Friday, October 12, 2007


Here in Portland this week the newspaper has been overwhelmed with letters about this hunting story, where 10-year old Vanessa Smith was introduced to grouse hunting via her grandpa Al Thomas. People seemed especially upset about Al's gleeful countenance during the shoot, wondering how he could be such a bloodthirsty bastard:
Tuesday, October 09, 2007

"A-Hunting She Will Go" (Oct. 7) was a shocker! It turned my stomach. The picture of grandfather Al Thomas's face registering such ecstasy because his granddaughter had killed the grouse was sickening. Why are they so happy when they kill something? Fortunately hunting is becoming an anachronism -- no longer needed. We can achieve conservation without the blood sport.

CLIFF GOLDMAN Northeast Portland

OK, I'm on-board with that. I don't enjoy hunting and there is an element of barbarism to it. I grew up in rural Pennsylvania, where everyone hunted, and we even had the first day of deer season off from school. My dad took me hunting when I was 12, and mostly it struck me as a good way to walk around with a heavy gun in your hand, trying to stay warm. My mom gave me some chocolate bars beforehand.... out in the field, my dad stationed me at a trail intersection and told me to keep my eyes open while he tried to drive some game down my way. 20 minutes later he crept up on me as I was opening a Hershey bar, and I think it was about then that he decided I just wasn't going to cut it as a hunter and we walked straight home. We never went hunting again, to his great disappointment. I was always more interested in algebra.

Anyway, the Portland urbanites have been making their displeasure known about hunting and hunting stories, but someone today finally hit the nail on the head:
Friday, October 12, 2007

If I were a prey animal, I would rather pit my natural wits against a hunter in the wild than be caged in a factory farm -- something to consider for all you nonhunting meat eaters out there.

MARTIN J. CLAXTON Southwest Portland

And I think Martin Claxton has hit it right on the head, as much as I hate to admit it. It's easy to dismiss hunters as bloodthirsty barbarians, but almost all of us are eating meat and the way it's raised and slaughtered in this country is a moral tragedy. Factory farming is about the worst genocide you can imagine. Each and every one of those lives matter no less than do a deer in the wild. But I'm eating chicken and beef and (although I try and avoid it) pork, and I feel extremely morally culpable about it. I have tried to be a vegetarian, and it works for 3-4 months and then I start to feel weird, and seriously start to crave meat. I am, let's face it, an omnivore. Perhaps I should suck it up morally and stick to vegetarianism, cravings be damned. But so far I have not been able to do that. I hate thinking about the tens of millions of pitable chickens and cows and pigs who are suffering here and around the world for the sake of our diet. They lead horrible, horrible lives. I try to buy free-range chicken when I can afford it (not always). I would prefer stickers on my meat about the conditions under which it was raised, but so far Safeway won't comply.

Deer in the wild certainly lead better lives than do the factory farmed animals that all of us eat, and in that sense it's better they be shot in the wild than herded in a slaughterhouse. It's easy to categorize hunters as murderers, but they are only being honest about the situation. Too many people are forgetting that.

It has come to the point where I hate thinking about my diet, and I hate that I hate thinking about it. Frankly I'd like to live on a little farm and raise a few chickens and a pig and a cow, beings I could pamper until it came time to quickly slit their throat. Sometimes I hate the compromises of the modern age.


Anonymous said...

You are right when it comes to hunting for food. Trophy hunting, on the other hand, should turn your stomach.

David Appell said...

Yes, good point.

Dano said...

My fianceé's family has a hunting camp in the Rockies. We were camping there with friends a few weeks ago the first week of bow season. We are all environmentalists, friends are building an off-grid house, etc. Hunter came down at dusk & shared our fire, and he knew more than us (me and GF have multiple natural science degrees) about the climate, weather, terrain, biota, all of it.