Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Animal Rights

I just wrote this letter for one of my wildlife classes. I felt like I should share!!! It's to my brother Kenneth and dripping with sarcasm. So no angry comments. Just joking, I know no one will comment, enjoy.

The Letter:

April 22, 2008

Dear Kenneth,

Hello son of my mother. How are you? You may be perplexed by the subject of my letter but don’t immediately be put off by it. Think of it like Marlon Brando’s corpse performing in a circus. Something about the clowns is so bewildering but damn if Brando’s corpse hanging from the trapeze doesn’t make you smile a little. Actually that sounds like the plot to David Lynch’s next film. I say “film” because no Lynch piece is mere entertainment. Of course that is discussion for another time.

I can feel that the grader of this letter is probably asking themselves, “When is he going to get to the point?” Now, the answer is now, my friend. Kenneth, I am currently taking a course at Utah State which focuses on society’s relationship to wildlife. Now, before you rant and rave about me wasting my life pursuing education, I will have you know that I have learned many vital, practical skills. I have earned my small game permit. That way, when the apocalypse comes, I will be able to feed myself. Granted, I will need, most likely, to learn how to remove nuclear waste safely from a squirrel carcass.

Transitioning into my next paragraph, I want to take this time to discuss the debate we have been having in classes. The debate concerns hunting. During class we have been watching films from our Reagan’s glorious 80’s and Ford’s and Carter’s lesser 70’s. In these videos we were shown much propaganda from conservatives and liberals. That is of course if you take my view point that all hunters are conservatives and animal lovers are liberals. I do!!! But seriously this is an important issue and the reason I am writing you because in our family, you are the only one that took animal issues seriously. I am of course referring to your two year stint as a vegetarian. As I thought back through our family members I can only think of two other instances with animals. One involves the whole family and the rattle snake. We tried to tell dad that a coiled rattle snake was right in front of him, rattling, but he still stepped over it and was almost bitten. Then in paternalistic glory threw a boulder at it to protect us, his family. The other incident I refer to is you eating the ants in Idaho. I think this incident is what perhaps created the greatest shock when you announced your vegetarianism. We all thought, “But Kenneth loves meat!!! He loves meat so much he’s willing to eat ants.”

Also transitioning into this paragraph, the debate was concerning whether or not people should hunt and kill animals. As I watched these videos I found the conservatives and the liberals to both be crazy. I found myself somewhere in the middle but, leaning towards the viewpoint of liking meat. I think that it is OK to hunt but to kill responsibly, kind of like Anton Chigurh in, “No Country for Old Men.” Kill methodically, purposefully, and with a Dorothy Hamill hair cut. You could say my opinion on the matter was medium well (assuming that liberals really do have rare, bleeding hearts). I, like you during your Idaho ant binge, love meat however, cringe when I think of slaughtering my own meat. That is why I, through consumerism, pay people low wages to do it. I pay others to hunt for me (I think is typical of most people in our upper-middle-class-socioeconomic group, we are from Alpine). I have come to accept that animal populations would benefit from me being there predator in the form of low-income slaughter house employees.

There are many other issues about animals that I would love to discuss including extinction, domestication (cuddles the cat, and the sole occupant of our Alpine home, is in for an earful), and human impact on wildlife habitat. I appreciate your ear on this matter and would love to have you hear me. I am not so interested in your opinions, but then again when have I ever commie!!

Your brother through adoption and maternal genes,

Jeff Denison