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 Alvin Alexander Cheyne

January 10, 1921 - June 17, 2005

 

 

 

      

Observations on the future of gamefowl                   


By Jim Beers
 

Given to North Carolina Gamefowl Breeders
In
Asheville , North Carolina
On
11 August 2007

Thank you for inviting me to your banquet this evening.  It is an honor to
accept your invitation.  Given the difficulties you have endured lately,
from Federal legislation to Governors running for President and from urban
voters in places like Oklahoma imitating their cousins in places like New
Jersey and Massachusetts to politicians in Louisiana diverting attention
from corruption and mismanagement at your expense, your invitation to speak
here is like being asked to speak to Marines in Iraq.  That front-line
combatants like you might find something I have to say worthwhile is
humbling.

I am neither a lawyer nor a lobbyist.  Nothing I say in any way is meant to
conflict with what those sorts of advisers may tell you.  I am an old
wildlife biologist and law enforcement officer that has worked in Washington
as a bureaucrat and Congressional Fellow.  I was unceremoniously fired by
political appointees in the late 1990's for my work to protect trapping and
state fish and wildlife programs.  The US Fish and Wildlife Service was
already being controlled by radical groups like The Defenders of Wildlife at
that time.  These same persons now administer The Defenders of Wildlife and
were responsible for defeating Congressman Pombo who was mentioned here this
morning.  He challenged them when millions were stolen from the hunting and
fishing funds for state agencies and in this last election the "Defenders"
and their allies spent millions to defeat him and send a message to any
potential political opponents.  I testified twice before Congress about the
theft of millions of dollars from the hunting and fishing excise taxes and
was paid $150,000 to go away and keep- my mouth shut for 3 years. Since then
I have been writing and speaking about government corruption and the role of
the environmental and animal rights radicals in cahoots with bureaucrats,
professors, veterinarians, and politicians.  It is this perspective that
forms my observations to you this evening.

Recently a friend sent me an e-mail video that showed a man with a large
eagle on his forearm flushing a deer from the edge of a field out onto the
field.  As the deer sprinted across the field the man released the eagle
that quickly overtook the deer, grabbed it at the back of the neck, rolled
over twice while holding onto the deer, and finally held the deer down while
spreading its wings over the vanquished deer.  From the few words heard on
the video, I suspect it was filmed either in the Balkans or in central
Asia .

Now I shared that video with many friends and acquaintances, several of
which have berated me for speaking about the rights of gamefowl owners.
Without exception they were fascinated by the eagle/deer encounter and even
laughed about what fun it would be to see it in person.  They also agreed
that if there were "sufficient" (whatever that means) eagles around that
training and using eagles like that should be allowed.

As I have said repeatedly in the past about other such animal uses, "what is
the difference between using an eagle to kill a deer or a hunter shooting a
duck and cockfighting?"  If the use of gamefowl by owners can be superceded
by the state or Federal government because it is called "cruel" by many
urban or even a majority of politically active citizens then how can we ever
stop the similar elimination of everything else like trapping (NJ bans
trapping AND even trap possession, MA bans trapping) or hunting cougars (CA)
or hunting cougars with dogs (OR) or fishing (certain European countries) or
the property rights of those that "slaughter" domestic animals for food
(proposed for chickens and cattle) or those that "slaughter"  horses (recent
Federal law), etc.?  If Constitutional guarantees regarding private property
can be dismissed because some of us "like" horses (or dolphins or seals or
wolves) then ultimately no animal or plant property is safe.

You are bellwethers for so many others.  As you go, so goes everyone that
owns or uses animals as either private property or as public property.  As
you go, so go the management of natural resources and the husbandry of
animals for human uses.  As you go, so goes the traditions and freedoms that
have sustained families for generations and this country's guarantees of
liberty and tolerance.

Think that is exaggeration?  There are other similar structures under
assault.  Please try to not reject the following four analogies because of
your personal view about the topic but consider the analogy itself.

1. Family authority is constantly challenged by radical groups using
government coercion to impose sexual mores and tolerance for sexual
practices and even abortion access through Federal funding for schools.

2. Marriage is under assault by same-sex attracted groups and others
advocating government intervention and dictates regarding traditional
marriage and cohabiting couples of every dimension seeking legal and social
benefits for themselves and children born out of wedlock.

3. The "unalienable Right to Life" mentioned in the Declaration of
Independence is under assault by government interventionists regarding
abortion, partial-birth abortion, and euthanasia of the handicapped and ill
and aged and others.

4. Gun rights under the 2nd Amendment are under constant assault as urban
politicians and others try to have courts and politicians do what was done
in
Europe and Russia and China and every dictatorship from Hitler to
Mugabe - eliminate gun ownership by individual citizens.  Remember those
bucolic films of happy Russian farm workers under communism stacking hay
with those WOODEN pitchforks?  In addition to guns, even the possession of
METAL pitchforks was forbidden by communist dictators!

In each case, the radicals move incrementally.  The radicals use some
current news item.  The Federal politicians capitalize on a public emotional
outburst, the Federal bureaucrats come up with a proposal that gives them
more authority (and people and funding), the state bureaucrats shrug about
the loss of state authority and remind state politicians about the potential
for Federal funding, and some professor jumps into the fray about how he
agrees and if he had more funding he could confirm the political decision.
Increasingly the courts ignore the simple dismissal of state Constitutional
authority and the explosive burst of Federal authority and so precedents are
set for the Federal government to control more of our lives and the state
governments to become quaint appendages of Federal bureaucracies and Federal
politicians that rule for lifetimes like ancient aristocrats.

The users and owners of animals are the targets of choice for environmental
and animal rights extremist agendas.  The use and management of public lands
and public resources like forage and timber and wildlife and fish are
similarly targeted for incremental extinction by radicals operating just
like the anti-gun, anti-family, anti-life, and anti-marriage organizations
cited above.

First, the Bad News.   Environmental and animal rights radicals have been on
a roll lately.  For the past 15 years, the listing of Endangered Species and
the declarations of public land closures and the suppression of rural life
and rural economies has been staggering.  Predator introductions, logging
elimination, ranching restrictions, game herd reductions, and road closures
contributing to forest fires and reduced access have paralleled the
pressures on hunting and gamefowl owners and trappers to name but a few.

Thirty-five years ago the beginning of this environmental and animal rights
hysteria as justification for all the abuses we see today was begun with
passage of The Animal Welfare Act, The Endangered Species Act, The Marine
Mammal Protection Act, and "energizing" of The Wilderness Act passed shortly
before these laws.  UN involvement with Federal agencies and European values
were used as both justifications and models.

Finally, all these terrible laws that began stripping state authorities and
making the Federal government a venue for imposing the agendas of any
powerful group, no matter what the Constitution or traditions dictated, were
passed in a state of hysteria similar to today.  Once again please try to
set aside what your personal attitudes were and consider these precedents.

In the late 1960's and early 1970's we had a bitter confrontation between
the President and the Congress.  Both were unpopular as we "pulled out" of
Vietnam . Partisan feelings among the electorate were high.  So what did both
parties and all politicians do?  They passed "feel-good" laws to divert us
and to make us think more kindly of them.  The Senate sponsor of the Marine
Mammal Protection Act was heard to say privately that the "best thing about
those marine mammals was that weren't any within a thousand miles of
Arkansas ".  This same phenomenon can be seen on History Channel programs
about Roman Emperors that built things like Circus Maximus and Baths where
the public enjoyed every depravity.  This diversion was believed to make it
more dangerous for any rival to try an assassination while the current
Emperor waged persecutions and wars that might have otherwise antagonized
the public and made replacement of the Emperor a popular idea.

I believe that today the President/Congress confrontation and the Iraq War
are similar to that late 1960's'early 1970's period.  All of our politicians
are eager for diversions (LA?, NM?) and to make our perceptions of them warm
and fuzzy.  It is a dangerous period for us all.

Now, the Good News.  The environmental and animal rights campaigns have,
like every radical movement down through history, sewn the seeds of their
own destruction.

Many things are currently being overlooked and masked by the media and
government.  A few of the many such things waiting for an examination after
something blows sky-high (just like the excuses for all the excesses of the
past 3 decades) include:

- The continued taking of private property by government without
compensation.

- Millions spent by government on a bird that didn't exist, the Ivory-billed
Woodpecker.

- Destruction of rural economies and American lumber supplies by false
claims about an Owl.

- Horrendous forest fires caused and maintained by Federal Wilderness,
Roadless, non-management policies and never-ending outright acquisition and
easement control of private property by government and government-supported
radical groups.

- Corruption and scandals concerning Billions in government funds, tax
exemptions, and land transfers by agencies and various Land "Conservancies",
"Trusts" and "Alliances".

- The unmentioned shift of state bureaucracies from representatives of state
government and interests to Federal subcontractors and national animal
rights agendas.

- The effects of marine mammals on depressed commercial fish stocks.

- The loss of vital local government funding as more land is eased by
"Trusts" and "Conservancies" and bought outright by Federal agencies that
are either exempt from or simply do not pay any local taxes.

- The loss of big game herds and hunting income to Federally protected
predators.

- The "stacking" of state and Federal agencies with anti-use and
anti-management employees that sympathize more with European and UN agendas
than American freedoms and traditions.

- The continuing pollution of the
Potomac River on the spawning grounds of
Endangered sturgeon by government agencies for decades while prosecuting
citizens for far less egregious infractions.

- Unproven assertions about global warming to justify even greater Federal
authority consolidation and control of citizens and their activities.

- Cities that declare themselves immune to Federal immigration laws
("Sanctuaries") while forcing extreme environmental, animal rights, and gun
laws on rural communities under penalties consisting of fines and
imprisonment.

- Politicians using "engineers" (
Minnesota bridge collapse) and "scientists"
(Endangered Species and Marine Mammal legislation et al) as scapegoats for
their abdication of American Constitutional principles and the use of tax
dollars.

No matter how many teachers and professors and veterinarians and government
"scientists" and reporters deny the reality of what is happening and weave
their own interests and preferences into their explanations masquerading as
"science" there is an approaching crisis that will not be amenable to the
lies and distortions of the past.  I am speaking of the introduction,
spread, and protection of wolves and grizzly bears. From
New Mexico to
Washington to the Great Lakes and soon into New England wolves are spreading
and adapting.  Grizzly bears are likewise spreading across the
Northern
Rockies
for the same reason (Federal laws and policies implementing
environmental and animal rights goals from public land closures and rural
economy destruction to elimination of hunting and ranching and logging to
Federal land purchases and more easements purchased by subsidized
"Conservancies").

Mark my words; children, especially, will begin dying more and more as
wolves and grizzly bears settle into areas and reduce the wild animals and
other foods that they feed on.  As ranches go out of business livestock will
become scarce too.  As the wolves and bears chase remaining game animals
into towns and as the wolves and bears become first less fearful of men, and
then curious about people and their pets, and finally aware of children at
bus stops or women working in gardens or old men taking walks or small kids
playing outside - the same thing will happen that happened down through the
ages.  What will happen is markedly increased "unprovoked attacks" resulting
in death and humans consumed like a rabbit or foal.

Read Will Graves' book "Wolves in
Russia " to learn of thousands of such wolf
attacks in
Asia and Europe over the last two centuries.  When you realize
that when wolves (or even more, grizzly bears) will attack in winter for
food or in the summer when feeding their young for food or that rabid wolves
are all too common and the source of horrendous death and destruction or
that wolves spread all manner of deadly diseases you will no longer doubt
the coming crisis.  In spite of all the denials and pooh-poohs about wolves
and bears and how attacks are the result of "human error" or "being in
'their' habitat" or not "picking up garbage" the truth will come out when
the attacks on Americans take off.  These deadly predators were eliminated
for good reason and their introduction and protection back into a more
populous and structured "lower 48" was the height of idiocy and
misinformation.

Then, I firmly believe, questions and discussion will no longer be avoided
and bottled up.  How can we get rid of them?  Answer: It is no longer
practical thanks to everything from self-serving and idealistic private
property owners (from absentee owners and billionaires to animal protection
zealots) to laws and regulation and newly-minted Federal authority intended
to hobble any attempts to control animals.  Who will pay for "controls"?
Answer: All of us.  Why were we never told that wolves carry brucellosis
(undulant fever), anthrax, chronic wasting disease, mad cow disease, rabies,
distemper, tularemia, parasites (helminthes, trichinella, echinococcus,
tapeworms, etc), hoof and mouth, and neosporosus caninum (causes spontaneous
abortions in hoofed animals)?  Why can't people carry handguns to defend
themselves or their families or their property where wolves or grizzly bears
HAVE BEEN INTRODUCED AND PROTECTED?  Why aren't the bureaucrats and
professors responsible for introducing the wolves responsible for their
impacts?  What is the role of government regarding animals?

When the subject of government role and past mistakes explodes on the
public, the public forum to reassert the property status of animals and the
"control" of animals will emerge and be too much to cover up any longer.  As
this happens, all of the "things waiting for open examination" that I
mentioned earlier will suddenly be fair game.  In this environment, the
rights of gamefowl owners and horse owners and other animal owners and
users, as well as the legality of recent government interventions and
Federal authority growth will become subjects for public discussion and
debate.

Does this mean I think things will automatically turn around?  No.  Gamefowl
ownership and use like horse ownership or pet use or hunting with dogs and
so many other things will be restored just like they were destroyed: one
election and one legal action and one political step at a time.  For
instance:

1. Local and state authority needs to be reasserted: Federal intervention
repealed.

2. Urban constituencies (like
Oklahoma City voters overriding rural counties
or
Boston and Chicago and New York City and Los Angeles/San Francisco
domination of their states by imposing their values on their rural
neighbors) should be limited in their abilities to impose their standards
(from guns and hunting to gamefowl) on rural communities.  This can be done
in the state legislature by state politicians with a mandate from the
electorate.

3. Federal domination of state agencies and bureaucracies must be rolled
back.

4. Keeping authority at the lowest (and therefore most accountable to the
voters) level must replace the trend to sending all authority to a Federal
and then UN or "International Agreement" level".

5. Consider repeal of the 17th Amendment. 
US Senators appointed by State
Legislatures (as they were for over 100 years) REPRESENT THAT STATE. 
US
Senators elected by a popular vote REPRESENT THE NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL
AGENDAS THAT PAY THEM THE MOST AND PROVIDE THEM WITH REELECTION TOOLS AND MONEY.

6. Elect state and local politicians that protect and restore your rights.
Work to defeat those that don't protect your rights or sell them to a
Federal government for funding they control.

7. Finally, don't be afraid to speak about your traditions and rights in a
forthright manner.  This is especially important with young Americans.

An example of what I mean here may be helpful.  I was asked recently about
what I thought about dog fighting.  This happens often and especially after
I have written about something like gamefowl or trapping and it has been
raised to me several times since this NFL Quarterback fiasco that took place
just North of here. I answered that I don't make choices based on the bad
behavior of millionaire sports thugs.  Just like the sports thug that shot
his chauffer in
New Jersey or the Baltimore sports thug that was involved in
a fatal barroom stabbing or the sports thug whose bodyguard beat up people
in a "club" the behavior of the dog fighting sport thug is reprehensible.
Likewise I don't accept government power-growth based on some old lady that
needs help and attention so she keeps 50 cats in her trailer.  Don't ask me
to set limits on pets or other animals based on some older persons
aberrations.  Don't ask me to accept banning shotguns because one of those
guys shoots someone.  Don't ask me to ban knives because these bums stab
each other in bars.  Don't ask me to ban bodyguards because one of these
bums tells the bodyguard to beat up someone.  If there is gambling going on
(though why that is always mentioned as so dreadful in our
casino/lottery-drenched culture is a mystery to me) arrest the gamblers.  If
they are using or selling drugs, arrest them.  Those things are all illegal
and the laws should be enforced.

If they are killing animals in an unacceptable fashion, establish state or
local methods and standards that reflect community values as the basis for
local laws.

I have watched with interest all the one-sided emotional outbursts
everywhere resulting from this NFL quarterback affair.  I have owned many
dogs (mostly well-trained retrievers that were devoted and valued pets and
hunting partners).  They protected my home and my tent while I slept, they
retrieved dead ducks and crippled geese, they found pheasants and grouse,
and they made my life richer by their presence.  The idea of fighting them
is repugnant to me.

I ask you to consider for a moment that the very same people so outraged
about dog fighting are, in most cases, the same people who have been very
enthusiastic about wolf and grizzly bear introduction and protection by the
Federal government for 35 years.  For 35 years the government has
promulgated these wolves and bears and made it a Federal violation subject
to fines and imprisonment and enforced by sophisticated enforcement officers
and techniques to even harm, much less kill, a wolf or bear that is killing
your rabbit-hunting dog or watchdog or retriever or shepherd or even your
young daughter's pet dog.  Whether the wolf or bear is on your property or
in your yard or in your barn or anywhere you must allow it to maul and kill
your dog.  The dog might die quickly but more often is left alive and torn
apart to die a lingering and hideous death.  This travesty alone is one of
the reasons I am such an outspoken critic of these predators and the Federal
programs of the last 35 years.  In the last 35 years thousands of dogs (no
one keeps track) have been killed by these government predators on ranches
and farms and towns, behind trailers, in yards, and as they hunted rabbits
and birds for their unfortunate owners.  Were one of the dogs I owned to
have ever been so attacked, I would have been undeterred by such unjust laws
and disposed of the wolf then and there despite the consequences.  So the
people seeking to trap me about dog fighting turn a blind eye to their "pet"
dog killing project as they try to sanctimoniously capitalize on the lurid
reporting about dog deaths and injuries that are far less horrific than
watching your dog torn to pieces or ripped apart before your family and
often left only half alive to suffer until "euthanized".

Although speaking in support of dog fighting is something that simply
invites an avalanche of condemnation, I am forced to confront the conundrum
I face.  Were I to oppose dog-fighting based on my perceptions of dogs as
"different" or "special", I would be no better than those I condemn for
banning bullfighting or hunting or trapping or guns based on their personal
feelings.  So I am damned if I support it or damned if I oppose it.  Because
if I oppose it, I am no better than the anti-hunters and anti-trappers and
anti-ranchers and anti-loggers and all the rest WHO IMPOSE THEIR PERSONAL
VIEWS ON OTHERS DESPITE THE CONSTITUTION AND THE RIGHTS OF THEIR FELLOW CITIZENS.

So my answer is, I oppose dog fighting but in this Republic I leave its
disposition up to local communities to decide what the LOCAL COMMUNITY
desires and I will respect their wishes. This is the American Way and the
attitude that should guide those who oppose guns or logging or animal
ownership or the management and use of natural resources or public use of
public lands or what sort of duck or goose meat I eat (a Chicago eatery is
charging $60 for a cheap sandwich with which they now have to "give" you
some pate').  Would I encourage standards for dogfights?  Certainly.  Would
I ever attend a dogfight?  Certainly not, like someone opposed to hunting;
just don't do it yourself but don't deny others their rights and freedoms
and traditions.  Would I buy a coat from
China that had dog fur trim?  Yes I
would.  Animals are animals: they are property and they (both wild and
domestic) must be maintained for OUR benefit, be it economic or traditional.
They are NOT private property IF government can dictate their disposition
based on the whims of others or powerful coalitions.  That is what
determines their VALUE and without value they will indeed disappear
eventually.  The concept that animals have "rights" in their own right, as
opposed our benevolence, is repugnant, wrong-headed, and a mortal danger to
a free Republic that was created to and exists to provide "Domestic
Tranquility" for its citizens.

Just like this issue is difficult and allies are virtually non-existent, so
too are many other issues we are dealing with.  But I am optimistic that
laws that elevate animals to human status are wrong and cannot ultimately
persist.  If human dignity and common sense standards can be maintained
anywhere, I believe it will be in the
United States .  Our future is what we
make of it and although there are undoubtedly problems, there are reasons
for hope.  I believe that other animal owners and animal users will
understand this when the time comes to reassert the values put forth in The
Declaration of Independence and The US Constitution.  Communicating with and
involving others by explaining THEIR STAKE in all this is no small part of
what we must do.


Thank you for having me here and I trust that you have heard some reason for
optimism or perhaps some idea that you will find helpful.  Our futures are
intertwined and our fate depends on our own actions individually and in
total.

In conclusion I would like to recall what President Kennedy said by a German
Wall that no one thought would ever come down.  He said, "I am a Berliner"
and I say, "I am a Gamefowl Breeder".  I will work with you to restore your
rights because ultimately they are my rights.  If we all work at it, we can
be just as successful.

Jim Beers

- If you found this worthwhile, please share it with others.  Thanks.

- This article and other recent articles by Jim Beers can be found at
http://jimbeers.blogster.com   (Jim Beers Common Sense)

- Jim Beers is available for consulting or to speak.  Contact:
jimbeers7@verizon.net

- Jim Beers is a retired US Fish & Wildlife Service Wildlife Biologist,
Special Agent, Refuge Manager, Wetlands Biologist, and Congressional Fellow.
He was stationed in
North Dakota , Minnesota , Nebraska , New York City , and
Washington DC .  He also served as a US Navy Line Officer in the western
Pacific and on
Adak , Alaska in the Aleutian Islands .  He has worked for the
Utah Fish & Game, Minneapolis Police Department, and as a Security
Supervisor in
Washington , DC .  He testified three times before Congress;
twice regarding the theft by the US Fish & Wildlife Service of $45 to 60
Million from State fish and wildlife funds and once in opposition to
expanding Federal Invasive Species authority.  He resides in
Centreville ,
Virginia
with his wife of many decades.