MEDIA RELEASE: Huffman Gets Huffy Over Elk-Killing Truth-Telling Parody

MEDIA RELEASE: Huffman Gets Huffy Over Elk-Killing Truth-Telling Parody

POINT REYES, Calif. (November 8, 2021)In Defense of Animals and the TreeSpirit Project had it out with Representative Jared Huffman in a public Twitter shoot-out over a parody photo showing him smiling over a dead Tule elk.

In Defense of Animals launched an alert on October 29 calling on Jared Huffman, Congressman for California’s North Coast, to free the Tule elk instead of killing them. The largest remaining herd of Tule elk are trapped in a “Reserve” without adequate food and water and forced to starve and die prolonged, agonizing deaths while organic cattle are fattened on taxpayers’ money. 

Over 11,000 people have written to Huffman, imploring him to stop advancing private ranching interests at the lethal expense of these native wild animals. Dozens tweeted the parody picture at him in protest of his actions.

Huffman took to Twitter to respond: “Shame on @IDAUSA for spreading a doctored photo portraying me killing a Tule Elk. I'd never do that. My 100+ Lifetime Humane Score speaks for itself. I've worked to avoid/minimize lethal elk management which is widely used b/c we've lost keystone predators.” He then blocked the nonprofit from responding.

Congressman Jared Huffman took issue with the artwork showing that he’s a Tule elk killer, even though he voices unwavering support for shooting to death some of the wild, rare, and iconic Tule elk at Point Reyes National Seashore. He, and the National Park Service, call this brutal slaughter of native California Tule elk “management” for cattle ranchers, claiming there are too many elk — but there are under 590 Tule elk at Point Reyes and 5,000 cows polluting the water and air in the national wildlife reserve at an incredible rate.

“Congressman Jared Huffman poses as an environmentalist for voters while lobbying on behalf of private ranchers to fatten their cows, and their wallets, and kill Tule elk on the taxpayer’s dime,” said Fleur Dawes, Communications Director for In Defense of Animals. “The only animal overpopulating Point Reyes National Seashore is the for-profit cows — 5,000 of them, outnumbering wild Tule elk 9:1 — and private ranchers who call the deadly shots in this public park.”

Huffman has even tabled legislation to undermine environmental protections. Unsuccessful bill HR-6687 aimed to entrench public-subsidized commercial ranching in the national park and allow hunting and relocation of native Tule elk who “interfere” with commercial cattle operations in the national park. Huffman’s bill even astonished Representative Garret Graves (R) from Louisiana, who had to confirm Huffman’s intent. Huffman joked with Graves — who has one of the worst environmental voting records in Congress — about sending Tule elk to Louisiana. Graves returned a quip about making protected Point Reyes Tule elk into sausages.

“Congressman Huffman continues to ignore his own constituents’ outrage over his advocacy for starving Tule elk to death behind fences in Point Reyes Seashore, a national park unit. And now shooting to death still more Tule elk there. No wonder this parody got under his hide,” said Jack Gescheidt, Tule elk campaigner for In Defense of Animals and founder of the TreeSpirit Project. “Note the Congressman doesn’t refute our claim that he wants to shoot wild elk in a national park. Instead, he just skillfully tries to distract from the bloody truth: ‘Hey, look, I love kitties and doggies!’”

Gescheidt organized six water-drops for the Tule elk during this summer’s severe drought. He is also the lead plaintiff in an ongoing lawsuit filed by Harvard Law School’s Animal Law & Policy Clinic against the National Park Service for its negligence in ignoring its federal mandate by allowing Tule elk to die inside a national park unit.

In Defense of Animals and other activists have staged numerous demonstrations in the Reserve calling attention to the massive number of Tule elk deaths — 406 in the last decade, by the NPS’ own annual counts. The brutal body count will increase inside the 2,600-acre Reserve until its 8-foot-tall fence is removed, allowing the trapped elk to roam freely for food and water on the Seashore’s full 71,000 acres.

On high noon (12 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.), Saturday, December 4, hundreds of citizen-activists, celebrities, local environmental leaders, wildlife advocates, and public lands stewards are planning to gather again for the largest rally yet for Point Reyes National Seashore, hosted by In Defense of Animals, TreeSpirit Project, Western Watersheds Project, Resource Renewal Institute, and Turtle Island Restoration Network

Public interest to save the park’s Tule elk and move polluting cows out is snowballing, with rallies regularly amassing hundreds of demonstrators. Over 500 are expected to join the upcoming December 4 rally at Crissy Field. For myriad causes, all are united in their call to end commercial ranching in the park and see full protection honored for the Tule elk and all the wild animals living there. 

In Defense of Animals, TreeSpirit Project, and partner organizations have vowed to dramatically expand the campaign to save the Tule elk, restore the Seashore, and assure that its federally legislated protections for wildlife and wildlands are upheld and enforced.


Contact: Jack Gescheidt, In Defense of Animals/The TreeSpirit Project, 415-488-4200

Event Details:



In Defense of Animals is an international animal protection organization based in Marin, California, with over 250,000 supporters and a 38-year history of fighting for animals, people, and the environment through education and campaigns, as well as hands-on rescue facilities in India, South Korea, and rural Mississippi.

The TreeSpirit Project raises awareness of the crucial role of forest, wildlife and the natural world in the lives of humans. Thousands of humans have taken part in fine art community photographs that give them an actual experience of this interconnection, beyond the virtual internet.


### ENDS ###

You can support our work by donating