I read with interest Jeff Bird's thoughts on hunting entitled "Carnivore's Dilemma" (Nov. 17) in last week's Journal. This week I read with some distaste the letters of two rather self-righteous guilt-slingers taking him to task for his views, so I felt moved to reply myself. First of all, we are all the descendants of ancient hunter-gatherers who lived by killing animals for food. Animals and plants are both living creatures, so why is it so immoral to kill one and not the other? The plain fact is that in order for one organism to live, another has to die. At least Jeff Bird takes the responsibility of doing the killing and slaughtering, himself instead of leaving it to underpaid slaughterhouse workers.
Richard Wilson, Arcata
As a vegetarian for the past 30-odd years, I read with interest Jeffrey Bird's ethical struggles with killing deer. I applaud his decision not to contribute to the horror-show of the large-scale meat industry, and to eat only what he himself has killed. If every child had to visit a slaughterhouse, there would be a lot more vegetarians in this world. Mr. Bird naturally has compassion for the animal, as do his students who tell him killing deer is "gross." His piece points up the prejudice against men showing compassion: to acknowledge compassion is seen as "unmanly" in our culture. Of course, in reality, it takes courage to declare one's compassion in the face of this cultural prejudice. It is my wish for Mr. Bird that he nurture the compassion expressed by his students so that they will grow up to make ethical choices. As said by Mahatma Ghandi, the moral progress of a nation may be judged by the way it treats its animals.
Peter E. Martin, Eureka