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Sunday, October 11, 2015

NO KILL PERSPECTIVE



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OMNI “NO KILL” NEWSLETTER #1 JANUARY 13, 2012.  Compiled by Dick Bennett for a Culture of Peace. 

 Newsletters For a knowledge-based peace, justice, and ecology movement and an informed citizenry as the foundation for change.

(479) 442-4600
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A UNIFIED “NO KILL” CAMPAIGN:   CONNECTING ADVOCATES OF NONVIOLENCE, FORMING A COALITION AGAINST KILLING
CONTENTS
INTRODUCTION
PART I:  STOP KILLING
INTRODUCTION:  
“THE PEOPLE’S CHARTER” TO CREATE A NONVIOLENT WORLD
Wleklinski on Human-Nature Connection
PART II:   STOP KILLING HUMANS:  ENDING WARS
     The literature against all the modes of killing people, particularly anti-war writing, is immense.   Here is an example.
     A Force More Powerful, book and film on nonviolence
     David Swanson, When the World Outlawed War (2011)
     Rabbi Arthur Waskow, “Killing Jews, Killing Muslims, Killing Blacks”
III.   STOP KILLING ANIMALS:  ENDING EUTHANASIA
   Nathan Winograd, Redemption: The Myth of Pet Overpopulation and the No Kill Revolution in America  (2011)
    Bryan Welch.  “What Does It Mean to ‘Kill Humanely’?”  Mother Earth News (Oct. Nov. 2011).
RELATED
The Hindu Ethic of AHIMSA

 

INTRODUCTION
     Earlier newsletters on KILLING (#2: http://www.omnicenter.org/storage/newsletters/2011/2011-12-28.pdf ) might have been categorized as AGAINST KILLING, but they were focused exclusively on the killing of humans.   With this new newsletter, OMNI acknowledges and supports opposition to killing all sentient beings, with special attention, at present, to the United States.
     Justice for the poor (victims both of physical and of structural violence) and rescue of the species of the planet (victims of human violence against other living creatures) are the goals of our comprehensive No Kill Campaign.  It is a Campaign already so richly established among nongovernmental organizations and movements that it constitutes an international civil society.  Such a humane society is announced and described in the “The People’s Charter.”


THE PEOPLE’S CHARTER TO CREATE A NONVIOLENT WORLD
 Launch date: 11 November 2011
Recognising that:
1. The United States government dominates world affairs and is engaged in a perpetual war (sometimes presented as a ‘war on terror’) to secure control of essential diminishing natural resources (including oil, water and strategic minerals) from what the 2010 United States Quadrennial Defense Review www.defenselink.mil/qdr refers to as ‘the Global commons’ (which means, in effect, anywhere in the world, including the land of other peoples). The USA, with less than 5% of the world’s population,  consumes 33% of the world’s resources
2. The United States government (sometimes together with pliant government allies in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, America and Australia) maintains occupation forces in countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq and the Mariana Islands
3. The Chinese government occupies Tibet
4. The Israeli government occupies Palestine
5. The French government occupies Kanaky and French Polynesia
6. The Indonesian government occupies West Papua
7. The Chinese government violently suppresses the people of China, including practitioners of the gentle, meditative art of Falan Dafa, some of whose imprisoned members are subjected to forced organ removal
8. The populations of many countries including (but not limited to) Burma, China, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, the Sudan, Syria, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Zimbabwe are violently suppressed by militarily-backed dictatorships
9. Indigenous peoples in many countries have been dispossessed of their land, culture, spirituality and human rights by settler populations from other countries
10. The use of nuclear materials to generate electricity and create weapons of mass destruction exposes humankind and other species to unnecessary and unacceptable risks of radioactive contamination
11. The burning of fossil fuels (producing carbon dioxide) and extensive animal agriculture (producing methane) is precipitating catastrophic alterations in climate patterns
12. The Earth’s natural processes are being degraded and destroyed by human violence including (but not limited to) the destruction of ecosystems such as forests, rivers, wetlands, grasslands and coral reefs; the over-exploitation and pollution of fresh water supplies; and the degradation and poisoning of industrial agricultural and fishing systems, all of which are precipitating an unnatural and accelerating rate of species extinctions
13. There is a massive and increasing number of refugees and internally displaced persons caused by the use of military violence and climatically induced ‘natural’ disasters
14. Many people devote their energy to the design, manufacture and/or use of weapons and torture equipment in order to harm, mutilate or kill fellow human beings
15. The global economic system, maintained by Western military violence, results in the death through starvation-related diseases of one child in Africa, Asia or Central/South America every five seconds, often denies ordinary working men and women a fair return for their labour, forces many people in industrialised economies into poverty and/or homelessness, and ruthlessly exploits the natural environment and nonhuman species
16. Violent and/or discriminatory practices often deny many groups – including (but not limited to) children, aged people, women, working people, indigenous peoples, racial groups, ethnic groups, religious groups, cultural groups, people with particular sexual orientations, people with disabilities, military personnel, incarcerated people and nonhuman species – the opportunities to which they are entitled as living beings on Earth
17. The global slave trade denies 27,000,000 human beings the right to live the life of their choice, condemning many individuals – especially women and children – to lives of sexual slavery, forced labour or childhood military service
18. Terrorist organisations, criminal organisations, drug cartels and cults use terror and violence to exploit ordinary people
19. There is widespread violence in the family home, in schools, at the workplace and on the street
20. All of the violent behaviours described above have their origin in adult violence against children: this violence generates the warped emotional and behavioural patterns that later manifest as adult violence in its many forms. See Why Violence? http://tinyurl.com/whyviolence
21. It is human violence – against ourselves, each other and the Earth – that threatens to cause human extinction
22. National governments, international government organisations and global institutions (such as the United Nations, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organisation), all of which represent national elites, are not capable of addressing the above problems…
The Purpose of The People’s Charter:
This Charter identifies eight aims of a nonviolent strategy to mobilise ordinary people, local groups, communities, non-government organisations and international networks opposed to these and other manifestations of human violence to explicitly renounce the use of violence themselves and to take nonviolent action to strategically resist this violence in all of its forms for the sake of humankind, future generations, all other species on Earth and the Earth itself.
The aims of this nonviolent strategy are as follows:
1. To convince or, if necessary, nonviolently compel the United States government and United States corporations to no longer use military violence and economic coercion to control world affairs for the benefit of the United States elite and its allied national elites in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, America and Australia
2. To convince or, if necessary, nonviolently compel the United States government and its allied governments to completely dismantle their military (including nuclear) forces and overseas bases, to decolonise or end their occupation of all occupied territories, and to instead adopt a strategy of nonviolent defence
3. To encourage all individuals and organisations currently resisting the military and/or economic domination of the United States elite and its allied elites to recognise the shared nature of our struggle and, when appropriate, to coordinate at local, regional or global level our acts of nonviolent resistance to this domination
4. To support the development and implementation of comprehensive nonviolent strategies for the liberation of Afghanistan, Burma, China, French Polynesia, Iran, Iraq, Kanaky, the Mariana Islands, North Korea, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, the Sudan, Syria, Tibet, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, West Papua, Zimbabwe and all other countries living under the yoke of occupation or dictatorship. (See Robert J. Burrowes, The Strategy of Nonviolent Defense: A Gandhian Approach, State University of New York Press, 1996.)
5. To support the development and implementation of comprehensive nonviolent strategies to end violence in the home, slavery, the sexual trafficking of women and children, the use of child soldiers, as well as the existence of terrorist and criminal organisations, drug cartels and cults
6. To support the development and implementation of comprehensive nonviolent strategies to end the marginalisation and exploitation of particular identity groups including (but not limited to) indigenous peoples; women; workers; racial, ethnic, religious and cultural groups; children; aged people; military personnel; incarcerated people; refugees and internally displaced peoples; those who are homeless and/or live in poverty; people with a particular sexual orientation; people with disabilities and nonhuman species
7. To encourage the people of the industrialised world (except those already living in poverty) to each accept personal responsibility for reducing their consumption of global resources to a level that is commensurate with genuine equity for all human beings on Earth and the ecological carrying capacity of the Earth itself, particularly given the needs of other species. See The Flame Tree Project to Save Life on Earth http://tinyurl.com/flametree
8. To encourage all adults to understand the violence they (unconsciously) inflict on children and to take responsibility for ending this.
The methods of this nonviolent strategy are as follows:
1. To listen deeply to ourselves, each other and the Earth
2. To engage in acts of nonviolent resistance and creation: acts of nonviolent protest and persuasion, acts of nonviolent noncooperation and acts of nonviolent intervention, including the creation of new organisations, communities, institutions and structures that genuinely meet the needs of all beings in a just, peaceful and ecologically sustainable manner. (For ideas about nonviolent actions, see Gene Sharp, The Politics of Nonviolent Action, Boston: Porter Sargent, 1973.)
The People’s Charter Pledge:
Having read and agreed with this Charter:
1. I pledge to listen to the deep truth of myself, others and the Earth
2. I pledge to make every effort to progressively eliminate the violence I inflict on myself, others and the Earth
3. I pledge to engage in acts of nonviolent resistance and/or creation to bring about a nonviolent future on Earth
Signing The People’s Charter:
If you are committed to acting on this Charter, please add your name and country to the list of Charter participants HERE.
For Ideas:
If you need ideas to fulfil your pledge, please consult the websites and books cited in The People’s Charter.
You are welcome to invite others to consider signing this Charter.
Robert J. Burrowes – Australia
Anita McKone – Australia
Anahata Giri – Australia  et.al

RELATED

HINDU AHIMSA

The Hindu Ethic of Non-Violence
 
Exploring Non-Injury as a Way to Achieve Harmony with Our Environment, Peace Between Peoples and Compassion Within Ourselves.   MORE

Ahimsa by Sri Swami Sivananda

Introduction
Meaning of Ahimsa
Subtle Forms of Himsa
Ahimsa, a Quality of the Strong
Gradational Practice of Ahimsa
Benefits of the Practice of Ahimsa
The Power of Ahimsa
Limitations to the Practice of Ahimsa
A Universal Vow
http://www.dlshq.org/teachings/ahimsa.htm

Thursday, March 15, 2012

University of Arkansas faculty member explains the power of nature for good in human life at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, March 15, 2012, at Fayetteville Public Library



HOW NATURE CAN EMPOWER YOU
Donald Wleklinski, MS, BSN, RN
University of Arkansas School of Nursing Faculty
6:30 PM March 15, 2012
Fayetteville Public Library
Free and Open to the Public

                Exposure to nature is vital to our physical and emotional health, explains Donald Wleklinski, of the University of Arkansas School of Nursing faculty.  He tells how “nature engages your attention in a relaxed fashion with such things as leaves rustling, patterns of clouds, sunsets, a bird, and the shape of an old tree. Nature captures our attention in subtle, bottom-up ways and allows our top-down attention abilities a chance to regenerate.”  Natural environments “restore” our attention.  Wleklinski’s presentation is well backed up with thorough research and references.  He indicates that some of us may suffer from “nature-deficit” and shows how exposure to nature can provide preventative health care and empower everyone, children and adults, both physically and mentally.  The presentation will include a period for questions and answers.

For more information email dwleklin@uark.edu  or call/text 479-220-2772




II.  STOP KILLING HUMANS
ENDING WARS

See OMNI Nonviolence Newsletters:  (#3 June 7, 2011, #4 September 30, 2011) http://www.omnicenter.org/newsletter-archive/  (see the Index).   And Pacifism Newsletters.

NONVIOLENCE
BOOK AND FILM:   A Force More Powerful explores 6 successful nonviolent movements in the 20th century starting (Disk One) with Gandhi's leadership of the Indian Independence movement/the Salt March, the U.S. civil rights movement/the first Sit-ins, the Anti-Apartheid movement in South Africa/the boycotts in the Eastern Cape Province and (Disk Two) continuing with the Danish resistance to Nazi Occupation, the Polish Solidarity Movement, and the Chilean democracy movement to oust Augusto Pinochet.



David Swanson’s When the World Outlawed War – Book Salon Preview

By: Elliott Saturday January 7, 2012 9:09 am
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Saturday, January 7, 2012, 5pm ET>

When the World Outlawed War

Chat with David Swanson about his new book, hosted by Scott Horton.
This is a masterful account of how people in the United States and around the world worked to abolish war as a legitimate act of state policy and won in 1928, outlawing war with a treaty that is still on the books. Swanson’s account of the successful work of those who came before us to insist that war be outlawed points us toward new ways of thinking about both war and political activism. (David Swanson)
In January 1929 the U.S. Senate ratified by a vote of 85 to 1 a treaty that is still on the books, still upheld by most of the world, still listed on the U.S. State Department’s website — a treaty that under Article VI of the U.S. Constitution is the “supreme law of the land.” This treaty, the Kellogg-Briand Pact, bans all war. Bad wars and “good wars,” aggressive wars and “humanitarian wars” — they are all illegal, having been legally abolished like duelling, blood feuds, and slavery before them.
The wisdom of the War Outlawry movement of the 1920s is revived in a new book by David Swanson and titled When the World Outlawed War. The full plan to outlaw war has never been followed through on. We have a duty to carry the campaign forward.
David Swanson is the author of “When the World Outlawed War,” “War Is A Lie” and “Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union.” He blogs at http://davidswanson.org and http://warisacrime.org and works for the online activist organization http://rootsaction.org. Swanson holds a master’s degree in philosophy from the University of Virginia. He has worked as a newspaper reporter and as a communications director, with jobs including press secretary for Dennis Kucinich’s 2004 presidential campaign, media coordinator for the International Labor Communications Association, and three years as communications coordinator for ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. Swanson is Co-Founder of AfterDowningStreet.org, creator of ProsecuteBushCheney.org and Washington Director of Democrats.com, a board member of Progressive Democrats of America, the Backbone Campaign, Voters for Peace, and the Liberty Tree Foundation for the Democratic Revolution, and chair of the Robert Jackson Steering Committee.
Swanson helped plan the nonviolent occupation of Freedom Plaza in Washington DC in 2011.

Bruce E. Levine

When the World Outlawed War: David Swanson's New Book




Forwarded message ----------
From: Rabbi Arthur Waskow
Date: Fri, Mar 23, 2012 at 10:44 AM
Subject: Killing Jews, Killing Muslims, Killing Blacks
To: jbennet@uark.edu

logo
For Trayvon Martin of Florida, USA; for Rabbi Jonathan Sandler of Toulouse, his sons, Gabriel and Arieh , and Miriam Monsonego; for the others killed in France whose names I have not seen in the American press; and for the families murdered in Afghanistan whose names have not been published in the American press  -- we grieve and we try to learn how to prevent such killings in the future.

First, an English version of the Mourners’ Kaddish in Time of War and Violence; then, my thoughts on the causes and the meanings of these deathsI urge that in synagogues, churches, and mosques, memorial prayers be said this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for all those killed in these three moments of horror.

MOURNERS' KADDISH 
IN TIME OF WAR & VIOLENCE

Yit’gadal v’yit’kadash shmei rabbah: May Your Great Name, through our own expanding awareness and our fuller action, lift You and us to become still higher and more holy.

For Your Great Name weaves together all the names of all the beings in the universe, among them our own names, and among them those who touch our lives deeply though we can no longer touch them --   (Cong: Amein)

---   Throughout the world that You have offered us, a world of majestic peaceful order that gives life through time and through eternity ---- And let's say, Amein

So may the Great Name be blessed, through every Mystery and Mastery of every universe.

May Your Name be blessed and celebrated, Its beauty honored and raised high, may It be lifted and carried, may Its radiance be praised in all Its Holiness –--  Blessed be!

Even though we cannot give You enough blessing, enough song, enough praise, enough consolation to match what we wish to lay before you –

And though we know that today there is no way to console You when among us some who bear Your Image in our being are killing others who bear Your Image in our being ---

Still we beseech that from the unity of Your Great Name flow a great and joyful harmony and life for all of us.   (Cong: Amein)  

You who make harmony in the ultimate reaches of the universe, teach us to make harmony within ourselves, among ourselves --  and shalom, salaam, solh, peace for all the children of Abraham – those from the family of Abraham & Sarah through Isaac and those from the family of Abraham & Hagar through Ishmael -- and for all who dwell upon this planet.  (Cong: Amein)
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

KILLING JEWS, KILLING MUSLIMS, KILLING BLACKS

Three recent moments of horror:

A Frenchman kills a Jewish family and several French soldiers (some of them Muslims) who had served the French government’s interests by using violence against Muslim societies.

An American soldier kills several Muslim families in  Afghanistan, the second Muslim country in which he has been ordered into four tours of violence.

An armed Euro-American kills an unarmed African-American for looking suspicious inside a gated community in Florida.

Three utterly different news items?  Merely, as a Secretary of Defense once euphemistically said, “Stuff happens”? Just dots, no connections?

I don’t think so. For one thing, I think all three killers were operating within a framework of what seemed like legitimate violence. Even though there was widespread condemnation of their acts, afterwards. Afterwards.

Beforehand?

The Florida killer was operating under a basic American cultural “rule” (once felt by almost all white Americans, then by a majority, and still by a large proportion of them): The lives of black folk are far less valuable than the lives of white folk.

The Florida killer said he felt fearful. And Fear in a white person is far more urgent to end than Life in a black person is important to save.

Why did he feel afraid? Because the domination of other human beings, the willingness to enslave one class of them, lynch them, segregate them, impoverish them, imprison them, can only be undergirded by coming to believe that this class of them are dangerous. The oppression –- which benefits the oppressor – precedes and gives rise to the Fear.

 You can overcome fear by connecting, communing, with the people you fear. (But then how can you keep the benefits you get by oppressing them?) Or you can overcome fear by being willing to suffer and die for a principle. Or you can overcome fear by being willing to kill. 

In France, a marginalized  Frenchman put meaning in his life by enlisting in a one-man army. An army to avenge all the killings of Muslims by the French and Israeli armies. Anyone wearing a French uniform, and anyone wearing not only an Israeli uniform but the “uniform” of Orthodox Judaism, was dangerous. Even their tiny children.

He might have overcome his fear of these “dangerous” people by connecting, communing with them, trying to affirm his own humanity so that they would be more likely to affirm his. Or he might have overcome his fear by risking suffering and even death,  directly and nonviolently challenging the governments he saw as dangerous and frightening.  Or he could overcome his fear by killing.

And the third killer, an American soldier. He had been taught, not only in the brain but with every muscle and blood vessel in his body, that his job, and more than that his moral task, his sworn duty, is to kill Iraqis and Afghans. And certainly he fears them. They have damaged his brain, distorted his life.

He could have transcended his fear by trying to connect, to commune, with the Afghans he feared, whom he had been ordered to kill. If his officers had prevented his doing that, he could have transcended his fear by putting his freedom, maybe even his life, on the line by nonviolently challenging them. Saying the fourth tour of duty was too much. Laying down his machine-gun. Demanding to be discharged, to be able to make love with his wife and parent his children. 

Or he could transcend his fear by killing.

No wonder the Army that had taught him to kill brought him home after he killed, lest he be tried by the Afghans whose community he had shattered. After all, that same Army has time after time killed civilians, murdered wedding parties, broken the brains and bones of children -- claiming all the while these dead were merely “collateral damage.” That same Army has taught such fear and hatred of Islam that its soldiers could piss on the bodies of dead human beings because they were Muslim, they could casually burn the book that to Muslims is the very Word of God.

So one soldier went beyond the Army’s expectations. If they were honest, they might give him a medal. Not the Medal of Honor, not the Medal of Courage, but the Medal of Fear Transcended.

In every one of our traditions, religious and secular, there are streaks of blood. In the Torah, proclaiming genocide against the Midianites.  In the Gospels, pouring contempt upon the Jews. In the Quran, calling not only for the inner jihad, the struggle against arrogance and idolatry, but on occasion for jihads of blood against some communities. In the Declaration of Independence, with its denunciation of “the merciless lndian  savages'” who were the indigenous peoples of this land.

Let us not turn our rage, our fear, and then our violence against those “others” who have such bloody streaks amidst their wisdom, while pretending there are no such streaks amidst our own.

Let us instead remember that these streaks are only streaks in the many fabrics woven of connection and community, woven of a “decent respect to the opinions of Humankind.”   A fabric woven by all human cultures and by all the life-forms of our planet. A fabric of fringes, where every thing we call our “own” as if we own it came into being only through the Interbreathing of all life.

Shalom, salaam, solh –- Peace!  Healing! Wholeness!---  Arthur




III.   STOP KILLING ANIMALS
ENDING ANIMAL EUTHANASIA

Is pet overpopulation a myth? Inside Nathan Winograd's "Redemption"

October 02, 2007|By Christie Keith, Special to SF Gate
Nathan Winograd is the author of "Redemption: The Myth of Pet Overpopulation and the No Kill Revolution in America" and director of the national No Kill Advocacy Center. He is a graduate of Stanford Law School, a former criminal prosecutor and corporate attorney, and was director of operations for the San Francisco SPCA and executive director of the Tompkins County SPCA, two of the most successful shelters in the nation. Photo courtesy Nathan Winograd.
In the still-heated debate over reducing shelters deaths in California, there is probably no more polarizing figure than Nathan Winograd, former director of operations for the San Francisco SPCA.
At first glance, Winograd has all the credentials any animal rights activist or shelter professional could ask for. He's a vegan. He left a lucrative career as a prosecuting attorney to devote himself to helping animals. Last year, his income was only $35,000. He has spearheaded the No Kill Advocacy Center, a national organization aimed at ending the killing of pets in animal shelters. While director of operations at the San Francisco SPCA, he worked with then-president Richard Avanzino to implement a wide variety of animal livesaving programs, and then went on to achieve similar success as director of a rural shelter in upstate New York.
But Winograd isn't making a lot of friends in the shelter industry these days. That's because he authored a book called "Redemption: The Myth of Pet Overpopulation and the No Kill Revolution in America" that challenges the very foundation of nearly every theory and principle of shelter management in this country: The idea that there are more pets dying in shelters each year than homes available for those pets.
In fact, with between 4 and 5 million dogs and cats being killed in shelters nationwide every year, denying the existence of pet overpopulation seems ridiculous. If there aren't more pets than homes, why are so many animals ending up in shelters in the first place?
Conventional wisdom tells us it's because of irresponsible pet owners who aren't willing to work to keep their pets in their homes. It's a failure of commitment, of caring, and of the human/animal bond. If fewer pets were born, there would be fewer coming into shelters. If people cared more about their pets, they wouldn't give them up so easily, would spay and neuter them so they wouldn't reproduce, and wouldn't let them stray.
That is exactly what I always believed, too, for the nearly 17 years I've been writing about pets. And yet, after reading "Redemption," I don't believe it anymore.
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« Fewer matches

What Does It Mean to ‘Kill Humanely’?

Some say predators, such as wolves, kill cruelly, whereas human hunters kill swiftly and painlessly — but neither notion is fair nor accurate.
By Bryan Welch
October/November 2011



300



5




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Mama Wolf With Pups On Grass
Do wolves have any less right to hunt to feed their families than human hunters do to feed their families?
PHOTO: ISTOCKPHOTO/JIM KRUGER
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Lately, I often find myself grasping for a noun to represent the word “humane.” According to the dictionary, that word is “humaneness.” But that’s hard to say, looks strange on paper and just sounds weird. So, by instinct, I usually grab the word “humanity.”

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That also sounds wrong.
I need the word when I say something like, “The humaneness of concentrated feedlot operations is questionable.” Or, “Consumers today judge farmers more and more on their humaneness.”
Wouldn’t it sound better to say we are judged on our humanity?
But “humanity” is a dubious choice, not only because the dictionary says it’s wrong, but also because it has another meaning: “of or pertaining to human beings.”
That other meaning is, possibly, contradictory.
Those who coined the word “humane” probably picked a term that means “human” to describe compassion because they thought our species exemplified compassionate feeling. Possibly the first people to use the word “humane” also believed that our behavior was more compassionate than the behavior of other species.
We received several letters recently from people who, based on that belief, objected to our article about keystone predators, Keystone Species: How Predators Create Abundance and Stability. The article presented evidence in favor of the reintroduction of species such as wolves to the American wilderness because predators play a keystone role in the ecosystem, fostering more diversity and resilience in the natural community. We thought the story made a valid scientific point, but some readers objected to the idea of encouraging wolves to live in our wilderness. Wolves sometimes kill livestock, after all, and they kill deer and elk that may otherwise be killed for sport or perhaps to feed a human hunter’s family.
Some of the letter writers also asserted that wolves — unlike human hunters — kill cruelly. Wolves take new fawns and calves. They drag down and maul living animals. In contrast, several writers suggested that human hunters use their high-powered rifles, muskets and bows to kill swiftly and “humanely.”
According to some, the world is a more “humane” place when we discourage other predators and leave the killing up to humans. I don’t think that’s true.
Every generation of my family, as far back as I know, raised livestock and competed directly with animal predators. The past several generations raised sheep and cattle along the fringes of the North American wilderness in Oklahoma, California and Texas, and before that in Alabama and Virginia. They routinely killed wolves, mountain lions, hawks, raccoons and coyotes. My great uncle, Buford Oller, was a government trapper whose profession was killing troublesome coyotes and mountain lions in California’s Sierra Nevada foothills.

What Does It Mean to ‘Kill Humanely’?

(Page 2 of 3)
By Bryan Welch
October/November 2011







p. 2 (105)I grew up with a mythology that encouraged us to kill predators — even wipe them out if necessary to protect human livelihoods. We believed wolves, mountain lions and coyotes killed more cruelly than human beings. That was part of the reason it was OK to shoot, trap and poison them indiscriminately. If our predator eradication efforts were cruel, at least they were more humane than what the predators would have done to the sheep, cattle, deer and elk if we’d let them.
It wasn’t until the wolves and mountain lions were almost gone that some of us started to question these assumptions.
As I write this, just before sunrise on a summer morning in Kansas, a coyote is coincidentally moving through the cornfield just north of my watchful ewes, lambs and vigilant donkeys.
Today, we don’t kill predators on our farm. We don’t find it necessary. The mule and the donkeys do a pretty good job of discouraging the coyotes, bobcats and mountain lions we have in our area. We sacrifice a couple of little lambs or goats each year — fewer than we lose to inadequate mothering.
We’ve decided we would rather live in a world that includes wolves, mountain lions and wolverines, even if it means fewer elk, deer, cattle, goats and sheep.
I clean up a dozen chickens a year after an opossum, or more often a hawk, kills them and takes the best parts. But I love watching the red-tailed hawk soaring through the yard in the hunt. I get a kick out of seeing the opossum family scuttling across the lawn in the beam of my flashlight. I think our world would be a far poorer place without the wolf and the lion, or the hawk and the opossum.
It’s true there are probably few quicker and less painful ways to kill than with a perfectly aimed bullet to the brain or spine. Unfortunately, though, hunters seldom make that perfect shot. Hunting — whether with a rifle, musket or bow — is an enterprise full of uncertainty and random events. The target may die immediately, may run half a mile and then die, or may simply disappear, wounded and in pain, with a bullet or an arrow in its body.
U.S. hunters report losing hundreds of thousands of wounded deer every year. U.S. drivers report hitting about 1.5 million deer every year. And that’s just deer, not other wildlife. I remember peeling a western bluebird off the grill of my car years ago, and reflecting on the “humanitarian” implications of hurtling through nature at 70 mph in a 3,000-pound machine.
And then there’s industrialized agriculture, which has used its improved efficiencies to justify the invention of the chamber of horrors known as “confinement agriculture.” Plus, if you include the hundreds of thousands of acres of wildlife habitat we destroy to grow our corn, soybeans and coffee, well, humans may not deserve the right to describe our species’ role in the environment as “humane.”
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