PHOTO COURTESY OF BING IMAGES
“We fail to label the unnecessary killing of animals as gun violence, and instead we euphemize and romanticize it as ‘sportsmanship.’” ~ Jay Shooster, Huffington Post
Shooster, an animal and human rights advocate, continues on the blog: “But hunting is gun violence. “A bullet ripping through flesh, puncturing arteries, taking a life is violence to matter the victim’s species”.
Killers enjoy killing repeatedly and are enabled by citizen inaction. The suffering is unimaginable. It is baffling why people do not care enough to stop it when our pets have taught us the loving, curious, loyal and healing nature of our brothers and sisters in our animal fraternity.
There has been a lot of concern about lead poisoning of Flint, Michigan, residents. Lead affects wildlife too. Lead shot kills over a million songbirds annually, just in Wisconsin, according to Madison Audubon testimony at a Conservation Congress election. Hunters in Wisconsin have consistently voted to keep using and spraying lead shot all over this state. Marge Gibson’s raptor center in Antigo regularly takes in lead-poisoned eagles and other birds dying a terribly painful death from lead poisoning.
Senate Bill 405 is due for a vote in the Senate following House passage of its evil twin, H.R. 2406. If S.405 passes, it will corrupt millions of acres of public land protected from the ways of men the past 50 years, subjecting those lands to hunting, trapping, roads and shooting ranges. This will displace hiking, quiet reflection, and the spiritual healing effects of nature and wildlife. And S.405 specifically bans the EPA from regulating lead shot.
We continue to accelerate in the wrong direction.
Jeremy Rifkin, who wrote “Beyond Beef, The Rise and Fall of the Cattle Culture” in 1993, referenced the unparalleled planetary damage of animal agriculture that is currently exposed in the documentary “Cowspiracy.” In 2010, Rifkin wrote “The Empathic Civilization,” upon which a 10-minute film is based. Rifkin claims that evolutionary biology reveals that humans are not naturally aggressive, violent, self-interested and utilitarian. Humans supposedly are soft-wired for empathy, affection, cooperation and a desire to belong. He says, “Empathy is grounded in a celebration of life and recognition of death.” He believes that we are at an evolutionary moment of truth and rapid change, widening the circle of compassion to solidarity with fellow species and the planet as cherished community.
One sees little love or respect for other animals even in the “progressive” presidential politics of this country. Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama all continue to pander to hunters by assuring they will not negative affect the supposed “culture” of hunting, even as they debate inaction on gun violence.
Trapping is ignored by politicians altogether. View the attempted rescue of this young fox caught in a foothold trap. Most foxes do not live to their first birthday. Steel-jaw traps have been banned in Britain 1959, but are still legal in the United States.
Perhaps we are not the chosen species or the one species made in the image of God. Perhaps all these expendable, inconvenient beings, this cannon fodder, are all God’s creatures that weave the world together in a safety net.
Perhaps the security of the ostrich is no security at all.
E.O. Wilson, Pulitzer prize-winning biologist, proposes protecting half of the earth and giving it back to the other 99.9999 percent of species. It seems less than fair that one species (us, of course) dominates half. His proposal is a necessary beginning if we are to attempt to curtail what he describes as a “biological holocaust.” It is not wolves or bears or bees or butterflies that are making deadly decisions to continue using fossil fuels, destroy the climate, vacuum the oceans, lavishly layer poisons on crops, kill and trap wildlife for fun and money, and destroy water systems with animal agriculture. Yet animals bear the early brunt of it all.
Our turn is on the fast track.
The Rewilding Institute echoes Wilson’s call to curb this human-caused holocaust. Their mission statement: “To develop and promote the ideas and strategies to advance continental-scale conservation in North America, particularly the need for large carnivores and a permeable landscape for their movement, and to offer a bold, scientifically credible, practically achievable, and hopeful vision for the future of wild nature and human civilization in North America.”
According to a 2015 poll, “A majority of Americans, 56%, opposes hunting animals for sport, and most Americans, 86%, consider big game hunting to be especially distasteful. … 62% say the practice (trophy-hunting) is wrong and should be legally banned, including 34% of hunters.”
We should demand more of our so-called progressive candidates in recognizing the causal relationship of hunting and habitat destruction (including all that lead shot) as the two major factors in having destroyed 52 percent of wildlife in the entire world as of 2010. We are warned that we are at tipping points. Extinction is not linear at a predictable rate but exponential with sudden collapses. Our best hope is organizing and educating other citizens, plus Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, that it is important to stand up against hunting and trapping.
Recognizing the suffering of the other is maturity that comes with our own experience of how fragile life is. Ending violence against innocent wildlife will go a long way toward ending violence against people. Killing other animals is an injustice that has to be ended now.
You can find your senators to call and write to oppose S. 405 here.