This book is very unique and truly different from the previous book readings we’ve done this month. Scully brings a new perspective into the, usually very liberal, animal rights realm. He tells his experiences in the book through a devout Christian, Republican lens. He is not your typical animal activist you see portrayed on television or in the news. He is very much who you assume would be on the opposing side of the animal rights movement. Perhaps this is why the books resonates so well – and hopefully can/will resonate with others who come from a background similar to the author himself.
Three main topics of this discussion in the book are, (1) the author’s experiences at a Safari Club International (SCI) hunting convention, (2) his experiences at the annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission, and (3) his experiences visiting Smithfield, a large factory farm, and the world’s largest pork producer. The first two topics are very different from the material in the books previously read. Hunting and whaling are much more niche groups of animal cruelty I’d say, especially in comparison to factory farming, which has crept up much more in the public eye.
At the SCI Convention Scully has the pleasure of the making the acquaintance of the elite of the hunting brood. People who shout out thousands upon thousands of dollars for wild animal carcasses to showoff as trophies. Wasting countless innocent, and endangered, lives that coexist with us on this planet. People who purchase things like, “His-and-Her sets” of Elephant hide. People who claim that by hunting the animals they are saving the animals, by putting a price tag on them.
An especially interesting part of this section that Scully covers is the tax angles. Safari Club International is a 501 (c)(3) tax-exempt charity.
Just name SCI as the beneficiary of your estate. You get to write it off as a charitable donation for years to come, under a device in the tax code known as a charitable remainder trust, or a CRT. When you pass on, everything then goes to SCI. Safari Club lawyers are standing by in the back of the room. They’ll handle it for you on the spot. All the forms are ready. You can have your estate in order before lunch.
If that’s not a route to your liking, there is also the museum route.
The way this works is, you “donate” your trophies, often hundred of them, for eventual shipping to SCI’s own International Wildlife Museum. You agree “to store and maintain the collection within museum standards until such time as the initial use within our tax exempt function is determined.” Just hold on to it. Meanwhile, explains the document, consider yourself a “curator” sharing in SCI’s 501 (c)(3) charity status.
The SCI is just feeding money back into itself and hiding under the guise of conservation and wildlife education, meanwhile these are the guys killing off the wildlife!
The next location Scully visits is the annual International Whaling Commission meeting being held in Adelaide, Australia. Japan and Norway, being two of the top whaling countries, rely on whaling most, for many matters, of custom, economics, and so on. Two locations especially displeased with the laws and people interfering with the stability of their businesses.
This is the kind of “propaganda” that Norway and Japan still complain about, which may be defined as simple pictures or video images of whalers doing what they do, or of whales doing what they do-the utter harmlessness of these creatures an unanswerable rebuke to their slayers.
The folks Scully interacts with in this part of the book are all very against the Greenpeace movement. Denouncing the government’s involvement with whaling restrictions and laws as just a way to crowd please and keep higher monetary matters of theirs out of the public eye. True or false as it may be.
Many people complained that animal activists are too busy worrying about animals, they are forgetting about humans. Like if you care deeply for animal rights all of your love and compassion will be spend up already or something. Can you not care for both? I’m quite sure that humans have the ability to spread their love, interests and passions into many facets of their lives. Caring about one thing doesn’t mean you can’t care about something else.
- “Many of us seem to have lost all sense of restraint toward animals, an understanding of natural boundaries, a respect for them as beings with needs and wants and a place and purpose of their own. Too often, too casually, we assume that our interests always come first, and if it’s profitable or expedient that is all we need to know. We assume that all there other creatures with whom we share the earth are here for us, and only for us. We assume, in effect, that we are everything and they are nothing.”
- “When we wince at the suffering of animals, that feeling speaks well of us even when we ignore it, and those who dismiss love for our fellow creatures as mere sentimentality overlook a good and important part of our humanity.”
- “Where we find wrongs done to animals, it is no excuse to say that more important wrongs are done to human beings, and let us concentrate on those. A wrong is a wrong, and often the little ones, when they are shrugged off as nothing, spread and do the gravest harm to ourselves and others.”
- “My point is that when you look at a rabbit and can see only a pest, or vermin, or a meal, or a commodity, or a laboratory subject, you aren’t seeing the rabbit anymore. You are seeing only yourself and the schemes and appetites we bring to the world-seeing, come to think of it, like an animal instead of as a moral being with moral vision.”
- “At times the debate over animal welfare strikes me as a clash not between reasoned arguments but between rival mythologies: animals as Victims, oppressed by Man, versus man the Conqueror, guided by God. Human beings tend to be sentimental about animals one way or another, if not in the delight and wonder of seeing them alive then in the ignoble rituals accompanying their torment and death. If it is a choice of myths, I’ll take man as the Creature of Compassion. It is better to be sentimental about life.”
- “When a man’s love of finery clouds his moral judgement, that is vanity. When he lets a demanding palate make his moral choices, that is gluttony. When he ascribes the divine will to his own whims, that is pride. And when he gets angry at being reminded of animal suffering that his own daily choices might help avoid, that is moral cowardice.”