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Animal Rights Extremism in the White House?

PhotoBy John L. Moore

-- Sounding the alarm on the appointment of anti-hunter to federal regulatory czar position.

If you and I think this country is a little left of kilter, we are misinformed. It’s much worse than we think.

As I write this, President Obama is urging Congress to approve Cass Sunstein to head the White House office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. I assume this office has something to do with "informing" and "regulating," and that certainly makes Sunstein, a radical animal rights proponent and anti-gun crusader, problematic. Among other things, Sunstein has argued that animals should have the rights to bring suit against people. In our litigious society, that is not only ridiculous on principle, it is silly pragmatically. Lawyers exhausted from pursuing ambulances would be chasing the dogcatcher, too? They have neither the time nor energy.

All kidding aside, Sunstein’s nomination should be a loud, clanging alarm to sportsmen, farmers, ranchers, 4-H club members, racehorse owners; simply anyone that has anything to do with animals, vocationally or recreationally.

My warning comes from my own youthful excesses. As a long-haired teen, I hitchhiked 12,000 miles in the early ’70s, staying in communes, camping in wildernesses, roaming big city streets, and visiting gurus, warlocks, activists and radicals of all means of description. I met vegetarians, Tarot card readers, psychics, bikers and back-to-nature freaks. I remember one fellow in a small northern California town. "Yeah, man," he told me. "We’re all really into nature and health food here." Then he tipped back his head and sucked down an entire straw of colored sugar. Oh, the golden Age of Aquarius, resplendent with paisley shirts, bellbottoms, love beads and rampant hypocrisy.

My quest was not merely hedonistic; I sought truth and enlightenment and found it through a spiritual conversion in 1973. But I’ve not forgotten my New Age hippie days and can smell ’60s era radicalism from a long distance. The odor lately is coming mostly from Washington, D.C. 

The average person probably doesn’t take animal rights activists too seriously. They’ve never heard PETA cofounder Ingrid Newkirk’s famous phrase, "a rat is a pig is a boy," or know she also said "Six million people died in concentration camps, but six billion broiler chickens will die this year in slaughterhouses." People are the equal of chickens and chickens the equal of people? Well, yes, because "a rat is a pig is a boy." It’s all a matter of perspective.

Animal rights organizations, which includes the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), are well funded because it’s easy to pull in money using puppies, porpoises and baby seals as poster children and Sir Paul McCartney as a spokesman. Their philosophies have infiltrated the universities that train our elementary school teachers, and letter-writing campaigns from school children largely influenced legislation that has given us an overpopulation of wild horses and wolves.

Speaking of wild horses and wolves, 20 years ago I participated in the Montana Centennial Cattle Drive as a journalist and horse wrangler. One morning, I spoke with a reporter from People magazine. Somehow the conversation turned to the oversupply of wild horses. "Well, that’s your fault," the reporter huffed. "My fault?" I asked. "Yes," she snapped. "You ranchers because you killed all the wolves."

And there is the heart of the debate: the balance of nature.

This woman believed in a mythical perfect balance of nature wherein predators kill only the ill and injured. Nature, in this view, is balanced perfectly except for one thing: man. Man is the culprit. Remove man from the equation and nature is at peace.

That view is at odds with the Judeo-Christian viewpoint that sees man and creation having fallen from grace, and man, who was responsible for the fall, given the responsibility of stewardship. A generation ago, most Americans generally agreed with that world view. But according to our President, we are not a Christian nation anymore. Perhaps he thinks we never were. In any case, a post-Christian America is likely to be an increasingly unfriendly place for hunters.

The question of whether nature is fallen, or is perfect without mankind’s interference, is the pinnacle on which many laws, customs, and cultural values may pivot. Take a recent situation in Wyoming for example. This past July, Jerry Ruth, a retired policeman, was looking for elk sheds in the sagebrush-covered foothills near Clark. Suddenly, a sow grizzly attacked. After biting him in the face, the bear backed off, but seemed poised to attack again. Ruth, badly injured, drew his .41 Magnum pistol and fired three times, miraculously killing the bear. If our nation continues to give power to the urban elite, like Sunstein, is it not probable to imagine in a similar situation to Ruth’s someone could be arrested for a crime, even a hate crime? Perhaps, even murder? Why, after all, was he hiking where a bear might be? True, it wasn’t what one would call regular bear habitat, but what is regular bear habitat and why was Mr. Ruth carrying a weapon if he didn’t have bad intentions?

Common sense calls the above scenario crazy, but common sense has never met the card-carrying, hardcore animal rights zealot. Their rank-and-file might be fine, though misguided folk, but the true disciple is a fanatic of the fiercest convictions. Remember, "A rat is a pig is a boy."

Radicals are emotionally reactionary but strategically patient. They take the worst examples of our culture’s ill treatment of animals, from market hunting to dog fighting, to the near extermination of the bison, and gradually gain the position to "balance" this barbarism with their idealistic pantheism. Every poacher who gut-shoots a deer, every blowhard who laughs about animal cruelty, and every person who abuses livestock or pet fuel their fire. Not last on their list of hot buttons is the trophy hunter.

It is no time to take traditions for granted because our opposition considers their cause holy. It is a Jihad, and they are the enlightened elite. The rest of us, the Bubbas of the world, can’t be trusted with profound matters like animal existence. While they claim they love animals, at their core many of them simply hate people. Animals, they think, are sinless creatures with the purest of motives. Left alone, the birds would balance the insects, the small predators would balance the birds, the big predators would balance the small predators, the vultures would clean the table scraps and Bambi would know exactly when to present himself to the cougar as a meal offering. The zealots sound noble, but don’t forget, Adolph Hitler was a quasi-vegetarian, self-styled mystic and animal rights champion whose idea of "balance" was to exterminate millions of Jews, Christians, homosexuals, gypsies and other human beings.

The philosophical and theological question of balance begs another question: Can a nation without a compass survive swinging crazily on a pendulum? As Lady Antebellum sings, "This world keeps spinning faster, to a new disaster…" (From the song "I Run to You")

-- Sportsmen wishing to share their views on the nomination can click here for the phone number and address of their U.S. Senator.

John L. Moore is an award-winning book author and columnist for Buckmasters GunHunter Magazine

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