CHICAGO––Reprising a 15-year-old challenge to debate the ethics and morality of pigeon shooting, made originally in person, that the National Rifle Association leadership never accepted, Showing Animals Respect & Kindness founder Steve Hindi on February 12, 2015 called out the NRA leaders again in a nationally publicized YouTube video. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PW9UUuebOQU)
“From April 10 to April 12, 2015, the NRA will hold its national convention in Nashville, Tennessee,” Hindi said. My challenge is that the NRA allow me to debate an NRA representative about its support of cruel and illegal pigeon shoots.
“I don’t care who my opponent is, as long as person speaks for the NRA,” Hindi specified. “Pigeon shooter Ted Nugent, former NRA president and pigeon shooter John Sigler, or NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre, a lawyer––it doesn’t matter to me. I will pay my own way and I’m not asking for anything but to debate in front of the members and recorded for everyone to see.”
“Make my day”
Speaking directly to NRA members, Hindi added, “You NRA members who still cling to the belief that the NRA doesn’t support pigeon shoots, this is your chance to see SHARK and me discredited. You NRA members who think it’s fine that the NRA supports pigeon shoots, just think of the time you’ll have at my expense. You NRA members who oppose the NRA’s support of pigeon shoots, this will be your chance to speak out. Go ahead, make my day.”
Campaigning against pigeon shoots since 1990, Hindi called the NRA “the primary reason why these killing contests continue. Our primary evidence of the NRA’s involvement in the wanton slaughter and utter waste is irrefutable,” Hindi said. “SHARK has exposed that a number of NRA past and present leaders,” including Sigler, “are pigeon shooters.
“NRA are scared cowards”
“We’ve shown that pigeon shoots violate Pennsylvania’s humane laws against cruel treatment, abandonment and the withholding of food, water, shelter and veterinary care for the scores of pigeons left wounded in the fields,” Hindi continued. “We’ve tried to engage NRA officials and they refuse to discuss the issue because they know they cannot defend the indefensible.
“I can predict with confidence that the NRA will not respond,” Hindi finished, “because although NRA officials have a hunger for the wanton slaughter of the innocent, and although the NRA is big enough and rich enough to bully Presidents, U.S. Senators and Representatives, and can get just about anything it wants even at the cost of children’s lives, the leaders of the NRA are actually a bunch of scared cowards, every single one of them.”
High noon challenge in Tucson
Hindi issued the same challenge in person on September 17, 2000 at the Tucson Convention Center, the last day of the 6th annual No Kill Conference. The conference had been booked, unknown to conference organizer Lynda Foro of Doing Things For Animals, just a glass wall away from the first day of a weekend gun show and rallying event for supporters of Arizona ballot Proposition 102.
Backed by the Tucson-based Safari Club International and the National Rifle Association, Proposition 102, if passed, would have required that future state initiatives regarding wildlife management must get a two-thirds majority.
As the crowds gathered, SHARK founder Hindi and ANIMALS 24-7 editor Merritt Clifton strode through the lines awaiting admission to the gun show to the NRA membership recruiting table and delivered to the man who seemed to be in charge a written challenge to debate at one hour past high noon.
Hindi, who aired undercover video of pigeon shoots, prairie dog shoots, canned hunts, and bullfights throughout the conference, challenged the NRA to debate sportsmanship in their own exhibition hall.
Clifton challenged the NRA to debate the influence of hunting on young people. Clifton mentioned that he had with him his 1994-1995 studies of the confluence of county rates of hunting participation and child abuse in New York, Ohio, and Michigan.
(See “New York state statistics show link: hunters & molesters,” http://www.animals24-7.org/1994/03/17/new-york-state-statistics-show-link-hunters-and-molesters/; “Ohio data confirms link: hunting & child abuse,” http://www.animals24-7.org/1994/11/17/ohio-data-confirms-huntingchild-abuse-link-stronger-than-link-to-rural-poverty/; and “Michigan stats confirm hunting/child abuse link,” http://www.animals24-7.org/1995/10/17/michigan-stats-confirm-hunting-child-abuse-link/.)
The challenge was amplified on the No Kill Conference public address system, but the NRA did not respond. Members of the gun show crowd did, however, harass No Kill Conference attendees Maru Vigu of Tucson, Jeunne Gibson of Gig Harbor, Washington, and Claudine Erlandson of Seattle, who photographed a beefy young man in camouflage as he tried to prevent her from taking pictures.
Arizona Globe cartoonist and Hermitage Cat Shelter board member Dave Fitzsimmons got the last laugh as No- Kill Conference banquet finale speaker. (See illustrations.)
(See also “SHARK lists Pennsylvania Humane Organizations on list of 10 worst animal abusers of 2014,” http://www.animals24-7.org/2015/01/01/shark-lists-pennsylvania-humane-organizations-on-list-of-10-worst-animal-abusers-of-2014/, and “Pigeon shooters, dog-eaters, James Inhofe, and the NRA,” http://www.animals24-7.org/2014/10/29/pigeon-shooters-dog-eaters-james-inhofe-the-nra/