So, now that hunting season has come around (as if deer season is the only season, ever) I have been reminded of the various anti-hunting viewpoints that have come around.
One that I have taken particular note of is usually in some form of rebuttal to the conservation aspect of hunting. Namely, the argument that it is impossible for one to have an interest in conserving nature and an appreciation of nature’s beauty while at the same time blowing it away with a shotgun or severing it with a broadhead.
In particular I’m looking more closely at the idea of killing and destroying things we find beautiful. Note, things we find beautiful. Many hunters do, indeed find nature beautiful. That buck was beautiful, those geese were beautiful. Some might find some animals more beautiful than others, but you get the idea. I would like to think that most serious hunters feel this way, although one must be careful to avoid the True Scotsman fallacy here. You can usually note these hunters by the pride they take in their kills. How they decorate their homes, and how they treat the products of their kills. Obviously, there’s a difference between someone who beads crows because they annoy him and someone who is hunting coyote for pelts or some such.
If you hear hunters talk, and fishers for that matter, you’ll hear them talk in awe of many impressive animals they’ve seen and hunted over the years.
So it seems like some kind of strange doublethink, right? How can you think something is beautiful and kill it? How can you spend hours chatting about how smart coyotes and turkeys are and then blow them away? Impossible right?
Well… when was the last time you picked a flower?
But, you say, a flower doesn’t feel.
Whether or not an organism merely possesses a nervous system and a brain, isn’t really an issue for some of us. Leaving a turkey or deer to live, isn’t preserving its life or preventing its suffering. I can’t speak for everyone, but that is how I see it. Taking advantage of human nature, using hunting to provide funds and hunter interest to motivate hunter interest in conservation and environmental issues is crucial and smart. And I would prefer the animals be wild, abundant, and hunted than caged, scarce, and poached. Or worse, domesticated like cattle.
Where I live, pretty much every water source is polluted. Our State’s fishing manual gives instructions on which waterways you can safely fish and how many fish you can eat from which one. When I see someone saying that environmental issues are “boogeymen” or “overplayed” or “it’s all been cleaned up, what’s the fuss”? I bet they aren’t a hunter or fisher, or I bet they can afford to hunt in less polluted areas. Engage them from this angle. Imagine how much better off the environment would have to be if people could hunt and fish close to home, just about wherever they were… and if a huge variety of species were available to hunt, and if they weren’t full of poison. Think of the implications of that. What the prerequisite environmental conditions would have to be.