- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 21, 2002

Almost coincidental with springtime wild turkey hunting seasons in the Middle Atlantic states, the senior vice president of Conservation Programs for the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) Earl Kennamer, Ph.D. isn't happy with the way a large publishing company handles textbooks for children.
In a letter to McGraw-Hill Publishers, Kennamer, writes:
"Dear Sirs: An excerpt from a new McGraw-Hill 4th grade science text has been brought to our attention. On page A-34, it says, 'People play a role in extinction. People use pesticides and chemicals, destroy places where animals live, and use up resources. They also hunt and fish. This causes many species to become endangered, or in danger of becoming extinct.'"
That type of drivel didn't set well with the NWTF official. "We take great exception to the inference that hunting and fishing is causing the extinction of any species," he said. "This statement is completely false. While it is true that market hunting of the past and commercial fishing both past and present have greatly impacted populations, it is quite wrong to include all hunting and fishing in this blanket statement.
"Modern sportsmen, both hunters and fishermen, have been responsible for saving many species from the brink of extinction. Notable among these are whitetail deer, wild turkeys, many species of trout and striped bass, to name only a few.
"The 400,000 members of the National Wild Turkey Federation, as well as millions of other sportsmen, are vitally interested in conserving, not destroying, our wildlife heritage. We ask you to either remove your statement concerning hunting and fishing or qualify it to correctly represent the facts."
Thank you, sir. Such intentional (or unintentional) misstatements in text books that are read by children all over the United States very likely are only the proverbial tip of the iceberg.
Let's be honest. When was the last time you bothered to visit your child's school and ask to see what types of books were available to the kids from grade school clear up to high school.
Some years ago when my daughter was in elementary school, I did just that and in the school's little library found a number of booklets illustrated by the same artist who draws the comic strip "Tank McNamara." The booklets, titled, "Shoot, Tank, Shoot," plain and simple were little more than animal rights propaganda. The pictures and text revolved around jock-turned-sports reporter Tank McNamara being invited to go deer hunting and, when he finally had the opportunity to shoot, not being able to kill an animal. He started crying, and a young boy who sat next to him in the woods began to cry tears of joy when the "tough" McNamara wouldn't shoot despite shouts of encouragement from other supposedly less sensitive grownups in the party.
I protested the publication to the principal, a senior citizen who possessed far more common sense than all the animal rights activists in the United States, and she agreed that the publication was a rather one-sided campaign to stop hunting a time-honored outdoors activity with which she had no quarrel. She said she didn't even know the stuff was in her school. She also noted and this is alarming that on occasion a school will accept any donated publication that is touted as being educational.
The same bunch that distributed the Tank McNamara booklet attempted later to swamp elementary schools with yet another colorfully illustrated pamphlet that featured a hooked fish that was crying, a crying worm and, of course, the little fisherman who sat on a dock and who pretty soon also shed tears. The message: Fish have feelings just like you and I and they cry real tears when they hurt, so please don't go fishing.
For heaven's sake, have we all gone mad?
Kennamer's discovery of a school textbook that unabashedly tells a lie once again proves that we should pay close attention to what is being taught and sometimes spoon-fed to our children. And those among us who believe that only hunters will be targeted by the "antis" should think again.
Sport fishing has become the next major target of the animal worshippers, and these people aren't decent enough to leave our little ones be. No, they want to brainwash them from the earliest possible age and that not only includes textbooks containing falsehoods or animal rights propaganda being passed along as "educational" material, it also warrants a look at your children's teachers and what it is they believe in and now think they have a right to pass on to our youngsters.

* Look for Gene Mueller's Outdoors column every Sunday and Wednesday, and his Fishing Report every Friday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: [email protected]

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