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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

March 4, 2009 at 9:07 PM

Washington wildlife poachers

Deeply dismayed about disproportionate punishments

Poachers who call themselves the “Kill ‘Em All Boys” pose with their catch.

Editor, The Times:

In the March 1 Times, the front-page story [“Collaring the poachers”] is about a Washington wildlife-poaching ring, who call themselves the “Kill Em’ All Boyz.”

They admit to wantonly, illegally and gleefully killing scores of wild and domestic animals. An undercover-wildlife agent witnessed the leader torturing his dog, which died soon after, with electric jolts and brutal kicking.

As the result of a sting operation, the leader got 13 months in prison, mostly for beating his dog.

The others? One to three months in jail.

Meanwhile, another story, “Assisted suicide back in spotlight” [Nation & World, March 1], tells of a sting operation in Georgia, in which the perpetrators could get 18 years or more in prison. Their crime? Assisted suicide.

As a lawyer, I am deeply dismayed by the ethical statements these two laws make about our society. How can we virtually ignore heinous crimes against animals, while severely punishing those who have the courage and compassion to help terminally ill patients choose a peaceful death?

These laws evidence no respect for either human choice or nonhuman life. Thank goodness our state has remedied one of these injustices with the passage of the assisted-suicide initiative.

Now let’s do something about the other one.

— Melanie Rowland, Seattle

One of the basest acts deserving heavier penalties

Kudos to the State Department of Fisheries and Wildlife and especially the undercover officer who infiltrated and brought charges against a gang of animal poachers in southwestern Washington. Thumbs up to Times staff reporter Warren Cornwall for his article detailing the operation.

I feel nothing but contempt for the “Kill Em’ All Boyz” — what an arrogant and hateful bunch. Their wanton slaughter of animals is one of the basest acts I’ve read about in a long time. They are a sad example of the fact that man is the only animal who enjoys killing for killing’s sake.

Seeking pleasure by bringing suffering and death to fellow creatures is morally indefensible. Mean-spirited, illegal acts should be punishable with penalties far heavier than those meted. The leniency of the sentences given to the “Kill Em’ All Boyz” is another example of man’s superiority complex over other animals, also indefensible.

I end with an Edward Abbey quote: “Whenever I see a photograph of some hunter grinning over his kill, I am always impressed by the striking moral and aesthetic superiority of the dead animal to the loved one.”

— Joe Davis, Bremerton

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