Suggestions from a Squirrel Slam Shooter

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Since I published my request to end the Holley, New York Fire Department Squirrel Slam, I’ve received a lot of feedback from people who shoot animals for entertainment. Many of them are vitriolic and unapologetic while claiming to be patriotic. Here is an example of some comments that provide a valuable opportunity for us to further examine some of the common arguments in the debate:

“The hunt and event are perfectly legal. And our community supports it! This is America, remember? Land of the FREE. Sorry that you don’t like the fact that we here in NYS have open season on squirrels and raffling off LEGAL guns is used as a fundraiser. You and yours are kindly requested to go mind your own business. Find some other cause to run up your collective flagpoles!”

Here is my reply:

Dear Maggie,

Thank you for sharing your thoughts about Squirrel Slam. I appreciate you paving the way for a discussion of these important topics.

1. I’m not debating the legality of the event. I’m debating its morality. It’s illogical to kill animals and promote gun violence to raise money to save people from fires. Offering prizes to children under 14 for killing squirrels seems inappropriate. Also, simply because something is legal, doesn’t mean it’s right. Dipping tax collectors in boiling hot tar and dragging them through the streets, slavery, and denying women the right to vote all used to be legal in the United States until more sensible minds prevailed. I believe in a much more humane future. You can degrade and demonize those of us who pursue it but you will not dissuade us from working to achieve it.

2. You stated your Holley, New York community supports Squirrel Slam. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the population of Holley, New York is 1,811. It’s my understanding that approximately 40 sport hunters attended this event with their children last year. More accurately stated, the people who participate in the event and kill squirrels for fun support it. Your views are not necessarily those of the Holley or broader community.

3. You stated, “This is America, remember?” Yes, I remember. I was born and raised in New York. My parents, grandparents, and extended family all come from New York. In fact, my grandmother spent her entire life in Buffalo, not far from Holley, New York so I’m familiar with the area. Simply because I don’t support shooting animals for fun doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten my birthplace or your right to own a gun. I also have a First Amendment right to oppose you using it to destroy the lives of the most defenseless among us.

4. You stated this is the “land of the FREE.” I agree. That is why I believe the only moral choice is to allow the squirrels to continue to enjoy their freedom like you and me.

5. You stated I should mind my own business. I will gladly mind my own business because this is my business. You don’t own the squirrels or the land. We are privileged to share it with all of its inhabitants and I believe they all deserve the same respect we ask for ourselves.

6. You stated I should find some other cause to “run up my flagpoles.” As an American, I have the right to run any issue up my flagpole. Our flag contains the faces of billions of animals senselessly and mercilessly killed every year. This is our flag and we will not lay it down until the lights go out on every animal farm, fur farm, circus, animal race, laboratory, hunting expedition, and puppy mill and every grocery store, retail store, and restaurant stop peddling the remains of animals for human consumption and profit. We fly it with pride, resilience, and an unwavering commitment to justice.

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This is a squirrel. While this little guy’s life may not mean anything to you, it does to me and millions of other people. Some people might say, “Squirrels, really?” Yes, really. If you can recognize the right of squirrels to live their lives freely, you may also realize the same rights for chickens languishing in factory farms, tortured monkeys in experimental labs, confined elephants in the circus, caged tigers in the zoo, captured whales in seaquariums, and skinned foxes in fur farms. The cause for freedom is not limited to people or any species of animal. We stand for freedom for all.

I submitted an attractive proposal to Chief Hendrickson and the HFD Board of Directors. I’m hopeful we can reach a resolution in the days ahead. In the meantime, I hope you will reconsider your decision to kill squirrels.

Thank you again for the opportunity to address these issues.

On behalf of the squirrels,

Andrew Kirschner

2/20/13 Update: All requests for humane fundraising were denied and the Squirrel Slam occured as scheduled. One hunter reportedly dumped a bucket of dead squirrels out in front of protestors and laughed.

Andrew Kirschner, Ed.D., is a grassroots vegan animal rights activist. He writes a zero-profit blog, Kirschner’s Korner, to help raise awareness about issues affecting the global community to make the world a more humane place. To receive new articles via email, enter your email in the “Follow Blog Via Email” link at the top right of the blog.

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185 Responses to Suggestions from a Squirrel Slam Shooter

    • Justin says:

      Beth, you can find anything through google, and the Internet is not perfect, of course you will find things to prove I am wrong, just as I would find things to prove I am not.

  1. BDL says:

    Justin, I appreciate your willingness to stay in this conversation and ask this important question about whether hunting is abuse.

    I see it this way. Hunting is killing. How is killing not abuse? Put yourself in the squirrels’ perspective. You’re minding your own business. Going about gathering nuts. Playing with your friends – running up and down the trees. Jumping from limb to limb and then the next thing you know you’re experiencing seering pain; you can’t understand the pain; you can’t understand what just happened; there’s no one there who can help you; you can’t do anything; you struggle for a bit; completely helpless; and then, that’s it. It’s final.

    Animals don’t want to die the same way we don’t want to die.

    • Justin says:

      I understand death, I really don’t need it explained to me like I’m a child. Thank you.
      But like I said, hunting is not classified as animal abuse, by the government, or the humane society. And yet everyone on here would have people believe it is. There is an obvious difference, not our fault none of you can see it.

  2. steve says:

    “Yes, I said “someONE”, because we consider animals as their own beings” and “we believe that all BEINGS are created equal, with equal rights to health and happiness”.

    So, my question is in fact real easy. Which one would you go to first? without a shadow of doubt or any guilty feeling I know where I would go.

    So, as you guys and ladys go to the store to get your veggies and fruits do you really think where they come from? Yea, the redneck idiot farmer. I know farmers that will not let anyone hunt fox and coyotes because they help manage the animals eating thier crops, which they sell to feed you and me. but by all means, help yourself to the ones doing the crop damage. All these animals have to eat every day in order to survive, so is it fair to take away money from the farmers just so all these animals can live? We really owe it to these animals to keep thier numbers in check, drive through a suberb where hunting isnt allowed and look at the health of the deer herd. There is usually to many and not enough food for them. Thats abuse in my book. Come out to my place where I have food plots for all the deer to eat, be fat and be happy. And not just deer, but all the animals there eat well. I spend more time enjoying these animals than I do harvesting them. If your only connection to these wild animals is through pictures and the videos on the computer then you are really missing out. I choose to look at the good vs always looking for the bad in something.

  3. steve says:

    And monica, I had such high hopes for you. So lets see now, I am a redneck idiot, serial killer, compared to lion farmers in south africa, selfish and thoughtless and maim animals. Wow are there any other terms or insults that you caring people could place on me?

    Today i was in the woods and the food plot is loaded with tracks. All kinds of wildlife are going there to eat. I did this with my own 2 hands. Let me ask you, what have you done today to make a difference other than try and be nasty on the computer?

    nature abhors a vacuum…. what website did you get that from? Or have you personally spent time in the wild observing this?

    without human intrevention, alot of these animals wouldnt live out a long wonderfull life like you think they would. Overpopulation would take hold and in a few short years starvation and disease would roll in. And that would be a very cruel ending to thier lives.

    • Monica Gilbert says:

      All those tracks in your food plot are just waiting to be followed and the animals that made them will be obliterated in a nanosecond if you’re a good shot.

      How thick are you Steve? “Nature abhors a vacuum”?!?!? Seriously, you aren’t familiar with the concept? Get out of the woods and try reading a BOOK! Not just looking at pictures on the computer.

      “Without human intervention”? Never happen thanks to people like you.

      You want nasty? I have only just begun.

      • Justin says:

        What makes you think you are the one who is right compared to the man that writes The Everyday Hunter? I have seen everyone posting links, and most come down to theory and personal experiences. The problem is, you educate yourself a on YOUR views, without educating yourselfs on the issue you are fighting against. How can you claim you are dead right when you know nothing about the other side of the coin?? You can not! Monica, you condemn us for something YOU KNOW NOTHING ABOUT! Think about that.

    • animalsarebetterthanpeople says:

      Who says it is okay to shoot anything? Don’t you think nature would “take it’s course” if there were no humans? Why do humans get to decide how many lions and tigers and deer and squirrels there should be? We have no right to kill anything that is alive.

      • Justin says:

        Animalsarebetterthanpeople,
        What would you do if animals were left uncontrolled and we became prey?
        Would you put your arms up and just say “take me” ?
        What if your teenager was out camping, and a bear or wolf came into camp and attacked?
        There are reasons we are allowed to hunt, population control is one of them. I know Andrew says that is a poor excuse, but ask the DEC that is one of the main reasons we have hunting seasons, educated biologists and wild life experts do the studies , and lay the ground rules for hunting seasons. It’s not like there is just some guy sitting at a desk saying…hmmm this seems like a good time to hunt.
        There is thought and planning put into it, to allow us to hunt, and to ensure animals have their time to reproduce. We are not heartless killing machines.

      • Justin says:

        I have read a lot of the articles you all have posted, I see your point, does it change my mind about hunting? No.

        Now I ask that you read this.
        http://www.christianoutdoorsman.com/forums/index.php?/topic/6447-if-hunting-were-banned-the-environmental-impact/

      • Monica Gilbert says:

        http://www.christianoutdoorsman.com/forums/index.php?/topic/6447-if-hunting-were-banned-the-environmental-impact/

        When “The Everyday Hunter” isn’t hunting, he’s thinking about hunting, talking about hunting, dreaming about hunting, writing about hunting, or wishing he were hunting. If you want to tell him exactly where your favorite hunting spot is, contact him at EverydayHunter@gmail.com. This column and others can be accessed online at http://www.EverydayHunter.com.

        Says it all really. Opinions. Not facts. Just because this person has the audacity to wave the God flag doesn’t mean he’s right. NOW I understand the difference between Democrats and Republicans. No wonder you’re all so pissed that Obama won. Gee, I’d be angry too.

        Got any more sites for me to look at? Perhaps a little later than the ones you’ve suggested. They’re four years old.

  4. Monica Gilbert says:

    Picked this up in another blog …. comment on the D&C NEWS Article:

    “In case anyone wonders what business it is to outsiders what Holley does, aside from the fact that the internet and general commerce has made it ONE World and a very small one at that, I just found out today that a successful and growing green technology company that a friend of mine in another state worked for was looking to expand into the Mid Atlantic area. One of the communities on their list was in the Rochester and Holley area. The reason this location was taken off their list was THIS SQUIRREL HUNT! My friend told me this event so turned off the board of directors of the company because it showed them that the community mindset was antiquated and violence-oriented and devoid of creative ideas, and these are not the kind of people they want to employ. The company did not want to help support things like this with a paycheck and they felt that people who engaged in this did not have the moral and ethical fibre they want in their employees. I was told that the quote they used in their meeting was from H.G. Wells: “The first man to raise a fist is the first man to run out of ideas.” So Holley screwed itself out of 151 jobs because of this event.”

    “Antiquated”, “violence-orientated” … and these people don’t even know that Steve and Justin exist!!! Howzabout them apples?

    • Justin says:

      Monica, it’s your inflammatory statements and insults that are going to cause me to stop being so tolerant regarding this whole situation. So what if a company didn’t come to Holley? That’s their choice, did you ever stop to think that maybe the people in Holley wouldn’t want a company there that didn’t respect their rights?

      You should put more thoughts into your posts, because you are starting to make this a very hostile conversation.

    • steve says:

      Yea right, nice try. If that was remotely true where would this so called company go to where there wasn’t hunting? nice try but only your club will believe that one without seeing it documented and there isnt anything out there about it. HaHa grasping at straws now I see.

    • Justin says:

      Interesting. I just searched the D&C web site, and not one article about any companies saying they wouldn’t locate offices here because of the hunt. Maybe you shouldn’t believe everything you see on the Internet.
      Or are you still looking for your own French model?

    • Justin says:

      And I don’t care that this man calls himself a Christian, that has nothing to do with his discussions. You all listen to Andrew here, well there is our side of it, read it, understand it, and TRY to prove us wrong if you must, but remember, hunters have done far more for animals then you have by not eating them.

      • Monica Gilbert says:

        “hunters have done far more for animals than you have by not eating them”. You can’t be serious? Really? You are?? I’m laughing all the way to bed Justin. Yes, in my part of the world it’s night time. The world does consist of more than just the good ole USA, believe it or not. You might try visiting other countries and experiencing other cultures. Your mind and your outlook may be broadened somewhat.

        Ah Justin, I’m still chuckling … :)

      • Justin says:

        Ok I’m confused, what does you being in another country have to do with ANY of this???

        And why would I need to visit another country?
        What would that possibly do for me?
        I could always go somewhere that they eat the parts of the animal that we Americans wouldn’t I guess. Is that what you are getting at?

        You can laugh all you want, but it is the truth, people like Steve grow food plots, it provides deer and other animals with food through the winter months, not just hunting season.
        We work to preserve land for animals natural habitat. We do a lot for our environment, our communities, and our sport. But you don’t seem like you want to understand that, you know what you know, and that’s all you care to know. Focus on just the killing of animals, not on the good it does , or the things we contribute to. And you say I have a closed mind. Ha!

  5. steve says:

    Well go ahead Monica, get nasty. You see, it doesnt bother me. You are your own worst enemy in this subject. You are actually telling me to get out of the woods and read a book, why? Other than post on here, what have you really done personally to make sure our wildlife is healthy? I don’t shoot at every deer that walks by, and that season ended about 2 months ago yet I am still out there doing what i can for them. I dont consider them pets, but this is something I truly enjoy doing year round, and hands on.

    So I will ask again cause I think you were to thick to get it the first time. What have you done today to make a difference other than be nasty on the computer? I mean you are the one that really loves these animals anyways.

    You might have to speak slow cause I am just a thick redneck idiot, serial killer, compared to lion farmers in south africa, selfish and thoughtless and maim animals kind of person that has the legal right to kill animals. And oh yea, I am a pretty good shot thanks for asking.

    “Without human intervention”? Never happen thanks to people like you.” And I am proud of this one. Thanks to me alone this year I have supplied hungary families with 100′s of meals, made sure the wildlife in my area has enough food to get through winter and be healthy, donated to fire departments, ect. ect. ect. So, you are lucky to have people like me.

  6. Jacqui says:

    I think the moral issue is that humans don’t have to kill things, just because they can or they have the right to. I will never understand why people need to take the life of something else for fun. Humans have the benefit of self-control. Why don’t we use it?
    Ironically, I just took training in wildlife rehab to save orphaned baby animals. Yes, there are people who specialize in squirrel weaning and health. They enjoy learning the unique personalities and preferences of each squirrel!
    If there was a need to cull the population, for some ecolgical benefit, that’s a different issue.
    Wildlife is there for all people to enjoy, and the vast majority of people appreciate observing the finer gifts of nature, with binoculars, not with guns.
    It’s the outlook that humans are superior and powerful that gets humans into trouble. Yes, the earth has resources, and we are great at asking “what’s the benefit to me?” Why not
    do something for the better good?
    Hitler has zero to do with this post.

    • Justin says:

      You said “if there were a need to cull the population for an ecological benefit”

      I thought that was exactly why we are allowed to hunt?!
      Ecosystems can only sustain a certain amount of life, if it becomes over populated, the ecosystem and everything living there suffers. This is real science people, no disputing this. So if people like myself and Steve did not hunt, what do you think would happen? There simply is not enough room in the world for all of us, and an unknown amount of wild animals that would still need food.

      And what food do those animals eat? Hmm, your food.
      Not only do we control populations down to improve over all health of animals, but we also keep them from destroying crops that they would otherwise desimate if left unchecked.

      I said it before, and I will repeat it again, you guys are all very well educated about vegan ism and vegetarianism, but you forgot to also educate yourselves about the issues you stand against. How can you fight about something you really don’t know that much about????

      • Justin says:

        Wow, never try to make a serious reply with an iPhone, it’s autocorrect kills it.

      • Monica Gilbert says:

        I may not agree with you Justin, but I am starting to like you. iPhone KILLS messages for ALL! It’s an equal opportunity destroyer!

  7. steve says:

    Down with the IPhone, It Kills lol

    • Monica Gilbert says:

      Rebecca Stucki, what a fantastic article. Says it all. Thank you for posting it.

      • Justin says:

        Really? It says it all?!? Wrong, it says what you want to hear, that’s all.
        But I am sure , since that guy has a PHD , everyone should take it as scientific proof, right? I don’t buy it. Who is this guy to call hunting for food unneeded? Does he personally know every hunters incomes??
        Meat is expensive in the store, and loaded with fat and horomones, meat we harvest ourself a is cheaper, leaner, and better for you.

        Aside from me being Native American, my older sister is half Eskimo, and lives in Fairbanks Alaska, there they hunt and fish and load their 4 freezers with meat and fish to last the long cold (-50 to -60 degree) winters. They use the hides for blankets, casket linings, boots, get the point?
        The author of this article might be educated, but he doesn’t know a damn thing about hunting and what we do.

  8. Chris says:

    I wish people would get heated over the abortion proposals made by the NYS Governor and worry more about people rather than a member of the RAT family.

  9. Rebecca Stucki says:

    This is a must-read by a former hunter. http://www.greanvillepost.com/2011/04/03/why-i-quit-hunting/

    • Justin says:

      I see at least ONE of you is still thinking about this topic, looks like everyone else moved on to the next issue…….not surprising in the least though, since amid all the protests and angry words there was still a very successful squirrel hunt in Holley.
      I knew this exact thing would happen, no one was able to stop it, and Holley FD and it’s citizens stood up to all the protests and people calling in death threats, and did what they knew they had a right to do, and that was kill some squirrels. I just wish I could have seen the protesters faces as the cars rolled by with the harvest hanging out the car windows :)

      • Nobody has moved on. They’re ignoring you because they view you as incorrigible. There is a difference between hunting for food and actually taking pleasure in killing animals and seeing them suffer. The fact that you enjoy seeing them die speaks volumes about you. Nobody needs to reply to you because your words speak for themselves.

        I’m busy planning a fundraiser with my local fire department to raise money for local animal rescues. Others are engaged in their own form of activism. The Squirrel Slam inspired us to work even harder to support animal rescue organizations so more animals benefit in the end.

        I encourage you to move on. It’s clear to everyone you’re trolling for attention.

      • Dee says:

        Andrew…what a way with words you have!!! We may not have won this battle but we WILL win the war!!

      • Thank you Dee. I’m very proud of the animal rights community for their work on this issue and for their outpouring of compassion.

      • Monica Gilbert says:

        Andrew, when I first read Justin’s comment, it appeared that he couldn’t wait to rub our noses in the fact that the Squirrel Slam went ahead. I decided to ignore him. If you don’t give a nuisance oxygen, then it withers on the vine. He can continue with his hunting and the justification for violence while the rest of us, those who value ALL life not just human life, will fight even harder for those who don’t have a voice.

        I am very proud that so many people fronted up on the day and I am disgusted with the behaviour of the hunters, waving dead bodies in the faces of the protesters. How puerile and juvenile. Guess it just goes to show the ‘great white hunter’ mentality.

        As Dee said we may have lost this battle but we will definitely win the war.

    • Monica Gilbert says:

      Rebecca Stucki – thank you very much for sharing that fantastic article. It gives me hope that people CAN change. I really appreciated reading it.

      • Rebecca Stucki says:

        I hope so, too, Monica. And I’m taking a cue from Andrew and trying to teach with kindness. After all, how can we ask people to show kindness to animals if we can’t show it to them? That doesn’t mean we can’t engage in peaceful protest. Something I read in “How to Make Friends and Influence People” really struck a chord with me. It basically said that if you had been in the same circumstances as another person, you might have turned out like he did. Perhaps if we had all been raised and taught as Justin was, we could understand his viewpoint better. Hopefully, someday he will come to understand our viewpoint as well, and let his inner goodness shine.

  10. Marianne says:

    Thank you Andrew. You give hope in a hopeless world.

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