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Violent Role Models:
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Comments by Roger Kimble
3 July 2001
Thank you for your good question and the remainder of your letter. To be honest, I admire and respect the work you have done at your beautiful website so much, it is extremely difficult for me to disagree with you. I can tell that you and your wife, Mary, are both sensitive, intelligent, caring people and it does bother me not to share the same viewpoint on this one particular issue. I wish that I did, but the truth is, I cannot. I think that what you say is good, and I wish things were that way, but I simply, from my experience, do not believe they are.
You asked if my animals ran free, and the answer is, some do, some do not. Some of the animals that do run free are hunters, while I have others that obviously think it is a total waste of time. All of my animals are treated with the utmost kindness and are not urged, trained, or prodded in any way to hunt. Exactly the opposite. I scold them when I rescue a bird, chipmunk, etc., from their clutches. I told you about raising the small litter of cats after their mother was killed. They were raised inside, and are kept inside. Yet, when they venture out on these warm, sunny days, they will hunt. They were not trained, and did not learn from watching the other animals. Realize that the number I am going to give you is speculation on my part, since I kept no records, but I would venture to say that 70-80% of the cats I have owned were hunters. This is not to say that daily, without fail, they took to the woods in search of prey. Rather, if they spotted something they could catch, they went into the predatory stage at once.
In dogs, it depends much on the breed as to what will arouse this instinct. Some dogs will sit by quietly while birds are all around. Others, the birding breeds, will not. They will either catch, or point, or flush them. Without training, and without being around other dogs that do it, since they were gotten as small, young pups. I could go down the list, but it's more of the same.
I will tell you of a dog my daughter adopted from the pound when it was six weeks old. Australian Shepherd and Border Collie mix. Very intelligent dog. My point being, it tried to herd everything! Even the cats. It wanted them all rounded up and in a bunch. This dog was active all the time. I did not train the dog to do that. No reason to do so. It did not learn it from another dog, since my Cocker couldn't have cared about where the cats happened to be, at any time. The Cocker never attempted to learn this from the other dog either. The Aussie did it from pure inborn instinct.
Also, in closing, let me say I am not praising this instinct I believe animals possess. I wish they might all live in peace. Of course, I also wish we humans could do the same. But, my wishes do not erase the facts. In the wild, this killer instinct, if you will, gives them the means to survive. Without it, they would be dead. It is my sincere desire that we will reach a point in time when we all can co-exist together without the taking of life. Until that day arrives, I suppose we who believe this way do all that is in our power to bring it about more quickly.
God Bless you and yours,
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