In the Words of Farley Mowat

The world has suffered another great loss with the death of author, naturalist and avid animal advocate, Farley Mowat. I never had the opportunity to meet him, but I do feel extremely fortunate to have received an endorsement for my book from him, just two short years before his passing.

He didn’t use the internet, so I sent a manuscript to his assistant, who had to hand deliver it (presumably on snowshoes) to him at his place in eastern Canada. This is what he had her send back to me, which now holds a special place on the back cover of the book:

“Robertson’s new book could be titled The Big and Dirty Game, because that’s what it is about — the dirty, bloody business of killing other animals for sport and fun. Fun? Sure, that’s what the Sportsmen say . . but read about it for yourself . . .”   ~ Farley Mowat, Author of Never Cry Wolf and A Whale for the Killing

One of Farley Mowat’s many classic books, A Whale for the Killing, written in1972, was an autobiographical account of his moving to Newfoundland because of his love for the land and the sea, only to find himself at odds with herring fishermen who made sport of shooting at an 80-ton fin whale trapped in a lagoon by the tide. Although he had started off thinking folks around there were a quaint and pleasant lot, he grew increasingly bitter over the attitudes of so many of the locals who, in turn, resented him for “interfering” by trying to save the stranded leviathan.

Mr. Mowat writes, “My journal notes reflect my sense of bewilderment and loss. ‘…they’re essentially good people. I know that, but what sickens me is their simple failure to resist the impulse of savagery…they seem to be just as capable of being utterly loathsome as the bastards from the cities with their high-powered rifles and telescopic sights and their mindless compulsion to slaughter everything alive, from squirrels to elephants…I admired them so much because I saw them as a natural people, living in at least some degree of harmony with the natural world. Now they seem nauseatingly anxious to renounce all that and throw themselves into the stinking quagmire of our society which has perverted everything natural within itself, and is now busy destroying everything natural outside itself. How can they be so bloody stupid? How could I have been so bloody stupid?’”

Farley Mowat ends the chapter with another line I can well relate to: “I had withdrawn my compassion from them…now I bestowed it all upon the whale.”

And Farley Mowat writes here of the wrongheadedness of hunting intelligent animals, such as geese, in his foreword to Captain Paul Watson’s book Ocean Warrior:

“Almost all young children have a natural affinity for other animals, an attitude which seems to be endemic in young creatures of whatever species. I was no exception. As a child I fearlessly and happily consorted with frogs, snakes, chickens, squirrels and whatever else came my way.

“When I was a boy growing up on the Saskatchewan prairies, that feeling of affinity persisted—but it became perverted. Under my father’s tutelage I was taught to be a hunter; taught that “communion with nature” could be achieved over the barrel of a gun; taught that killing wild animals for sport establishes a mystic bond, “an ancient pact” between them and us.

“I learned first how to handle a BB gun, then a .22 rifle and finally a shotgun. With these I killed “vermin”—sparrows, gophers, crows and hawks. Having served that bloody apprenticeship, I began killing “game”—prairie chicken, ruffed grouse, and ducks. By the time I was fourteen, I had been fully indoctrinated with the sportsman’s view of wildlife as objects to be exploited for pleasure.

“Then I experienced a revelation.

“On a November day in 1935, my father and I were crouched in a muddy pit at the edge of a prairie slough, waiting for daybreak.

“The dawn, when it came at last, was grey and sombre. The sky lightened so imperceptibly that we could hardly detect the coming of the morning. We strained out eyes into swirling snow squalls. We flexed numb fingers in our shooting gloves.

“And then the dawn was pierced by the sonorous cries of seemingly endless flocks of geese that cam drifting, wraithlike, overhead. They were flying low that day. Snow Geese, startling white of breast, with jet-black wingtips, beat past while flocks of piebald wavies kept station at their flanks. An immense V of Canadas came close behind. As the rush of air through their great pinions sounded in our ears, we jumped up and fired. The sound of the shots seemed puny, and was lost at once in the immensity of wind and wings.

“One goose fell, appearing gigantic in the tenuous light as it spiralled sharply down. It struck the water a hundred yards from shore and I saw that it had only been winged. It swam off into the growing storm, its neck outstreched, calling…calling…calling after the fast-disappearing flock.

“Driving home to Saskatoon that night I felt a sick repugnance for what we had done, but what was of far greater import, I was experiencing a poignant but indefinable sense of loss. I felt, although I could not then have expressed it in words, as if I had glimpsed another and quite magical world—a world of oneness—and had been denied entry into it through my own stupidity.

“I never hunted for sport again.”

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Captain Paul Watson on Welfare Ranching

Paul WATSON, Brigitte BARDOT
Welfare Ranching Show Down in Nevada

There is a silly little drama going on in Nevada and the Neo Cons, the militias and the welfare ranchers would have us believe there is another Waco about to happen.

For some strange reason I am on the Conservative Daily mailing list. I think they confused the word “conservation” with the word “conservative.”

Joe Otto who I assume speaks for the Conservative Daily sent me this message today (below) and I could not resist responding to it.

It’s all about a rancher named Cliven Bundy who has not paid his grazing fees since 1990 and is now upset that the government has come to collect over two decades in back fees.

You see, Cliven believes that he has every right to graze his cows free of charge on public land. It’s called welfare ranching and they believe their “right” to feed at the public trough trumps the right of endangered species to exist.

So I decided to inject my comments into Otto’s somewhat hysterical letter defending Cliven and his fellow welfare ranchers from the tyranny of Obama. You see when anything happens they don’t agree with, Obama is always at fault, and Obama is especially at fault when the thing the Neo Cons are upset with is something initiated by one of the two former Bush Presidents like this particular case.

Anyhow, this is Otto’s letter with my comments.

Dear Conservative, (PW: You mean dear conservationist Otto. You were addressing me I think.)

By now you have probably heard about the crisis surrounding the Bundy Ranch in Bunkerville, Nevada. In case you haven’t, here is the basic synopsis.

(PW: Yes the Fox Network has their undies in a knot over this, which means it is hardly a major story elsewhere.)

Cliven Bundy is a cattle rancher whose family has lived near Bunkerville, NV for the last 140 years. The Bundy family’s cattle have always grazed on what had always been state-owned, public land. In 1993, the Federal Government discovered that Bundy’s grazing area was also home to the endangered Desert Tortoise. As a result, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) swooped in and took over control of the land. In order to dissuade farmers and ranchers from using the land and threatening the tortoise population, the BLM instituted a policy where ranchers would be forced to pay a grazing fee before using the land.

(PW: Let me see, the Bundy family has lived on the land for 140 years and the desert turtle has lived there for hundreds of thousands of years. The Bundy family took their land by force from Native Americans but the turtles were there even before the Native Americans. In 1993, the government did not discover that the grazing area was home to the turtle. They knew that. What they discovered was that the turtle was endangered and one probable cause was over-grazing by rancher Bundy’s cows.)

For Cliven Bundy, this was an unacceptable affront to his livelihood. His family has lived off this land for over a century, long before the creation of the BLM, and the idea that he would now have to pay a tax to protect a turtle was nothing short of absurd.

(PW: To the turtles it is an unacceptable affront to their right to survive as a species. Rancher Bundy believes the turtle’s right to survive is absurd yet he believes he has a God-given right to graze his cattle for profit at public expense. It is also not a tax but a grazing fee. In exchange for the fee, Bundy gets to graze his cattle. Bundy wants free food for his cows at public expense. In other words he wants welfare.)

So, Bundy refused to pay the tax. He allowed his cattle to graze on the land and didn’t pay the federal government a dime to do it. Why should he? The land is technically state-owned public land, yet the federal government want’s a cut because of an endangered turtle. Well, after twenty years of court battles, the Bureau of Land Management has finally swooped in and begun confiscating Bundy’s cattle at gunpoint to pay the $1.1 million that he owes in back “grazing fees” for using public land! This is absurd and should be a wake-up call to everyone! The government doesn’t care about common sense or decency… these militarized agencies and bureaus will use every law, regulation, and technicality to come after YOU with the full weight of the Federal government!

(PW: The law assessed a fee and rancher Bundy refused to pay the fee for over two decades and now he seems surprised that the government has called to collect back fees. Otto states the land is state owned and public but somehow rancher Bundy has a right to use it free of charge. Bundy owes back fees and the government is collecting those back fees by the confiscation of the cattle that Bundy has been raising at the expense of the public. It’s a classic case of welfare ranching where the rancher believes he is entitled to have his animals raised for slaughter at public expense. I hope the government does use every law, regulations and technicality to collect the back fees and to protect the right of the turtles to survive.)

Tell Congress to STOP the out-of-control militarization of agencies like the Bureau of Land Management and put an end to the Obama administration’s intimidation tactics!

(PW: I intend to tell Congress in the words “Good on you for defending the turtles and enforcing the grazing fees.”

How despicable is this… The federal government is seizing a rancher’s cattle because he didn’t pay a $1.1 Million “grazing fee” that was set up to protect a damn turtle! Anyone with half a brain can see that this is ludicrous… yet the government continues to wage its war on Cliven Bundy and proceeds to seize his cattle at gunpoint.

(PW: If anyone else does not pay their bills, they forfeit their property. Why should ranchers be exempt and above the law. Why should the public support Cliven’s damn cows? Why do his damn cows have more rights than the desert tortoise? The government is not waging war on Bundy, they are simply enforcing the law. Personally I disapproved of the fee myself. He should have been banned completely from grazing his cows on the land occupied by an endangered species.”)

I’ve said it before: It is absolutely ridiculous that we have so many militarized, non-law enforcement agencies in government. Agencies like the Department of Education, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the IRS, and even the Bureau of Land Management have been arming themselves to the teeth for years.

(PW: I’ve never seen an armed IRS agent, That would be scary, hell they are scary enough unarmed. I have certainly never seen an armed member of the Department of Education but considering all the school shootings, that might not be a bad idea. A law has been broken and it is being enforced. Pretty damn straight forward to me.)

Now, the full weight of the government has come down on the Bundy ranch. There are snipers watching the family’s movements, armed agents rounding up cattle, and the BLM has effectively made the whole area a “constitution free zone,” or at least that’s what they want it to be. The land is public land on a public road. Yet, anyone who wants to protest the government’s tyrannical actions is limited to doing so within a preset “First Amendment Zone” set up by government officials.

(PW: Can someone tell me where in the Constitution it says that ranchers have the right to graze for free on public land? The land as Otto says is public land on a public road. It is not Clive Bundy’s land. It is however turtle land. Thank you United States government for defending our endangered turtles. As for snipers, the fact is with dozens of trigger happy militia nut bars in camo, armed to the teeth, the deployment of snipers seems like a reasonable response. I admit the First Amendment zone is unacceptable but by order of the Governor of Nevada it has been taken down.)

That is ridiculous, and the protesters have fanned out, taking their frustration directly to the federal agents. In the last two days, one protester has been tackled to the ground and another has been shot with a stun gun. Now, militias from around the country have been mobilized and are beginning to arrive in Nevada to defend the ranch from this clearly tyrannical action. One county official warned the “inbred” militiamen (his words, not mine) from neighboring Utah that if they come to Cliven Bundy’s aid, then they “better have funeral plans.”

(PW: Oh no not the Mormons!!! I hope this is not another Mountain Meadow Massacre. It is amazing to see so many ultra conservatives ready to rise up and die to defend welfare rights for ranchers. Oh the tyranny of collecting unpaid bills.)

How despicable is that? Rather than defend the local rancher against the government thugs, the local Clark County Commissioner is actually threatening people if they show up to help him!

(PW: Yes I would imagine that the Clark County Commissioner would be opposing mob rule. When a bunch of wild eyed men in camo arrive with heavy weaponry it is reasonable for the County Commissioner to condemn their invasion of his county.)

I pray to God that there isn’t bloodshed. I really hope that the Federal government realizes that they are waging this war over nothing but a damn turtle and pull back. I mean, think about it… people could actually die over a dispute over cattle grazing on a turtle sanctuary… What on earth is this world coming to?

(PW: It is a world where human greed is eradicating endangered species and diminishing biodiversity. Otto you said it yourself, it’s a turtle sanctuary. It seems to me that people would be making a decision to risk dying for some damn cow. I think the turtle is much more deserving, after all it is a sanctuary for turtles. This is not a dispute over a turtle anyhow, it is a dispute over the fact that a welfare rancher has refused to pay his grazing bill.)

The fact remains that this is just one of the latest attempts for the Federal government to use loopholes to seize property for the “common good.” There is a case in Colorado where a couple’s mountain cabin is being seized and demolished to create “open space.” The government is actually using eminent domain to seize a piece of property just to create more open space.

(PW: If you build a cabin on public land you don’t have rights to the land just because you built the cabin. People have seized too much open space for their own use and by doing so they deprive nature of open space for wildlife. Nature needs more open spaces, more turtles and fewer cows.)

Rather than using common sense and restraint, the Federal government looks for every opportunity to come down hard on average citizens! This has to stop!

(PW: If citizens are a threat to the survival of an endangered species they should be stopped. Welfare ranchers are not average citizens, they are people who have grown rich at the public expense.)

The government shouldn’t be allowed to levy $1.1 Million fines on hard working Americans because their family’s ranch’s historical grazing grounds are now occupied by an endangered turtle! Americans from across the country shouldn’t have to mobilize in order to fend off tyrannical government agents!

(PW: It is not a fine, it’s a grazing fee, a fee that rancher Bundy has refused to pay for over two decades. Bundy’s lands are not now being occupied by an endangered turtle. The turtle’s land is being occupied by Bundy’s cattle.)

What if the government came into your home or business and threatened you because of a technicality or nonsense regulation? Things like this happen every day across America because we have given the Executive branch and its numerous agencies too much power over our lives!

(PW: When the U.S. Court and the IRS came after us for defending whales they were acting on the request of the Japanese whalers, I did not see many conservatives defending our rights to defend the whales. No most of them were defending the “right” of Japanese whalers to use American courts to stop American whale defenders.)

The Obama administration wouldn’t even send in one soldier to protect our ambassador in Benghazi, but it has sent in over 200 agents to harass a rancher in Nevada! This is despicable! The time has come to rein in these out of control, militarized government agencies. Congress must put an end to the Obama administration’s intimidation tactics!

(PW) Wow, they actually managed to fit Libya into their rant. That’s a stretch. The law removing free grazing rights came under the George H. Bush administration, not Obama.)

Tell Congress to STOP the out-of-control militarization of agencies like the Bureau of Land Management and put an end to the Obama administration’s intimidation tactics!

I will tell them in the words of George W. Bush, “Go get ‘em boys.” We need to put an end to Welfare ranching.

Sincerely,
Joe Otto
Conservative Daily

Sea Shepherd Founder to Bill Maher: ‘If Oceans Die, We Die’

 

http://ecowatch.com/2014/04/08/sea-shepherd-bill-maher/

| April 8, 2014

You can always expect to see Captain Paul Watson on the front lines of the battle to conserve and protect marine ecosystems for wildlife. He and his Sea Shepherd Conservation Society have been doing it for nearly 40 years.

A late-night, cable television got the chance to learn more about Watson’s mission during the most recent episode of Real Time with Bill Maher. He discussed some of his biggest enemies—Japanese whalers—and his joy regarding last week’s International Court of Justice ruling that Japan’s “research whaling” is illegal. It marked a big moment for Watson, who says he has been labeled an “eco-terrorist” for years.

“I’m not an eco-terrorist—I don’t work for BP,” he said to a round of applause from the studio audience.

Paul WATSON, Brigitte BARDOT

Back in February, chapters of Watson’s organization hosted “World Love for Dolphins Day” demonstrations in large cities, calling for an end to brutal dolphin hunts in Taiji, Japan’s killing cove.

Watson has also been jailed for his cause. He was arrested two years ago in Germany for extradition to Costa Rica for ship traffic violation as he exposed an illegal shark finning operation on Guatemalan waters run by a Costa Rican company.

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Captain Paul Watson’s Message to Patriarch Duck Dunce

My Message to the Patriarch Duck Dunce

From one so called Reality TV Star to Another

Captain Paul Watson of Animal Planet’s Whale Wars sends a message to Phil Robertson of A&E’s Duck Dynasty.

Dear Phil,

I am confused. How can you equate homosexuality with bestiality? You’re hardly in a position to say such a thing when your business is manufacturing duck mating calls that essentially declare that you want to fuck a duck.

You are flirting with bestiality Phil.

You not only seduce defenseless innocent ducks, you kill them when they approach you. Sort of reminds me of Ted Bundy.

You are also seducing ducks through fraudulent behavior. Essentially you are lying to the ducks. And you’re peddling duck seduction devices in a quack-pot scheme to enrich yourself on the suffering and death of hundreds of thousands of innocent ducks.

I picked up a copy of the New Testament to see what Jesus Christ or any of the disciples had to say about gay men and women. Incredibly I discovered that they never said anything at all about homosexuality. Jesus did however condemn the rich and you Phil Robertson are rich and I also do recall something in the tablets that Moses brought down from the mountain about not killing. It did not say thou shall not kill other human beings, it said, “Thou shall not kill.”

It seems to me that Jesus would have been more compassionate towards a gay man than to a rich man. So I think that Jesus would be more comfortable listening to Elton John than hearing your shotguns dropping his father’s children from the sky.

Now I know that it’s common for some Christians to cite Leviticus but if you believe Leviticus you need to go all the way, selling daughters into slavery, smiting and stoning and hating everyone that believes in something different than you do. But then again, I may be wrong but I recall that Jesus Christ came with a new message – one of love and forgiveness, compassion and kindness.

I can’t see Jesus defending war nor can I see him denying help to the poor. Nor can I see him spewing hatred for gays.

True Christianity can be a very beautiful thing – when practiced but unfortunately it is rarely practiced.

As for going to hell Phil, everyone goes to hell because if you do not believe in the Catholic faith you will go to Catholic hell and likewise Catholics will go to Protestant hell. From the way the various denominations have laid claim on heaven and hell everyone is going to someone’s hell.

But what I really don’t get is this. Why do people, and especially so-called Christians get all upset about gay people? How does gay marriage affect them? Why do they make it their business to interfere with the happiness of other people? Why does this threaten some people?

I mean Phil, how does gay marriage get in the way of you murdering ducks for dollars?

They certainly are not out there in the swamp gunning down what you consider your ducks and cracking red-neck jokes. There is simply no Godly reason they should be annoying you Phil unless, well unless you have had some inclination towards temptation in that particular direction of choice Phil and you are feeling guilty about your unspoken desires.

And as for freedom of speech, well, by all means you are free to have your bigoted opinions and no one is denying that. Your problem is that you broadcasted your bigoted opinions on television, and as such you must suffer the opinions of people who disagree with you and find your opinions to be vile and hateful.

A &E simply exercised their right to express their disagreement with your bigoted views. All those people you are saying are intolerant of your right to free speech are simply expressing their free speech to denounce your hateful rhetoric.

Of course you have Sarah Palin defending you. Good luck with that Phil.

Do you think that if I were to make racist statements about the Japanese that Animal Planet would not take me off the air? Of course they would and they would be right to do so. Our fight is with whalers who happen to be Japanese. Sometimes they are Norwegians. The point is we don’t condemn anyone on racial or cultural grounds and racism should never be tolerated, especially on the airwaves.

Phil, I don’t like you. It’s not because you’re white, supposedly Christian or seemingly heterosexual or that you have a strange and violent sexual relationship with ducks. I don’t like you because you’re a bigot and I don’t like you for murdering ducks.

The bottom line is you exercised your right to free speech and now you are suffering the consequences. The Constitution guarantees your right to free speech, it does not guarantee your right to not be held responsible for what you say.

You are free to continue making bigoted and hateful comments. No one is going to toss you into jail for it. That is what it means by freedom of speech.

You are however dreaming if you think that what you say does not have consequences. Enjoy your freedom of speech because you are going to have to pay for it – with consequences.

Oh and by the way, stop seducing and murdering ducks.

I’ll leave you with a little song I heard from a little girl the other day.

“Be kind to your animal friends
For a duck may be somebodies mother”

Yea, I know that is way beyond your comprehension of empathy but I’m sure Phil that if you repent of your sins of bigotry and lust for ducks that Jesus will forgive you.

imagesQB1DEJIT

Stop the Apocalypse—Now

It all started (or should I say, ended) back in 1998 when the Makah tribe was preparing to hunt a grey whale off the Washington coast. Like many people who grew up during the 1960s and ‘70s, I was taken with the idea of returning to a more primitive lifestyle, in “harmony with Nature” as I believed the American Indians surely were. I even spent a summer in the southeast Oregon desert, studying “Aboriginal life skills” of the Paiute people of the Northern Great Basin. It was the same survival course (taught by the same instructor) that Jean M. Auel later took as research for her “Clan of the Cave Bear” book series.

But I began to think that not all tribal people are cut of the same loincloth as the Makah made preparations to kill their NMFS quota of five whales to use for ceremonial and unspecified “commercial purposes.” You may remember the media frenzy surrounding the issue and the animal activists, including Captain Paul Watson at the helm of a Sea Shepherd ship, as well as devoted land protesters whom my wife and I supported and joined whenever we could. Unfortunately, despite months of protests and pleading, the tribe’s rag-tag whaling crew (aided by the federal government) was successful in killing a young female whale with a bullet from a highly untraditional high-powered 50 caliber rifle.

Sadly, “Yabis” (as a Makah elder and lone whale hunt detractor named the whale) could not be saved. The media, of course, defended the kill to the death, comparing the tribe’s right to shoot a whale with their own right to eat unlimited hamburgers. They did their darnedest to convince readers that the road to political correctness was through backing the tribe’s revival of their cultural tradition of killing whales. And besides, who wants to give up their hamburgers anyway?

Well, I for one. I finally saw the hypocrisy of objecting to hunting while continuing to eat farmed animals. From then on we vowed not to be complicit in the unnecessary taking of lives—150 billion a year, at last count. Up until then I had been a meat eater and an occasional fisherman. But from that moment on, I hung up my rod and reel and swore off meat and dairy, never once looking back.

Yet, I know dyed-in-the-faux-shearling vegans whose solid anti-animal abuse stance melts away like a sno-cone on a hot summer day at the first hint that an animal abuser is of aboriginal decent (not that any human being is really “native” to the America’s—some just arrived sooner than others). I may seem obstinate, but I don’t believe a prayer, a chant or any other song and dance makes an animal suffer less or end up any less dead if they were killed by a Native American.

Yet, some people buy into the notion that the mistreatment of a non-human by a native is some sort of spiritual event. Whether elk or bison, fish or whales, a killing that would normally be frowned upon is a joyous occasion when perpetrated by a tribal member. While anyone who holds to their ideals is somehow considered a “racist,” it’s the animal advocate who looks the other way as certain people do the killing who’s the real discriminator.

Shocking as it sounds, the Yellowstone bison are equally exploited fenced-in on a ranch on reservation land as they would be anywhere else in Montana; a deer or elk ends up every bit as injured or dead when shot by a tribal hunter as by the average American sport hunter; tribal gill nets do as much damage to a struggling salmon as those set out by non-Indian commercial fishermen, and a 50 caliber bullet rips into a whale with the same destructive force, no matter who pulls the trigger.

Yes, I used to be a meat-eating fisherman. I changed my ways after allowing myself to absorb facts like, “humans slaughter 6 million animals per hour!” and “20,000 more will die in the time it takes you to read these sentences!” That’s a Holocaust of farmed animals every 60 minutes! And that’s not counting fish, lobsters, shrimp, oysters, clams, krill or other sea life.

Call me a zealot, but when you realize there’s an apocalypse of animals happening right now, you want it stopped, once and for all, and by all—no exceptions.

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2013. All Rights Reserved

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2013. All Rights Reserved

Hardly a “Terrorist”

In his foreword to my book, Exposing the Big Game: Living Targets of a Dying Sport, Captain Paul Watson wrote:

“There is only one vicious creature stalking the wilderness and that is the hominid primate that has become a divine legend in its own mind. The enemy is us and the real challenge is to subdue the destructive urges within each of us and to channel those urges in the direction of affirming life and not taking it. The primitive man is a killer ape, the evolved man or woman is a shepherd protecting life.

“The cruelty and destruction that humans have inflicted upon each other is surpassed only by the cruelty and destruction humans have inflicted upon the non-human citizens of this world. …

“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.”

Hardly the words of a dangerous terrorist, though perhaps the words of someone who could be considered a danger to a corrupt and vicious system. We need people like Paul Watson to shine the light on the real criminals of the world and expose their crimes against the thousands of voiceless victims of an over-consumptive society.


A new petition is circulating asking the President senate and congress to stop treating Sea shepherd as terrorists:

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society advocates a no whale hunt policy and is often labeled terrorist because they stand up for the whales against government policies that support Japan

Please sign the petition here:

http://www.change.org/petitions/the-president-senate-and-congress-to-stop-treating-sea-shepherd-as-terrorists

Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2013. All Rights Reserved

Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2013. All Rights Reserved

 

 

 

 

Love the Country, Hate the People

“Love the country, hate the people.” I heard that thought first put into words by Sea Shepherd’s Captain Paul Watson and I’ve never forgotten it—no doubt because I’ve so often shared that sentiment myself.

Captain Watson was referring to coastal New Brunswick, Canada (where he grew up) and the type of people who club seals to death without a second thought. I have had the same kind of reaction many times over the years I’ve spent living in rural America, especially this time of year when camo-clad, orange-vested A-holes troll up and down the roads hoping some hapless deer or elk will step out of the lush, verdant forest and into their kill zone.

I had another kind of love-the-country, hate-the-people moment just yesterday during a walk with my wife and our dog on a dike that doubles as a narrow road bordering a river when a small, rattletrap freight truck pulled out of the driveway at a neighbor’s property. Unaware of the insidious, horrific evil the occupants of the vehicle had just been involved in, I raised my hand in friendly greeting (hoping they might stop so I could tell them their rig was leaking oil profusely).

Never again will I give someone driving by the benefit of the doubt. They waved back exaggeratedly and wore overstated smirks that bordered on malevolent. As it turns out, I’m glad they kept on going. When they passed by we noticed the cartoon drawings of a happy cow and pig and the name of their business, “Patriot Packing,” that were hand-painted on the back of the truck.

We knew instantly what kind of vehicle it was—a mobile slaughter service. Travelling abattoirs are an increasingly popular method among ruralites for killing the cows they supposedly took great care in raising. My wife then remembered she had heard cows bellowing (like they do when their young are taken away) and the sound of a power saw, but hadn’t put two and two together.

Touted as a more humane alternative to factory farming and conventional slaughterhouses, the down-home practice of “growing” your own cows is deceitful and in its own way horrendously cruel—especially when herd mates are forced to bear witness to such butchery right in front of them in their own pasture.

Though it’s an accepted part of country living for people to embrace or personally partake in the butchering of animals, it can hardly be called a “way of life;” it’s more a way of death—a culture based on killing.

Holocaust survivor and founder of Farm Animal Rights Movement (FARM), Alex Hershaft, made this recent fitting statement:

“I see a striking parallel between the deceptive bucolic images of pigs cavorting in green meadows on Farmer John’s murals and the cynical inscription ‘Work makes you free’ over the gate to Auschwitz.

“And, I do see a striking parallel in the mindsets of both sets of oppressors: their self-image as upstanding members of their communities, their abject objectification of their victims, their callous use of cattle cars for transport, their continuous refinement of killing line technology, their preoccupation with record keeping and cost-effectiveness, their eagerness to hide and masquerade their horrendous deeds.”

Author Farley Mowat, another selfless Canadian animal advocate in league with Captain Paul Watson, ultimately came around to the “love the country, hate the people” sentiment in A Whale for the Killing. The 1972 book is an autobiographical account of Mowat’s moving to Newfoundland because of his love for the land and the sea, only to find himself at odds with herring fishermen who made sport of shooting at an 80-ton fin whale trapped in a lagoon by the tide. Although he had started off thinking folks around there were a quaint and pleasant lot, he grew increasingly bitter over the attitudes of so many of the locals who, in turn, resented him for “interfering” by trying to save the stranded leviathan.

Mowat writes, “My journal notes reflect my sense of bewilderment and loss. ‘…they’re essentially good people. I know that, but what sickens me is their simple failure to resist the impulse of savagery…they seem to be just as capable of being utterly loathsome as the bastards from the cities with their high-powered rifles and telescopic sights and their mindless compulsion to slaughter everything alive, from squirrels to elephants…I admired them so much because I saw them as a natural people, living in at least some degree of harmony with the natural world. Now they seem nauseatingly anxious to renounce all that and throw themselves into the stinking quagmire of our society which has perverted everything natural within itself, and is now busy destroying everything natural outside itself. How can they be so bloody stupid? How could I have been so bloody stupid?’”

Farley Mowat ends the chapter with another line I can well relate to: “I had withdrawn my compassion from them…now I bestowed it all upon the whale.”

Chapter Titles

Here’s the Table of Contents for Exposing the Big Game?
Foreword by Captain Paul Watson

Introduction

Chapter 1) Hide-hunting Holocaust Survivors Still under Fire

Chapter 2) An Act of Bison Altruism

Chapter 3) War on Coyotes an Exercise in Futility and Cruelty

Chapter 4) Time to End a Twisted Tradition

Chapter 5) Avian Superstar Both Athlete and Egghead

Chapter 6) From the Brink of Oblivion and Back Again?

Chapter 7) A Day in the Sun for the Hayden Wolves

Chapter 8) Critical Cornerstone of a Crumbling Castle

Chapter 9) Bears Show More Restraint than Ursiphobic Elmers

Chapter 10) The Fall of Autumn’s Envoy

Chapter 11) Inside the Hunter’s Mind

Chapter 12) A Magical World of Oneness

Chapter 13) Living Targets of a Dying Sport

Chapter 14) A Few Words on Ethical Wildlife Photography

In Closing

Acknowledgements:

Looking back, this was not, at the outset, planned as a podium from which to lambaste anyone’s hobby or heritage, but was originally intended as a venue for relating some of the behaviors and capabilities I’d observed among animals living in the wild, and as a celebration of life along the compassion continuum. However, after delving deeper into the histories of the species covered here—thanks in part to the invaluable references listed below—I found it impossible to simply depict their natural activities without also chronicling the shocking stories of abuse they have suffered at the hands of man. It would have been doing the animals a disservice to merely record how they naturally lived without at least alluding to the far-reaching and pervasive ways that human actions have altered their lives and sometimes their very natures. And the facts are clear: there has been no greater direct human impact on wildlife than the ongoing threat of hunting. As with the other pertinent and profound quotes from a variety of enlightened sources, this one from Edward Abbey proficiently puts it in a nutshell, “It is not enough to understand the natural world. The point is to defend and preserve it.”

Hunting Perverts Kids’ Natural Affinity for Animals

In yesterday’s post I mentioned that the serial killer, Keith Hunter Jesperson, first got his taste for killing animals at the early age of six. I bring this up again because of the fact that our potential vice president-to-be intends for his 10 year-old daughter to get her first taste for killing deer this fall.

Candidate Paul Ryan said in a recent interview with the Safari Club International: “Lately, I’ve had the great pleasure of introducing my children to the hunt.  I have some two-seated ladder stands, so I take my kids with me for deer gun season (one at a time of course).  I also take my kids pheasant and duck hunting.”

Children are impressionable and easily influenced in their pre-teens. What kind of person wants his daughter to imprint on the killing, death and dismemberment of a creature as beautiful as a deer, duck or pheasant before she’s even old enough to date—let alone drive a car? And what kind of society encourages its children to learn to blast living beings out of existence? Are we trying to send a message to our youngsters that non-human life has no value and that an animal’s death is meaningless? Or are we purposefully trying to recruit more serial killers like Keith Hunter Jesperson, Jeffry Dahmer, Zodiak or Alaskan trophy hunter, Robert Hansen, who began their fledgling murder careers by killing animals?

The media has largely joked-off Paul Ryan’s plan to corrupt his little girl with killing, but when there are innocent lives at stake, it’s no laughing matter. In some cases it’s the hunting industry and their state game department puppets that are to blame for pushing kids into the killing fields earlier and earlier. Although no state issues a driver’s license to anyone less than 16 years old, most states don’t even have a minimum age for shooting at an animal with a gun.

In direct answer to the drop in sportsmen’s numbers over the years, meddlesome state game departments are encouraging grade-schoolers to get a taste for killing (thereby perverting their natural affinity for animals). For example, Alabama opens deer season two days early for children under the age of 16 (so they’ll have a better crack at “bagging” one), and Maine holds a “Youth Deer Day,” allowing pre-season bow hunting for children ages 10 to 16.

Farley Mowat, author of Never Cry Wolf and A Whale for the Killing, wrote the following about his indoctrination to hunting in his foreword to Captain Paul Watson’s Ocean Warrior:

“Almost all young children have a natural affinity for other animals, an attitude which seems to be endemic in young creatures of whatever species. I was no exception. As a child I fearlessly and happily consorted with frogs, snakes, chickens, squirrels and whatever else came my way.

“When I was a boy growing up on the Saskatchewan prairies, that feeling of affinity persisted—but it became perverted. Under my father’s tutelage I was taught to be a hunter; taught that “communion with nature” could be achieved over the barrel of a gun; taught that killing wild animals for sport establishes a mystic bond, “an ancient pact” between them and us.

“I learned first how to handle a BB gun, then a .22 rifle and finally a shotgun. With these I killed “vermin”—sparrows, gophers, crows and hawks. Having served that bloody apprenticeship, I began killing “game”—prairie chicken, ruffed grouse, and ducks. By the time I was fourteen, I had been fully indoctrinated with the sportsman’s view of wildlife as objects to be exploited for pleasure.

“Then I experienced a revelation.

“On a November day in 1935, my father and I were crouched in a muddy pit at the edge of a prairie slough, waiting for daybreak.

“The dawn, when it came at last, was grey and sombre. The sky lightened so imperceptibly that we could hardly detect the coming of the morning. We strained out eyes into swirling snow squalls. We flexed numb fingers in our shooting gloves.

“And then the dawn was pierced by the sonorous cries of seemingly endless flocks of geese that cam drifting, wraithlike, overhead. They were flying low that day. Snow Geese, startling white of breast, with jet-black wingtips, beat past while flocks of piebald wavies kept station at their flanks. An immense V of Canadas came close behind. As the rush of air through their great pinions sounded in our ears, we jumped up and fired. The sound of the shots seemed puny, and was lost at once in the immensity of wind and wings.

“One goose fell, appearing gigantic in the tenuous light as it spiralled sharply down. It struck the water a hundred yards from shore and I saw that it had only been winged. It swam off into the growing storm, its neck outstreched, calling…calling…calling after the fast-disappearing flock.

“Driving home to Saskatoon that night I felt a sick repugnance for what we had done, but what was of far greater import, I was experiencing a poignant but indefinable sense of loss. I felt, although I could not then have expressed it in words, as if I had glimpsed another and quite magical world—a world of oneness—and had been denied entry into it through my own stupidity.

“I never hunted for sport again.”

There is a 50-50 chance that an avid (and possibly rabid) bow hunter, who is taking “great pleasure” in perverting his young children’s natural affinity for animals, could become our next vice president. Let’s hope Mitt Romney doesn’t lend Ryan his magic underpants for the upcoming debate with Vice President Biden. Our family values are really at stake this time.

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson

Some People Simply Like to Kill Other Animals

In the title of an October 2nd post to his blog column in Psychology Today, University of Colorado evolutionary biology professor Marc Bekoff, PhD, asked, “Do Some People Simply Like to Kill Other Animals?”

The answer seems to me a foregone conclusion.

Bekoff writes, “Many know that Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, made a pledge in May 2011 only to eat meat he hunted so that he could be ‘thankful for the food I have to eat.’ Of course, it’s not obvious that he has to eat other animals… Surely, in the arena of who, not what, winds up in our mouth, Mr. Zuckerberg and others are not my moral compass. It’s always good to remember that a significant percentage of the food we eat was once sentient beings who cared deeply about what happened to them and to their friends and family. They should be referred to as “who” not “that” or “what.” So, when someone wants to talk about a meal it’s a matter of who’s for dinner, not what’s for dinner.”

His post included the subheading, “‘Ethical hunting’ raises numerous difficult and sticky issues,” about which Bekoff states, “I see no reason to kill other animals for a meal that isn’t needed. Every time I read an essay about “ethical hunting” it makes me reflect on a number of different and challenging issues. One that comes up time and time again is that maybe some people simply like to kill other animals and then offer a wide variety of excuses about their lust for blood (consider also the unrelenting war on wildlife including the wanton killing of wolves, the man who used a trapped wolf for target practice…)”

Sea Shepherd’s Captain Paul Watson backs up the assertion that some people enjoy killing other animals, “Behind all the chit-chat of conservation and tradition is the plain simple fact that trophy hunters like to kill living things.”

But no one makes the case as clearly as hunters themselves. One anonymous thrill-killer recently posted the following shocking admission to an animal advocacy site: “What i like to do as a hunter is go in the woods and kill everything possible and let my dogs chew on it. I once shot a deer and it layed in the creek and i had to shoot it again in the head while it was crying and it kicked me lol when i stuck my knife in its belly so my brother cut its throat it was soo funny. Me and my uncle was guttin one he told me to hold its head and when i did he pushed on its belly and made it bahh at me and scared the crap out of me haha. Hunting is awesome like when you see a herd of deer and just start firing right in the middle and then go and see how many different blood trails there are.”

Prairie dog hunting is a popular “sport” that can in no way be defended as “ethical” or necessary for subsistence (people don’t eat them). Private ranches offer “sportsmen” the chance to kill prairie dogs to their heart’s content—for a fee. The following is an ad for a typical prairie dog hunting excursion: “We approach the edge of a prairie dog town and set up and shoot for an hour or two or until the prairie dogs start getting scarce, then we pull up and drive over the hill and continue prairie dog hunting…after you get tired of the carnage, it‘s also fun to try shots over 1000 yards.”

Note that the ad uses the word “fun,” laying to rest any doubt that they enjoy the killing. So, why shouldn’t people be allowed to have their fun? Beyond the obvious answer that their animal victims are not enjoying this “sporting” behavior, society at large should discourage this kind of conduct for public safety reasons.

Keith Hunter Jesperson’s history of aggression toward animals began when he was only six. An avid hunter and part-time serial killer, Jesperson got his first taste of killing living beings by bashing in the heads of gophers. He discovered that he enjoyed it. Later, while living with his parents in a mobile home park in Washington State, he started killing larger animals. He would beat stray dogs and cats to death with a shovel, strangle them with his bare hands, or shoot them with his BB gun. His proud father bragged to others about how Keith had gotten rid of the stray cats and dogs in the trailer park.

“All this did is spawn in me the urge to kill again,” Jesperson told an interviewer. “I began to think of what it would be like to kill a human being. The thought stayed with me for years, until one night it happened. I killed a woman by beating her almost to death and finished her off by strangulation,” he said.

Keith Jesperson is by no means the first hunter to go on to become a serial killer of humans. As long as we enshrine hunting in books, magazines, cable TV shows and acts of Congress, there will always be people wanting to expand their species hit list to include our own.

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson