Compassion is for the Cougar 15 yr old killed

By AMBER GROSS Bismarck | Posted: Tuesday, January 4, 2011 2:00 am

I was appalled to come home for Christmas and see “Her First Thought: It’s Huge” by Brian Gehring on Dec. 28.

Certainly (and unfortunately), people have the right to kill mountain lions; but the Tribune had the choice of whether or not to glorify such actions,and chose to put the killing on the front page of “Dakota.”

Not only is Gehring’s congratulatory tone inappropriately cavalier (“It was a dandy”), but he also generalizes incorrectly: “Anyone, most especially a 15-year-old, would be thrilled at such a hunt.”

I, for one, would not be. Hunting animals who are badly outnumbered and do not have guns never seemed to me to meet the definition of “sportsmanly,” but this killing seems a particular waste.

In Gehring’s telling, this wild cat was killed for a trophy (he quotes Saje Beard as saying, “I wanted to get him mounted”) not for self-defense or food or any other more pressing reason.

Finally, the no doubt inherited selectivity of Saje Beard’s compassion troubles me. She is a girl who works with horses, loves her dogs, cares about the rights of the unborn (clear from her statements on the Tribune website), yet she fails to identify with the plight of the mountain lion, who is beset on all sides by enemies as his territory is increasingly encroached upon.

This mountain lion’s three years of survival were hard-earned; my compassion is with him.

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