Animals have feelings, tooThe New York Times last week ran a story about a new trend: urbanites called to the wild by the urge to hunt and destroy deer, boar and other so-called wild game.
By: Bonnie Erbe, The Dickinson Press
The New York Times last week ran a story about a new trend: urbanites called to the wild by the urge to hunt and destroy deer, boar and other so-called wild game.
This story is typical of the way mainstream media completely ignore the fact that animals are living, breathing creatures, not created just so man can shoot them for sport, yank their heads off and eat them, or do many of the other horrific things men and women routinely does to animals just because they can.
I see similar stories on the Internet, in newspapers, on TV and so on. Each time I ask myself how long it will take before we realize the hell we have created for animals and begin to develop some compassion.
Before you start tossing rotten tomatoes, I recognize those of us who feel similarly are a small, but growing chorus. We’re in the minority, for sure, but hope some day to reach majority status, as more and more young Americans see the light of animal compassion.
The Times story is emblematic of a typical media account. It is devoid of concern for the animals being massacred. Its viewpoint is that of a person acting as if there’s nothing wrong or disturbed about using animals as cannon fodder or as targets for man to vent his violent tendencies.
It notes, “Novice urban hunters are forming classes and clubs to learn skills that a few generations ago were often passed down from parent to child. Jackson Landers, an insurance broker by day, teaches a course here called Deer Hunting for Locavores...He tailored his course to food-obsessed city people with lessons on deer biology, habitat and anatomy, and rounded out his students’ education with field trips to a firing range to practice shooting and a session on butchery and cooking. One of the last lessons covered field dressing a freshly killed deer. As the students gathered around, Mr. Landers produced a hunting knife and explained its gut-hook feature, which promised to open the deer ‘like a zipper.’”
The article also sports a picture of a guy with a high-powered rifle (as opposed to a spear or bow and arrow) over his shoulder and a dead deer at his feet.
Most people would not be repulsed by the picture or the text, I understand. But imagine instead that the article described a man opening up a dead human being, or even a dog “like a zipper.” There are and have been cultures where either would have been acceptable. And yet in American culture, neither is. Why and how we love our cats and dogs as members of the family, yet gleefully carve up our deer, cows, turkeys and you-name-it as if one had nothing to do with the other?
As a practical matter I understand that Americans have twisted their perceptions to allow the consumption of animals who are unfortunately designated as food, while preserving, even cherishing (for the most part) animals seen as pets. I get it on a practical level, but I still don’t understand it on an emotional level. If you want to understand the thinking of those of us who eschew the slaughtering and consumption of so-called food animals, simply substitute the word “man” for the word “deer” and so on.
Another example of those who don’t “get it” as far as animal cruelty in mainstream media are concerned, can be seen in the recent video of Sarah Palin being interviewed at a turkey processing plant as two poor birds have their heads yanked off in the background.
I could not watch the video all the way through. I kept focusing on the pool of blood underneath the machine that severs the head from the bird as the bird struggles. Sarah Palin wears her insensitivity like a crown, killing game in front of cameras and supporting legislation to allow wolf hunting by helicopter.
Some day we’ll all come to recognize cruelty in all forms. We’ve already come a long, long way. But we still have a long way to go.
— Erbe is a TV host and writes this
column for Scripps Howard News Service.
E-mail her at bonnieerbe@CompuServe.com.