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Special Investigation : Monster Pig
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EXCLUSIVE: FOLLOW THE BACON :

12 Year Old Monster Pig Hunter Faces Possible Animal Cruelty Charges in Alabama
By: Rhonda Roland Shearer
January 29, 2008 12:00 AM EST
 
EXCLUSIVE: FOLLOW THE BACON :
 
 

Editor's Note : Rhonda Shearer is the director of Art Science Research Laboratory, which she founded with her late husband Stephen Jay Gould. The New York-based think tank promotes cross-disciplinary studies and supports a journalism ethics program that publishes StinkyJournalism.org, a site bent on debunking erroneous media. She and her colleagues have put hundreds of hours into investigating the claims around a "monster" pig kill in Alabama last year, which they see as a case study in how to create an international media hoax. Because the investigation involves hunting law and ethics, she has written this report for ESPNOutdoors.com, to be published simultaneously on StinkyJournalism.org. When Jamison Stone shot and killed a massive swine in Alabama last year, the headlines blared: “Boy Bags Monster Pig in ’Bama.” An 11-year-old taking down a hog in Dixie was front-page news in Manhattan. “The Today Show” lined him up for an appearance.

Quickly, though, as the details of the hunt emerged, the spotlight abandoned Stone. After countless hours of following the story since it broke in May, I’ve pieced together a far shadier account of events than initially reported. And I’ve learned that Stone this week will face a grand jury in Clay County to answer for possible animal cruelty charges. He and the four adults he trusted – who ultimately tricked him and an overeager press – are all subject to questioning, and possible enforcement.

SPECIAL REPORT

Exclusive: Follow the Bacon: Part II
12 year old faces possible Grand Jury charges for animal cruelty.

Hog Washed!: Part I
Stinky Journalism investigation debunks AP and FOX News: “Giant Hog with Small Boy” Photo

   [RELATED]

What went wrong?

For starters, the grand jury’s issue is not with Jamison’s father, Mike Stone, and his initial exaggeration of the pig’s dimensions. (Check out my investigation “Hog Washed!” on StinkyJournalism.org for a breakdown of how the “hero shots” after the hunt were manipulated.) Instead, it will be investigating the more serious matter of why experienced hunters let the half-ton hog bleed out across a three-hour hunt when they had the opportunity to kill it swiftly and humanely.

Stone, now 12, may not have known better. He’s the young man you remember holding the .50 caliber Smith & Wesson pistol behind the large, hairy hog he shot at a “hunting preserve” called Lost Creek Plantation in Lineville, Ala., in May.

He no doubt had placed trust in his father, Mike Stone, who arranged the hunt with Keith O’Neal and Charles Williams, owners of Southeastern Trophy Hunters. They brokered hunts with Eddy Borden, who owns Lost Creek.

Those men assured young Jamison that hog he killed was wild. The truth is, the animal was in fact a docile breeding swine named “Fred.”

The boy’s trust in these four men turned out to be misplaced. O’Neal, a professional hunter, persuaded the father to fork over $1,500 to guide Jamison on the rigged hunt. Their actions that day could lead Jamison to face charges in court.

How did three trained hunters and the boy’s father lead him around a fenced-in, 150-acre plot for more than three hours, allowing Jamison to repeatedly shoot – but merely wound – a 1,000-pound animal? Not one of them thought to say: “Look, son, you had your chance, but those belly shots have wounded the animal and it is in distress. We have to put the creature out of its misery.” Instead, they allowed the hog to bleed out from injury. Mike Stone told me during several phone interviews recorded over numerous hours that no kill shot was ever taken. “I regret that it didn’t die the first shot,” he told me on June 5 last year. “But that’s all I can say. That’s all I’m going to say.”

The mystery remains: Why did the hunters do nothing? As director of the Art Science Research Laboratory, which runs a media ethics program and a web site called StinkyJournalism.org, I led hundreds of hours of on-the-record interviews and research into the monster pig case (the records of which were subpoenaed by Clay County District Attorney, Fred Thompson). The results of that investigation will offer the jury some clues.

Here is what we found.

Although O'Neal's web site boasted that the hunting at Lost Creek was “legendary,” the hunting operation at the plantation was only four-months-old at the time of the hunt. Eddy Borden had big plans for developing his canned-hunt operation, the Clay County Times reported shortly before the hunt. Borden, along with O'Neal, hatched a scheme following the blueprint for hype and financial success generated by “Hogzilla,” the first famous and controversial monster hog, shot on a hunting plantation in Georgia in 2004.

Using buzzwords associated with the Hogzilla hype, O’Neal placed an advertisement on April 28th. It promised a “once in a lifetime” hunt for a “monster” wild boar that they had “trapped” and that was now “roaming the wilds of the Lost Creek Plantation.”

It turns out that the “monster” boar was in fact plain ol’ Fred, a domesticated, part Duroc hog whose original owner, Phil Blissitt, said that the guides Borden and Williams drove their truck to pick up the swine from his farm on April 29th. (Allen Andress, the chief of law enforcement for the Alabama Wildlife and Fisheries Division, confirmed the pickup date in a separate phone interview.) Borden paid Blissitt $250 for the hog, and in that instant Fred went from breeding stock to “wild” beast just four days before the hunt.

O’Neal, in charge of selling the hunting escapade, knew full well there was no, “beast roaming Lost Creek.” Still, he placed an advertisement on his web site, Southeasterntrophyhunters.com, and sent out a mailing to hype the canned hunt as a safari-like adventure. He may have already had Mike Stone in mind as a prospect. The ad featured Stone himself, who had shot a 627-pound hog at Lost Creek only weeks before. He also mentioned that Borden had just trapped another boar larger than the one Stone had shot.

According to Mike Stone, a local news station advised O’Neal that in order for the hunt to become a news story, only the boy – not an adult – could take the shot. The media got what they asked for, and a brave young lad shot and killed a “monster” hog in the wilds of Alabama.

Trouble was, it just wasn’t true.

The Anniston Star newspaper reported on May 30th that hunt organizers O’Neal and Williams said they “knew the harvest of the pig alone would draw some attention but that the addition of Jamison doing the shooting moved the story to a higher level.”

O’Neal told the paper: “We knew it was going to be something significant because of the sheer size. The fact that an 11-year-old did it with a pistol, that’s what perpetuated it and has kept it going.”

The Star continued: “O’Neal and Williams went on to say that a lot of this skepticism might have never happened. They had invited television stations to come with them on the hunt, but none showed up.”

It was the Star’s May 23, 2007 report that first launched the story into the media; StinkyJournalism.org discovered that it also was invited to attend the hunt, but did not disclose this fact. (We will be writing more later about the media’s responsibilities and role in this international fake news story.) We also found out the main independent witness used to verify the hog’s size and skull for the Star, taxidermist Jerry Cunningham, had a business relationship with O’Neal for over 16 years. This should have been revealed to the public.

Was creating a news story in order to promote a hunting business the primary reason the professional hunters didn’t take any shots and went to such lengths to ensure that only the boy took aim? Were the resulting international headlines – “11 Year Old Boy Slays Monster Pig in Alabama'' – worth the cruelty and suffering to the pig? Borden may no longer think so. Instead of creating a booming business, the Hogzilla scheme backfired. It generated bad press and has led to possible charges against Borden as well as the boy. Lost Creek Plantation has apparently since been closed, and realtors have confirmed to Stinkyjournalism.org that it is up for sale.


Eddy Borden, owner of Lost Creek Plantation, Lineville Alabama, April 19, 2007 just days before the May 3 Monster Pig hunt . The local weekly, Clay County Times, took this photo for their news story featuring the hunting operation. Following the controversy, the Lost Creek hunting preserve was recently put up for sale according to local realtors.
(Image from Lost Creek Plantation web site, now down. Photo credit: Clay County Times)

Mike Stone, who was sold a “pig-in-a-poke” by O’Neal, Williams and Borden, should not be charged. These three adults, all professional hunters, are responsible. Jamison and the hog are the victims in this case.

Still, Mike Stone is no angel in all of this. He created a web site, Monsterpig.com, filled with celebrity endorsements, posters for sale with Jamison’s autograph ($10), and an announcement that Jamison had just received a part in the movie, The Legend of Hogzilla. Mike Stone bragged that Jamison received congratulations from such celebrities as Rickey Medlocke of Lynyrd Skynyrd; country star Kenny Chesney; Benelli exhibition marksmen Tom Knapp and Tim Bradley; and Smith & Wesson marksman Jerry Miculek.

However, there was no groundswell of support by personalities contacting Jamison. Stone solicited all of these celebrities for their congratulations, and every last one was surprised and dismayed to hear that their names appeared on Jamison’s web site.

I asked Miculek, the famed sharpshooter and a role model for hunting youth, whether the .50 caliber hand gun was the cause for Jamison having missed so many shots. “You hit poorly because you can't control the recoil on it,” Miculek said.

What about letting the hog bleed out? Miculek did not flinch. “The idea of the hunt is to make a good one-shot presentation on the animal, so it’s over with,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re 12-years old or you’re 90-years old. You have to respect what you hunt, and you owe it to the animal as much as you do to yourself to make it a quick and accurate shot, so he [Jamison] did neither.”

I don’t live in Alabama, but I would be willing to wager that most Alabamians know the importance and value of a quick kill when hunting. Not since Neil Young’s song “Southern Man” has there been a better time to once again draw the line between what is morally acceptable and what is not. The ugly truth is that a child and his father were duped by three men for financial gain. What happened here is not hunting.

As the grand jury deliberates this week, the state needs a Lynyrd Skynyrd, “Sweet Home Alabama” rebuttal. By enforcing its animal cruelty laws, people who criticized the hog’s needlessly painful death around the world will learn that a few flim-flammers won’t be allowed to tarnish the good name of Alabama – or hunting itself. Who else will join Stinkyjournalism.org to speak out for poor Jamison and hold the real culprits accountable?

Might the manner of Fred’s death constitute cruelty? And if so, who is at fault: a 12-year-old boy, or scheming adults? It is up to a grand jury in Clay County, Alabama to determine.

 

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Its a pig not a human. get over it people. if your bleeding heart is so sad about this then go eat a salad. You dont see me yelling at you riding your bike down the middle of my lane while im trying to get back to work, now go mind your own business and let me hunt.

Comment by Franko | Apr 15, 2010 at 07:08 AM EST

I am the author of this article and grew up hunting. Hunting is NOT a license to allow or promote the lingering deaths of animals. The goal , unless one is a sadist or criminal, is a quick and clean kill. PERIOD.

To take a farm animal and shoot it up for three hours --letting it slowly and painfully bleed to death in a small confined area when adults could and should have put the animal out-of-its misery -- is simply not sport. It is unnecessary cruelty to a living creature as every ethical hunter knows.

Comment by Rhonda Roland Shearer | Apr 15, 2010 at 07:42 AM EST

"Animal Cruelty"???? For killing an invasive, destructive, disease-spreading, large and dangerous species? WTF?

Comment by JF | Jul 18, 2009 at 05:50 AM EST

Didn't you read the article? This was a farm animal.

Comment by Rhonda Roland Shearer | Jul 18, 2009 at 06:02 AM EST

The kid was 11. His father is to blame and the men that run the place are just plain con artists and should be treated as such. This is more than just animal crualty. This is child endangerment and really exposing this child to criminal acts at an early age should be treated as child abuse. This child is raised to trust adults especially his father and associates and he is on trial. Bull Shit.

Comment by Jim | Feb 6, 2008 at 11:36 AM EST

Good job Rhonda!
I was the one you had a private conversation with on the hunting forum in TX. Most, if not all hunters despise these type hunts. Thank you for the truth.

Comment by MDC | Feb 6, 2008 at 08:36 AM EST

Thanks, MDC, for the encouragement . Nice to hear from you.

Comment by Rhonda R. Shearer | Feb 6, 2008 at 03:32 PM EST

If the pig has been or will be ruled as “domestic” and not wild, then I will retract my statement regarding that cruelty doesn’t apply. I thought that I had read here that the pig was ruled feral. My mistake and in this situation, I appear to be wrong. The link that you provided is one that I have already visited and armed only with an accountant’s knowledge of the law, it seems that it ONLY applies to domesticated animals. I am not sure why 4 days in the wild would make a legal difference in it’s classification. My question to Alabama Game and Fish would be “At what point does the animal become wild".Sounds fishy in itself and at the very least subjective. When it comes to cruelty of animals, I have been and will continue to draw the line between domestic and wild. If this pig is or has been ruled as feral, then cruelty doesn’t apply, at least in the courtroom.

You can assume that I have ties to these parties but I can assure that my independence is one of the truths on this site and in my estimation that truth may sit with a minority of other absolute truths. I felt that if I kept posting, and if there was ulterior motivation, it would come out. Based upon your replies I don’t think that you are nearly as offended by the news networks and their journalism skills as you are by these hunters and their actions. You probably keep responding to me, not out of respect but it simply keeps your site in the fore front and is good publicity and I have likely stirred some of your emotions regarding animal rights. My stereotype is that animal right’s activist don’t want to be confused with the facts. They have an agenda and will not bend or tolerate other viewpoints. Feral pigs were once domesticated and they either escaped or was turned loose in the wild. They are destructive and they propagate like kudzu. They will ruin a piece of property in a matter of months and they should be removed. The hunting efforts are not very efficient at population control and usually disease and environmental changes have a larger effect.

As far as these hunters lying or sensationalizing, I think that you are guilty as they are. You have embellished and dramatized the situation for your gain. The best that I can surmise is that your website is promoted as a site that is for exposing journalists and their bad and unethical behavior. From your “about us page”, Its mission differs from other journalism sites in its focus on the knowable, the testable, the verifiable—in short, the facts. The intent of our case studies is to improve journalistic fact-finding and fact-checking methods and practice. I would like to add that I think it is about facts that you chose to report and not necessarily 100% of the facts, just those that create a better story with a smidgen of hyperbole thrown in for good measure. These hunters are not journalists but you have devoted hundreds of hours of your precious time left on this earth to expose these mean men. Good for you. Where is the effort to persecute these journalists? I came to this site expecting stinky journalism and all that I got was stinky hunting. I saw where you doing a piece on dog fighting. Is there a journalism infraction or is it about dog fighting? Just curious. I sincerely hope that more activists are offended by my stance and are prompted to post. I am sure that there are some intelligent and could make a good case but they don’t usually feel the need to respond to a hillbilly like me. My experience has taught me that most are like the yahoo’s that have already posted on here and that is like turning on the kitchen light and watching the cockroaches. I am through posting partly because there isn’t anything else to be said and partly because I have gotten bored with it. I will likely visit from time to time to see what else you may be cooking. I may even drop you a line to attempt to set you straight. (ha) And by the way, I truly do feel sorry for people like James and rik. It must be a miserable life. I don’t guess it would be accurate to say that I these boys are the type of person that I would like to have a glass of Merlot or a swig of moonshine with, but I don’t hate them either and that my friend is another absolute truth. You can bank on it. (piggy bank) Regards,

Comment by Concerned | Feb 3, 2008 at 08:26 AM EST

Not fair that you say I am not speaking of stinky journalism and only of the issues to the hunt as proof of my bad motives. I am only responding to your statements and questions presented to me about the hunt, the law etc. If your questions were about journalism, my answers and discussion would follow that topic. So please stop the rhetorical trickery.Especially unjust is your equating what I do as lying and equal to the hunters blatant lies. If you, Sir, are accusing me of lying, you better present evidence right here and now--or retract your claim. There are libel laws to protect me.

I will be reporting more details about the stinky journalism involved very soon, if you are really interested. The main subject of the article above was to present the issue of Jamison facing a court room with a risk of enforcement through not fault of his own.

I hardly think enough of myself to imagine this bloated discussion we are having will somehow creates a surge in page views on this site!. It is purely out of respect for you that I am answering--maybe our mothers would care to read all this yada yada talk, but I am not even so sure of that. So please, I have not attacked you for having a bad motive for writing ..its very unfair you attack my motive especially when I treat you so fairly. In reality, for all anyone knows you have a site...that in my fantasy world and speculation...links to this comments section. You do this for the purpose of driving visitors to your ad filled blog!! Aha! Gotcha And that's why you write...Pleeze. Give me a break. I have given you one. I don't think either of us have a hidden $ motive! But what I believe you are trying to do is use an ad hominem attack or "logical fallacy" to discredit me instead of dealing only with my facts and argument-- which is unfair on its face. I selected the following from the web at random and from Dictionary.com

AD HOMINEM : Appealing to personal considerations rather than to logic or reason: Debaters should avoid ad hominem arguments that question their opponents' motives.

"Description of Ad Hominem"

"Translated from Latin to English, "Ad Hominem" means "against the man" or "against the person."

"An Ad Hominem is a general category of fallacies in which a claim or argument is rejected on the basis of some irrelevant fact about the author of or the person presenting the claim or argument. Typically, this fallacy involves two steps. First, an attack against the character of person making the claim, her circumstances, or her actions is made (or the character, circumstances, or actions of the person reporting the claim). Second, this attack is taken to be evidence against the claim or argument the person in question is making (or presenting). This type of "argument" has the following form: "

1. Person A makes claim X.

2. Person B makes an attack on person A.

3. Therefore A's claim is false.

"The reason why an Ad Hominem (of any kind) is a fallacy is that the character, circumstances, or actions of a person do not (in most cases) have a bearing on the truth or falsity of the claim being made (or the quality of the argument being made)."


Example of Ad Hominem
Bill: "I believe that abortion is morally wrong."
Dave: "Of course you would say that, you're a priest."
Bill: "What about the arguments I gave to support my position?"
Dave: "Those don't count. Like I said, you're a priest, so you have to say that abortion is wrong. Further, you are just a lackey to the Pope, so I can't believe what you say."


Comment by Rhonda R. Shearer | Feb 3, 2008 at 10:39 AM EST

I going to go back on my word now when I said I was thru posting but only to set the record straight. I said and I quote: "As far as these hunters lying or sensationalizing, I think that you are guilty as they are." Apparently that angered you in a manner that prohibited you from understanding what I was saying. The more that I have actually went to other sources for some of my information, I am not convinced that these guys did anything legally wrong. If you have truly been offended by my comments, then I apologize and retract all that I have said. You have made some pretty sharp comments about me but I take it in the spirit of the debate and I assumed that you did likewise. . Some of your posters have went further with their comments and again I did not take it personally. If you don't find value in my posts or if you believe them to be incorrect, I would respectfully ask that you remove them. Sometimes the written word doesn't come across the same way that I intend. My last post was meant to add a litte bit of humor but apparently it missed it's mark. With your permission, I will leave this argument as it is.

Comment by Concerned | Feb 3, 2008 at 11:56 AM EST

Thank you for your apology. Please come back. I want people to feel free to speak their minds but want to discourage name calling or personal attacks. Especially serious accusations, like lying--must be backed up with facts. Indeed, it is my responsiblity to firmly and actively defend my good name from false accusatons.

My accusation of lying by the hunters is completely verified and documented by their own ad, the farmer's testimony of when he was paid and the hog picked up, and further confirmed by Alabama Wildlife and Fisheries.

Comment by Rhonda R. Shearer | Feb 3, 2008 at 12:23 PM EST

"Whats the difference if it takes an animal 15 minutes or 3 hours to die" - someone commented, ... plain stupid remark., insensitive idiot! i'd like to do a 'trading places' on ya so you'd get your answer! hunting should only be allowed if there is a genuine NEED, Sport hunting is SENSELESS. there's far to many people and few animals .. endangered, etc.

In general the human race is pathetic, stupid, ruins & destroys most all around it (nature, environment)... including itself. we should go back to the days/times when there were Beast filled arenas, Crocodile pits, Shark pools and throw evil, cruel, sadistic, idiotic morons there (of which there are plenty eXamples of here, Bush should be one of the 1st) ... we'd be doing the human race and the world a favor!

Comment by riK | Feb 2, 2008 at 11:51 AM EST

and to concerned, whats the difference if an animal takes3 hrs or 15 minutes to die . i know math is optional in alabama but you jethro clampett types are one level away from taking house pet and shooting them in a fenced in lot . is it sort of like being high all the time walking through life clueless?

Comment by james a | Feb 2, 2008 at 10:27 AM EST

You are a hate monger, insulting, and an elitist. Southern people are educated, polite, and deserve respect. like ALL AMERICANS. What did you ever do to make you think that you are so far superior?

As to guns-every single kid that went crazy was raised by a single parent, and bought illegal guns. Kids that are raised with guns respect them and are NEVER the type to do a Columbine. Go check the records-it will take a lot of digging since the liberal press hides these facts due to their own agenda. These kids are angry due to the attitude of their parents, and their behavior. End of story. They would kill with anything-

Comment by Yalegirl | Apr 22, 2009 at 08:22 PM EST

to desert rat , another genius letting a ten yr old girl run around with a gun . until someone gets killed from your stupidity you wont learn . ten yr old girls should be playing soccer or some other sport.what about the people in your trailer park nervous. just think in 6 yrs other hillbillies will be putting dollar bills in her g string . get a clue

Comment by james a | Feb 2, 2008 at 10:22 AM EST

James A, Thanks for writing in. I know you are upset. I understand that. But please consider staying to facts and opinions instead of personal attacks. You sound intelligent but calling people names only seems to me take away from your points. Hey I'm a grandmother, and know some things from living awhile. Kindness, logic and facts combined are powerful. I say this to any one name calling in this comments section.

For those who think it fine to let an animal bleed out when you could shoot it -- I warned you. This case is awful because people will judge and tar all Alabamians and all hunters with the same brush. Giving this terrible manner of killling any excuse or presenting a callousness towards it , evokes the worst ,most ugly stereotypes and fears people have about who all hunters are underenath, if you peal back the layers.

Protect hunting by speaking out against this unnecessarily cruel, and prolonged --by choice-- killing of a domestic "pig in a barrel" for no other reason than financial gain.

Comment by Rhonda R. Shearer | Feb 2, 2008 at 12:47 PM EST

You ask that all true hunters speak out against this situation. Sounds very similar to divide and conquer. If by refusing to condemn this hunt causes you and others to label me as callous, then so be it. I have been called worse.

Having lived in Alabama for over 40 years and having hunted most of those years, I am assuming that I have a better understanding of Alabama game laws than you do. I realize that I could be wrong and remember that I prefaced that statement with “assume”. I see nothing in your story or website that indicates that YOU think that these guys broke a law and I have not found evidence where they did either. Please correct me if I missed this.

What we both do agree that they did do:

1)Took creative liberties in designing a website and story. (sensationalized it, similar to a lot things we find on the net)
2)Conducted a hunt in a manner that you and some others find offensive.
3)Allowed #2 to become public knowledge likely for material gain.

As I have said, hunting is imperfect. There isn’t a perfect shot. You questioned how I can think that “ that there is NO possible circumstance that an animal can be treated cruelly during hunting?”. OK, I will attempt to explain. Who will decide what is cruel? I think that riK and little james would assume that the very act of taking any life for sport would be cruel. So in attempt to answer your question, please allow me to ask you this question: What constitutes animal cruelty in a hunting situation? (we aren’t talking about domesticated animals only wild animals.) I believe that if you give me a definition that I can give you situations that shoot holes in your legal theory.

I have stated that I don’t personally agree with canned hunts but you went as far as stating that it isn’t hunting at all but again, you are incorrect. It is hunting and it is defined and regulated by state law. You may not like it but that is the way it is. You can try to change the law or you can learn to live with it. But your statement is misleading and false.

Regarding the comments of little riKy and jimmy, I can’t resist a little rebuttal. First both you seem to question my intellect due to my geographic up bringing. I would be willing to debate with either of you after you both have had time to sober up. riKy, there isn’t a shortage of deer or pigs in Alabama. The law has gotten progressively more liberal (I bet you like that "liberal" word ) due to the increase in census numbers each year. The kill rate of deer cannot keep up with the population explosion. Pigs are considered nuisances in the wild and there isn’t a closed season. Do you understand that point? The State of Alabama and the land owners would like to see every wild pig killed therefore there is a 12 month season on pigs. So don’t give me the endangered act, it just isn’t factual.

Jimmy, you had nothing intelligent to say, therefore I don’t know how to reply to you so I will just say that I understand how you came up with the clueless comment. If Rhonda really believes that you could come up with a clever argument, I would like to sell both of you some hunting property in Birmingham Regards,

Comment by Concerned | Feb 2, 2008 at 09:39 PM EST

To "Concerned"--I learned about the fact that the Alabama Wildlife & Fisheries decided they could not enforce this case from the chief enforcement officer I quoted in my article. Since the animal was not "wild" or just released for 4 days--the animal was not feral and still domestic.

You wrote: "I see nothing in your story or website that indicates that YOU think that these guys broke a law and I have not found evidence where they did either."

In fact, I do think they broke Alabama that I linked to in my article. 13A-11-14. Cruelty to animals

(a) A person commits the crime of cruelty to animals if, except as otherwise authorized by law, he intentionally or recklessly:

(1) Subjects any animal to cruel mistreatment; or

(2) Subjects any animal in his custody to cruel neglect;


But I am not a member of a Grand Jury. When the Jury conducts its investigation, since people are under oath, they will likely get much more truth about the killing.

Next : You wrote: "Please correct me if I missed this.What we both do agree that they did do"

However we do not agree ...see my comments below.

You wrote: The hunters " 1)Took creative liberties in designing a website and story. (sensationalized it, similar to a lot things we find on the net)"
I notice you don't use the word "lying." Are you so unwilling to "tell it like it is" that you will spin doctor and call bare face lies "creative liberties." Give me a break. Those hunters tricked a customer with a pack of lies--saying complete falsehoods that they ALL knew were completely false at the time they were published. (Are you one of the hunters? You may be, considering such spinning of truth and the rationalizations you are putting forth here, that make mockery of the notion of truth).

You write, that they "sensationalized it, similar to a lot of things on the net." What? The fact is they were selling something as part of a larger promotional scheme. They were selling a wild pig (a lie as big as the hog itself) ) that was roaming the woods (big lie) that they had just "trapped" (big fat lie).

You ask:"Who will decide what is cruel?"

That is up to a jury and judge to decide.There are laws. They will be enforced as judged by a jury of peers who looks at the facts. Like in any case, two juries may come up with two different verdicts. It does not matter if its for human murder or animal abuse, the same process applies, right? - You ask : "What constitutes animal cruelty in a hunting situation? " This does not apply here as I told you. Alabama Wildlife and Fisheries said, "No, it's not a hunt." The animal came from a farm only 4 days before the "hunt" therefore it was not a feral hog.

Comment by Rhonda R. Shearer | Feb 3, 2008 at 06:54 AM EST

Wow - Genius, huh? I never said I let a 10-yr old "run around with a gun". I don't live in a trailer park, either. I guess when logic and thoughtful, unemotional debate are impossible, this is all you have left. Good luck to you.

Comment by Desert Rat | Feb 3, 2008 at 07:40 AM EST

ok the facts, fact one : this was a tame domesticated animal basically hand fed . 2. it was sold to a canned hunt for profit business .the equilvilant of selling your pet dog of many years to an animal research lab to be injected with different diseases like aids etc. or simply to practice needless surgeries. comments on debating thought and logic serve no purpose here .the only purpose was greed on the part of lost creek and ignorance on the part of the father to let an 11 yr old run around with a hand cannon .what happens when this kid like many are picked on and he has access to powerful weapons is columbine a forgotten event?and for the gun nuts out there the ammendment that says we have the right to bear arms was written by men in powdered wigs who had to handload gunpowder and a metal ball into a hardly accurate rifle . would they still say it was everyones right if they knew of the weapons of today?

Comment by james a | Feb 3, 2008 at 03:26 PM EST

I really enjoy the intellectual debate that is going on but the bottom line is that this website smells of sensationalism. You can read the “catchy” titles and slogans and it seems that greed has crept into the very website that denounces journalism for the sake of material gain.Did I get that correct? The hog with a gold piece going in it’s back???? Why do you put so much creativity in your titles and slogans if this is really just an effort to expose “shady” journalists that take too may liberties? Or could you be trying to further your status as a “true journalist”.

The people involved with this hunt made a mistake but I don’t believe that it started that way. I don’t believe that they intended to wound the animal and watch it for 3 hours. It happened and it was unfortunate. They made mistakes and I would guess that they would probably never intentionally make that mistake again. That is where you and I part company. You assume they have traits that would allow them to do this over and over again and they should be punished. I assume they know right from wrong and unless they have a past history, they should be reprimanded and sent on their way to never sin again.

You asked the question” Why doesn't animal cruelty apply in this case? Do you mean what happened to the pig is okay with you and nothing should be done? If so why?” Animal cruelty is knowingly setting out to do harm to an animal and allow it to suffer. These guys are guilty of setting out to hunt an animal. The hunt did not end in the manner they intended. While what happened to the pig may be disturbing…But yes, I do think that it is OK. It is an animal and I don’t buy into the theory that “animals are people too”

I also disagree agree with you that the carnage that you and others create is justified. You have a little boy that was lead down the wrong path. He is innocent. My opinion is that he did nothing wrong due to his 12 year old cognitive abilities. You will likely throw a spotlight on shady journalism and on some shady characters but this little boy will pay a large price also. You may feel vindicated and proud but I don’t think he will feel nearly as well. This whole situation is wrong but again my opinion is that you haven’t made it right by your reporting. You have only made a bad situation worse.

Comment by Concerned | Feb 1, 2008 at 05:07 PM EST

It s easy being anonymous and make accustions. I never post anonymously because I never want to be tempted to say something unkind or that I would not want my good name to stand with. I notice hunters who disagree with me call me 1. greedy (as if this not- for- profit site with no advertising or subscription where I write the checks and do not receive a salary is some how a magical money making scheme) and 2. wanting fame ( writing about how the media is doing wrong is hardly a smart plan for generating press about yourself) It certainly is unpleasant to be personaly attacked when you are just presenting facts.

You disagree with me. That's fine. Honest differences exist. Note I do not accuse you of any bad motive. You are anonymous-- neither I or the public know who you are or your motive. You may own a canned hunting outfit or you may know the hunters?

Did you look at my CV or Google my work? I am an artist who has had gallery and musuem shows. So no mystery for the creative expressions like the piggy bank . I am not a journalist but an artist who was inspired by the way victims of 9/11 were further victimized by the media. This site and this work came out of that experience. So it has nothing to do with sensationalism.

If planning in advance is the only way animal cruelty applies then half the cases would likely be thrown out. What about the guy who is angry at his girlfriend and throws the dog out the 10th story window. He wasn't planning on it. And he's a nice guy too. He's got to pay for his cruelty most would agree. These hunters had a long time to think about what they were doing--3 hours--as they watch the hog slowly die.

You say what I do is "carnage" but what they did is okay with you.

Telling the truth is a beautiful thing. I believe airing this dirty hunting laundry will help ensure such manipulation of a boy and this kind of nasty scheme won't happen again. This boy will know some people think he is innocent and that the adults around him were wrong.


Comment by Rhonda R. Shearer | Feb 1, 2008 at 08:08 PM EST

Just for the record, I neither own a canned hunt and I have never met these folks involved. I would not knowingly participate in a canned hunt and actually look down on other hunters who do but, I neither think it is my place or in my interest to try to tell them how to live their life. I do live in Alabama but on the other side of the state. Hunting is part of my family's recreational activities. I am an accountant.

Truthfully, my motivation could be described as a personal vendetta against what I consider a vocal minority of people who wish to alter my or others behavior because they (the minority) might disagree or be offended by it. If canned hunts and fair chase hunts are to remain legal, then I don’t think that any form of legislation regarding animal cruelty has any place in this business. The only way that hunting can always be 100% humane is if we give the animal a lethal injection but I am sure that certain groups would find fault and it would also come under fire.

Rhonda, apparently this situation offended you enough to motivate you but if the men and the boy had a license and land owner permission, used a legal firearm and followed all other applicable game laws, then in my opinion there isn’t a story. You seem to want to talk about the bad journalism but the animal cruelty keeps being brought into the story. There wasn’t animal cruelty. It does not exist in the hunting arena. If allowing this pig to take 3 hours to die is cruel, then why isn’t 2 hours just as cruel? What about 1 hour? What about 15 minutes? You bring up the fact that professional hunters had the opportunity to kill the pig but that in itself isn’t enough information to convict them. If it was a paid hunt and the boy took the first shot, then common hunting etiquette is that he should take the last shot unless he is in danger or if it isn’t possible. You make it sound like they shot the pig and it laid down and they stood around and watched it die. Even a tame animal will run and hide if shot.Maybe they were giving the animal time to die. When I bow hunt, that is usually a necessary ingredient. You want to tie this thing up in a nice neat box because the men had opportunity but it just isn’t that easy.
The sensationalism comment apparently touched a nerve but when your headings “Follow the Bacon”, “Hog Washed”, and “Big Pick Smackdown” (just to name a few examples) litter your site, it appears to me that “the facts and nothing but the facts” are just a little too tame to sell.You did sensationalize the story to make it more appealing to your readers.And apparently, if I believe your research, these hunt promoters tried to sensationalize this kill for their own profit.While the two situations may not compare in the world of public opinion, the old adage “you should sweep off your own front porch before you start to sweep off of mine”, does comes to my mind.

I respectfully agree that we disagree.We have seen and heard the hunter’s side and we have heard your side, I just wish that public did not have to choose between the two extremes.If I did not hunt and came across your site, I would likely form a very negative opinion about the sport and all of it’s participates.And the same could be said about the Hogzilla Site.I compare that website to the redneck who throws his trophy deer across the hood of his truck and rides it around the community for everyone to see.Neither of the aforementioned situations do much to cast a positive light.

You feel that you are doing a service and I can respect that too.Far be it from me to try to tell you that you shouldn’t do it since that is the very thing that disturbs me but I do have an opinion and I am glad that allowed me to voice it.
Sincerely,

Comment by Concerned | Feb 2, 2008 at 04:33 AM EST

Thanks again for writing. The only thing I can not square in my mind about your viewpoint is that you feel that there is NO possible circumstance that an animal can be treated cruelly during hunting?

With all due respect, a hunting license is not a free pass to treat animals anyway you want to.

Thankfully, leaders in the hunting field and others are saying something quite different. Here are some links to check out Internet opinion buzz..

Arizona Hunting Today.com/desertrat

California Hunting Today.com/hogblog

Skinny Moose.com/moosedroppings

MikeHanback.typepad.com/mikehanbackcom

blog.Al.com/Outdoors (Alan Clemons, Outdoors Editor, The Huntsville Times)

The Memphis Edge.com

M3mphis

Comment by Rhonda R. Shearer | Feb 2, 2008 at 09:31 AM EST

this kid who is making money for shooting a tame animal and allowing it to bleed to death for 3 hours should face the highest penalty of the law along with his moronic father who gave a 50 caliber handgun to an 11 yrold also those who set up these " canned hunts" they are cowardly and cruel .

Comment by james a hughes | Jan 31, 2008 at 05:14 PM EST

I guess if I bow hunt (and I do) and I shoot a deer (and I have) and I wait 3 hours to allow the animal to die (again, I have) before getting on the ground to pursue it, then I should be tried, convicted and hung. BTW for all of you non-hunters, this is the accepted practice to bow hunt. The kid used a big gun but shot poorly. Would have been more ethical to use a .22 rifle and had a well placed shot? Think before you answer. It would have likely taken the animal much longer to die.

Please tell me that you aren't creating this stir in a serious manner!

Comment by Joe | Feb 1, 2008 at 09:44 AM EST

I have hunted. The world is not split between hunters and non hunters with all the nonhunters out to get hunting and hunters. The fact that you hunt with any weapon and miss can happened. A person should , in my opinion have enough respect for animals and themselves, that they are practiced with a weapon, know the safety rules etc before hunting. In this particular case, professional hunters took the boy out and took no shots when they could have. This is heart of the problem. To have, as they bragged , professional hunter stand by and watch, as a boy with a gun he can nor handle, plug "cannon sized holes" in the side of the animal, who is not yet dead because he was badly shot , is not the scenario you describe. This is not hunting.

Read what Miculek said in my article. This is not a hunter /non hunter debate . Hunters know better than everyone else that this is irresponsible and wrong and bad for hunting.

In Africa for example, hunters will take non-professionals out. If the customer misses, they will take the shot. They are responsible to make sure the animal is dead, that the gun is handled safely etc.

The reason why these Alabama hunters did not do this was...greed. The boy needed to take the shot for them to promote their business. It is the intention we are talking about. If the pig ran off and they couldn't find him and everyone was shooting and doing their best, then fine. Things happen. But this is not the scenario. It was a small area, The hog was found in the bog, Mike Stone said. And the hog dies in a bog, Mike Stone said. At 1,000 pound an unfit domestic swine is not going anywhere fast. He was fed by humans and had no fear of them or knowledge or experience in how to hide.

So let's get real here. This was a pig in a barrel that took 3 hours to shoot and slowly died. This is bad for hunting --big time. So for pete sakes don' t defend it!



Comment by Rhonda R. Shearer | Feb 1, 2008 at 11:15 AM EST

James, I don't think the kid made money but the adults all had big plans to do so. But I agree the adults should pay the price for their actions.

Comment by Rhonda R. Shearer | Feb 1, 2008 at 08:35 PM EST

The tragedy isn’t the false journalism or even the unethical hunt; it is the fact that so called professional adults are going to attempt to convict this kid in a public arena for the sake of your ratings and columns. The hunt was wrong. So be it. You should say it was wrong and move on.

You should not condemn this kid for the sake of your self righteous beliefs. I for one don’t believe that any animal’s well being should supersede that of a person. I may be in the minority on this but when our society will give a convicted dog fighter years in jail and a child pornographer gets probation, I think that we have lost sight of our values. Maybe our society should throw an animal abuser in jail. I can live with that but when I view the ladder of atrocities, I don’t put animal cruelty above what we do to our fellow human beings

Comment by Concerned | Jan 30, 2008 at 05:50 PM EST

Were these outfitters right to run around and let this kid shoot and wound a hog, knowing that the gun was likely way too big for him? No way. Should an animal be harvested as humanely as possible? No doubt. Should a domestic animal be released in a pen just for the pleasure of killing it? Nope. Were these outfitters justified in lying to the boy and his father misrepresenting what they were hunting? You gotta be kiddin'. These points aren't worth arguing over - such as it is with greed over money and renown, no matter what the venue. But this story wreaks of a viewpoint with an agenda. If shooting a hog during this particular 'hunt' amounts to animal cruelty, regardless of the 'hunt' condition specifics, then it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out where the arguments covered in this article are going: What constitutes "animal cruelty"...what is a "quick kill"...what represents a "hunt"? In a worst-case scenario this case would be hashed out in an Alabama courtroom with subsequent lawsuits being filed by the HSUS, Sierra Club, Defenders of Wildlife, etc. against all so-called 'preserves'.. And it goes from there - that's what these organizations do. In turn, later court decisions and lawsuits could eventually result in massive changes to our hunting laws across the US. If you haven't read HSUS President's Wayne Pacell's quotes on the eradication of sport hunting, you should - your article follows his playbook almost to the letter. You must be an animal rights activist, or have serious inclinations in that direction. Are you?

Comment by David | Jan 30, 2008 at 06:10 PM EST

Thanks for writing. No, I am not an animal rights or child's rights activist. But that does not mean I do not have feelings for animals or children.

I am doing an investigation now on HSUS involvement on dog fighting and have a lot of questions about how they do business. For example, they said none of the Vick pit bulls should be or could be saved. Turned out that they were big time wrong. On what basis did they form their erroneous opinion? The dogs are fine and going to nice homes.

I was with my son when he shot his first deer and have it hanging on my wall in NYC! One shot and the deer was dead. My son, thankfully, took a good clean shot. I grow up foxhunting multiple times a week--although it was a "drag" hunt , and not for live foxes, due to the limited lands. ..Does this answer your question?

You wrote, "What constitutes 'animal cruelty'...what is a 'quick kill'...what represents a 'hunt'?" I think the answer is easy here in this case. 3 hours of shooting and wounding an animal in a small area by a kid , with a bad shot , while expert adults, with guns, stood by. This is hardly a close call.

I know hunters have the domino fear. They say "If we break rank, and say something is wrong, the whole hunting thing and the laws that allow it, will fall..." My opinion , for what its worth, is that this approach in itself is a danger to hunting. If the difference between right and wrong is not made clear by the majority of hunters, when a few of its members act poorly, then you will ALL be tarred with the same brush. This is especially true when a case is extreme like this one. By hunters not stepping forward to cry foul when the case is extreme breeds distrust, fear and then, perhaps later, new laws by the non hunting public.

I may be wrong, but I don't think so.

Comment by Rhonda R. Shearer | Jan 31, 2008 at 06:08 AM EST

The comments I made about HSUS, etc. stem from their stated positions. The threat to hunting today is no simple matter of "breaking rank". I quote Mr Pacelle: "We are going to use the ballot box and the democratic process to stop all hunting in the United States... We will take it species by species until all hunting is stopped in California. Then we will take it state by state."

(Interviewed for Full Cry, "America's leading tree hound publication," October 1990). As well, read his letter to the editor at http://www.thepittsburghchannel.com/news/2693558/detail.html. With friends like Mr. Pacelle hunters don't need enemies. And, unintentional or not much of the logic in your article follows his reasoning very closely.

I understand your point about adult hunters standing by while a young boy with a gun too large for him apparently unnecessarily wounds an animal. Ethical hunters respect their prey, follow game laws, practice and take good care of their weapons, wait for the best possible shot, and do not plan for their prey to suffer. But, as I'm sure Mr. Miculek would agree, even under the best of circumstances one-shot kills don't always happen. As you said in an earlier post "life...is imperfect". To require that game animals not endure circumstances normally found in the wild is unrealistic. And, suffering is normally found in the wild - have you ever seen a wild predator wound an animal and let it lay there and die? That's not uncommon. The laws that establish sport hunting in this country try to minimize wildlife starvation and animal-human conflict...both potentially result in suffering. Not knowing the specifics of what happened after the pig was wounded I think its rather quick to rush to judgement on whether the pig suffered unjustly. Again, I'm not supporting what they did at all, just thinking there may be more to this than meets the eye. I don't know a hunter that would purposely let an animal suffer.

One other point - trying to prosecute someone who has a legal license to harvest a legal game animal, and (as far as I can tell) followed Alabama game laws, is wrong. Animal cruelty laws were originally developed for domestic pets, not game or farm animals. That's been the historic interpretation...and we've been farming and hunting for a very, very long time. While I deplore taking a farm animal that has very limited protective instincts and running him around a pen for 'sport', I don't think animal cruelty laws apply in this case...but the animal rights activists do. Rest assured that if the prosecution proceeds, and succeeds, the questions I brought-up earlier will indeed follow. In some places they already are....

Comment by David | Jan 31, 2008 at 02:03 PM EST

I want to take some time to respond to your comments . You bring up several interesting points.

You wrote " But, as I'm sure Mr. Miculek would agree, even under the best of circumstances one-shot kills don't always happen. As you said in an earlier post 'life'...is imperfect".

True. Things happen and you miss. Then you quickly try to stalk and kill the animal if you can. That is not what happened here. The hunters could have shot the animal, but they chose not to. Why? Greed. They were told they would not have the publicity they wanted for their hunting business if an adult shot the big hog. So they let the boy, who had too much gun to shoot straight, take all the shots. They stood and watched the boy wound the hog for 3 hours. Look at the photos. I have. Belly shots. "Cannon sized holes" they bragged to hype the hunt are evidenced-- even on the "good" side. This is not a "mistake." This is not the laws of nature where animals must suffer. This is pure greed.

I conducted over 130 hours in intervews -- including all the main players involved. I interviewed Mike Stone himself for over 20 hours. So I am not rushing to judgement here, am I ? You say you don't know any hunter that would allow an animal to suffer on purpose. Thankfully, it is unusual. As I said, the motive here was to create a Hogzilla II publicity event to create a big hunting business bonanza. They followed what a local TV station advised--"the boy must be the only one who shoots the giant hog, if you want a news story."

So the hunters went to all this trouble: running the ad and sending out a mailing about the wild beast "roaming the wilds of the Lost Creek Plantation;" finding a fat, overfed farm hog , picking it up with a truck up 4 days before, calling the press to attend the hunt...they were not about to let the fact that the boy couldn't shoot accurately with the big hand gun or the hog not dying after being hit 9 rounds over 3 hours, mess up their big plans.

Alabama wildlife and fisheries had no authority over the killing after the truth came out that "Fred" was a domestic animal. Jamison Stone had no hunting license. Children in Alabama do not need a license until 16 years old.

Animal cruelty laws, I believe, came from the 1900s and were inspired by mistreated horses pulling wagons and coaches. Too heavy loads and horse whipping in public, even after an animal collapsed with exhaustion, inspired laws to protect all animals--even children. It is a fact that the first child cruelty conviction was obtained in NYC under the animal cruelty laws because there were no laws on the books to protect children from abuse.

I don't think the world is divided into two ---PETA people and pro hunters. With this dualism, anyone with a humane thought or word automatically belongs to the Humane Society . This is just not true. If you read many hunting blogs, hunters agree that shooting a pig like that ,and obviously allowing it to suffer, is just plain wrong, and was not hunting . I don't need PETA to tell me that. I have common sense.

Comment by Rhonda R. Shearer | Jan 31, 2008 at 03:46 PM EST

OK, I will concede that just maybe you are not a "self righteous zealot" that wants to paint hunting with a negative brush but I would like to ask you to ponder one question. Under what circumstances would you feel justified to traumatize a 12 year old boy? 1) For the sake of another human life? (my answer is yes) 2) For the sake journalism ( my answer no) 3) For the sake of an animal's suffering (again mine is no) My view is simplistic but it is the way I see it. Sincerely

Comment by Concerned | Jan 31, 2008 at 04:32 PM EST

This boy has been in the limelight and now in the court house though no will of his own. The media loved interviewing him and used him up until they had no more use for the story.

He must be a scared and lonely boy in Clay County. I wanted to send him a message that I support him. I do not think he is responsible. I don't believe he did wrong. It was the adults in charge who must be held responsible. I spoke out seeking support for the boy in the court of public opinion.

You may think: not saying anything; not telling the truth of what really happened is better for the boy. I obviously do not agree. That is an honest difference of opinion. I have been respectful to you. I have not accused you of secretly owning a canned hunting operation or profiting from hunting or being a hunting advocate ...Get my point?

If a child is with 4 adults and slowly kills an animal over several hours for no reason other than the adult's greed, are you are saying that is fine with you.?


Comment by Rhonda R. Shearer | Jan 31, 2008 at 05:08 PM EST

If you read my earlier posts we are not in disagreement at all about the greed factor in all of this. What they did was indeed wrong, so I don't know why this keeps getting brought-up.

You also refer to blogs stating that "hunters agree that shooting a pig like that, and obviously allowing it to suffer, is just plain wrong, and was not hunting.". I ask you - have you seen me or any other hunter in any blog tell you or imply that it was right? Its not, so again I don't know why that was brought up. Humane thinking goes beyond what PETA and the Humane Society says is humane. And, for clarity's sake HSUS and the American Humane Society are different entities with totally different agendas.

As far as the interviews are concerned if you heard their motive for not immediately killing the pig from their own mouth, OK. Then, you obviously did your homework...point made. You are also correct about the history of animal cruelty laws - although I still don't think they have a place in this case. These people, however wrongly, were hunting. And, in states who's laws I'm somewhat familiar with once a pen-raised game animal is turned into the wild it becomes a wild animal...and while apparently it is not the case here since you say that the Alabama W&F has no jurisdiction I'm still very suprised by that.

However, I'd like to address your last paragraph...unfortunately it is not hunters that are 'dualisitic' but in reality those who are animal rights activists. That is, on one hand 'Joe Hunter' says that if someone doesn't want to hunt or like hunting, fine. Hunting is not for everyone and all the hunters I know aren't offended by that. But the animal rights activist is distinctly different. Not only does he not want you to hunt, but he will do everything in his power to keep you from hunting. And, if you do not line-up with his thinking, you will automatically be branded cruel, inhumane, barbarous or some other flattering ditty...vociferously. This attitude, and largely elitist thinking, is why hunters distrust these organizations. That's not dualism, that's realism.

Comment by David | Jan 31, 2008 at 05:06 PM EST

With all due respect, I think you are doing the same thing. I hear so many hunters going nuts when anyone says anything negative about a hunter --even when the hunt or hunter is dead wrong. Its an us versus them extremism. PETA does the same, but opposite. This zeal whether from hunters or PETA is like two sides of the same coin. When emotions run so high and polarize a subject, people lose the flexibilty of mind and judgement from my experience.


Comment by Rhonda R. Shearer | Jan 31, 2008 at 05:32 PM EST

Most hunters I've dealt with are far from 'nuts', emotional, inflexible, and in fact demonstrate very good judgement. As well, the comments and quotes posted on your board concerning animal rights extremists are factual - and facts speak for themselves. Although zeal is a good thing if its properly placed. the zeal of the animal right extremist, as I've described him, is misplaced. If what the hunter does is legal and ethical then animal rights extremists don't have any reason to litigate, misrepresent, and skew facts that many of them have (and I can give you plenty of examples). Tell the Animal Right Extremist to leave hunters alone on the basis I've described above and see what answer you get.

Comment by David | Feb 1, 2008 at 11:25 AM EST

I see your point. I guess its frustrating to me in my experience that my reporting the facts on this case --the facts--leads to a whole discussion about animal rights people, that I know very litt;e about. I am even accused of being one!! Then I'm in the uncomfortable position of explaining and defending myself...

My report was not about animal rights. Frankly, I am not interested in this general topic and have only started to write a report on HSUS and dog fighting. I have a lot of questions about how they do business and who is working for them.

So I have nothing to "tell" them. If you are right; it sound like they would not listen anyway. But sweeping generalization are not healthy or accurate in my experience.

Comment by Rhonda R. Shearer | Feb 1, 2008 at 11:50 AM EST

I think that what you reported needed reporting. And unfortunately the love of money seems to bring out the worst in people. The dad could likely have avoided this whole mess by checking references...and usually 'outfitters' like this leave a trail.

If you continue to delve into the 'animal world' I would strongly recommend that you learn about the animal rights organizations. I really didn't want to learn about them either but with the funds they are able to raise they are not going away anytime soon (HSUS 2007 income was $123MM). If you ever get the chance, read a 2001 series from Tom Knudson of the Sacramento Bee, entitled "Environment, Inc.", that deals with a number of animal rights and other types of environmental organizations. Its an excellent piece of journalism and he was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for it. Unfortunately the Bee has taken it off their website and I assume you can get it from their archives page or some other search engine application. In addition, here are some references where you can get a feel for how some of these folks think, specifically HSUS leaders, from the Fur Commission USA at http://www.furcommission.com/debate/words2.htm. They're dated, but I think you'll get the picture. As well, here is a short bio on an HSUS leader J.P. Goodwin, again from the fur Commission, at http://www.furcommission.com/news/newsF03i.htm (I don't know whether Goodwin is still with them). Anyway, food for thought. I'm not saying that all environmental organizations are like HSUS, but a number of them are. You can tell by their motus operandi - find a hole in the law, litigate, pass a new law, litigate a larger hole, then repeat as necessary until you get the desired result.

Finally, the angst you sense from most hunters is not unlike the frustration you just posted about. They really don't know or understand why they have to defend themselves about what they enjoy doing.

Comment by David | Feb 1, 2008 at 02:53 PM EST

David, Funny that you mention this. I am looking At John Goodwin aka JP Goodwin in my dogfighting report. I know the articles you mention from this research. What is your relationship to hunting anyway? Do you often make comments on the topic?

Comment by Rhonda R. Shearer | Feb 1, 2008 at 08:27 PM EST

Really, I have no credentials in the hunting realm except a desire to help preserve this freedom for my sons and (Lord willing) their sons.

Comment by David | Feb 2, 2008 at 09:22 PM EST

Why doesn't animal cruelty apply in this case? Do you mean what happened to the pig is okay with you and nothing should be done? If so why?

Comment by Rhonda R. Shearer | Jan 31, 2008 at 05:48 PM EST

see my response to your post above - i guess I hit the wrong 'reply' tab.

Comment by David | Feb 1, 2008 at 11:26 AM EST

The outfitters should be tried for fraud...and have the book thrown at them. The father and son were told they were going to hunt wild pigs (if I remember correctly) and obviously they were not. I must also ask you question - if this had been a wild pig would you still want to try them for animal cruelty? So I don't get misquoted (again) I don't think that anyone...ANYONE should ever treat an animal, domestic or wild, the way this one was. But, when you start applying domestic animal laws to wild game, considering the unknowns described in my previous posts, you leave room for misquotation of the accused, misinterpretation of their intents, and may I say misapplication of the law. You've admitted yourself that "life...is imperfect". So is hunting. The intent of domestic animal cruelty law s(as I understand it) were to eliminate the purposeful, cruel treatment of an animal. As foolish as these outfitters acted, I don't think they intended for that pig to suffer the way it did. I will say that in the course of your interviews if you had documentation to prove that these outfitters had a premediated intent on allowing that pig to suffer then yes, they should be tried under animal cruelty law. But my slant (on what I've read so far) is that their intent was to make a name for themselves, and in so doing they lied and purposely misrepresented the facts to that father and son. Therefore that deception is the basis for their crime.

Comment by David | Feb 1, 2008 at 11:04 AM EST

People, it is a Pig!!! It has no soul!! Yes, it was wrong for the people to do this as a scheme to get rich quick, I agree with that point of the discussion. But I am seeing a lot of needless hatred in this column. I am presently in Iraq fighting the war, but I grew up in Alabama. I am disgraced to be reading the violent exchanges of words in this blog. Do you really want to convict a person of a serious crime at the age of 12? That is ridiculous. And some of you want his father to be convicted and go to prison? What about the boy? Have you thought about the fact that he will grow up without his father being around? Seriously, think before you speak. By the way, I have lived in quite a few areas in the United States. For those of you who are insulting Alabamians (I.E. trailer park, kids with guns, etc.), At least we are still living by the lords plan, not accepting homosexuality in our state. May god have mercy on the souls of you out there who just want to see people get hurt.

Comment by FightingTheWarSoYouDontHaveTo | Jul 5, 2008 at 03:35 PM EST

I agree with you, in that I do not put animals above humans. However, I do not agree that --- because society neglects child molestors and worse, that we, therefore, should do nothing about this case of animal cruelty or smaller wrongs. Some child molestors, in fact, do get put away for many years. Some get away with it. Life and law is imperfect. Humans have a responsibilty to protect each other and the weak in particular. Greed should not be a hunting license.

Comment by Rhonda R. Shearer | Jan 31, 2008 at 06:23 AM EST

Please let us know what you think of the possible animal cruelty charges against the 12 year old boy. Do you agree with me that he should not be held responsible?

Comment by Rhonda R. Shearer | Jan 30, 2008 at 06:02 AM EST

I agree with you. IT was the father who paid and the father who arranged for him to get to the hunt. They were miss led and miss guided. The boy is not to blame for the adults who messed up.

Comment by Michael | Jan 30, 2008 at 05:04 PM EST

Thank you for your comment. Let's hope justice will be served.

Comment by Rhonda R. Shearer | Jan 31, 2008 at 06:53 AM EST

I have read the comments, and I am not sure how some of you have arrived at your opinions. I don't see where Ms. Shearer has attacked hunting, or even canned hunting. She was attacking the premise that this was orchestrated for profit.

If I take my 10-yr old daughter hunting today (which I might), and she makes a bad shot - that is unfortunate, but a part of hunting. She will learn from it. If she makes ten bad shots, then obviously I supplied her with a weapon that she is not yet proficient with. That is not respectful of her, nor the game we are hunting. Now, if the hunting trip was orchestrated for financial gain, then to me, it is no longer about hunting, canned hunting, or even marksmanship. It is about making money off a screwed-up situation for a kid, and off of a pastime that is constantly being scrutinized by the public as it is.

My opinion is that it may have been considered cruelty. Had it been a "pure hunt", it would have been unfortunate for sure. It would have demonstrated a lack or responsibility, for the kid to have taken that many shots. Not on his parts, but on the supervising adult (his Dad?). No negligence maybe, but definitely the boy obviously wasn't proficient with the gun. Maybe it was "hog fever", maybe it was not enough practice - who knows.

The point I took from Ms. Shearer's writings was that once that situation started going south, the charade should have been over. Everyone involved should have done whatever they could, at that point, to put that pig down once and for all. It appears that that wasn't the case. I saw no attack on hunting here. Rather, a condemnation of greed, deception, and stupidity. I'm as staunch a defender of hunting as anybody - even, to a degree, canned hunting. I can't see much in this whole story to take a stand on.

Comment by Desert Rat | Feb 2, 2008 at 08:44 AM EST

Canned hunting is animal cruelty. To fence an animal in where it cannot escape and then hunt and kill it is animal cruelty.

I've read a majority of the rebuttals on here. What bothers me the most are the people who comment that letting an animal bleed to death for 3 hours is ok. The twisted actions made by the adults to produce profit and publicity, is unethical and unprofessional. That's what I believe is being addressed here.

Comment by Kerri | Feb 2, 2008 at 10:52 AM EST

Kerri - I don't believe the argument against canned hunting is black and white. How about a fenced-in parcel of land that is 10,000 acres in size? 100 acres? 1 acre? What about an island? No fences, but they can't come and go as they please either. I think the biggest issue involved with canned hunting is that people call it "hunting" - when usually, it is not.

As far as "cruelty", to me cruelty requires some malicious intent or negligence. As one person commented, an animal may be struck a fatal hit with an arrow, and it may take 3 hours for it to lie down and die. I don't necessarily think that is cruel. If, on the other hand, an animal is shot badly - and people have the means and opporunity to end its suffering and don't - then to me that is cruelty.

What about legality? I know in Arizona at least, you may see a sick or wounded animal in the wild. It is probably against the law to "end its suffering". Even if you call Fish and Game - their policy usually is to "let nature take its course". Is that cruel?

Comment by Desert Rat | Feb 2, 2008 at 11:50 AM EST

You are right canned hunting is not black and white. I believe the entire realm of hunting is inhumane. How is it fair to the animal? A hunters bullet travels faster than a deer running from its hunter. Same as an animal who is fenced, marooned or canned. It's an unfair advantage. Man hunted centuries ago to survive, now it is a sport. No human has the right to kill an animal as a hobby. (a wooden stick penetrating an animal is cruel, the animal suffers and die slowly.) When animals are equipped with weapons then it is game on!

I am not an animal law lawyer therefore I cannot depict what the law states in reference to this particular case. However, I believe they acted in a depraved manner. They allowed this contained domesticated animal to bleed to death for three hours. All for the mighty dollar.

Because a State enforces an animal law, it does not deem it ethical. The law incorporates ethical standards, the law can also deviate from what is ethical. I believe a law has been broken either legally, morally, ethically or all the above.

Comment by Kerri | Feb 2, 2008 at 07:28 PM EST

Kerri , I'd like to say a couple things about your post. If you've read some of the things I've written earlier game laws were set-up to control animal populations to avoid starvation and limit animal-human confrontations (deer hitting cars, etc.). The arguments are laid out fairly concisely so no need to go into that again. Personally I've watched deer starve over the winter and witnessed one particularly large die-off due to a combination of overpopulation resulting from a poor deer harvest and bad weather...it was not an enjoyable thing to see. It is also a fact that animals suffer in nature, and all the restrictions on could even dream-up to place on hunting will never change that. Frankly, without hunting their suffering would likely be worse. For these reasons its the opinion of most governments that enact these laws that hunting is indeed humane, as well as good stewardship. And, the bullet as well as the arrow, if properly placed, will put an animal down within seconds if not immedately. It is the ethical responsibility of the hunter to do all that he can to ensure that. And, having done this for over 30 years I can tell you that that opinion is shared by 95%+ of the hunters I come in contact with.

You're right - the vast majority of hunters don't hunt to survive anymore, but they still use the meat for food. In fact, in many state game laws require an aminal's carcass to be processed once an animal is taken. And, there are organizations like Hunters for the Hungry which will take meat and give it to needy families if the hunters don't want it.

As far as this incident reported on this site goes greed is the key and basis for their crime. There's no way I'm going to try to defend the actions of these 'outfitters' because their actions were clearly wrong. The earlier posts should clarify any positional questions on this. But clearly these 'outfitters' make-up the vast majority of those who hunt. Let's not form an opinion on hunting based on the actions of a small minority.

Comment by David | Feb 4, 2008 at 11:27 AM EST

It pays to re-read your posts. Nice argument! I meant to say "But clearly these 'outfitters' make-up the vast MINORITY of those who hunt. Sorry.

Comment by David | Feb 4, 2008 at 04:09 PM EST
 
 
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