Is it cruel to kill animals?
I have read an interesting article entitled "Canadian seal hunters: We're not a "savage race"," written by David Ljunggren, Reuters, March 21st, 2007. According to the article, Canadian hunters kill small harp seals to get pelts and seal oil, by beating them with clubs. While protesters say "killing animals for their fur is barbaric," Canada's fisheries minister condemns their protest, saying that their efforts are futile. Ljunggren wrties as follows:
Critics say the fact that the bodies of seals jerk around after being clubbed shows the animals are suffering. Sealers describe the movements as muscle spasms and insist that a well-aimed blow with the blunt end of a hackapick club causes instantaneous death. (web)
And he cites the words of Raoul Jomphe, the director of a documentary film on this topic.
"There is a malaise in society. People have forgotten where food comes from," said Raoul Jomphe, the filmmaker. Why, the sealers wonder, do people not focus on what happens in commercial abattoirs? And what about the massive game hunts in Germany? (web)
I have discussed similar topics several times in this blog. The question I want to ask those activists is what they think about killing cows, pigs, and chicken for food. If they are all vegitarians and have struggled to abolish the whole meat industry, then I won't criticize them anymore. But if they insist that killing domesticated aminals should be accepted but killing wild animals are problematic, then I want to ask them the reason why they think so. If they say that certain wild animals are in danger of extinction, then the question arises what if hunting is managed in a sustainable way. If they say that killing wild animals is cruel, then the question arises what if the hunters kill them in the same way as in abattoirs. I once heard someone say that God gave us domesticated animals for food, hence it is ok to kill and eat them, but this sounds absurd to people who do not believe in Christianity (99% of the Japanese).
I have read another interesting article, "South Africa: Yengeni Slaughter Shows Deep Cultural Divisions" by Lance Greyling, Cape Argus, January 25th, 2007. This article discusses a similar subject, that is, the ritual sacrifice of a bull in South Africa. Greyling criticizes the idea that sacrificing a bull is a barabaric act. The following are from the article.
The often-used argument is that "our way of killing animals" is more humane than African sacrifice. I have visited many abattoirs and this argument does not hold water.
Killing is never humane. One particular image which sticks in my mind is that of a cow desperately trying to run up the steel walls of an abattoir production line in absolute fear of impending death. It nullifies anyone's argument that our so-called Western civilisation treats animals more humanely.
Modern society has simply found a way of mass slaughtering animals efficiently and removed the visual connection between the live animal and our neatly-packaged meat.
It is, therefore, enormously hypocritical for any meat-eater to condemn the African ritual killing of a bull. (web)
The last sentence is just what I want to say here. If we find something unpleasant about killing wild animals, what we should do first is to reconsider our way of eating which heavily depends on killing domesticated animals such as cows, pigs and chicken. The total number of killed seals or whales is astonishingly small compared with that of killed domesticated animals.
What do you think?
Photo: Zushi Coast, Kanagawa
-- M.Morioka www.lifestudies.org