Skip to content

On Hunting and Veeps

Yesterday, Charlotte asked whether Michelle Obama is a spokesperson for vivisection.

And Patty asked: "Is there a measureable difference between those that hunt nonhuman animals and those that pay others to breed, torture, and kill nonhumans and wrap chunks of their flesh in cellophane?"

As vice president of the University of Chicago Medical Center, that might make Michelle Obama a spokesperson. Apparently she has scaled back and in this interview she says, regarding maintaining an independent career as a First Lady, "“Absolutely not. I don’t think that’s possible or realistic or desirable. Everything I do on my job would pose some huge conflict.”

She eats meat, wears leather and her husband’s platform includes expanding access for hunters, so I think any way you look at it, Team Obama isn’t all that animal friendly.

And of course, neither is the other camp.

As for Patty’s great question, here are my thoughts . . .

I do think that there is a difference between hunting and paying others to kill, process and package for you. Simply put, I’d never hunt. I wouldn’t be able to stalk someone with the intent to kill them. I just don’t have it in me to do the stalking and causing them fear or terror, or the killing. While the end result is the same–unnecessary killing of a sentient nonhuman–the mentality is different.

Also, there’s a difference in intent. When you hunt, your intention is to kill someone. When you buy a package of chicken’s wings, you didn’t intend to kill anybody. You’re intending to eat their body parts, for certain, but in my mind you’re not intending to kill. (Yes, it’s impossible to get the parts without the killing, and I’m sure you can draw some kind of logic flowchart that proves me misguided, but if I ask all of my neighbors if they intend to kill scores of animals per year, they’d say no. When I ate animals, I would never have said I intended to kill anybody. Maybe it was denial, but it would have been my answer.)

I have a problem with people who delight in killing others, and for
me that’s the difference. And when you add something as draconian as
aerial hunting of predators into the mix, I have an even bigger problem.

If the abolitionist in you desires, you can pick out at least a
dozen quotes in this video that are objectionable. But I chose to go in
a different direction and listen to people (mostly men) who are or used
to be hunters, to listen to the scientists who talk about what a sham
the aerial predator control program is, and to watch as men in a plane
exhaust and injure wolves to death in the ultimate game on an unlevel, unfair
playing field. As Sean McGuire, who is a hunter and has "also done some
trapping" says (in the video): "If you want to talk family values, look
at wolves." And later: "In my opinion, and I’ve seen these guys, I’ve
met them, and a lot of this is just thrill killing."

For me, Sarah Palin represents the most heinous form of thrill
killing (please don’t write with the grisly details of examples you
think are worse; I’m trying to have an upbeat day). Is there a
"measurable difference" between hunting and buying animal parts after
someone else has done all the dirty work for you? (I’m not asking if
there’s a measurable difference between hunting and factory farming, as
most people buying animals parts aren’t setting out to do what is done
to animals in factory farms.)

What do you think?

And is your answer the same when you factor in aerial hunting?

8 Comments Post a comment
  1. "I have a problem with people who delight in killing others"
    I agree with you. I think people who enjoy killing are dangerous people.

    September 11, 2008
  2. Dan #

    I think it is too early in the 21st century to be concerned with how “animal-friendly” national politicians are. Animals are not on the national political radar at all and it will be at least a decade or so before that changes much (if at all).

    Obama is and will continue to be a mainstream, diehard speciesist who will support all forms of animal exploitation because exploiters (including 98% of the voting public) are politically powerful to almost an absolute degree. Obama may support welfarism, but so what? Animal exploitation industries support welfarism also.

    Vegan education might eventually bring about political changes favorable to animals; however, politics cannot bring about vegan education.

    About the “fairness” of hunting, NONE of it is fair in the remotest sense of the word fair, so why compare aerial killing to any other form of killing, especially regarding its “fairness”? Hunting is not about fairness, so please let’s not do it undeserved respect by talking about the relative “fairness” of different forms of hunting.

    September 11, 2008
  3. Bea Elliott #

    I definately see a difference in hunting and paying someone to do the killing. The meat industry has assured that the latter perputate a neccessary disconnect. When I was eating animals it never "registered" that I was supporting the slaughter of animals. It is a betrayal that I often chastise myself for allowing.

    Eating "meat" is done almost in a kind of "petit mal", an impairment of consciousness. A habit void of judgement. Reinforced further by all of society and culture. The coup de grâce is when animal parts are given other names – like bacon, breasts and steaks. The living being gets totally lost and forgotten this way.

    I troll some of the meat industry forums, often they are concerned with packaging and labeling. Most recently, "COOL", "organic" and "clone" information is at issue. I have suggested (for the sake of the visually impaired, non-english speaking customers and meatcase stockmen) that a silhouette of the "product" could be printed on the label. It is virtually "cost free" – just a simple outline of a cow, chicken, pig, or sheep. They want nothing to do with that idea – They know it would make people "connect" – and they've done such a good job at preventing it thus far.

    Much to my embarassment and shame I also have first hand experience of hunting. When I was teen I coupled with a "hunter"… who encouraged me to join him. I went through the safety classes, marksmanship rules, did the studying and was even given my own 12 gage shot gun (wow). We proceeded into the dense Pennsylvania woods… Within hours a "target" was in range. I raised my weapon – lined my sight, cocked the hammer, but just couldn't shoot. In that moment I suddenly came to my senses – what on earth was I doing??? A well of
    compassion and empathy flooded my "moment of truth". The beautiful deer took flight to live another day. But as obvious as this impression made on me, I swear by all I hold dear… I never, ever associated the "deer" with my burger. That is how insidious the meat industry is.

    I strongly believe that if most people (in non-survival mode) had to kill their own "food" they would not. They would choose other foods with less distasteful implications. The hunter in contrast, leaves a cozy home (fully stocked with "food"), is guided by machines and technology to the outskirts of civilization to "bag" a being. Sports hunters operate in a complete different mindset than most of us… omnivores included.

    Mary I'm so glad you brought up the topic of the barbaric arial wolf gunning "sport".

    I'm saddened and angry when I hear that "animal management" always means killing a certain wildlife "population" for the "survival" of another. Always trading one species interests for the other… Making sure each "pay his way" with due forfeiture to "the other". The species that always benefits of course is "man". Even the hunters in this video want "conservation" to insure that future hunters be allowed the same "opportunities" to kill as the previous generation.

    From my understanding there is enough moose and caribou to sustain the resident "substinance hunters" – but that it is the large influx of non-resident "trophy/sports" hunters that are "over-populated". And then again, they are the ones with the big bank-rolls…

    There are many non-lethal ways of keeping predator wolves "managed" by cost effective means:

    The thing I find particularly gruesome about Palin's wolf eradication program is this macabre detail: "In early 2007, Palin's administration approved an initiative to pay a $150 bounty to hunters who killed a wolf from an airplane in certain areas, hacked off the left foreleg, and brought in the appendage."

    So what then does Palin do with the foot, (feet, paws)? Collect them? String them together to make a matching necklace to her fur collar ensemble? It's all very creepy, dark and sinister. It's as if wolves are her personal "enemy". Oh yeah, I forget… she "enjoys" hunting moose – of course they are her enemy!

    And one final little trinket about wolves and their "value" or "detriment" to man. Seems there's concern about lice infestations, promted by a dense concentration of kenneled domestic dogs. No, the Alaskan government isn't moved by the discomfort the wolves must be in… but rather that their incessant scratching and biting "damages the pelts"… "The condition of louse-infested pelts makes many of them almost worthless to trappers and furbuyers, particularly later in winter when infestations intensify."

    Palin and her ilk disgust me. I know Obama is no champion for non-humans – but there's a world of difference between one who has fallen victim of the meat culture's "camouflage" and the one who dons it.

    September 11, 2008
  4. Dan #

    To add to my comment about the “fairness” of hunting, compare hunting with a gun to kill to hunting with a camera to get a perfect, up-close photograph of wildlife. Wildlife photography is fair and takes far more skill than hunting.

    If any hunter would like to claim hunting is fair, then give me a gun or other deadly weapon, you run out in the woods in a large, designated section without a weapon, and I’ll see if I can kill you. Fair? Even if you signed up for that losing proposition, the “game” would not be fair. The notions of “sport”, “game”, and “fair” become absurd and utterly meaningless in the context of hunting.

    “Sport” hunting is for lovers of violence who get sadistic pleasure out of killing (and the more honest among hunters will admit it). Several years ago, before I went vegan, I was invited to go hunting on a few separate occasions. While I’m a mountain climber and love the outdoors, I always declined such invitations because I never saw how it could be “fun” to kill an animal.

    September 11, 2008
  5. Bea Elliott #

    Speaking of hunting and cameras: Animal Voices has an interesting historical look at the two: "Wildlife Photography: The Legacy of Camera Hunting, Masculinity, and Colonialism"

    September 11, 2008
  6. Here's a succinct page of Palin info created by two people who live in Alaska. At the top of the page is says it's been up since 2007.

    And this Katha Pollit piece, "Lipstick on a Wingnut" is a must-read:

    Then there's today's Paul Krugman piece, about all of the lies coming from the McCain camp recently:

    September 12, 2008
  7. I'm hoping voters do not want such a VP as this:

    In Palin's situation, the possibility of holding a position as "vice" has literal culpably.

    September 14, 2008
  8. Bea Elliott #

    I'm not all that certain of the photos (or information)…But it's not far from what I think Palin and her hunting clan are like:
    "SARAH PALIN learned to call the shots at an early age — she got to grips with a gun at eight and made her first kill at ten.
    The moose-hunting mum-of-five from Alaska grew up shooting animals and skinning them on the spot before hauling the meat home for the family freezer".

    …warning – it gets worse

    September 16, 2008

Leave a Reply

You may use basic HTML in your comments. Your email address will not be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS