Yes, I know that deep at heart man is a hunter as well as food gatherer. Millions (or is it hundreds of thousands) of years ago cavemen speared mammoths for dinner. Dodos and other slow moving birds were wiped out due to their deliciousness and their slow-movingness. http://www.flickr.com/photos/ryanhadley/2346155661/
This I understand and in actual fact I am a meat eater myself. However, what I do detest is the killing of animals for the sheer joy of it – recreational shooting, I believe it’s called.
I just read a charming story about a young ex-cheerleader who shot an eleven foot alligator with a crossbow. There was no mention of her being hungry – this was just a fun night’s shooting http://www.zimbio.com/Cammie+Colin/articles/iUACrXahyAf/Ex+Cheerleader+Kills+11+Foot+Alligator+Crossbow
The fact that she was young and attractive certainly glamorized the story. I suspect that the alligator didn’t find any particular joy in having its life snuffed out by a beautiful woman. And why did she shoot it? Well, to mount its head on her wall of course! And to make ‘gator shoes.
The need to kill something so that its head or skull can be mounted on the wall is one of the most perverse things I can think of. Having visited Austria, I can attest to the fact that half the houses in the country have walls covered with the skulls of deer. How anyone could think that a deer’s skull mounted on the wall is more attractive than a deer, full of life, bounding through the woods, is beyond me. And yet, while I was driving through Leichtenstein some years ago, the driver pointed out a little deer grazing just outside of a forest at the side of the road. As I excitedly reached for my camera, he muttered, “I wish I had my rifle with me!”
Another house I stayed in had a photo gallery on the wall. This photo gallery was of the death of a bear. The shooter – a shooter in more ways than one – had documented the demise of a brown bear. The first shot was of a bear being woken from hibernation. The next shot showed the bear standing outside its lair looking rather confused. The next shot was of the hunter shooting him and the last one was of the hunter standing with his foot on the bear’s head. I felt sickened to the heart.
That same man used to travel regularly to Africa where he’d bagged elephants and anything else that wasn’t fast enough up a tree. The house bore testimony to his travels with an elephant foot umbrella stand at the front door. I find it amazing that he felt that a magestic elephant was better served as an umbrella stand than as a member of a herd of elephants roaming free.
Sadly, in Australia, the Shooters’ Party has gained such a strong political influence that they’ve threatened to block the passing of government legislation unless they’re given rights to hunt in National Parks. These reserves have been set aside to protect native animals and now it’s deemed acceptable to hunt in them!
Anyway, this whole topic came into public discussion recently when a hunter shot a deer, leaving an orphaned baby. There was a lot of public discussion about shooting and what to do with the orphaned offspring. If you’ve read my earlier blog about beheading baby joeys, then that’s exactly the government advice for any shot animal’s baby. Apparently, someone took over the care of the fawn and was bottle feeding it. A sarcastic letter to the newspaper mentioned that the only reason people were up in arms about the fawn was because it reminded them of Bambi. The writer’s argument was that deer are feral and hence was fair game – http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/opinion/oh-deer-why-all-this-fuss-about-a-pest-in-a-gunsight/story-e6frezz0-1225851553385
Feral! Now that’s the word hunters adore. If something is deemed ‘feral’ then it deserves to be shot. So what exactly is ‘feral’? Well, according to my dictionary, it is something living in a wild or untamed state. However, hunters argue that if something is feral it is dangerous and a threat to land and other domesticated animals. Hence the justification for killing feral pigs. Feral pigs are such annoying animals that hunters go to shoot them, not only heavily armed but with a troop of dangerous dogs as their bodyguards.
Well, nothing is going to stop a shooter from killing I suppose. But then, I have read and heard tell that there is something that does stop shooters. I have heard several people say that they shot an animal and they were so disturbed by watching it in its death throes that they vowed never to kill another creature. I know one that immediately turned vegetarian.
Also see http://www.news.com.au/breaking-news/national/boy-shot-in-hunting-accident-at-garrawilla-state-forest/story-e6frfku9-1225858377101 Shooting can be dangerous for the shooting party too.
Boo to Blacktown Council and Cheers to the Greens
Last week I and many residents of Glenwood, Sydney, were very disturbed when Blacktown Council began the destruction by stealth of one of the last remaining clusters of critically endangered Cumberland Plain Woodland to make way for sports fields. The Greens brought this to everyone’s attention and sought the intervention of Frank Sartor, Minister for Climate Change and the Environment. A temporary halt was brought about and the council had a special meeting to discuss the issue which resulted in a majority vote to continue the destruction of the trees. Why, when there are already two football fields in the Glenwood Reserve, do they need a third one, at the expense of these rare trees? And furthermore, why does the Blacktown Council website profess that the council is anxious to protect the remaining Cumberland Plain Woodland when at the drop of a hat it puts commercial interests first?