Arguments For and Against Hunting
Hunting is said to be an important part of conservation and species population control in many managed natural environments. However, it can also be argued that hunting is an unnecessary form of animal cruelty.
One of the main arguments for the pursuit of prey in the wild, whatever weapons are used, is that it allows for population control of species, which in large numbers can damage environments. This is especially true of deer, which in developed countries such as the USA and UK are experiencing a huge population growth. A lack of natural predators in many developed countries means that deer are eating their way through vast chinks of countryside, damaging trees, plant life and crops.
Hunting is an environmentally safe method of culling which replicates natural patterns of population control. In the UK, for example, deer numbers are estimated as being as high as they were in the early Middle Ages. This type of situation leads to a massive imbalance in local environments. Conserving an environment often means giving local populations a stake in their future, and allowing hunting helps with this process.
When hunting has less of a functional purpose, whether for food or for reasons of population control, then there is quite a strong argument against it as a simple leisure pursuit which involves the death of animals for no reason other than sport. This is especially true in countries where pursuing prey with dogs is common. Fox hunting in the UK attracts the ire of many people because it is seen as an ineffective means of pest control, largely enjoyed by members of the upper class.
Human beings have a complex relationship with hunting, and that relationship will probably grow increasingly uncomfortable as time passes and greater pressures are placed on the natural world.
Image: Bergringfoto – Fotolia
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