Call hunting what it is

Re Ann Schaefer's claim ["Bravo for Hunters," Mail, November 21, 2002] (http://www.readthehook.com/92761/lettershy-bravo-hunters) that "hunters preserve open spaces."

Whatever happened to the plain-speaking days, when hunters defended their activities just by saying that they enjoyed them?

"Wildlife management" and "conservation" are euphemisms used to describe programs that ensure there are always enough animals for hunters to hunt. Every year, tax dollars are spent to burn, bulldoze, and otherwise manipulate the environment to support the feeding and breeding of "game" animals, at the expense of the variety of species who share that habitat.

Hunters kill more animals than recorded tallies indicate. It is estimated that for every animal a hunter kills and recovers, at least two wounded but unrecovered animals die slowly and painfully of blood loss, infection, or starvation. Often those who don't die suffer from disabling injuries. Because of carelessness or the effects of alcohol, scores of horses, cows, dogs, cats, hikers, and others are wounded or killed each year by hunters.

The stress that hunting inflicts on animals– the noise, the fear, and the constant chase– severely restricts their ability to eat adequately and store the fat and energy they need to survive the winter. Hunting also disrupts migration and hibernation, and the campfires, recreational vehicles, trash, and other hunting side effects endanger both wildlife and the environment.

Sport hunting should be seen for what it is: legalized cruelty that exists to provide entertainment for hunters at the expense of animals.

Julie Falconer
Charlottesville