“I don’t know where to start. Since she became Alaska’s governor in 2006, Sarah Palin has committed so many crimes against Alaska’s wildlife, it’s hard to keep up—even for someone who’s lived in Alaska year-round, day in and day out, for nearly 25 years. I never imagined Alaska’s wildlife could suffer so much at the hands of an elected official. For Alaska’s wild animals, Palin’s is a reign of terror.”
Marybeth Holleman – author: The Heart of the Sound: An Alaskan Paradise Found and Nearly Lost
Former Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin spoke on Friday at a benefit for the anti-abortion organization Wisconsin Right to Life. Having stated publicly that she would oppose abortion even in cases of rape and incest, it is well-known that Palin would accept abortion as an option only if a mother’s life was in danger.
But there’s another side of Palin for which she is also well-known, and it’s an aspect of her philosophy which seems to be in direct contradiction to her absolutist stand on abortion. When it comes to living beings outside of the species to which she belongs, Palin is notorious for being decidedly anti-life.
Putting aside (for a moment), the enjoyment she finds in personally taking another’s life, let’s take a quick look at her history in regards to animal protection.
In 2008, the president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund stated that Palin “has perhaps done more harm to animals than any other current governor in the United States – and that’s a difficult distinction to achieve among our 22 Republican and 28 Democratic chief executives.”
As stated in a 2008 AlterNet article,
“Palin is totally consistent in her anti-environmental stance. She not only wants to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling, but actually vowed to sue the EPA if it dared to declare polar bears an endangered species… It’s hard for most people to understand this sort of hatred for the great mammal species struggling to hang on at the edges of this continent.”
Palin’s most controversial stand in regard to animals has undoubtedly been her support of Alaska’s aerial wolf killing. When Alaskan residents were anticipating a statewide vote to stop the aerial shooting of wolves and bears (which is notorious for the suffering it causes to its victims) Palin organized a campaign against Measure 2 and funded it with $400,000 of taxpayer money. In 2007, she offered a $150 bounty for the left foreleg of each dead wolf as an incentive for aerial gunners to kill more of the animals. In 2009, Palin’s Board of Game approved the use of poison gas and snares to kill wolf pups and their families in and around their dens.
When Palin was chosen to be John McCain’s running mate, she was introduced at the GOP convention as “the only nominee in the history of either party who knows how to properly field dress a moose.”
Field dress… It’s a lovely euphemism. The term sounds so benign it almost conjures up images of a bucolic scene featuring a young maiden donning robes for a seasonal festival. When you shine the light of truth on the phrase, it means, quite simply, disemboweling. A specific description of what it involves would be too graphic to include here, but if anyone requires greater clarity in regards to what this ‘pro-life’ advocate is capable of doing to another being who was once alive and sentient, there are many places online where you can read about it exactly what it entails, and why it is necessary to preserve the flesh of a still-warm body. It’s not for the faint of heart.
Killing for fun was an activity Palin was raised with. “Sarah grew up hunting… She and her daddy would wake up at 3 a.m. on school days to hunt moose,” Palin’s mother is quoted as saying. The home where her parents live contains “hundreds of sets of trophy antlers and a taxidermy collection that includes a giant moose head and a full-grown mountain lion.” Photos scattered around the internet during the presidential race showed Palin posing proudly next to the bodies of her victims, and even sitting on a sofa over which was draped the skin of a grizzly bear.
I understand that the ‘pro-life’ position is only concerned with the rights of human beings, and in that regard, Sarah Palin is no different to the rest of the movement. It also seems important to point out that, in her disregard for the inherent value of nonhuman life, Palin is simply an extreme example of the attitude of our entire society. Yet somehow, I can’t ignore the twisted irony of the ‘pro-life’ cause being championed by a woman who actually takes pride in her reputation as a predatory killer.
The issue of reproductive rights is a troubling one, precisely because the sanctity of all life is so deeply connected with our spiritual and ethical values. But whatever one’s position on abortion might be, surely the absurdity of this match is clear. Perhaps the anti-abortion movement ought to reconsider its use of the term ‘pro-life’ altogether, and adopt a term that describes its values more accurately. Until that happens, it is contradictory to have as a face of their movement a woman who clearly has no regard for the sacred nature of life itself.