Hunting on the bag limit (The maximum number of

Hunting
is a very multidimensional issue which encompasses many different
ways to kill wild animals. Because some forms of hunting are much
more problematic than others, I will be excluding poaching and trophy
hunting; poaching because it is illegal in every part of the world,
and it entails trespassing, typically onto protected land, to hunt
endangered animals, which is misuse of hunting, and does not
represent the justness of hunting itself. I’ve excluded trophy
hunting because it does not make use of the death of the animal, it
is merely killed for fun and to keep the animal’s “heads, hides or
pelts”,1
or even its entire taxidermied body as a trophy, which is absolutely
unethical as it leaves the rest of the animal, including all of it’s
meat, to rot. This leaves only food game hunting and meat hunting,
both of which I will refer to as “hunting” from now on. These two
entail hunting specified animals with the intention of using their
meat, and abiding by set regulations on the bag limit (The maximum
number of animals of a certain species one hunter can have on his
person at a time), the time of year, and location which the hunting
occurs.

Many
opponents of hunting state that it causes undue harm to animals. This
is false. Assuming that animals suffer more when killed via hunting
rather than other natural means, it still provides food and clothing
for those that need it most, specifically in rural areas where other
foods are either unhealthy, unattainable, or end up causing even more
harm to animals. For certain remote parts of Alaska and Canada, in
the long winter there is a lack of vegetables, and most store bought
foods are either extremely taxed from import fees,2
or are extremely processed and harvested from abused farm animals3.
That is why the vast majority of families in these locations choose
to go out and hunt, and yield tens of pounds of fresh meat and an
entire hide, which can feed and cloth their family for weeks. The
alleged “undue harm to animals”, if assumed true, is still
completely just as the consequences of this action are good and
outweigh the death of one animal life and produces the greatest
amount of utility. Thus, through the lens of utilitarianism, hunting
is absolutely justified.

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Other
opponents state that hunting is unnecessary, that you could take up
another non-lethal hobby and eat meat from the store for the sake of
not personally harming an animal. Hunting is not a necessity, but
that does not make it unjust. If a person decides one morning that
they will go on a hunt, bag a deer, come home and eat it all while
abiding by their local hunting regulations, nothing should prevent
them from utilizing their personal autonomy. They get fresher meat,
the hide, a day spent out in nature, all for less than the cost of
some processed beef in the store. This is clearly in the best self
interest of the person, and thus, through the lens of ethical egoism,
it is the morally justified action. It does not end there, as who is
to say that a deer has more right to live than a cow, or a chicken?
The deer is actually the more just death of the two, as it had it’s
chance to live a free natural life in the wild before its death,
while farm animals are confined to cages and slaughtered with no
chance of escape.

But this
is but one side of the issue. What happens to our Earth when hunting,
done by those who don’t absolutely need it to survive, continues for
years to come? Our great wildlife will begin weakening and its
population shrinking. As we continue expanding our cities and towns,
the places for these animals to live become smaller and smaller, and
they no longer have an escape from the hunters. They begin running
into major roads out of fear and get hit by cars.4
The strongest best examples of the species are plucked off by hunters
looking for the biggest, strongest buck with the most horns,
effectively negating natural selection and making it so that only the
weakest bucks end up reproducing, leaving “permanent consequences
for the species as a whole.”5
At this rate, we will eventually drive these animals to extinction as
we nearly have in the past,6
but for now many still rely on them for food and clothing. If we
don’t realize the consequences of our actions now, we will be left
with no alternative food and clothing sources for these people when
the time comes. Animals are not a renewable resource and if we don’t
develop means to rid ourselves of our dependence to hunting animals,
our utility will be completely minimized. If we become independent of
hunting as a society, the consequences of this will be better for
almost all parties, maximize utility, preserve nature, lower the
frequency of car accidents from striking deer, and still feed and
cloth those who need it most. Consequently, through utilitarianism,
hunting is entirely not just, and becoming self sufficient as a
society would make the world a better place for all.

Advocates
of hunting state that hunting is an affordable way to go out, spend
some time in nature, and get some fresh meat and some hide. Is this
worth tampering with and disturbing nature and taking a life? Animals
contribute more to society than just raw material resources. They
bring great beauty, help fertilize crops, and maintain the ever
shrinking sanctity of nature. If hunting brings the small
gratification of a meal and some clothing, it is heavily outweighed
by the far reaching benefits of animal conservation. Thus, it would
be in ones best interest to not hunt, but to help conserve animals,
let them contribute to society, and keep the earth preserved.
Therefore, through ethical egoism, hunting is not justified as it is
not in ones best self interest to hunt.

As for
my own opinion, I believe it is
very easy to become emotive in your decision on hunting. Many animal
rights groups capitalize on this by utilizing sad images of animals
being hunted, abused, and tortured. I, however, will remain
objective. For hunting to be morally just, for me, it needs to meet
certain criteria. The proper regulations need to put into place and
enforced to prevent poaching, abuse, and over-hunting. Hunting must
be absolutely necessary for survival to some. Hunting for fun or to
save money and not out of necessity, in the long run, will have very
bad consequences for the animal population, and for their well-being
as a species. Because in many places the proper rules are set into
place, and many people still hunt purely out of necessity, I can
objectively say that hunting is morally just. If in the future
alternatives are readily available for those who need it most, one
would have to argue for tradition and human autonomy to keep hunting
legal, which to me does not hold much weight as an argument.

In
conclusion, hunting is the oldest means of man feeding himself dating
back to hunter-gatherer societies, but as time has gone on, we no
longer have a universal necessity for this action. Some, however, do
absolutely rely on hunting, and weighing the ethical wrongs of
hunting with the material needs that some people are dependent on
that only hunting provides is something that only you can decide for
yourself.

1The
Humane Society Of The United States, Trophy Hunting

2Lauren
Strapagiel, Huffington Post Canada, Nunavut Food Prices: Poverty,
High Costs Of Northern Businesses Leave Some Inuit Unable To Cope
With Expenses, 06/11/2012

3The
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Factory
Farms

4The
Journal of Wildlife Management,
Relationship of Autumn Hunting Season to the Frequency of
Deer-Vehicle Collisions in Michigan, 2006

5Doris
Lin, Thought Co., Is Hunting Ever Defensible?, 2017

6Deer
Friendly, The Decline of Deer Populations

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