Hunters Are Bloodthirsty Barbaric Cowards

Hunters Are Bloodthirsty Barbaric CowardsThese are the words spoken by self proclaimed animal liberationist Felicity Anderson when she appeared on a recent episode of SBS’ Living With The Enemy. These words have also been echoed by a number of other vegans claiming that hunters will never go vegan.

I wonder if any of those people have stopped to consider how close to the truth are those comments really are?

If the comments are just sweeping generalisations, is any consideration paid to the damage both to the movement and to other activists that they may be causing?

Are Hunters Bloodthirsty?

Having been a hunter for a number of years before and after turning vegan, I can tell you that the majority of people who hunt actually aren’t bloodthirsty monsters.

Sure there may be a few who enjoy and participate in hunting because they view it as a blood sport, though in my experience they are in the minority.

This would be the same as saying that all vegans are left winged misanthropic hippies who are out of touch with reality.

Are Hunters Barbaric?

Are hunters labeled as barbaric because they willingly go out and kill other animals?

Why is hunting considered different to fishing, where the fish are caught via a hook in the mouth, and left to suffocate on the boat deck or pier?

Out of the two, I would say that those who fish are more barbaric than hunters. At least hunters do their best to ensure a ‘quick kill’.

When was the last time you say anyone protesting and holding up placards on your local pier?

Are Hunters Cowards?

Now this is an interesting claim.

Are hunters called cowards because they kill an animal with a bullet or arrow? If this is the case, then what are those people who kill animals and insects with the cars that they drive?

Are those deaths acceptable because driving a car is something that we need to do?

Something else to consider, what about the vets at animal shelters who kill healthy animals because they may not have the right look to be sold quickly, or those animals who due to their confinement have literally gone stir crazy. Are they cowards too?

Hunters Will Never Go Vegan!

This appears to be one of the most common claims by animal activists.

Every time I hear someone say those words, I wonder if it is their way of demonising the person to justify the way that they speak to them.

That being said, they seem to be forgetting one important thing.

At one point in time I was a hunter. Yet now I am vegan, and have been for a number of years.

So that point is false.

Sole Reason Is To Agitate And Inflame

I honestly believe that the sole reason that these comments have been made is to agitate and inflame the situation, and has nothing to do with getting the other side to understand the vegan ‘position’.

[GARD]Whilst Ms Andersen may get a few pats on the back for the doing what she did, I would have thought that she may have come back with a better understanding of her fellow humans. Yet this does not appear to be the case.

I am reminded of the quote by Sun Tzu from The Art of War:

It is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles;
if you do not know your enemies but do know yourself, you will win one and lose one;
if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle.

With this is mind, it is clear that this battle has been lost.

 How DO We Get Hunters To Go Vegan?

Just because someone may go hunting it doesn’t change the fact that they are still a human. And as a human respond better to conversations and people who understand the battle that they themselves are going through.

I can tell you that all those years ago when I was getting yelled at by ALV protesters because I was spending a few hours duck shooting, going vegan or even entertaining the idea of animal rights was the last thing on my mind.

The easiest way to get them to go vegan is to have an actual conversation with them, find out what their interests are, why they feel they need to hunt, and work from there. Remembering that this is about them and the animals, not you as the vegan or animal activist.

Though to do this, we may need to acknowledge our own speciesist attitudes towards other animals, and judgmental misconceptions towards our fellow humans.

6 thoughts on “Hunters Are Bloodthirsty Barbaric Cowards”

  1. An interesting article, where you rightly make a comparison between fishing and hunting – fishing is aquatic hunting.

    You also make the point, which the hunter, Steve, also made, that hunters would be more open to listening if the drama was left out.

    But there’s a stunning and alarming claim that you also make: you say you were a hunter after you became vegan. You couldn’t possibly have been a vegan if you continued hunting, unless you’re reducing veganism to a diet. Yet this is largely the same reduction – veganism to diet – that you’ve recently accused Harley and Freelee of.

    In an article about them, you say of Harley, “Now I am sure that all his loyal subjects will claim semantics here, though that really doesn’t excuse the huge errors and misinformation?”

    Yet surely the claim that you can hunt and simultaneously be vegan is one of the hugest errors you can make?

    • Hi Rico,
      Why wasn’t it possible to be vegan and a hunter at the same time?

      According to Donald Watson, being vegan was:

      The word “veganism”denotes a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude — as far as is possible and practical — all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.

      As I wasn’t consuming the animals that I killed, I believed that my actions fell within that definition.

      Whilst I appreciate the comparison to Leanne and Harley, though there are a few substantial differences.
      Namely being that I gave up hunting about 20 years ago, and during that time I never proclaimed to be some vegan guru or anything like that.

      If you are saying that I couldn’t call myself a vegan because I was still hunting (taking the life of another animal), I guess then by that logic those vets that euthanise animals are not able to call themselves vegan either. This would also have to apply to those who have pets and feed them a non plant based diet, as they are indirectly responsible for the death of other animals too.

      • Hi Cameron

        The definition of veganism you give says that it excludes “as far as is possible and practical — all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.”

        I gather you’re not going to claim that it was necessary for you to hunt, which means it was both possible and practical for you not to hunt. As hunting’s a form of exploitation, and commonly cruel as well (eg misplaced shots that fail to kill animals), then, according to the definition, there’s no way your hunting could be considered vegan.

        “Whilst I appreciate the comparison to Leanne and Harley, though there are a few substantial differences. Namely being that I gave up hunting about 20 years ago, and during that time I never proclaimed to be some vegan guru or anything like that.”

        The *one* difference – rather than a few – seems to be that you hunted in the past, and as far as i know, Leanne and Harley didn’t (i’m not saying they definitely didn’t hunt, just that “as far as i know” they didn’t). Again, while i welcome contrary evidence, i don’t believe they’ve claimed to be vegan gurus any more than you’ve claimed to be one.

        They have however produced material talking about veganism (which, like you, i don’t necessarily agree with), but then you’ve done the same thing.

        In any case, that has nothing to do with the comparison i drew. I wasn’t comparing you to them, i was comparing your suggestion that Harley spread “huge errors” with your claim that hunting could be considered vegan.

        As for vets that might euthanise animals, the very term “euthanise” suggests that vets do it out of concern for the suffering of animals, not because they enjoy killing them. If vets are doing their jobs properly, they’re not exploiting animals or being cruel to them, so it seems to me that being a vet doesn’t automatically rule you out of being a vegan.

        Lastly, people that feed their ‘pets’ nonvegan diets, could also be considered vegan if they did this under pressing circumstances. For instance, someone owned cats before they became vegan. Then they became vegan, tried feeding their cats a vegan diet, but they rejected it, so, regrettably, they resume feeding them animal food.

        In this case, “as far as possible and practicable” comes into play. A conflict of rightsholders exists – the cats vs other animals. Either way, animals are going to die. The human makes the difficult choice to favour hu’s living animal over the animals that have already been killed for catfood.

        • Hi Rico,

          I am interested to understand why you have said “The definition of veganism you gave”, is there more than one?

          The definition does say:
          “as far as is possible and practical — all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.”

          At the time that I was hunting I thought it was less cruel for the sick, old or injured animal to be killed ‘quickly’ by me than to face possible starvation or even worse be killed by some other hunter who wasn’t as accurate.

          It is also worth considering that your definition of “possible and practical” could differ greatly to mine, in the same way that our definitions of “cruel” and “exploitation” differ.

          If you want me to list the differences between myself, and Harley and Leanne, I am happy to, though as the rest would be off topic, I didn’t include them in the comment I made.

          I used the term euthanise because I felt it might have been a bit harsh to say kill. Though that is essentially what they are doing to the animal.
          How about those vets who work in shelters and kill an animal because he/she has gone ‘stir crazy’ or is too old to be sold, or has to be killed because the shelter is overcrowded? Will they get a ‘free pass’ too?

          As I have said, whilst I cannot speak for every hunter out there, myself and the ones that I used to hunt with didn’t ‘enjoy’ killing animals. We did it out of the greater good for other animals, and the land itself.

          Once again you have used pets in quotes to describe those animals that people keep domestically. Are you implying that they are something different to what the law and the greater society says they are?
          If this is the case, then does that not also mean that those hunters who see themselves as conservationsists are able to do so, because others who hunt do as well?

          So, you are saying that an individuals consumerist attachment to an animal is justification for them having other animals killed on their behalf?

          Why not consider what is in the best interests for that animal and have him or her euthanised? This would reduce the suffering and cruelty of that animal, and also reduce the demand for animals to be killed to be fed to animals.

        • I agree the definition you gave is the right one, Cameron, but i’m used to seeing all kinds of definitions, some from dictionaries, which i don’t accept have any authority over what veganism means.

          That said, there are, however, also slight differences in the current definitions. They’re largely similar, though if you look at the Vegan Society’s website, you’ll see that for some reason they don’t describe veganism as a philosophy:

          However you seem fairly certain that Donald Watson came up with the definition you gave. Can you provide any evidence for that?

          So you maintain that you were a benevolent hunter, purely motivated by “the greater good for other animals, and the land itself”?

          In an interview published in 2010, you suggest that this was a rationalisation. Talking about a fellow hunter, you said: “we both rationalised and justified hunting by saying that we were doing our part for conservation by keeping the number of X, Y or Z animals down to manageable levels.”

          You go on to say, “I hunted kangaroo, rabbits, deer, pigs, pretty much anything that moved was fair game. I fully believed the propaganda that was being put out by the hunting lobby that culls are needed to keep numbers at a manageable level. And that by hunting animals, we are actually saving the species for generations to enjoy and hunt in the future.”

          Here you seem to be talking about a genuine concern, albeit one you now recognise as false by describing it as fuelled by “propaganda.” Further, you don’t mention anything about old, sick or injured animals, but rather “anything that moved.” You also talk about “saving the species”, when as you know, veganism is about individual animals, not simply species.

          So given that you’ve said you rationalised your hunting and you now see your concern as false, what this all sounds like to me is that you’ve just switched your justifications – from hunting to hunting-as-compatible-with-veganism.

          My understanding of “possible and practical,” “cruelty” and “exploitation” relies on a common understanding of English that you can find outlined in the dictionary. What’s your understanding of “possible and practical”, “cruelty” and “exploitation”?

          No, i don’t want you to list the differences between you and Harley because, again, that’s not the comparison i drew. The comparison was between you accusing Harley of spreading “huge errors” and claiming that hunting in your case was vegan.

          The term “euthanise” is a legitimate one. I qualified what i said by saying, “If vets do their job properly.” So if vets are killing animals without much care for what they’re doing, that’s contrary to the idea of veganism. But i’m guessing vets who do that likely wouldn’t be ones that are trying to be vegan.

          So no one’s getting a ‘free pass,’ and that’s the same reason why you shouldn’t expect to get one as a hunter, either.

          Yes, i most definitely am implying that the animals in the care of vegans are something more than property. Going on history, you have great difficulty conceptualizing the idea that the legal value of property isn’t the only value there is. People are free to attach whatever value they like to what is their legal property. So if some people regard their animals as more than property, they’re free to do so, and no court or definitions are stopping them.

          Animals at sanctuaries are legally property. So let me now pose your question to you: “Are you implying that they are something different to what the law and the greater society says they are?”

          Hunters are also free to call themselves conservationists, and given the conventional sense of that term, they could likely make a fair argument that they are. Some people that aren’t hunters would probably agree with them.

          But they can’t accurately call themselves vegan (going by your own previous definition), simply because they eat a vegan diet. They can say they’re eating vegan diets, but not that they’re vegans.

          Did i say that “consumerist attachment to an animal” is justification for killing others? No, i didn’t. Again, you fail to understand that an attachment to an animal can be anything other than “consumerist.” Why do you have a picture of Holly on the About page of your blog? Going by your comments, you must have the same “consumerist” attachment to her that you accuse others of.

  2. Hi
    I have not read all of the comments, so I apologize if this has been answered.

    I don’t think hunters are cowards. I just don’t understand the mindset that says that hunting is a sport. Its my understanding, from limited first hand experience, that hunters hide and wait for the mostly defenseless animals, and then kill them when the animals have no way of defending themselves and definitely no way of retaliating.

    I have known people that were hunters that were (in my opinion) good people. I never understood the rationale, but that could be my problem. My (presumably biased) opinion is that the hunter has all of the advantages and the prey has no advantage. I hope I’m not coming off as an asshole. I know there are different perspectives. I have been wrong before, and I’m sure I’ll be wrong again, so I’m not trying to condemn anybody. I would just like to hear the reasoning.



What are your thoughts?