Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2014. All Rights Reserved
Living in Earth’s out-of-the-way places, surrounded by prime wildlife habitat (as I’ve always chosen to do), an advocate must eventually make a choice—either stand with your wildlife friends, or join in the “fun” (made increasingly more popular by repulsive “reality” shows like Duck Dynasty and so many evil others) and go around shooting everything you see.
I made my choice long ago and decided the only way to live in such a wildlife-war-torn area is to have as little to do with the people as possible. To quote Sea Shepherd’s Captain Paul Watson, referring to his native land, coastal New Brunswick, Canada (where clubbing baby seals is the local pastime), “Love the country, hate the people.”
Author Farley Mowat, another selfless Canadian animal advocate in league with Captain Watson, ultimately came around to that same 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 wrote, “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Farley Mowat ends the chapter with another line I can well relate to: “I had withdrawn my compassion from them…now I bestowed it all upon the whale.”
Having recently finished reading, Give a Boy a Gun, by Jack Olsen (author of the pro-coyote/anti-trapping book, Slaughter the Animals, Poison the Earth—an appropriate addition to his numerous other true-crime works), I’m still puzzled by that book’s similar underlying question: How could so many people be so stupid as to think so highly of Claude Dallas Jr., a killer whose crimes included poaching, trapping out of season and the shooting of two Idaho Department of Fish and Game agents? Apparently the majority of people in cattle country there think nothing of the prolonged suffering of a bobcat, coyote or trappers’ other non-human victims, and accept people at the shallowest of face-value (except game wardens out to uphold the few laws animals have on their side).
In civilized society we’ve been brought up not to hate other people. Tolerance is the buzz word and that’s supposed to go for everyone, even if they choose to kill the animals you care about. It’s not like animals are people, right? Well, that’s debatable; besides, there’s only so much tolerance to go around. I love the wilderness and the wild things who live there. But can you really love something, without at the same time, hating those who threaten its very existence?
Every morning I’m reminded how much I hate the local duck and goose hunters, for example. At first light this time of year, before I can even think about how much I love living where flocks of migratory geese spend the winter, the sound of shotgun fire rings out to remind me of those whom I hate—the ones who make sport of killing creatures more noble, magnanimous and intelligent than they could ever hope to be.
If it’s not okay to hate the people who kill your friends for sport, who can you hate? And don’t think for a second that hunters, no matter how the schmooze, don’t hate you or anyone who might be out to spoil their fun by trying to ban contest hunts, or otherwise exposing their sadism.
Idaho’s ongoing Predator Hunting Contest and Fur Rendezvous, organized by a group ironically calling itself “Idaho for Wildlife” (more appropriate names would either be, Idaho against Wildlife, or Extremist Idahoans for the Destruction of Wildlife) claims as part of their second mission, “To fight against all legal and legislative attempts by the animal rights and anti-gun organizations who are attempting to take away our rights and freedoms under the constitution of the United States of America.” Apparently somebody is confusing the Second Amendment with the right to kill non-human animals for sport.
Now, you may have grown up to songs with lyrics like, “Come on people now, smile on your brother, everybody get together, try to love one another right now,” or just heard phrases like, “feel the love,” “love thy neighbor” “blah, blah, blah.” Bullshit! If your neighbor is out mowing down coyotes or wolves for fun or cash prizes—or blasting into flocks of geese for sport—they need to know how deeply you hate them.
But hate is such a negative emotion; it’s not good for your chakras, or whatever they say. Well, sometimes the animals need our outrage, our lividness, our hate. It’s a war, after all, and the other side is winning, partly because we resist the urge to embrace our hatred. How can you fight a war and not feel hate for your enemy?
Yet it shouldn’t be seen as desperate words coming from some lone, animal-loving whacko. As long as the laws are on their side and they think society shares their view of animals as objects, they’ll be encouraged to keep up the killing.
In other words, “Come on people now…Everybody get together, try to hate coyote hunters right now. Right now. Right Now!