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  • Writer's pictureCrone


The found object today was a blue dolphin-shaped cookie-cutter.

Appropriate as I am reading the chapter on whaling in Matthew Scully's Dominion. This is a somewhat odd choice for me. Scully is a conservative (he wrote speeches for George W. Bush) and a, like, REAL Christian! Who believes! Mind you, they're common in the US, just endangered in the UK. Not that we seem to seek to feel any need to protect them. For both these reasons, I find it rather odd at times. It's basically going through many of the horrible things we do to animals.

There's a great chapter on the Safari Club, these 'conservationists' as they call themselves, who shoot large numbers of wild animals a year. Elephants, rhinos, impala, lions and tigers and bears, deer, wolves, polar bears. You name it, they shoot it. Sometimes they tempt the animals over with bait. Sometimes they're sick old animals from zoos who've been caged all their lives and are set free right in front of the shooters. Sometimes the animals are trapped in small areas. When they're in the actual wild, professional stalkers and hunters find the animals for these rich wankers who then pose with a dead fucking elephant for $12,000. Because, you see, the elephants are valuable to hunters, it's worth it not to let poachers have them. The animals must pay their way. Thank God we have these hunters around to preserve the wildlife. Scully is amusingly and bitingly scathing, and he's a good writer.


Part of his defense for animals is, in fact, that God told us to be nice to them. Look, he has other reasons - they feel pain, they have as much right to walk around woods and savannas as anyone else, they're God's creatures... oh, whoops, back to God. Now, often the God-folk seem to argue that God told us to eat the animals and do what we want with them, but Scully turns the Holy texts back on those mo-fos and puts them right. Which is handy.

Anyway, what I like about it is that he went to the Safari Club convention and the Whaling Commission's annual meeting. He talks to people, he listens to their speeches, he investigates the facts - and then, well, not so lamb-like or compassionate, he writes about them with acid wit. It's very readable as well, of course, as shocking.

Likewise, he turns the traditional conservative support for huntin', shootin', fishin' and dominion over nature into a pleas for preservation.

I'd previously read an autobiography by an animal researcher who's pro-animals in research and one by a researcher who did all the research things and gradually came to doubt what he was doing. He's now a bioethicist. It's been interesting to get to grips with real people - through their words and Scully's journalism.

My views haven't changed but I feel that the opponents (apart from Safari Club) have reasons that make sense... most of all, all the people, whatever their views, do have their justifications. I mean, just like me, they think they're right. Of course, they're not. (!)

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