Hunting versus animal rights

Editorial. By Ralph Maughan

I hate this argument.  It can’t be resolved and prevents people from discussing wildlife.  It just results in stereotyping and bad feelings. In the larger world, the argument is deliberately pushed by those who do not want to see any cooperation between hunters and those who don’t hunt.

There are many kinds of hunters and many kinds of people who don’t hunt.  Dividing them into just two groups distorts reality; so, of course, people get angry.

May I suggest that you ignore these discussions if they get started.  I’m going to shut them down if they do.  Those who persist will be asked to comment on another blog, not this one.

~Comments are closed~





  1. Virginia Avatar


  2. wolf moderate Avatar
    wolf moderate

    Ok. Sorry.

  3. Rita K.Sharpe Avatar
    Rita K.Sharpe

    Double Hurray!!!

  4. PointsWest Avatar

    I personally do not mind a discussion about hunting or any other topic. What I dislike is people with an agenda pretending to be in a discussion but only casting childish insults and accusations of evil doing.

    I showed how easy this is to do with animal rights activists. It is not hard to push an agenda against a group (such as animal rights activists) in the guise of discussion…just watch Fox News and they will teach you everything you need to know.

    I could post anti-animal-rights articles all day. Animal rights activists have plenty of enemies and lots of negative press. I choose not to (except as an example of how easy it is) because it is very childish, pointless, and boring.

  5. JB Avatar

    Triple hurray! Let’s debate these issues on their merits and leave identity politics to the pundits!

    1. Dude, the bagman Avatar
      Dude, the bagman

      While I agree that most issues are not either/or, and that stereotyping is not productive, identity politics is relevant to the problems we are talking about. If we can’t even address it in the abstract, how do we move forward?

      Even our decisions informed by science contain inherent policy choices and value judgments. For example, what is an “adequate regulatory mechanism?” Who gets to decide what level of risk are we comfortable with? Who gets to decide who gets into that position? All of these decisions affect legal rights and are inherently allocational. Every policy starts with a premise. Every premise starts with an assumption about the proper assignment of rights. Pretending we can be totally objective is disingenuous and doesn’t make it so.

      Sometimes debating issues on their merits runs face first into identity politics. How do you deal with people who staunchly believe the world is flat or that climate change is not happening? It either is or it isn’t. Although it may result in hurt feelings, sometimes someone has to be wrong.

      Similarly, how do you deal with people who want to say it’s all one extreme or the other when it’s obviously more complicated? “Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.” Accommodating extremes doesn’t resolve anything, but neither does name calling. But how does a person say “bullshit” nicely and remain neutral? Try it, and you’ll see how relevant identity politics actually is.

      While I think it’s important for all of us is not to let group loyalty supplant the original issue, people are still going to form their little pods based on their short-term common interest. You can’t talk about wildlife policy and advocate a position without involving the allocational aspect of it. Allocating resources is always going to make someone angry. Ignoring identity politics won’t make it go away.

      1. wolf moderate Avatar
        wolf moderate


        Only issue is “How do you deal with people who staunchly believe the world is flat or that climate change is not happening? It either is or it isn’t.”

        The debate is still raging on climate change. It either is or isn’t?

      2. Dude, the bagman Avatar
        Dude, the bagman

        I guess it depends on whether you mean the real debate or the pretend debate. You would have to define “debate,” which is debatable. On the other hand, a person’s opinion on whether the earth is flat doesn’t change the objective fact. Flat means flat. But you make a good point.

        It depends on your choice of who is credible. I generally side with what most non-industry scientists say because they have less of an obvious agenda. I defer to their superior knowledge, but for a reason. Science is repeatable and makes my TV work, and that’s just cool.

        It seems more plausible to me that since our economy runs on fossil fuels, those who benefit from the status quo have a better reason to deny global warming than independent scientists publishing in peer-reviewed journals have to just make it up. Implausible scientific claims don’t usually further the careers of independent scientists. These are my assumptions.

        Lots of other people will believe what allows them to still drive their cars without feeling guilty.

      3. wolf moderate Avatar
        wolf moderate

        This is silly. Me and you arguing about this…Obviously you have a background or interest in this. I don’t, I just think it’s a huge waste of time. If it’s happening, it’s too late and we should all just curl up in a ball and wait for the earth to burst into a fireball 🙂 If it isn’t happening, then we’ve wasted massive amounts of money and time.

        The 9th circuit court of appeals has been overturned 5 straight times. If these incredibly smart individuals can’t keep bias out how are scientists. It seems that there is often bias when humans are involved. For instance, you brought up group think or whatever (group loyalty), about how people on this site tend to gravitate towards like minded posters (very true), well the same thing goes on in the science community.
        This was interesting, though it’s a blog.

        There is also a huge conflict of interest involved w/ global warming scientists. They have a monetary incentive to continue the global warming studies. I’m tired and this is dumb. No one knows whether global warming is indeed occuring or whether it’s a hoax. There is so much data out there it’s impossible for people who aren’t “in the know” to understand what’s really happening (Ok a little conspiratorial).

        Ok gn. No more. Gotta focus on wildlife…something that can benefit from us/me common folk.

      4. JB Avatar


        I mostly agree with what you’ve written. It is essential that we debate the legitimacy of claims made by certain interest groups, and when those interest groups are composed of hunters or animal rights activists, to some extent, identity politics will be unavoidable.

        What I object to is people’s use of identity politics–their social identification as a hunter, or as a resident of state X–as a method of polarizing debate. This happens both when people use their affiliation with such groups as a way of legitimizing their arguments and when people use others’ affliction with these groups as a way of dismissing their opinion (e.g., stereotyping). This type of argument is patently deconstructive.

        You asked, “How do you deal with people who staunchly believe the world is flat or that climate change is not happening?” Answer: You definitely don’t start dealing with such an individual by making assumptions about their social affiliation and background and using it to stereotype that person. Fundamentally, I think that is what most of us here object to.

      5. WM Avatar

        Good example of “identity” politics. I don’t bother to read anything “jon” posts on this forum. It is often fact challenged, biased near beyond belief, and edgy and often condescending toward opposing views.

      6. WM Avatar


        ++Answer: You definitely don’t start dealing with such an individual by making assumptions about their social affiliation and background and using it to stereotype that person. ++

        Yet we are compelled, or maybe even hard-wired to do so. Social groupings and the elements that define those groups, whether they are based on geography, common interests and common values, nearly always provide convenient handles to classify people. I tend to think we as a species have difficulty not doing this.

        It requires alot of discipline and conscious effort to avoid it – if one will acknowledge that the stereotyping problem exists and then deals with it.

      7. WM Avatar

        I should also add, we do it to ourselves when we use short-hand descriptions for the values we hold – Democrat or Republican, hunter or animal rights advocate, wolf lover or wolf hater.

        Harder to say with one word, for example, that one is a liberally biased, fiscally conservative, ethical food hunter who wants wolves on the landscape, in a wide geographic range, but not in such large numbers as it causes problems or significanly impacts uses of the land by people.

        Next layer – what do you mean by “fiscally conservative” or “significantly impacts?” Easier, for an idiot like jon to say – he’s a wolf hater.

      8. JB Avatar


        One of the areas of research that most interests me is understanding the types of cognitive biases that affect people when they are attending to, processing, and evaluating information. The first step in “debiasing” is to recognize that these biases exist and that we often employ them in making judgments and decisions. The Yale-based “Cultural Cognition Project” has some really interesting information in this regard ( Note: A couple of the projects specifically target the issue of climate change.

      9. Dude, the bagman Avatar
        Dude, the bagman

        wolf moderate –
        I didn’t think we were arguing. Talking/debating maybe.

        JB –
        “You definitely don’t start dealing with such an individual by making assumptions about their social affiliation and background and using it to stereotype that person.”

        I definitely agree with this. Although I do find it interesting that a person can make a non-judgmental claim like “not all, but a significant minority of hunters are unethical and even advocate poaching with their bumper stickers and comments on the internet” and then watch people defensively circle the wagons and stereotype like you just insulted their religion.

        A person definitely should not start hurling stereotypes, but collective behavior and social narratives are very real, even if fuzzy. I don’t know how we can address that without people getting defensive and reinforcing those divisions. In some circles, a person can’t even talk about social conflict over resources without being derogatorily labeled a Marxist (even when they’re espousing the Marxist ideas of class conflict). Cognitive dissonance is a bitch.

        WM –
        “Social groupings and the elements that define those groups, whether they are based on geography, common interests and common values, nearly always provide convenient handles to classify people. I tend to think we as a species have difficulty not doing this.”

        I agree. It’s important to people to create artificial divisions. If we’re going to beat each other over the head and take the other group’s stuff, it’s important that we don’t view them as human. If it’s not race, it’s religion or political allegiance. Even civilizations from the same genetic origin will break up into tribes based on petty differences. We’re not so different from the animals.

      10. wolf moderate Avatar
        wolf moderate


        “wolf moderate –
        I didn’t think we were arguing. Talking/debating maybe.”

        You are correct. I meant I don’t know why we are discussing this. 1) I do not really have a dog in the fight (Can’t comprehend the vast Peer reviewed articles out there; both for/against) 2) With China and India becoming more powerful, we are basically doomed if indeed climate change/global warming is really occuring 3) This is a wildlife blog and I’m trying to stay on topicish 🙂

  6. Kayla Avatar

    Woohoo!!! Yay!!!

  7. mikepost Avatar

    Three cheers for Ralph and rational discourse.

  8. SEAK Mossback Avatar
    SEAK Mossback

    Just from my perspective, I tend to lump the issue of hunting more in with issues of our place in the food chain and what makes sense as far as acquiring food in a given location. While I respect vegans, I don’t find others to have much traction in arguments against hunting, at least as my family does it. We spend a substantial portion of our “free” time on very localized subsistence activities (including cutting firewood) of which hunting is only a fraction. It just so happens that in this area, animal protein can be acquired very easily in many forms, in general much easier than edible plant material.

    We garden, pick berries, mushrooms, devils club buds, goosetongue, etc. in season, and could do more with kelp, beach asparagus, and other wild plants but it just doesn’t compare. My wife gardens in 28 raised beds and blanches and freezes large amounts of vegetables but it is a bit of a struggle here. With it being cool with so much rainfall, the beds need to be elevated and the planks or logs we use to construct them (non-toxic wood of course) rot out in a few years. Nutrients wash out quickly so we are always raking up and hauling large quantities of detached kelp and salmon carcasses from the beach. Covering the soil with black plastic helps warm it and shed water but creates great slug habitat and kills beneficial microbes in the soil. The only type of squash that did well here (kuda) apparently went extinct and the seeds are no longer available. We do well enough on the basics — potatoes, zucchini, greens, broccoli, cauliflower, peas, beans, beets, carrots, etc. but this ain’t Oregon. Don’t even think about grains.

    Although raising any kind of livestock in a rainforest would be an uphill battle to say the least, this low-population region with a moderate climate at the interface of rich marine and terrestrial environments provides vast opportunities to gather very high quality wild animal protein very locally — practically at arm’s length. A resident hunting and fishing license is $48 ($5 if you are low income and free for life starting at age 60) with no extra cost for a tag unless you want to hunt grizzly bear or muskox, although stamps are required for waterfowl and sport king salmon. The law also allows me to hunt and fish as a proxy for someone over 65 or disabled, on their limit, which I do with deer and salmon for a couple of life-long residents in their 80s and a 60-year old Tlingit woman on low income and with severe arthritis. I hope someday, someone will do some of that for me.

    During September-December, I ambush mallards on tide pools and estuaries on either side of my house and if those were unavailable, there’s a myriad of species of very edible sea ducks cruising back and forth just off the beach at almost all times. I can be looking for deer within 5 minutes from the door in the fall, over a 5 month season. In the spring, I hunt calling blue (dusky) grouse in Sitka spruce high on the slopes. The channel in front has dungeness and tanner crab in great abundance as well as king crab, halibut and coonstripe shrimp (have to boat to steeper terrain for spot prawns). The surrounding beaches are rich cockle habitat with scallops venturing into the shallows and steamer clams accessible some distance by boat. There’s a king salmon drag a couple of miles away that produces for the patient even during winter, but being less patient I troll a little for returning spawners in May-June and head upriver with a gillnet in early July to stock up efficiently on sockeyes, early cohos and kings.

    Last fall, we attended a talk and screening of the movie “Eating Alaska” by a vegetarian who moved from somewhere in the east to Sitka. In the movie, with plenty of humor, she begins to question where food comes from and the relative impacts of continuing her vegetarian diet in this setting (eating locally versus eating low on the food chain, etc.).
    They’re not questions that I’d found much cause to debate personally, but it’s good. Also, it’s certainly true that what makes the most sense here probably makes no sense at all in places with dense population and a better growing climate. Most cultured meat consumes a lot of resources that could feed more people and has a large carbon foot-print, while oceans in many parts of the world are severely over-fished.

    1. WM Avatar


      Not to deviate too far from this topic, but what is the attraction for Devils Club buds? Are they worth the risk of those nasty stickers that imbed in your skin and stay, if you are not careful?

      1. JimT Avatar

        My labs would say NO…they hate the little b@@tards and, once they have had them in their paws, will refuse to go on that path again…

      2. SEAK Mossback Avatar
        SEAK Mossback

        WM –
        Actually, they’re great in the spring when the buds are only 2-3 inches long. You can just work carefully through a patch of devils club wearing thicker clothing and snap off buds that are the right size. I like them sauteed with something like deer tenderloin or backstrap. The natives here also have uses for the roots, but I’ve never tried that. Something else good to pick at the same time is fiddlehead ferns.

      3. JimT Avatar

        Just make sure the fiddleheads are cooked thoroughly as they can be toxic. Great spring hit in certain parts of New England, but the native ramps have never really caught on except in the South.

        Interesting lifestyle…I applaud you.

  9. wolf moderate Avatar
    wolf moderate

    Wow. That was awesome. Your knowledge of gardening among everything else is unreal.

    Do you live in Sitka? If so, do you know Lee Pettis?

    1. SEAK Mossback Avatar
      SEAK Mossback

      I live about 4 miles from downtown Juneau — don’t know Lee. Actually Sitka, being on the outer coast, is one of the most awesome local foraging towns on the planet. A number of marine species like lingcod don’t show up this far inside and they have far better marine salmon fishing for kings and cohos, being in a feeding/migration area for salmon headed to thousands of streams along the coast. Also, they’re in the sweet spot for blacktailed deer on the whole Pacific Rim. The only thing they lack is the big mainland river valleys with moose, etc.

  10. Doryfun Avatar

    Debate? Anthropomorphic climate change is no longer a debate amidst peer reviewed scientist. The attidue that it is,or isn’t happening, and if it is, it is too late to do anything about, is a dangerous position to take. Like igonring the power of Big Business and Realpolitik, it allows those in power to carry out business as usual. They invite. No, they encourage passivity and apathy. Resistance helps slow things down. Changing direction, when heading in the wrong one, is what matters.

    Assumming that we can’t change anything and that it is or isn’t going to happen anyway, just releases us of our personal responsibilities and serves as self-justification to just keep doing things without worrying about consequences. Sneaking up on an elk, when a dangerously hungry lion is bearing down on our backside, could be disasterous.

    Turning a blind eye to the umbrella coveirng all the smaller fish and wildlife issues that is affected by that bigger enveloping picture will only assure contributing to the problem, not the solution. The Tsumani is building. Surfs up. Grab your board. Enjoy your last ride. Or, pay more attention to do what you can to keep the wave from building in the first place. It isn’t too late to change direction.

    Being part of the resistance is part of the solution. Pay more attention to the lion, or the elk will be immaterial.

  11. JimT Avatar

    In law school, there is a somewhat simple admonishment to first years when they start doing briefs to “start at the beginning”, meaning read the law, the legislative history and the regulations before jumping to case law.

    I appreciate the delicacy of the subject and agree with one is going to change their minds. But, I would be curious to hear what people here think “animal rights” is? How is different from animal welfare, or responsible human behaviors towards animals? Does your particular concept change when you are talking about wild animals? Companion animals? Animals used for food?

    I think any good debate must begin with the definition of terms, or as close to a definition as one can get.

    1. Virginia Avatar

      In my opinion, people who use the phrase “animal rights” do so to antagonize those who advocate for “animal welfare.” It is one of those “hot button issues” to get people fired up. I consider myself an advocate for animals. If you want to say I support “animal rights” so be it. The word “rights” has become a conservative and sometimes negative talking point as in “states rights.” “Womens’ rights,” which should have a positive connotation, has become a joke as the conservative right tries to take away womens’ rights. I feel the word “rights” probably only belongs to persons and not to animals. I would ask people to stop using the phrase “animal rights.” It is misleading. Animals need to be protected from people who want to destroy them.

      1. jon Avatar

        “Animals need to be protected from people who want to destroy them.”

        You nailed it Virginia. That is why you have people out there fighting for animals. The ara’s/animal welfare people that I’ve met over the years are some of the nicest people you’d ever meet and they would not hesitate to give you the shirt off their back.

  12. JimT Avatar

    Interesting. I look more to the substance of a proposal that is animal protective than to a label being thrown around. I don’t care if something is called “enhanced human responsibilities so long as it addresses some aspect of, say in the case of companion animals, abuse and neglect. I think you are correct in that the term ‘animal rights’ has been transformed into a nutcase category by certain sectors who would oppose enhanced protections. PETA has also not helped its cause with its extremist positions on some issues…say the breeding of purebred dogs, or the wholesale release of those minks? in England who basically starved to death since they lacked the skills to hunt like their wild weasel cousins. OTOH, I do appreciate them calling attention to needless testing of animals by the drug and products industries, or the abuses that go on in farm animal sectors.

    Steven Wise is one of a few lawyers looking to explore the issue of cognitive intelligence and “rights” based on that measurable factor. For the most part, from what I read, those efforts are focused on the ape and chimpanzee worlds, along with new research on elephants, dolphins and whales. He has a few interesting books out there on law and this issue, if you are interested in winter reading.

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      The discussion of politics in the United States is always filled with references to the “rights” people feel that they have or don’t have. For example, I think corporations are taking away our rights and so is the government; but that is just a way of me trying to elevate the status of my arguments by referring to some abstract entity beyond myself.

      If you go to a different political culture, you will often find completely different assumptions, and there is no discussion of rights. Americans, however, often justify their intervention into these cultures by asserting that people’s rights are being violated. I’d rather just say, we don’t like what you are doing here, so we are going to try to change it. For example, we don’t like the way you treat women, so we are going to kill you Taliban.

      It is the same way with animals. I doubt any animals have a conception of their rights. When we say animals have rights, it is to justify our intervention in how they are treated.

      I’d rather just say we don’t like it that you are starving your horses. It makes us feel bad to see them suffering. So we are going to do something to you. Take the recent case in Montana with the man who starved his 300 horses. You don’t have to argue about horses’ rights to realize that what he has done offends almost all of us, and so we take the horses from his control and punish him.

      1. JimT Avatar

        But you need a framework within which to make that happen, Ralph, where rights,duties, responsibilities, sanctions, restrictions are the concepts that frame the response.

        You are right that animals most likely lack a sense of awareness of the concept of “rights’ in the human sense of the word. The debate comes in our interaction with those animals in various contexts, and the legal and ethical overtones of those interactions. For me, leaving a dog in a yard chained 24-7 is neglect that rises to the level of abuse. The law probably says otherwise so long as food and water are being provided. The gray area–what kind of human would have a dog only to keep it isolated? A dog’s nature is social, so it is part of a human’s responsibility to provide companionship, exercise, etc.? Hard issues to draw black and white lines on for the authorities. Hence the polarity of the issue in certain contexts.

      2. WM Avatar

        ++corporations are taking away our rights++


        I completely agree. May of our problems would be minimized and decision-making in the interests of people and the rights of people would be much better if there were revisions to the “person” status of corporations, accountability for the decisions made by corporations, and limitations on the size, breadth and influence corporations and those who act on their behalf, have in our government.

        There is a very strong case to be made that we would not have had the economic melt down of the last couple of years were it not for corporations and their decision-makers abdicating responsibilities.

        We would not have the risk for future bad decisions if we made them accountable and hung their leaders by their private parts or encarcerated them for long periods of time and stripped them of personal wealth they acquire, while engaging in what, by most standards, would be illegal conduct if done by a real “person.”

        Will such changes occur? Not while corporations haunt the halls of power and peddle their influence at the expense of individuals.

      3. JimT Avatar

        WM, on this, we agree completely. Problem is…what’s the fix?

      4. WM Avatar


        We could hope “divine intervention” truly was a solution, as in the case of Enron’s Kenny Boy Lay (who suggested God should determine his punishment, and who within weeks died of a heart attack at Snowmass). I rather believe it was coincidence linked to stress, and just a little late for a real deterrent effect of divine intervention.

        Maybe we should riot in the streets. It seems to be bringing change in other parts of the world. I think we missed our window of opportunity, however, and should have been doing it when AIG, GM and the banks were on the brink of/in bankruptcy.


      5. PointsWest Avatar

        Joseph Campbell says that all myth and religion is intended to keep the mind in accord with the body. The body has basic needs but the mind can wander, be tricked, and can really get us “out there.” The mind can stress the body and can generally screw it up…to the point of organ failure.

        So when Ken Lay died of a heart attack, you can say that God did judge him. That is, his mind was not in accord with his body and caused his body so much stress, it killed him. He was guilty of at least four of the seven deadly sins. It got him. The irony of his remarks should not be lost.

        Myth and religion are to help us live in accord with our bodies and be healthy.

  13. PointsWest Avatar

    The truth of the matter is that mankind feels quite of bit guilt about surviving at the expense of animals; and of plants as well. We devote quite a lot of time and trouble, in our religion, myth, and in rituals dealing with this guilt.

    A clear example of this is the Buffalo Dance practiced by virtually all of the plains tribes. These buffalo dances are/were grand affairs equivalent to Easter in the Christian tradition. There is a myth or story behind the Buffalo Dance. Here is a link to the story behind the Blackfoot buffalo dance myth that is clearly dealing with the guilt of killing buffalo. It is short…

    Here is a painting of a Buffalo Dance…

    And something I’d not seen before, an actual video of an 1894 Buffalo Dance…

    The Buffalo Dance myth has a core that is very similar to many myths and religions. That core is well known to mythologists and theologians as the “cycle of life.” That is, there is a natural cycle of life. There is birth, then there is life, then there is death, and then there is rebirth or resurrection. In Christian and other solar myths, this cycle is represented by the sun. The sun is born in the morning, it lives through the day, it dies at night, and is resurrected at morning again. Jesus, the son of God, brought the cycle to mankind. He was born of a virgin birth, he lived and preached, he was crucified, and then he was resurrected back up to Heavan by God.

    In the Blackfoot myth, it is the Buffalo Dance that resurrects the buffalo. The Blackfeet redeem themselves before the creator by resurrecting their main prey animal after killing and consuming it all year. The dance itself completes the cycle of life and resurrects the buffalo. It is also a little like the Eucharist where we eat the flesh of Jesus in the form of bread and drink his blood in the form of wine/water and resurrect Jesus within ourselves.

    OK…so humans try and reconcile the cycle of life and animal rights activist do everything in their power to destroy this myth and make us feel guilty. To a Blackfoot, it would be considered sacrilege and would almost certainly get animal right activists killed. Why do animal right activists do it? It is obvious to me it is for attention. It is certainly interesting that drag queens, the greatest attention getters of all time, are a big part of PETA and helped found it. They know it is sacrilegious and have found yet one more avenue, besides wild and provocative dress, to draw attention to their gender issues. They have found some symbolism in animal rights that suits their needs and they have certainly found a hot-button issue with society. I would be willing to bet that most animal rights activists have gender issues.

    1. JimT Avatar

      Silly….doesn’t advance the serious debate of issues at all…

      1. Virginia Avatar


      2. PointsWest Avatar

        Which part…the buffalo dance or PETA and gender issues?

        The buffalo dance is pretty well understood by mythologists and anthropoligist to be exactly what I said it was. It is almost indisputable and I can cite references.

        The gender issues is my theory and I inidicated such. It is, however, indisputable that many animal rights groups are disproportionately gay and I posted an article from PETA’s own website where PETA itself admits this.

        So maybe you just WANT to dismiss it as “silly” because there is nothing silly about it.

      3. PointsWest Avatar

        In case you don’t know, 41% of the West Hollywood’s population is made up of gay men according to a 2002 demographic analysis by Sara Kocher Consulting.

        There is a connection between animal rights activists and gays. To deny this is “silly” and, “doesn’t advance the serious debate of issues at all”!

      4. Moose Avatar


        PETA was actually accused in the past of being “Transphobic”..I just don’t see any connection between the two… neither of people credited with founding PETA had anything to do with drag queens.

        Re: Buffalo Dance

        Social scientists are not psychoanalysts of the dead…… such rituals served multiple purposes in the culture and to reduce it to assuaging group “guilt” is a stretch in my mind.

      5. PointsWest Avatar

        Moose…you only need to visit or read about West Hollywood to understand that there is a very close connection between PETA, animal rights, and gays.

      6. Mike Avatar

        ++Moose…you only need to visit or read about West Hollywood to understand that there is a very close connection between PETA, animal rights, and gays.++

        What kind of bullshit is this? Embarrassing reply that seems to directly violate Ralph’s oringinal post.

    2. SAP Avatar

      PW –

      myth — which you and I and Joseph Campbell understand as the stories we inhabit, the way we make sense of how we ought to live — is certainly a worthwhile vein to mine in figuring out controversies over wildlife.

      I think you’re going in an unproductive direction with your fixation on “drag queens,” gender issues, and so on. Have you dug into scholarly research on drag queens? Certainly, they are seeking attention, but is that at the root of why they dress flamboyantly?

      I have had the privilege of getting to know a some transgendered people, along with a lot gays and lesbians. One thing that strikes me about their lives, their stories, is this: because of our profound homophobia/xenophobia, most gay-lesbian-bi-transgendered people spend their formative years DREADING who they are, and HIDE and HATE a big part of themselves for years.

      That double life, that inauthenticity, must be absolutely exhausting. The self-loathing must utterly drain their souls — which would explain the high rate of suicide amongst this demographic. And it’s not just self-loathing — there’s plenty of negative, even VIOLENT feedback from the culture at large about who they really are.

      When a person finally busted out of that cage and chooses to be authentic, chooses to accept himself/herself, the sense of liberation must be really amazing. The negative violent feedback is still out there, though. How would you deal with that?

      I used to be a homophobe. Not anymore. Now, when I see drag queens, I see a couple things: 1) a wild celebration of liberation and self-acceptance. 2) along with that self-acceptance, a big F-YOU to society, an unambigous declaration of who they are, a thumb in the eye of the oppressor (a homophobic culture) who stole so many years and so much love from their lives.

      Back when I was emerging from being a homophobe, I had an unpleasant conversation with one of my first gay friends. I thought I was being so big when I told him I was ok with who he was, but that I was concerned that some of the “out there” behavior among gays was going to set back “mainstream acceptance.” Wow, did THAT hit a nerve! He said, quite correctly, “oh, so you and the heterosexual majority are going to LET ME be gay, as long as I’m gay on YOUR terms?”

      So, some of the drag queen stuff is, in addition to being a celebration, is also pushback against the idea that the oppressor can still control them, can constrain what it means to be gay.

      1. wolf moderate Avatar
        wolf moderate

        “I used to be a homophobe. Not anymore. Now, when I see drag queens, I see a couple things: 1) a wild celebration of liberation and self-acceptance. 2) along with that self-acceptance, a big F-YOU to society, an unambigous declaration of who they are, a thumb in the eye of the oppressor (a homophobic culture) who stole so many years and so much love from their lives.”

        You’ve put alot of thought into this. Perhaps you are one of these oppressed individuals…Just let it out and let your feminine side shine for the world to see.

        I find these people as attention seeking freaks. Having had the unfortunate pleasure of living in the bay area while in the military, I can say that places like SF, Berkley and Portland, Oregon are really F’d up. It’s really sad the steps that are country is taking in regards to much of this stuff. Prisoners getting sex changes at tax payers expense? WTF.

        Not a “homophobe”, just wish they wouldn’t be so over-the-top. Just be “normal” in regards to your sexual persuasion like “normal” people. Yes my view of “normal” would be the “normal” that I speak of 🙂

      2. PointsWest Avatar

        We are getting beyond the scope of wildlife but there are gender identity issues and there are homosexuals. There are different types of homosexuals too. But there are many who have gender issues and who are also homosexual. Actually my brother-in-law, who lives with us, has some gender issues. His favorite movie is Pricilla Queen of the Desert that is about a transvestite who goes parading around Austrailia in drag, sometimes riding on the top of a bus with a flamboyant gown trailing for hundreds of feet behind so people can see him/her for miles.

        My understanding is similar to yours. Men with gender issues were shamed and repressed for having feminine traits and for wanting to dress like a girls. In adulthood, they express their resentment and contempt for society by doing the thing they were never allowed to do. After they’re older and have power, they generally rub it in societies face and want attention when they do it.

        I believe people who have gender issues also make a big deal of gender roles. In particular, they make a mockery of their expectations as men. Men typically are of the gender that kills to survive. So men with gender issues tend to draw attention to this issue by illiciting guilt for killing.

        That’s my brief assesment.

        I am not anit-gay. Besides my brother-in-law, one of my tentents who lives next to me is gay. We are friends. He baked me cookies for Xmas.

      3. SAP Avatar

        Wolf “Moderate”:

        Seems like one tactic for keeping gays oppressed and isolated is to try to make heterosexuals afraid of standing up against homophobes with the grade-school taunt “you must be one of them!”

        FYI, I think I do let my “feminine side shine” by consciously choosing not to be testosterone poisoned jerk who scares everyone around him. I’m pretty sure I can call up my skills with aggression if I need them, but about 99% of my life anymore, the situation calls cooperation and gentleness — things women seem to be naturally better at, if I can generalize.

      4. JB Avatar

        Wolf Moderate:

        It may interest you to know that the percentage of the US population that is estimated to be gay is roughly equivalent to the percentage that hunts (~5-10%). You might consider this when deciding what is “normal”. 😉

      5. wolf moderate Avatar
        wolf moderate

        I was just messing w/ you SAP, in regards to letting your “feminine side shine”. This is too serious a topic to joke about though.

        “I’m pretty sure I can call up my skills with aggression if I need them, but about 99% of my life anymore, the situation calls cooperation and gentleness”

        Yup, unfortunately I agree. Everything is done through lawyers and psychiatrists these days. I always thought this was pretty representative of our masculine past.
        “Angry and depressed over his defeat, Burr decided to try and restore his reputation by challenging Hamilton to a duel. Burr may have hoped that Hamilton would apologize, but the communication between the men escalated until a duel was unavoidable. On July 11, 1804, on the dueling grounds at Weehawken, New Jersey, Burr shot Hamilton dead. In New York and New Jersey, Burr was charged with murder. And in much of the Northeast, Hamilton was mourned as a fallen hero. But to many Americans, particularly in the South, Burr was viewed as a man who had rightfully defended his honor.”

        I’ve never been in a “fist fight”, so I’m not near as masculine as I’d like to believe…;)

    3. SAP Avatar

      To continue, PW, the link between gay-lesbian-transgender and “animal rights”:

      I think that people who spend their formative years as outsiders, as “other,” and who genuinely suffer for it, may very well be a lot more inclined to empathize with the suffering of others.

      People with NO gender or sexual orientation issues that I can detect, but who were “other” in some other way, are in my experience sometimes deeply alienated from other people, and are much more drawn to the company of animals. Not to stereotype, but I find a lot of people who work at animal shelters to fit that description.

      Couple that suffering and alienation with a lack of direct experience with animal agriculture or hunting, and you have an animal rights activist a lot of the time. Not always — I have known farm kids who grew up to be vegans. but what they all seem to have in common is alienation, “outcast” status, and highly developed empathy response.

      1. PointsWest Avatar

        Some of PETA’s issues are ligitimate. I agree with many of PETA’s agenda points.

        As I said, in realtiy, humans feel guilty to have to kill to survive. It is generally men who are expected to to this killing. Society generally does not expect women to kill because it is very hard for them. Men have a much smaller corpus collosum (look it up) and it is much easier for us to control our emotions. Some gays are simply very feminine and have a smaller corpus collosum and cannot control thier emotions. But gays take it a step further and ridicule men because gays have had their gender issues and are often threatened and hostile. They want to tear down societal norms including the religion and myths that help us to survive.

      2. Mike Avatar

        What an embarrassing post.

      3. SAP Avatar

        “Threatened and hostile”? Geez, I wonder why gays would be “threatened”? Matthew Shepard, anyone?

        PW, I’m going to guess that you, like me, are a white heterosexual male, raised Christian, with a college degree or higher. Our demographic rules the world, at least until atheist Han Chinese males displace us.

        I’m not so sure that they want to “tear down” our society, so much as they just want us to share it with them in a real, meaningful way. People said the same things about the civil rights movement — upsetting the natural order of things (did that include those broad daylight public lynchings???), so on and so forth.

    4. JB Avatar

      “OK…so humans try and reconcile the cycle of life and animal rights activist do everything in their power to destroy this myth and make us feel guilty…”

      This is the kind of rhetoric that disturbs me. You are generalizing to a population of people based upon a very questionable inference. I have never studied animal rights activists, and so I don’t presume to know what makes them tick. I HAVE studied hunters–a lot. And I know from these (and many other studies) that hunters differ profoundly in terms of their motivations for hunting. I suspect that the same is true for animal rights activists. Blanket assumptions about what makes either group tick simply are not productive; more importantly, they are likely to be WRONG in the majority of cases.

      1. PointsWest Avatar

        It is more specifically that gays tend to make light of gender roles because they don’t fit in. They are “acting out” and calling attention to gender roles.

    5. SAP Avatar

      PW – just one more thought, regarding rituals of respect as a way of mediating our conflicting feelings on taking the lives of animals . . .

      I think those rituals are extremely important. I think it’s important that we live those conflicted feelings right to the bone; that we sit with them and work through them. We cannot wish them away.

      There are people on each side of that ambiguity and contradiction (the elk is not my enemy, I am not killing her out of malice, but to eat, this is the circle, I kill her knowing I will feel awful as the light leaves the eyes), people who want to be done with that ambiguity, to break out of the underbrush and stand in the bright light of certainty.

      You have identified one side: people who vilify us for killing animals, no matter how we do it, no matter the reason.

      There is the other side, though, and they are the ones who are non-hunters find so repellent, I think: the ones who either genuinely don’t feel bad when the hunted animal dies (or when it escapes on three legs or with an arrow stuck in its guts), or who have dealt with their internal conflict by pretending it away.

      The former group — those who really don’t feel anything, the guys high-fiving each other on the shooter porn shows on Outdoor Channel — are really troubling. I don’t get them at all.

      The latter group, I know a lot of them, and I think they would really benefit from a stronger community of hunters (and ranchers, too) who acknowledge that we can feel bad yet still kill animals for meat. That just because we’re going to kill them, doesn’t mean we need to ignore their suffering.

      I’ve been told that in Germany, there are respect rituals written into the game laws. Here in the US, I have seen video of an outfitter doing respect rituals with elk his clients killed, trying very hard to initiate hunters into a deeper, more meaningful tradition.

      1. WM Avatar


        Well said.

        I learned along time ago of the importance of this ritual of giving thanks, honoring if you will, the animal. More important in my view than some of the tenets of certain organized religions.

        I will add every time I take a package of elk from the freezer, I am reminded of that circle of life. I do have to wonder if the same is true for my non-hunting friends when they open that strofoam and celephane package of mystery meat at the local supermarket, whose origin they do not know. I’ll guess not.

      2. PointsWest Avatar

        Yeah…well without meaning life would indeed be meaningless.

        I may be agnostic but I am certainly not atheist. Those who are sadistic and those who kill and injure for the wrong reason, I believe, will pay a price for it. And it goes for societies too. Societies who are sadistic and that kill and injur for the wrong reason will also pay.

        I believe you need a good reason to hunt. For me it is because my father wanted me to be a good hunter. It made him proud. We actually needed the meat when I was young. There is a cycle of life. Killing an elk leaves room for another to grow. I do enjoy understanding elk, stocking them, and I find the chase and the kill very thrilling. I always want a clean kill…a head shot or a heart/lung shot. I think this thrill of hunting is instinctual. It came very natural to me.

  14. Kathleen Avatar

    There’s so much more to animal rights than an objection to hunting. (Not sure what prompted this topic, but am glad to add my 2 cents, but please understand that I’m unaware of the back-story, if there is one.) In a hunting culture like MT, ID, WY, et al., hunting vs. animal rights is emotional and divisive and I agree, it can’t be “won.” On the other hand, I know hunters who hunt for food who also abhor trophy hunting and trapping.

    Ralph, you are right about stereotyping–AR people are labeled in these very comments as people whose intent is to “antagonize,” who are merely “attention getters,” and as people with “gender issues.” (I find this latter idea quite offensive). So let’s call them on it, because injustice goes both ways.

    I agree with many things that I’ve read here–the AR label has for too long been defined by those with an interest in seeing the movement make no progress; AR interests in general are often maligned because of the flamboyant stunts of some activists (a convenient way to justify oppression); AR is not well-defined and is a fragmented movement. The very idea of animals having rights is threatening because almost all of us are complicit, in some way, in their exploitation. People who will gush about how much they love animals don’t want to know how pigs– every bit as feeling and thinking as their dogs–suffer horribly in factory farms. That might mean having a pang of conscience next time they bite into a hotdog. See what I mean? That’s uncomfortable rhetoric, and while I believe it’s true, I’m not sure that it’s helpful in shifting the paradigm toward greater compassion. In a society where the status quo is built on the exploitation of animals, the animal rights message creates enough personal conflict that it’s just easier to shoot the messenger and get on with one’s life.

    I agree that animals probably have no concept of their rights, but humans, if we are moral beings, have (at the very least) the obligation to give it serious consideration, IMO. I certainly can’t speak for all AR activists (only myself), but I believe that sentient beings (thinking, feeling beings who feel joy and pain) want what we want–to live their lives and to pursue their own interests. Like us, they don’t want to suffer. To visit intentional suffering on them–KNOWING they will suffer– is wrong.

    So while you might prefer that, instead of talking of ‘rights,’ we simply say, don’t starve your horses because it makes US feel bad to see them suffer, MY concern is for THEM and their suffering, both physical and mental. Of course, horses are property, and our society draws a sharp distinction between those animals who are property and those who aren’t. We have laws to deal with a horse left to starve or a cat who’s tortured, but a fox can be left in a foothold trap to suffer for days, and as for factory farmed animals….fundamental rights are nowhere on their horizon.

    I don’t have all the answers and don’t pretend to. I thought long and hard about posting in this thread for fear that my words would be seen as provocative. On the other hand, I won’t sit by silently while compassionate people seeking justice for other species are reduced to antagonizers and ‘gender issues.’ Also, I want to be clear that I’m not looking to argue, but rather to present another side of the debate in a reasonable manner.
    Thanks for reading.

  15. Cindy Avatar

    I have attended numerous events sponsored by Defenders of Wildlife, The Sierra Club, local conservations groups, animal rescue organizations, Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, all organizations who support animals wild and domestic and not once have I met up with a drag queen. But I’ll be paying more attention next time as I find alternative life styles very interesting.

    1. PointsWest Avatar

      …well PETA has drag queens, a lot of them. So do many other animal rights groups. I could never prove it but I’ll bet most drag queens are either a member of an animal rights group or are supportive of them.

      As others have pointed out, there is a difference between animal welfare and animal rights. I am for animal welfare. I was a member of the Sierra Club and am still supportive of them.

  16. JB Avatar

    Just thought I would comment that I think the broader conversation that takes place on this blog is really important–and I would like to thank the folks that post here (even/especially those I regularly disagree with) for making this site a worthwhile resource and an interesting place to visit.

    1. WM Avatar

      Well, what started out as a very good conversation, in this instance, sure went sideways in the blink of an eye.

  17. Neil Avatar

    I grew up in Kentucky—hunting and fishing. Hunted and fished for just about everything that walked the woods and swam the rivers. Got tired of it. Moved to Colorado 20 years ago and haven’t killed anything—maybe graduating to fly fishing did it—I don’t know. If I ever moved to Wyoming I probably would take up hunting again and I don’t hold anything against those that are honest hunters. They know a great deal more about the land than most Denverites.

  18. Mike Avatar

    So, if I’m to read this thread correctly, “gender confused” men are responsible for the anti-hunting movement?

    I’m not surprised that those who hate certain species of animals also hate certain types of people.

    What an embarrassing thread, not to mention horribly bigoted.

    Yes, there are many types of hunters and animal rights folks, but why is it that we only hear the hunters trashing gays or transgender?

    This bigoted, paranoid and quite frankly ignorant mentality plays a large role in the culture of death which currently infects western wildlife issues.

    Shameful replies here. Just embarrassing.

    1. wolf moderate Avatar
      wolf moderate

      “there are many types of hunters and animal rights folks, but why is it that we only hear the hunters trashing gays or transgender?”

      Hunters are often compensating for past transgressions and take out these feelings on wildlife. As JB states 5-10% of US population are gays and 5-10% hunt. So hunters overcompensate due to confused sexual identities etc…and Animal rights activists are doing the same thing (acting out due to confused sexual identity)? This is what I’ve taken away from reading this thread anywho ( I feel dumber for taking part in it…if that’s possible) A possible breakthrough on

      1. PointsWest Avatar

        Wolf Mod…you cannot tell me there is not a connection between animal rights and gays. I will take you right back to the animal rights capital of the world, West Hollywood, and point out that 41% of the male popultion there is gay!

      2. wolf moderate Avatar
        wolf moderate

        So, possibly the 2 sides have more in common then we first thought? Perhaps we will see hunters and animal rights supporters marching, locked elbow to elbow, with a cadence a boy george/ricky martin song, waving signs saying stop GMO’s, pet mills, trophy hunting etc..

      3. wolf moderate Avatar
        wolf moderate

        I’m 6’6″ 270…What’s your point lol. Big guys CAN be compassionate? I took Nancys advice and watched “earthlings”. It really made me sick. If it doesn’t pull on your heart strings then you are a sicko.

      4. jon Avatar

        Dam, you’re a monster. Are you a bodybuilder by any chance? lol

    2. PointsWest Avatar

      …not entirely but they are certainly a big part of it and especially the more attention getting end of it. That was my point…those who garner attention from it are often men with gender issues. I doubt you could change my mind on it too. As a hunter, I’ve always noticed the most vocal and outlandish and insulting of anti-hunters were either overtly gay men or effeminate men.

      1. Mike Avatar

        I’m 6’3, 210 pounds and I brake for animals. I guess that makes me “gay”.

        I’m sorry, but the responses here are ridiculous. I feel like I’ve stepped into a KKK rally. Embarrassing turn of events for this well-respected site.

      2. wolf moderate Avatar
        wolf moderate


        Got a little carried away. It’s hard to tell when ppl are joking or serious on the “web”. Just FYI, I’m pro choice and for “gay” marriage. What people do is there choice. But some of the over-the-top ppl in the bay area really is disturbing. That’s all. Done posting on this subject. BTW My best friend is “black” so I am not a KKK member. 🙂

  19. Save bears Avatar

    This has to be just about the weirdest topic and following thread that I have ever read on this blog! What is it a full moon this weekend..


    1. jon Avatar

      Boy, I’m going to have to agree with sb on this one! lol

    2. Mike Avatar

      Holy hell, SB and Jon agree, and I agree with SB!

      1. wolf moderate Avatar
        wolf moderate

        Scary! Call the moderator quick!


Subscribe to get new posts right in your Inbox

Ralph Maughan