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Sam Kolman writes for www.pittnews.com
(Univ. of Pittsburgh) but no source was given for this article that
is being distributed by National Trappers Association.
By SAM KOLMAN
March 22, 2006
Not long ago, Vice President Dick Cheney went hunting for quail with
one of his friends on a ranch in Texas and accidentally shot him in
the face and chest. The news made headlines nationally. After
reading what had happened, I couldn't help but question the moral
justification for hunting: taking the life of an innocent animal for
When the Native Americans were the prominent people in North
America, in the 18th and 19th centuries, they would hunt and utilize
every part of the animal. The fur would be used for clothing, the
bones for tools and the meat for food. The Native Americans had to
hunt in order to survive; this is not the case today. Machinery now
exists which can produce large amounts of clothing from cotton and
wool, and genetic engineering has revolutionized the way food can
now be produced. Hunting back then was a necessity to survive; today
it is simply a means of enjoyment.
I feel this activity is largely unjustified because it takes the
life of a living creature for an unworthy purpose. There are many
other more humane ways to have fun rather than going out with a 28-
gauge shotgun and killing an animal.
One of the things I find particularly appalling associated with
hunting is mounting the heads of killed animals on the walls. What
meaningful purpose does it serve? To me it symbolizes a sickening
portrayal of manliness a way of showing others how physically
tough a person can be in hopes of commanding some superficial type
In reality, though, an elk with 5-foot-long antlers hanging from the
wall is hardly a display of strength or toughness. It stands no
chance against an automatic rifle.
I don't mean to suggest that humans should not utilize the resources
of animals, but rather they be just and appreciative when doing so.
I feel eating meat is also permissible, providing those who eat it
are grateful for it. This might mean saying a blessing or taking
some time to acknowledge the fact that something was killed in order
for there to be meat. Humbling one's self and not taking the goods
of an animal for granted is a way of ensuring appreciation for life
a principle I feel elevates our status as humans and separates us
Hunting today neglects all appreciation for life and exploits it in
the worst way possible, for pleasure and pride. It's even considered
a sport. The goal is to kill as many animals as possible or catch
the biggest animal possible in an allotted time frame. How can
someone morally justify taking part in such a "sport"?
Competitive fishing is one such example. Those who engage in it do
so in order to catch the biggest fish, with the intention of
breaking records and inspiring admiration in others. This is a
superficial and meaningless goal.
Leisurely fishing is also unjustified, though less so than
competitive fishing, because harm is still being transmitted to the
animal. Even if the fish is thrown back into the water, it has still
sustained an unjustified injury one that imparts pleasure to the
And one could further argue that if leisurely fishing was justified,
shooting a moose in the foot or wounding the wing of a bird would be
as well. Eventually the appendage would heal, but the animal would
incur unnecessary injury.
To regard the lives of other living creatures as worthless is
immoral and unjustified. There's a fine line between hunting for
food and being thankful for it, and hunting for the purposes of self-
E-mail Sam at email@example.com.
That is, if you have an appreciation for life.