WE ARE THE HUMANE
Originally published in Texas Fish & Game Magazine
By Mike Tomano
© 2020 Michael Tomano / Fossil Entertainment Group
Several years ago, I had the chance to meet both Linda Blair and John Schneider, two retro-Hollywood icons. I was covering Chicago’s Comic Con and gathering interviews for my radio show. I talked The Exorcist with Linda and Dukes of Hazzard with John. They both shared great show-biz stories and I really enjoyed their company.
Linda was a bit strange, but charming, at varying times opinionated, distant, and engaging. John was a gem; very cordial, down-to-earth, and cool as it gets. A true movie star.
Ironically, both took the time to share their animal-welfare affiliations with me. Linda expressed interest in my helping promote her World Heart Foundation, an animal rescue organization and sanctuary she runs for abused and stray dogs in California.
I told Linda that I’d call her for an appearance on my radio show and that she could talk about her foundation. Being fully aware of her PETA ties, I left it at that and we moved our conversation to movies, losing our fathers, California wildfires (which she blames on “Fire Bugs”) and the upcoming Blu Ray release of The Exorcist.
John and I talked about The Dukes of Hazzard, driving fast and shooting bows. I told him that when I was a kid I wanted to be a Duke…and am still working on it! I asked John if he still shoots archery like he did in Dukes, and if he is an outdoorsman. Surprisingly, he mentioned he had gone vegan. I overheard someone in his crew mention the documentary Earthlings and I asked about it. Schneider claimed it changed his life, so I mentioned that I would check it out first chance I got.
Well, I watched it. It’s an animal-rights documentary, narrated by Jaoquin Phoenix, which depicts man’s use of animals for food, clothing and entertainment. The chosen footage was included to cause emotional reaction to the abuse, torture, inhumane, and often insane treatment of live creatures by warped individuals. The film’s glaringly biased view, and obvious agenda, condemns human interaction with animals as evil. It also lied, calling hunting, “the number one threat to wildlife.” On the contrary, the opposite has been proven to be true; in fact, hunting, fishing, and trapping preserve and protect the proliferation and health of wild species and habitat.
The film’s insistence on showing farmers torturing livestock and animal trainers beating animals to a pulp are anomalies. Watching elephants stomp abusive trainers to death only proves the harsh reality that Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin, Sea World Trainer Dawn Brancheau and Timothy “Grizzly Man” Treadwell learned all too late: Wild Animals Are Wild! It is unnatural to force them into roles of playthings, cuddly pets, or silly puppets.
But I digress. I told John that I’d watch the movie and who am I to fib Bo Duke?
Did it affect me?
Watching a fox skinned alive by a Chinese fur farmer and left in a heap while still awake and aware is a misleading and distorted example of fur farming. What he did is demented, sub-human behavior. The wasteful and wanton killing of dolphins by Japanese fishermen is disgraceful. A lunatic giggling away while bashing a pig’s head in with a monkey wrench is hardly representative of pork farming. Some Third World loonies putting stray dogs in garbage compactors is pure evil, and the filthy conditions of factory farms would make anyone question what’s in their meat…besides meat!
While Mr. Schneider’s reaction to the film was to change his lifestyle, my reaction was one of renewed pride.
I am a conscientious and compassionate predator and steward of wildlife and habitat. I am a hunter, fisherman, and conservationist. By nature, I am an omnivore. The animals I hunt are killed quickly and humanely, with complete reverence to their beauty and precious value. There is much weight in my responsibility. I must strive to be one with the game I pursue. I must connect with my ancient predator instinct that modern society attempts to nullify.
I practice incessantly with my bows and arrows, shotguns, rifles, and handguns to ensure proficiency in my shooting ability. Every animal I kill is held in highest regard. My reward is sacred time spent in nature and a feast for family and friends. A trophy mount is a monument to the magnificence of the beast and our connection.
After watching the deplorable conditions of factory farming, John Schneider may choose a vegan diet. I resolve to buy organic meat from my local farmers, and then only when the need arise. Rather, I will hunt more upland birds, waterfowl, deer, hogs and small game this year with the goal of feeding my family with less reliance of purchasing meat. I will fish as many days as I can to add the delicious bluegill, crappie, walleye, perch, trout, salmon, and catfish to the table.
Like John, I will avoid buying Chinese fur. Instead, I will employ the skills of American furriers to design beautiful clothing for my family.
It is we of the Outdoor Lifestyle who put a spiritual reverence upon our connection to the Wild Things. The addiction to convenience has destroyed mankind’s awareness of his true role in the balance of nature, removing the active participation and reducing man’s part to a cog in an industrial wheel. People speak of nature as though we are separate from it. What a tragic notion!
I applaud Linda’s efforts to give value to neglected pit bulls and I believe John is sincere in his newfound values. If John were more like Bo Duke and less a Hollywood actor from New York City, perhaps his views would be different
Not everyone should hunt. It is a choice. Like eating meat. Like wearing fur or leather. Hunting gives animals value. Conservation saves wild ground. Vegetable fields, cotton fields and fruit orchards are responsible for countless animal deaths. Whatever your choices, these facts are undeniable.
I have no problem staring into the eyes of my dinner. I am connected. I’m part of nature. I am part of the Great Outdoors heritage of hunters, fishermen, and trappers.
We are the Humane.