Exploring the Ethics of Modern Day Hunting

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I grew up in southern Louisiana, exposed to generations-long traditions of trapping, shrimping, hunting, and fishing. These traditions are deeply intertwined in the area’s cultural and economic identities. As a child, I pondered the ethics and necessity of hunting, but not in those terms––Was it really fair to the animals? Didn’t they have a right to live, just like people? I named house-spiders and objected to killing them; I pampered my dog Elvira; and I named squirrels, snakes, birds, and even wasps. I believed, and still do, that animals are living, feeling creatures that deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. I am also a hunter. Although irrefutably a “blood sport,” hunting is ethical and necessary even in modern times because it provides proper management and conservation of wildlife, is more humane than industrial farming, and harms fewer animals than a widely adopted vegan diet would. It is a common notion that hunting isn’t fair to animals, that they have right to be free from human intervention. However, hunters lead conservation efforts in the United States. They do more to help preserve wildlife habitats, which is essential to wildlife welfare, than any other group. Indeed, habitat destruction poses a greater risk to wildlife today than hunting and conservation helps promote animal welfare. On the surface, these claims may seem counterintuitive. Hunters in the United States, however, fund wildlife conservation more than any other sources combined. According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, “Hunters contribute over $1.6 billion annually to conservation. Hunters are without peer when it comes to funding the perpetuation and conservation of wildlife natural habitats” (“Hunting” 6). Without these f... ... middle of paper ... ...Least Harm Principle May Require that Humans Consume a Diet Containing Large Herbivores, Not a Vegan Diet.” Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 16 (2003): 387-394. Web. 01 Nov. 2013. . “Deer vs. Durango.” snopes.com Web. 05 Nov. 2013. Photograph. . “Hunting in America: An Economic Force for Conservation.” National Shooting Sports Foundation Research. NSSF, Jan 2013. Web. 27 Sept 2013. . Regan, Tom. “The Case for Animal Rights.” In Defense of Animals. Ed. Peter Singer. New York: Basil, 1985. 13-26. The Animal Rights Library. Web. 28 Sept. 2013. .

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