For over half a century the Nazi swastika—that all too familiar symbol of hate—has been relegated to the dark corners of extremism, never to be openly displayed on a flag or uniform again. The Nazi credo was perhaps as confusing as it was complex, but generally, it was the definitive case of one group vilifying and scapegoating another.
Today, a similar type of blind hatred rules in areas where exploitive or extractive animal industries are considered a way of life. One can hardly drive a mile in parts of rural America without seeing emblems of extremism in the form of hateful bumper stickers touting selfish anti-wolf slogans like, “Smoke a Pack a Day” or, in areas where wolves are still extinct, “Did the coyotes get your deer?” Another popular hate-symbol adorning the back of all too many rural pickup trucks is simply a silhouette of a wolf inside a red circle with a slash through it.
In certain towns along the Pacific Northwest coast, where commercial fishing is a dying “way of life” (because dams and overfishing had nearly wiped out the salmon), the trendy stickers of ignorance and intolerance feature a sea lion with a fish inside a red circle and slash. The message is clear, sea lions can starve and die off, the humans have claimed the fish for themselves.
And although sea lions are indeed starving and dying off, it isn’t happening fast enough for some small minded, self-serving fishermen who shoot them, in defiance of the Marine Mammal Protection Act, just as the wolves in the tri-state and Great Lakes regions become victims of those who claim all land animals as “resources” and can’t stand the competition from those natural predators. Blatant Nazism may be a thing of the past, but speciesist extremism is alive and well all across America.