Thursday, January 25, 2007
Internet Hunting Could Fall Prey:
Do you remember when having a mobile phone was a novelty? And remember when you could first order pizza over the Internet? And remember when you could shoot live deer, wild boars and ram with the click of your mouse?
It’s known as “internet hunting” and it allows a user to sit in front of a computer, pay a fee and survey real animals, via live camera-feed, that have been stocked as game. And as the animals meander into the crosshairs on the screen, with the click of the mouse, a mounted gun fires a live round at the intended target.
That may change shortly if the Massachusetts Legislature passes the bill that Senator Robert Creedon, D-Brockton, has filed outlawing ‘internet hunting.’ Creedon filed the proposed ban on behalf of Brockton constituent and deputy director of advocacy of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Scott Giacoppo.
“I took this initiative to Sen. Creedon and without batting an eye he was onboard,” Giacoppo said.
“Internet hunting” originated in 2005 with John Lockwood’s Texas-based website, www.live-shot.com, which after only months of operation was shut down with a state ban. Twenty-two states have since outlawed the “arm chair hunting” as quickly as possible in fear of seeing it spread.
“To our knowledge there haven’t been any other internet hunting sites [since live-shot.com],” Giacoppo said. “But there’s potential to be a disgrace to a state that hasn’t outlawed it.”
As more states follow suit with the ban, there is the increasing possibility that future sites will pop up in states that have not done so, which is part of the reason that animal rights advocates and gun ownership advocates are seeing eye-to-eye on the issue.
“Internet hunting is not hunting,” said Jim Wallace, executive director of the Gun Owners’ Action League, a Massachusetts gun advocacy group. “It has nothing to do with being a sportsman. To me, it’s just ludicrous.”
The National Rifle Association has agreed with GOAL’s position, but remains cautious of using terminology such as “remote control hunting.” Wallace mentioned the possibility of developing new technology for handicapped hunters who are physically unable to fire a rifle. The hunters would be in the direct presence of the firearm but would use a remote control device to fire it.
“Internet hunters are not even in control of the firearms,” said Wallace. “It takes violent video games that one last step.”