Pennsylvania Farm Bureau Finds an Ally in its Fight Against Sunday Hunting: The Animal Rights Lobby

By Rob Sexton, Vice President For Government Affairs

For many years,  the fight to prevent Pennsylvania sportsmen from having the same rights as sportsmen in 39 other states has been led by the Farm Bureau.  Which is ironic, of course, because their opposition means that they are actually asking the government to prevent their own members – farmers – from being able to decide how to use their own land.

While you are free to go watch the Steelers play football in Pittsburgh on Sunday, or the Phillies play baseball on the other side of the state, you are not free to go hunting.  Because Pennsylvania remains one of the few states left that retains this old “blue law.”

Sportsmen, though seem much more determined this time to have the right to choose which day they will hunt.  Uniting under the banner of the Sunday Hunting Coalition, national and state sportsmen’s organizations and sporting goods businesses are pressing Pennsylvania legislators to overturn the ban. In response, State Representatives John Evans (R) and Ed Staback (D) introduced House Bill 1760 to do just that.

Predictably, sportsmen have been met with opposition from the Farm Bureau.  And now the effort to kill House Bill 1760 includes the most powerful animal rights organization in Pennsylvania, and the whole country for that matter, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).

That the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau and HSUS could wind up on the same side of a fight over hunting and landowner rights stretches the imagination to the breaking point.

It is HSUS that called bacon and eggs the “Breakfast of Cruelty.”  It is HSUS that champions ballot issues across the U.S. to force farmers into more costly animal confinement methods that hurt their bottom lines and drive up food prices.  It is HSUS that opposes hunting.

And yet it is HSUS that is on the same side of this fight as the PA Farm Bureau.

And there is simply no logical or defensible reason for this to be the case.

There are no biological reasons to restrict Sunday hunting.  Wildlife will continue to thrive.  There are no safety reasons to defeat House Bill 1760.  Hunting is remarkably safe.  There are no reasons to have the government tell landowners what they can do with their own property.  Under House Bill 1760, a farmer can still refuse to allow hunting on Sundays, as they can the other six days of the week.  Trespass is not a concern.  Trespass rates are very low and Sundays do not provoke greater incidents than Saturdays for instance.

And last, Sunday hunting will produce a meaningful economic impact in Pennsylvania – a fact that is welcome news in this recession.

Where in the world in all of this news is there a reason to oppose passage of House Bill 1760?

For HSUS it is simple.  They oppose hunting.  They claim these days, that they only oppose cruel practices.  Their definition of cruelty includes bowhunting, which helps reduce crop damage from whitetail deer.  It includes trapping, which helps control disease carrying animals from spreading rabies.  It includes hunting bears, which helps to reduce livestock losses.

The list goes on and on.  HSUS is anti-hunting.  HSUS is anti-livestock farming.  While they try to project a less radical image, the truth is the organization is run by well-known animal rights activists who have spent their lives in the crusade to stop hunting and farming practices involving animals.

It is really easy to understand why HSUS opposes House Bill 1760.  They know that hunting on Sunday will strengthen the future of hunting by allowing families a day to be in the field together when work or school does not compete.

But it is not easy at all to understand why the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau is on the same side.

In fact it makes no sense at all.   Hunters and farmers should be on the same side.  We are natural allies.

Take Action! The animal rights and anti-hunting organizations are pulling out all the stops to flood members of the House of Representatives and the Senate with phone calls, email, letters and more. 

Pennsylvania sportsmen must reach out to their state representative today in support of HB 1760.  Tell them that there is no justification for the ban on Sunday hunting.  Tell them that the time has come for sportsmen and sportswomen to be treated as first class citizens.  Removing the ban will increase hunter opportunity, encourage new hunter participation, and boost the state’s economy.

To find your state representative’s contact information, use the USSA Legislative Action Center at www.ussportsmen.org/lac.

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11 thoughts on “Pennsylvania Farm Bureau Finds an Ally in its Fight Against Sunday Hunting: The Animal Rights Lobby

  1. Hunting season ard limitations on the number of animals one can shoot are common methods of preserving wild game. Preventing hunters from shooting Sunday is just illogical and it looks like the state is endorsing Christianity.

  2. I am sorry to see that HSUS has joined the PA Farm Bureau in this.
    However I do not think it fair to the PA Farm Bereau to imply they are equals.
    They have always been opposed and I see their side.
    I also am opposed to Sunday hunting as a land owner and would probably close my land to public hunting. It’s only 70 acres, but I believe my neighbors feel the same.
    I will be moving to my property in the next couple years and would look forward to not having to worry about hunters being out or listening to the shots 1 day aweek.
    I do hunt deer, waterfowl and small game but as for my daughters and grandchildren who hunt, this one more day would not make a difference.
    The grandkids play ice hockey which covers the weekends most of the year, not just hunting season.
    Most if the people I know have their kids in organized sports long before they start hunting, and they pay a lot of money for their kids to participate.
    I do not think you will see that many new kids joining the hunting ranks as you will see an increase in the amount of time that current hunters spend in the field if this passes.
    Also there is little respect for trespassing on other peoples property, especially if you are not present.
    I see this alot in the wetern part of PA. so I believe it is more a matter of not being prosecuted than not happening.
    Most people would rather tell you to get off their property than spend the time going to court.

  3. I’ve read the report so much of the pro Sunday hunting arguments are based on and the info used by activist hunting orgs is cherry picked. Much of the study opposes expanded hunting on Sunday and the revenue figures are grossly exaggerated and unsustainable.
    The fact is expanded hunting will lessen not expand outdoors activity spending. Fully half of Pa. hunters oppose the action and will not participate while the growing number of non hunting outdoors enthusiasts will begin to stay home and not spend the money they are now.
    There is no evidence to support the argument that expanding hunting on Sunday will increase hunter numbers or add recruits.
    Hunting in Pa. is a privilege, as per a PA Supreme Court unanimous ruling. Land ownership, which is the core of the issue, is a right and an overwhelming majority of Pa. landowners oppose the idea. They include not only the PA Farm Bureau.
    Attacking HSUS is a deflection from the actual debate, which the hunters are losing.

  4. Pa Farm Bureau, You are a joke!!! You haven’t done much “help” for us Dairy Farmers in Pennsylvania, so what gives even an ounce of thought that you will try and stick your nose into our hunting rights??!!?? Go back and set at your desks and leave us hunters and farmers alone!

  5. Your editorial on this subject is far off base. The Pa Farm Bureau only reflects the decision of it’s members which overwhelmingly oppose Sunday hunting. Yes the landowners themselves are taking the position and not the Farm Bureau telling them what to do!

    It is unfortunate that many sportsmans groups have chose to lead a cause that will bring anti-hunting to the table. I am a landowner and it’s not about the “blue laws” anymore; it’s about protecting my rights and PRIVACY. I hunt as much as any of your members. Trespassing is an issue and the laws are very weak. Try getting a WCO to respond to your trespassing complaint as a landowner and you will understand the issue. How is the PA game commission going to fund more law enforcement? Contrary to your naive views, the landowner has little support to assist in keeping one day, any day of the week, a retreat from 6 days of work.

    Do your research, talk honestly about actual impacts to the landowner, and stop pushing the anti’s my way yourself!

  6. Pingback: Pennsylvania Farm Bureau Finds an Ally in its Fight Against Sunday Hunting: The Animal | Thinking Afield

  7. Go PA every state should have sunday hunting. Alot of people work 5 and a half days leaving Sunday as thier only activity day.

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