Alaska Bans the Ridiculous 'Sport' of Tasing Wildlife

Photo: Easternblot / cc

In an effort to prevent residents from partaking in one of the most idiotic pastimes imaginable, the government of Alaska has moved to ban 'tase-and-release' hunting. That's right, there was enough concern over folks stalking and tasing wildlife to warrant it being outlawed, but fortunately, the trend hadn't yet caught on. "There are all kinds of cruelties out there," says one PETA official who urged for the legislation -- though few are as shocking as this.Believe it or not, there are some who aren't so bothered with the idea of people tasing wildlife for sport. "This seems like a solution in search of a problem, so we have not taken any position as this appears to be a non-issue," a spokesman for the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance told MSNBC.

Although there's yet to be any real cases reported of recreational tasings, the potential for such a pastime becoming popular is what spurred Alaska Fish and Game officials to move forward with a ban. One wildlife technician from the agency, Larry Lewis, tells MSNBC that similarly unimaginable hunting tactics have been employed before -- and legislators had to scramble quickly to ban them too long after the fact.

"An analogy was the computer-generated killing of animals that was taking place in some parts of the United States for sport where a person was able to use a computer to sight in on an animal within a high fence and push a button to send a bullet into the animal killing it," says Lewis.

The Fish and Wildlife official should know a thing or two about the inhumane potential of tasing animals for sport -- he helped pioneer the device for use in purely self-defense situations. Lewis discovered the great potential of stun-guns as an alternative to real guns after he had a run-in with a charging moose while working out in the field; he was able to prevent a major incident without causing too lasting harm to the animal. Then, earlier this year, one TASER manufacturer announced the release of a device specifically designed for stopping wildlife.

While even PETA kind-of supports the non-lethal alternative of TASERs, it is only for the most life-threatening situations. In the hands of sportsmen, however, some worried that the stun-guns could encourage hunters to become too cavalier around wild animals in situations they might otherwise avoid.

With these devices widely available, it was perhaps only a matter of time before they would spawn a sport of their own -- and a creepy subgroup of animal-tasing enthusiasts. But thanks to Alaska's foresight in issuing this ban, the most shocking thing is that there are people out there to necessitate it.

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