Should hunting be for sport?
December 10, 2018
Staff writers Megan Kelly and Grace Bodmer discuss whether hunting should or should not be done for sport.
Hunting should not be for sport
Here in Poolesville, hunting is an extremely popular activity among local students and members of the community. However, as a non-native, the practice is foreign to me. I don’t see the joy or value at getting up at 4 am, dressing in all camo, and staking out animals to kill. In today’s society, with the agricultural practices and rapid production of ready to cook meat, why is it necessary to further kill animals for sport? Why are innocent animals killed to serve as grotesque trophies?
While I can see the environmental benefits of hunting when populations threaten the stability of an ecosystem, according to Glenn Kirk of California-based organization The Animals Voice, hunting also results in “loss of biological diversity, genetic integrity, and ecological balance” in many environments (Scientific American). Additionally, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) contends that a large majority of the animals that are hunted in the US- waterfowl, rabbits, squirrels, raccoons, foxes- “do not require population control” and yield “minimal sustenance”. When Yellowstone National Park faced the problem of over-population of Yellowstone Elk, the wildlife biologists at Yellowstone decided to reintroduce the wolf population in order to alleviate the pressure on resources the elk had caused. Not only did the newly introduced wolves help control the elk population, but their presence had other unintentional benefits for the rest of the ecosystem as well. Prior to introducing the wolf population, there was only one beaver dam, but afterwards there were 9.. This example serves as a healthy and natural alternative to hunting overpopulated species. (Yellowstone Park)
Hannah Helfert, an ISP senior, is animal rights activist who grew up hunting, and still supports the practice. Hannah is a vegan, but sees no problem with the practice of hunting if the animal is killed for meat, as she strictly opposes the meat industry and its environmental impact. Hannah is a believer in “only kill what you eat”, and says the problem with hunting is when it becomes a sport, where animals are killed for poaching.
Ultimately, the ethical question is this: why should animals be killed if not for necessity? If the hunting is done so that the animal does not suffer and is used for meat, it’s understandable. However, killing for sport or trophy is unnecessary and wasteful.
Hunting should be allowed for sport
Hunting at Poolesville High School is a fairly common activity to encounter. Hunting animals like deer and ducks is a sport that many take pride in through having their game mounted, eating it, or selling it for a profit. As long as hunting is practiced in a legal manner on animals who are not in the endangered category, it is a sport that does not cause much harm. Practicing hunting on animals such as elephants, rhinos, and other animals who are being killed for trophy and are beginning to become endangered is a harmful activity. The hunting of animals like deer, who are vastly overpopulated in Maryland, is not going to cause a great deal of harm because the surplus of deer is causing harm as well. Some students at Poolesville High School were brought onto a property to hunt deer because there were far too many and they were harming the crops being grown. This type of hunting that is allowed and encouraged in this specific situation with the proper paperwork and licensing is acceptable and sometimes necessary. However, the hunting of endangered or wild species in places like Africa where animals are less commonly hunted seems less ethical.
Aside from the ethical perspective, many of these animals being hunted for trophy are not overpopulating their environment, and the killings are causing large problems since the animals have huge impacts on their habitat, such as African elephants. The hunting ritual should be considered acceptable or unacceptable based off of the impact the hunt is having on nature. Hunting for food, hunting overpopulated animals, or hunting animals that would not cause a crisis in the habitat are acceptable reasons for the hunt. However, the hunting of animals who are endangered or affect the habitat, animals that are illegal to hunt, or the cruel hunting of animals is an unethical reason for hunting. The rhino hunt that is going viral on the internet is so momentous because it shows a cruel way of hunting these rhinos. The hunters are removing their tusks in an aggressive manner and leaving them to bleed out in the wild. This and other examples of hunting are not ethical because they cause the animal unnecessary amounts of pain. Animals should not be subject to this torture or any hunting at all if they are endangered and the killing of the animal will threaten the wellbeing of the habitat.