Page:The Passenger Pigeon - Mershon.djvu/131

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103
The Pigeon Butcher's Defense

ing nesting time is equivalent to entire protection, and you have northern Michigan overrun with a pest that will destroy the farmer's seed as fast as sown, and when harvest time approaches, pounce upon a wheat field ready for the reaper and in an hour not leave even enough for the gleaner. Their increase would be more rapid, their stay longer, and in four years not only would the law be repealed, but inducements to slaughter would be held out to rid the State of the rapidly increasing and destructive pests.

The pigeon never will be exterminated so long as forests large enough for their nestings and mast enough for their food remain.

In conclusion, the pigeons are as much an article of commerce as wheat, corn, hogs, beeves, or sheep. It is no more cruel to kill them for market by the thousand, than it is to countenance the killing at the stock yards in this or any other large commercial center. The paper to-night shows that in six cities over four million hogs have been killed since Nov. 1, 1878, or two and a half months, a larger slaughter than, during the same time, of pigeons at the nestings by nearly threefold. Yet this is not "sacrificing to Mammon." A farmer can market his poultry dead or alive at any time of the year, and the slaughter, the country over, is larger than that of pigeons, yet no one in the interest of "justice and humanity" interferes.

The pigeon is migratory, it can care for itself. It