Here are some thoughts and
How many sports and activities do you know of where
humans and animals participate?
Obviously, human - human sports are by far
the most popular: football, basketball, the list is long, and it's not relative
to this article.
Let's consider the human - animal activities.
On our planet
(currently) we have animals that swim, live on land, some amphibians, and
animals that fly.
To make this brief
and readable, here's a short list. If anyone would like to add to it, I
would be grateful. Just email me,
steve at sl-prokeys dot com and your
additions will be included. Thank you.
Pro bass fishing
Bass are caught, weighed, and released. Death is fairly
uncommon. Tournament and state regulations apply.
Birds, duck, winged animals are intentionally killed, very often
for food. Regulations apply in all states for many species.
Some species may be exempt from any regulation.
Deer, elk, cougar, bear, and other animals are intentionally killed. Some are
mounted as trophies, some used for food, sometimes, both. Regulations apply in every
state - ie; seasons, limits, mandatory permits, etc.
Raccoon, possum, groundhog, possibly rabbits, coyotes, and
squirrels. Each state has its own regulatory laws and
definitions. Ie; coyotes may be a protected species in one
state but not a neighboring state.
Salt water fishing
Game fish, of specific species, are caught and killed as trophies. This applies to hook, lure, line, spear fishing, etc. Some sports
specify catch and release - ie; the fish is caught, weighed,
measured, photographed, and released alive.
Horse racing, jumping, agility courses, dressage, polo, etc. Injuries, maiming,
and deaths are relatively uncommon.
Dogs are raced in pursuit of a fake mechanical rabbit at state controlled and regulated tracks.
Birds of prey - ie; hawks, falcons, eagles, etc. are
intentionally released to kill prey animals such as birds, rabbits, or
other small to medium sized animals.
Trained homing pigeons are raced at various distances from their
home loft against the clock. Regulatory organizations oversee
pigeon racing activities. Pigeons are rated by how many yards
they fly per minute from the release point to their home loft.
Sport hunting of foxes has been banned in most places.
Scented lures are used in place of live foxes in modern times.
Trapping and killing of destructive foxes is commonplace, and death
is typically immediate. Foxes are protected species in some
In this sport, many species of animals and wildlife are included
- above and below water. The trophies and/or rewards are rolls
of film or videotapes, which ultimately may be quite valuable to
organizations such as National Geographic, etc. Animals are
typically not disturbed in any way by photographers.
Most forms of animal fighting are prohibited by law in most
states. In addition to animal cruelty laws, several other
state laws often apply, such as organized gambling and/or conspiracy.
I'm not a lawyer, so I'll ask for help here.
Organized dog sports
These sports are quite varied, from "beauty shows" to agility
sports, herding competitions, tracking, and various bite sports -
even free style dancing!
Most of the dog sports have clearly printed rule books which are
enforced by each parent organization for the specific sport.
several sports which immediately come to mind. I didn't spend hours on
this list - I'm sure I left out about as much as I've included. Nowhere in the
above list can I think of animals being forced to perform in any way.
can't see any type of cruelty in the legitimate, legal sports above.
assumes that any form of killing is done as quickly and humanely as
Even in illegal sports, (dog and cockfighting), the
participants seem willing and eager to fight, possibly because they are bred
and conditioned exactly for this purpose.
How can I relate
- personally - to the list above? I'm unable to speak for other
people, so how can I relate to killing for any reason other than to save my
own life or the life of another?
I suppose I can "relate" by
Well, I've loved
bass fishing since about 1973. I fished almost daily for several
Many, many bass died because I enjoyed bass fishing. Some were used as food, five are on
my walls as trophies, most were released to swim away.
I've gone quail
hunting plenty of times, shot about 500 shells, and probably killed 2 or 3
quail. A good hunter I'm not. I tried shooting clay pigeons a
few times, and wasted about 500 more shotgun shells. When it came to
bird hunting, I think the birds just laughed at me as they flew away.
I never hunted
game, such as deer or elk. I never had any interest.
I went turkey
hunting once. I froze my ass off, and I think the nearest turkey was probably
300 miles away.
I've killed some
birds and squirrels as food for our grey fox. When he learned to kill
for himself, he did it, not me.
I've only fished
in salt water twice, both times I caught and released tarpon - they were not legally in
season at that time.
If they were legal, I'm not sure I would
have brought them home for food - I don't know what they taste like.
I've ridden horses several times,
but I haven't engaged in any equestrian sports.
greyhound racing 4 or 5 times, but never owned any racing dogs. I
didn't even place a bet - I just wanted to watch the dogs run.
I once tamed
("manned") a red tail hawk, and took him out to hunt small game: rabbits,
birds, rats, whatever.
After about 10 months, he was set free.
I raced pigeons
for about one year. The unusable pigeons in my loft were killed in a
split second by snapping their necks.
I offer no excuses or
justifications. I can state factually - you can't release racing
they have "homed" to your loft.
They will return from almost anywhere.
"Anywhere" can mean over 1000 miles away, and that's the truth.
We had a
semi-wild grey fox for about 6 months.
I would have defended him
against any and all danger - exactly like I would defend our dogs - members of
our family - our pack.
I raised 6 cages full of mice - no less than
100 - for only one purpose: so the fox could kill and eat them.
I'm not a
I've never been
involved in animal fighting. I have seen TV news reports of several major arrests
for pitbull fighting.
involved in dog training since 1976, and have competed in legitimate,
organized dog competitions in the US and Germany.
I think the
brief list above indicates several things. Obviously, I have
definitely killed animals.
I've killed with intent, and done it
willingly - nobody forced me.
I should include my snapping turtle
These were done with a very, very powerful rifle, a .300
Winchester Magnum, and specifically small bullets (125 grain spitzer), which
traveled at hydro-shock velocity.
The bullets traveled at 3300-3400 feet
per second. The large snapping turtles (approximately 40-75 pounds)
literally exploded before the sound of the rifle got to them.
My reason for
killing large snapping turtles?
They were killing breeding largemouth
bass and interfering with the bass breeding beds in areas which I fished.
That's a flimsy excuse, and an honest one.
I've also killed
numerous pitbulls, stray cats, and feral cats - here on my own training
field and inside my own kennels.
I also killed a pitbull on a nearby
public street as he mutilated my client's Sheltie.
Ask, and I'll
supply honest answers. I'm not proud or ashamed of these killings.
Many years ago,
a nature preserve was created about 1,000 yards from my home. Rats -
very LARGE rats - arrived.
After killing some in rat traps, I found an
area where they were climbing down the corner of my office.
I put a 5
gallon bucket there about half full of water. Rats by the dozen
drowned in the bucket. I don't know if they suffered - maybe they did.
No excuses - I did not want them on my property. I was very concerned about
contagious diseases which might infect my dogs.
Do some research, and
you'll discover they carry some very serious diseases. My attitude was simply,
"We don't want them here. Kill 'em all."
Through my life
I have killed. No denials, no propaganda, and no sugar-coating.
If it means anything - and it probably doesn't - I've killed as quickly as
possible. I don't, and never had, any interest in watching suffering.
If you read any of my
website pages, you'll learn that I have no interest in cruelty
of any kind.
Most of my own
dogs were killed by my hands, with a needle and euthanasia solution.
obvious alternative - death in a veterinarian's clinic - was not acceptable.
certain family traditions, and our dogs died here - at their home - with
their own pack nearby.
Now, what do we
say about the obvious cruelty, abuse, and death supported by the rodeos in
the name of entertainment and profit?