THERIOPHOBIA

First Light Productions

“Ever since man first began to wonder about wolves…he has made regular business of killing them. At first glance the reasons are simple enough and justifiable…. But the wolf is fundamentally different because the history of killing wolves showed far less restraint and far more perversity. Killing wolves has to do with fear based on superstitions. It has to do with duty. It has to do with proving manhood. The most visible motive, and the one that best explains the excess of killing, is a type of fear: theriophobia. Fear of the beast. Fear of the beast as an irrational, violent, insatiable creature.

“The wolf was not the cattlemen’s only problem—there was weather, disease, rustling, fluctuating beef prices, hazards of trail drives…. [But] the wolf…became an ‘object of pathological hatred.’ Men in a speculative business like cattle ranching singled out the wolf as a kind of scapegoat for their financial…

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