Tuesday, June 17, 2014

"But You Kill For Fun!" - A Quick Foray Down The Anti-Hunting Trollway

Source: Unknown (contact me!)
I am trying increasingly to not engage in the type of online tomfoolery whereby someone says something dumb, and I can't help myself but to reply.  Describes a lot of us a lot of the time (on both counts I'm guilty).   Recently I was informed by a TV Producer (a former classmate) that because I hunt, I "enjoy killing animals."  The accusation was laced with a PETA graphic, and this classmate wasn't ecstatic when I reminded them (as a pet owner) that PETA leadership believes that pet ownership equals human slavery, or that PETA employees have been caught (and convicted) of riding around, illegally euthanizing animals and throwing them in trash bags to be tossed in a dumpster.   Yeah, in retrospect, I guess that ended the conversation for all intents and purposes, save for a final salvo of, "Yeah, well you enjoy killing animals."

The internet has brought us many things.  Yes, it has brought us memes from PETA stating that "all animals have the same parts" and "it's not a sport if one party doesn't know the game is being played."  Usually with a big-eyed furry animal in the background, eating peacefully (eating peacefully, by the way, your food, which will now increase in price because the deer are eating it).  And of course, there are all of the PETA ads with naked young women. Advancing gender equality soooo hard, you guys.  More recently and relevantly, the internet has brought us nearly unbelievable news of the Humane Society of the United States, federally convicted under the mafia RICO statute and fined $15 million for paying a witness to lie in a federal court case!  You can't make this up, and you don't have to - there it is! 

But the internet's brought us more important things, like, say, our collective knowledge, being brought out of the dark ages.   When you hold that phone, nearly the entire breadth of human knowledge is at your fingertips.  Consider that.  Especially if you like to say dumb stuff!   It's now easy to research some basic things about human beings.   Notably (to be fair), 1) we are not built (biologically) to eat a diet heavy in fatty, processed animal products; but also 2) we are definitely built to eat a wide variety of animal products, mostly lean and fresh, and in small portions, but frequently.  Facts like these provide subtle nuance that the internet troll, be they pro-hunting or anti-hunting, simply cannot handle.  Can't process.  What's wrong with nuance?  What's wrong with being mostly right?  Here's the problem:  if your belief system is based in absolutes, rooted in concepts you don't really understand (i.e. urban deer population dynamics relative to patch and edge prevalence), nuance and detail will knock you off your perch.  And nobody enjoys that.  But we should.  We should embrace it. The troll fears it.

Source: CBS News

When it comes to deer, the fact is, if you live in the Mid-Atlantic on property developed after around 1900, and if you travel on roads or rails developed after that time, your daily footprint has contributed to the overpopulation of deer, which absolutely means that your footprint has contributed to the need to lethally reduce the population of deer in this region.   The region's subsistence hunting through WWII, and vast network of forests prior to 1650, simply did not add up to great population numbers for deer.  Folks may find the reality distasteful and sad, and I would never begrudge them that.  But it's reality.   What's the best way to lethally reduce the deer population (remember, the internet gives us good science and economics on the unsustainability of non-lethal controls in non-island environments)?  The fact is, I don't know how to best reduce the deer population.  I'm a wildlife biologist and I don't know, because I don't know of terribly many locations where the effort has been successful.  

But there's more direct killing for which the standard-bearer anti-hunter is responsible.  This particular troll excitedly claimed to "trying to be" a vegan.   Again, as someone who understands the importance of lessening one's impact on the earth, I understand that it's not "all or nothing."  But you know what is "all or nothing?"  Veganism - especially the brand of veganism that makes moral judgments on others' use of animal products (the flavor of veganism assumedly espoused by my anti-hunting troll).  

"Animal welfare is so important to me.  Hey guys, it's 25 cent
wings for the next hour! You want 2 more orders?" 
In that sort of veganism, you use animal products or you do not.  You purchase leather or you do not.   You certainly don't personally profit off of animals, by working in a "wing shack" or a "crab shack" with a tipping system that increases as the total bill (and meat consumption) increases.   I think I could effectively argue that someone who chooses such a job (when other legal jobs are available, however distasteful, for the same pay) is someone who enjoys killing animals.  After all, they are happy to take home their paycheck, and after all, those chickens ain't giving up their wings voluntarily.   So, obviously we're talking about someone who enjoys the suffering of chickens.   Are any animal-part using, anti-hunters willing to state for the record that chickens have a "fair chance" against the chicken de-winging machine?  How "sporting" is a chicken house?  And biologically, how different is a domestic chicken from a wild chukar?

Hello?  Anybody.  Didn't think so. 

But let's circle third base and return home.   I don't enjoy killing.  To assume so would be to dangerously underestimate me and exactly how well developed and well considered my ethics, morals, and standards truly are.  Prime among them are my ability to listen and to learn, as well as a desire to be a better human being, a better example for my son, and a better steward of this planet and our wildlife resources.  I'd never claim to know everything.  I'd never claim that "you can never be right because I cannot be wrong."  Yet, I find myself at the wrong end of that kind of claim routinely with anti-hunters. I must be 100.00% wrong, because if their viewpoint isn't 100.00% correct, their worldview would be shattered. 

  I wanted this troll to tell me more about their notion of "sport" (from the initial concept of "hunting isn't a sport").   We never got to it, because a few comments later, they claimed that hunting wasn't necessary because it's a sport.  I didn't get a response when I pointed that out, either - how can hunting be a sport, but simultaneously not a sport?   Again, when someone has an absolute viewpoint, anything can be logical because any absolute belief flows from one point and no other.  Lines of logic need not be parallel, or intersect for that matter.   But unlike beliefs, truth flows to and from all points, across time and space.  It's not a straight line.  And it can change. 

If I don't kill because I enjoy it, then why?  I kill because it is the action that connects a successful hunting or fishing trip with sustenance that reaches my body.  It is good, fresh, and natural food not unlike what my ancestors ate for thousands of years in northern and eastern Europe.  Long before factory farms gave us hamburger filler and pink slime nuggets.  Long before commercial vegetable farms had to hire hunters to keep the deer off of the cruelty-free organic produce meant for vegans up and down the I-95 corridor.    

I kill - in very small part - because I know that to enjoy animal products without killing does not in any way free me morally from the treatment, lives, and deaths of those captive animals.   I kill because I understand that the nature of this world is that everything that lives will die - and not pleasantly, of old age.  I am part of that natural system, and though others may run from it, they cannot escape it, nor truly atone for it, for it's within them.  I don't enjoy killing food.  But I will kill it. And we will eat.  

Feel free to join us - we have black bean burgers too.  Red potatoes will be ripe in a month - plan your visit now! 


Ian Nance said...

They are tough to deal with because their "logic" is so convoluted...great post!

Ian Nance said...

They are tough to deal with because their "logic" is so convoluted...great post!

Kirk River Mud said...

Oh, not to worry, they blocked me from their social media pages after I said something "bloodthirsty" like, "We're all trying to do our part for the environment. We all love animals. This doesn't have to be a right vs. wrong conversation."

Such vile accusations apparently were too much to deal with, ha ha.