Sunday, February 04, 2007

Mass. bill would ban Internet hunting

By Dave Wedge
Boston Herald Chief Enterprise Reporter
Saturday, February 3, 2007 - Updated: 09:56 AM EST

A disgusted Brockton lawmaker wants to fast-track a ban on "Internet hunting," a "sick" online service that allows players to use their computer mouse to fire a real remote-controlled rifle and kill fenced-in animals on far away ranches.

"This is really sick," said Sen. Robert Creedon (D-Brockton). "To term that ‘hunting' really demeans hunting."

Creedon's proposal would ban Bay State residents from gunning down exotic animals via the Internet and also would make it illegal to set up a Massachusetts-based online hunting site. Every New England state except Massachusetts and Connecticut has banned the gruesome game, as have 25 other states.

Creedon is seeking to fast-track the bill and hopes to have it on Gov. Deval Patrick's desk within weeks.

"They lure animals into a circumstance where, by remote means, you kill the animal," Creedon said. "It's beyond me how anyone can derive pleasure from that."

One former site, called LiveShot.com, charged members $1,500 to have sheep, deer, boars and other exotic animals herded in front of a remote camera at feeding troughs for players to shoot with their computer-controlled rifle. The carcass would then be stuffed, mounted and shipped to the gamer.

The site was run out of a Texas ranch that allows "canned" hunting, a controversial sport in which hunters shoot domesticated animals in fenced-in reserves. The Web site has since been shut down, but animal rights groups say there are efforts under way to open new cyberranches.

"This is nothing more than pay-per-view slaughter," said Michael Markarian, executive vice president of the Humane Society of the United States. "It takes the canned hunt to a new unsavory low. This is not sporting. This is not hunting. This is a snuff film."

Internet hunting supporters argue that the virtual shooting gallery gives handicapped hunters and others who can't get out into the wilderness a chance to hunt. But Markarian, who is also pushing for a federal ban, hopes Massachusetts becomes the next state to prohibit the bloodsport.

"They still have half the states that are open to them unless we can prevent this sick idea from spreading," he said.

http://news.bostonherald.com/localRegional/view.bg? articleid=180783&format=text

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