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Science & Space

Wisconsin Residents Support Feral Child Hunting Ordinance

Tuesday, April 12, 2005 Posted: 1146 GMT (1946 HKT)

Alexis Ernst-Treutel holds a poster with a photo of a child during a public hearing on a proposal to allow hunting of free-roaming children.
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Wisconsin's proposed way to control stray children -- hunt them.

MADISON, Wisconsin (AP) -- The Wisconsin Conservation Congress has approved a feral child hunting law which would allow residents to shoot stray children at will. This measure, backed by the NRA and second amendment lobbyists, now goes before the state legislature for final approval.

Denounced by child rights advocates as "archaic and inhumane", the measure nonetheless achieved a 6,830 to 5,201 victory in Monday's popular vote. Supporters of the law defended it as a "necessary step to protect Wisconsin's public health and wildlife".

"Unsupervised and unwanted children pose a serious threat to our sensitive ecosystem" stated Mark Smith, the man behind the proposal. "Every year, children infect millions of Wisconsin residents with serious diseases, ranging from the common cold to pink eye. When left unwatched, they can wreck havoc on our roadways by kicking soccer balls in front of moving cars and drawing hop scotch courts which confuse passing motorists. In addition, feral children are responsible for the deaths of countless cows, pigs, chickens and fish every year. They don't belong in the environment. If I catch a stray child in a live trap, I should be able to put the animal down."

Smith took pains to reassure parents that domestic children would not be at risk. "This ordinance only applies to children who are left unsupervised or have ventured from within the confines of their owner's property. As long as you maintain direct control over your offspring, they will be perfectly safe."

Analysts had mixed reactions to the proposal. "I'm not sure redefining children and having an open season on them is the best way to address the issue" said Karen Etter Hale, executive secretary of the Madison Institute of Juvenile Studies. "We urge parents to prevent their children from roaming. That's always been our approach, rather than asking for authority to let hunters shoot them." Bill Vander Zouwen, wildlife ecology section chief for game management, disagrees. "Most feral children go on to become feral adults, appropriating thousands of square feet of living space and contributing to global warming and deforestation. This measure is simply intended to nip the problem in the bud."

If the law meets with final approval, Wisconsin would join the Midwestern states of South Dakota and Minnesota which have allowed child hunting for decades.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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