Archive for the 'Society' category

The Tipping Point

 | October 29, 2009 9:00 PM

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big DifferenceMy pastor suggested I read The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell to help me learn about how I can create movements.  Malcolm Gladwell also wrote Outliers: The Story of Success.

Gladwell’s basic premise is that movements or epidemics, like physical plagues, happen because of the Law of the Few, the Stickiness Factor and the Power of Context.

The Law of the Few says certain people play key roles, that these few people are responsible for the epidemic.

The Law of the Few … says that one critical factor in epidemics is the nature of the messenger.  A pair of shoes or a warning or an infection or a new movie can become highly contagious and tip simply by being associated with a  particular kind of person.

AIDS was brought to North America by a Canadian airline steward who slept with hundreds of women, playing the role of the infector and spreader.

Paul Revere's ridePaul Revere started a movement, the beginning of the U.S. revolution, with his famous ride.  What is interesting is that someone else made a similar ride and no one reacted.  That was because Paul Revere knew so many people and had so many connections.  He was a connector.  Connectors are comfortable with having many “weak friendships” or acquaintances.  In some ways these weak friendships are very powerful because those are the ones that reach out of your circle and connect you to opportunities and other people.

A movement also requires mavens, people who gather enormous amounts of data about certain topics.  But mavens aren’t just a large repository of information, mavens enjoy helping and educating others.  They want to pass on their information.

Peter Jennings (1938-2005) and Religion - Religion FactsAnd finally there are salesmen which are pretty self-explanatory.  Salesmen persuade and not just through words but through body language and expressions.  For example Peter Jennings, through his expressions, somehow convinced his viewers to vote for Reagan.  ABC News viewers voted overwhelmingly for Reagan even though ABC News itself was rated as the most anti-Republican in terms of its content.  Peter Jennings denied all of this.

I think pastors are salesmen, they sell Jesus.  Eugene Cho is both a salesman and a connector, he has had over a million views on his blog and his One Day’s Wages Facebook fan page has already almost a million fans.

Blue's Clues | Nick Jr.The Stickiness Factor is simply making your message stick.  Sesame Street and Blue’s Clues were case studies.  I prefer Blue’s Clues.

What also is involved in a movement is context.  People are incredibly swayed by context.  An infamous example was the murder of a woman in New York city that was witnessed by tens of people.  No one moved because they assumed someone else was helping.  The context froze them.  However if they had been say somewhere where only one person was a witness and that person thought no one could help, he more likely would have helped.

I am reminded of two strange movements that happened at my old church.  One was the movement for younger men to marry older women.  It started with a couple of incidents and people found it intriguing.  But after awhile it became the norm and I have never seen something like that happen again.  I think the context really affected people.

Another example was how everyone at my church quickly got on Xanga and just as quickly everyone got off.  I understood somewhat why it happened quickly but never understood why it happened so quickly in the other.

File:Pruitt-Igoe-vandalized-windows.jpgA more famous example was the incredible decline in crime that happened in New York City simply by changing the context the people were in, i.e. no broken windows, no small crime, no graffiti on subways, etc.

I am writing this review from memory and I hope I didn’t completely mess up what Gladwell was saying.  My lesson learned is that I am a maven gathering a lot of data about North Korean human rights and I need to find connectors and salesmen to get the word out.

Share

International Justice Mission Almost one month ago, July 12, I saw an ad on Facebook for a temporary part-time web developer position at the International Justice Mission (IJM).  Though I was in the midst of getting a contract I still decided to apply because I admire IJM so much and wanted to build a relationship with them.  I contacted them and asked if I could fulfill this position remotely from my home in California and they said yes and to please apply.

On July 23 I had a forty-five minute phone interview and at the end of the interview the recruiter said hope your phone call with Brian Cress goes well.  I said “Who is Brian Cress?” and the recruiter said “Oh, forget I said anything.”  (By the way, I didn’t get the job.)

Brian Cress, IJM West Coast Director of DevelopmentOn July 27 Brian emailed me, introduced himself as the IJM West Coast Director of Development, said he was going to be in the Bay Area and wanted to connect with me.  We emailed and talked and I invited him to come to our home for dinner on Tuesday, August 4.

I asked Brian if he would like me to invite others and he said sure.  So I quickly invited via Evite over 50 people but I was not expecting many to show because of the short notice.  Later I realized people didn’t come because I set the start time at 5:30 PM.  One friend wrote me and said “who gets off work at 5:30 =)”.  A lesson learned for next time.

In the end a neighbor and her three children and a married couple we knew from Boston attended.  And the night was a roaring success.

Brian Cress is a large, friendly man who immediately disarms you with his engaging personality.  He is comfortable with everyone including the children.  For example Dylan enjoyed telling his array of silly jokes to Brian and Brian patiently listened to them all.

Fried Eggplant on FlickrBecause of his outgoing personality Brian ended up becoming the host for the evening and I think that is why everyone had a good time.  We first had dinner, mediocre Chinese food from a local restaurant.  I apologize Brian that the eggplant wasn’t palatable.  My wife ordered it because I’m a pseudo-vegetarian. 🙂

After dinner we watched a short three minute video about IJM which is on YouTube.

Next Brian did a quick PowerPoint presentation about IJM and then we watched a longer video about what IJM has been doing in India.  Everyone had a lot of questions and were really engaged.

During this time I often find myself saying “Thank God for IJM” when I saw videos of people being saved from bonded slavery, sex slavery, police abuse, etc.  IJM is awesome.

good-news-about-injustice At the end of evening Brian gave everyone Good News About Injustice by Gary Haugen, the founder and CEO of IJM.  I read the book a few years ago and reviewed it on my old blog.  Before I moved I gave it away and it’s nice to get another copy.  Maybe I should give away this book to whomever leaves in a comment for this post the most compelling reason to present it to him or her (and who lives nearby).

just-courage Brian also gave me Gary Haugen’s newest book, Just Courage .  I’m quite excited about getting this book and am hoping to read it soon and to review it here.

In the end I think everyone had a good time.  Even Dylan and Isaac had a great time playing with the kids from across the street.  Here’s a group photo from the end of the night.  The only ones missing are the neighbor’s kids who were still upstairs playing with the Legos. 🙂

IJM's Brian Cress at our home with friends

Share

Not For Sale Week 4

 | July 4, 2009 7:30 AM

Marx Wexler - Director of Education & Co-founderMark Wexler led the Week 4 Bible Study, the final one.  He is the Director of Education & Co-founder of Not For Sale.

Not For SaleMark Wexler’s presentation was titled on Mapping Modern-Day Slavery, Mapping High Probability Locations.  Two hundred years ago when slavery was outlawed slavery did not disappear, it just moved from the open to the crevices.  Modern day slavery exists in places where “good people” don’t look, such as massage parlors in San Francisco.

Advertisements for massage parlors which maybe you and I don’t look at is where you will find slaves.  Also comments on message boards for johns provide clues.  You can buy people on Craigslist.  You can use Yelp to “find places to exploit women and children.”  This is where investigators look to find slaves.  Things they look for are like:

  • Johns saying “She does not seem to want to be there.”
  • Advertising phrases such as “Rotating world-wide models.”

When Not For Sale contacts Yelp about reviews from johns those reviews are pulled.  But before they are pulled Not For Sale records them so they can be used by law enforcement.  Craigslist has not been as cooperative and the only thing they have done is renamed their erotic services to adult services.

Not For Sale three years ago presented books and books of this information to the D.A. who was quite impressed.  The D.A. then took it to the police who responded they weren’t prepared to deal with this information (in other words they didn’t care).  Not For Sale then started working with the FBI, immigration, IRS.

Google maps Now Not For Sale is using Google groups, Google maps, Google docs to organize and build up this information.  Investigators are gathering information throughout the U.S. and Canada.  Adult book stores, cantinas/bars, massage parlors, even truck stops is where investigators look.

No Lot Lizards Dennis, a Not For Sale investigator, told a story from Houston.  Truck stops have lot lizards, another term for prostitutes.  A van will pull up at a truck stop with two to four girls and advertise on the CB that they have girls for sale.  At one truck stop a trucker agreed to buy one girl.  But when he received the girl and noticed she was fourteen he called 911 and that girl and her cousin were rescued by police.

In another case a man left a brothel and asked a girl on the way out “How do you like Houston?”

When she replied “Oh, we’re in Houston.” the john knew something was wrong and called the National Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-3737-888.

The sad but unavoidable fact is that johns are a very good source of information for investigators and frontline investigators sometimes have to do things they don’t want to do.  I am assuming they don’t actually complete any transactions.

To attack the demand side johns who are arrested for a first offense are asked to take a course instead of pay a fine and/or go to jail.  In that course they learn about how many prostitutes are children and how many are slaves.  The percentages of these arrested johns who stop visiting prostitutes is something like 70% to 80%.

Lake Volta, Ghana, largest man made lake is a major site for child slavery.  Fishermen’s nets are often tangled in the trees that were flooded when the lake was created.  Children with weights on their limbs are used to free the nets.  Fishermen don’t know it’s illegal to hold children as slaves.  Investigators from the first Not For Sale Academy are starting to make a difference, having already rescued five children!

Ji Seon, my wife, asked what makes Not For Sale distinctive from all the other abolitionist organizations.  Mark replied Not For Sale is distinctive because it’s about putting the lens on average citizens, making them investigators in our own backyards or encouraging them to use their gifts to combat slavery,  Difference is “seeing a fire versus reporting a fire.”

Things we can do.

  1. Become an investigator.  You can sign up by emailing theacademy@notforsalecampaign.org.
  2. Do a Bible Study.  Not For Sale has an eight week Bible study, Set The Captives Free Bible Study.
  3. Provide after care for rescued slaves.  There is going to be an aftercare training program by MISSSEY at Not For Sale in the last week of July.  To receive more information and an application form for the Aftercare Seminar, email: aftercare@notforsalecampaign.org.
  4. Provide information about modern slavery to school districts and pre-school districts.  Not For Sale has the information but not the resources for distributing it.
  5. Promote Free2Play with your children’s sports teams.  Mark told the story how one team wore Free2Play badges.  When the players of the opposing team asked what it was about they would say “27 million people are enslaved and half are children.  We’re playing for them.”

Free2Play

Share

Not For Sale Week 3

 | June 28, 2009 7:06 AM

Kique Bazan - Director of International Projects & Co-founderKique Bazan from Peru led the Week 3 Bible Study.  He is the Director of International Projects & Co-founder of Not For Sale.

Not For Sale has five international projects.  Their goal is to teach skills and provide a moral framework.

It takes typically three years to transition from slavery.  A key part of the transition is convincing the person he/she does not deserve to be a slave.  After three years they try to put them in vocational programs with job placement – learning while working.

Not For SaleOne transition program was taking kids surfing.  It takes about six weeks to master surfing.  These kids started receiving compliments and began feeling good about themselves.  For this reason the transition happened much faster and the kids wanted to clean up, go to school, etc.

Based on this success, they are trying sports models to accelerate the transition, for example, soccer team in Ghana, roller blade team in Oakland.

In Ghana the fishermen’s nets get caught at the bottom of the lake.  The fishermen use child slaves to free the nets.  They tie weights to these children who can’t swim and throw them in.  They only pull them out after the net is free and sometimes the kids come up drowned.  Not For Sale is trying to change both the culture of acceptance of slavery and the economics so that the need for these children is gone.

The majority of female sex slaves in India are Nepalese.  Not For Sale uses former sex slaves to help identify at the border which women are being trafficked to India.

SlaveryMap.org lists past cases because if they list current cases they might jeopardize the investigation.  What is strange is why aren’t there any cases of North Korean refugees becoming slaves.  Who has that info?  I asked Kique about this and he said because there are no Not For Sale investigators working in that area.

Kique told a story about why Not For Sale is very careful about revealing identities.  Once Dr. Phil had on his program two American women who had been forced into prostitution.  These women became sex slaves while teenagers and after many years they finally escaped and one of them was doing work to help other former sex slaves.  Many years later they went on Dr. Phil to help publicize this issue.  Without their knowledge or consent near the end of the program Dr. Phil had their former pimp call them.  The women broke down crying uncontrollably and it was an incredibly traumatic event for them.  I have no idea what Dr. Phil was thinking.  I wish I could find more information about this episode on the internet

Kique presented three ways we can help.

  1. Open source activism.  Go to action page to find out what you can do.
  2. After care academy in December run by Missing.  This will be a new academy after the current summer series of academies.
  3. Global Forum on Human Trafficking in San Diego on October 8-9.  Specifically in Carlsbad, home of Legoland.  You can make it into a family vacation. 🙂
Share

Not For Sale Week 2

 | June 15, 2009 3:23 AM

David Batstone led the Week 2 Bible Study.  He is a professor at the University of San Francisco.  He started Not For Sale 30 months ago.

God frees all people, whether it be chains or egotism or materialism.  We as Christians are redemption people.  God said “Let my people go” and “Loose the chains” and “Restore sight to the blind.”

13th amendment of the U.S. constitution calls slavery “involuntary servitude.”  David encountered slavery at one of his favorite restaurants in Berkeley, Pasand Madras, which he learned about in the San Francisco Chronicle.  He learned that this restaurant was the center of a trafficking ring of young teenage boys and girls from India.

NFS-Logo-SmallDavid traveled the world, investigated slavery and then created Not For Sale to “reabolish” slavery.  Not For Sale investigates and documents slavery and trafficking all around the world.  Slavery is too “ordinary” and Not For Sale want to makes it “extraordinary.”

Not For Sale is not a Christian organization.  Instead Not For Sale is first an abolitionist organization.  Being a secular organization allows him to work with the government, speak at universities, speak at Google.  And when someone asks why David does it he says because of his faith in Jesus Christ.

David was an investigative journalist who won national awards.  He wanted to take his talents to investigate slavery.  He also tasked his students in his class, Justice 101, to do it instead of writing boring essays.  The students went to social workers, police, immigration workers, etc.

Not For Sale’s bar for what is slavery is that “you can walk away.”  Not For Sale charts 50 garment factories and 175 massage parlors/brothels in the Bay Area.  Not For Sale has 40 similar operations all around the U.S.  SlaveryMap.org is their public documentation of what they have learned.  Not For Sale also monitors ads and even chat rooms/forums where people talk about their experiences with prostitutes, looking for under age or scared prostitutes.  “Open source activism” is bringing these operations around the world and opening up the platform to allow others to enhance it.

Movies about slavery.

  1. Call and Response
  2. Slumdog Millionaire (child beggars, often slaves)
  3. Holly (not mentioned by David)

Not For Sale partners w/ groups like World Vision and Compassion International that have thousands of workers to find out where there is trafficking.  Then they tell the police who do the enforcement.

To fight corruption Not For Sale tries to create a reward system, bringing status to the police officers who are stopping slavery.

Not For Sale opportunities

  1. Take the academy courses and become an investigator.
  2. Help the survivors by offering counseling, legal advice, etc.
  3. Pray for the cases in SlaveryMap.org.
  4. Help create and improve tools.
Share

Not For Sale Week 1

 | June 13, 2009 11:29 PM

not-for-sale-banner-4

GrX and Not For Sale are running a four week Bible study called “Set The Captives Free. The Return of the Global Slave Trade – and How We Can Fight It.”  You can download the study from the Not For Sale Resources.

Allison Trowbridge led the first week’s study.  I really appreciated her enthusiasm and her heart to free slaves.

What was interesting also was how much of a heart Allison had for the Bible.  She started us off by reading Psalm 73.  Now normally in Bible studies we usually read a verse or two at a time but Allison always had us read the whole chapter.  Psalm 73 talks about how the wicked prosper and Allison asked us to think about that as we consider:

  1. There are 27 million people in slavery.
  2. 17,000 people are trafficked into our borders annually.
  3. The human slave trade made $32 billion last year.  It is the fastest growing criminal activity.

She then encouraged us, like the Psalmist, to enter “the sanctuary of God” to gain a Godly perspective and not to be overwhelmed.  Allison said “Justice isn’t forcing it on others but living it.”

NFS-Logo-Small Allison then introduced Not For Sale to us and said there are opportunities to serve using our own talents and passions.  An example was a party someone hosted who loved to shop where she sold products made by people formerly enslaved.  In response to “But I’m only…” Allison said that God takes us where we are at.

Next Allison had us read Isaiah 61.  She then linked it to Luke 4:14-21.

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to release the oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Then we looked at 2 Corinthians 1:3-6.  From these three passages Allison encouraged us to have the courage to look at suffering.

Next Allison pointed out to us SlaveryMap.org.  On this map you can look at recent incidents of slavery in your own backyard.  Here in Sunnyvale the owners of a Corean night club, the Crystal Palace, along with a former Sunnyvale police officer, “were involved in a sex trafficking ring.”  The Crystal Palace “recruited women from Korea for at least two years, authorities say, paying traveling expenses and getting visas, but then forced the women to repay their debts through prostitution.”  When I heard this I was pretty upset.

bwsgcoverHow can we “live differently” and make a difference?

  1. Try to buy products not produced by slave labor.  The Better World Shopping Guide is “the only comprehensive guide for socially and environmentally responsible consumers.”  Has anyone bought this?
  2. Buy from companies that have pledged not to use slave labor.  Free2Work is a campaign encouraging companies to publicly pledge to “be free of involuntary servitude.”
  3. Don’t buy from companies that have been indicted for slave labor like Nestle and Firestone.
  4. Chocolate is in focus lately because 70% of cocoa comes from West Africa which is connected to child slave labor.  Fortunately Cadbury and Mars have announced they will certify their dairy-milk chocolate is Fair Trade.

Finally we concluded by reading Isaiah 58.

Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?

Share

Dominion’s Challenge

 | June 8, 2009 6:00 AM

Matthew Scully doesn’t challenge us to become vegetarians.  He doesn’t challenge us to become animal rights activists.  He simply challenges us to reconsider our everyday decisions about what we eat.

Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to MercyPhilosophically, one can look at it this way.  Broadly speaking, for as long as people have engaged in moral thought, mankind has acted upon two fundamental beliefs: (a) It is morally permissible to raise and slaughter animals for our own consumption – a material good – because doing so is necessary for our survival and well-being – a moral good.  But this very claim of moral sanction attested to the belief that there was a sacrifice involved and that (b) even in livestock production we do have at least certain minimal obligations of kindness to animals – a moral good…

And the problem is just this simple.  The moral component of (a) is gone.  We have no valid claims of need anymore, only our claim to the material good of fare to which we are accustomed.  Meanwhile, in an … economy of six billion consumers … livestock animals simply cannot be raised under humane conditions.  We are left, then, with exactly one material good and one moral good, our pleasure weighed against our duty of compassion.  And these can no longer coexist.  One or the other must be abandoned…

Here’s a good question to ask yourself: Would you give up eating meat if you were persuaded that factory farming was cruel and unethical?  Hypothetically, in other words, how difficult and inconvenient would it be to act upon your own moral concerns?  Or indeed how socially embarrassing would it be, how troublesome to have to make a choice and explain and stay with it?  The next question would be whether it is, in fact, the absence of moral concerns that prevents the change, or the prospect of the difficulties and inconveniences.

Likewise, if you must have meat, regarding it as a right and necessary thing while viewing factory farming as a bad and unnecessary thing, do you … act on that distinction by buying only meats raised by humane standards?  And if not, why not?  Why is industrial farming wrong by your own standards, yet not a serious enough wrong to warrant a change in your own daily choices?  Think of the effect that this decision alone would have on modern agriculture, more millions of consumers making that one little effort every day to spare the creatures from needless misery.

Matthew Scully, Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy , pp. 315-317.

My personal response has been the following.

  1. To reduce meat consumption as much as possible.
  2. If I do eat meat to only eat humanely raised or wild meat.
  3. To not eat veal (I actually made this decision a long time ago) and to try to avoid pork and beef.
  4. When I do eat meat to choose fish or seafood.

The truth is that because of the much higher cost of humanely raised or wild meat I have to reduce my meat consumption.  Fortunately I like tofu. 🙂

Share

Factory Farms

 | June 6, 2009 6:00 AM

In the blog article, Compassionate Dominion and the Factory Farm Industry, Pastor Greg Boyd lists many of the unspeakable horrors of today’s factory farming which provides the meat for you, me and our children.  Matthew Scully however focuses on the pork factory farms.  Maybe he does this because pork factory farms are newer and modeled after the poultry industry’s farms.  Or maybe he did it because pigs are probably the smartest livestock.  Pigs have a keen sense of smell, are very clean contrary to popular belief, and are smarter than dogs which hold a much higher position in our society as witnessed by the outrage leveled at Michael Vick for his cruel dog fighting business.

Matthew Scully toured a pork factory farm and wrote down his observations in verbose detail.  Here is what he saw in the Gestation Barn.

Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy“Baby” is lying there covered in feces and dried blood, yanking maniacally on chains that have torn her mouth raw, as foraging animals will do when caged and denied straw or other roughage to chew…

To lie on their sides, a powerful inclination during months of confinement in twenty-two inches of space, they try to put their legs through the bars into a neighboring crate.  Fragile from the pigs’ abnormally large weight, and from rarely standing or walking, and then only on concrete, their legs get crushed and broken…

NPD 40-602 appears to have a tumor as well, I tell Gay.

“That’s just a pus pocket…”

How are they treated?

“Kopertox,” says Gay…  A topical fluid that forms a hard coating over the wound, but made of copper naphthenate and dangerous if licked by another pig or absorbed into the flesh and ingested by a human, Kopertox carries the warning: “Do not use on animals which are used for food production…”

Matthew Scully, Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy , p. 267.

It doesn’t get better in the Farrowing Barn.

… the sows must remain in confinement before, while, and after they give birth, barred even from caring for the piglets emerging from their bruised bodies…

the piglets are deposited from the womb, slipping out one by one onto concrete and with great labor crawling back to suckle from their immobilized mothers, who can hardly trun to see them.  This is for their own good because, if the mothers could move about, they would only crush their young.

… piglets seven to ten days before weaning, compared with the thirteen to seventeen weeks that nature had planned… the little ones will be swept away.  Up one chute, down another, pouring into the Nursery Barn for an orientation of vaccinations, ear notching, teeth cutting, tail docking, and, for the males, castration… without the use of a local anesthetic.  On a shelf in the Nursery there is only a bottle of good ol’ Kopertox.

Matthew Scully, Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy , pp. 276-277.

What is interesting is that when you get to the slaughter house the ones who seem to pay the greatest price are the workers!

The electrocutors, stabbers, and carvers who work on the floor wear earplugs to muffle the screaming.  What it’s like for them we may gather from the 100 percent turnover rate every year…  “You hear people say, ‘They don’t kill pigs in the plant, they kill people.’”

At 16,000 kills per eight-hour shift …, 2,000 per hour, and 33 every minute, all of this done by transient, unskilled laborers, there are mistakes.

Matthew Scully, Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy , p. 282.

Factory farms are modern and efficient but because they maximize throughput there is a high cost.

“Because if you’re killing 16,000 hogs a shift, those guys aren’t going to stun all them hogs all the time.  Some hogs come out kicking and raising hell…  Running across the table or floor isn’t a good sign neither.”

”You get a stubborn hog that doesn’t want to go, employees can get to beating that hog all they want to.  They use a shackle, a pie, anything they can get their hands on.”

Often, we learn, they still can’t be killed because they’re still moving and flailing.  So they are dropped alive into the scalding tank…

… Ramon Moreno, whose job is to cut off the hooves of strung-up cattle passing by at 309 at hour.  When they reach him, they are supposed to be stunned and killed already, but often they’re not, as Mr. Moreno tells it.  “They blink.  They make noises.  The head moves, the eyes are open and still looking around.  They die piece by piece.”

Matthew Scully, Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy , pp. 283-284.

All of this for cheap, lean, uniform, consistent meat.

Share

The Shooting Field

 | June 5, 2009 6:00 AM

Monty Hunting 2009-05-12

Hunting is not really an endeavor most people participate in.  Obviously we no longer need to hunt for food so it is now just for pleasure.  Some people think of it as a masculine, courageous sport though with today’s technology it’s hardly a fair fight.

The Safari Club International, not to be confused with the Sierra Club, exists to promote hunting and is becoming increasingly defensive as it realizes its cherished hobby is in danger of extinction.  They market the sport, lobby for hunting grounds to be opened all over the world, and fight against any animal rights legislation.  They try to portray themselves as “promoting global wildlife conservation” to somehow legitimize their existence and their sport.

A recent modern day development is canned hunting where wildlife is harvested to be killed within confined grounds.  This makes it convenient for weekend hunters to hunt lions, tigers, etc. here within the United States.

Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to MercyThis is what sport hunting looks like in modern America.  Your typical trophy hunter today is hunting captive animals, and for all the skill and manhood it requires might as well do his stalking in a zoo.  Indeed, many of the “exotic livestock,” as they’re now termed in the industry, actually came from zoos…  It is legal, and not all that rare, for even our larger zoos to sell off their older or sick animals to hunting concessions – the reward for a lifetime in one cage to be transported to another cage, released, and, as in the case of one aging tiger caught on film by ABC’s Primetime Live, executed on the spot for the trophy.  The San Jose Mercury News, in a two-year investigation, found that “of the 19,361 mammals that left the nation’s accredited zoos from 1992 through mid-1998, 7,420 – or 38 percent – went to dealers, auctions, hunting ranches, unidentified individuals or unaccredited zoos or game farms.

Matthew Scully, Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy , pp. 63-64.

I have always felt ambivalent at best about zoos except for the Toronto and San Diego Zoos.  I thought of the leopard, jaguar, and snow leopard caged in Stone Zoo, which we used to visited a few times when we lived in Boston, and how they might be sold in a few years to be hunted down for sport.

Elephants seem to be the prime target of the Safari Club because it recognizes that the elephant (and the whale) are symbols of the animal rights movement.  This is even more tragic considering how social and almost human-like elephants are.

Below a Safari Club hunter talks about what it is like to kill elephants.  As I read his words I thought of the parallel between killing whole elephant families as like judgment in the Old Testament, as though we’re God.

“Elephants are like us,” he answers. “They live to be eighty and they are sexually mature at, what, eighteen or twenty. When you kill them, like when they have to cull the herds from helicopters, it’s terrible because you can’t just kill some individuals. You have to kill them all. Men just cry like babies. I have been there.”

You have to kill them all because we have lately discovered the intricate family relationships at work in the herd. The calves, without their mothers’ care, will become rampaging, social juveniles, and so they, too, must go.

“Elephants, are very sociable animals – when you kill the adults the younger ones become dysfunctional. Africa is full of wild, dysfunctional elephants…  Where I am in Namibia, we have a road that divides the hunting area from the protected area.  The water is in the hunting area.  And i see the elephants come into the area, rushing, to get a drink.  And then they rush back.  And when they’re across theroad you can see them relax.  You can see the relief.  They know.”

Matthew Scully, Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy , p. 87.

Share