Poor deer | Bleader

Poor deer

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"No animals were harmed in the making of this picture." You can’t say that about the picture the Tribune ran June 24 to accompany a story about the love Russian men have for the blood of maral deer, in their eyes the tonic for every ill that aging throws at them. It’s a photo (not available online) of a wide-eyed deer with a bloody stump on its head, an antler having just been sawed away. The photo’s riveting and troubling, but the caption doesn’t acknowledge this. It merely says, “Herdsmen saw the antlers off a maral deer in Siberia’s Altai region, where spas provide treatments using a substance boiled from the antlers--and clients down deer-blood shots." Buried in reporter Alex Rodriguez’s story is this detail: "Farmworkers say the deer feels pain." If you have the normal level of empathy for dumb, noble, suffering beasts, as you confront the picture you’ll feel pain yourself. A better caption would have assured us that the Tribune felt it too.  

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