Merely animals

I think nature is beautiful.

I am bothered by how we treat some things in nature, specifically animals. I have written before about my thoughts on zoos. I recently went to the aquarium in Sandy with my family. Little fish in big tanks, I don't so much care about. However, a 20 foot long, 10 foot wide, 1.5 feet deep figure 8 shaped pool full of stingrays sure did bother me. Why do they have to be in there? So a bunch of fat Americans can shove their fat hands in the water and poke them? Why does ANYBODY need to be able to poke a stingray? It seems wrong.

In the age of high definition television and the existence of Planet Earth, I think we need not keep creatures in absurdly small cages in order to be able to have a "real life, animal experience." Well, it really isn't a real life, animal experience, because they aren't real wild animals anymore.

That, however, isn't what this is about.

Let me preface this with the idea that I don't, on some levels, have a problem with hunting. For instance, because we, as stewards of planet earth (and in this instance, the west) have basically eradicated wolves and many of the other large predators that historically kept deer populations in check, we now have the responsibility to maintain those populations, in order to avoid mass starvation and disease epidemics.

I also am much more okay with a deer or an elk living out its existence in the mountains, or wherever, and then being hunted and eaten by people, than the so-called living done by animals in factory farms previous to slaughter.

I noticed a friend had changed his facebook profile picture to one of him with a slain elk. Turns out, this photo had been uploaded to an fbook site for a bullet company. Upon clicking though some of the pictures, I was astounded by (and reminded of) the absolutely alien, completely unrelatable world in which rednecks dwell. The completely senseless nature of the killing that is applauded in the world of bad grammar, camouflage hunting brand hats, and humongous trucks.

For whatever reason, on planet redneck, small creatures are of little worth, beyond providing "fun" target practice. Even more disturbing than this photo, were the comments included therewith.
Kyle: "Yeeessssss I love it...lol"
Seriously? Kyle loves this? And is loling? Wtf is the matter with this guy/people? Why is blowing the guts out of a fat prairie dog funny, or thrilling, or awesome to anyone? On a similarly grotesque photo of another prairie dog's bullet induced visceral explosion were some other comments that really built my faith in humanity. Not only did 3 people "like" the photo, but Roger said: "Never knew what hit him ! lol" Again, the loling. One can not help but wonder what sort of chemical brain imbalance is required to induce maniacal laughter at the sight of a marmot that has been eviscerated by a bullet.

Pretty damned funny, don't you think?

Then there was this: Why does anybody have to kill one of these? Have you ever seen a mountain goat in the wild? They are unbelievably beautiful, and it is an amazing thing to watch one climb up the most impossibly steep terrain. From where does the need to destroy beauty stem? This mountain goat, stuffed with whatever the hell taxidermists stuff dead creatures with, set upon a fake mountain in a hunting store, or in some guy's office, or its head on some wall, will never come even close to invoking the feelings of awe that encountering one alive in the wild would.

Nobody is eating a tough old mountain goat, so don't try to use that as an excuse.

Lastly, why does anyone need to kill this? 2 of the comments that went along with the picture were the most bothersome:
Lane: "Well that is one beautiful bull. The trophy of a lifetime! Congratulations."
Ken: "WOW Beautiful animal You better have high ceilings to mount that guy on the wall."
That this bull's head is going to end up on some redneck's wall is nothing short of a tragedy. Ken and Lane were right. It WAS a beautiful creature. The trophy of a lifetime. But for what point? So Mr. Redneck can feel good about the size of his package every time he enters into the room and stares that bull in its dead, glass eyes? So that he can prove to all who see it that he was man enough to shoot it, rip out its guts, and cut off its head?

My father has no animal heads on his wall, nor has he ever slain a "trophy." He is certainly no less a man for it.

Killing for the sake of killing just seems wrong, even if they are merely animals. When one shoots marmots, or rabbits, or other small creatures that one is not going to eat (which is most small creatures) one is killing because one enjoys killing.

When one kills a large, inedible creature because one desires for said creature to adorn one's wall, one is killing because one enjoys killing. One is creating a monument to killing for sport.

That. Is. Wrong.


Debbie said...

I couldn't agree more.

Taren said...

I just posted a link to this on my fb. It's everything I've always wanted to say, but didn't know how.

Claire Valene Bagley said...

I'm no hunter... BUT I'm not allowed, by law, to have an aquarium any longer.

There were... issues.

gwailow said...

So I am now a redneck eh Fish? Not trying to pick a fight or anything because I agree for the most part on some of what you said, but I want to clarify a few things for you....the huge elk and the mtn. goats, yes they are beautiful and yes they are some of the most amazing creatures to ever walk the planet. However, take the state of Utah for instance...they auction off and sell "trophy" tags for these animals to the highest bidder. These tags can go for anywhere from $40k-over $150k and all of this money goes back in to conservation. Building water guzzlers, creating better habitat, etc. If it weren't for the people that buy these tags and thanks to the ~wonderful~ housing movement encroaching on deer and elk winter habitat and fawning grounds there would be very few if any of the beautiful animals left.

I do agree that just killing for the sake of killing is wrong, which is why I quit shooting small animals(rabbits, squirrels, etc...probably long before you did even), but the license and application fees for the hunting of mountain goats, desert bighorn, moose, "trophy" elk, etc. coupled with "redneck" animal conservation groups are the ONLY thing that keeps animals available for EVERYONE to enjoy.

Everyone has their own POV, but please don't lump all hunters under the "redneck", big truck driving, crappy grammar tag. It wasn't that long ago that you absolutely loved driving Wayne's good truck, hunting, and eating more meat than any 3 individuals put together. :)

julieb said...

agreed (with you).
thank you.

Fish Nat!on said...

Dammit it to bleeding hell. I just wrote a huge comment, and there was an "error" when I tried to post it.

I'll try again.

First, I don't think you are a redneck, nor that all hunters are. My father, brother, and brother in law all hunt, as well as many people I know, none of whom are rednecks.

While I think you make a valid point in your argument for selling trophy tags for conservation, I highly doubt that the conservation itself is anywhere NEAR the forefront of the mind of one who is dropping 200k for the opportunity to be able to kill whatever he wants.

While mr hunter may be happy that better conservation happens to be a byproduct of his purchase, whether his money went to conservation or to buying crackerjacks for kids in title one schools--he is still going to buy that tag.

There seems something wrong with the fact that any super rich person can pay money to kill virtually anything he wants, anywhere he wants. And, such headlines in the news (and they do become headlines) don't look so great for hunters, and give plenty of fodder to anti hunting people, who may very well push fence sitters into helping pass and vote for anti hunting initiatives when they see that picture of the dead mt goat, or the most massive bull elk planet earth ever managed to spawn. It seems like hunters, by allowing this practice, are sort of shooting themselves in the foot with an expensive golden bullet.

Trophy tags bring in about 1.5 million per year, which is piss in a cup. There has to be a better way to come about that money. If we were talking 20 or 30 million a year, I think you'd have one hell of a trophy tag argument. But 1.5 million is small beans. If Utah sold 100k deer tags last year, adding 15 bucks a tag would cover it. Or spread it around. Add 5 dollars to the deer tags, 5 to the elk tags, 2 to the antelope tags, 3 to the doe tags, etc. You see where I am going? 1.5 million just seems like a very small price tag for what we are actually killing.

Again, I don't think you, nor all hunters, are rednecks. But there ARE a lot of hunting rednecks. And guys loling about blowing the guts out of a marmot ARE rednecks.

Dave said...

Excellent...your journey to the liberal side is almost complete.

now, pick up your constitution and strike me down.

Jellybean said...

1. Using "liberal" like it's a bad word goes to show how utterly partisan one is.

2. Fish, I agree with you. I am not against hunting if you're eating or controlling a population that is out of control because of us. I do think it's wrong to kill for no reason other than sport. I grew up with my daddy's hunting rifles stored in my closet. My dad hasn't hunted in a long time, probably mostly because we live far from opportunities, but the only times in my memory that he has busted out those rifles, he brought the animals home and ate them (you know, except the duck he put whole in our fridge and my mom made him throw away).

There is no sense in killing a beautiful animal that you aren't going to put to practical use and that poses no threat to anyone. It's malicious and barbaric.

Dave said...

Jellybean: I'm liberal.

Jellybean said...

Dave: Good. Hopefully not just by Utah standards.

Fish Nat!on said...

I think a solution to the problem, would be to offer trophy permits that would allow rednecks to hunt liberals, rather than mountain goats that are in no way obnoxious, delusional, nor entirely too compassionate. I think they would call it a fair trade.

alex aulelio shahan said...

Genesis 9:5

Jellybean said...

I think that's too restrictive. It's only fair to let them hunt their own as well. It's what Jesus would do.

Darkwave said...

Hunting sucks. Especially hunting for sport. A friend of mine was taught by his dad to hunt deer with a rifle, but he became influenced by Native American practice of hunting by stealth and killing with bow & arrow or knife at close range. They feel the animal's spirit departing and thank the animal for providing food and clothing. Killing for fun from a safe distance is no sport.

Anonymous said...

damn hippie