Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Fish in a Barrel

Most sane people are justifiably contemptuous of "hunters" who frequent facilities where tame, drugged, or stunned animals can be gunned down at close range. What you may not know is that these lazy, cowardly buffoons can reward themselves for their ugly behavior by exploiting a loophole in the tax code, as can hunters who prey upon rare and endangered species:

[W]ealthy hunters have been killing a few "extra" animals, donating the trophies to pseudo-museums, inflating the value of these trophies and then taking a huge tax deduction for their "charitable" contribution (to "museums" that are sometimes in someone's basement or even abandoned railroad cars).
In his fine book Dominion, former Bush speechwriter Matthew Scully dissects a statement by R. Bruce Duncan, author of "Secrets of Tax-Deductible Hunting":
[The tax break] is needed, according to Mr. Duncan, because "hunting costs double every ten years." Why are costs rising? Because availability is declining. Why is availability falling? Because demand has overtaken supply. Why is demand so overwhelming? In large part because of these very tax techniques which have put endangered big game animals within the means of more hunters than ever before. It is a vicious cycle of depletion and depredation, leaving fewer (and younger) animals at ever higher prices, the barriers on the hunters' appetite artificially removed by political lobbying and creative manipulations of the tax code.
Wherever there's a confluence of tax evasion, pointless brutality, wildly unequal power relations, and lurid displays of pseudo-masculinity, you're bound to stumble upon a heavily armed camp of GOP extremists. "Tax-deductible hunting," of course, is no exception. R. Bruce Duncan works closely with Safari Club International (SCI), an utterly corrupt anti-environmental organization with close ties to the Bush administration. Bush, in fact, recently put SCI's former chief lobbyist in charge of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Much to his credit, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) is trying to end this taxpayer-subsidized reward for sociopathy and perversion. You can click here to sign a petition supporting his efforts.


Phila said...


I'm not a hunter, myself, but I agree completely. And I have to assume that most real hunters feel as you do. Canned hunting ought to be illegal, as far as I'm concerned.

Phila said...

Mister Mark,

I'm sure some Democrats do take part in hunts like these. However, the infrastructure and ideology that promotes and protects the tax-exemption in question is primarily Republican, (as the Republican author I quoted admits, if you read his book). You might also note that I praised a Republican senator for trying to put a stop to it.

In other words: Go fuck yourself.