Hunting has changed greatly throughout history, and is continuing to change for the future. This website follows these changes from history into the future and challenges all to re-imagine how they view hunting.
My Ethical Dilemma
Growing up, I always viewed hunting as a pointless and vicious power trip of man over nature. Maybe it was because I grew up in a suburb outside the city rather than the rural South, or because Bambi’s mother getting shot was engraved into my mind as a child, but hunting just never seemed right to me. Then the time came that I started to consider the way that Native Americans hunted for their food, in a respectful manner and using as much of the animal as they could, never over-hunting or hunting just for the sheer joy of killing for sport. I began to think that this type of hunting was okay. Then I became a vegetarian, and eventually the vegan I am today. My view of hunting in regards to the way Native Americans did it in the past when it was necessary for survival remains the same, but I face an ethical dilemma when it comes to hunting today. I struggle with respecting cultural aspects of hunting and the huge conservation efforts that hunting has provided throughout history while still holding on to my belief that it is wrong to harm or kill any sentient being.1 The ethical dilemma of how hunting has impacted conservation was completely unbeknownst to me until very recently as I began researching the history of hunting. After discovering the huge impact aristocratic hunters in the past have made on the conservation movement, even more so than anti-hunting conservationists, I struggle with respecting sport hunters for their positive environmental impact, while hating the idea of killing as a sport and how removed from nature hunting is today, specifically in America.2
- A philosophy class I took once with Professor Gary Steiner greatly helped me to shape my views and better articulate how I feel about hunting. Here’s an excerpt from Steiner that helps articulate this: “In this turn away from rationality and toward science, some people see the promise of a more satisfactory approach to the moral status of animals. After all, isn’t sentience (again: the capacity to suffer) perhaps the most poignant indication that we and animals share essentially the same lot in life, namely, to be moral, to be thrust into a cosmos that appears to have no essential meaning, and to suffer unto the death that inevitably awaits us?” — Gary Steiner, “Animals as Subjects and the Rehabilitation of Humanism,” in Critical Animal Studies: Thinking the Unthinkable (Toronto: Canadian Scholars Press, 2014), 81. ↩
- I would also like to recognize that while I am completely against hunting, there are few exceptions in which I think it is acceptable. These being: 1. If someone is one of very few humans with a rare disease in which their body needs meat to survive or 2. If one is part of a group that lives in an area acclimated to conditions in which animals are one of very few sources and are therefore necessary for survival. I do not agree with hunting for sport, for fun or for food if other means of food are possible, and, as previously stated, still struggle with hunting to help conservation efforts. ↩