One of the most barbaric practices employed against animals is captive hunting. Hunting is bad enough, but when semi-tame, captive animals are put into a small, enclosed area to be shot by hunters, it becomes truly horrific.

The Humane Society of the United States recently placed undercover investigators posing as hunters in captive hunting ranches in Texas and New York. The unethical and cruel practices they witnessed were detailed in a television special, "Animal Planet Investigates: Captive Hunting Exposed," which aired June 20.

The footage shown featured actual animal auctions in Texas, where animals are trucked in and sold -- often to captive killing operations. It was shocking to see kangaroos and the endangered scimitar-horned Oryx being offered as trophies. Some of the other animals were so tame the investigators could walk up and hug them. Others were trained to visit feed stations so shooters could kill them over bait. Probably most disturbing was the fact that many of the animals were drugged.

Hunters pay thousands of dollars to participate in these captive hunts. The ranches involved offer guaranteed trophies and often advertise "no kill, no pay" policies. The animals involved are often bottle fed and have little or no fear of humans, making them easy targets for shooters.

In fairness, frequently the most vocal supporters of ending this practice are lifelong hunters who realize that this is not a sport. It is a perverse form of entertainment for people with cruel, sadistic minds.

To crack down on captive hunts, Reps. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) and Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) have introduced the Sportsmanship in Hunting Act (H.R. 2210). The bill would prohibit the interstate trade of exotic mammals for the purpose of killing them for trophies or entertainment in fenced areas smaller than 1,000 acres, and also bans remote-controlled hunting of animals offered via the Internet. I urge you to write your representative to support this need legislation.

If you would like to learn more about how to stop captive hunting, visit the HSUS website at www.humanesociety.org.

New Canaan resident Cathy Kangas is a member of the Humane Society of the United States' National Council. As the owner of PRAI, an international cosmetic corporation, she started Beauty with a Cause, and commits a percentage of her company's profits to help animal welfare organizations around the world.

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