The Holley (NY) squirrel massacre is on. Barbarism triumphs again.

PREFATORY NOTE: We regret to report that the Holley Fire Department’s 7th annual Hazzard County Squirrel Slam began early Saturday morning with 1,000 registrants in two-person teams set out to bag the heaviest squirrels. The event, which sold out at 200 tickets last year, expanded to 1,000 this year and sold out again. Prizes ranging between $50 and $200 will be awarded to the first-, second- and third-place teams, as well the team to bag the single heaviest squirrel. A prize also will be awarded for the heaviest squirrel caught in a 14-and-under division, which is new to this year’s event.

A grey squirrel doing her thing.  The poor creatures are now living targets behind a pathetic excuse.

Hunters could target squirrels anywhere in the state, but to qualify for the prizes, they returned to Holley for the evening weigh-in at 5. There is a maximum of five squirrels accepted per team.

“It ain’t like duck hunting, where you got to be out early when they’re flying,” said one hunter named Richard, who withheld his last name to protect his safety. “Squirrels move all day.”

Richard was joined by a couple of his sons for the event.  Money raised is traditionally used to help offset the cost of equipment, Fire Chief Pete Hendrickson said.
READ THE REST OF THE STORY HERE [Democrat & Chronicle]

Squirrel Slam

Holley-bilde(Newser) – A fire department in rural upstate New York has an unusual way of raising money to buy new gear—a “squirrel slam.” Every year, the Holley department organizes a hunt, sells tickets, and hands out prizes for the best carcasses. (“Reds & grays only!!” says the rules.) This year, however, the squirrels have a little ammunition of their own in the form of social media, reports Rochester’s Democrat and Chronicle. News of the Feb. 16 hunt is spreading quickly online, and opponents are trying to put a stop to it with petitions on Facebook and

“Stop the mass slaughter,” demands the latter petition, whose author is particularly incensed that kids as young as 12 can take part. A blogger at Psychology Today similarly complains of the “barbarism.” The fire chief says he’s been fielding calls from all over the world—even Britain’s Daily Mail has weighed in with a story—but he insists the hunt will go on. In fact, almost all of the 700 tickets have sold already.

“This is a community of hunters and they’re going to hunt anyways,” said the event’s chairperson, Tina Reed. “Why not hold a fundraiser that will reach our community?”State Sen. Tony Avella, a Queens Democrat, called the contest insane during an Albany news conference with the group Friends of Animals earlier this week.Sen. George Maziarz, a Republican who represents Holley, defended the fundraiser, saying hunting, fishing and shooting sports are part of the region’s lifestyle.”It’s like a fishing derby but it’s squirrels, not fish,” Maziarz spokesman Adam Tabelski said Friday.


_____________________________________________________________________Bang Bang, We All Fall Down

Replacing the cycle of violence with the cycle of love
Published on January 27, 2013 by Gay Bradshaw, PhD in Bear in Mind

Ad for squirrel shoot.

What you go and do
You go and give the boy a gun
Now there ain’t place to run to
Ain’t no place to run to
When he hold it in his hand
He feel mighty he feel strong
Now there ain’t no place to run to
Ain’t no place to run

– Tracey Chapman [1]

This February the Holley Fire Department of Hazzard County, New York, is holding its annual “Squirrel Slam” fundraiser. It marks its seventh year. An advertisement invites teams of two to “spend a day in the woods and then enjoy the party” – that is, killing squirrels. The first prize of $200 goes to the team that brings in the greatest number of dead squirrels. Additional prizes are awarded such as $50 to the 14-year-old-and-under participant who brings in the heaviest dead squirrel.

Aside from the pure barbarism of the overall event, this last bit of information heightens the horror, particularly in light of the recent Newtown massacre of school children. Children are awarded and offered money to use guns and kill. [2] However, the New York firefighters are not alone.

Many states promote killing and violence in children with such events as the “Mentored Youth Hunter Program”. For example, the website of the Oregon Fish & Wildlife Department (the people and agency responsible for safeguarding wildlife wellbeing) states [3]:

The time shared between a youngster and a mentor is invaluable. There simply is no better way to introduce a young person to. . .hunting than with the close supervision of an adult mentor. . .The Program allows youth 9 through 13 years of age to hunt without first passing an approved hunter education program. It gives unlicensed youngsters the opportunity to receive mentored, one-on-one field experience and training on the. . .enjoyment of hunting.” [3]

Here are a few statistics that illustrate the consequences when children are encouraged to harm and kill [4,5]:

• Children’s acts of animal abuse are some of the strongest and earliest diagnostic indicators of conduct disorder, often beginning as young as 6-1/2 years of age
• 70% of animal abusers had criminal records including crimes of violence, property,drugs, or disorderly behavior.
• 50% of schoolyard shooters have histories of animal cruelty
• 35% of search warrants executed for animal abuse or dog fighting investigations resulted in seizures of narcotics or guns. 82% of offenders arrested for animal abuse violations had prior arrests for battery, weapons or drug charges: 23% had subsequent arrests for felony offenses
• 70% of people charged with cruelty to animals were known by police for other violent behavior – including homicide
• 61.5% of animal abuse offenders had also committed an assault; 17% had committed sexual abuse. All sexual homicide offenders reported having been cruel to animals.
• 63% of aggressive criminals had deliberately inflicted harm on animals in childhood
• 48% of rapists and 30% of child molesters committed animal abuse in child- hood oradolescence. Sexual assault, domestic violence and firearms offenses featured prominently in cruelty offenders. criminal histories.” [5]

All of this should come as no surprise. It is common knowledge, even common sense among teachers, health practitioners, law enforcement, the legal professions, and social services that teaching violence begets violence.

One day he may come back
Repay us for what we’ve done
Then where you gonna run to
Where you gonna run. . .

And if he finds himself to be
A reflection of us all
Bang bang bang
He’ll shoot us down

This widespread understanding and escalating crisis have brought a consensus that intervention is crucial. One sterling example, the Animals & Society Institute, has created a program, AniCare, which in the words of the International Association of Chiefs of Police provides “an effective means of breaking the cycle of family violence from one generation to the next.” [5, 6]

Our society is long past its saturation point for violence. Firefighters of all people appreciate life – human and nonhuman. Their job is saving lives, not taking lives. Let them know by using one of the many petitions asking that the event be cancelled forever. [7]

Instead of a cycle of violence, let’s promote a cycle of love and compassion for our animal kin.

gayBradshaw-npeanut_smallGay Arndt Bradshaw Ph.D., is Executive Director of The Kerulos Center. She holds doctorate degrees in ecology and psychology, and has published, taught, and lectured widely in these fields both in the U.S. and internationally. She is the author of Elephants on the Edge: What Animals Teach Us about Humanity, published by Yale University Press, an in-depth psychological portrait of elephants in captivity and in the wild. Read an excerpt here.

Dr. Bradshaw’s work focuses on trans-species psychology, the theory and methods for the study and care of animal psychological wellbeing and multi-species cultures.

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  • 12

14 thoughts on “The Holley (NY) squirrel massacre is on. Barbarism triumphs again.

    1. Actually, they lied. We, animal activist, offered to take up money for their fund raiser. They would much rather have ‘fun’ killing than to take our money.

  1. Was there ever any doubt about the outcome?
    Dominion willl continue to truimph until we have the courage to expose the adverse effect of the semitic religions on their devastation, violence and exploitation of animal life. By the standards of these religions the squirrel slam was justified by the god-given right to inspire fear and dread into animal kind.

    Animal organzations are complicit in perpetuating biblical violence to animals, as they benefit financially from the carnage by supporting an unending cycle of violence. With a facade of protest, they enlist members and fill their coffers:

    Brian Shapiro [president hsus]suggested that instead of a squirrel slam, the fired department of Holley NY should have a pig roast to raise funds:

    “The Squirrel Slam has attracted significant attention with hundreds of letters, emails and phone calls being directed to your attention from concerned citizens worldwide,” the letter states. “We were recently contacted by members of the Holley community who were upset about the event and requested that we contact you directly. The HSUS shares their concerns; we believe that a contest kill for cash or other prizes is not a sensitive way to raise important funds for the Holley Fire Department and negatively reflects on the life-saving services that your department provides to the community.”
    The letter, written by New York HSUS director Brian Shapiro, asks the department to “forgo sponsorship” of the event and stage a different fundraiser, similar to the one held last year for local firefighter Cody Coopenberg, the brave young man who was critically injured while serving our country in Afghanistan.”
    A pig roast and auction fund-raiser was conducted for Coopenberg, 21.”

    When the head of a an animal protection organization calls for a pig roast instead of a squirrel slam, it is time to question, just how compassion has become so corrupted in a dominion nation.

    In India, where the religious model of ahimsa is the basis for animal law and protection all contests of shoots using animals as target practice are banned. Wilderness Services in India does not issue licenses for cull, pigoen shoots, squirrel slams or python slaughterrests. Instead Wilderness Services in India rescues these animals in conjunction with rescue organizations such as WildLife SOS India.

    The entire system of animal protection and law has been suberted by the barbaric words of genesis:
    “The fear and dread of you shall rest on every animal of the earth, and on every bird of the air, on everything that creeps on the ground, and on all the fish in the sea; into your hand they are delivered. Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you; and just as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything.'” genesis 9-1-3

    All those who are soul weary from all the death and destruction of the mandate of dominion, MUST leave these religions by with holding financial and moral support. As long as we maintain the pretense that Judaism, Christianity or Islam will lead to compassion, we are complicit with the violence to animals.

    There are no squirrel slams in India.

    For there is nothing inaccessible for death.
    All beings are fond of life, hate pain, like pleasure,
    shun destruction, like life, long to live. To all life
    is dear.” Jain Achranga Sutra

  2. The following is a representation of voices that responded (properly, in our opinion) to this wanton act of mass cruelty. Main page at—Editor

    Marlene Veillette · Top Commenter
    DESPICABLE RAISING MONEY BY KILLING SQUIRRELS! What kind of mentality is this displaying? Sick men! Heartless bullies!
    Reply · 16 · Like · about an hour ago

    Samme Chittum · Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism
    Animal cruelty is always wrong. Shame on everyone involved. Too many squirrels? Too many assholes with guns is more like it.
    Reply · 10 · Like · 40 minutes ago

    Susan Supplee Silverman
    Perfectly stated.
    Reply · 2 · Like · 20 minutes ago

    Dev Prasad · Top Commenter · Works at Robert Bosch Engg. and Business Soln Ltd (RBEI)
    Well said !
    Reply · 1 · Like · 12 minutes ago

    Sean Lenihan · McGill University, Montreal, Associate Editor, The Greanville Post
    Well said, Samme!!! There are far too many moral idiots who apparently can’t let the poor animals live undisturbed in this planet and have to go out of their ways to blow them apart for any pretext whatsoever.
    Reply · Like · 2 seconds ago

    Barbara A. Cavaluzzi
    I don’t even know what to say. I am really fed up with people. How can anybody have the heart to kill squirrels.
    Reply · 10 · Like · about an hour ago

    Cynthia Cooper · Top Commenter · Boston University
    sick sub human scumbags! I agree with Barbara Cavaluzzi who said she is fed up with people! for the most part, except for animal lovers everywhere and animal rescuers as these people have real hearts, the human race stinks! Maybe one of those bullets will hit them by accident! sick excuse for human beings.
    Reply · 9 · Like · 58 minutes ago

    Sean Lenihan · McGill University, Montreal
    And that’s putting it too mildly, Cynthia. Depraved bastards. Why does rurality foster so much animal cruelty? These are people who have yet to evolve a minimum of ethics beyond the self-serving Biblical “permission” to go out and tyrannize this poor earth and its creatures. What a plague our species is.
    Reply · Like · 2 seconds ago

    Ronnie Greene · Top Commenter · NYU ~ Social Work ~ MSW
    Oh, Pleeeeease! How-can-there-be-too-many-squirrels? Just an excuse. The heading>>”7th *ANNUAL* Squirrel Slam” says it all. Massacre of our wolves, wild horses, bison, prairie dogs, rabbits, pigeons…& now to hear of SQUIRRELS! I usually don’t get, I am now furious. Unbelievable! Telephone calls needed, even if AFTER, the “Slam,” i.e., “He-Men” having a good ‘ole time shooting little squirrels!
    Reply · 7 · Like · 54 minutes ago

    Barbie Navarro · Top Commenter · Toronto, Ontario
    Cynthia Cooper · I AGREE WHIT YOU!–sick sub human scumbags! I agree with Barbara Cavaluzzi who said she is fed up with people! for the most part, except for animal lovers everywhere and animal rescuers as these people have real hearts, the human race stinks! Maybe one of those bullets will hit them by accident! sick excuse for human beings.
    Reply · 6 · Like · 29 minutes ago

    Cat Tayler · Top Commenter
    This is what they are teaching their children? To maim and kill innocent little beings for fun and profit? i really hope karma pays them back ten-fold. That is one of the most disgusting things I’ve read in a while. There is no hope for us as human beings.
    Reply · 6 · Like · 43 minutes ago

    Meeche Miller · Top Commenter
    So terrible – to think that this Holley Fire Department thinks it’s SPORT to kill innocent squirrels – it’s animal abuse – there is NO excuse for it and the taxpayers who pay these idiots were not listened to when they protested the shoot. The Fire Chief who allowed his immature employees to proceed with this killing ought to be fired. I thought it was against the law to sponsor anything that involved money when you work for the City? Apparently this Fire Chief thinks he is above the law. What kind of a town is this that supports killing for a thrill? Who is the Fire Chief’Who is his boss? Do they have a City Coun cil in that hick town? If so, the Council should fire this Chief and put all those idiot employees who thought it was funny on suspension! This really stinks for public relations and gives this whole town a bad name – what kind of unthinking, immature, people are in charge there that they allow this and think it’s fun? They are all sick and disgusting. What are they teaching the kids in that community – that it’s OK to kill defensless little animals?
    Reply · 4 · Like · 30 minutes ago

    Sean Lenihan · McGill University, Montreal
    Unfortunately, according to my information, the department is an all-volunteer force as the town (1800 people) is miniscule.
    Reply · Like · 2 seconds ago

    Carol Margaret Rushton · Top Commenter · Walpole Grammer
    This is despicable to think these peple can get pleasure raising money by killing squirrels, these people are just senseless barbaric bullies, perhaps they should suffer the same fatee, I bet that would sto them very quickly.Obviously these people have no heart or love for animals they are the scum of the earth.
    Reply · 4 · Like · 37 minutes ago

    Betty Lathouwers · Top Commenter · Stedelijke Normaalschool Antwerpen
    in what kind of world some people live in?
    Reply · 7 · Like · about an hour ago

    1. Is it inappropriate to point out the adverse effect of religion on compassion for animals? If not, then it would be interesting to consider why it is that there are squirrel slams, pigeon shoots…. the whole array of killing for contest as a game, is prohibited in India, but allowed in a nation steeped in the biblical rhetoric of dominion. Indian religions of jainism and to some extent hinduism, regard animals as human equivalents, with a soul, capable of experiencing pain and fear. This view goes a long way towards more humane animal legislation and protection. Remember that in Holley NY, it was wildlife services that granted the license for the squirrel slam. This could not happen in India.

  3. @Marlene Veillette, @Cynthia Cooper, and @Meeche Miller and so many others on this thread – Go to hell. I lived in your depraved cesspools of humanity that you call “cities” for many years. I moved to a place within an hour of this event and I have raised a family here. How dare you judge people that you have never met. These “sick sub human scumbags” and “idiots” are volunteer firefighters – got that? Volunteer? There are no taxpayers that are paying these heroes and they cannot be fired just because you say so. They are risking their lives in the service of others and they are doing so without pay. I challenge you to have the same level of bravery.
    I challenge you to do so within communities that are not served but highly paid, professional emergency responders, but rather have to do so with the resources provided by community contributions. If you have the courage to do that, then I’m happy to hear what you would suggest as fundraiser. Until then, shut up. Those of us who serve the public are sick and tired of being criticized for doing the best we can do, only to be denigrated by those who wallow in the safety we provide. You live as you choose, and we shall live as we choose.

    1. Your ignorance of facts and even history shows in every word you utter, not to mention logic.

      First, for logic. Bravery is no excuse nor is a guarantee against brutality, as WW2 amply proved—-on all sides, especially the Nazis. The SS —the most fanatical troops in the Nazi army, distinguished themselves in many battles and yet they were a despicable incompassionate lot that committed countless massacres of women, men and children, all to fulfill deranged nationalistic aims repugnant to most free & decent people.

      Second, the law. You may live in Holley, and I live in South Boston, but the animals of your state, and mine, indeed this nation, belong to all Americans, even if they are not properly protected against people like you. In fact, it is against the law to cause harm or indulge in wanton acts of cruelty to animals. Hunters at least have the pretext of blowing animals “for food”, here that argument held no water, especially since there were firm offers for you to take donated money in its place. But that would have robbed you and your ilk of all the fun I suppose. Incidentally, I’m no little woman with a Bambi complex. I’m an ex-Marine (and ex-hunter) with service in Iraq, a man who finally saw the light about all this fucking violence we do in this world—to animals and to each other. Now every day is a struggle just to keep myself from feeling nauseated by my past behavior. I haven’t been able to sleep normal for several years. But this is not about me. Let’s go back to the topic at hand.

      History: Again, on the question of bravery and heroism and self-sacrifice coupled with brutality. One thing does not prevent the other. It’s a complex world with many contradictions. Humans are the most contradictory species on the planet. Full of neuroses and tension between civilized and uncivilized behavior. Hitler loved his dog Hilde (and ended up poisoning her to test a suicide cyanide pill). If you’ve been in country somewhere you know what I mean. That’s why the shrinks have their offices booked up for years. A lot of fuckups.

      Gilles de Rais, the man who originated the legend of “Bluebeard”—the notorious serial killer of children and ruthless sadist—was a fierce fighter who rose in the battlefield to the rank of Marshall of France. He fought alongside Joan of Arc to fee his country from the English occupation.
      Look it up:

      At bottom, let me tell you, it boils down to innate decency. We don’t need a religion to tell us what the right thing is in cases like this. If you have no compassion toward helpless animals that present no threat whatever to you, and look for excuses to indulge in a blood fest, go ahead, but that choice speaks volumes about your pathetic moral development.

      Incidentally where was the local ASPCA or anti-cruelty office in all this? If those people are being paid, well, that’s a waste of damned effing money.

      To close, a couple of things. All my life I have deeply admired people who serve—paid or not paid—in the fire department. As a rule, firefighters are noble, heroic people in my book. You don’t have to tell me. That’s why I’m pissed that people who excel at saving lives–many a time animal lives, too, as do the police-—in Holley should go for something so against character as a “squirrel slam.” To me, that goes against the grain of what firefighters are all about, which is bravery and kindness in the same package.

      If you care to know, this is the article that finally made me rethink my participation in blood “sports”. WHY I QUIT HUNTING
      It appears on this blog and many others.

      I don’t know if it will do any good, but there it is. I hope it does.

      J.B. Aherne

    2. Hey Mike, who told you I live in a city? In fact I live in a town with far fewer than 5,000 people. Mostly semi-rural. And what kind of nonsense is that that a “city” which is an aggregation of people—good, bad and indifferent, is inherently bad? Not all city folk are slickers. I’m not. I live on a ratty pension. As a pipefitter I worked all my life keeping a boiler going in Brooklyn on the yards, pensioned off on a pittance now with both kidneys shot. Does that spund like an easy life to you?

      By the way, I’m not against guns. I got my stash, just in case: Walthers, a Bushmaster, and two sidearms I inherited from the service. But I don;t hunt. I’m no caveman, don;t like to kill for te hel,l of it..

      You need a head transplant, pal. What a jerk.

      T.J. Maloney
      Andover (NY)


  4. The following reply was posted to JB Ahearn. I was concerned about his fear of being perceived as a small woman with a bambi complex. There is no room for mysogyny in the AR movement:

    To JB Ahern:
    I am a small woman with a bambi complex and proud of it. This is nothing to be ashamed of. Gandhi was a small man with more courage than any of the great killers throughout history, many of whom have had god on their side during crusades, inquisitions, entifadas and jihads. Gandhi drew strength from the religious concept of ahimsa, which was introduced in India thousands of years ago. It is a religious concept with reverence for life, unlike the judeo.christian construction of dominion.

    You state:
    “We don’t need a religion to tell us what the right thing is in cases like this. If you have no compassion toward helpless animals that present no threat whatever to you, and look for excuses to indulge in a blood fest, go ahead, but that choice speaks volumes about your pathetic moral development.”

    While there are some who have innate compassion, those who do not are encouraged and applauded by dominion for their ability to inspire fear and dread over animalkind. The evidence indicates that religion may indeed have a positive effect on compassion for animals. India, due to the influence of ahimsa animal protection legislation includes benefits for animals unattainable in a dominion nation. For example:

    There is a ban on capturing dolphins and whales for display in aquariums and shows; Dissection is banned for every high school student in every school in every state; vivisection is banned on the university and college level in every state; all the captive dancing bears have been liberated and rescued; it is illegal to use wilderness animals in circus acts; it is illegal to kill a healthy dog for any reason, while in dog loving USA 5 million healthy dogs are killed every year in shelters; there are 400 million religious vegetarians….

    Religion does have an effect. With dominion the effect is to encourage the cruel and override the voices of the compassionate. With ahimsa children learn at a young age not to harm or kill animals. Their innate compassion is encouraged.

    In a dominion, dog loving nation healthy dogs are killed for convenience with the excuse that they are better of dead. This is the contradiction of dominion and is no different than the example you cite of hitler poisoning his dog. We are a dog loving nation that kills dogs. This is a function of the contradiction of biblical rhetoric on animals which urges compassion, as it tolerates and endorses slaughter and exploitation.

    There are Christian Youth Hunting missions in the USA, where children are taught to hunt, kill and proselytize:

    “Outreach Outdoors is a Christian hunting ministry aiming to spread the message of Jesus Christ to non-believers and challenge Christians to live a life of purpose”

    Morality and compassion do not emerge full blown in adults, they must be taught and encouraged in young children. The dominion religions do just the opposite. They have failed miserably with delivering compassion for animals. Rather than state platitudes about morality which fall on the deaf ears and numb hearts of those inculcated by the doctrine of dominion, it would be well worth the effort to address the root of so much rampant animal abuse where man’s dominion over the animals is celebrated.
    t will take courage and honesty, the courage of small women with a bambi complex, to challenge the reign of terror inspired by dominion religions. It is not possible to ignore the harm done by dominion on animals and the human spirit. To do so perpetuates the status quo and squirrel slams far into the future.
    Ruth Eisenbud

  5. The Editors’ reply:

    Ruth Eisenbud, well meaning, articulate, and utterly devoted as you are to the cause of saving animals, which we appreciate, you sometimes can’t see the forest for the trees and confuse friend with foe.

    A careful reading of Mr. Aherne’s comment clearly indicates that he is not one of those men who see compassionate women as “Bambi lovers.” He is just using the term to defuse, in advance, what he knows people like “Mike” will throw at him or anyone who defends animals to ridicule them. Aherne’s note is in fact excellent in the manner he argues the major points.

    Also, Ruth, while there is no denying that the poison of religion, especially the Abrahamic kind, is a scourge on the animal world, “sanctifying” their exploitation, there is no need to be a reductionist and attribute ALL crimes against animals to Judeo-Christian-Islamic religious belief. Humans have all sorts of reasons for acting like demons toward animals as speciesism spans both religious and non-religious people, including the nominally religious who care little about what the sacred books say and act primarily in self-interest.

    1. Patrice Greanville,

      The portrayal of those who care for animals as women with a Bambi complex, for whatever reason jb ahearn has chosen is offensive. One does not have to be a macho man or ex marine to have the strength and courage of a Gandhi. By playing to those steeped in dominion, with the gibberish about women with a Bambi complex, he is emphasizing the very tennets of dominion – it takes force to neutralize an opposite force.

      Furthermore you have simplified and ignored the information presented. Of course religion is not the soul factor in creating a an environment that encourages animal abuse, yet for the 3 billiion individuals who are taught from birth that they have the right to harm, slaughter and exploit animals by religious doctrine, there is a powerful incentive for irreverence for life.

      Those who do not consider religion a major factor in establishing an environment conducive to animal abuse, would do well to consider, the opposite effect, or religion as a foundation for meaningful compassion. We have an animal rights movement in the USA where HSUS can recommend a pig roast to replace a squirrel slam. Such a distortion of compassion is indeedd based on biblical interpretation of genesis granting mankind the right to dominate, destroy and exploit animalkind.

      Those who do not consider religion a major factor in encouraging animal abuse would be hard pressed to explain or account for the positive developments in Indian animal protection and legislation. If we are unwilling to acknowlege the specifics of the effect of two very different religious models, then very little will change for the better for animals in a dominion nation.

      Though JB Ahearn was able to see the contradiction when Hitler killed a dog he loved, he is unable to see that this contradiction occurs in a nation where the religious underpinnings allow for this contradiction, as well as the evidence that such a contradiction does not exist when ahimsa informs the view of animal compassion.

      If we are to make a complete effort towards eradicating animal abuse, religion must be considered as major factor… and the doctrine responsible must be exposed.

      The unwillingness to grapple with religion as a major factor in animal abuse, by emphasizing its irrelevance, or alluding to other minimal factors, is to deny what is possible by ahimsa, as demonstrated time and again by India.

      Ruth Eisenbud

  6. Ruth,

    As always you make good points, but your propensity to paint things with a very broad brush ends up confusing the issues and even attacking those who are clearly your friends in a very messy struggle. I am neither a reductionist nor an absolutist, and when I said that not all actions derive from the consent or prohibition of religious texts I was speaking about those civilizations, like the US, which operate under the so-called Judeo-Christian-Islamic tradition. India and possibly other places is another story. The world is diverse and one size does not fit all. Of course religion plays a role, a very big role, in dictating human attitudes and values, behaviors which for the most part, having originated long ago, remain largely unexamined, as part of “traditions.”

    The bulk of humanity has always marched according to unexamined tradition, hence their often infamous behavior and mediocrity. In this pyramid of behavior there are those who lag behind the bulk, and who frequently carry out actions whose heinousness is simply so horrid that the majority has already abandoned them, yet still not withdrawn consent. You know who they are. And then there’s the vanguard, more enlightened, that sometimes marches so far ahead that its road is difficult or impossible…until broader events bring its visions into sharper and approving focus.

    India is to be warmly commended for its more morally advanced treatment of animals. And that religion plays a role in that is undeniable. But even in India there are many exceptions to this exemplary attitude. There are still parts of that civilization where the use of animals, bovines in particular, for disgusting festivals, is still a fact of life.

    In the specific, and I lack the time (or energy) to engage in long polemics, I disagree with you about JB Aherne’s position. He does not denigrate women, but he’s using something that denigrates women or people who fight for compassionate causes precisely to show the other side’s crassness and moral torpitude. To interpret his words any different is simply to fall into vulgar feminism, a strident middle class neurosis that does as much damage as good in our world and which I abhor.

  7. Of course there are many different value systems around the world, for animals as well as for the treatment of humans. However we live in a global society and have the opportunity to choose values that are more suitable to our temperament or to the goals we are seeking for social and animal justice. In the response, JB does state that religion has nothing to do with it… this is the view of many, who want to ignore the extensive harm done by the semitic religions. Some do so by saying religion is irrelevant, others by saying dominion really isnt that bad, just misunderstood. When the bottom line for animals living under dominion is slaughter and exploitation, it doesnt get much worse.

    I was fortunate to come in contact with a jain community. I have the good fortune to learn their doctrine and way of life: to observe how carefully the religion protects the right of all beings to enjoy compassion and freedom from human inflicted harm; to observe how carefully ahimsa is passed down from one generation to the next.

    Yes, the world is diverse. Those who care, owe the animals the best chance for compassion. We have the luxury to be able to select a model which has proven effective for thousands of years for encouraging compassion. To deny this model… to acknowledge that while the semitic religions have been brutal, to divert away from exposing such a strong force for inducing animal abuse is irresponsible.

    There is greed everywhere. Yet religion in India has had a mitigating effect on violence to animals for profit. Indians enjoy attaining wealth as much as any other group, yet those who follow the jain and to some extent hindu concept of ahimsa,do not obtain their wealth from exploiting animals. Wildlife services in India does not issue licenses for a cull and would not endorse a squirrel slam. The billionaire club of india, is made up almost entirely of vegetarians.
    Recently India has prohibited the last vestiges of festivals in Tamil Nadu involving cows, Bull-fighting has been banned for many years in India. Even when it did exist, the bull was not slaughtered at the end in a fit of macho dominance and exuberance. Animal protective legislation is moving forward in India, but is largely stagnant in dominion nations, where laws are passed for human, not animal interests.

    India is a diverse nation, with many religions, cultures and indigenous groups. The Jains are a small percent of the population, yet the concept of ahimsa has proven so powerful, that it has positively influenced animal legislation and protection, in a way that is not possible in a dominion nation.

    Albert Einstein observed that it is not possible to solve a problem with the thinking that caused it. Dominion has caused and is responsible for untold suffering for animals. It is not possible to work around or ignore the specific effects and intention of dominion.

    Animal activists now have the opportunity to seize upon a model with a proven track record for compassion. Should they fail to take this opportunity, due to religious affiliation, loyalty to a community or attachment to familiar values, or fear of offending the pious emforcers of dominion, then there will be very little to hope for in the way of change in judeo.christian nations.

    Five thousand years of dominion induced violence is long enough. Animals do not have another 5000 years to wait for change. In the open world of ideas, why not learn from a model with proven results?

    With regard to stereotyping: It is not necessary to dredge up stereotypes of compassion as something relegated to little women with a bambi complex. This would be akin to me saying – ‘though I am not a swishy gay male, i still believe they are entitled to equal marriage’. Swishy gay males is as offensive as the term bambi loving little woman. JB could have been more tactful in the choice of imagery. Somewhere in this choice is the implication of women as infantile and compassionate with men as he-man killers. At best the use of this stereotype was a clumsy effort to associate masculinity with compassion. It was nonetheless a poor choice.

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