Animal Protection > Worldwide Actions > United States
What the USA Must Change to Become a Great Nation
Let's brush aside all the fluff and window- dressing and BS and get down to the bare bones, shall we? The cold hard fact of the matter is that not only are the vast majority of politicians under the thumbs of powerful serial killers, but are themselves serial killers. I am talking about recreational hunters and trophy hunters. The fact that their victims are non-human does not alter the fact that they have no compassion, revel in bloodshed, derive pleasure from another being's suffering, and practice serial killing as a form of entertainment.
I was born in China during the Japanese invasion which murdered some 20 million Chinese civilians. My mother was almost captured as a 'comfort woman', i.e. a sex slave to be eventually killed when used up. Had this happened, I wouldn't be here writing this essay.
So right off the bat, I was born to think that Japan was anything but great. And though after the war I tried to forgive and forget, Japan turned the same blood-lust against the whales and dolphins, which has kept me seething. No, Japan is not a great nation, not by a long harpoon shot.
From ages 5 through 20, I grew up in Hong Kong as a stateless person under the rule of the British Empire. Though it was not a bloody regime, a day did not pass when I was not reminded one way or another, and none too subtly, that I was a third class citizen. By no means all Chinese, but the Cantonese culture of Guang Dong province, to which Hong Kong is attached, is notorious for its callous and broad-spectrum animal use and abuse. Britain, which ruled the Cantonese people flooding into Hong Kong, had the responsibility of enforcing its supposedly humane animal laws, but from what I saw as a child and a teenager, nothing along this line was done. Since I loved animals, the British did not relieve my pain. But then, how could a nation known for its cruel sport of fox-hunting impose its will on the people of another culture regarding humane and respectful animal treatment? Based on the above alone, Great Britain, though the lesser of two evils compared to China by far, left/leaves much greatness to be desired.
At age 21, I flew across the Pacific to Canada on a student visa. Prepped by over- dramatized Hollywood movies about the Ku Klux Klan and the Mafia, I set foot on North American soil with trepidation. But almost at once, I found the Canadian people warm, gentle and helpful, and genuinely kind and loving to their companion animals, which made me feel very much at home. Further, I was amazed by how people could openly criticize the government without any fear of retribution, and on the contrary I saw smiling politicians shaking hands with the humble people in Chinatown, which was unheard of where I had come from. There was/is a free Medicare system for all, and a respectful policy towards seniors. So finally, when I swore myself in as a Canadian citizen, I felt rightly proud for belonging finally to what I perceived to be a great nation. But it did not take me too long to get disillusioned. As a university student, I worked summers out in the bush as a geologist's assistant. It was then I began to see the horrific assault by logging companies against the environment. When one year I worked in a cathedral-like old growth forest by which I was awed, the next year, it had been reduced to a waste land, with nothing but huge grey stumps left behind. I saw trophy hunters shooting down anything magnificent that moved. And I saw mines and pulp mills discharging heavy metals, cyanides, organo- chlorines, PCBs, PAHs and dioxins on to the land. And that was before I learned about the horrendous Newfoundland seal massacre, and finally flew over the six hellish Alberta tar sands mines which made of the entire Athabasca watershed one enormous carcinogen.
But at least, so I thought, I still had my freedom of speech, until I became an animal rights activist, and found that although I could indeed shout my lungs out in a demonstration, and could debate 100 hunters at a time without getting lynched, the truth of the matter is that not one word I had spoken or written proved worth a dime in the eyes of those to whom it was addressed. And over my protestations, my tax dollars were used to subsidize the seal hunt.
So bit by bit, then clunk by chunk, and year by year, the monument of Canadian greatness disintegrated in my mind.
In the mid-late 1990s, I went to India to work in three tiger reserves to help save them from habitat destruction, and the Bengal tiger from extinction.
India's great Mahatma Gandhi said, 'The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.' From what I have seen in three expeditions by plane, train, jeep and on foot, each lasting 2-3 months, India's animals are not well treated, especially its street dogs and wildlife. I have personally rescued a puppy from being stoned to death by children, while the adults stood by, doing nothing. Where animals are concerned, India first task is to save the Bengal tiger and its complex ecosystems. The country does have a federal program called Project Tiger, but it is fighting a half-hearted and therefore losing battle, and tiger habitat continue to dwindle, and tiger numbers continue to decline. The tiger is a world treasure, but India has the responsibility to preserve it. If we cannot even save the tiger, a species universally loved and admired, what can we save?
Not until India has demonstrated her sincere and whole-hearted commitment to saving the Bengal tiger and its ecosystems would I begin to consider her in the question of greatness.
In 1999, the Makah native tribe in Washington state clamored for a revival of their 'traditional' hunting of the Grey whale. We could not stop them from killing one young female -- with a high-powered 50-calibre rifle and towed back to shore with a motorcraft -- some 'traditional' whaling. But we have legally stalled them since, so far. This was my first field engagement with American activists, and I rapidly grew to love working with them on an international basis.
From 2003 through 2008, I conducted 6 Compassionate for Animals Road Expeditions (CARE tours), each covering 25-41 states in 3-7 months.
I have worked with grassroots activists in almost every state on their campaigns, and have developed a certain depth of understanding in most of their issues and their ways of handling them. I have seen their successes and failures, and have learned from them the dos and don'ts. In doing so, I have also been exposed to the opposition, and the way it works, to KNOW THY ENEMY. Most of all, I have become keenly aware of not only local trends, but national trends (of which local activists may not always be aware), and I have forged coalitions to deal with multi-state and nation-wide problems and issues. As well, I have engaged American activists in Canadian issues, not least of all the 300, 000- baby- seals-per-year Newfoundland seal massacre, with my car painted with the slogan 'I AM CANADIAN. BOYCOTT MY COUNTRY!'
And I have received much support in return, for which I am deeply thankful.
I love my American friends deeply, so I wish America the best. Unfortunately, the way I've seen it, in many ways it is not even good, much less great. I owe it to my American friends to point a few things out from my visiting Canadian's perspective. To heal, one must first diagnose. Following are some of my observations:
*1st Amendment violations
In terms of the freedom of speech, it forbids viewpoint discrimination, however unpopular the viewpoint may be. However, if you say as much as 'Good morning' to a hunter in the process of targeting a deer, you can be charged with violating the state-level Hunter Harassment law, which in turn violates the First Amendment. The hunters argue that it is the sound of the speech, not the words, that harasses the hunter, but how can even they separate the words from the sound? If the words of 'Good morning' is protected by the First Amendment and can be spoken, how can the sound of 'Good morning' when it is being spoken be illegal? Clearly, the HH laws are created and administered by hunters, for hunters, including the judge in Pennsylvania who convicted Jan Haagensen on five counts of hunter harassment -- for telling invading hunters to get off her land, and for telling a hunter hunting from the road that what he was doing was illegal even under the hunting laws of PA (listen to the Jan Haagensen interview by Anthony Marr on Animal Voices in www.myspace.com/AnthonyMarr ).
What about the mother of the U.S. -- Great Britain? Does true freedom of speech exist there? Judging by the life-time ban of Dr. Steven Best from the U.K. for speaking in favor of direct action in animal rights activism, the answer is a resounding NO.
If all these curtailments of freedom, and invasions of privacy, are designed to win the 'War of Terror', then the first battle is already lost, because the lost American freedom is the terrorists' spoil of war. The United States and Britain have compromised and defeated themselves.
A nation whose constitution has been compromised cannot be considered great. The way for the U.S. to correct this problem is to scrap all state-level laws that violate the First Amendment of the Constitution.
* Pseudo- Democracy
A nation which mocks and violates its own founding
principle cannot be considered great. To correct this problem, all U.S.
states must have wildlife management laws determined by a panel
proportionately representing the general population of that state, not its
small-minority hunting elite.
The crux of the matter here is the composition of the council itself. A pro-hunting council will decide in favor of urban deer hunting no matter what activists say. The solution is to make the council anti-hunting, and this has to be done through the political process by fielding anti-hunting candidates and campaigning to put them in office. Already existing is the League of Humane Voters (LOHV) headed by Peter and Anne Muller, and LOHV chapters headed by local activists (e.g. Lane Ferrante, director of the new Ohio LOHV chapter).
All this is easier said than done, considering that almost all American politicians on all levels are puppets of the powerful gun lobby, hunting lobby, and the arms and hunting industries. And pseudo- democracy, pseudo- anything for that matter, has no place in greatness.
*A CORPSE-run nation
The impact of such a system far exceeds that directed against the animal rights and environmental movements. It can wipe out all the corals in the sea, it can desertify the entire Amazon, it can starve millions with a global millennium drought, it can make Earth uninhabitable for humans, and it can wipe out over 80% of all species on Earth as the End-Permian Extinction did 251 million years ago. If we let these CORPSEs run the show, the entire nation will behave as if it has no conscience. Can a nation without conscience be considered great? Can any psychopath be considered great?
Analyse a CORPSE-run nation, and we will see the evil manifest in a thousand different ways, including the rise of Nazism in WW2 Germany. Following are those that I have personally encountered through my travels in the United States of America -'the land of the free, the home of the brave'.
If even the top leader of a nation is a puppet, that nation cannot be considered great.
To correct this problem there must be a new amendment to severely limit or exclude political influence on government by corporations, and economically powerful special interest groups such as the NRA or, to be fair, the HSUS. The root of all political evils is corporate economic influence of political election outcomes. Putting it bluntly, to fire each and every 'best politician money can buy' is a must for national greatness.
*A war started by a fool
The 8 Bush years may already have driven the planet past the point of no return. Obviously, a nation that sabotages international efforts to save the planet and our children's future for its own short term profit bears the antithesis of greatness. Is Obama significantly better? Better, yes. Significantly? Not as long as he keeps on puppeting for Big Coal.
*The self- debeautification of America
*Be insured, or dieIn 'socialist' Canada, medical care is a basic human right. In 'capitalist' United States, it is not. I don't know why some Americans hate or fear 'socialism' so much. It is just another case of McCarthyish paranoia. No nation which says its citizens, 'pay up or die.' can be considered great.
Only the puppet masters have anything to fear, because -- Where does the money come from? -Taxation -- of the filthy rich -- stupid.
*The enslavement and slaughter of billions--Substitute humans for animals, and concentration camps for factory farms and vivisection labs, and cattle cars for cattle cars, gas chambers for slaughter houses, and the factory farmers and transporters and vivisectors and slaughterers, would be no better than Nazis. Only their victims are different. The humans are essentially the same.
Quantitatively, it's worse. Line up the cows slaughtered every year in America for human consumption in single file, and the cow line will stretch from L.A. to N.Y. back and forth 16 times, and the pig line, 35 times, and the chicken line (10 billion) would stretch between the Earth and the Moon 8 times. All these add up to sentient- being- sufferings on an astronomical scale.
A nation harboring such enormous imposed internal suffering cannot be considered great.
*Lying to The People
Those who understand the Compensatory Rebound Effect, some
hunters included, know that with an overabundance of food, deer would
maximize their reproductive rate. Instead of no-fawn and singlet, they would
have twins and triplets, resulting indeed in an overabundance of deer, which
is what the hunters want. Local residents are usually not aware of this, at
least not on a first person basis, and that is that the bow-hunters are very
aggressive in forcing their way into potential hunting areas where the
discharge of fire-arms is illegal, including urban parks like the Trexler,
and even within the urban areas themselves ' in people's backyards. It is
the general strategy of hunters to first cultivate a high deer population,
then claim deer over- population, then offer themselves as saviors of
deer-damaged communities. The truth of the matter is that the whole thing is
initiated by the bow-hunters in collusion with the hunter- friendly
politicians who are often themselves hunters, for which they were put in
office by the hunting industry in the first place. I took pictures of the
plantation and submitted them to the local newspaper, and spoke at length to
its reporter, but the article that came out the following day did not make a
single mention of the deer clover plantation, did not use my photos, but
instead glorified a female hunter for being among the first to bag a
When I go speaking to children, I often ask them what to them is the most immoral reason for killing an animal -- in self-defense? For food? For clothing? For money? For fun? Without a single exception the children in all schools have voted against KILLING FOR FUN as the most immoral reason for killing anything. And America is ruled by a small minority of very powerful but highly immoral people who kill for fun, i.e. who are recreational hunters.
*Animal protection laws or lack thereof
Animal protection laws do exist within the United States, and on both the federal and state levels. Federal animal protection statutes take the form of Acts, which number almost 100, including the African Elephant Conservation Act, the Airborne Hunting Act, the Animal Damage Control Act, the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, the Animal Health Protection Act, the Animal Welfare Act, the Animal Fighting Act, the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, the Captive Wildlife Safety Act, the Dog and Cat Protection Act, the Dolphin Protection Consumer Information Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, the Humane Slaughter Act, the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the Migratory Bird Conservation Act, the Recreational Hunting Safety and Preservation Act, etc. These may seem impressive, but if we look between them, we'd see huge gaps through which entire sectors of the animal kingdom could be abused, tortured, shot, trapped and slaughtered with impunities, notably wild animals not protected by the Endangered Species Act, and farm and lab animals place under the 'protection' of the Department of Agriculture, the very governmental body whose purpose is to exploit them. And some of these 'animal protection laws', e.g. the Animal Enterprise Protection Act, as its name clearly states, is to protect the animal enterprises, not the animals, and its new incarnation the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, is demonstrably unconstitutional.
I consider the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act unconstitutional l because even a non-violent demonstration is an act of 'terrorism' if it inflicts economic damage upwards of $10,000 on any animal enterprise. So, a boycott of a certain company, e.g. KFC, could be considered an act of terrorism if the company could demonstrate that as a result of the boycott, it suffered $10,001's setback in chicken wing sales, in which case the jail time is up to 6 months. If the financial damage is in the range of $1 million, the jail time is up to 6 years. In other words, if Martin Luther King or Mahatma Gandhi were animal rights activists today, they would have been considered terrorists. Again, the primary point is that the AETA violates the Constitution of the United States. A conditional freedom of speech is a contradiction in terms. There is no such thing as freedom of speech 'on the condition that you don't offend anybody.'
The state level animal protection laws are far simpler
than the federal acts. Generally, they protect cat, dogs and horses which
'belong to' human individuals and some corporations, but not wild animals
that 'belong to' no one. The reason for this is that the 'owners' of the
cats and dog and horses would make a fuss if 'their' animals are harmed by
others, e.g. shot by a hunter, but there is no one to speak for the wild and
hunted animals. So basically, these are 'animal-owner' protection laws, not
animal protection laws, which therefore concern themselves with human
rights, not animal rights.
*Government control of media
The Allentown PA newspaper article on the Trexler preserve
mentioned above, which buried my photos of the Trexler plantation, is not an
isolated local case either. In many places, a reporter attacking or just
questioning hunting is committing professional suicide, or at least opening
himself to severe and concerted hunter attack.
*The 5 lethal maneuvers of the House of Fraud
While there may be two sides to the rodeo debate (although
I doubt it), as a professional journalist, let me assure you that you should
place no credibility, whatsoever, in anything that the Illinois criminal
courts do. The criminal courts, here, are widely recognized as a House of
Fraud which fakes the conviction of completely innocent people for the
purpose of attempting to smear the reputation of political enemies.
Again, as a professional journalist, I have personally seen all of these lawyer trick courtroom scams. It's why nobody should ever take seriously ANYTHING that takes place in Illinois criminal court. It is truly a House of Fraud.
This is downright bloody disgusting if you ask me, and even if you don't. Tell me, how can a nation harboring this kind of miscarriages of justice and judicial corruption be even remotely be considered great?
The solution here is obvious. Nail down these legal felons and bar them for good. Then put them on trial for abuse of power, contempt of court and corruption of American justice, convict them, throw them in jail and throw away the key.
*The self- impoverishment of the animal rights movement
How much does an American, or a Canadian for that matter, need to live? Less than $20,000 per year. I can say this with certainty, because this is how much I live on, including the cost of doing my work. So why should we tolerate, much less accept, and far less contribute towards, the CEO of the largest American animal advocacy 'non-profit' organization paying himself a cool quarter million dollars per year, or almost $25,000 per month, and paying his dozen or so VPs $150,000 each, and his own secretary a handsome $100,000, all from the donations meant for the animals? Isn't he just a little ashamed of himself for personally profiting by robbing the suffering animals for which the donations were meant? This organization has a financial worth of $230 million ' all animals' money -- and an annual budget of some $120 million, of which some 50% is overhead, which include the lavish salaries, financial investments and a $6-10 million fund-raising budget. In spite of all these mega-bucks, this insatiable organization still stoops to charging penniless grassroots groups kilo-bucks for simple zero-cost assistance. I have always thought that when a group has crossed a certain size threshold, it will turn from its original cause to its own growth as its primary purpose. But not until I have directly observed this group over time did I realize to what abysmal depth this could sink. One cold hard fact is that this organization, and several other similar ones with big names and offices, the CEO of one of which paying himself, would you believe, $ 750,000/annum, with their high overheads and slick fund-raising machines, have sucked the financial resources within the movement dry, leaving nothing for the grassroots groups, most of whose members could not even afford health insurance, while that CEO and his VPs and 'executive' secretaries laugh all the way to the bank.
This is open and blatant corruption and betrayal within the animal rights movement, but it is not all. Through my travels, I have stayed at local activists' home by the dozens, and never have I encountered a local activist without one or more animal companions, bless their hearts. If they, being true-hearted animal advocates and activists (unlike that CEO who openly confesses to having no personal affinity for animals), had to choose between buying health insurance for themselves and paying the vet bills of the animals under their guardianship, they would pay the vet bills and do without health insurance for themselves. I have seen families spending thousands of dollars in vet bills while they can ill afford even food on the table. The problem where the movement is concerned is that most of these animal guardians would choose to pay the vet bills than to donate the same amount to a grassroots animal rights group when they cannot do both. And the vets, like the pseudo- animal- advocacy CEOs, seem just as intent on sucking all financial resources out of the animal rights movement, which has indeed been impoverished.
We are animal rights activists, and we are the conscience of our societies, even the conscience of humanity. If this conscience has been compromised by hypocrisy and greedy, our societies, in fact humanity itself, cannot be great.
*The new world disorder
Final question: Is there a truly great nation in the world today?
Please let me know if you can think of any.
Anthony Marr holds a science degree from the UBC and has worked as a field geophysicist and an environmental technologist. In 1995, he became a full time wildlife preservationist, which has brought him to India three times, earning him the title of the 'Champion of the Bengal Tiger' in the Champions of the Wild TV series aired in 20 countries. As an anti-hunting activist, he has conducted high profile campaigns in Canada for the bears and seals, and been to Japan twice for the whales and dolphins. He is the founder of Heal Our Planet Earth (HOPE) and is currently on his fourth Compassion for Animals Road Expedition (CARE-4), covering 40 states. He is also the author of Omni-Science.
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