A Book for Speakers, Writers, and other Humane Workers.
If Mr. Howard Williams–referred to in our last issue–is the Doyen of the Humanitarian Movement, Mr. Ernest Bell is undoubtedly the Baedeker, the Universal Publisher and the Chancellor of the Exchequer of the Movement.
For 50 years he has been connected with humanitarian work. For nearly 30 years he has edited and published the “Animals’ Friend” monthly, besides books, pamphlets and leaflets on nearly every phase of the movements, and his probably a member of more Committees and Honorary Treasurer of more Humanitarian Groups than any other person in the country.
When, therefore, Mr. Bell publishes a book of Essays on humanitarian subjects, we may be sure that a valuable volume is the result. And in his “Fair Treatment for Animals,” just published, we are not disappointed.
It is impossible to do justice to the book in the space here available, but we may say that it consists entirely which have appeared in the “Animals’ Friend” during the last 25 years. These include such varied subjects as Why Animals Exist, Vivisection, Humane-Killing, Blood Sports, Performing Animals, The Rights of Animals, Humane Education, The After-Life of Animals, Zoological Gardens, Wearing Furs and The Humane Diet Movement.
The following extracts will convey an idea of the book, which we very warmly commend to our readers. It is both a history and an arsenal of ideas, and should be on every humanitarian’s bookshelf:–
The Psychology of the Sportsman.
“The psychology of the blood-sportsman is truly a wonderful production of the human mind. We are quite willing to believe that his is unconscious of his inconsistency, his deficient sympathy, and the still entirely barbarous, undeveloped condition of one section of his mind; but they are there, and those who see a little further than he does, have the duty of trying to awaken the still slumbering faculties which lead to justice and kindness to all created, sensitive beings.
“There are not wanting many instances of sportsmen, who, seeing the sufferings of their victims, have suddenly realised the horror of the practice, and have forsworn blood sports in consequence; and we may hope that in the new era many more will similarly realise the barbarous nature of their amusement and desist from it.
“Again, Major – tells us that ‘there is far more cruelty practised in our slaughter-houses than in the fields of sport.’ This may or may not be true, but in either case it does not in the least justify the cruelty practised in sport. He tells us with perfect truth that ‘life could be well maintained and probably lengthened and improved were we to content ourselves with a diet of animal produce, such as milk, cream, eggs, cheese, supplement by cereals, fruits, salad, and vegetables. This is, however, no evidence that, in spite of this love of animals, in which he ‘yields to no man.’ He makes any attempt to diminish the awful cruelties of the slaughter-house, any more than those of the fields. In this, at any rate, the sportsman is consistent for once. Let us eat them with the same love with which we hunt and kill.”
“That the hunting of to-day has grown out of a barbaric instinct we readily admit; but it is not the object and hope of civilisation to eradicate our barbaric instincts?
“We thought it was generally admitted that what we call ‘crimes’ are all the outcome of barbaric impulses, useful in their time but out of date now. Thieving is an instinct. Every baby born into the world instinctively grabs anything it wants, and has to be taught that it must not do so. Lying and deceit are equally instinctive, and to deceive one’s enemy–camouflage, we now call it–is still a virtue of warfare, and so with all so-called crimes, from murder downwards. Among primitive peoples, the man who could collect most scalps or heads was the most respected man of his tribe. We have, however, ceased in most cases to whitewash these crimes of to-day on the ground that they are barbaric instincts. Why should fox-hunting be excepted?”
Unknown, February 1927, p. 28