On May 26th, The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) urged Governor Rick Perry to sign into law a bill to ban the practice of Internet hunting after the Senate gave unanimous approval to the measure. The House had previously approved the bill, H.B. 2026, which would ban "computer-assisted remote hunting" throughout the state. The controversial practice originated in Texas with launching of a web site, www.Live-Shot.com, that allowed hunters to pay a fee and shoot animals on an exotic game ranch with the click of a mouse.
"Let's hope that the repugnant and inhumane practice of Internet hunting will be stamped out in Texas with the adoption of this legislation," stated Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States. "Remote-controlled killing of animals by individuals operating a computer from 50 or 5,000 miles away is not hunting, but pay-per-view slaughter. We applaud the legislature for taking such fast action on the subject."
The HSUS has been active in advocating for legislation to combat Internet hunting— bills to outlaw the practice are currently active in 13 states. Five states –Maine, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia—have already adopted bills to halt Internet hunting. U.S. Representative Tom Davis (R-VA) has also introduced legislation in Congress to combat the practice.
Hunting via the Internet involves signing up on the web site and paying a deposit and fees of more than $1,500 to schedule a session. The final cost will depend on the species and size of the animal killed and the cost of having the trophy mounted. The hunter then logs on again at an appointed time and watches a feeding station on his computer screen. The animal ordered is present in the area, and when he approaches the food, the hunter uses his mouse to line the victim up in the on-screen crosshairs. A click of the mouse fires the rifle.
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