Quote From Matthew Scully

Sunday, July 8, 2012
Posted in category Uncategorized

“Animals are more than ever a test of our character, of mankind’s capacity for empathy and for decent, honorable conduct and faithful stewardship. We are called to treat them with kindness, not because they have rights or power or some claim to equality, but in a sense because they don’t; because they all stand unequal and powerless before us.”

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

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8 Responses to Quote From Matthew Scully

  1. David says:

    July 9th, 2012 at 4:19 am

    I think that the idea in the quote are totally valid (just common sense, now that I think about it), but I also can’t help but then associating that idea with the modern West’s insane fixation on pets and animals.

    There’s a marketing book called ‘Microtrends’ which (although edited by a neo-con booster for Hillary Clinton and Fox News pundit named Mark Penn) has some really interesting marketing stats inside. One such stat was that pet ownership has increased dramatically in the past 30 years….in PERFECT inverse correlation with the decrease in actual human procreation. So, obviously, us humans are frequently anthropomorphizing animals and projecting the consciousness of children onto the dumber behavior of animals. (Anybody who’s seen the single cat lady drone on about her cats’ “personalities” has seen this everyday sort of delusional behavior.)

    So there’s no epidemic of people being mean to animals, at least that I’m aware of. (With the exception of police “puppy-cides”, as frequently chronicled by the great Radley Balko: http://www.theagitator.com/2012/07/09/what-else-are-lake-charles-police-afraid-of/.) And so I’m not sure what triggered Matthew Scully to write this in the first place. To the contrary of an epidemic of people being mean to animals, the past two generations have instead exhibited the opposite: an ever-increasing need to have more animals in their lives, and to spend lavish amounts of money on them.

  2. Luek says:

    July 11th, 2012 at 2:01 am

    I can not stand nor will tolerate cruelty to animals.
    However, I do not expect the animal kingdom to thank humans for developing the rabies vaccine, establishing the veterinary branch of medicine and the SPCA or having a billion dollar a year pet food/products industry.

  3. Bob says:

    July 12th, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    Not only animals but how you treat waiters and waitresses or clerks. Years ago I saw a teenage clerk cry one time when a woman was mean to her. I didn’t see the woman do it. If I had I would have made her sorry over what she had done even if I lost my job.

  4. M. Terry says:

    July 12th, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    I once appreciated many of Mr. Scully’s positions. However, it would appear, at first glance, that his vegan lifestyle is generally in conflict with his speech writing for neocon, “compassionate conservatives.”

    According to Matthew Scully, “Most wicked deeds are done because the doer proposes some good to himself . . . [but] the killer for sport has no such comprehensible motive. He prefers death to life, darkness to light. He gets nothing except the satisfaction of saying, ‘Something that wanted to live is dead.’ ” If the thrill of hunting were in the hunt, or even in the marksmanship, a camera would do just as well… But something else is going on. Something that sounds as bad as it is. Hunters love death. Can someone explain to me why that’s acceptable, or why that love of death should be more important than the safety of the 94 percent of us who don’t have hunting licenses and don’t hunt?

    This is drivel. I am a lifelong hunter. I consume meat. As a hunter, I’m likely more compassionate about the death of the animals I hunt, and the rest of the food I purchase, than any vegan I’ve ever met. I’m also not in total denial about where food comes from.
    Most hunters I know like the hunt, but aren’t fond of the killing. All consume what they kill.
    Skully and his vegan ilk drive autos, live in houses and consume food. Many occupy space that was once the home of the creatures he loves. The minerals for his expensive computer and Rolex watch were mined. The electricity for his electric car comes from a power station, transported over miles of transmission lines, made possible by mining and production. His sofa was transported from a factory somewhere. One wonders if any animals died during transportation of any of Skully’s wares.
    Cruelty for the sake of cruelty should never be condoned. But hypocrites like Skully should take a close look at the violence their neocon leanings leave against humans and animals alike.
    The fact is, people exist. People consume. If hunting was not available as a conservation tool, many species would now likely be extinct. How many species were saved from extinction directly by the work of a group of vegans? Anyone? Bueller?
    Hunters saved desert bighorn sheep from extinction, with their own funds and efforts. Hunters have saved rhinos, re-introduced wild turkeys and elk into areas where they were gone. They’ve taken endangered species and raised them on ranches where they are protected from poaching.
    Oh yeah – and it”s hunters and fishermen who actually pay for wildlife conversation in this country. It comes from the taxes they are forced to pay on everything from bait to bullets to licenses. Yet Skully admits that 94% of these busybodies don’t purchase hunting licenses. If they did, they’d actually be funding conservation efforts – instead of eating grass, spewing untruths, and selling the untruths in books to the vegan choir.

    Meanwhile, the Sierra Clubbers sit in their lofts in Oakland, writing checks to fund lawsuits which proscribe forest thinning in the places where I, and others, live. To save the spotted owl. Which has lost millions of acres of habitat due to mammoth wild-land fires on mismanaged forest property. These trust-funder hypocrites can ALL piss off.
    Incidentally, it was government-paid “hunters” who drove the bison to near extinction, in an effort to starve out Native Americans. A good ole-government policy the likes of which Skelly/Clovers tend to support. After all, it stopped terrorism back then.
    I know how the animals I killed and consumed while hunting, died. Do the Skully-esque vegans know how many animals were killed or displaced so they can, in the safety of their home, graze on corn, wheat and soy? Why is it OK for a combine and other farm equipment to murder ring-necked pheasants and displace and murder untold millions of critters, while raising and collecting the grain for vegans to consume? What of the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico, caused by the fertilizer and pesticide runoff so they can eat their Tofurky? How are the consumers of those grains superior to the “murderers in camouflage” who “hunt for sport”, and consume the meat? Oh right – some one ELSE got their hands dirty providing their grain.

    Incidentally, I’m unaware of ANY jurisdiction in the U.S. that allows NOT harvesting the meat from a kill. There are organizations that collect harvested game every year for charities. How many vegans even donate a carrot or head of cabbage?

    I tired of Skully’s hypocrisy years ago. The Skully statement to which this is responsive just illustrates that fools can, on occasion write something with which many of us will agree. Of course, the statement must be taken in context with the sum of the author’s beliefs.

    That being said, I simply cannot take the scribblings the Skully-vegan-clover people seriously.

    IMO, they’re content to let someone else do the dirty work, and believe they’re somehow superior. And really now – do they believe they take better care of their animals than I care for mine?

  5. Rob says:

    July 13th, 2012 at 7:30 am

    I met him once (1990), on a visit to D.C. Seemed a nice and intelligent guy.  Then I rather forgot about his name, until his book appeared.

  6. David Smith says:

    July 16th, 2012 at 9:22 am

    I thumbed through Scully’s book a few years ago in the book store, because I like the idea of stewardship, and was just discovering the writings of folks like Wendell Berry, Joel Salatin, et al. In fact it was this very quote I found so compelling.

    But further perusal left me with the impression M. Terry posts here. The idea here cited, on its own, is right on; I’m just suspicious of the over all context it’s couched in.

  7. Tommy Udo says:

    July 16th, 2012 at 8:30 pm

    “…us [sic] humans are frequently anthropomorphizing animals and projecting the consciousness of children onto the dumber behavior of animals. (Anybody who’s seen the single cat lady drone on about her cats’ “personalities” has seen this everyday sort of delusional behavior.)”

    I have a dog because I like dogs. I don’t have any children because children do not interest me. I love my dog, and I will spend as much money as necessary to keep it healthy and happy. It’s my money, after all. It is obvious that while a dog is not human, it does, without a doubt, have a personality and emotions. To deny that would be stupid. 

  8. DavidBrennan says:

    July 18th, 2012 at 3:26 am

    Tommy Udo,

    Good for you and your dog. I have no power and hardly any desire to change your mind. It’s called natural selection, though, and Earth will soon be rid of your genes.

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