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. 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.
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.
6. It claims other, nontarget victims.
Hunting accidents often injure or kill horses, cows, dogs, cats, hikers, and other hunters. According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, thousands of human injuries are attributed to hunting every year in the U.S. Hunters are at risk of being injured not only by other hunters but also by animals, who may see them as a threat and attack.
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.
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. Educate others about hunting!