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From Dawnwatch:

The Sunday, October 29, New York Times includes a story, by Tim Eaton

headed, "With Hands and Hounds, Stalking Feral Hogs in Texas." (A16.)

It describes the capture of a wild hog as follows:

"Four of his short-haired scent hounds, which had been released

earlier, began to bark from the darkness. Mr. Richardson jumped out of the

truck and freed a black pit bull from a cage on the trucks flatbed. He

chased after his pit bull into the darkness toward the barking hounds.

"He tripped in a wet ditch but kept running through the milo stalks.

When he got to the baying dogs, the light on his miners hat revealed

that the pit bull, trained for just this purpose, had clamped onto the

face of a feral hog.

"As he had done thousands of times before, Mr. Richardson, 58, pounced

on the snorting beast and tied its feet together, immobilizing it.

Within minutes, he had loaded the animal barehanded into a cage."

On the website we can see a close-up photo of Richardson loading a

terrified struggling hog into his truck. That photo is not included in the

hard copy of the paper.

We read:

"A lot of people in rural Texas catch wild hogs, which can grow to

several hundred pounds, and Mr. Richardson traps them like most others. But

there is sometimes a twist to Mr. Richardsons hunts he spends a few

nights a week cruising the dirt roads of Stonewall County, a place with

more hogs than people, to run down the wild animals using only his dogs

and his bare hands.

"'It's for fun,' he said."

"It has also become lucrative as Europeans and an increasing number of

Americans clamor for wild boar. Mr. Richardson said he made $28,000

last year selling live feral hogs."

The animals are sent to slaughter and the meat is mostly exported to

Europe but we read that the popularity of wild boar has been growing in

the US with the demand for organic food. The paper and website include

photos of Richardson sending a small truckload of the feral hogs off to

slaughter.

It is ironic that the wild hog market is growing with the organic

market as many people turn towards organic meat to avoid supporting the

cruelty of factory farming. Indeed wild hunted animals, at least those few

lucky enough to die from a clean shot, suffer incomparably less than

those raised in tiny cages and trucked in unconscionable conditions to

under-regulated slaughterhouses. But the hogs hunted by Richardson suffer

horribly for his fun.

You'll find the whole article on line at

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/29/us/29hog.html

With its tone that seems to glorify bare-handed hunting "for fun," the

article provides an opportunity for letters that discuss the way we

treat members of other species -- letters that add the voice of compassion

to the public dialogue.

The New York Times takes letters at [email protected]

Please be sure to send letters that share your thoughts and do not use

any of my phrases. Always include your full name, address, and daytime

phone number when sending a letter to the editor. Shorter letters are

more likely to be published.

Yours and the animals',

Karen Dawn
 
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