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July 27, 2012: Caged hunting

Caged hunting is the practice of hunting wild animals in a controlled environment, where the number of killed animals is controlled by the organizers/owners of the park. People who support caged hunting claim that it is a sustainable activity, and defend it by saying that, paradoxically, it allows the survival of certain species, which may have otherwise been fully eliminated by uncontrolled hunting.

There are several reasons to avoid engaging in activities such as caged hunting. First off, as far as ethically reprehensible behavior goes, hunting animals for sport is pretty high on the scale. While we promote vegetarianism, there is, at least, an argument to be made for consuming the flesh of living beings in that it provides humans with sustenance. Caged hunting is simply a cruel sport which causes animals to suffer and die for the benefit of a trophy, or the simple "thrill of the kill".

Detractors will say that there is nothing wrong with hunting other animals, and that other animals hunt each other all the time. Our response to this is that other animals hunt because they have no choice. This is the way they are programmed to function, to go on instinct. The reason we were given the power of choice is to be able to choose between good/ethical behavior and bad/unethical behavior. We should use this to choose an ethical, compassionate path. Hunting animals is unethical because it causes unnecessary death and suffering. While death and suffering are an integral part of life, the conscious decision to partake in activities which encourage more death and suffering is unequivocally a step in the wrong direction.

The arguments in support of caged hunting are ultimately flawed, if only because they strive to defend an activity which consciously creates a vicious cycle of death. Even if a certain percentage of the animals are set aside (not killed) in order to maintain the "sustainability" of the activity, the fact remains that most of the animals are raised to be hunted and killed. In this context, the word "sustainability" is laughable, as it is simply used to justify the endless killing cycle. If the owners/supporters honestly cared about these animals, they would fight, like many do in Africa, Asia, and other parts of the world, to set up (and police) animal refuges and nature reserves, which would be as controlled as the caged hunting parks, but without the needless murder. Unfortunately, the fact of the matter is that the supporters of caged hunting don't care about the lives of these animals, and just want to mask their clients' blood lust (and their own lust for money, since hunting wild animals is an expensive activity) with pretty words and excuses.

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