Unlikely Animal Lovers

While watching Nadia: Secret of the Blue Water, I came across a curious scene.  Samson (Obviously what the Japanese intended despite the sub’s transliteration of Sanson)  grows irritated with the three square meals of fish offered by the Nautilus every single day.  His complaints influence Captain Nemo to put in for an island so that the crew can have some R&R.  Samson, exuberant for the chance to obtain fresh meat, shoots a fawn.  For which feat, he is applauded by the boat’s crew.

Samson on left.

Samson on left.

I had quite the opposite reaction to this: “Man, you shot a fawn?  Couldn’t you have checked your impatience for meat long enough to have found an adult deer?  How unsportsmanlike!  Quam crudelis!  How many people is that even going to feed?”  The character which shared my distaste for the killing was none other than Nadia, a thoroughgoing vegetarian and against harming any form of life higher than a plant.  She becomes so enraged that she leaves the camp for the whole evening.

When Nadia's angry, no one is safe.

When Nadia’s angry, no one is safe.

This shared opinion reminds me of the curious fact that the people who love animals the most fall under two extremes: 1) the kind who would never harm one and 2) those who love hunting them.  The notion of hunters as animal lovers might appear strange to some, but consider that their love for hunting and the outdoors places them in closer contact with a greater variety of animals than the average man experiences.  Take the case of Theodore Roosevelt, probably America’s most famous hunter after Davy Crockett.  Many of the hundreds of animals he brought down during his lifetime may be seen in the Smithsonian Museum; yet, his great fondness for animals of all sorts is testified to in both the myriads of hunting sketches he wrote and all his biographical writings.

TR in Yellowstone

American hunters have been painted in dark colors in many films.  Yet, another kind of hunter, a person belonging to a tribal group, is shown as having a particular reverence for the animals they dispatch.  (Who can forget the hero of The Gods Must be Crazy giving a lengthy apology to an animal he kills for the sake of his family?)  Your typical American hunter is no different.  Few will kill a very young animal, and many adhere to the idea that one should only kill an animal one intends to eat.  (I even remember the story of one child who, having downed a crow with an air rifle, was then given the distasteful task of eating it by his father!  A real case of eating crow!)  Perhaps the most famous story about a hunter refusing to kill a young animal comes from Theodore Roosevelt himself, who was told by a hunting companion to kill a bear cub.  Roosevelt found the idea unsportsmanlike and refused.  A toymaker catching wind of this story is why Teddy bears now exist.



8 comments on “Unlikely Animal Lovers

  1. Foxfier says:

    I’m a beef rancher. Well, was raised on a ranch that provides the calves which will become beef.

    Even though I know that veal tend to be dairy calves… I just can’t stand to eat it.

    Which was actually an issue on board ship, since the supplier got in breaded veal for every Thursday’s meal.

    On the upside, I started trading “recipes” with a fellow geek who’s a Jew who was trying to keep kosher, which ended up with me abstaining on Fridays, which has been an amazing boon to my religious life. *grin*

    I also have no desire to eat lamb, or squab. *shrug*

    On a practical level– shooting and eating the young is foolish unless you are going to be gone, and rude if there’s anybody else who depends on that animal supply. Young males are a *very good* target in deer. 😀


    • It must have been fun living on a ranch! I don’t mind eating veal or lamb if it’s put in front of me; though, I never buy them myself. But, I think about wild game a little differently than domestic livestock. From the history of the demise of the passenger pigeon, I suppose squab might be tasty; yet, that’s another foodstuff which I won’t actively seek. And how many squabs does it take to make a meal, anyway?

      Indeed, young bucks make for great targets. Of course, I have dreams of downing a 18-point buck when I finally get around to hunting.


      • Foxfier says:

        Oh, it was! Lots of work, too, but that was part of the fun.

        Supposedly my grandfather raised pigeons for squab pie, which might change how much it takes per person.

        I still wonder about the passenger pigeon thing… it just doesn’t make sense that the were hunted long after they became hard to find, but I don’t have any sources for what else must’ve been happening. Even when folks were actively trying to wipe them out, only state biologists think wolves were totally extinct in various states!


      • That’s true. It is hard to believe that people essentially devoured an animal species to instinction. xD I just remember hearing stories about how people would voraciously buy passenger pigeon squab by the dozen. Growing up near NYC, it’s hard to imagine people becoming enthusiastic over pigeon meat, but some must have loved it.


  2. […] take on the series.  On this blog, the show managed to inspire a post on vanity and another on unlikely animal lovers.  The greatest problem with rating Nadia overall is that the parts which are good are really good, […]


  3. jubilare says:

    I remember my aunt shouting at one of her sons for taking aim (he didn’t shoot, if he had, I might have one less cousin 😉 at a vulture. “Don’t you dare! Buzzards work for the County!” ^_^ We certainly would have many more messes to clean up if those massive, ungainly birds weren’t such an efficient clean-up crew.


Legens, scribe sententias tuas.

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