Tuesday 24 March 2009

Conversations with antis

If you haven't yet discovered Holly Heyser's Norcal Cazadora blog, then get over there and check it out - always an entertaining, thought-provoking read, as well as an inspiration to women hunters (or shooters as we'd call them here).

Her recent post on her conversation with an anti-hunter is a great example. It reminded me that most of the 'antis' I meet aren't really anti-shooting/hunting at all. They are happy to accept that people kill animals to eat them, or to protect crops and prevent the spread of disease. They'll even accept the social, environmental and conservation benefits of shooting and other field sports.

Their objections boil down to two main areas: i) A misguided idea that most shooters are rich toffs walking roughshod over the local peasants and wildlife, and ii) They are really bothered by what they imagine goes through a shooter's head at the moment he/she pulls the trigger.

Non-shooters don't get why we would go to all that bother and expense to shoot something we could buy in the supermarket for a couple of quid. So they fill in the gap for themselves, imagining some twisted orgasmic thrill at the death of another creature.

To me, that says more about them than it does about me. But it's a real PR problem that we, as shooters, face. And I don't know how we begin to tackle it. Any ideas?


Anonymous said...

We can only combat it through education. Good TV like 'Kill it, cook it, eat it' for example. And through trying to prevent TV portraying us wrongly- for example as drunk prats on Emmerdale! No use complaining after wards- the damage is done. Does anyone at BASC serve to offer the TV companies advice on shooting in TV shows? Medical dramas always consult a doctor....

Hubert Hubert said...

One of the things I do is that, when I'm talking or writing about shooting rabbits, I consciously refrain from writing or talking in such a way as to further the idea that there is any kind of perverse, kinky thrill in shooting animals for the table - because there is none. Which is to say that I don't try to laugh off my own (slight, but real) personal unease about taking the life of an animal with any kind of jokey bravado. So I don't talk or write about 'bunnies' or 'bopping bunnies on the head' or 'this gave the bunny a nasty surprise' etc.

This stuff just seems in poor taste to me and - I'd say - it encourages people to think that hunters are heartless.

Taking the life of an animal for the table or because it destroys crops isn't wrong - it's right! - but that doesn't mean to say that it's a jokey thing. It isn't, it's a serious thing and - in the social and political climate we live in - it's giving the wrong message, I'd say, to be frivolous about it.

Holly Heyser said...

Belatedly, thanks for the link! And Vicky's right about education. We can do it one at a time, like I did with that conversation (which was, as you can imagine, emotionally draining), or to a mass audience if we could get some quality hunting TV (as in, not the usual horn porn we have over here).