“In my book, a pioneer is a man who comes to a virgin country, traps off all the fur[bearers], kills off all the wild[life]… cuts down all the trees, grazes off all the grass, plows the roots up, and strings ten million miles of bobwire. A pioneer destroys things and calls it civilization. I wish to God that this country was just like it was when I first saw it, and that none of you folks were here at all!”
That lament for a better time gone by was from Nineteenth-century Montana painter Charles M. Russell. Some may say he sounded a bit like an isolationist, but when you know how wonderful the world can be you start to resent people despoiling it.
Likewise, one of my readers accused me of being an island in my narrow scope of how the world could or should be. But I know I’m not alone on this rock.
Many people that care deeply about animals feel cut off from their fellow humans who, whether through ignorance or lack of conscience, freely exploit the animal kingdom at every opportunity and by every means imaginable. Yet we can find solace in the knowledge that we are not the only ones out there fighting battles or “putting out brushfires.”
We may never outnumber the animal abusers, but maybe we’ll get lucky and they’ll move on to pioneer some other planet in the solar system and leave the Earth to those of us who really care about it.