Animal Studies Bibliography
Dunayer, Joan. 2001. Animal Equality: Language and Liberation. Derwood, Md: Ryce Pub.
Reviewed by Amy Fitzgerald
Chapter 4: Victims Mistaken for Game: The Language of Hunting
In this chapter, Dunayer demonstrates how hunters preserve the sport' by verbally camouflaging suffering and death'. First of all, she examines the claim that hunting is humane'. She demonstrates with various anecdotes that hunted animals often die slow and very painful deaths, and she explains that animals not shot in the brain, heart, or major blood vessel endure a greet deal of suffering. Next, she examines the claim that hunting consists of fair chase'. This notion of fairness is important for hunting's public image. She discusses the lack of fairness inherent in baiting animals, in canned hunts, and the unequal competition between armed men and defenseless animals. In order to hide this unfairness, hunters contend that the animals willingly participate.
Dunayer then deconstructs the term wildlife management'. She contends that The term reflects the speciesist premise that wild' non-humans can and should be managed' by humans (page 51). She outlines how wildlife management agencies ensure that there are animals to be hunted, such as through the release of farmed mallards; clear-cutting and burning forests to increase areas for deer to browse on; and exterminating predators such as wolves. Wildlife managers and hunters view animals as property, and refer to those who kill their game' illegally as vandals, poachers, and thieves, as opposed to murderers.
Next, Dunayer examines the term wildlife conservation', and she argues that hunters are not really conservationists because to conserve' means to protect or preserve. She also points out that hunters have actually pushed many species toward extinction. She concludes, the idea of conserving' animals, as if they were inanimate resources or commodities, should arouse disgust. The phrase wildlife conservation reveals deeply speciesist viewpoint (Page 54).
Further, hunters evade discussing the fact that they actually kill animals. For instance, they use the term harvesting' instead of killing' and bag', cull' and collect' instead of kill. Dunayer argues that the U.S. government and the media have also adopted this vocabulary. Hunters also refer to hunted animals using certain terms to give the illusion that some animals exist only to be hunted. Specifically, they are referred to as game', varmints', nuisance animals', and pest'. She argues that these terms place the blame on the victim by making their murders appear as punishment. In order to deny them individuality, hunters refer to them in the aggregate by their species, or with terms such as wildlife, game, quarry, and prey. They also view them as physical objects, and reduce them to their body parts, especially those parts they deem trophies.
Hunters also claim to love and respect those animals that they kill. Dunayer dismisses their claim and points out that love and respect would preclude killing. She states: Like other bigotries, speciesism is a failure to empathize with those outside one's own group. Hunters consider only how they feel. Their victim's experience doesn't matter (page 61). She concludes by pointing out that the terms used to refer to humans killed by hunters also apply to the hunted animals: In common parlance, victims mistaken for game and hunting fatalities refer only to humans. Those phrases perfectly describe all the nonhumans whom hunters wound and kill (page 62).