A new facebook page reveals the real reason hunters love to hunt, writes End Animal Slaughter contributor Lynley Tulloch. 

 

Hunting in New Zealand has been banned since we went into lockdown at 11.59pm Wednesday March 25, 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This triggered the start-up of a Facebook page and group called ‘the great NZ lock up mouse hunt’ on the same day. The Facebook group currently has over twenty-five and a half thousand members.  It was started by a New Zealand hunter. In the ‘about section’ on the page it simply says, “we need to hunt something”.

It is in the category of ‘sport’. It calls upon people to hunt mice and rats, taking videos and photos of their catch, measuring their worth by size as you would if you killed a ’trophy stag’. Prizes are awarded in categories of kids (2-10 years) , youth (12-16 years) and adults.

It is all done in the spirit of having a laugh. It’s all very funny, according to the hunter who set up the page.

It’s all very disturbing if you ask me.  This page and associated group is full of hunters eager to boast over killing tiny mice and rats, causing as much misery as possible and then laughing at the victims as they pose their bodies.  It is serial killer type mentality.

It’s all very disturbing if you ask me.  This page and associated group is full of hunters eager to boast over killing tiny mice and rats, causing as much misery as possible and then laughing at the victims as they pose their bodies.  It is serial killer type mentality.

The mice and rats are posed with children’s toys such as lego, barbie cars, ken dolls, and remote-control vehicles. There are videos with tiny dead mice dangling from threads tied to hovering toy helicopters. It is as ridiculous as it is sadistic.

I realize that mice and rats may pose particular health risks to humans, but surely adults and children playing with the dead corpses of these animals is not going to help the situation. What with Covid-19 being of zoonotic origins, I would hate to think of some kind of mutant virus emerging from the dead mouse blood smeared on the toy lego.

It is reminiscent of the many rural possum hunts in schools across the country during the year, where dead possums are dressed up and used for carnival fun by children.

One picture is of a rat tied over a miniature spit roast, his decapitated head lying gruesomely on the ground nearby.  Another shows a cruelly trapped mouse lying dead right next to a row of pizzas.

 

There are numerous instances of animal cruelty on the Mousehunt Facebook page and group. One includes cheese tied onto live electric wires; another an electrified platform.

There is also  a video and pictures of mice who drowned after being lured onto food strapped onto tin cans or bottles over a bucket of water . Drowning animals, including rats and mice, is an illegal and prosecutable offence under New Zealand law.

One harrowing video is of a rat cowering in the corner of a garage. The guy taking the video has a piece of two by four in his hand and bludgeons the rat, not killing it outright, leaving the poor animal writhing and squealing in pain. He is egged on by fellow group members:  “Nice shot bro! Pole axed the bas***d!”.

There are horrific traps, such as this one pictured below, that must cause so much suffering,

This irrational hatred towards these animals, alongside distasteful guffaws at their suffering is disconcerting. You can say they are pests, and that they spread disease, but those rationales go out the door when you see these same people placing their dead bodies alongside food items. One photo has a dead mouse on the kitchen bench with cheese pizzas.

Scroll deep enough into this murky underbelly of grownups and their children amusing themselves abusing animals and playing with their dead corpses and you start to lose faith in humanity.

Scroll deep enough into this murky underbelly of grownups and their children amusing themselves abusing animals and playing with their dead corpses and you start to lose faith in humanity.   The people on this page are also creating a number of torturous looking devices. I quote one member: “I can’t help but feel that rifle cartridge primers, a firing pin, and small sprinkling of gunpowder incorporated into this would be spectacular, Why trap mice when you can set them up to walk into and IED, Allah Akhbar.” This is followed by a bomb emoji.

Another post about traps “Had a crack at making a mascalls trap, you ripper, 0.9 mig wire for the nosse, head was hanging by a thread” (laughing face emojis).

I began to reflect on philosopher Hannah Arendt’s thoughts about the ‘banality of evil’, and how hideous acts of cruelty become normalized and accepted. Smashing a piece of wood down onto the head of a living sentient creature, videoing it and enjoying the suffering is reminiscent of how the mob acts during totality terror regimes.

Surely, the mass murder of animals by hunters reflects this. Despite the claim by hunters that  they are just feeding the family, or getting out to enjoy the great outdoors, there is more going on.

Surely, the mass murder of animals by hunters reflects this. Despite the claim by hunters that  they are just feeding the family, or getting out to enjoy the great outdoors, there is more going on. This page illustrates that extra element so well. The hunters are not simply killing animals out of necessity – they enjoy it. They display a release of sorts, the pent-up anger and an outpouring of hatred and complete lack of empathy for the animals concerned is sickening.

The animals are the objects of a human totalitarian terror regime. They have no rights, no identity, no name. They are nothing but a body with which the hunters can pose alongside, dismember and turn into trophies.

Arendt reflected on the nature of totalitarian human societies. Extending that thought to human treatment of animals can reveal some alarming parallels. The animals are the objects of a human totalitarian terror regime. They have no rights, no identity, no name. They are nothing but a body with which the hunters can pose alongside, dismember and turn into trophies. They are objects of blood lust and anger, of people who feel so dispossessed and alienated in life that they take out their frustration on defenseless animals.

We live in a pathological global society based on a depraved sense of human superiority over animal subjects. We need to change our relationship with animals if we are going to survive not only this pandemic but mitigate against future ones.

Messing with the bodies of dead animals is how we got ourselves into this Covid-19 mess. It is not only cruel, but socially irresponsible to foster and sanction this kind of behavior through Facebook.

I acknowledge that in the New Zealand context mice and rats are considered ‘pests’ as they are not part of the natural ecosystem but were introduced.  As mentioned, they may also spread disease – not that this seems to be bothering the members of this group.

But that does not mean we should glorify and gamify their deaths. And it does not mean we should turn a blind eye to deliberate animal cruelty.

 

Dr Lynley Tulloch is an animal rights advocate and lectures in Education.

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