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July 5, 2012: The case against hunting

Originally posted on this blog.

We at EFFA are against hunting animals for sport, since we believe that one should avoid any activities which promote the suffering and death of other living beings. When it comes to hunting animals for food, we believe that this is best avoided as well, whenever possible. Hypothetically speaking, there might be situations when one has to kill another animal to survive, but chances are you will never really be in that sort of situation, and can, instead, choose not to partake in this negative activity.

In the past several decades, defenders of hunting have began to use more socially acceptable reasons to justify this activity. One of their favorite justifications is that hunting is necessary to correct certain imbalances of nature. We must kill off a certain percentage of deer, they say for example, in order to control their population, and to prevent overpopulation. This approach is both unethical and unnecessary - unethical because it promotes killing, and unnecessary because it ignores the fact that when left alone, an ecosystem controls population levels naturally. It is important to remember that it is we who are responsible for unnatural population levels through our destruction of natural habitats, our killing off of predators, and other intrusive behavior. Nature always finds a way to even things out. It requires no help from us. More killing is not the answer. Controlling population through the taking of lives is not the answer. If we truly want to maintain proper population levels in a certain ecosystem, we must work to ensure is that there are nature reserves that are large enough to naturally maintain correct population levels of species. This is not an easy thing to establish, especially considering the historical tendency to ignore natural habitats, to impose our will on other species, and to opt for the easy way out. It is, however, part of the ethical solution to the problem. We must also learn to better coexist with other species in our own areas, cities, and homes, instead of considering them nuisances. What we often believe to be "unbearable" circumstances that "need to be remedied", is nothing more than our inability to see beyond our selfishness, to the fact that other animals want to live as well.

Defenders of hunting often state that other animals hunt each other all the time, and that since we are animals as well, it is natural for us to do the same. The main thing to remember is that we, unlike other animals, have the ability to choose. The reason we have this ability, among other things, is to be able to choose between doing good and doing bad, between positive actions and negative actions. Causing harm and killing other innocent beings are negative actions. Animals donít have this ability to choose, so they hunt each other. They donít know any better. We do, or at least we should. Pretending that you donít have a choice is simply a justification of a bad choice. We should use our brains, and say no to activities like hunting which promote the suffering and death of other animals. There are many sports out there which donít involve animals. If you really want to shoot something, get together with a bunch of friends and play a game of paintball.

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