Loving Nature with a Gun

Commentary by Paul Watson
Founder and President of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

By Sierra Club National Director Paul Watson (2003-2006)

To what dark depths of immorality is the Sierra Club USA prepared to go to suck up to the "hook and bullet" crowd?

The Sierra Club clearly embraces the slaughter of wild animals proclaiming that 20% of the membership are "hunters or anglers."

The Club hosts a web page showing Club leaders posing with macho smiles of triumph with their slaughtered, bleeding trophy victims. We see them proudly gazing at the cameras with pitiful corpses of elk, deer, antelope, geese, ducks, and fish.

And just to show you that the Sierra Club is an equal opportunity organization when it comes to slaughter - there are women hunters featured like bow hunter Jean Legge of North Dakota. She appears all smiles over a dead deer and proudly states that "hunting is more enjoyable when you have the right equipment." I think the men agree, Jean.
Link: http://www.sierraclub.org/huntingfishing/whoweare.asp

Even in death the animals look nobler than the smirking, cruel clowns posing with their corpses.

It was a goddamn embarrassment to discover that as a National Director of the Sierra Club, no one told me anything about the tens of thousands of dollars we had allocated for "hunter outreach" programs.

Not only are we posting snuff snaps, we are actually spending money to promote the murder of wildlife and enticing more of the sadistic death deviants into joining the Sierra Club.

The Club even has an essay contest entitled; Why I Hunt?
Link: http://www.sierraclub.org/huntingfishing/whyihunt/

I wonder how many Sierra Club members realize that the Club is offering a grand prize of an all expense paid trip for two to the Alaska Sportsman's Lodge. The value of the prize is $12,200.00. 

Hard to believe, but, the Sierra Club is actually spending donated funds to send some sadistic bastard up to Alaska to kill a grizzly or whatever else he stumbles upon. Yep, that's the way to protect nature - shoot it.

I notice this sick little excursion was never brought before the Board of Directors for approval.

Trophy hunters argue that hunting is a natural instinct of man. We come from a hunter-gathering background they say, yet I don't see any acorn or root gathering going on. In fact, I don't think there is a single gathering club in the country. So, if hunting is a natural part of our instincts, then how come gathering isn't?

And there are few predators in nature that would target the biggest and the strongest animals. Humans do so, only because we have devastating weapons of mass wildlife destruction. Targeting the biggest and the strongest is not natural or ecologically sound.

Behind all the chit-chat of conservation and tradition is the plain simple fact that trophy hunters like to kill living things. Many, like Vice President Dick Cheney, like their victims helpless therefore they patronize canned hunts and safaris parks to snuff out defenseless captive animals.

The Sierra Club webpage posts an essay by Rick Bass entitled, Why I hunt? - Stalking wild game in a rugged landscape brings one environmentalist closer to nature. Link: http://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/200107/bass.asp

Tell me Rick, how does a gun bring you closer to nature unless you enjoy the sight of red blood splattered on green leaves?

Is a camera not enough? Is it so hard to look at an animal without wanting to kill it or is it only the fact that you kill it that makes you so excited?

Bass has a book promotion on the Sierra Club website where it describes how he went to Alaska to investigate the threats to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. An excerpt describes how "he now pursues game with a primal passion coupled with an environmentalist's conscience, providing nearly all the meat his family consumes. He hoped to kill one caribou and bring home its meat.
Link: http://www.sierraclub.org/books/catalog/1578051142.asp

If I understand this right, Bass went to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to kill a caribou in order to write about the threats to the caribou. What part of the words "wildlife refuge" did he not understand? The meaning of the word "refuge" is a place of shelter and protection from danger. I guess Bass does not think that caribou need any refuge from his rifle.

And do we really want to promote "primal passion?" I thought this was a term for rapists and serial killers.

Aldo Leopold is considered the father of wildlife ecology. In the early part of the 20th Century, he shot a wolf and wrote the following about his experience:

We reached the old wolf in time to watch a fierce green fire dying in her eyes. I realized then, and have known ever since, that there was something new to me in those eyes - something known only to her and to the mountain. I was young then, and full of trigger-itch; I thought that because fewer wolves meant more deer, that no wolves would mean hunters' paradise. But after seeing the green fire die, I sensed that neither the wolf nor the mountain agreed with such a view.

Nor do I, but as a director of the Sierra Club for the last three years, I have encountered a great deal of hostility because I don't hunt or fish. In my life, have disrupted hunting, and as a child I sabotaged trap lines, releasing animals and destroying the vicious leg-hold traps. But living compassionately with nature is not considered admirable by the Sierra Club. They don't post our essays on vegetarianism or anti-hunting despite the fact that many Sierra Club members are vegetarian and eighty percent of the members do not hunt.

The Sierra Club has decided that nature is best loved with a gun, and bunny huggers need not apply. Apparently, there is little room for compassion and plenty of resources to promote violence, exploitation, and cruelty in the wilderness.

Paul Watson turned in his resignation to the Sierra Club board of directors on April 17, 2006 - read more.