIR STAKE in all this is no small part of what we must do.

Thank you for having me here and I trust that you have heard some reason for optimism or perhaps some idea that you will find helpful. Our futures are intertwined and our fate depends on our own actions individually and in total.

In conclusion I would like to recall what President Kennedy said by a German Wall that no one thought would ever come down. He said, “I am a Berliner” and I say, “I am a Gamefowl Breeder”. I will work with you to restore your rights because ultimately they are my rights. If we all work at it, we can be just as successful.

Jim Beers
– If you found this worthwhile, please share it with others. Thanks.

– This article and other recent articles by Jim Beers can be found at
http://jimbeers.blogster.com (Jim Beers Common Sense)

– Jim Beers is available for consulting or to speak. Contact:
jimbeers7@verizon.net

– Jim Beers is a retired US Fish & Wildlife Service Wildlife Biologist, Special Agent, Refuge Manager, Wetlands Biologist, and Congressional Fellow. He was stationed inNorth Dakota,Minnesota,Nebraska,New York City, andWashingtonDC. He also served as a US Navy Line Officer in the western Pacific and onAdak,Alaska in theAleutian Islands. He has worked for the Utah Fish & Game, Minneapolis Police Department, and as a Security Supervisor inWashington,DC. He testified three times before Congress; twice regarding the theft by the US Fish & Wildlife Service of $45 to 60 Million from State fish and wildlife funds and once in opposition to expanding Federal Invasive Species authority. He resides inCentreville,Virginia with his wife of many decades.

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