Good Questions

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On Facebook this morning a friend had posted a photo of a cruelly confined pig at a factory farm desperatly chewing on the bars of her cage. A caption read, “If your God had wanted us to eat animals, do you really think he would have given them the ability to feel pain and fear? What kind of sadistic individual would that make him?!”

Good questions. Taking it a step further, I have to wonder…if god had wanted us to eat animals, do you really think he would have given us the ability to feel their pain and fear?!

Unfortunately, empathy and compassion are not doled out equally to all.

Some people feel them so strongly it literally pains us to hear about the brutalities inflicted on nonhumans by their fellow man. The sadness is outweighed only by the understanding that many of the animal cruelties are so widespread and so accepted by society it will require nothing short of a major revolution in thinking to put an end to them. For those of us so well-endowed with empathy and compassion, every KFC, Arby’s or McDonalds commercial, every shiny photo ad for this weeks’ meat and dairy specials at the local market, every camo-clad nimrod in a pickup truck sporting an NRA bumper sticker inspires feelings of grief, anguish or anger.

There are those, Temple Grandin, for instance, may be able to feel empathy but apparently not compassion. Her autism allegedly allows her to experience the fear and anxiety factory farmed animals go through, yet her lack of compassion allows her to work for the animal industries, helping to spread the absurd, feel-good myth that some animals are “humanely” raised (and slaughtered), thereby giving consumers a license to ignore any twinges of empathy or compassion they might have.

And there are many who are completely incapable of feeling empathy for others. They’re the lucky ones—if hollowness, selfishness and superficiality are to be considered enviable traits.

The Dreaded Day is Upon Us

I awoke this morning to the sound of angry gunfire. Not just the occasional, distant pop, pop but a constant blam, blam, blam symptomatic of wartime—or of people shooting blindly into a whole flock or herd of fleeing animals. I knew it was almost “general deer season,” but this sounded more like the kind of mindless blasting that goes on during goose and duck season in the winter months around here. So I checked the Washington “game” regulations and sure enough, an all-out “incredible war on wildlife” (as Cleveland Amory put it) had begun!

Not only is Oct. 13th (fittingly) the opening day of deer season, it’s also an early opener on ducks and geese today as well. From now until the end of November, no deer, elk, goose, duck or bear is safe from human harm. Meanwhile, species like cougar, bobcat, fox or raccoon will be under the gun until mid-March. And coyotes, crows and other “common” animals can be killed year-round in this supposedly blue state. The only beings not on the list of allowable targets are six endangered species (who of course were driven to the edge of extinction by overhunting decades ago).

I knew this dreaded day was coming; I just hoped it wouldn’t get here this soon. On the bright side, this is also the first day of a long streak of steady fall rain storms which should make for some rusty guns, water-logged campsites and miserably wet nimrods.

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson

Celebrate National Anti-Hunting Day

Forget Watergate, the worst crime committed by President Nixon was his proclamation commemorating the first annual National Hunting and Fishing Day in 1972. Since then all the successive presidents have dutifully followed suit, including Barack Obama, who has declared September 22, 2012, yet another National Hunting and Fishing Day (despite a steady slide in hunter participation since the ‘70s and a Change.org petition urging the President to end the misguided tradition).

In the spirit of fairness and equality, I, as the self-appointed dis-honorary president of the Cleveland Amory Memorial Hunt the Hunters Hunt Club, by virtue of the authority vested in me (by myself and I), hereby declare September 23rd, 2012, to be the first annual National Anti-Hunting and Fishing Day.

To commemorate this sacred occasion, a family-oriented affair will offer fun and educational hands-on activities that every non-hunter can enjoy. It will be a great way to introduce young people and newcomers to the pursuit of anti-hunting, while teaching them about the important role that anti-hunting plays in true wildlife protection.

A lively outdoor festival (held on an anti-hunting compound at an undisclosed location) will feature such activities as a “trap-shoot” (or, if you don’t have a gun, a trap-smash-with-a-heavy-object) event, and time trials to see who can dismantle duck blinds, tree stands and bait stations the fastest.

If you happen to have any old Ted Nugent albums or CDs that you bought before knowing what a rabid, frothing bowhunter he would turn out to be, bring them, along with a shotgun and we’ll use them in lieu of clay pigeons for a traditional skeet shoot.

Sign up for workshops on how to identify plain-clothed hunters during the off-season, and how to avoid them. You can also learn the best method to secure a freshly harvested trophy hunter to the hood or roof of your car, along with the fine art of flagrantly flaunting your hunter harvest for the benefit of your favorably-impressed fellow anti-sportsman or anti-sportswoman.

There will be fishing pole and arrow-breaking contests and a Tarzan movie marathon (sponsored by the NBRA*) where you’ll witness Tarzan-tested techniques for bending poachers’ and trophy hunters’ rifles around trees (*naturally, NBRA stands for the National Bent Rifle Association). And vegan body-builders will be on hand throughout the day to demonstrate their prowess at tearing Cabela’s catalogs in half.

Kids, be sure to bring your pink and purple paints for the color-over-the-camouflage-clothing contest. Other festivities for the young and young at heart include: pin the arrow on the bowhunter, throwing pies at the cammo-clad clown and the ever-popular bashing the life-sized, orange-vested nimrod piñata.