During the past 35 years or more, I have been reading and writing about the
prodigious amount of animal suffering which can be found in almost every
sphere of animal life. However, I also realize that human suffering abounds
as well. I just pray that there are enough of us to address both the suffering
of people and animals as best as we can. And of course - sharing this knowledge
is a big first step. I was grateful that Mercy for Animals was able to videotape
the horrible incidences of cruelty to the piglets and mature pigs of the huge Iowa
pig CAFO. If you watched the graphic video- I'm sure you will not soon forget
just how cruel man can be to innocent animals. And thank God, the attempt
to gag videotaping cruelty such as this one failed in the Iowa state legislature
as well as in the legislatures in New York, Virginia, and Minnesota.
I have no videotape to show you the horrors of archery abuse, but I would like to
share one courageous and caring woman's account re it found in "The C.A.S.H.
Courier" (The Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting). To call hunting a "sport" in
my opinion is a perversion of the meaning of a true sport. A sport should involve
equal opponents on an equal playing field. Of course, this is just not the case when
man with his guns or bows and arrows are pitted against defenseless animals who
are confined usually to a very limited space with no place to hide and no means
to "fire" back.
Laurie Crawford Stone wrote about her heartaches involved in witnessing what
happens to so many deer when hunters use the bow and arrow. She writes that there
are meaningless proficiency tests, lax rules, and hunt secrecy which accounts for
much deer suffering.
She wrote about the Cedar Rapids, Iowa "proficiency" test for using the bow and
arrow for hunting:
"Cedar Rapids uses a six-inch pie target. A hunter placing 5 arrows within the 6-inch
pie can hunt. Where s/he will shoot an actual deer is indeterminable. The deer's head
can be a 6" inch target for a careless or a non-proficient hunter. Countless deer are
maimed each year. Many are never found by the hunter."
I would truly like to know whose "bright" idea it was to start using a bow and arrow
to hunt deer in the first place. We are not living in pioneer times when perhaps this
was a legitimate way to hunt. Today, this is just not the case. This is a cruel "legacy"
for someone to own and I think we should add the names of the legislators who
approved this needless suffering to the deer as their legacy as well.
I also wonder who was the first European farmer who stuck a male veal calf in a smallish
crate to basically forget about him until he was ready for slaughter in 16 weeks. That the
calf's suffering was unbearable didn't seem to bother him at all. Probably, this cruel calf
raising led to the huge proliferation of many, many millions - even billions of confined
farm animals -chickens, pigs and cows worldwide.
And finally, I'm also wondering who should take "credit" for introducing these
horrible animal CAFOs in the 80's to the US. - the then Pres. Ronald Reagon or the
Congress or both? Historians in my opinion, gloss over "legacies" such as this one.
So, whose ever idea it was to use the bow and arrow to hunt innocent deer can lay much
deer suffering at his or her feet. Many deer are wounded in the commission of this "sport."
Some of them may survive, but most will eventually bleed to death, suffocate, or die a
slow agonizing death according to Stone. She also noted that those who don't quickly
die, suffer for weeks or months before succumbing to their wounds. She knows of a buck
who suffered for almost a year from infection caused by the unsterilized arrows used by
In her article, Stone wrote that Hunt Rules require that the hunter report wounded,
unretrieved deer in 12 hours. In 6 years- only two hunters have complied. So much
for hunting "rules." If observed, she assumed that trackers would be dispatched to
find the wounded deer to minimize citizen encounters. What about being concerned
about the deer's suffering? It's always about us -isn't it?
She also personally noted that she found many deer - dead and alive whom hunters
have wounded and not tracked. Some deer were shot in the face - nowhere near the
vital area of their lungs and heart. Stone found 2 dead does shot in the face one year.
One doe with a face shot after season's end was still walking. She took a picture of
one buck in her yard who was shot in the spine and face. His face was swollen
and pus was pouring from this facial wound and eye. She said she had never before
seen a deer with swelling from an arrow wound and survive. Thus far he has
suffered for four months because of this horrible shot.
I was just about to write that reading more about the terrible suffering of these poor
deer was already quite enough for me when my eyes caught another paragraph where
"Constantly seeing wounded and dead deer is taking a personal toll. The cumulative
grief and loss are becoming unbearable. I have been unable to recover this year from the
losses. The ongoing suffering of this face-shot buck and face-shot doe are contributing.
The end of the hunt does not mean the end of suffering. My suffering is nothing compared
to the needless suffering the beloved deer who are dying because of unfounded,
misdirected hatred and a profound, deep-seated disrespect for their lives by the deer
haters and hunters."
How can anybody hate these dear innocent creatures? Is ransacking a garden a just
reason to hate them? Is having to be careful in traversing deer-crossing areas a reason
to hate them? Shouldn't there be room enough on planet earth for us and these creatures
which God has made?
Some years back, I was profoundly shaken when I read a newspaper account of an elderly
black woman in the Gr. Cleveland area beating to death a baby fawn she found in her
garden. I don't remember now whether she was charged with animal cruelty - though of
course, I believe she should have been - age not withstanding.
Thank you Laurie Crawford Stone for sharing your pain re the brutal treatment you have
so accurately called "archery abuse."