When most men and women discuss with each other the current human domination of earth, there is usually a certain degree of sympathy with the animal kingdom. They will see the pictures of animals being tortured in laboratories and they will scream in protest; they will see pictures of animals being slaughtered in factory farms, and they will agree that it does disturb their consciences. People today will agree that their animal companions are just as capable of emotion and feeling as their Homo sapiens equivalents. A trained dog reacts with heart-rending yelps to pain, reacts to seeing an old master with joyful and enthusiastic calls. To say that humans do not react like this would be simple deceit. However, as much as people agree that there should be some mourning for the situation of the animal kingdom, in their suffering and misery in factory farms and testing laboratories, these people will agree that the misery of the smaller races is necessary. If we did not herd and rear cattle, then where would we get our meat and our shoes? If we did not experiment on monkeys, then where would we get our new shampoo, cosmetic, and chemical supplies? Since those with good heart and good intentions can do away with shampoo and chemicals more than they can with meat or eggs, people are more likely to oppose animal experimentation but not the mass production and consequent mass slaughtering of billions of creatures. People will try to justify to themselves that the deaths of animals, no matter how tragic, are still necessary to the ends they pursue in society.
Yet when we look at hunting, the bloodsport of today's world, we hear no justification from the masses. There is a reason why it is hated most of all by the good men and women of earth. We hear from the people who oppose hunting today: "Vivisection or raising cows for hamburgers is tragic, but they serve some end; they each have a goal of satisfying some interest in mankind. We do the deed, and our hands are soaked with blood and guilt afterwards, but we do that deed in order to capture a higher aim, whether it's food or medical research." The Liberal position here makes a very valid point: hunting does not serve any civilized, creative, or humane interest. When a human being takes it upon himself to carry a weapon, track down a creature that has no defenses, and to end its existence, and to end it solely for that reason, he is committing a serious crime. The very motive of the act, the very ends of a hunter, are to make misery, to produce suffering, to leave eggs not to be hatched my mothers, to leave cubs unattended in the wastelands of the arctic, to kill a life form that is capable of emotion, thought, and love.
The primary end of hunting is the death, and the accompanying misery, pain, and suffering, of an animal that never posed a threat to anyone. It is the most open and obvious violation in society today which speaks volumes on the cruelty of the human race. The hunter does not necessarily seek to satisfy his hunger, or to satisfy his living conditions, but the chief end of this pleasure is the unfortunate, revolting death of an animal. His heart beats faster, and his veins pump quicker, when he has learned that he ended the life of a creature of the world. The sight of an animal in the distance and he becomes tense, still, nervous. Suspense. He hoists his weapon up, squints his eyes, and squeezes the trigger, as it feels like his heart is about to burst. The animal falls helpless to the ground. Relief and an immediate sense of joy run in to the blood stream of the hunter. For him to believe that love is the greatest emotion to embrace, he must have at his feet the mutilated and destroyed body of an innocent being. To satisfy his hungers, he must murder for the sake of murder. This is, above all, the primary reason why hunting is universally unpopular.
Yet, when the man who eats meat agrees with the slaughter of cows for food, or when the woman who uses cosmetic products agrees with animal experimentation, it is to satisfy some other urge. Yes, there is blood, yes, there is death. But, it is that men might eat, or that chemicals might be discovered as safe or hazardous. The death associated with the agribusiness is necessary, to some extent, they proclaim. Hunting, on the other hand, attempts to satisfy no end but itself; the pain and suffering inflicted on conscious animals is inflicted solely for the sake of inflicting it. This is only done, it is only practiced by men, because some of them are pleasured by causing death; it is a sick conscience, a last remnant from the era where society was barbaric and malicious, a civilization where gaining pleasure from the deaths of others was a necessary trait of survival. That is why hunting is so openly detested by all brothers of Leftist causes. Hunting is antagonistic to the principle of living without causing a disturbance to the harmony of the world.
While it is good and commonly true that hunting is among the worst hated cruelties to animals, what is to say that the difference between the hunter and the consumer of meat products is all that great? True, the hunter's interest is the thrill that comes with ending another's life, but, even though the animal suffers greatly, it is quick, short, immediate. Think of the way all raised and slaughtered cows live. They are born, deprived of their mothers, fed enormous amounts of antibiotics, steroids, and growth hormones that make them violently ill, and then maintained in cruel conditions. From the day they can feel to the day they join the legions of dead, they are full of misery, pain, unhappiness. So, too, is the condition of those animals bred for laboratory experiments. These test animals are created for the sole sake that they can be in miserable and unstopping pain, a prolonged death in the most inhumane and brutal form imaginable. Burning, poisoning, beating -- everything is given to these test animals. It almost seems as if the misery created by the hunter dims in comparison to that caused by consumers. Why should we oppose hunting, it is argued, when our own habits of present society are just as destructive? For those of us who are Freethinkers, who follow our thoughts in to actions, and believe only what fits the evidence, there is no question here. We support neither hunting, nor experimentation, nor the eating of animal flesh. All of these trades, in their own ways, are in opposition to a universal, humane ethic of kinship.
In fact, we hear many hunters who use our own arguments, who promote our own ideas. They claim that it is cruel and heartless to put animals through short, painful lives, whether it is in slaughtering livestock or torturing lab mice; it is the habit of the hunter that causes the least amount of pain to the animal kingdom and disturbs the environmental chain the least. Many hunters don't offer their lifestyle as a great enemy of the animal rights activists, but rather, they see themselves as the alternative to what mainstream culture has done to the situation of animals. What the "civilized community" is doing to the animal world is unbelievable cruelty on so many levels. A hunter can say, "I like my prey in the eye before I kill, I stand before it and it can see me before I kill it. I live my life this way because I like to be honest. I do not need these pictures of slaughterhouses before me. I know very well what goes on there and I am appalled by it, as well. So, I live outside their system. I provide meat for myself." The hunter is honest. It is very weird that these hunters have a seemingly misplaced affection for animal rights causes. For these reasons, many hunters are also a part of the effort to conserve the natural environment. Logging expeditions, poaching, and the like, are fought by both Leftists and hunters. There is a strange companionship in such ranks, in that all members of these environmental endeavors have this one interest in mind: promoting the idea that mankind is not the only species on the planet and the idea that mankind needs to act in accordance with that fact, not in opposition to it.
However, the principle behind Animal Rights is that animals are deserving of the same justice that is done to humans. They are to be treated fairly and not exploited, either for their flesh or their misery. To the hunters, I ask the same thing that I ask of those who eat meat: to obtain a lifestyle where they are not the greatest source of misery for the suffering of animals. Those of us who have obtained such a lifestyle, those of us who condemn the use of animals for food or pleasure, and to live in a way that does not support those who are cruel to animals, we feel as though we are living on a better height than others. What our mind has been telling us all along, is what our hearts are now ready to believe. That is, the idea that all animals can feel as much as humans, and to act in according to this belief means abstaining from meat consumption. Few people hunt; good men are naturally repulsed by the sight of any violence. But, many men eat meat. It is much easier to condemn the first and defend the second. It is ultimately to live a lie, to become a breathing contradiction of terms, supporting some animal rights issues while contributing to such great animal suffering by actions. The inhumanity of hunting is apparent. It takes thought and consideration, to realize that since killing an animal out of destructive impulses or hunting is immoral, so too is it to support an industry that operates on these actions.
All arguments on the matter of motive considered, there should be a thorough description of the practice of hunting. When a man or woman becomes a hunter, when a person decides that it will be their goal to end the lives of animals around them, they are actively making a choice to gain pleasure at the misery of others. Of course, this is rarely the case. Few people will abandon the pleasure and creativity that comes with art, literature, film, and music in order to pursue the deaths of innocent creatures; few people will go from hiking and exploring nature to destroying and murdering it. Those people of our world who call themselves "sportsman hunters" are usually brought up with their cruel habits. I have no doubt that they don't think what they do is cruel or mean in any sense of these terms. Many of the hunters that I had the pleasure of meeting walked with pride, spoke with confidence, and always used small words, no matter what the conversation. Many hunters are under the impression that to track and slaughter the earth's creatures is the same thing as to live in the bosom of nature. While they might stand underneath the beautiful sky, while they might be surrounded by majestic trees, while they might act as explorers for one moment, they are still in these realms as killers and murderers. There is no other way to put it.
An animal in its natural environment suddenly finds itself in a life or death battle against the advanced technology of our misguided civilization. Men draped in camouflage and armed with rifles give chase to the animal. These animals flee until they feel they are about to die from exhaustion. In the distance, between the trees and the leaves, the literal flesh of the forest, they can hear gunshots and happy cheers of inquisitors. The chase continues. The heart rate of the animal increases five fold as the terror in his mind only increases. He becomes tired, his muscles burn as though they were on fire, his mind starts to prefer death and sleep to the fear that wrecks his existence, and hope starts to fade. Perhaps the animal has been wounded by now by these hunters, but still persists to make it in this struggle of life. Knowing that its ability to flee is destroyed, it tries to hide; it dodges left and right, always turning, taking refuge in shrubbery, anything. Dizziness and physical sickness take over the mind of this animal, as the combination of exhaustion and loss of blood inhibits his mind to make decisions, to analyze the situation, to understand. It crosses over a hill on to a clearing, and as it looks behind it sees that its enemies have caught up to it. They begin to run closer as it limps and pants. Perhaps it gives up. Perhaps all of the confusion of the situation, the dying pains, the misery disable everything, and it falls to the ground. The chase is over, as the hunter releases several more rounds in to the surrendered body of one of the earth's creatures.
Maybe the animal did escape with only a wound or two. Maybe the animal was allowed eight to sixteen more hours to wander around what it has learned as home, seeking comfort and aid, praying for release from its misery. It could, by this point, have realized the hopeless of the situation, as experience with animals would tell us. Perhaps it has lost all desire to live; this creature has decided that the time for its existence to end has blossomed. It accepts this fate, and the only thing it seeks, is a refuge from the world around it, so that it can die peaceably and alone; the pains of the wound and the emotional stress only acting as fuel to its demise. But, maybe this is not the case. Maybe the animal finds the strength and ability to survive the pain, to endure the debilitating harm done to it. Its wounds will heal and it has been granted a chance to continue living, until a natural end should come to it. Even though the wound has healed, its ability to gather food and escape natural predators has been hindered. It seeks out its natural food source, whether it is with other animals as prey or whether it is the fruit of the earth, and it cannot feed itself. This creature becomes scrawny, it loses its muscle mass, it becomes weak and feeble. Weeks go by in this existence which should have been ended, and the animal starves to death.
I look at this description of the practice of hunting, and I am reminded why I have decided to become the enemy of this habit. It is the sight of this practice that has led so many people to become staunch enemies of hunting. The simple sight of this violence against innocent beings will repulse the best of men. I can say with confidence that the anti-hunting movement is full of men of good character and good will. Many people defend hunting as the sport of the poor man, the unrevered peasant who is taught by his father to track and to shoot, and has no other method to satisfy his hunger. To this, I have a response. Should those who are poor and without aid from their society of brothers be in dire of food, then encourage them to become gardeners and farmers, the tillers of the earth. My opponents will look at this suggestion, and they will laugh. But, for all that hunters will say to me of the farmers of the earth, let me say this in defense of this plan of encouraging men to garden rather than hunt. Men should satisfy their yearnings of creative activity, free labor, and hunger by creating life, not by destroying it. Desire is the most natural moving force; as individuals in a civilized society, we should direct our impulses so that they are good for ourselves, our fellow brethren, and the world on which we live. We should give support to men, so that they live by their own means, that they do not take from the bounty of the earth but contribute to its liveliness. The efforts of honest men to feed themselves come from farming. They create for themselves, to satisfy the urge to feed themselves and live independently. That is what we should support as an alternative to hunting, for those who feel that poverty strips them of any real choice in life.
To those who oppose hunting, but continue in their lives as consumers of meat products, as wearers of the mink and fox coat, I ask them to consider their habits more closely. Hunting is an apparent abuse of the obligations of all men towards our planet and the innocent creatures that share it with us. Its sole objective is the death and misery of an animal to satisfy the guilty pleasures of a few. For these reasons, it is obvious that we should oppose it. If we were to take a tour through a slaughterhouse, we would quickly discover that we are appalled by what we see. The death of an animal, whether at the hand of a so-called "sportsman" or at the hand of a hired butcher, is still offending to our conscience. It is for this reason, that hunting is on the decline, while meat eating is otherwise unaffected. I will draw a comparison to better illustrate my point. The Socialist movement to eliminate child labor in factories was not effective until the people became aware of these children worked, of how the products they purchased were produced. It was by disseminating information, whether through photographs or literature, that the movement gained success, and eliminated the barbaric practice. And the same is today, of those products made in foreign sweatshops, not different from the factories that once housed our children for twelve hours a day in hazardous work. So, I must make a plea for all progressive minded individuals, to abstain from meat, the same way they would support a hunting ban, the same way they would refuse to purchase products made by slave labor.
"At least let the animals have one free domain that does not have the dirty finger prints of man all over it," our Liberal friend pleads with us, "At least there is one world that we can look straight in the eye, and say that we do not contribute to the misery of the animal world in this way. All of nature should be left untouched. Let the animals live without fear of clumsy, drunken humans trying to shoot anything that moves. They deserve at least that much." I must admit; my Liberal friends have usually been a deep source of wisdom and practical knowledge. I definitely disagree with them on some points, no doubt. For example, I want public ownership of capital, while their greatest social reform is a welfare system. Again, they are a step above their conservative enemies; they are supporting efforts that are genuinely just and fair. On this point, we are in agreement. All leftists believe that hunting is a problem, that it is an enemy of justice and honor, that it does nothing but cause suffering and brutality. For these reasons, we must always oppose hunting, and those who defend it, or make apologies for it. We want a better world, but the best world is not around the corner. We have to start somewhere. And opposing the most blatant form of animal abuse, hunting, is certainly a starting position.
Our laws are antiquated. They will always be. Their origin is not the will of the people, but what the will of the ruling class gives to the people, forces the people to believe. This is a class of lies called "the institutional truths." Our laws may be antiquated, but our science and our arts are so far advanced. It is rare to find someone who supports the actions of hunters, these men who feel emotional growth only by the deaths of innocent animals. It is good to see that progress has made the strides that it has; I am thankful for the eight-hour workday as much as I am thankful for all good men opposing hunting. But, people taking offense from the idea of hunting, people who oppose all that hunters take delight in, they are not enough to stop hunting. They alone, unorganized, is not enough to end the abuse that our planet is suffering by these poachers. We must work together, promote legislation to end this abuse, make laws that protect the world's animals. Yes, I am an Anarchist, and I do believe in the elimination of the state and its power, but until the people become the power, there is no need to continue to in exploitation of harmless creatures. We cannot end all injustice and cruelty in one century. It will take many long decades, much struggle for progress and reason to become the proud marks of our civilization. It will be a very long time before that ideal world is in sight. But, for the moment, let us show the historians of the future that we were a humane race. Let them know that we banned the practice of hunting; let them know we made it illegal for men to gain pleasure out of the miseries and exploitations of smaller races.