last week, featured photographs taken by Matt Eich at the Sweetwater Rattlesnake Roundup in Sweetwater, Texas.
The magazine characterized the event thusly: “At the roundup, held each year since 1958, thousands of wild rattlesnakes are captured, sold, displayed, and, often, killed as part of the week’s events.”
Not a word expanding on the the fact that this fabulous Texas tradition might be a disaster for another of nature’s endangered animals. (See: ANIMAL POST/”The Eastern Diamondback,” January 31, 2013.)
Apparently, the magazine figures this is simply another quirky example of homespun Americana.
Somehow, New York, home to America’s major media, often just doesn’t get it. The New York Times, the most influential paper of all, has a long tradition of avoiding environmental reporting whenever possible and would prefer to drop coverage of issues related to the environment and nature altogether, except there are just enough people who do care about these things that the paper can’t just let them go altogether.
I live in Texas and the state motto should be “If it offends nature or the environment – DO IT and DO IT AGAIN!!” I swear, if something is moving they either shoot it, stuff it, eat it or marry it! I despise it!!!!!
Ah yes Texas. Our own little China.
Michael, you must have read my mind because last night as I watched a new story here in Boston (where I live) about a boy who was attacked by two guard dogs (the kid jumped the fence of a construction site that was guarded by 2 dogs) and because these dogs were taught to protect, they mauled the kids. Naturally the dogs were put down. I listened to the news story and watched how the newscaster glossed over the real intent of the attack (guard dogs trained to protect property) and made it out seem like the dogs attacked the teenage boy with cause which IMHO is soooooooooooooooooooooo effing TYPICAL of the News here in America. Sugar coat it and make the animal out to be the enemy. It is the same with someone is attacked by a shark. Newscaster make it out to seem like the shark had it in for the person in the water. We can thank Spielberg for that (Jaws)!
As always, great post – very informative and succinct. It’s a pity your posts aren’t on the front page of every paper in America.
Excellent writing. The important thing is simply to hold the mirror up to what is going on. Yet remember that what we can change is the hatred and anger, and that goes as much for any aggression, hate or anger we might feel towards the people who take part in these activities. And also, remember that what must happen for change to happen is that a more intense, more visceral experience to replace this one must come into being. Somehow we have to open up the possibility that there could be as raw, as thrilling an experience for that kid that involves restoration and respect rather than learning how to deal with fear and perhaps the realities of organisms. I used to hunt as a child. Nothing has ever come close to the self respect I developed as I sat utterly still, with my father, waiting for a deer to approach, and then the clear knowledge that I was following an tradition as ancient as the species itself when I skinned and gutted the animal with him. This is not something I’ve ever encouraged my kids to do – they prefer rock climbing (now there’s an adrenaline rush) but they also like archery and falconry and maybe those are the kinds of activities, activities that involve being in a partnership with another species, or that involve the hunt, as it were, but without the kill. I don’t know. Thinking aloud, as it were. Excellent post and thanks (and to those who take offence at my hunting past I can only shrug and say, that’s how it was. It taught me a lot about respect.
Your comment is beautifully written and in a perfect world I wish it were true. Sadly, if you re-read your last sentence, you sill see that is the reason these people continue to commit egregious acts – teaching hate for non-human living beings. You were taught so you didn’t know any better. Do you think that kid in the photo, who probably looks up to his father and believes everything his father tells him will no anything different? The only difference is, you were taught respect for the animal where as this kid is taught to hate and fear these snakes.
Hate is taught. As a non-practicing Jew, I can tell you that even today, some people still hate and fear Jews. People hate and fear what they do not understand.
I’m taking a giant inference here but I would bet, people like those above in this post, probably hate Jews, African-Americans, Muslims — basically anyone and EVERYONE who isn’t like them. So it’s only natural that they lack respect for sentient non-human beings.