What's Wrong With Hunting?
The following essay was published as an editorial in the Detroit News on April 20, 2001. It subsequently appeared in the book Hunting: Opposing Viewpoints, published in 2008 by the Gale Group/Greenhaven Press.
NOTE FROM ME: Before you read the essay, I want to expound on a few points.
- The Deer Range Improvement Program (DRIP) is still in existence. And every state has a program like DRIP. It might not be called DRIP but there is a DRIP-like program all over the US.
- Here is a detailed explanation about sex-biased hunting. If we didn't have sex-biased hunting, there would be an even ratio of male deer to female deer. So, if someone took a sample group of 10 deer—anywhere—there would be five males and five females. The five males would impregnate the five females who would then give birth to five offspring. However, after decades of killing big bucks for their large racks, we now have ratios of 7-to-3, 8-to-2, or 9-to-1 FEMALE to male. Let's take the 7-to-3 ratio. We now have three males impregnating seven females (we know males can impregnate as many females as they come in contact with). Then seven females give birth to seven offspring which means there are a minimum of two EXTRA babies per sample group of 10 deer because of sex-bias hunting. But, let's go further. Wildlife biologists have confirmed that when deer, and other animals, including humans during war times, feel their population is being decimated, as is the case after hunting season ends, the majority of all the females give birth to twins or triplets. So, let's take the twin scenario. Seven females are now giving birth to 14 babies instead of the original five (if our society didn't hunt) thereby having 9 EXTRA babies per sample group of 10 deer. When you multiply the extra babies over the entire Michigan herd, you have an "extra" 500,000 to 700,000 deer every year. And guess how many hunting licenses they issue every year? You guessed it, between 500,000 and 700,000. Plus, that's how the Michigan herd grew from 500,000 in the 70s to nearly 2 million nowadays. This scenario works in every state with the numbers only varying slightly.
- The only excuse to kill and eat animals would be a pure survival scenario. But this scenario is rare. Inuit living in an icy environment comes to mind (which is why I've never traveled to Alaska to lecture). I'll never understand why people who reside in NON-ICY or NON-DESERT settings hunt, kill and eat the flesh of animals. Habit, tradition, convenience or taste are invalid, barbaric reasons to harm animals. MURDERING and COMMODIFYING animals are crimes. Murder is murder whether victims stand upright, walk on all fours, have fur, feathers, horns, beaks or gills. Self-defense or vicarious self-defense (defending others who cannot defend themselves) are the only justifications for murder. Commodification is when humans turn animals into inanimate objects and can't see them for anything else. Cows have been turned into shoes, briefcases and hamburgers. Chickens have been turned into buckets of wings. Deer have been transformed into unwilling participants of a bloodthirsty sport, severed-head wall-trophies and venison burgers. When humans are treated the way hunters treat animals, people scream Holocaust, genocide, massacre and bloody murder. Yet, according to the hunters' mind-set, animals are "game" who deserve to be killed. This "game" is void of rational thought, decency and kindness. It is, quite frankly, sociopath behavior. I've watched hunting/fishing shows on ESPN for more than 25 years. As a sports junkie, I have to wait for the blood-shows to end weekend mornings before GENUINE sports shows air. I hear excitement in the hunters' voices before they pull the trigger or shoot the arrow. No need to fabricate the true reasons for deer-hunting, or any other animal-killing moment. Hunting and fishing are bloodsports, plain and simple. Additionally, hunters aren't exonerated from the killing because they do the killing themselves. It's makes them directly responsible instead of the accomplice meat-eater who pays someone else to commit the crimes. The latter is still unequivocally wrong and evil, but killing and harming directly shows more psychotic behavior than someone who cannot harm and kill directly.
I am the founder and president of Michigan's most outspoken and uncompromising humanitarian organization, ADAPTT. Nearly 80 high schools and universities have invited me to educate and enlighten students about animal liberation, ethics, justice and kindness.
Before I refute every hunting lie, let me begin with two quotes from some well-known animal rights activists.
The first one is from Mohandas Gandhi. "The life of a lamb is no less precious than that of a human being. The more helpless the creature is, the more it is entitled to protection from humans from the cruelty of humans"
The second quote from the great philosopher Pythagoras. "As long as humanity continues to be the ruthless destroyer of other beings, we will never know health or peace. For as long as people massacre animals, they will kill each other. Indeed those who sow the seed of murder and pain will never reap joy and love."
Now, contrary to the rosy picture hunters always paint about themselves—the noble hunter, the honest hunter, the caring hunter, the concerned hunter—let's run down a quick list of noble hunting adages:
- Shoot more and shoot more often, I'm a gut-pile addict, whack 'em and stack 'em, live to hunt/hunt to live and kill on.
- And how about this comment from Ted Nugent, the world's most outspoken animal-killer and just about every hunter's hero: "I contribute to the dead of winter and the moans of silence, blood trails are music to my ears. I'm a gut-pile addict. The pig didn't know I was there. It's my kick. I love shafting animals. It's rock 'n' roll power. (World Bowhunter's Magazine, Volume 1, Number 4, May 1990, page 12)"
It's hard for animal rights humanitarians to discuss the truth about hunting when we're constantly dealing with lies about overpopulation, lies about kindness and lies about science.
ADAPTT is fed up with hunters, their government cronies and all of their sick mentalities. The so-called "experts" who work for the DNR and the NRC are not "experts." They're hunters and hunt supporters.
And hunting is not sound science. It is only sound fun for unsound individuals who commit cowardly acts. And it sounds to me that any sound person who possesses a scintilla of sound sense would understand that soundly truth.
To appease hunters in 1971, the DNR began serious efforts to change the "old forest" situation in Michigan. There were around 500,000 deer at that time which wasn't enough to please the hunters. Therefore, the DNR instituted the Deer Range Improvement Program known as DRIP which called for the clear-cutting of 1.2 million acres of forest creating a more accessible food supply for deer and further stimulate reproduction. The DNR also has always issued a disproportionate number of licenses to kill male deer, because killing males instead of females causes the females' internal reproductive mechanism to go haywire. Then, she ends up giving birth to twins and even triplets to keep the species going.
The DRIP program and sex-biased hunting has caused the deer herd to level out at around 2 million animals last year.
For the record, hunters cause an increase in deer-car accidents and contribute to crop damage.
In 1972, there were 10,742 deer-car collisions. Last year there were about 70,000. Gee, I thought hunters were hunting to reduce deer-car collisions? In 1996, The Michigan Farm Bureau even threatened to file a class-action lawsuit against the DNR for solely catering to the needs of hunters.
By the way, as deer-car accidents and crop-damage steadily increased over the years, here's what Dave Arnold, a DNR executive, had to say to The Detroit Free Press on January 1, 1980: "Don't lose sight of the purpose of the program. When the DNR decided several years ago to try and increase the herd to about one million animals, we knew the auto collision rate and crop damage would rise."
Here's what Ned Caveney, a DNR state forester, had to say to the Northwoods Call a Charlevoix paper on May 26, 1991: "In Michigan, we manipulate forest habitat to produce amazingly unnatural deer numbers --- up to two million of the critters some years. That probably approaches two million more that existed before man got into the act."
In the '90s, pro-hunting governor John Engler created The Hunting and Heritage Task Force in order to expand hunting and fishing opportunities to the public which is the same reason why the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service exists. By the way, the USFWS offers 290 hunting programs and 307 fishing programs on the 514 national wildlife refuges throughout the U.S. Paragraph six of Engler's Hunting and Heritage Task Force edict states the following: "While Michigan offers widespread opportunities to hunt and fish, more could be done to encourage participation, especially in high population centers. All divisions within the DNR should work together, making hunting and fishing more accessible on both public and private lands. Where possible, expand opportunities to hunt and fish within urban parks and recreation areas."
This was the sole purpose behind the recent deer killings at our metro-parks. Not because the deer were eating up all the trillium plants. The HCMA board of commissioners wouldn't know the difference between trillium and helium. Moreover, humans are the only animals who destroy land and take more than they need.
The metro-park killings didn't take place because the hunters wanted to donate food to the hungry. That's just a clever public relations gimmick to try and place a halo around those who murder animals for fun. It is far more cost efficient to feed hungry people spaghetti and stir-fried tofu, and you can feed more people that way too.
Everyone must understand that wildlife management is an illusory concept created around 100 years ago. There is no such thing as wildlife management. Humans cannot manage nature. The only managing humans should be doing is managing to stay out of the animals' space.
And, once again, it is unjust, stupid and contemptible that the DNR and NRC—made up entirely of hunters and hunt supporters—make decisions about the fate of wild animals. That would be akin to allowing pedophiles to write child protection laws and misogynists pen domestic abuse laws?
Do hunters eat their kills? Yes. But do hunters hunt for food? No! They hunt for the thrill of the kill. They receive a rush. A super-shot of adrenaline. It's bloodlust and dominance. It's arrogance and selfishness. It's hatred and brutality. It's dishonor and viciousness. It's murder and it's obscene.
Hunters always use the excuse that deer are going to starve to death during the winter as if starvation wasn't a natural process and nature's way of controlling populations and the ecosystem's way of working.
Starving deer provides food for scavenger animals and is nature's way of weeding out sickly animals and allowing the strongest ones to reproduce.
A bullet to the head or an arrow through the chest is not a solution to starvation. But, furthermore, hunters don't even shoot starving deer. They don't make good trophies and don't have lots of meat.
I dare anyone to show me a photograph of one hunter last year who shot one emaciated deer. Just one. Hunters shoot big bucks with big racks for big trophies. Watch their TV shows on PBS and ESPN and TNN. That's all they talk about—big racks and big trophies.
On April 17, 1989, in The Free Press, Nugent said this about hunting: "I don't hunt for meat. I hunt to hunt."
In 1990, Nugent said the following in his World Bowhunters Magazine: "Nobody hunts just to put meat on the table because it's too expensive, time-consuming and extremely inconsistent."
For the record, I never threatened to harm someone's child over the recent deer-killings in our metro-parks. I threatened to take a bullet for the deer and form my own deer-police unit to protect deer from hunters. But I did challenge about six sissified animal-killing hunters to show me how tough "tough guys" really are. I wanted to fight these bullies and put them in their place. Unfortunately, as usual, they refused to take me up on my challenge. If there's one thing that I've learned in six years of intense activism, animal-abusers are cowards who would never fight someone who would fight back.
To obtain more info about the industry of hunting, check out http://animalrights.about.com/od/wildlife/a/DeerManagement.htm.