Written by: Heather Clemenceau
Please note that this blog contains graphic images
At one time an individual had to do something explicitly racist to be declared one. Now, anyone who chooses not to fall in line with prevailing “social justice” opinion about the Short Hills Park deer hunt can be smeared with this horrible epithet. Agitators on Twitter and Facebook have attempted to silence the anti-hunt sentiment by doxxing posters, contacting their employers, sending threatening private messages, while simultaneously wasting the time and resources of the police by demanding that they investigate Facebook posts because they are tasteless, offensive, or demeaning. While it is pretty clear when speech threatens violence to a specific person, it is less apparent that random offensive statements should be something the police should investigate.
In addition to amplified outbursts of hostility from “social justice warriors,” journalists and other media outlets now share increasingly diverse forms of disinformation with ease. Additionally, there are few avenues to demand accountability, and there is a lack of skepticism about what is read and watched. Inflammatory accusations about the anti-hunt demonstrators have long been deemed credible by people who have no first-hand knowledge of the hunts. It is therefore important to have a toolbox to evaluate claims independently.
The Freedom-Of-Information Requests Prove Police Conducted No Investigation Into Facebook Posters:
In response to several demeaning social media posts opposing the hunters, Grant LaFleche of the St. Catharines Standard wrote in November 2019 that:
“The Ontario Provincial Police are investigating racist and violent social media comments directed at Indigenous hunters in Niagara to determine if they break hate crime or other laws, The Standard has learned.
The OPP decided Wednesday to look into the Facebook comments posted on the page of the Niagara Action for Animals that directed racist slurs at hunters taking part in the annual deer hunt at Short Hills Provincial Park. Some of the comments also called for the deaths of the hunters, asking them to kill themselves, shoot each other or for them to be murdered.”
According to FOIA documents from both the OPP and the NRP, only one social media post was ever reviewed and it was dismissed straight-away as a non-issue. These social media posts are not actionable – there are no credible, direct threats to any individual. The OPP by their own admission, did not even open a case. There was nothing to document. Not even Facebook removed the posts (Niagara Action for Animals voluntarily removed them).
The Academic Paper that Accuses Police and Demonstrators of Assault (but fails to provide evidence):
In a paper titled “Fake Vegans,” Authors Legge and Taha make numerous claims about a Short Hills Park hunt and protest they observed, but without substantiation – namely that both police and protesters were assaulting the pro-hunt group. When approached for a comment about this paper’s claims, St. Catharines Mayor Walter Sendzik’s office could not find any evidence of police harassment or assault. The Mayor’s office even stated that the Haudensaunee hunters and their supporters have a dedicated police liaison with which to discuss pertinent issues related to the Short Hills hunt. Anti-hunt demonstrators are quite used to being accused of assaulting people by now, but I’m sure the police were very interested to learn that they had been accused, in an academic paper of all things, of assaulting protesters. Where is the proof? If it’s as you say in your paper – you directly observed it first-hand – why can you not provide evidence?
Sea Shepherd’s Opposition To Hunting As a Philosophical Stance Against Anthropocentrism:
Captain Paul Watson, founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, is frequently accused of racism since some of that group’s anti-whaling campaigns target ethnic groups in various countries. He recently addressed the proposal by the Makah to resume whaling.
“Sea Shepherd opposes the killing of whales by anyone, anywhere, for any reason.
The Makah have a treaty with the United States that they say allows them to kill whales.
Elizabeth Warren has stated that she supports to resumption of whaling in the United States by the Makah. These whales do not belong to Elizabeth Warren nor do they belong to the United States or the Makah. The whales belong to the Cetacean Nations, they belong to themselves, independent of any claims by any hominid population.
Killing a self- aware, highly intelligent, socially complex sentient being, is murder.
Sea Shepherd’s position has never been anti-Makah, our position has been and always will be pro-life for all species of whales.
Sea Shepherd presently opposes illegal whaling by Norway, Japan, Iceland, Denmark, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and in the United States We have never discriminated on the basis of nationality, race or culture.”
Now clearly there is an obligation to protect vulnerable populations of whales, while deer are not endangered animals. The best available science, which is available to the Haudenosaunee as it is to everyone else, is that hunting only temporarily decreases deer population, leading to an increase within a year or two, due to the compensatory rebound effect. Watson’s objection to whaling (or for our purposes, deer hunting) is completely agnostic – it includes opposition to all forms of whaling, whether committed by commercial whalers or tribal interests. Sea Shepherd has undertaken campaigns against the Soviet Union, Iceland, Norway, pirate whalers in Portugal and Spain, the Faroe Islands, Canadian seal hunters, as well as the Makah. It is a fact that Watson consistently insults all groups partaking in whale hunting with equal opportunity, regardless of race or origin. Antagonists that aim to demonize both Sea Shepherd and other animal activists must invent non-existent emotionally charged accusations of racism and hate crimes where in fact none exists.
Video Footage of the Barricade at the Pelham Rd. Entrance to Short Hills:
Variously we’ve heard that the “stalls” that happen at the entrance to the park are 20 minutes, 30 minutes, or even that they are some kind of permanent blockade, as part of an effort to have those opposed to the hunt undemocratically removed from the protest. The “Fake Vegans” paper also claims that the stalls occur anywhere from “5 to 15 minutes.” The best evidence that these claims are exaggerations for effect comes from the pro-hunting faction themselves. Their own video evidence from 2015 shows that the stalls are barely even 5 minutes, and sometimes hunters’ vehicles aren’t stalled at all. The video does not support any claims of foul, demeaning, or racist taunts levied at the pro-hunting group either.
The video clearly provides that the stalls are 5 minutes or less, and the helpful narrators even acknowledge this throughout this 29 minute video:
6:12 mark – “It’s been 5 minutes.”
8:00 mark – Vehicle arrives – is waived through at the 11:30 mark
11:30 mark – Vehicle arrives on camera – is waived through at the 12:43 mark
13:00 mark – Vehicle arrives on camera – is waived through at 14:11
14:30 mark – Vehicle arrives on camera – is waived through immediately
14:50 mark – Vehicles arrive 14:50 – are waived through at 16:50 mark
17:00 mark – Vehicle Arrives 17:00 – Helpful narrator announces at the 19:32 mark that “it’s been 5 minutes.” The vehicle waived through at 21:58
23:00 mark – Two trucks arrive simultaneously – they are waived through at 23:23.
23:40 mark – Truck arrives at 23:40 – It is waived through at the 24:20 mark on the video.
24:30 mark – Another truck arrives at 24:30 – it is waived through at the 27:40 mark.
As debunker Chris Hitchens’ famously wrote, “that which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.” With all the available smart phones recording every protest at Short Hills for 7+ years, why has no unequivocal and undeniable video evidence emerged of these alleged assaults? Several years’ worth of FOIA requests I ordered from the NRP and OPP have not revealed any assault charges levied against anyone.
We don’t own this rock. The choice is between endorsing suffering and death or opposing it – for all species. People have the freedom to object to the Short Hills deer hunt without being branded racists – hunting in the park is not an activity that’s traditionally been granted to ANYONE, therefore, no one is purporting that indigenous people should be denied an activity in which others are legally partaking. All concerns have been addressed not towards “who” is doing the hunting, but that it is occurring at all in a “No Hunt Park.” There is an urgent need to protect the integrity of the park; this cannot and does not always look like politeness.
Journalists are supposed to work in the service of truth. Instead, they often promulgate disinformation. It’s unfortunate that some social media commenters chose to express themselves inappropriately and with poor impulse control, but these were deemed not criminally-actionable. The hunt supports and media do not have any legitimate indictments against the anti-hunt demonstrators without hyper-partisan selection of “facts” at the expense of fairness. What their disinformation and doxxing campaigns seek is to impact agenda setting, muddy the informational waters, and intimidate critics of the hunt into silence.