Hunting


Over at PZ’s he posted about hunting. [phar] That’s one of those topics that’s guaranteed fun, because it sits at the intersection of toxic masculinity, gun control, environmentalism, and class. PZ was merciful enough not to mention class as an issue in hunting, but, well, I’m not.

Having mentioned that hunting and hunting rights are a class signal going back to ${forever} I think I don’t need to say much more about it than, “class and class identity are integral to the notion of hunting as a sport” – in the US, I bet you find very few hunters who both fox hunt wearing tweed and britches and deer hunt with blackpowder or a bow. In England, class consciousness, more than any concern for foxes and badgers, is behind restrictions on the old tradition of rich people galloping on horseback, drunk as lords, trying to keep up with a pack of dogs that do the actual hunting. It’s a barbarous spectacle in lots of ways.

Peter O’Toole as Lord Tancred Guernsey leads the hunt in a song-and-dance number in “The Ruling Class”

Out here in rural Pennsylvania, the class consciousness of hunting is working-class. I regularly encounter people who stoutly insist that they need the deer for the meat. Sometimes I get embellished stories about how grandpappy put his family through the depression by hunting. Well, those are probably true: my grandfather, who raised his family though the depression, provided most of the protein through hunting. As soon as he got his job building aircraft hangars during WWII he stopped hunting because he could afford good beef and pork and chicken for his family.

The argument that “we need the meat” doesn’t hold up very well when the hunter rents a cabin, drives up from Maryland, and is hauling around $1,500 worth of rifle and gear, and who knows what else. That’s ten dinners at Ruth’s Chris, if you “need the meat” and that’s including a glass of burgundy to wash it down. My friend Gary, who “needs the meat” raises successive pigs, which he names after politicians so he doesn’t become attached to them; last year he air-dried Berlusconi into prosciutto-style ham that was pretty damn yummy, and during the years prior to his transsubstantiation, the pig was a voracious gobbler of pretty much anything that was left over from the kitchen. Politicians are like that.

In rural Pennsylvania, the kids are let out of school on the first day of hunting season, if they want to go hunting. I have not explored that in any detail but I’d be willing to bet that girl children are not expected to leave school that day. To be fair, I doubt they’d push the point if some girl said she was going hunting with daddy; they’d probably think that was sweet. It makes me want to ask the school board, “the ballet season at the Met is opening in 2 weeks, I plan to ferry a carload of any kids who wish to attend up to New York, you don’t have a problem with that, do you?” When I was a kid I’d have cheerfully sat through a ballet if it meant getting out of school and having a bus-ride. For that matter, I probably would have been happy to go out with my camera and a long lens, to try to photograph some deer. (Deer are boring to photograph. They try to look sultry for the camera but just come out looking slightly stupid and very bemused)

Another aspect of hunting is the argument that it’s hard. That’s one that I generally laugh at, a lot. Modern rifles (even the ‘black powder’ ones) are incredibly accurate – so accurate that the hunters control rifle season down to a very brief time, because otherwise there would be no deer left at all, in fairly short order. [There was a lot of discussion on PZ’s post about how the whole “cull the herd” process is bullshit from the hunting fans: they’re not trying to reduce the herd, they’re trying to ensure a steady supply of living play-things.] Out here a lot of hunters use tree stands and game cameras and scent masks and they know where the prey are going to come, and they sit there, wait for them to walk up, and blow them away. It’s as hard as, say, hunting yuppies by setting up a sniper post 20 feet from a Starbucks.

There was a case a couple years ago, of a fellow who was raising a buck in semi-wild captivity – he built a 10′ fence around part of his property and began growing this huge buck. His plan, it seems, was that eventually it would get a huge set of antlers and then, on the opening of hunting season, he was going to shoot it – thereby claiming a valuable prize buck and he’d get his picture on the cover of Hunter Assholes magazine. Instead, one of his neighbors ‘accidentally’ shot the buck through the fence, and was sued for $250,000 for the prize buck that wasn’t quite a prize anymore. Everyone around here thought the whole affair was scandalous and so did I: I’d driven by his set-up and to shoot a deer in that enclosure the neighbor would have been firing straight at the guy’s house. Aside from the buck, nobody was hurt, although my sense of the sportsmanship involved in big game hunting took another hit below the water-line.

See what I mean? There’s a horse-sized bull elk 120 feet from my bedroom window. I could possibly hit him with a rock. Instead, I threw him a couple apples.

Explain to me again why I need camo and scent block and a scoped rifle and all that? Explain to me again how hard hunting is? One winter the turkey executive committee decided to hold their mating allocation subcommittee meeting under my bedroom window. I had to open the window and scream “KNOCK IT OFF!” at them. They subsequently adjourned the meeting, but resumed it the next morning after the recess. I could have dropped a dictionary on one of them, and been a mighty turkey hunter, except that would have been violating the class-signalling inherent in game-hunting in Pennsylvania. Besides, it would have been murder: the turkeys are clearly emotional beings, judging from their behavior during the subcommittee meeting.

I have decided to name the elk, since he appears to like it here. I’m sure he has his own idea of who he is, but I cannot but note his noble mien and Habsburg jaw. Therefore he is The Baron D’Elk. There is power in names, I know, and I immediately see him as more solemn, and even a bit world-weary. Heavy hangs the head that wears 20lbs of antlers.

Comments

  1. kestrel says

    I sometimes wonder how much rich folk would love hunting if they then had to get down off the horse or get out of the jeep and skin and clean the carcass, harvest the meat and then haul it back home.

    I used to raise a rare breed of sheep called Jacob sheep. Google the images; they are stunning and impressive animals. Therefore, there are people who “hunt” them. I mean, these are domestic animals; you could hunt them with a hammer. Nevertheless there are places where you can pay a ton of money, choose which Jacob ram you want to “hunt”, they turn it loose for you etc. and you go home with the head. OK, maybe that is better than someone who does not know what they are doing, roaming the woods free range and shooting at sounds; they are confined to an area and it seems there is less likelihood of shooting a person on one of these canned hunts; but still, I never knowingly sold a ram to one of these people. I do realize that many people raise sheep for meat, and I have no problem with that; it was, not always killing the animal in a swift and humane way, plus it seems to me that this kind of “hunting” requires that the animal be terrorized for a bit first.

  2. says

    I regularly encounter people who stoutly insist that they need the deer for the meat.

    That’s bullshit. While living in Germany, I kept my monthly food expenditures below 100€. And, frankly, I wasn’t even trying. If I needed to reduce my food budget as much as possible, I probably could have gotten it to as low as 30€ per month. Sure, significantly reducing food costs requires understanding the basics of nutrition (otherwise you risk developing nutrient deficiencies), but it can be done. For those who “need protein” I can give a hint: look into organ meats. The fact that rich people don’t want to eat this stuff makes it really cheap, and, when it comes to nutritional value, organ meats are just as good as a steak.

    When I was a kid I’d have cheerfully sat through a ballet if it meant getting out of school and having a bus-ride.

    Yep, me too. I’d have accepted pretty much any activity if it meant a day off school.

    Deer are boring to photograph. They try to look sultry for the camera but just come out looking slightly stupid and very bemused

    No, deer are pretty and they look great in photos. Here are some examples:
    https://500px.com/photo/186888865/red-deer-cervus-elaphus-germany-by-radius-images
    https://500px.com/photo/78264353/panoramic-deer-by-stefan-nielsen
    https://500px.com/photo/104815973/roe-deer-in-the-morning-mist-by-janusz-pienkowski
    https://500px.com/photo/16222789/stag-by-robert-kelly

    I really like photographing animals. It’s both relaxing and thrilling at the same time. I get to spend hours calmly watching animals and I also get the excitement every time I successfully get a good shot.

    Another aspect of hunting is the argument that it’s hard.

    So what? Even if hunting was hard, how is that supposed to prove that it’s noble or makes you admirable for doing so? Just because some action is hard doesn’t automatically mean that the rest of society should admire you for doing that. For example, smuggling drugs over some international border might be a hard job, but somehow majority of people don’t admire those who choose to do it.

  3. Mano Singham says

    A bit off-topic but as soon as I saw that photo, I recognized it as from The Ruling Class, one of the great absurdist political black comedies of all time that skewers all manner of saved cows, worth seeing for an ensemble of great performances led by the inimitable Peter O’Toole.

    For those who have not seen it, this clip is a good introduction.

  4. kyuss says

    You sound like the typical SJW idiot. Who cares what you think of hunting or hunters. I doubt you’ve ever killed anything while hunting, so your opinion on the matter means fuck all.

  5. efogoto says

    @3 Mano: “saved cows”? I don’t remember them at the revival meeting … was it the Witnesses that brought them to the light? ;-)

    @2 Ieva Skrebele: In the last photo, the grass-adornment was funny, but the look in his eyes would make me laugh quite a ways away. :-D

  6. Pierce R. Butler says

    Shouldn’t that first link read “[phar]” or somesuch to maintain consistency with our esteemed host’s idiosyncratic abbreviation style?

  7. says

    kyuss@#4:
    I doubt you’ve ever killed anything while hunting, so your opinion on the matter means fuck all.

    I’ve shot better animals than you, if that’s some kind of credential. Including some that were my best friends. I haven’t killed for sport, though. So, yes, clearly, I don’t understand hunting.

  8. says

    A V Sandi Nack:
    1500=10? You got a friend at Ruth Chris or something? We never get out there with a bill under 250!

    “We is … plural.” Yeah, I figure it’s about $125 a head but I always have some wine to choke it down.

  9. says

    kyuss @#4

    You sound like the typical SJW idiot. Who cares what you think of hunting or hunters. I doubt you’ve ever killed anything while hunting, so your opinion on the matter means fuck all.

    Your reasoning here is, well, interesting. I’ll try applying the same reasoning to a different example in order to illustrate the consequences.

    Only convicted murderers can have an educated opinion about the topic of killing people. Those who haven’t killed any human, well, their “opinion on the matter means fuck all.” Whenever discussing murders, only murderers can voice their opinions. When making laws about murders, only they can contribute to the public discussion and decide how a society should react to murders. There’s an obvious problem—since an individual has murdered another human being, that means they are probably OK with murder. Thus, if homicide laws in some society were decided exclusively by murderers, murder would probably get legalized.

    Now, let’s return to hunting. Your claim was that only people who have killed animals (who are hunters themselves) can have an opinion about this topic. The very fact that some individual is a hunter means that they are probably in favor of shooting animals. After all, anybody, who is against shooting animals, also abstains from hunting them. Basically, you have created a scenario, where only one side is able to voice their opinions about the debate topic. Thus, since the opposition is silenced (their “opinion on the matter means fuck all”), those in favor of hunting are bound to automatically win the debate, because, well, there simply is no debate—everybody who is allowed to voice their opinion is also in favor of hunting.

    Moreover, in debates there’s a logical fallacy called argumentum ad hominem. The idea is that in a debate it is absolutely irrelevant who is the person presenting some argument. The argument ought to be analyzed separately from the person who happened to present it. Thus in this discussion it is absolutely irrelevant whether the person presenting their opinions has shot an animal or no.

  10. jrkrideau says

    @1 kestrel
    Hunting a domestic sheep? Do they mount the head on the wall in the den?

    I am not sure if that is disgusting, seems more pathetic, but where I live it would leave the “hunter” open to complete ridicule for the rest of their life.

    I remember reading US hunting magazines describing hunting the cunning and elusive wild turkey. Cunning and elusive? In some of the local countryside, say 40km from here, they can be seen grazing in the fields in flocks of 50 or more birds most fall mornings.

    I know I am exaggerating but it often looks more like you would more likely to have to kick them out of the way than hunt them.

  11. jrkrideau says

    @ 11 Ieva Skrebele
    Are those deer buying their head gear at the same place Queen Elizabeth shops?

  12. kestrel says

    @jrkrideau, #12: Yes. They hang the heads on the wall. I always wondered what they did about the ear tag? At least when I was raising sheep you had to tag them all due to scrapies eradication – so every sheep carried a scrapies tag and in my flock I put in another tag indicating birth year plus an individual ID number. Even if you cut the ear tag off, there is a still a big hole where it used to be, which seems like kind of a big tip that this is not a wild animal. I used to imagine such people also had a Holstein head hanging on the wall, and maybe a collie head as well. Yikes.

    Huge flocks of turkeys here too… every time I drive anywhere (like to the post office) I see them. When I see them, I just want to shoot their photograph. It is amazing to see a big flock of turkeys grazing but it really does not make me want to pull out a gun!

  13. says

    kestrel@#1:
    Nevertheless there are places where you can pay a ton of money, choose which Jacob ram you want to “hunt”, they turn it loose for you etc. and you go home with the head.

    There are lots of such places, but I didn’t know they had them for sheep, too.
    When Antonin Scalia died, he was enjoying an all expenses paid “hunting” trip at a ranch where they release quail from boxes so that you can blow them away.
    When Dick Cheney accidentally shot a lawyer on a “hunting” trip for quail, it was the same kind of arrangement. I guess he wanted to boost his toxic masculinity cred because the Iraq war didn’t give him enough of a feel for the blood and pain of combat, or something.

    I hold these “hunters” in deep contempt. The hunters who are out there in their camo, with their game cameras and scent blockers and fancy gear – at least they are having a real ‘nature’ experience spending a cold night drinking coffee (or whatever) while they wait for the deer to wander into position. The ones who aren’t patient enough for that, who have a fine dinner prepared by a chef, then get up the next morning and shoot a basically tame animal – they’re disturbingly bloodthirsty cowards.

  14. says

    jrkrideau@#12:
    Cunning and elusive? In some of the local countryside, say 40km from here, they can be seen grazing in the fields in flocks of 50 or more birds most fall mornings.

    They are so cunning and elusive I have to yell at them to shut up when they’re having their big social affairs in my back yard. It’s really hard to spot a bird that’s stomping around in the snow.


    The turkey self-selected sampling committee meeting in progress – view from my bedroom window.

  15. says

    Ieva Skrebele@#2:
    No, deer are pretty and they look great in photos. Here are some examples:

    OK, I will grant you that point.

    Perhaps I am unsympathetic to deer because they eat my cilantro and my basil. I see them as goofy dimwits and not noble prey. Notice how narrow their skulls are from side to side? There’s not a lot of room for brains in there; their heads seem mostly to be a place to attach the ears and the eyes.

    The fact that rich people don’t want to eat this stuff makes it really cheap, and, when it comes to nutritional value, organ meats are just as good as a steak.

    Yes, and if someone needs proteins, beans are just great. It’s not the most interesting diet but rice and beans and some fruit and random green stuff (like the basil the deer keep eating!) are enough to live on. And, as Epicurus pointed out, some cheese and bread and a few olives, really is a feast for a king.

    I don’t particularly like venison, anyway. I’ve had various people tell me “you need to know how to cook it right!” which mostly seems to amount to “if you cook it with bacon, until it tastes like bacon, then it’s really good!” I.e.: if you mix it with something good, then venison is almost as good as the thing you mix it with! Although if someone gave me a recipe for venison with basil and cilantro, I’d probably like it – if I had any basil or cilantro left.

    (I’ve eaten quite a bit of sheep, when I was a kid. But once I discovered what “lamb” was I didn’t like it nearly so much. I don’t like to eat cute things.)

  16. says

    I’ll say one thing for turkeys: they really know how to work that camouflage. A friend of mine who likes bird photography and I went down to some of the parks nearby and we found a beaver dam (no beavers visible) and some turkeys. He decided to photograph the turkeys and they decided to leave. They started edging toward the woods and so did he, and then as soon as the turkeys got within the shade of the trees they just vanished. It was pretty funny to see this big guy with a camera chasing after a bunch of birds that were calmly walking away as if they were taking their morning constitutional.

  17. John Morales says

    Nearly 20 years ago now, I moved from the city to an adjoining rural area. Friend of ours whose father was an old-time farmer arranged for a box of twelve pee-pees (chicks) — of which 5 were cocks. So, I went though things, and in due course killed one of the roosters. To eat it. Had to make an executioner’s hood to do so. Then another, then another. Then we ended up with two cocks, and I haven’t killed one since.

    I know I can, but I also know I don’t need to.

    * Want to kill animals, go work in a slaughterhouse. You will stink of death, but hey.

  18. John Morales says

    PS Keeping chickens makes real the concepts of cockiness and of the pecking order.

    (Yeah, very very OT)

  19. brucegee1962 says

    Who cares what you think of hunting or hunters.

    Ooh, I know the answer to this one! The answer is “Someone who logs onto a blog to express their disagreement with the expressed opinion,” right? What do I win?

  20. brucegee1962 says

    As for me — I start off thinking about evolution, and the majestic sweep of centuries that shape and craft the genes and phenotypes of every living creature, and how as far as we know, out of all the billions of stars in the galaxy, ours just might be the only rock where life exists in such a dazzling variety, and I work myself up to the state where I can hardly stand to pull up weeds from my garden. So yeah — someone who actually enjoys killing seems as foreign to me as a cannibal or a pedophile, like an entirely different species.

  21. says

    brucegee1962@#23:
    I work myself up to the state where I can hardly stand to pull up weeds from my garden

    I’m with you on that. When I start to think of what a weird, unlikely course each of us takes to get to where we are, I understand how the elk became a resident of my yard and I think somehow it’s all pretty darned cool. I may complain about it, but I have deer that live in my yard and eat my cilantro. Ok, so I wind up with no cilantro for my omlets but I think “I bet the deer loved it” and then I’m happy again. If I walked by a park bench and someone had set out a fine meal with a little sign saying “help yourself” I would think that was pretty amazing. So it’s hard to blame the deer.

  22. says

    Notice how narrow their skulls are from side to side? There’s not a lot of room for brains in there; their heads seem mostly to be a place to attach the ears and the eyes.

    You cannot determine the size of an animal’s brain based on the shape and size of their skull. Moreover, you cannot determine an animal’s intelligence based on brain weight.

    It’s not the most interesting diet but rice and beans and some fruit and random green stuff (like the basil the deer keep eating!) are enough to live on.

    Not exactly. The first time I tried to reduce my food costs, I simply bought whatever was cheaper in the grocery store. The result was a nutrient deficiency. Correcting it cost me more money than anything I managed to save on food costs. Moreover, I felt sick and miserable for several months until I finally got a diagnosis from my doctor. That’s why I said that pulling off a really cheap diet requires some understanding of nutrition.

    What you described (rice, beans, fruit, greens) is basically a vegan diet. Online you can find plenty of ex-vegan bloggers who started eating meat again after developing severe nutrient deficiencies and countless dental cavities. A two months long period on a vegan diet isn’t going to hurt you, but, if you want to survive on one for many years, you need to be very careful with what you eat and take food supplements (vitamin K2 and vitamin B12 are pretty much obligatory, some additional supplements might be necessary depending on what you eat). Personally, I don’t like the idea of having a diet that makes it obligatory to take multiple food supplements (after all, those cost money as well, and they are often more expensive than real food).

    Besides, depending on what genes they have, some people are bound to do better on a vegan diet than others: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/4-reasons-some-do-well-as-vegans.

    If your only goal is reducing food costs (no ethical considerations apply), a vegan diet doesn’t seem like a good option for me. A vegetarian diet is a significantly better option. After all, in many countries meat is expensive while other animal products (milk, eggs) are a lot more affordable. Still, I never needed to seriously consider a vegetarian diet. Where I live, I can get Baltic herrings for about 2€ per kg, and organ meats for 1€ per kg. That’s cheap enough that it’s not worth going vegetarian.

  23. jrkrideau says

    It’s not the most interesting diet but rice and beans and some fruit and random green stuff (like the basil the deer keep eating!) are enough to live on.

    Well with the addition of some spices and depending on how one prepares them, they can be quite interesting. However one needs to start looking at Middle Eastern, Indian and Chinese cuisines (maybe Mexican?) to get an idea of what one can do plus one needs to stock up on spices, herbs, & sauces. Fresh coriander (aka cilantro) is often a key ingredient so Marcus may need a fence.

    Using conventional Northern European/Waspy North American food preparation techniques would result in a horribly boring diet

    Throw in potatoes and a bit of dairy if you are not a vegan and you are away.

    There are claims (by what appear to be serious scientists) that one can live on an almost exclusively potato diet. The Irish peasantry before the Great Famine supposedly had a diet of potatoes and whey.

    I am a bit dubious of the claims but it does seem possible to live on nothing but potatoes for weeks at a time without any adverse effects.

  24. says

    jrkrideau @#26

    There are claims (by what appear to be serious scientists) that one can live on an almost exclusively potato diet.

    Here the key word is “almost.” Potatoes do not have every single nutrient humans need. This is why you also need to add other foods to your potato diet. You can survive on a diet that has potatoes as the main source of calories. You cannot survive on a diet that has only potatoes in it.

    I am a bit dubious of the claims but it does seem possible to live on nothing but potatoes for weeks at a time without any adverse effects.

    Here the key words are “weeks at a time.” Of course you can spend four weeks happily eating nothing but potatoes. Your calorie requirements will be met, and, when it comes to vitamins and minerals not present in potatoes, your body has some reserves of those. However, you couldn’t survive for four years eating nothing but potatoes. The moment your body’s reserves of vitamins and minerals are depleted, you get sick and die.

  25. says

    The Irish exhaustively tested that theory about potatoes. I recall reading somewhere that, just before the famine, potatoes were basically the entire Irish diet. What killed millions of them was politics – and lack of potatoes. So we can say that lack of potatoes is more deadly than an all-potato diet.

  26. says

    What killed millions of them was politics

    There were multiple causes:
    – Disease Phytophthora infestans that killed the potato plants.
    – The fact that a disproportionate share of the potatoes grown in Ireland was of a single variety, the Irish Lumper. The lack of genetic variability among the potato plants meant that they all died. Incidentally, this is an argument against monocultures. You need some genetic diversity among your food crops.
    – Politics. Irish Catholics were intentionally kept in severe poverty with the help of some really nasty laws. Thus potatoes became their single staple crop.
    – More politics. When the famine started, politicians didn’t give a fuck about it and didn’t feel like providing food to the starving.

    potatoes were basically the entire Irish diet

    There were also other foods: skimmed milk, herrings, oatmeal. They also ate what they could forage in the wild—berries, nuts, wild mushrooms and now and then a rabbit or bird.

    So we can say that lack of potatoes is more deadly than an all-potato diet.

    Yeah, having no food at all certainly kills you faster than nutrient deficiencies.

    Cheap food while living in the countryside is a whole different matter than if you are living in a city. Back when I was a child, I spent a couple of summers away from cities, and then I spent quite lots of time foraging for wild edibles.

    Some of my personal favorites were:
    – fruits of wild growing cherry plums,
    – hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) berries,
    – dog rose fruits (those have lots of vitamin C in them),
    – wood sorrel Oxalis acetosella leaves,
    – mushrooms,
    – bilberries, cranberries, woodland strawberries,
    – hazelnuts (yep, those grow in the wild here),
    – fish caught in the wild.
    By the way, my favorite tea is made from linden tree flowers (each summer I collect flowers from wild growing trees).

    In the countryside you can gets a lot of free food in the forests. Those generally cannot provide you with the necessary 2000 calories a day, but they contain a lot of vitamins and minerals.

    While living in a city, I approach the whole “cheap food” question totally differently. Getting the needed 2000 calories is a piece of cake. Two years ago I did a bit of calculations using German prices at the time. For example, 1 kg of rice cost 0.85€. With 365 calories per 100g, I calculated that getting 2000 calories entirely from rice would cost me 0.47€. With German prices I got that the price for 2000 calories for various foods would be as following: potatoes—1.30€; milk—1.88€; white bread—1.43€; butter—0.97€. As you can see, calories are cheap. Instead, the problem becomes figuring out cheap sources of vitamins and minerals. Fruits, berries, meat, fish, even vegetables were significantly more expensive. For example, in the countryside bilberries are free, in a city they cost close to 10€ for a kilogram.

  27. jrkrideau says

    @ 27 Ieva Skrebele
    Here the key word is “almost.”
    My thought exactly. Notice I did mention the whey which I suspect was the other key element in the diet.

    I assume some foraging and poaching and some fish/seafood for those near the ocean. However with a population of roughly 118 persons/km^{2} the foraging might have been a bit thin.

    At a guess, 90% of calories and most other nutrients came from potatoes. Pre-Famine a healthy adult male worker might consume a stone of potatoes a day (1 stone = 14 lb ≈ 3.7kg).

    I don’t think oatmeal would have been readily available in most of Ireland. It was more a Scots-Irish grain and was mainly only grown in the North. Most Irish Catholic peasant farms were probably around 1/2–2/3 hectare so oats would not likely yield enough calories to support a family (plus the family pig).

  28. Dunc says

    There was no shortage of food in Ireland during the “famine”, it’s just that it was al being exported to enrich the (mostly English) landlords. They were exporting huge amounts of meat, butter, wheat, and barley right through the so-called “famine”. The poor were allowed to starve simply because it was profitable, and because the British regarded the Irish as basically sub-human. A number of influential people even saw the mass starvation of the Irish as a positive boon.

  29. Raucous Indignation says

    Hunting for meat in the 20th century wasn’t like hunting for sport. In New Hampshire in the hinterlands, it was a family affair. The wives with the family dogs would form a line and drive all the deer in a section of wood out into an open field where the men folk were waiting with rifles. The deer would burst out in the field and the men folk would blast ’em. The deer, hopefully not any of the wives or dogs. And then the party would butcher everything and divide it up, usually with the poorer families getting bigger portions. But that was decades ago. In a part of New Hampshire where steady work wasn’t a given. Families actually needed the meat, more so if they had lots of children. That doesn’t happen anymore. Much to the relief of the wives and dogs.

  30. Raucous Indignation says

    I don’t use a snipers nest to hunt yuppies. I prefer a multiple hook longline baited with lattés. Works better than shooting them one at a time as them come out of Starbucks.

  31. jrkrideau says

    There was no shortage of food in Ireland during the “famine”

    I think that depends on when during the course of the Famine. I think the was a “real” famine originally (the blight wiped out a huge amount of the basic diet, but after one or two years, there was, I would not say ample,but enough food to ensure no one actually starved.

    Many of the deaths were due to incompetence of the authorities and, in some cases, a belief that pure charity was immoral and so the starving peasants were expected to work for their food relief. Essentially classic free market liberalism I think one would say. Many dropped dead while trying to “earn” something to eat.

    If I remember correctly the civil servant in charge of famine relief, later repeated his outstanding performance by buggering up the relief for a serious famine in India. IIRC, he was not incompetent but would have made the Koch brothers look like raving socialists.

    They were exporting huge amounts of meat, butter, wheat, and barley right through the so-called “famine”.

    I am not sure that I would say “huge” (a lot of the labour who produce these items was dying) but large quantities of food were being exported throughout the Famine.

    A number of influential people even saw the mass starvation of the Irish as a positive boon.

    Yes, though I don’t think they necessarily wanted them dead, though absentee landlords living in England probably did not care one way or the other. They did seemed just as happy to get rid of them by shipping them overseas to the USA or the colonies as killing them. A little like the Highland Clearances?

    BTW, while it does not get as much publicity the potato blight had a rather drastic effect in Scotland, particularly the Highlands, where the potato had become a staple of the diet. However, the Scots were never reduced to the level of poverty that the Irish were. They had alternative food sources and, presumably, a much lower population density.

    I have never read what happened in England. I believe that by the 1840’s the potato was an important element in the English lower classes diet, at least in rural area, but nowhere as important as it was in Ireland or even Scotland.

  32. says

    Dunc@#31:
    There was no shortage of food in Ireland during the “famine”, it’s just that it was al being exported to enrich the (mostly English) landlords. They were exporting huge amounts of meat, butter, wheat, and barley right through the so-called “famine”. The poor were allowed to starve simply because it was profitable, and because the British regarded the Irish as basically sub-human.

    The British pulled the same routine in India during World War II – killed nearly 1 million people in a famine caused because the British stockpiled rice in case they needed it during the war (in case they were blockaded, in other words) That never happened, but the Indians died, anyway. That was Winston Churchill’s bloody good idea; he was quite full of good ideas.

  33. chigau (違う) says

    Marcus
    I live in Alberta.
    I believe that having petroleummmm products will get us through times of no money
    better than “money” will get us through times of no petroleummmmmm products.
    I just wish We™ would dump all that pipeline crap and just go back to hoarding.

  34. Raucous Indignation says

    What!? No response to to the longline comment? Sheesh, everyone is so serious around here.

  35. says

    Raucous Indignation@#39:
    I don’t use a snipers nest to hunt yuppies. I prefer a multiple hook longline baited with lattés.

    Because real macho men don’t bait game.

  36. kestrel says

    I’m so glad I checked back on this thread… now all I can think about is trolling for yuppies…

  37. Bill Spight says

    “hunting yuppies by setting up a sniper post 20 feet from a Starbucks.”

    LOL! Made my day. Thanks. :)

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