Studies show that today, most hunters stalk and kill animals for the thrill of it, not out of necessity. Here are eight reasons why you should never support hunting:
1. Hunting causes pain and suffering.
This violent form of “entertainment” rips families apart and leaves countless animals orphaned or badly injured when hunters miss their targets. Quick kills are rare, and many animals endure prolonged, painful deaths when they’re hurt but not killed by hunters.
A study of 80 radio-collared white-tailed deer found that of the 22 deer who had been shot with “traditional archery equipment,” 11 were wounded but not recovered by hunters. A study also showed that 20 percent of foxes who are wounded by hunters are shot again, and a South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks biologist estimates that more than 3 million wounded ducks go unretrieved every year.
A British study of deer hunting found that 11 percent of deer killed by hunters die only after being shot two or more times and that some wounded deer suffer for more than 15 minutes before dying.
For animals such as wolves and geese, who mate for life and live in close family units, hunting can devastate entire communities. Could you imagine losing a family member?
2. It isn’t about conservation or population control.
In school, you might have learned about Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection, which explains that the sickest and weakest animals are the most likely to be killed by natural predators, leaving the strongest animals to survive and pass their genes on. Hunters, however, disrupt this natural balance because they prefer to kill the largest, strongest animals.
Even if overpopulation happened naturally to a group of animals, nature would work to regulate the population. Starvation and disease are tragic, but they are nature’s way of ensuring that the healthy, strong animals survive and maintain the strength of their herd.
Because hunting isn’t an effective method of controlling deer populations, some wildlife agencies use other methods to keep deer out of unwanted areas and reduce breeding. Repellents, deterrents, and strategically placed fencing can encourage deer to stay away from artificial and easy food sources, and when food sources are scarce, deer refrain from breeding and have fewer babies.
3. It’s not a sport.
Sports involve competition between two consenting individuals or teams and usually a referee. Hunters shoot animals with rifles, shotguns, and bows and arrows—weapons that no animal has any chance of outrunning or fighting. Even when hunters obey laws and kill “free-range” animals, they always have an unfair advantage.
4. There are few regulations.
Animals on canned-hunting ranches are often accustomed to humans and are usually unable to escape from the enclosures they’re confined to.
Most hunting occurs on private land, where laws that protect wildlife often don’t apply or are difficult to enforce. On private properties that are set up as for-profit hunting reserves or game ranches, hunters can pay to kill native and exotic species in “canned hunts.” These animals are hunted and killed for the sole purpose of providing hunters with a “trophy.”
5. It’s profit-driven.
Canned hunts are big business, but forty percent of hunters also kill and injure millions of animals on public land every year. Most federal and state agencies that manage wildlife refuges, national forests, state parks, and other public lands are partially funded by hunting and fishing activities, so agency employees often go out of their way to encourage hunting rather than regulating or policing it.
To attract more hunters (and their money), federal and state agencies actively recruit children because they know that most people will never take up hunting if they aren’t exposed to it early in life.
6. It claims other, nontarget victims.
Hunters are not only injured by other hunters, but risk being attacked by animals, too. You might remember the story of Camille Bomboy, an 18-year-old who was hunting deer and attacked by a bear.
Hunting dogs often kept chained or penned and denied routine veterinary care.
Dogs who are used for hunting also suffer. They’re often kept chained or penned and denied routine veterinary care such as vaccines and heartworm medication. Some are lost during hunts and never found, and others who are turned loose at the end of hunting season to fend for themselves often die of starvation or get struck by vehicles.
7. Violence against animals can lead to violence against humans.
Kip Kinkel killed his parents and opened fire in his school cafeteria, killing two and injuring 22 others. He had a history of animal abuse and torture, having boasted about killing animals.
Like other forms of casual or “thrill” violence, hunting leads to a dangerous desensitization to the suffering of others. Research in psychology and criminology shows that people who commit violent acts against animals rarely stop there, as many move on to target their fellow humans. A study conducted by Northeastern University and the Massachusetts SPCA found that people who abuse animals are five times more likely to commit violent crimes against humans. The majority of inmates who are scheduled to be executed for murder at California’s San Quentin State Prison “practiced” their crimes on animals, according to the warden.
8. It’s unnecessary.
Hunters have a choice. With all the delicious pastas, fruits, vegetables and grains that are cheaply available everywhere, there is no reason to kill animals to survive.
What You Can Do
To combat hunting in your area, post “no hunting” signs on your land, join or form an anti-hunting organization, protest organized hunts, and spread deer repellent or human hair (from barber shops) near hunting areas.[peta-gif gif_id="3504" width="500"] Taking action is fun!
Educate others about hunting! You can share this post with your friends and family, write about hunting for a school paper, or talk about it in your debate class. If you still have questions, e-mail us at [email protected]
Against fox hunting
Whether other methods of culling are worse or not, it cannot be denied that the process of fox hunting is cruel. Arguments that stress to the animal is minimal still acknowledge that the animal experiences some acute stress during the chase as well as pain on capture, hence the slaughter of foxes cannot be compared to the slaughter of meat producing animals, in which efforts are made to reduce stress as far as possible. Some kills may result in instantaneous death, yet owing to the nature of the capture it is impossible to determine that all kills are instantaneous, and there could indeed be greater suffering that the pro-hunters are aware of. The argument about the killing of farm animals is counteracted by anti-hunters, who claim that foxes are naturally scavengers, hence many of the lambs found to have been eaten by foxes are likely to have died by natural causes, starvation or extreme weather conditions (it is estimated that 0.5-3% of lambs are killed by foxes, compared to 25% killed by poor husbandry). Although foxes have the remarkable ability to scale large fences, some would say that chicken deaths could be avoided with more secure accommodation. The culling of foxes is also arguably of less significance than the pro-hunters imply. In accordance with the UK Government Burns Commission the effect of fox hunting is almost insignificant on the fox population, owing to the self-regulating nature of territorial predator populations – when populations increase, the relative food supply per animal decreases and owing to competition, the predator population will then decrease accordingly. When hunting was suspended during the foot and mouth outbreak, fox populations did not increase, yet research has shown that when deliberate action is made to kill foxes in an area there is in fact an increase in fox numbers, owing to decreased competition. Indeed, the main way in which fox populations are kept under control is through road traffic accidents; this is certainly an inhumane death yet one which is largely outside our control, unlike fox hunting. Perhaps the greatest reason for opposition to the hunt is the idea that people are using the deaths of these animals more for pleasure than practical use. Although many of the ‘for’ arguments are logical, most pro-hunters want the ban to be appealed in favour of ‘tradition’ and ‘sport’. Farmed animals may be killed for the production of food, badgers culled to prevent disease spread, yet the main reason for fox hunting is for the enjoyment of those few who participate. No animal cruelty should be performed for the entertainment of humans, and that is why activities such as dog and cock fights have been banned – surely the same should apply to fox hunting. Alternatives can easily be implemented such as drag hunting (in which a scent is laid out by humans for the hounds to follow), which would still allow those participants to enjoy all the other aspects of hunting, just without the cruelty.
The authors view
As a vet student, I am very much aware that animal death is part of the life we live, and where there is logical reason for culling I try not to get too sentimental about animal deaths. That said, I have also always been very opposed to the use of animals for human pleasure which has involved unnecessary cruelty to that animal, something which I always judged fox hunting to be. Following my research, I must admit there is some logic in the arguments laid out by pro-hunters, particularly in terms of the current alternatives to fox hunting – certainly trapping and shooting by amateurs would result in significantly more stress and still ultimately the deaths of the foxes, and is not a suitable technique. In terms of farming, any animal lost to the farmer is a loss of income that many farmers cannot afford, and steps must be taken to reduce losses owing to fox predation; however I am unconvinced that fox hunting itself is the answer – no matter how many foxes are culled, if animal accommodation is not suitable for keeping foxes out then there will ultimately be losses. Similarly, losses owing to foxes are far smaller than losses owing to poor nutrition and low colostrum, severe weather or unfortunate lambing, and perhaps it is these issues which require more attention. Fox attacks on farms are, of course, a delicate issue and are not to be overlooked. Fox hunting in terms of population management may be the best (and most humane) solution, but in those cases should only be implemented in areas where fox populations are truly out of control. As the main reason for fox hunting is for the entertainment of participants, however, if the ban was to be lifted there is unlikely to be any restrictions on the areas allowing fox hunting.
So what do you think? Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and everyone has the opportunity to make their voice heard. There are just a few days left before the ban gets called into question, petitions can be found online for those who are passionate about the fox hunting debate. For those interested in learning more about the pros and cons of fox hunting, follow any of the links below.