On Compassionate Bullets
An Animal Rights Article from All-Creatures.org


Mary Martin, PhD, on Animal Person
August 2010

A comment left yesterday on a two-year old post presented a phrase I've never heard before and I'd like to address it:

In the Washington metro area, we have a BIG deer problem. I have a question for you, would you prefer to get shot by a compassionate bullet to the head, and be eaten by a life form that thanks god for you flesh and appreciates it. Or to get struck by an automobile, die slowly, of failing internal organs, and be unfit for human consumption.

There's a lot going on in the above three sentences. Let's deconstruct:

  • What we have here is the myth that killing animals in the wild and then eating them is somehow a compassionate act. Now, if hunters were in the woods seeking out injured, dying, starving animals, and ending their lives in a way that most would call euthanasia, I might be able to get on board with the compassionate-bullet theory. But that's not what happens. After all, the goal is a corpse that is fit for human consumption, by the commenter's own admission.
  • When one calls animals of any kind a "problem," that's usually code for: they're inconvenient or they're a nuisance to us or they are in some other way reminding us that they exist. Perhaps we should consider thinking about the ways in which the deer have a "BIG" human problem.
  • It's difficult for me to understand how the act of thanking a god, who likely doesn't even exist, would matter to the nonhuman animal who is killed for the crime of being a nuisance to a human animal.
  • Whether or not someone appreciates the taste of my flesh after they have killed me doesn't matter to me. What matters to me is that someone has ended my life. What happens after that is immaterial.
  • The person who posted this presents death by bullet and death by car as the only two options for the deer.

For more on how one specific community is dealing with the violent deer-killing plan of some of its members, see CayugaDeer.org.

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