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Dec 13 1902


The Montreal Herald, Saturday, December 13, 1902

Butchers of the Wild

Scarcely a week passes without complaints being published of some gross violation of the game laws and a protest being made against the methods of wholesale murder which if persisted in will result in the extinction of the most interesting and valuable of our wild animals. It is safe to say, however, that the half, no nor the hundredth part, has never yet been told.

It is only indeed when one meets some hunter or lover of nature who has ventured farther into the backwoods than the ordinary city sport is wont to do, that one is able to get some idea of the enormity of the butchery that is going on within the limits of Ontario and Quebec. The other day it was my good fortune to meet a man of this kind, and after listening to him spellbound for hours as he told of the woodland wonders of the Northland, I asked him if the guides and trappers in those parts did not have interesting stories to tell of adventure in the wildwood. To my surprise he replied in the negative, and added in explanation that the achievements of which a backwoodsman was generally most proud were so revolting that they made anyone with a drop of sportsman's blood in his veins long to knock the narrator down. The average backwoodsman, he said, hunted not for the pleasurable excitement of the chase, but for pure lust of killing. He had heard guides boast of the number of deer they had killed when the animals stuck helpless in deep snow. One man's chest swelled with pride as he told of having butchered three magnificent bucks together in this way; and he had known another man, when an old moose came out of the woods with two calves, to kill one calf and the old cow, although the latter, be could see, was nothing but skin and bones and utterly worthless; and thus the other calf was left to die of slow starvation for want of its mother.

In the fall and winter seasons, however, the backwoodsmen kill for the money there is in it, knowing they that they can get five cents a pound at the nearest lumber camp for any moose meat they may deliver. The item goes into the shanty books as "beef." And when the millionaire lumberman in his city office sees it, he knows that beef in that remote part of the country is worth twenty or thirty cents a pound but he approves the violation of the country's laws, because it swells the profits. There are game wardens, even, in these localities, but they appear to be chiefly useful to tell friendly huntsmen where they will be able to find moose out of season.

But worst of all is the deliberate way in which the extermination of the beaver is going on in spite of the fact that the law forbids the killing of the beaver at any season of the year. Formerly, the law gave to each Indian in the far north the exclusive right to hunt and trap in a certain district. Each accordingly, acting in his own interests, made some attempt to preserve the game in his own covers. But since this system has been done away with, each trapper takes everything he can lay his hands on, and anything more brutal and shortsighted than the method at present employed in securing beaver skins I have yet to hear of.

The beaver hunters work in winter after the streams are frozen over and the little creatures snug in their winter homes. Having located a beaver dam, they take with them their beaver dogs, animals which are trained to follow along the surface of the ice a beaver swimming in the water below. The noble hunters begin by smashing up all the houses in the damn, thus compelling the beaver to take to the water. The beaver dogs then follow them one after the other on the ice, until the little fellows are forced to come up for fresh air at the edge of the ice, when they are promptly shot or clubbed. In this way every member of the industrious colony, male or female, old or young, is deliberately butchered. If by chance any should escape their human murderers, their homes having been destroyed, they would inevitably die of exposure. Could any plan of extermination be more fiendishly complete?

As for the pelts, they are sold to a fur company, which accepts them in spite of the law, and ships them out of the country. The man who gave me this information told me that a factor had shown him several hundred beaver skins piled in his storehouse.

Will France Abolish Titles Surely the French Government does not intend to carry out its threat to abolish titles of nobility! Surely the rulers of "La Belle France" would not deprive hundreds of her noble sons of their only means of obtaining a living and wrench from them ruthlessly the only marketable commodity, which they possess!

Surely the inhumane madness of the revolution is not still so ravenous in the republic that she would tear from the faces of her gallant youth the only beauty which wins them favor and adoration of the monied maids of her sister republic in America! What could the poor delicately-nurtured young men do to earn a sustenance? They cannot dig--to beg, in the ordinary sense--they are ashamed; and the relentless law has not even left them monasteries to retire to. According to the Code Napoleon, they could at least sue the State for damages; for by the terms of that law, the party who injures another in such a way as to cause actual pecuniary loss is obliged to compensate him in hard cash. And who will argue that to be stripped of a title, which could at any time be bartered for good American gold, is not a pecuniary loss?

And what of the American women who have already purchased French husbands and handles at the price of their youth, wealth and beauty? Will they submit one moment to such barefaced robbery? Surely their titles to their titles are clear when they have paid good hard cash for them. Does France expect that the American millionaires, who hold the strings of the U.S. Government jumping-jack, will see themselves swindled in this fashion? Why already I can see Admiral Dewey and his noble fleet winging its way across the Atlantic to enforce the claims of the outraged daughters of the republic.

Monkeys for Farm Hands

Monkeys may yet partially solve the agricultural laborer difficulty so far as fruit farmers are concerned, if any credence is to be given to a writer in a New York paper. He stated that a Brazilian nut grower has a number of these little animals, fifty in all, to pick his nuts, and finds them far more reliable and painstaking than the natives. He trained them to pick the nuts and drop them in baskets placed under the trees. They not only saved him a large amount in wages, but also performed their work twice as quickly as the men. It was only necessary to put a man in charge to look after them, who would play and sing, this keeping the monkeys in good humor and making them work better. He also made it a point to treat them well. The Toronto World comments upon the unlimited possibilities of such a scheme, and says: "If monkeys who, as is well known, are very imitative, can be trained to pick nuts into baskets, they could also be trained to pick berries, plums, apples, pears, peaches and other fruits, and the fruit grower, who had a little band of them would be largely independent of farm hands. The training of monkeys in fruit picking may yet become a feature at our fruit experiment stations, and learned professors may be assigned by the Minister of Agriculture to prepare the monkeys for taking degrees in fruit picking (B.F.P.)." "Then a step further can be taken, and the baboons and chimpanzees could be procured, sent to a monkey experiment station and educated to do the heavier farm work, such as plowing, seeding, mowing, reaping, and, providing that the supply was sufficient, end the shortage in farm laborers, now so grievously handicapping our farmers."


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Copyright 2002 Whitehern Historic House and Garden
The development of this website was directed by Mary Anderson, Ph.D. and Janelle Baldwin, M.A.
Please direct questions and comments to Mary Anderson, Ph.D.

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