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Aug 02 2013

Although…I would endorse “Christ Hunting”

Yesterday, I was sent a link to an appalling photograph: one of those standard trophy shots of a group of grinning idiots standing over the corpse of an elephant they’d sportingly murdered with their great big manly guns. There’s a whole gallery of cheerful assassins, if you want to see; I don’t recommend it. It’s basically a lot of rich white people who have paid to be coddled for a week while they safely point a high-powered rifle at a large, relatively rare and fragile creature and destroy it.

provider_for_christ_banner

But one thing caught my eye. It is a small thing, but it added an additional frisson of disgust to the page. It was this banner:

Yep, it’s the Provider for Christ Hunting Adventure. They’ve taken a revolting act of senseless destruction and made it even more repugnant by justifying it with Jesus. For the low price of $2395 you get to fulfill this goal:

Goal: To Support the creation of new and more energized Providers for Christ, and the families of men and women based on Biblical principals [sic].

Oh. Biblical principles. So they hunt wildebeest and Cape Buffalo with bows and spears, possibly from the deck of a chariot? That would be a fair fight, and I would encourage more Christians to demonstrate their courage and battle lions with an assegai.

Wait, no, that’s not what it is: they’re still using great big guns to execute the local wildlife. What makes it Christian is that they get doped up on sanctimony by including local ministers who harangue the participants in seminars, and then they give the meat from the animals they kill to orphans at a squatter’s camp. Which does lead me to wonder what’s done with the meat on non-Jesusy safaris; it’s left to rot?

I have a suggestion: camera safaris. Support conservation organizations. Promote economic fairness and political stability, rather than palliation by numbing people with god. Don’t give more money to rich people with helicopters who are exploiting the environment.

How about putting the Christ Hunting Adventure out of business? I know, that won’t happen — there are far too many Christian assholes out there.

94 comments

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  1. 1
    voidhawk

    What’s the matter with these sickos?

  2. 2
    stwriley

    I’d certainly like to see more of these “manly” Christian fellows try and take down a Cape Buffalo with an assegai. The YouTube videos would be viral in moments, categorized under the tag “stupid ways to die”. Alas, their manliness doesn’t extend to anything that might actually cause them a moments discomfort, much less any risk.

    To answer your question about the animals killed by regular (i.e., not for Jesus) safaris, it’s usually sold by the safari guides or company on the “bush meat” market that still exists in many African countries. It’s basically too profitable to let it just go to waste. Since they’re legal operations they can harvest the meat and sell it quite easily, unlike some poachers (of elephants and rhinos, in particular) who do leave the carcass to rot since what they’re doing is illegal and what they’re really after is the far more valuable tusks and horns.

    So. I suppose that giving the meat away is a slight step up over selling it, but they’d have a lot greater effect if they just bowdlerized the process and gave the squatters the money spent on the safari directly. Then they could buy a hell of a lot more food (and maybe a few other essential things, like medicine or clothing) without having some western manly yahoo slaughter an animal to make it possible.

  3. 3
    holytape

    Well, Christ hunting wouldn’t be a manly man’s sport. It’s not like he can run away and hide, being all nailed to a cross as such. I mean you can walk up right next to him and put a cap in his ass. Then wait three days and do it again. No, a manly man’s sport is hunting quail with clipped wings like Dick “the manmeat” Cheney.

    Adam and Steve

  4. 4
    davem

    Oh. Biblical principles. So they hunt wildebeest and Cape Buffalo with bows and spears,

    Er, nope. They cast the devils out of one the local witth-doctor, then cast it into the local elephants, who jump of a cliff to their deaths

  5. 5
    chigau (違う)

    This post has been up for over an hour.
    Are the ‘but-you-eat-meat’ people all asleep?

  6. 6
    brucegorton

    Sounds like a canned lion hunting operation.

  7. 7
    Rey Fox

    Burnt offering, sweet savor, etc.

  8. 8
    richardelguru

    You should (if you haven’t already) read Orwell’s essay ‘shooting an Elephant’.

  9. 9
    Naked Bunny with a Whip

    Yeah, I remember those stories where Jesus took his posse out to kill animals for shits and grins using his laser eyes and ki arrows.

  10. 10
    irisvanderpluym

    Why does this Christ character need providers?

  11. 11
    morejello

    Hunting wildebeast with a bow from a chariot sounds pretty cool.
    These jokers? not so much.

  12. 12
    anuran

    Canned hunts? Feh.
    I’ve hunted. It involved spending a lot of time trudging around in the brush after surplus deer which the State would otherwise have to pay someone to shoot or which would starve during the winter because their natural predators have been wiped out. The State saved money. I got a freezer full of meat. And I got the spiritual benefit of direct connection with the food I eat – understanding at an emotional level that a living, breathing animal died for what’s on my plate. It didn’t just magically appear in a Styrofoam container in the meat department.

  13. 13
    microraptor

    As one of the other posters already said, in typical big game hunts the meat is usually taken by the local guides and packers who either eat it themselves or sell it. It’s apparently a fairly significant part of the local economy in some parts of Africa and Asia.

  14. 14
    lostintime

    Anuran

    And I got the spiritual benefit of direct connection with the food I eat – understanding at an emotional have level that a living, breathing animal died for what’s on my plate.

    Oh please god spare us the sanctimonious airs. You kill animals for sport – but that’s not enough: you have to smarmily describe what you do as a spiritual release as if we’re supposed to be impressed. Such great respect you have, even as you pull the trigger. And what’s worse, libertarian fuckwits like you then claim that you are the necessary benevolent stewards of the environment. I expect if you didn’t hunt, there would just be no economic incentive to keep these wild places, right?

    Have you ever heard of Safari Club International? It’s a hideous organization whose front page boasts that they are the ‘leaders in protecting wildlife conservation worldwide’. You’d probably fit right in.

  15. 15
    Amused

    Even putting atheism aside, how is hunting a Christian pastime? Even if you are religious person, the following three things should give you pause before you go on a safari:

    1. In the Genesis, God twice withheld the Covenant from a hunter in favor of a farmer, despite the hunter having seniority (Ishmael vs. Isaac and Esau vs. Jacob).

    2. Leviticus imposes such excruciatingly specific rules on how to slaughter animals properly, to make them ritually “pure” and therefore fit for consumption, that they all but explicitly prohibit hunting. An animal slaughtered after being wounded = not kosher; an animal slaughtered while terrified = not kosher; any bones broken or shattered during the slaughter = not kosher; animal slaughtered in any other way except by slitting the throat and quickly draining the blood out = not kosher. Clearly, God went to great lengths to ram home the message that he really, really, reallyreallyreally doesn’t want you to hunt. Not even for subsistence.

    3. Yes, Jesus supposedly cancelled much of the Levitical law, but for what purpose? Surely not so as to enable a bunch of yahoos to prop up their flagging masculinity by stalking, terrifying and killing defenseless creatures that God created and presumably loves. Doesn’t make much sense for God to be so explicit in his distaste for hunters and hunting, only to then say through his son, “Neh. Forget it, it’s okay. Do what you want. Go sacrifice that zebra to your grotesquely inflated ego and claim you’re doing it in My Name. I’m totally cool with that.”

  16. 16
    Amused

    Anuran:

    Although I have never hunted, I know where my meat comes from. Surprising as it may be to you, I know it doesn’t magically appear in a styrofoam containter, and I know a living, breathing animal died for it. I realize that when people like you claim you can’t grasp that simple fact without actually killing an animal, you are trying to impugn the intelligence of people like me, but in reality, you are only insulting yourself.

  17. 17
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    Although…I would endorse “Christ Hunting”

    Well of course. They supposedly feeds thousands and aren’t on the endangered species list…

  18. 18
    throwaway, never proofreads, every post a gamble

    It comes across to me as “All you other meat eaters have to be guilt tripped into appreciating the death of a being, capable of suffering, for your meals; but me, since I’m directly responsible for such a death, why I have actual experienced appreciation of that suffering because I caused it – which is superior!” Meh.

  19. 19
    profpedant

    Re: Christ-Hunting and the Endangered Species List.

    If the Christians are right then there is either one god, or at most three gods – in either case a number that would qualify a deity for the endangered species list. On the other hand there are supposed to be lots and lots of angels….I wonder if they taste like chicken…..

  20. 20
    irisvanderpluym

    profpedant:

    there is either one god, or at most three gods – in either case a number that would qualify a deity for the endangered species list.

    Nobody puts parasites that plague humanity on the endangered species list, except Jenny McCarthy & Co.

  21. 21
    unclefrogy

    I see nothing wrong with hunting surplus animals and eating them as described above nor do I see anything wrong with being physically and emotionally involved with obtaining and eating the food we need to stay alive. I have never had the opportunity to hunt for food though I have had many long hours killing fish (fishing) and crabs. I even raised rabbits and chickens for food and raised vegetables too, does that make me some kind of killer creep?

    it is a far cry from an modern industrial slaughter house.

    the professionally guided hunts for trophies are a very different thing as are the people mostly men who get off putting trophies of their kills all over their houses.
    They are about the same as shooting cows in a paddock.

    uncle frogy

  22. 22
    UnknownEric the Apostate

    If I were going Christ-hunting, I’d definitely take one of my born-again relatives with me, since they’re always telling me how easy it was for them to “find Jesus.”

  23. 23
    lostintime

    I see nothing wrong with hunting surplus animals and eating them as described above nor do I see anything wrong with being physically and emotionally involved with obtaining and eating the food we need to stay alive.

    Ah yes, the surplus animals. This slick phrase is employed by hunting advocates, but it just makes me think about shifting baselines. I wonder what the surplus number of passenger pidgeons once was. As for genuine ecological management, wouldn’t it be better and more humane to use trained marksmen to control wild animal populations? Even better, we should look to find alternatives, albeit more expensive, that could be developed, such as birth control vaccines.

  24. 24
    Allan Frost

    If it were possible to go Christ hunting, we could get rid of that transubstantiation-stale cracker-middle man crap and get us some fresh Jesus meat.

  25. 25
    myeck waters

    Maybe we could catch Jesus in mid-transubstantiation and he could be his own sandwich.

  26. 26
    unclefrogy

    as was mentioned above there are reasons there are some species of animals that are surplus, there are more in a given area than can be supported.
    Are you suggesting professional game keepers to do all the culling? (killing cows in a paddock)
    birth control? there has been some success with those kinds of methods in pest control that are better on the environment than indiscriminate use of pesticides, using them on wild lands are still trying problems we created? what would be the effect of indiscriminate use of such methods be on the environment?

    There is nothing particularly humane about how animals interact in the wild or with the environment.
    Is it the killing of the animals that is the most disturbing?
    How is legally hunting and eating wild animals worse than factory farming?
    Should we all be vegan?

    trophy hunting blessed by priests is bull shit and just another way that the outfitters are using to draw costumers. I will bet money that they actually sell the meat regardless of the advertising.

    uncle frogy

  27. 27
    erik333

    @23 lostintime

    Just require marksmanship tests in order to get a hunting licence, and set quotas? The hunters will perform this service for free.

    @21 unclefrogy

    Fishing vs hunting is a distinction without a difference really.

    @5 chigau

    No, but PZ didn’t seem to simply be doing the traditional moral outrage over hunters schtick while happily munching on the meat of our completely subjugated stock of slave animals.

  28. 28
    kyoseki

    At this point it’s probably worth noting that:
    1: States DO set quotas on the number of deer/other wildlife that can be hunted
    2: Most hunters make it a point to try to fell any animal with the first shot

    I have absolutely no interest in hunting, but I don’t see any problem with it as long as it’s regulated.

    Obviously that only goes for hunting as a part of wildlife conservation, not hunting big game for shits and giggles, those guys can go fuck themselves.

  29. 29
    David Utidjian

    From the link: They do offer bow hunting safaris as wells as photo safaris. The site is too slow right now to check pricing differences. I imagine the person who shot the lion with a bow had some one with a rifle to back them up.

    Some of the blurb from the “Hunting for Christ” section says stuff like,

    3. Minister to the poor at an orphanage and squatters camp with a Christian organization. This will involve bringing your meat to the camps and using your other talents to help the children. Feel free to bring needed items such as candy, clothing sports equipment, and medical supplies. These are always in short supply and greatly appreciated.

    and,

    You will be invited to worship with the people in the camps. They are learning to love Jesus Christ and will be energized by your support. If you have special talents and want to use them, let us know and we will try our best to facilitate you in using them for God.

    I am not sure what they mean by ‘special talents’ but why not take the kids on a photo-safari, teach them about the value of their natural heritage to the whole world, bring along medical supplies, books (not Bibles), etc… and cash. The special talents could include building skills for school improvements, clinic improvements, infrastructure improvements, teaching (reading, writing, math, science, hygiene, conservation, construction, art, etc…)

  30. 30
    Denverly

    @#23 lostintime – yeah, game hunters typically are the most trained marksmen you are ever going to find. Most hunts for big game require a PH (professional hunter) to accompany the client. Say a water buffalo charges, gets too close, and the PH kills it. The client then gets “congratulated” on the kill, and pays whatever fees there are for that animal. If the PH has to kill an animal because the client wasn’t a good shot, the client pays for it. Most safari outfits also have a “you shot it, you bought it”, whether or not the animal is tracked down. I don’t enjoy hunting myself, but I don’t think I have the moral standing to condemn it either, being a burger and dairy lover.

  31. 31
    lostintime

    If the PH has to kill an animal because the client wasn’t a good shot, the client pays for it

    Maybe the client shouldn’t be there in the first place

  32. 32
    anchor

    These guys are a disgrace to the planet.

    Haven’t we heard yet? We wreck everything.

    As with every other problem that afflicts us, the solution is clear: bring down the human population to sustainable levels (<1 billion) or else reap the inevitable consequences.

  33. 33
    patterson

    I’d like for once to read a real rational criticism of hunting. One that doesn’t depend on ad hominem, absurdity or appeal to emotion. One that acknowledges that virtually all human activity has a detrimental effect on other animals, whether through the destruction of habitat, through farming, building or any other kind of development of the land, the direct killing of animals, through the harvesting of grains and grasses, involving the slaughter of small rodents, rabbits, and nesting grassland birds (sorry vegans), and through pollution, especially carbon pollution such as from travelling or the manufacture and running of the devices used to access and maintain the internet. Why are some people more outraged by the active killing of an animal than the much more destructive passive participation in the destruction of entire ecosystems which not only lead to the deaths of individual animals but the deaths of entire species.

    These hunters for example. Their safari seems absurd to me not for the killing especially but for the absurd waste of resources it represents, and the horrendous history of westerners treating Africa as their private reserve, part and parcel of the plundering of the wealth of Africa. If they were all standing around with thousands of dollars of camera gear I think it would be only slightly less grotesque.

  34. 34
    alisonmeyer

    Well, when all else fails, we can complain that they’re offering “safari’s.”

    It’s just another kind of apologetics, when it comes down to brass tacks.

  35. 35
    anuran

    Oh please god spare us the sanctimonious airs. You kill animals for sport – but that’s not enough: you have to smarmily describe what you do as a spiritual release as if we’re supposed to be impressed. Such great respect you have, even as you pull the trigger. And what’s worse, libertarian fuckwits like you then claim that you are the necessary benevolent stewards of the environment. I expect if you didn’t hunt, there would just be no economic incentive to keep these wild places, right?

    Oh, please spare me the projection, the ignorance and the out and out fucking stupidity of idiots who just know that everyone has to fit into their neat little pigeonholes. If you hunt it has to be for fun. If you hunt you have to be a libertarian. And if you learn anything from the experience you have to think of it as a “spiritual release”.

    But I suppose in the cramped little world you inhabit anyone who does *shudder* rural things has to be a Red State Teabagger. And all feminists are ugly man-hating lesbians. All Blacks are inner city criminals. Mexicans are shiftless welfare cheats who come here to steal our jobs. Because if there’s one thing I know about bigotry is that it just loves to find a comfortable little pustule of prejudice for anyone who isn’t just like the bigot.

    Listen up, halfwit. I’m an old-school union-organizing Socialist. Always have been, always will be. I do disgusting working class things like watching football and deer hunting once in a while. If you think that makes someone Rand Pauil you’re a fucking lunatic.

    And yes, there are personal, call them spiritual, benefits to raising, gathering and yes hunting your own food. You appreciate it more. If you had to weed the tomatoes you don’t take them for granted. If you had to butcher the deer yourself you make sure nothing is wasted. But I suppose that’s just too grubby and pedestrian for someone in your exalted station.

  36. 36
    anchor

    re #35: understood

    All the more reason to reduce the population…if only to ensure that your kind of thinking might last awhile longer in the pool.

  37. 37
    robster

    When I saw “Christ Hunting”, I went for the literal interpretation, the fun of gunnin’ for Jesus! I was hoping they’d be settting up an attraction where fake Jesus’ would pop out from behind bushes, wild animals and behind various natural features. Each animatronic jesus’ could have sensors embedded to count the hits, and for those so inclined a vial of a tasty red and a serving of wee crackers to please the believers need to canibalise the dead again jesus’. They’d make a fortune as there does seem to be a market for this kind of stuff.

  38. 38
    themaiasaur

    How hard is it to accept that killing defenseless animals and inflicting suffering isn’t something to be proud of or desired?
    Not only do we want to eat them, hunt them and wear them, but also feel good about it, and that justification is annoying.

    Oh please god spare us the sanctimonious airs. You kill animals for sport – but that’s not enough: you have to smarmily describe what you do as a spiritual release as if we’re supposed to be impressed. Such great respect you have, even as you pull the trigger.

    I suppose all this really just comes down to desensitization – probably if you’ve been hunting deer all your life fetishizing the idea, you aren’t going to suddenly give a shit.

  39. 39
    chigau (違う)

    themaiasaur #38
    Do you have any opinions about people who hunt in order to eat?

  40. 40
    kyoseki

    Obviously those people who hunt in order to eat delight in the suffering of the poor baby animals, just like those of us who enjoy the occasional steak get off on the idea of cows being tortured to death.

  41. 41
    DLC

    While I abhor “canned” hunts, and think that eating bush-meat is dangerous, I do not own a high horse from which to proclaim that hunting to obtain food to eat or skins to wear is suddenly evil, just because I have the luxury of being able to obtain such things by exchanging labor for little green papers which I then take to a place and trade for food to eat and skins to wear, except all the hard work — killing, butchering, skinning, tanning — has been done for me.

  42. 42
    anchor

    “Do you have any opinions about people who hunt in order to eat?”

    Yeah, I do.

    THERE ARE TOO MANY OF THEM.

  43. 43
    chigau (違う)

    THERE ARE TOO MANY OF THEM.

    My friends in Nunavut might disagree with that.

  44. 44
    anchor

    “My friends in Nunavut might disagree with that.”

    I’m sure some of them might…right up until their livelihood is intruded upon.

  45. 45
    chigau (違う)

    My friends in Nunavut are the ones who hunt in order to eat.
    What are you talking about?

  46. 46
    anchor

    I’m talking about people who hunt for the hell of it, and the fact that they are growing in numbers as a demonstrable matter of fact.

    What are you talking about?

  47. 47
    chigau (違う)

    I’m talking about people who hunt in order to eat.

  48. 48
    themaiasaur

    @chigau #39
    Whether or not killing animals is acceptable depends largely on the context.
    I would contend that killing sentient animals, or inflicting suffering on them is inherently ‘wrong’ (just as killing humans is inherently ‘wrong’, but to a lesser degree). That being said, I think that we ought to (sigh Hume) value (basic) human interests higher.

    So the question becomes, when is killing an animal acceptable? Again I would contend that only when there is no other alternative and it directly threatens human well being. The bulk of the developed/developing world does not *need* meat for food – plant based alternatives are widespread and readily available.

    Positing the question as “you’re trapped on a lonely island/middle of the forest with a spear and starving..” is a different one, and not the case of the OP for rich white folks to make jolly on the savannah. In such a case I think valuing human survival over an animal’s seems to be the morally acceptable, but they do rarely overlap (of course the Nunavut could be an exception). And even if they do – there is a need to acknowledge that slaughter is ‘wrong’ in some sense, and that things would’ve been different if there were other alternatives.

    I don’t understand why slaughter is fetishized – I don’t know how it matters if it’s you personally who’s doing it (who cares?) or if someone else does.

  49. 49
    anchor

    Good. I knew that of course ;) and understand — I fully respect that. I have friends who hunt as a matter of life too.

    I’m talking about people in general across the world who are growing in such numbers that their requirements as part of an energy and resource-consuming global society will inevitably wreck any remaining vestiges of peoples who rely on wildlife for their sustenance.

    Just saying.

  50. 50
    themaiasaur

    “I don’t know how it matters if it’s you personally who’s doing it (who cares?) or if someone else does.”
    EDIT: This was in context since you are anyway the end consumer ‘paying’ for the slaughter (or if you’re hunting it yourself) responsible for its death/suffering. Before some sage equates slaughter of animals by humans to them lions killing them cape buffalo.

  51. 51
    John Morales

    Paying for killing helpless animals for fun is one thing, paying for killing helpless animals for fun in another country is another, but to pay for killing endangered helpless animals for fun in another country is the best!

    [obSnarkFlag]

  52. 52
    chigau (違う)

    You two live in a city and get your food from the store, right?

  53. 53
    chigau (違う)

    (not you JM)

  54. 54
    John Morales

    themaiasaur, you don’t see these people volunteering at their local slaughter-house, do ya?

    (That wouldn’t be as much fun, presumably)

  55. 55
    John Morales

    [meta]

    chigau, you and anchor are now on the same page.

  56. 56
    themaiasaur

    I do, and yes. Somehow, I think your next point is that you know people who need to hunt to live who don’t have the conveniences of living in a city or having stores, or about harmful farming practices. Surprise me.

  57. 57
    chigau (違う)

    John Morales
    I doubt it.

  58. 58
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    @19:
    “Be vewwy, vewwy, quiet. I’m hunting for Cwist.”
    (To be read in Elmer Fudd voice)

  59. 59
    kyoseki

    I get my meat at the local supermarket, but I like to shoot it before I put it in the cart, just in case.

  60. 60
    jonjermey

    That’s why it’s called the Gnu Testament…

  61. 61
    anchor

    John, I’m afraid to say, you haven’t been much on any page lately.

    You know, that really troubles me.

    chigau: I don’t live in a city. Oh yeah, I am compelled to go to a “store” to acquire supplies that allows my family to live most adequately, thank you very much, and that circumstance doesn’t prevent me from making a pretty damned good go at maximizing my land to provide my family with what we need. We nominally get a pretty good surplus too.

    And you? No ties to the commercial world whatsoever, huh?

    One must wonder how you manage to crank your generator to keep online…

    I have to wonder now: are you really a voice for people who are ‘living off the land’?

  62. 62
    lostintime

    And I got the spiritual benefit of direct connection with the food I eat – understanding at an emotional level that a living, breathing animal died for what’s on my plate

    I guess non-hunters just don’t have the same spiritual connection to animals that you do. I’m surprised the word is dropped so easily on an atheist forum and without irony – hunting is in reality a blood sport that often involves extreme cruelty. Bow hunting is very popular at the moment, and it’s sold as a primitive and rugged encounter with the natural world. What’s downplayed is the fact that the arrow usually punctures the lungs of the animal who then suffers a very drawn out and unnecessarily painful death. There’s nothing numinous or sacred about this. The same fatuous rhetoric is used to defend the traditional practices of bear baiting, and fox hunting, and dog fighting and every other kind of cruel pointless blood sport. Stop pretending it’s a manly and respectful encounter with animals and just own up to the fact that what you really enjoy doing is killing them. What other blood sports do you think are worth defending? Do you think there’s a difference between dog fighting and fox hunting? If you think there is any difference, then who’s really being classist?

  63. 63
    chigau (違う)

    Oh the leaps of ‘logic’.

  64. 64
    WithinThisMind

    I get hunting. But I don’t get ‘trophy hunting’. I get going out, shooting a deer, filling the deep freeze with venison roast, and maybe doing something cool with the hide. I get that. I do that. I get the hunting for wildlife management – we’ve got too few wolves which means there are too many deer and it’s causing a problem, please go hunting. I get that. Shooting an animal with a gun or bow is no crueler than letting it starve, get hit by a car, and having actually seen wolves take down a deer, it’s a hell of a lot nicer than letting the ‘natural cycle’ continue. However, people who deliberately gut shoot because it’s ‘easier’ are still assholes. A gut shot animal can linger for days and too many of those lazy assholes don’t track.

    I don’t get the ‘I’ve got to go out and get the baddest animal in the forest’. For starters, those trophy bucks tend to taste like ass. They are old, stringy, and tend to have poorer diets due to things like swamp living and other tricks that help them become old. So what’s the point? I don’t get the desire to see something magnificent and then destroy it. It’s like graffiti. Oh, here is this magnificent monument now I must deface it so folks can know ‘Joe waz heere!’

    You want to impress me with your woodsmanship? Trophy hunting ain’t the way to do it, people. I’m not impressed that you were able to take your high powered rifle and destroy something. That’s not sporting, that’s not even challenging. You want to impress me? Do it with a camera. Get up close. Get the good shot. That takes skill.

  65. 65
    colonelzen

    In places like the suburbs and exurbs there are deer population that will grow unchecked. We’ve reduced or eliminated their natural predators. Now I personally think it would be quite amusing to re-introduce bobcats, wolves, and cougars into the local parks, and after a brief time of readjustment the deer populations and the predators would be in a reasonably healthy steady state. But it seems the local gentry have some objection to occasionally losing a child to a wild predator.

    There are attempts to manage deer populations through things like birth control in salt licks and similar, but so far nothing really effective. Without the hunts you wind up gross overpopulations, hugely sick, almost universally carrying disease and parasites – some of which are a threat to humans as in lime disease – and rampaging through back yards. Even, in cases of extreme derangement entering homes and buildings or attacking people.

    For the record, I don’t hunt. But given that we are carnivores done as humanely as possible – remember that predators in the wild are not particularly nice to their prey – and trained to be safe – say what you will about the NRA their record of training and encouraging safe gun handling for hunters is excellent – I don’t see hunting per-se as necessarily unethical. I do recognize that it is, given global population pressure, like high meat diet itself, a sport of pure privilege and cannot be considered in any way a part of reasonable ecological management for any significant part of the population.

    But in the suburban/ex-urban areas of the US (and presumably Canada) until a working method of controlling populations are found, deer being shot by people with guns – and in large numbers – is of necessity going to be a significant part of wildlife management.

    I will admit that the desire for hunting to continue and its reasonable success at controlling the populations is probably a significant reason why there hasn’t been more serious effort at finding other means of control. Whether or not that is a bad thing is an ethical/political judgment. Hunting works, I don’t see it “bad” per-se, but there are unrealistic attachments to hunting and gun-culture I find unsavory that ride with it. But that is largely a matter of education and sensitization.

    Now in places where there are still carnivores at wild, barring extraordinary circumstances I don’t see any need for hunting, save the manager occasionally culling the extremely sick to prevent disease spread or humane purposes. Hunting safari’s in the bush always struck me as bizarre status displays more than anything else.

    – TWZ

  66. 66
    erik333

    @64 WithinThisMind

    Intentionally wounding animals and/or failing to track them is criminal behavior here at least. Bow hunting is also illegal since 1938 afaik.

    @62 lostintime

    Some proponents claim bows are decent for deer and boar. The skill requirement is way higher – and the effective range much lower. It’s a quiet weapon, which makes it good for the hearing but also invite poaching. One would imagine that they leave much less pollution than firearms, and use up less natural resources as you can retrieve your arrows. Personally I’m opposed to bow hunting due to the increased chance of wounding shots, but given strict enough regulation that might be less of an issue.

    @50 themaiasaur

    Indeed, there is no moral high ground for city dwelling meat eaters to take against hunters in general. If you couldn’t kill the cow yourself, you shouldn’t be eating it. You better know that killing the cow, in fact, is a price you’re willing to pay for that tasty burger.

    Now if we’re talking about this in the context of the impact on the environment, I doubt hunters hold a candle against agriculture, industry and urbanisation these days.

  67. 67
    patterson

    I still would like to know why, of all the activities that humans engage in that lead to the death of animals, hunting is singled out for special opprobrium. Why is killing by proxy or having someone else kill the animal instead of you, such as those killed by the harvesting of wheat, so much preferable to killing an animal for food yourself.

    I own a hundred acres of former pasture. I have fenced off most of the land planted thousands of trees in order to provide a wildlife corridor between two forests. Ten years ago I dug out a shallow cattle which has since been expanded by beaver and is now inhabited by beaver, herons, red winged blackbirds, kingfisher, occasionally an otter, hundreds of frogs, and I plan to introduce local fish to increase the biodiversity of the pond. I have planted burr oak trees as they are tough as hell and their acorns are amazingly nutritious with the hope that as climate change worsens my small parcel of land will still be able to provide habitat and food long after I’m gone.

    My house is small and highly insulated, off grid. Most of my power comes from a wind turbine and some from solar panels. Three or four times a year I run a generator, usually if the turbine is down for a tuneup (it’s homemade). I heat with wood from the land, half the time with poplar the beaver have chopped down and the rest with ash and maple thinnings from a small ten acre bush. I do use fossil fuels of course but not a lot, I don’t fly anymore since learning about climate change. I think the biggest contribution I make to the health of the world around me is not having children, as creating more humans is one of the single most damaging things you can do to the environment. However having said that I don’t waste my time posting ranty nutty harangues against breeders for the senseless destruction, death and suffering they inflict on the animal world by the incredibly selfish act of reproducing.

    I do hunt for food, mostly deer and canada geese. I enjoy it as well, for me it feels an atavistic experience, seeming to focus my entire self in a single act. I imagine that’s why people refer to it as spiritual, it fuses mind and body in a profound way that few other activities do. I have friends for whom it seems to be therapeutic both physically and mentally.

    So back to my original point, does anyone have an actual argument to show that the act of hunting itself is intrinsically wrong that isn’t based on personal philosophy or emotion.

  68. 68
    themaiasaur

    @patterson #67

    So back to my original point, does anyone have an actual argument to show that the act of hunting itself is intrinsically wrong that isn’t based on personal philosophy or emotion.

    Oh please. Is killing humans intrinsically wrong that isn’t based on personal philosophy or emotion? Why do we bother with laws against animal cruelty – is there an argument that isn’t based on personal philosophy or emotion? If you happen to value human (and by extension animal) suffering, it is ‘wrong’ – of course if you don’t value these things, there simply is no argument to be made – this discussion is predicated by having shared axiomatic values. Taking it to a logical conclusion, the fact that perfectly healthy animals have to be killed sometimes does not make it right.

  69. 69
    patterson

    @themaiasaur

    Well then my question is, of all the human activities that result in the death and suffering of animals, such as eating grains, going on vacation, driving to work, watching tv, conversing on the internet, why is hunting singled out as being wrong?

  70. 70
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    why is hunting singled out as being wrong?

    Hunting often means going after trophies, like in the OP. People oppose the concept, as doesn’t need to be done, and often there is no real “sport” to it.

    There is a lot less antipathy for subsistence hunting, where the game is eaten by folks who can’t afford meat from the store.

  71. 71
    patterson

    @Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I’m not a subsistence hunter, I can easily afford to buy meat. There’s a butcher not too far from me who’s organic sausages are tastier than my canada goose sausages, which are actually pretty good. But those canada goose sausages involve much less animal death and suffering, than the organic ones from the butcher.

    My point really though is the absurd hypocrisy of people who complain about hunting yet have no problem with any number of leisure activities like travel which have much more profound effects on animals.

  72. 72
    lostintime

    Patterson

    say what you will about the NRA their record of training and encouraging safe gun handling for hunters is excellent

    I guess this must be a joke… Obviously the NRA is an extremist organization that promotes paranoid insurrectionist philosophy and encourages children to own guns. How could they possibly promote the safe execution of animals when they are the cheerleaders for the use of automatic and military weapons in hunting?

    Putting that to one side though:

    Well then my question is, of all the human activities that result in the death and suffering of animals, such as eating grains, going on vacation, driving to work, watching tv, conversing on the internet, why is hunting singled out as being wrong?

    Hunting for sport is about killing animals for fun. Their welfare is deemed so unimportant that we can go out and fire arrows into their chests and then boast about it, because hunters have attained some kind of higher spiritual connection to nature that everyone else lacks. When it’s nothing more than sport (and that’s what it’s almost always about) it amounts to deliberately abusing animals for fun, and as always in these discussions, the existence of roads and grain production is an irrelevant and distracting side issue.

  73. 73
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    My point really though is the absurd hypocrisy of people who complain about hunting yet have no problem with any number of leisure activities like travel which have much more profound effects on animals.

    The hypocrisy is with you. In traveling, I never mean to run over wildlife. It’s not the effects, but the intentions, and deliberateness that cause the issue of “sport hunting”. You seem not to understand that point.

  74. 74
    themaiasaur

    @patterson #69
    Each one of the things you mentioned do not depend on the death of an animal, except for hunting.

    2 things – not only do you fail to grasp my point that killing animals/inflicting suffering on them is not desirable, but fail to understand the much more obvious point that #73 pointed out.

    This comment:

    Well then my question is, of all the human activities that result in the death and suffering of animals, such as eating grains, going on vacation, driving to work, watching tv, conversing on the internet, why is hunting singled out as being wrong?

    Watching TV? Seriously? If you insinuate that animals were killed at some point in history to make civilization come up with the TV, or some other such convoluted claim – do you also think that fighting wars and killing fellow humans are unjustly singled out? Since undoubtedly your fertile imagination can come up with how watching TV kills people. Begone.

  75. 75
    patterson

    @Nerd of Readhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I guess I’m not making my point clear enough. I’m referring to the environmental effects of travelling, the carbon pollution, climate change that kind of thing. The kind of killing that is invisible to the people who engage in it, not because it’s occult, who after all isn’t aware of global warming and it’s real effect, but because you don’t actually have to witness the animals dying. To me its much more insidious than hunting, and certainly much more destructive in terms of death and suffering. Now I’m not defending trophy hunting or hunting for sport but I still think it’s absurd and dangerous to divide human activity into categories like this when there are so many things we do for pleasure that cause death and suffering to animals, but don’t receive the opprobrium that hunting does because the suffering is something that happens somewhere else.

    @lostintime

    Don’t recall saying anything about the NRA. I don’t know that we even have the NRA up here in Canada.

    When it’s nothing more than sport (and that’s what it’s almost always about) it amounts to deliberately abusing animals for fun

    So there’s a difference between fun that results from killing an animal and fun that results in the killing of animals?

  76. 76
    patterson

    @themaisasur #74

    Are you a climate change denialist? Because that’s the only way your argument makes sense.

  77. 77
    lostintime

    @Patterson

    Don’t recall saying anything about the NRA

    I’m sorry that was in response to colonelzen, #65.

    So there’s a difference between fun that results from killing an animal and fun that results in the killing of animals?

    The killing of animals in driving cars and watching TV (seriously?) is incidental, whereas hunting for sport is deliberate. We can’t live without harming animals, but that doesn’t mean that we should go out of our way to harm them. It strikes me as being a tu quoque scrambling for purchace.

  78. 78
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    guess I’m not making my point clear enough. I’m referring to the environmental effects of travelling, the carbon pollution, climate change that kind of thing.

    Non-sequitur. Response ignored hypocrite.

  79. 79
    chigau (違う)

    There certainly is hypocrisy on this thread.
    Not very much from patterson.

  80. 80
    patterson

    @lostintime

    The killing of animals in driving cars and watching TV (seriously?) is incidental, whereas hunting for sport is deliberate

    Exactly! Finally I’m getting through. Because it’s incidental it’s ignored, uncontrolled, its effects on animals practically unlimited. Fantastically destructive and unbelievably dangerous. Because of this it isn’t taken seriously, people don’t change their lifestyles, they get to ignore the effects of their activities.And because it’s incidental these same people blithely contributing to to the destruction of the planet, they can turn away and point to the bad hunters and say “isn’t that terrible”.

  81. 81
    themaiasaur

    @patterson

    Are you a climate change denialist? Because that’s the only way your argument makes sense.

    Non sequitur.

    Exactly! Finally I’m getting through. Because it’s incidental it’s ignored, uncontrolled, its effects on animals practically unlimited. Fantastically destructive and unbelievably dangerous.

    Oh you have me so convinced of your concern for animals. Fantastically destructive! Unbelievably dangerous! Think of them poor critters!

    Because of this it isn’t taken seriously, people don’t change their lifestyles, they get to ignore the effects of their activities.And because it’s incidental these same people blithely contributing to to the destruction of the planet, they can turn away and point to the bad hunters and say “isn’t that terrible”.

    Yes how dare they eh? One might think that they actually enjoy killing animals and defending it while watching TV, eating cereal and taking a vacation and fetishizing the ‘spiritual connection’..

    Of course since anyway the world is getting destroyed and animals are being killed, people should have a free reign to kill/torture animals as they wish and feel good about it.

    lostintime:

    We can’t live without harming animals, but that doesn’t mean that we should go out of our way to harm them.

    In #67 it’s laudable that you’ve taken steps to minimize your impact on the environment and do your bit for climate change. However, I don’t see that as license to go out and shoot an animal for your ‘atavistic’ experience.

  82. 82
    themaiasaur

    ^ Whoops. That wasn’t addressed to lostintime, just quoted her.

  83. 83
    kyoseki

    I’m curious.

    How many of the people here arguing against hunting (for food as opposed to trophies) are vegetarian/vegan?

  84. 84
    elind

    I’ve been watching the “life below zero” series lately, and I’m curious if anyone knows what hunting and trapping rules apply to those people in Alaska.

    From other shows, there are clear hunting seasons and regulation, but the people in this show don’t appear to have any. A few are Inuit but most are not and while I am not against all hunting, or culling when necessary, I have a problem with trapping for fur. Doing so when it is the only way one can survive is one thing, but doing so because one enjoys it is another when one could make more money working at McDonalds.

  85. 85
    ebotebo

    O.T. Did anyone happen to recognize that prick R. Lee Ermy in three of the photos? A Lioness, a Lion and a Water Buffalo, and no, he wasn’t smiling.

    Semper Fi, shit for brains!

  86. 86
    microraptor

    From other shows, there are clear hunting seasons and regulation, but the people in this show don’t appear to have any. A few are Inuit but most are not and while I am not against all hunting, or culling when necessary, I have a problem with trapping for fur. Doing so when it is the only way one can survive is one thing, but doing so because one enjoys it is another when one could make more money working at McDonalds.

    While I’m not positive about this, I believe that Alaska has special regulations regarding subsistence hunters
    and trappers who live in remote areas that allow them to legally kill more animals per year than someone who lives in Anchorage or Fairbanks could.

  87. 87
    unclefrogy

    kyoseki asked a good question does anyone care to answer?

    If anyone who is complaining about how bad hunting because it kills poor animals and is not a vegan or a Jain do they enjoy eating meat? fish? shell fish, crustaceans, birds or use any other products made from dead animals or slave animals?
    uncle frogy

  88. 88
    colonelzen

    lostintime: yes we are carnivores and evolved hunters. Hunting is a direct “spiritual” connection more mundanely gives a more direct, immediate and intuitive education about nature and life and death in the wild than we get “hunting” in the supermarket.

    You may not like that fact but it is obvious and true. And you may complain about the ridiculous superioritity hunters have over their prey … but so far as I can tell humans have *always* hunted that way, hunting in packs with many eyes and spears before there was the technology of the gun. Or a bushman with a blowgun with a curare or other fast acting toxin dart. Our weapon is our brain, and it makes us a fiercely horrible predator; the most dangerous on the planet.

    I had mentioned I don’t think it a long term sustainable part of eco management … and from that wider and longer perspective the deer hunting rituals do begin to look a little juvenile and suspiciously like the status displays that I think safari hunts are. But we aren’t there. And while both the lack of other means of maintaining reasonable population densities of large herbivores and a significant part of our population enjoys a high meat diet you don’t get away with a sneer of moral contempt.

    You can argue the moral degradation of hunting … and in fact I might agree with most, perhaps all of the arguments you might make. But it’s an arguable position, not an unarguable given.

    – TWZ

  89. 89
    philisyssis

    I don’t get what the problem is. Is hunting against the law in Africa? If not, is it monitored and licensed by officials who are concerned with the population of endangered species? Is this group getting the proper licensing?

    Isn’t the meat going to help orphanages who can’t afford to buy hunting licenses for this amount of food? Aren’t the people going on these trips helping the orphanages out in other ways as well?

    So they’ve attached “jesus” to it, so what? Are we trying to stop the salvation army from giving food to the poor because they attach “jesus” to their mission statement as well?

    For the record, I am an atheist and agree with 99% of the criticism that PZ gives on this blog, but the lack of critical thought going into this circle jerk of self edification is like being back in church again, listening to them talk about atheists. I’m sorry but I really don’t see what the big deal is here. And I fully admit up front, maybe I’m just completely clueless when it comes to the state of endangered species in Africa. If that’s the case, I will humbly accept being corrected on this matter.

  90. 90
    Allan Frost

    And I fully admit up front, maybe I’m just completely clueless when it comes to the state of endangered species in Africa. If that’s the case, I will humbly accept being corrected on this matter.

    I’m not too sure if you were being sarcastic or not, so I’ll just play along: I, personally, don’t see any need to correct you. You seem to have everything figured out just fine. I mean — are those animals really endangered? Is it really that tough out there on the savannah? Maybe they’re just faking it. Maybe they just need to pick themselves up by their bootstraps and get jobs.

  91. 91
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    There is a lot I hate about hunting culture, but I have to say I also greatly dislike the automatic villification of any and all hunters by anti-hunting folks. I see absolutely no moral difference between killing your food yourself, or paying someone to do it for you. If anything, I think all meat eaters should do the former at least once so as to engender a proper understanding of exactly what has to happen in order for you to enjoy a meal (side note: I never have, I can’t shoot and have never had the opportunity to learn. The closest I’ve come is being given a freshly-shot rabbit and told to make it ready for the camp fire, a disturbing and messy job which really drove home that what I was about to eat was alive two hours before, or preparing fish I’ve just caught).

    I hate the stupid idea that hunting is macho. I hate anything that increases the chances of the animal going through pain (such as using less efficient tools like bows). I hate trophy hunting, for obvious reasons. But if the animal is killed as humanely as possible and as much of the carcass as possible is used, I do not view it as at all immoral and see no good reason for any meat-eater to do so.

  92. 92
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    @philisyssis

    They shot an elephant for fun. Elephants are endangered. Also, they shot it for fun, not because they were going to eat it. That’s the issue.

    Hunting animals which are not endangered, where every effort is made to kill the animal as humanely as possible and with every intention of eating the meat and making use of as much of the carcass as possible? Fine. This? Not fine.

  93. 93
    Nick Gotts

    bring down the human population to sustainable levels (<1 billion) – anchor

    I take it you’re volunteering to go first.

  94. 94
    Inaji

    philisyssis:

    For the record, I am an atheist and agree with 99% of the criticism that PZ gives on this blog

    Tsk. Such a liar.

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