Friday, October 21, 2005

extreme vegetarian mind rot

In his article in September's Atlantic Monthly and October responses to letters, B. R. Myers reduces the process of hunting to its end result: the death of an animal. If that was all hunting was, people would be lining up in droves at slaughterhouses to have a whack and be done with it. Fishermen would walk out to the pier or the lake with a fish bat. I expect in Myers's mind, they're all laughing mockingly and toasting the death rattles with quart bottles of beer.

Myers has chosen to ignore all the deeper reasons for hunting, and his vegan blinkers will not let him imagine any. If he wants examples: first, just being outdoors, away from traffic jams, your next mortgage payment, and all your worries about the business side of life. Second and most importantly, self-challenge. That old buck that Myers gasps about knows all the tricks. He's evaded scores, perhaps even a hundred hunters in his lifetime. He is plainly smarter than them. Can a human step quietly enough, stay unseen and unscented long enough, follow for hours or even days and still keep track of where he is, until he has the opportunity for a clean shot that will fell the buck immediately? It takes endurance, experience, and strong nerves to do it. Myers has no idea that the sheer magnificence of the animal can overwhelm a hunter, staying his hand at the last moment. If hunting was only about killing, this would never happen.

And has Myers heard of catch-and-release, practiced by many fishermen and falconers? Catching the game and letting it go, alive, just for the pleasure of the hunting itself, destroys his theory about kill-obsessed hunters.

Myers does not actually need the reasons he asked for, because he will never be convinced of his wrongness. He believes his vegetarianism makes him special, better than those unprincipled, soulless, meat-eating, leather-wearing folk who have no sensitivity to the feelings of those little "people" in fur coats. Fortunately, he is not representative of most vegetarians in the same way that Eric Rudolph is not representative of right-wing Christians. But if vegetarianism is this hazardous to human intelligence, please pass me the steak.

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