Politics, Technology, and Language

If thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought — George Orwell

Archive for November 14th, 2007

It wasn’t like he held a nail gun against the head of a cute little animal in front of the class

Posted by metaphorical on 14 November 2007

It’s hard to know what to like most about the story where a teacher kills a raccoon with a nailgun on school grounds, in preparation for giving his class a lesson on taxidermy.

The place is Huntsville, Ark. A student’s parent volunteered to provide the raccoon but brought it in a cage, without killing it. So the teacher took it out to his truck, where apparently he had a nailgun.

The school superintendent was quoted as saying:

“He used the nail gun to, as they say, to dispatch the animal,” Lievsay said. “It wasn’t like he held a nail gun against the head of a cute little animal in front of the class.”

Hutchinson used the dead raccoon to demonstrate how to skin the animal and to examine the contents of its stomach. Lievsay said only one student asked not to attend the skinning.

One thing I like about this story is that we’re not supposed to even question why there’s a taxidermy lesson in high school. But that’s just the start. What’s great is that this is no different in principle from any other pointless killing of an animal, it’s just more visibly pointless. There’s nothing that kids learn in high school from dissecting frogs, either.

Skinning a hog

The superintendent’s main concern was that the kids not actually see the nail shoot through the raccoon’s skull, just as the meat industry is careful to hide from the American public the horror of how it slaughters animals (often with the same method—a nailgun).

My suggestion for the high school in Huntsville is to have a club devoted to animal death. Students who want to kill animals can do it after classes end; teachers eager to teach kids how to kill, skin, or otherwise mutilate animals can, and students who aren’t interested don’t have to single themselves out by asking not to attend.

Posted in animal-rights, journalism, pop culture | 4 Comments »