By Tom Baldwin
Gannett New Jersey
TRENTON -- An animal-rights activist today played videos of laughing, high-fiving men kicking and poking allegedly drugged Ringneck pheasants so they would take flight to be targeted by fusillades of arrows and killed.
"We are hoping the state will prosecute," said Stuart Chaifetz of Cherry Hill, director of what he says is a 3,000-member Animal Protection PAC, short for political action committee.
Chaifetz, a longtime opponent of hunting, said he was turning the video over to the New Jersey Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals, or SPCA.
"There was no chase. They basically just sat there until they were forced to move," said Chaifetz, who added that "the cruelty is in the kicking."
He said state law is not precise but generally holds it to be illegal to conduct target practice on live animals.
The videos, which Chaifetz said he copied from Internet sites focused on outdoors activities, showed men in wintry hunting clothes kicking and poking the reluctant birds, hiding as they were on a grassy field.
The pheasants then took to the air, whereupon the men loosed arrows at the fugitives, killing each, except for one that got away.
The men cheered one another and slapped palms as a bird dog pounded on the fallen fowl.
Chaifetz said the shooting took place Feb. 18 of this year on private land in Sussex County, under auspices of a group called United Bowhunters of New Jersey.
Chaifetz said the group told on its Web site how the shooters had drugged the birds so they would not flush until the hunters were right upon them.
The SPCA, the state and hunting groups did not immediately comment.