Wednesday, January 29, 2014

13. The most immoral of them all

In his days of educational outreach - late 90s and early 2000s - i.e. before the school system was taken over by the hunting lobby, Mark had spoken at dozens of elementary and secondary schools, other than colleges and universities. He preferred to teach with questions more than answers. Whenever he spoke in an elementary school, he would ask the children this question:

"We all know that humans kill animals, and do so for a variety of reasons - in self-defense, for safety, for food, for clothing, for profit, for vanity and for fun. Now I want to repeat these reasons one by one, and I want you to raise your hands once, and only once, when you come across the reason that you find is immoral, or the most immoral of all."

The result is that in all elementary schools he had spoken at without a single exception, the vast majority of the children voted for "killing for fun" as the most immoral reason for killing an animal.

"Fun" in adult lingo is "recreation". And Recreational Hunting is the formal term.

Back in 2007, while on CARE-3, he was in Allentown PA when local activists asked for his assistance in opposing a new bow-hunting scheme within the nearby Trexler Nature Preserve.

It was the dying wish of General Harry Clay Trexler, who created the Preserve in 1906, that no hunting be allowed within the preserve. But after honoring him for exactly 100 years, the local government announced that due to a natural "population explosion" of the white-tail deer within and surrounding the preserve, its ecology and that of the surrounding areas had been seriously damaged, and thus the deer population needed to be culled by some 50%. As if by magic, there came the cavalry, in the form of a hoard of bow hunters who promptly stepped forward to gallantly volunteered their services to the community, free of charge of course.

Except for the resistance put up by several dedicated local activists, the public had no comment, and the hunt scheme became fact. On opening day of the hunt, several activists, three women and a teenager, led Mark into the preserve, on foot and unarmed, amidst the teaming bow hunters, both male and female. They received many glances and stares ranging from suspicious to hostile, but what they themselves saw was an eye-opener.

Were he blindfolded and driven by jeep into the preserve, and taken for a short walk of no more than 100 yards from the parking lot, then have the blindfold removed and asked what he was looking at, he would have answered that he was in a farm. Acres of forest had been cut down and plowed flat, and row upon row of deer clover had been planted in its place.

"Those who understand the Compensatory Rebound Effect, some hunters included," wrote Mark into his field journal, "know that with an over-abundance of food, deer would maximize their reproductive rate. Instead of no-fawn and singlet, they would have twins and triplets, resulting indeed in a high deer population, which was exactly what the hunters want.

"Bow-hunters are very aggressive in forcing their way into potential hunting areas, especially where the discharge of fire-arms is prohibited, including urban parks like Trexler, and within the urban area itself, even in people's backyards.

"It is the general strategy of hunters to first cultivate a high deer population by means of food-plots, then claim deer over-population, then offer themselves as saviors of deer-ravaged communities. The truth of the matter is that the whole thing is initiated by the bow-hunters stemming basically from their bloodlust, and developed in collusion with the hunter-friendly politicians who are often themselves hunters and put in office by the hunting industry in the first place. After all, the govern knows about the Trexler food-plot, and issued the hunting permits.

"General Trexler, even a top level military man, would weep."

But that is not all. Mark took pictures of the Trexler food plot and submitted them to Allentown's local newspaper, and spoke at length to its reporter, who actually interviewed him at the preserve when he was there, but the article that came out the following day did not make a single mention of the deer clover plantation, and did not use Mark's photos, but instead glorified a female hunter for being the first to bag a magnificent buck.

He had always disapproved of bow hunting, but this incident intensified the disapproval into contempt. Often, when he debated hunters, they would hide behind "hunting for food" as a moral justification, which could excuse some true food-hunters. But it could never excuse bow hunters. If it is purely for food, they would be using a scoped rifle rather than a bow. There is no denying that bow-hunters hunt mostly for "sport", for which, to Mark, there was no excuse.

In 2009, he founded the Global Anti-Hunting Coalition (GAHC).

In early 2010, the group No Negotiations named him "The Best All Around Activist", citing: "Whether protecting tiger reserves in India, risking his life in undercover investigations of the illegal trade in endangered species parts; challenging any and all forms of hunting; hosting a radio show; writing visionary books on science, philosophy, and cosmology; embarking on marathon coast-to-coast Compassion for Animals Road Expeditions (CARE tours) covering dozens of US states (launching his seventh tour in March 2010), or mobilizing scientific research to awaken the complacent to the immanent dangers of irreversible ecological crisis, Mark Lee is raising awareness, effectively campaigning, and blazing new trails. In 2009, Lee launched the Global Anti-Hunting Coalition, one that 'can bring the weight of the entire world to bear on the local governments bullying the grassroots activists.' For anyone skeptical of what one person can do alone or in strategic alliance with others, or what can be accomplished without the large bankrolls such as HSUS commands (and squanders), look no further. For Lee shows what great things can blossom from intelligence, independence, courage, and unqualified commitment to the rights of nature, free from the predatory violence of Homo sapiens. The story Lee tells, and the outcome for which he fights, is not a zero-sum tragedy that pits one element of nature against another, however, but achieves a harmonization of life forces. 'If we win,' Lee says, 'we will have elevated the quality of Humanity, and brought about a major quantum leap in human social evolution.'"

In July, 2010, at the Animal Rights National Conference in Washington DC, where he was a regular speaker, he was honored with the Henry Spira Grassroots Activist Award "for his contribution to animal liberation".

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