My book opens with a satirical preface that asks: “Who Should Read Exposing the Big Game?” It depicts a far-fetched scenario of a hunter deciding to smash his weapons after reading the first three chapters of the book. Unfortunately, at least one reviewer took it seriously and wondered why—if I hoped to convert hunters—didn’t I assume a more placid demeanor? (The old “honey versus vinegar” debate.)
The fact is, I never really entertained any fantasy that I could talk the average hunter out of objectifying and killing animals. It’s what they like to do best; it’s “better than sex,” some of them would say.
Later in that preface, I point out that avid hunters make up less than 5% of the U.S. population. The vast majority of Americans, 90%, are non-hunters, with an additional 5% who consider themselves avid anti-hunters.
If the purpose of the book were to negotiate with hunters (whom I’ve found to be about as reasonable as the angry torch-carrying mob after Frankenstein’s monster), I would have used a different approach and tried to sweet-talk them a little. At least I would have spent some time seriously examining their silly, feeble rationalizations for hunting, like the standard: “If humans weren’t supposed to be predators, why do we have sharp canine teeth?” Give me a break! Gorillas, one of our closest relatives, have much more prominent canine teeth and they come from a line of strict vegetarians.
I’ll be the first to admit I don’t have a clue how to get the message across to hunters and change their minds about killing for sport (short of electro-shock therapy). Believe me, I’ve tried and found them to be pretty darned set in their ways (to put it nicely). The real target audience for Exposing the Big Game is the 90% who are non-hunters, whom I hope—after learning some of the ugly realities of hunting—will decide to get active and join the ranks of anti-hunters.
Another goal of the book is to encourage (and entertain) anti-hunters, giving them a bit of renewed incentive to keep up the good fight. Though we outnumber trophy hunters, they have a heavily funded propaganda machine, including libraries of snuff films and volumes of glossy, full-colored “sportsmen’s” magazines available at any grocery store, drug store or mini-mart across America.
Non-hunters and anti-hunters alike now have at least one book to keep by their side and give them strength to speak out for the animals the next time the pro-hunting industry tries to shut us out of the process of deciding the fate of our wildlife.
If my attitude towards hunters seems too steeped in vinegar, it comes from a deep concern for the well-being of animals, who, as Sea Shepherd’s Captain Paul Watson wrote in the book’s Foreword, “…are the disenfranchised from who we have stolen habitat and life – for far too long. It’s time to make peace with our fellow citizens, to live in harmony with them and to understand that those who today club seals, harpoon whales, shoot bears, trap beaver, hook a shark, or blast a goose with a shotgun will be viewed in the future in the same light as we now view slavers, warlords, gangsters and politicians.”
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