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.”


10 thoughts on “Love the Country, Hate the People

  1. Very timely post. Just yesterday, as my husband and I happily drove down our road with our little boy, on our way to a pumpkin patch, I was horrified to see the blood-drenched body of our neighbors’ beautiful Duroc pig swinging from a mobile crane. His violent near-decapitation had created an ocean of red, and they were beginning the process of hacking him into bits. Of course my son saw (as did the younger pig, who witnessed all, and presumably is next), and I told him that these were NOT nice people, that they CHOSE to do this (did not have to), and that our own pigs (we have seven) were very lucky to have a family who loved them and would take good care of them forever. (Our most wonderful pig — who is truly a dog in pig’s clothing — was rescued from a heartless 4-Her last year). Of course, these neighbors SURELY think they are “ethically” raising “sustainable”, “organic”, “humane” pork, and are simply wonderful human beings for not purchasing factory-farmed, drug-laced pork. Of course, they ruined my family’s entire day (not to mention the pig’s), but would surely say it is WE who need to understand “reality” and “connect with our food” (and no, I do not eat meat). The bottom line is that just because something may be slightly less horrific than a greater wrong does NOT make it right. Is this better than eating factory farmed animals, killed in a mechanical slaughterhouse? I suppose — but it is still a HORRID (and unnecessary) thing to do. .

    • It sounds like it was good timing for this post for you! I’m so sorry you and your family–and the young pig– had to witness that!! I agree completely with your bottom line. People are so used to voting for the lesser of two evils that they forget there’s a right and wrong.

  2. Jim, thank you for articulating this so beautifully and truthfully. I’ve spent a lot of time in wild places and rural settings, and I find myself becoming increasingly despondent about these very things you describe. I haven’t fully recovered psychically from last hunting season, and I find myself tied up in knots when see the machinery and the mechanism behind the slaughter and the hunt. It makes me want to sequester myself in the city, even though I’ve never been the type to shield my eyes. Your wife mentioning the bellowing of the cows hit me so hard. It’s always the sounds that haunt me, perhaps even more than the visuals, because there’s no denying distress in the voice of a kindred soul.

    • I guess in that one way I should count myself lucky. My tinnitus has gotten so bad that I couldn’t hear the cows she heard. On the other hand, I don’t hear a lot of the birds she hears, including flocks of migratory geese (like the snow geese and dusky Canada geese we saw today), unless they pass right overhead. We were both hit hard by the realization of what had gone on there; not as hard as if we had seen the scene Annamarie and her family witnessed at least, but the knowledge of what goes on is still devastating.

  3. dear, i did not read all of your text. too log. sorry. stuff to do FOR ANIMALS. but – one sentence – (1) make it short, 1-2 paragraphs, then people read (2) LOVE animals – LOVE human animals too. they are like dogs. a little more clever than dogs, good for you then, you can teach them tricks. they are killing other animals because they are dumb and ignorant. teach them. with patience and kindness. some of them will learn. God bless you – Bhagavn Vedant Das – www kind500m dot org

  4. “…tales on man and nature…”

    On Trophy Hunting…
    some years ago – it was in mid 90’s – I was on my way back to Germany after a holiday on Vancouver Island. In the same plane there was a group of german hunters after their week of “hunnting”. I had already spotted them in the check-in area and decided to follow them and to have a closer look and listening.
    The first thing I remarked was their similarity with each other, they had something in common, their age, how they were dressed of course, the way they moved – I always call it: “a weee weak on their hind”, maybe coming from prostate problems-, a certain way to express themselves when talking about their adventures, and beyond this, a certain expression in their eyes…it was a form of a feverish sickness that I noticed, as if you could see and feel the blood and the misery they had witnessed, the denial of accepting natures beauty without interfering, and the sickly mind to possess its elements.
    They all seemed to be unable to devote themselves to a close-to-nature life, mostly by lack of their personal and physical preconditions. By their way of talking you could gain impression that the affairs during their past days were only of importance for them, when sharing them with their companions or other listeners of passion and admirance.
    Boasting themselves to how remote spots they were, brought to by their hunting guides: “I was where, there was no human soul before…”, the difficulties they had had to overcome to spot their victim, to bring it down and to bring it back to the lodge.
    Again and again they repeated their choice and quality of weapon, the caliber, type and advantage of bullet,
    … and the last moments of the animals, how they reacted when they were hit by a force far from any understanding and causing them to leave their world forever…
    …the very same time they could not put stress enough on pointing out how great and singular the trophy was, and it seemed to me as if there remained some kind of an unspoken suffering from an everlasting obsession, caused by the fact, that whatever they would have killed, they did not gain what their innermost soul had been after,…..
    …, my small decent soul could not participate their altitude flights, I had spent a sunny golden autumn day on Gold River with fishing for salmon, and following bear paths along the bank, I was confronted by a black bear about a hundred yards away.
    When my friend and guide came back with his dog, we approached the bear to take some photos. The bear was rather concerned with turning stones and thus remarked us only when we were less than 50 yards away, throw up and headed on the bank for some ten yards, hiding himself behind some willows.
    As we passed, he sat down, covering his face and eyes with his foreleg and paws — just like the childs game: “if I don’t see you, you won’t see me”
    …and I felt the same strange closeness to him, this very moment…as I did now on my flight back…

    ©Autor: Kurt Becker: “tales on man and nature”

    • And to think those hunters would have felt justified in blasting that same bear and call it a “trophy.” You wrote, “it seemed to me as if there remained some kind of an unspoken suffering from an everlasting obsession, caused by the fact, that whatever they would have killed, they did not gain what their innermost soul had been after,…” It’s said that similarly obsessed serial killers are left unsatisfied after their murders which can never live up to thier fantasies. They (both the sport hunters and serial killers) should all go fantasize themselves and leave the innocent, unwilling victims out of it!

      • exactly that’s what I think, they might kill humans as well if there was no social barrier to prevent it..I felt very uncomfortable watching and listening to them. I believe there is a deep split dividing human species…and try to understand if it can be right that some have all the rights to kill what others like…

  5. Pingback: Montana: Love the Place, Hate the Politicians | Exposing the Big Game

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s