as published in ConwayDailySun
September 28, 2015
[Please send ConwayDailySun responses to: Hunting is as much a part of nature as the seasons.]
Bagged, A Reprehensible Term for Murder
To the editor:
The headline in last week’s paper regarding bears murdered read “157 bears bagged.”
Bagged? Really. What a disrespectful, degrading term ... bagged! A reprehensible word considering it is the unnecessary taking of sentient life. A mother bear? A father bear? Someone’s juvenile family member ... bagged? Ugh!
Just the week before, I heard so many comments about how wonderful it was to see such beautiful, majestic wild creatures around and how stunning the photo of the cubs was in the paper.
What kind of thrill is it to chase these magnificent mammals in their own depleting habitat to shoot them dead or chase them down with dogs to do the same?
Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson authored a brilliant expose of violence in human society called, Beasts: What Animals can Teach Us About the Origins of Good and Evil. The jacket cover reads:
“In his previous bestsellers, Masson has showed us that animals can teach us much about our own emotions — love (dogs), contentment (cats), and grief (elephants), among others. In Beasts, he demonstrates that the violence we perceive in the ‘wild’ is a matter of projection.
‘Animals predators kill to survive, but animal aggression is not even remotely equivalent to the violence of mankind. Humans are the most violent animals to our own kind in existence. We lack what all other animals have: a check on the aggression that would destroy the species rather than serve it. In Beasts, Masson brings to life the richness of the animal world and strips away our misconceptions of the creatures we fear, offering a powerful and compelling look at our uniquely human propensity toward aggression.”
The problems in human society are not made of ISIS or al-Qaida or terrorism; they are made from a warped and speciesist relationship with nature and animals, and hence, other human beings. When we repair our view of “others” including non-human beings, we might stand a chance at our own survival since what we destroy in nature we destroy in ourselves.
Human beings are a part of the animal kingdom, not apart from it. The separation of us and them creates a false picture and is responsible for much suffering. It is part of the in-group/out-group mentality that leads to human oppression of the weak by the strong as in ethnic, religious, political and social conflicts. — ethologist Marc Bekoff
Return to Letters