Conservation Is Conservatism. Animal Rights Radicalism Is Not.

 

Michael Scully has apparently decided to take leave of his senses and join PETA.

Then, to take a final illustration, we have the 5 or 6 percent of our population who still think it is normal, and indeed praiseworthy, to stalk, sneak up on, and dispatch animals for no better reason than the malicious thrill of it, memorializing these moments with their “trophies.” It’s a passion captured by an American bow hunter who wrote of deer, “I have so loved them that I longed to kill them,” and these days it extends well beyond deer to “game” of every kind. The creepiest of the lot is a type whose low character can escape no outsider to the trophy-hunting mania: thousands of people who compete throughout the world to kill the most and biggest animals. Members of outfits such as America’s own Safari Club International, these hunters are mostly men of means who still assume it is their prerogative to kill even elephants, rhinos, lions, grizzlies, and every other kind of creature in every place on earth.

Sorry, Michael, but being at the top of the food chain means we get to take our pick of everything that’s underneath us. To quote the inestimable Professor Reynolds, any creature that wants to knock me off the top of the food chain had better be prepared to wind up as a rug. Don’t like it? Slather yourself with bacon grease and walk through a pack of lions, then see how “humane” and “caring” they act towards you.

I will never understand why it’s considered more “humane” to let animals slowly and painfully starve to death rather than hunt them and ethically put them to use for humanity. Hunting conservancies provide much-needed job opportunities and food for some of the poorest people on Earth, and a properly-managed wildlife conservancy balances the needs of the hunter and hunted alike, preventing such tragedies like the forced culling of 200 lions in a Zimbabwe this year due to a lack of hunters.

I was born in western Canada, and I spent my summers on my uncle’s farms, raising chickens and hogs destined for the supermarkets of the world. Growing up, I learned to appreciate the beauty of God’s creation and understood that it is there for our use and should never, ever be abused or taken for granted. I know what’s needed to make a living as as a rancher or a hog farmer, and while I occasionally hunt, it is not my primary hobby. I do, however, have very good friends who are passionate hunters and very good friends who are professional wildlife managers in some of Canada’s largest national parks.

One thing that unites hunter and park ranger alike is a hatred for poachers and the understanding that what we enjoy most about the outdoors will go away unless we balance the needs of humanity with the needs of Mother Nature. Mankind is uniquely able to shape the world to suit ourselves, and acknowledging our place in this world and taking our responsibilities to ourselves and generations to come is at the core of the modern conservation movement and conservatism itself.

Let’s leave the histrionics to others, and go out for a nice steak dinner tonight.

There are 51 comments.

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  1. Contributor

    Well said, Kevin. Maybe the guy joined PETA because some Leftist virus has attacked his brain? Oh no, are we all in danger?!

    • #1
    • December 22, 2016 at 10:07 am
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  2. Thatcher

    To National Review’s Credit, the published a good take down of that article.

    Even Jim Geraghty got in on it.

    Now, I have my stock answer for crap like this:

    • #2
    • December 22, 2016 at 10:09 am
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  3. Thatcher

    Any farming kills lots of animals.

    Pigs would eat us, given the chance.

    I don’t care at all about the “suffering” of chickens.

    I suppose to this guy, Fish are a OK to eat because reasons.

    In the Bible God demands the Jews kill cute little baby sheep and burn the bodies.

    • #3
    • December 22, 2016 at 10:13 am
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  4. Thatcher

    Who is Michael Scully and why should I care what he does?

    (Normally – however joining PETA is the height of cognitive dissonance, since everyone knows PETA Kills Animals.) Link goes to a HuffPo article, not the website devoted to uncovering PETA’s shocking animal cruelty.

    • #4
    • December 22, 2016 at 10:22 am
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  5. Member

    Kevin Creighton:Hunting conservancies provide much-needed job opportunities and food for some of the poorest people on Earth, and a properly-managed wildlife conservancy balances the needs of the hunter and hunted alike, preventing such tragedies like the forced culling of 200 lions in a Zimbabwe this year due to a lack of hunters.

    Yep, even the the liberals behind “Adam Ruins Everything” admitted that trophy hunting is the best known method we have for actually ensuring the continued existences of big game animals in Africa and helping out the poor.

    With regards to hunting in general- while it’s true that it’s no longer really necessary for people to hunt to feed themselves (at least in most cases) or the population, I imagine it’s a good idea for some of the population to still have their skills sharpened in that area just in case a Mad Max scenario ever does come true.

    • #5
    • December 22, 2016 at 10:24 am
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  6. Member

    Bryan G. Stephens:Any farming kills lots of animals…

    I don’t care at all about the “suffering” of chickens.

    I do confess that the conditions of animals in big farming industries does disturb me. There’s a part of me that thinks it can’t really be the right thing to do, but there’s the other part of me that is reluctant to call for changes that would drive up food costs for humans.

    • #6
    • December 22, 2016 at 10:28 am
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  7. Member

    Bryan G. Stephens: In the Bible God demands the Jews kill cute little baby sheep and burn the bodies.

    Because the sheep were valuable, though. It is because of the Jews’ respect for life that they didn’t sacrifice wooden carvings or some such. Blood was the greater sacrifice… and for Christians stopped only because of a greater blood sacrifice.

    As usual, political decisions rely on our most fundamental beliefs regarding human nature and inherent moral relationships. Without a shared philosophical/theological foundation, a society’s laws become haphazard, contradictory, and fleeting.

    How many Americans continue to base their environmental ethics on a concept of stewardship, with humanity as the pinnacle and purpose of all Creation?

    • #7
    • December 22, 2016 at 10:39 am
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  8. Contributor
    Kevin Creighton Post author

    Susan Quinn:Well said, Kevin. Maybe the guy joined PETA because some Leftist virus has attacked his brain? Oh no, are we all in danger?!

    To be fair, that was just the sort of article I would expect a “former literary editor” to write.

    One that had never read Hemingway or Chandler or Conrad, that is.

    • #8
    • December 22, 2016 at 10:47 am
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  9. Contributor
    Kevin Creighton Post author

    Bryan G. Stephens:To National Review’s Credit, the published a good take down of that article.

    Even Jim Geraghty got in on it.

    Now, I have my stock answer for crap like this:

    Replace with “I do cross-fit” or “I own a BMW” as needed. :D

    • #9
    • December 22, 2016 at 10:48 am
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  10. Member

    Knotwise the Poet:

    Bryan G. Stephens:Any farming kills lots of animals…

    I don’t care at all about the “suffering” of chickens.

    I do confess that the conditions of animals in big farming industries does disturb me. There’s a part of me that thinks it can’t really be the right thing to do, but there’s the other part of me that is reluctant to call for changes that would drive up food costs for humans.

    Considerations:

    • Living creatures are more valuable than inanimate objects.
    • Human beings are above all other animals on the Great Chain of Being. Where do chickens figure into that natural hierarchy?
    • Though our fallen world is imperfectible, we should as stewards of God’s creations strive to make a garden (orderly, beautiful, peaceful) of the wilderness. Whatever we can do to ease the suffering of lesser creatures in balance with the needs of humanity — the masters of those creatures and reason for their being — we should do.
    • What regulations and subsidies might affect the influence of factory farming on market prices? Should we undo many of those laws even without being certain of those effects?
    • #10
    • December 22, 2016 at 10:49 am
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  11. Thatcher

    The suffering of Chickens does not move my heart at all. They are lizards with feathers.

    • #11
    • December 22, 2016 at 10:52 am
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  12. Thatcher

    I mentioned in a comment a few days ago that my grandmother would send me back into the fields on seek-and-destroy missions with respect to groundhogs. She kept a vegetable garden up close to the farmhouse, and groundhogs did great damage to it. She raised six children through the Depression due in part to that garden, and she didn’t do so by being patient and willing to share with rodents. (There may have been a few servings of murmeltierpfeffer served from time to time. I never had any, but I’ve been told that it was pretty good.)

    If a PETA type had chastised her, I can just imagine the sight of Grandma running him off the property.

    • #12
    • December 22, 2016 at 10:52 am
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  13. Contributor
    Kevin Creighton Post author

    Knotwise the Poet: With regards to hunting in general- while it’s true that it’s no longer really necessary for people to hunt to feed themselves

    Well that, and the fact that there really is a difference to how farm-raised elk taste versus those that have been harvested in the wild.

    And venison backstrap is sooooo yummy.

    That too.

    • #13
    • December 22, 2016 at 10:55 am
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  14. Inactive

    While I’ve never killed anything bigger than a bug (not counting the countless rabbits my car hit as I was driving to Nevada in 1972), my husband grew up a hunter. His last kill before giving up hunting due to over-regulation by Oregon bureaucrats, was a huge 6 point bull elk—that’s 6 points per side. The meat was so tough we ended up giving all the roasts to a woman who raised hunting dogs.

    • #14
    • December 22, 2016 at 11:07 am
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  15. Member

    I was fishing on a stream in Wyoming near the road, a kid shouted out from a passing car, fish feel pain! I shouted back, That’s why I do it. The wilderness bill, the clean air and water acts, the land conservation fund were products of a small handful of hunters, fishermen and wilderness buffs well before the modern environmental movement began. They cared about wildlife, wilderness, clean water and other outdoor recreation because they put man at the center of things and believed such outdoor experiences were important parts of being human. Modern environmentalists, with some hunter fishermen exceptions, just raise money and fuss. They put their fussiness at the center of things but they’re not serious about anything but their self image.

    • #15
    • December 22, 2016 at 11:09 am
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  16. Inactive

    The vast majority of Mr. Scully’s piece focuses on factory farming, which you don’t seem inclined to defend. Given that the “nice steak dinner” you propose is almost certainly from an industrially raised and slaughtered animal, rather than a hunted one, I find the suggestion an odd one.

    • #16
    • December 22, 2016 at 11:41 am
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  17. Inactive

    I do get a perverse thrill killing things. I named my last 5 quail after prominent democrats so possibly that’s one explanation.

    Whoever the mangina was that wrote the article can enjoy his little place in his little corner of the world. I have guns. I use guns. I kill things, ethically. My rights. Trump was elected to preserve that right. Ha to all the manginas who thought they’d take those rights away.

    • #17
    • December 22, 2016 at 11:42 am
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  18. Inactive

    Percival:I mentioned in a comment a few days ago that my grandmother would send me back into the fields on seek-and-destroy missions with respect to groundhogs. She kept a vegetable garden up close to the farmhouse, and groundhogs did great damage to it. She raised six children through the Depression due in part to that garden, and she didn’t do so by being patient and willing to share with rodents. (There may have been a few servings of murmeltierpfeffer served from time to time. I never had any, but I’ve been told that it was pretty good.)

    If a PETA type had chastised her, I can just imagine the sight of Grandma running him off the property.

    Gotcha. My mother used to shoot varmints in her garden from the kitchen window. Since she disliked mess, she always shot them in the neck with her .22 rifle to make cleanup simpler. Never saw her miss. Cleanup entailed grabbing them by the tail and chucking them in the adjacent gulch. This was in suburbia in the 50’s.

    • #18
    • December 22, 2016 at 11:45 am
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  19. Inactive

    DocJay:I do get a perverse thrill killing things. I named my last 5 quail after prominent democrats so possibly that’s one explanation.

    Whoever the mangina was that wrote the article can enjoy his little place in his little corner of the world. I have guns. I use guns. I kill things, ethically. My rights. Trump was elected to preserve that right. Ha to all the manginas who thought they’d take those rights away.

    First sight of mangina, DocJay! I revere a good neologism.

    • #19
    • December 22, 2016 at 11:47 am
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  20. Member

    “mangina”, that’s a good one. But this talk of getting a thrill killing things misses a point, indeed, it is unseemly.

    How is is un-conservative to be opposed to inflicting suffering upon other living creatures?

    Should we not take our daily steak (which I do enjoy) with a bit of appreciation and grace for the cow whose life was forfeit on our behalf?

    Are we not more noble, more Godly, to acknowledge the pain of other creatures which redounds to our benefit?

    Luke 12:6

    • #20
    • December 22, 2016 at 11:56 am
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  21. Contributor
    Kevin Creighton Post author

    C. Dalloway:The vast majority of Mr. Scully’s piece focuses on factory farming, which you don’t seem inclined to defend. Given that the “nice steak dinner” you propose is almost certainly from an industrially raised and slaughtered animal, rather than a hunted one, I find the suggestion an odd one.

    Actually, I did defend efficient farming, (or as some like to label it, “factory” farming) when I said that I know what it takes to make a living as a rancher or a farmer. I’ve seen it, I’ve worked it, and I lose absolutely no sleep over it.

    To quote a line from The Magnificent Seven (the original, not the remake), if God did not want them sheared, he would not have made them sheep.

    • #21
    • December 22, 2016 at 12:10 pm
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  22. Member

    I just got back from eating a piece of cow for lunch. It was delicious. Yesterday, I had a pulled pork sandwich. It was yummy, too. Tomorrow we’re being treated to smoked brisket. I can’t wait.

    Cattle, hog, and chicken production is just fine with me. Most producers have figured out that animals that are not stressed provide a better product. So the animals are fed well, kept clean and healthy. That’s a good thing in my book.

    We have moved beyond the days of the buffalo hunter who left everything but the tongue to rot. And it wasn’t because of PITA that we learned to conserve. We matured. Now with PITA et. al. we are regressing back to infantile thinking.

    • #22
    • December 22, 2016 at 12:11 pm
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  23. Contributor
    Kevin Creighton Post author

    Doctor Robert:“mangina”, that’s a good one. But this talk of getting a thrill killing things misses a point, indeed, it is unseemly.

    How is is un-conservative to be opposed to inflicting suffering upon other living creatures?

    Should we not take our daily steak (which I do enjoy) with a bit of appreciation and grace for the cow whose life was forfeit on our behalf?

    Are we not more noble, more Godly, to acknowledge the pain of other creatures which redounds to our benefit?

    Luke 12:6

    No one, and I mean NO ONE is more appreciative of what it takes to put food on the table than a hunter. Spending three days in the freezing cold glassing for a buck has a way of increasing your appreciation for how difficult it is to feed a family. :D

    That being said, I see the current cult of animal rights as an understandable, if wrong-headed, reaction to the ease by which we feed ourselves these days. I don’t oppose factory farms because I know how hard it is to make a living as a farmer, and I don’t oppose hunting because I know how tough it is to do ethically while respecting God’s bounty.

    Those of us whose idea of a tough hunt is searching all the Trader Joes in a 50 mile radius for the perfect cheese to go with that lovely little Chilean red with the fruity nose and oaken finish may have different opinions on the struggle for food.

    Douglas Adams (he of “Hitchhiker’s Guide To Galaxy” fame) once wrote that a civilization goes through three stages:

    1. How Are We Going To Eat?
    2. Why Do We Eat?
    3. Where Are We Going To Go For Lunch?

    To which I would add a fourth: How DARE You Eat That!

    :D

    • #23
    • December 22, 2016 at 12:16 pm
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  24. Thatcher

    One aim of the “animal rights” cult is to demote humans from the top of the food chain, and the top of the animal kingdom entirely. They are, basically, anti-human, and seek to elevate animals (including fish like the Delta smelt) above us. We should move, and sacrifice, and spend our fortunes on preserving them, because they are inherently more valuable than we are. The animal-rights activists also tend to be anti-religious, and pro-abortion-consistent with their aims.

    • #24
    • December 22, 2016 at 12:29 pm
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  25. Member

    Knotwise the Poet: while it’s true that it’s no longer really necessary for people to hunt to feed themselves (at least in most cases) or the population,

    If you have been to Alaska, you may have noted “Game Management Area” signs along the highways. These indicate areas in which people living there have the right to hunt out of season and to road kill. Some of these families are very poor and live in the bush. If a moose gets hit by a car, and quite a few do in winter, the top name on the road kill list gets called. They have a half hour to respond, then a call is made to the next name. These families are still quite dependent on hunting and many may live a whole season on a single moose.

    • #25
    • December 22, 2016 at 12:44 pm
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  26. Contributor
    Kevin Creighton Post author

    Pilli:I just got back from eating a piece of cow for lunch. It was delicious. Yesterday, I had a pulled pork sandwich. It was yummy, too. Tomorrow we’re being treated to smoked brisket. I can’t wait.

    Cattle, hog, and chicken production is just fine with me. Most producers have figured out that animals that are not stressed provide a better product. So the animals are fed well, kept clean and healthy. That’s a good thing in my book.

    We have moved beyond the days of the buffalo hunter who left everything but the tongue to rot. And it wasn’t because of PITA that we learned to conserve. We matured. Now with PITA et. al. we are regressing back to infantile thinking.

    No, no, no. PETA are the people protesting humanity’s continued existence on this planet, and PITA is an acronym for Pain In The …

    Wait.

    I see what you did there.

    Well-played. Very well-played. :)

    • #26
    • December 22, 2016 at 1:05 pm
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  27. Member

    Pilli: We have moved beyond the days of the buffalo hunter who left everything but the tongue to rot. And it wasn’t because of PITA that we learned to conserve. We matured.

    We might benefit from exploring this progression in greater historical detail.

    I can immediately recall a handful of species that were supposedly eliminated by overhunting in the 19th century — Irish elk, dodos, moas, Tazmanian tigers — while other populations were decimated — Siberian tigers, African elephants, bison, wolves, sperm whales, etc. Did these massacres stop primarily because various technologies made it easier to estimate populations and improved media distribution enabled us to consider these situations with geographically greater perspectives?

    Human nature doesn’t change. Only our circumstances change, including the knowledge we inherit from histories.

    • #27
    • December 22, 2016 at 1:15 pm
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  28. Member

    “Factory farming” is a leftist pejorative used to denigrate modern agriculture and its use should be shunned and shamed at all times. It appears to say something, but all it does is cast aspersions on honorable industry. The users of the term get to bask in warm feelings of self righteousness, but they really proclaim their ignorance and vile hostility, which ought to be pointed out every time the phrase comes up. I’ll put the soap box away now.

    • #28
    • December 22, 2016 at 1:52 pm
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  29. Thatcher

    C. Dalloway:The vast majority of Mr. Scully’s piece focuses on factory farming, which you don’t seem inclined to defend. Given that the “nice steak dinner” you propose is almost certainly from an industrially raised and slaughtered animal, rather than a hunted one, I find the suggestion an odd one.

    Does factory farming make food cheaper? If yes, sign me up. Especially chickens. And pigs.

    • #29
    • December 22, 2016 at 1:56 pm
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  30. Inactive

    The hunter has an ethical duty to deliver a clean efficient quick kill if at all possible.

    I have turned down many shots that would likely just wound.

    • #30
    • December 22, 2016 at 2:05 pm
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