- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 28, 2007

An interesting story about animal protection comes from Saturday’s Toronto Star. Entitled “Politicians dither as animal cruelty goes on,” it was primarily a pro-animal rights piece and it dealt with a subject many fear will soon reach the United States.

The story at first appeared to be innocuous. After all, who would object to protecting animals? But at the heart of the matter, it’s just one more ploy to stop people from hunting and fishing.

What recently was promised to be a parliamentary bill to make Canada’s animal cruelty laws more humane now clearly seemed a maneuver to halt anglers and recreational hunters.

A bill sponsored by Liberal MP Mark Holland not only would have protected domesticated animals, conservatives claimed it could prevent farmers from engaging in what they call normal agricultural practices, such as trimming or cutting off cows’ horns.

Sport angling groups were afraid Holland’s bill would stop them from impaling worms on hooks. Hunters feared it might stop so-called canned hunting of the type we Americans refer to as shooting preserves. Animal researchers said the bill would interfere with their work. Even alligator wrestling might have suffered.

Thus far nothing along those lines has been enacted into law, but it goes to show the animal rights movement never rests. Anglers and hunters would be well advised to stay alert and watch what the animal religionists are up to.

Learn how to hook stripers — Interested in learning how to hook a rockfish? Longtime light tackle and flyrod striper specialist Richie Gaines will teach an informal class at Chesapeake College in Wye Mills, on Maryland’s Eastern Shore on March 24 from 8:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m.

The session costs $52 and Gaines, a licensed charter fishing captain who also is president of the Chesapeake Guides Association and vice chairman of the Maryland Sport Fishing Advisory commission, will cover the various techniques on how to catch striped bass on the Chesapeake. Trolling, chumming, jigging, and light tackle fishing are covered as well as where to find the fish throughout the seasons. Productive fishing locations, equipment, rigs, knots, tips and techniques also will be shared.

A free continental breakfast will be served, but bring a brown-bag lunch. To register, call the Continuing Education Department of the college at 410/827-5833.

Young anglers wanted — The Future Fisherman Foundation is taking steps to increase fishing participation among troubled youth through a partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice and boys and girls clubs throughout the United States.

“Young people are eager to participate in new activities,” said James Burch, deputy director of the Bureau of Justice Assistance. “Learning how to fish will give many kids new opportunities to get outside and enjoy their communities in a way they never knew they could. At the same time, club members will be introduced to a strong prevention curriculum that further enforces the missions of local clubs.”

Under its agreement with the Justice Department the foundation will train local law enforcement and local club leaders to work in tandem, teaching fishing skills to young people.

Members of the sportfishing community are urged to become involved. Contact Anne Danielski, Future Fisherman Foundation National Programs coordinator at 703/519-9691, extension 254, or [email protected]

Look for Gene Mueller’s Outdoors column every Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: gmueller@washingtontimes.com.

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