"Of all the animals, man is the only one that is cruel.
He is the only one that inflicts pain for the pleasure of doing it."
- Mark Twain
More than 100 million animals are killed each year in the US. This number is staggering, but doesn't reflect the entire situation. It is estimated that for every animal killed and claimed by a hunter, at least two other hurt and unrecovered animals die slowly and painfully from blood loss, infection, or starvation. The 'lucky' ones suffer permanent injury.
Even if the hunter does not succeed in killing animals, he is still harming them. The hunter is intruding upon nature's delicate balance. The constant chase leads to great anxiety and stress for the animals, which can interfere with their abilities to eat and store necessary fat for surviving the winter. Also, stray buckshot, garbage left behind, recreational vehicles, campfires, and other foreign elements introduced by hunters wreak havoc on the environment
Here are some statistics of animals hunted for 1988-1989, compiled from the Fund for Animals and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Keep in mind that these numbers only represent the animals killed and claimed by licensed hunters. (these are US stats...if you know of similar Canadian stats, please let me know!)
White-Tailed Deer -
Mule Deer -
Wild Turkey -
Black Bear -
Bighorn Sheep -
Mountain Lion -
Mountain Goat -
Brown Bear -
Musk Ox -
The numbers are staggering aren't they? That's not all though...birds aren't spared from cruelty. Here are some stats of the number of birds hunted:
Mourning Dove -
Reasons hunters hunt..and why they're invalid
Hunters claim they have a 'right' to hunt because it's tradition, for food and/or legal. It is traditional in the respect that it has been going on for hundreds of years. When it first started, do you really think that the people wouldn't have preferred to go down to their local store to buy food? They hunted because they had to...it was the only food choice. That is not so today. As for it being legal, yes, but legal and moral do not always go hand in hand. At one point in time owning slaves was legal, but times change. Society acted to protect the slaves and the same must be done for the animals.
Other hunters explain that hunting is a sport
they take part in. Sport??? Let's compare it to my favourite sport. Hockey - two teams; equal members per team with equal equipment; set rules that all are aware of. Hunting - hunters vs. animals; guns, crossbows, etc. vs. no equipment; the hunters set the rules and the animals aren't even aware there's a game on! If you don't like my hockey analogy, try the same thing with any other sport...you'll see my point.
Another argument for hunting that I've heard has been to control the animal population.
Animals have been doing that themselves for hundreds of years...they don't need humans for that!
They can manage their numbers with their predator/prey relationships and availability of food and
habitat. Humans killing off animals messes with nature's own balance.
There is another issue here though. Hunting actually increases the number of animals, which will keep the hunters claiming the control excuse. In any one area, there are a number of deer...half does and half bucks. Not all of them mate; on average, there is one fawn born per year for every three adult deer. Hunters mainly kill bucks, which results in many more does for every buck left. Bucks don't have to spend as much time defending their territory from other bucks, so they have more time to mate. This creates a 'surplus' of deer in the fall. The reduction in bucks also results in more food for the does, which can increase their chances of having twins.
Simply put, with each buck that's shot, the deer population grows.
The most ridiculous reason for hunting that I've heard has been that hunting is a way to enjoy nature. Enjoying nature by destroying part of it? That has got to be the most backwards logic I've ever heard! It doesn't make sense to me that someone would want to kill off part of what they 'enjoy'. Is the killing the enjoyment or is it nature? If it's nature, then hunters can go out and shoot animals...with cameras, not guns.
"Until we have the courage to recognize cruelty for what it is
whether its victim
is human or animal
we cannot expect things to be much better in this world...
cannot have peace among men
whose hearts delight in killing any living creature.
By every act that glorifies or even tolerates such moronic delight in killing
set back the progress of humanity."
- Rachel Carson (marine biologist)