The North American Wildlife Conservation Model (NAM) is the driver of a strong anthropocentric stance, which has legalized an ongoing, annual exploitation of hundreds of millions of wild animals, who are killed in the United States through trapping, hunting and other lethal practices. Increasingly, the American public opposes the killing of wild animals for recreation, trophies and profit but has little – if any – knowledge of the Model. The purpose of this book is to empower the public with knowledge about the NAM's insufficiencies and to help expedite the shift from lethal to compassionate conservation, an endeavour urgently needed particularly under the threats of climate change, human population growth and accelerating plant and animal species extinctions.
With a focus on trapping, this book exposes the NAM's belief in human supremacy and its consequences for wild animals and their ecosystems, the same value that is driving the ongoing global destruction of nature and accelerating species extinction. Motivated by a deep concern for wild animals who suffer and whose lives are extinguished each year by 'sportsmen and women', this book exposes the violent treatment of wild animals inherent in governmental-promoted hunting and trapping programs, while emphasizing the importance of empathy and compassion for other animals in conservation and in our lives.
Anja Heister, PhD, is an independent researcher, writer and lifelong animal rights activist. A co-founder of Footloose Montana, an organisation working toward the end of trapping on public land in Montana, Anja is committed to social change for animals and publishes frequently on topics related to wild animal conservation, animal liberation, ethics and policy.
"Anja Heister's Beyond the North American Model for Wildlife Conservation is an informed and passionate critique of the dark side of government-orchestrated exploitation and destruction of wildlife in the U.S. promoted by the archaic North American Model of Wildlife Conservation, and a guide for opening our hearts to compassionate conservation. She delves into the hard and disheartening facts of rampant violence in the practice of hunting and trapping and how 'wildlife conservation' has been hijacked by sportsmen. Heister successfully argues that it's high time to eradicate the 'Wildlife Conservation-Industrial Killing Complex' and bring compassion and justice to wild animals."
– Marc Bekoff, The Animals' Agenda: Freedom, Compassion, and Coexistence in the Human Age and A Dog's World: Imagining the Lives of Dogs in a World Without Humans
"A wolf's playful snowboard down a frozen hillside; twin fawns manic games of chase-me through a summer meadow; an affectionate clutch of female rattlesnakes basking in the desert sun; ravens playing stick catch mid-air – all wild animals are capable of and deserve joy. Heister exposes the violence embedded in the "North American Wildlife Industrial Complex" that results in so much misery to wild animals. And she offers a more compassionate, a more joyful, alternative."
– Deborah Slicer, poet and philosopher
"The new gold rush targets wildlife. Anja Heister's thoroughly researched book exposes dark truths hidden from society. The North American Model of Wildlife Conservation, to which wildlife agencies pledge allegiance, has gaps and flaws exploited by the powerful hunting industry, grinding down our wildlife and accelerating climate change. Heister points out the need to shift from seeing animals as renewable crops to animals as individuals who deserve personhood on an equal standing with human animals. Otherwise, we perish. This book gives us the background and language to make change. It is essential reading for understanding how we got here, and for the practice of animal law."
– Connie Poten, author of a National Geographic cover story on the illegal trade of wildlife, and co-founder of Footloose Montana
"There is no possible justification for extinguishing the life of a fellow sentient creature purely for entertainment. Yet the trophy hunting industry has spent decades dressing up its perverse 'sport' as a public service. It has sought to hypnotise policymakers with the bizarre mantra that shooting animals is somehow good for them. Just as 1984 taught us that War is Peace and that Freedom is Slavery, so now Killing is Conservation – apparently. It is a narrative that is straight out of the PR textbook used by other destructive and dying industries. The tobacco giants used to advertise brands that were supposedly recommended by doctors. Big oil told us that global warming would green the planet. You don't have to scratch too deeply to uncover the truth behind these veneers. When you speak directly to trophy hunters, about why they do it, as I have, conservation never comes into the conversation. Instead, you will hear all about the thrill of the chase and the adrenaline rush which some have likened to an addiction to narcotics. The root cause of many of the malaises we are confronted with today as a civilisation is the pernicious notion that everything around us is essentially merely a resource for our exploitation, and that nothing should impinge on this fundamental freedom. Heister's book brilliantly explores and exposes the contradictions and the destructive legacy of this mindset which now threatens all life on earth – including ours."
– Eduardo Gonçalves, founder, Campaign to Ban Trophy Hunting