Northwest NEWS

May 24, 1999


Hurrah for the Makah

   I just finished watching the Makah reassert their tribal ancestral right to harvest a gray whale.

   Although I have never been a great fan of the Native American "special rights" in Washington state, allowing them (a fraction of the population) to harvest 50% of the harvestable salmon and steelhead, I am appalled at the animal activists who consider the life of an animal to be as sacred as a human life. I am appalled at the media's coverage of this whale hunt. For every one person supporting this hunt, I see ten opinions from these frantic animal activists.

   This country's "new age" attitude and Eastern-philosophy thinking is spawning this totally wrong attitude that animals are sacred. This is for all you left-wing thinkers, most of whom are probably closet meat eaters. Last time I checked, all humans had canine teeth. Folks, those are for eating meat.

   And what's the difference between a deer, a fish, and a head of lettuce? They are all living things. What gives you the right to say a vegetable can be eaten, but an animal cannot? How can you say that a deer has more rights than a fish or a fish has more rights than a plant?

   And what about you beef-eating anti-hunters? I know you're out there! Not very many of you will admit that you love your rare steak or your barbecued burgers. The plain fact of the matter is that someone had to kill that cow so you could enjoy your Sunday lunch.

   I feel sorry for me as a hunter who has lost ample hunting opportunity due to emotional, rather than biologically sound, game management. When you start letting misguided and uninformed people set policy on legal ways to harvest game animals (baiting black bear and hound hunting for cougar), then the species as a whole suffers due to improper game management.

   Baiting and hound hunting are the only feasible means of managing these two species. And by the way, anyone who thinks either of these methods is inhumane, or like shooting fish in a barrel, has never actually been on a hunt of these sorts.

   Neither one of these methods is an easy nor a sure thing. These animals can't manage themselves. They will infringe on human habitat. They will eat themselves out of their own food supply, given the chance. Let the biologists, who know the animals' habits, set policy. After all, they are the professionals.

   I've been hearing a lot of opinions stating that they, the Makah, are not hunting in a traditional manner. The reason they are using a high-powered rifle is that the federal government mandated it for the humane killing of this animal. You people should be happy that they used the gun and did not rely on harpoons and spears to do the job. I'll bet that the Makah have always used the most modern weapons available to them.

   Talking about tradition, let's all go back to the horse and buggy. And I'm sure all you people would be willing to turn in your calculators and buy an abacus. Right? Obviously, all your computers, modern appliances, and, of course, the electricity to run them, would have to go, and pretty much everything else you own.

   It's a sad day in this country when you see such an outpouring of emotion over the harvesting of a gray whale or two. In case you people forgot, these animals are not endangered anymore.

   If you really believe what you're saying, then you had better get on the phone and start complaining a little more about the high-seas netting that is going on daily just off this nation's coast where they are harvesting millions of tons of sea life every day, and much of it is untargeted by-catch.

   You have all been brainwashed by Walt Disney for too long. Hollywood has done some major damage to the values and beliefs in this country.

   I know this won't convince you fanatics at all in your beliefs, but for all you people who are undecided on this issue, take a good hard look at all the facts before making up your minds.

Mike Stickney, via e-mail