Wednesday, August 5, 2015

(UPDATED last four paragraphs) Maine's fish and wildlife agency jacklighted by "The Animal Planet"

Maine’s state wildlife officials were none too pleased that the non-network network Animal Planet opined for the abolishment of so-called big-game trophy hunting.

Even more horrifying for Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife was that Animal Planet’s on-line website encouraged readers to contribute to two of the so-called animal rights movement’s most outspoken anti-hunting groups: The Humane Society of the United States and the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

Why any of this should honk off Maine’s fish and wildlife managers and game wardens is because one of the Animal Planet highly touted and prestigious weekly program is “North Woods Law.”

This one-hour-long weekly program (new episodes are aired on Sundays) focuses on Maine’s game warden service.

Consequently, for the Animal Planet to air on a weekly basis the daily interactions of Maine’s game wardens with lawful an unlawful sportsmen and sportswomen and then advocate not only abolishing trophy hunting but also pitching a plea for donations to the HSUS and the IFAW has – on the surface at least - proved over the top for that state’s fish and wildlife managers.

Such is particularly true since the Animal Planet made an anti-trophy hunting sales pitch during its August 2nd North Woods Law episode.

Fueling insult to injury the HSUS even largely bankrolled last fall’s failed attempt at the ballot box to outlaw several forms of Maine’s black bear hunting.

The Animal Planet’s “Animals Are Not Trophies/This is why Cecil’s Death Matters” statement – which is still being posted on-line as of this writing – says in part: “(The) Animal Planet is outraged and heartbroken by the recent killing of Cecil the lion.

“The network strongly opposes the deplorable practice of trophy hunting, asserting that it devastate conservation efforts, reduces wildlife populations and weakens the populations’ gene pools.”

If that statement were not enough than the string of readers’ comments about the possibility of poaching of Cecil was even more strident.

One commenter said Cecil’s death was “murder” while the Minnesota dentist accused of the act – Dr. Walter James Palmer - is “white trash” and who should be “hung.”

None of which pleased Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

Mart Latti, Outreach and Communications official with Maine’s Fisheries /Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, said he had not seen the Animal Planet’s August 2nd episode with its anti-trophy-hunting public service announcement.


Nor had Latti taken a gander at the Animal Planet’s web site that prominently displays its position paper on the subject. And this position statement still resides alongside the Animal Planet’s promotion of “North Woods Law.”


“I can tell you that the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has contacted the production company of the show to voice our serious concerns with the placement and content of Animal Planet’s statement including the online links to the Humane Society of the United States and other animal welfare organizations that are opposed to all types of hunting.” Latti said.


“We are working to fix this situation, and either (I) or another member of the department will be in touch in the near future to provide you with an update.”


That said, as of this writing the Animal Planet’s web page layout and content still highlights an unchanged “Animals Are Not Trophies” commentary.

Going further, the on-line “Channel Guide Magazine” web site said that the Animal Planet presented “World Lion Day” programming August 10 as “a marathon of lion-related” shows that will be “dedicated to Cecil the lion…”

“..(Animal) Planet’s campaign ‘’ is a resource for those who want to take action against trophy hunting and poaching,” Channel Guide Magazine quotes the Animal Planet as saying.

“Cecil’s senseless slaughter is a vivid reminder of how vulnerable these magnificent animals are to human threats.”

And yet with all of this being said the web site for Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife does not yet at least include any commentary addressing the agency’s concerns.

Indeed, on Animal Planet’s “This is why Cecil the Lion’s Death Matters’” commentary by a Jodi Westrick, the non-network network not only includes “North Woods Law” as a “tag” item but likewise includes a coupling to a North Woods Law segment entitled “Deer Bait Leads To Evidence of Poaching.”

This, as of August 19, presumably after the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife contacted the Animal Planet to express its “serious concerns” and was working “to fix the situation.”
The rebranded Columbus-based “Sportsmen’s Alliance” – formerly United States Sportsmen’s Alliance – did not return with a reply regarding an inquiry pertaining to this matter.
By Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

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