Hunters are Cowards

When I ask people why they hunt and kill animals, I get answers that include “to eat”, “for sport”, “have fun with the guys”,  and/or “ecological necessity”.  If ever there is a shred of conscience present, the answer is followed up with the justification that they eat the animal they killed, as if that is acceptable.

No hunting is justifiable. There is no need to hunt for subsistence. Walk around any grocery store and there no shortage of food. When a counter-argument is offered, then another feeble excuse is offered: Animals kill each other in the wild, so it’s natural for humans to kill animals, too.

Yes, some animals do kill other animals, but plenty do not. There are many more animals that are vegetarian. The ones that are carnivores have no other options, but we have far more options that are healthier and don’t include killing. Humans are not carnivores because we have flat teeth, small mouths and we need to cook the meat first.

Calling hunting a sport is an insult to any sporting practice where real competition occurs. Killing an innocent animal that has no defense against weapons doesn’t take much skill. What it does take is an attitude of superiority over animals together with a ruthless, merciless streak of brutality. What could be fun about seeing an animal die? The hunter doesn’t think that the same animal may have babies that she was foraging for. Male or female, there is apparently no consideration given to the fact that they have the right to live in this world as much as we do.

Recently, a friend attempted to justify her boyfriend’s hunting as true sport because he killed animals with arrows. Apparently, there were a few times he actually shot turkeys right through the chest because of his accurate aim. When I asked what happened with his imperfect aims, she said that he and his buddies just followed the trail of blood until they found the suffering bird. Then they killed it up close. Chasing a terrified, wounded animal that is trying desperately to live is an activity that is diametrically opposite to any notion of fun.

Ecological necessity, ostensibly to control over-population,  is a  false argument. Leave nature alone and it will look after itself. Killing deer, for example, only causes the populations to have more babies, not less. Animals will breed more or less depending on the number of animals there are in existence in their species. It’s a sort of natural population control. Hunters upset this natural balance.

Lastly, I am always surprised when I hear people say that animals were put on this earth for us to eat. First of all, this is an anthropocentric claim. Humans are only part of the planet, not masters over it.  Secondly, no animal, person or thing was “put” here for our use. There is  voluminous research in fossil records to show that nothing was put on this planet by anyone or anything. We all evolved. And we all deserve to live here without fear of being killed by sadistic murderers. At least humans are protected by law. Animals should be too.

 

 

 

 

 

Give Thanks, Spare The Turkey

Thanksgiving is a time to reflect upon all the good things one has in life, but many people don’t realize that this custom hides a violence that must stop.

Eating turkey has become the accepted meal choice with little thought to the brutality that surrounds the bird’s life. There is often an assumption that turkeys lead normal lives on farms before their slaughter but the reality is far different.

Turkeys are jammed into long, windowless barracks that are so severely overcrowded that they develop skeletal deformities from their extreme confinement. Understandably they become aggressive with one another, but rather than give them space to move, industrial farmers cut off their toes and their beaks, all without anesthesia, causing excruciating pain and suffering.

They are forced to live in their own waste breathing ammonia fumes so strong it makes your eyes water. They develop respiratory diseases, ulcerated feet, blistered skin and burned eyes and throats.

Turkeys are genetically modified to grow big as fast as possible in order to yield the highest price. It would be the same as taking a six-pound human baby and turning her into 1,500 pounds in 18 weeks. Their bones are too weak to support their weight causing leg deformities and joint pain so extreme that they are often forced to walk on their wings just to reach food and water.

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“Free-Range” and “Humanely Raised” are misleading labels meant to mollify the public. Most free-range farms offer outdoor pens, but in harsh weather, there is seldom adequate indoor space to escape freezing temperatures, sleet or snow. They are still de-beaked and de-toed, and are bred to become painfully overweight, developing congestive heart and lung diseases and enlarged livers.

When turkeys go to slaughter, they are still young, some only three months old. None ever see their first birthday, despite the fact that in nature they can live to beyond 20 years. Workers grab them by their feet upside down, violently jam them into crates and put them on trucks without food, water or any protection from the elements.

In the slaughtering plants, turkeys often have their throats slit while still conscious, hanging upside down. Those who miss the automated knife, and many do, are scalded to death in the de-feathering tank. There are no laws to protect them from this barbaric treatment.

There are significant human costs to eating turkey. At least three million Americans get sick from eating poultry every year. Over-use of antibiotics in factory farms leads to the development of antibiotic-resistant super-bugs.

Not only are PCBs, dioxins, arsenic and several cancer-casing poisons contained in animal feed, but it also includes the ground-up bodies of diseased turkeys. They are given arsenic to kill parasites and enhance their pink flesh color, becoming the biggest cause of arsenic in our food and water supply. Fresh turkey contains BPA, a plastic that is linked to hormonal disorders.

There are four good reasons to choose plant-based alternatives: they are healthy for humans, good for the environment, less expensive and kinder to animals. Let’s add kindness and compassion into our Thanksgiving by keeping turkeys off of our plates.

 

Success for MA Animals, But A Threat To Animals In The Rest Of The World

78%  of the voters in Massachusetts said  ‘Yes’ to eliminating cruel confinement of animals on factory farms. I was one of the volunteers who stood outside a polling station talking with voters before they cast their ballots. It is heartening to know that with all the money paid by agribusiness on false and misleading ads that said grocery costs would significantly increase with a ‘yes’ vote, voters were not fooled. Compassion won out.

Many of the people I spoke with said  “it’s a no-brainer”. In fact, they were surprised to learn that such cruelty exists. Some even said that they didn’t mind spending more on food if it would ease the suffering.

My concern now lies with the bigger picture of animals around the world, especially the ones that are going extinct because of poachers and hunters. This is where President-elect Trump comes in. His sons are notorious for killing many beautiful creatures for sport, with the full support of Donald.

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Animal protection organizations fight to put regulations in to stop this needless killing. The Obama administration banned trade in ivory. The National Park Service and the U.S. fish and Wildlife Service adopted rules to stop the shooting of wolves and grizzly bears from planes, trapping of grizzlies and other sickening inhumane methods of hunting on federal lands. If he supports his sons’ animal killing for fun, then he clearly does not respect the right of animals to live in a world where they belong. He is devoid of empathy.

I fervently hope I am wrong, but given his disrespect for women and minorities, and his narcissistic behaviors that reveal a gargantuan ego, I doubt that I am.