Biblical Implications:
Stoning Gannet Chicks in Scotland

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Biblical Implications:
Stoning Gannet Chicks in Scotland

[Ed. Note: From Scotland for Animals, read Gannet Stoning - Guga Hunters.]

By Ruth Eisenbud

Dear Angus MacNeil,

You claim that it is your cultural right to bludgeon harmless creatures to death. I would question the roots of a culture that allows for such sadistic violence towards any living being. When a culture descends into such a level of pathology, it would seem that there is no boundary between culture and cruelty.

Those who express their supremacy over animals by stoning them to death will feel justified in doing so as long as dominion reigns supreme. Avoidance of all contact with and support of this tradition is required to end the hegemony of man's dominion over the animals.

It has come to my attention that you intend to hold a guga hunt which includes stoning to death 2000 gannet chicks. It would seem you take this brutal method of slaughter from its extensive use in Biblical narratives, where it is often the preferred method of slaughter for any perceived transgression. You claim that it is your cultural right to bludgeon harmless creatures to death. I would question the roots of a culture that allows for such sadistic violence towards any living being. When a culture descends into such a level of pathology, it would seem that there is no boundary between culture and cruelty.

Cruelty to animals is one of the distinguishing vices of low and base minds. Wherever it is found, it is a certain mark of ignorance and meanness; a mark
which all the external advantages of wealth, splendour, and nobility, cannot obliterate. It is consistent neither with learning nor true civility.
-William Jones

It is evident that despite the claim that it is your cultural prerogative to inflict such vicious harm on innocent creatures this is nothing more than an excuse for cruelty. For any culture that sanctions such violence is not worthy of consideration as civilized. The failure to differentiate between culture and cruelty is a direct result of both biblical doctrine, which grants man dominion over the animals and with it the right to violate them with impunity, as well as the frequent use of stoning as a means of punishment. It is particularly perverse that you have chosen to stone to death animals who have committed no wrong.

The depravity of your decision, as well as the the notion that man has the God-given right to torment harmless animals can be attributed directly to your adherence to the cruel concept of dominion, which considers animals as less than human:

"The fear and dread of you shall rest on every animal of the earth, and on every bird of the air, on everything that creeps on the ground, and on all the fish in the sea; into your hand they are delivered. Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you; and just as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything.'"

It is not coincidental that the excesses of Nazism were based on the notion that the intended victims of their rage were also considered less than human. In The Science of Evil Simon Baron-Cohen states that "Nazi laws defined Jews as genetically subhuman and ordered their extermination as part of the eugenics program of the time". Dominion defines animals as less than human, in an irrational hierarchy which places man above the animals. It is this similarity between dominion and Nazism, that has enabled unspeakable exploitation and violence to animals.

As long as biblical mandates which allow for the harm and slaughter of animals, because they are 'less than human', remain unchallenged, the baser impulses to torture innocent beings will be given legitimacy in the name of culture. Any culture based on the primitive pronouncements of dominion will inevitably lead to perverse and sadistic treatment of animals. Pumped up with notions of their own importance, men such as Angus MacNeil, claim the right to brutally slaughter helpless gannet chicks. Such spiritually bankrupt individuals, who take their cue of sanctioned slaughter from the bible, intend to stone to death numerous defenseless animals with impunity because they were granted this right by dominion. In this instance stoning, the method of slaughter, too is taken directly from the bible.

"...in their behavior toward creatures, all men were Nazis. The smugness with which man could do with other species as he pleased exemplified the most extreme racist theories, the principle that might is right". Isaac Bashevis Singer

To the gannet chicks on the Isle of Lewis dominion is no different than nazism to its victims...

In the Jain religious tradition of India, cruelty is not blessed by religious institutions and authorities. Animals are granted the same right as humans to remain free from harm: ahimsa. The result of this more enlightened view is superior animal legislation and greater tolerance of animal-human interactions. Those involved in this shameless display of sadism of the guga hunt, would do well to consider the words of this enlightened religious view.

All things breathing, all things existing, all living beings whatever, would not be slain or treated with violence, or insulted, or tortured or driven away. This is the pure unchanging eternal law, which the wise ones who know the world have proclaimed...
- Jain Acharanga Sutra

All beings with two, three, four or five senses in fact, all creation know individually pleasure and displeasure, pain, terror and sorrow. ALL are full of fears which come from all directions. And yet there exist people who would cause greater pain to them...Some kill animals for sacrifice, some for their skin, flesh, blood, feathers, teeth or tusks;...Some kill them intentionally and some unintentionally. Some kill because they have been previously injured by them...and some because they expect to be injured. He who harms animals has not understood or renounced deeds of sin...He who understands the nature of sin against animals is called a Sage.
- Jain Acharanga Sutra

The barbarity of stoning gannet chicks to death reflects a culture based on the Judeo-Christian view of animals, a tradition that allows for such cruelty, must be challenged. Dominion must be relinquished. Those who express their supremacy over animals by stoning them to death will feel justified in doing so as long as dominion reigns supreme. Avoidance of all contact with and support of this tradition is required to end the hegemony of man's dominion over the animals.