I used to hunt. I gave it up because I lost interest in killing things. Not that I was ever very good at killing things in the first place. I was a terrible shot and most of the things that I shot at walked away unscathed. But I still loved the thrill of the hunt and the act of the kill. Then, one day, I realized that I no longer had the blood-lust so I put away my weapons and moved on to climbing mountains. I say all of this as an introduction to today's topic and to let you know that I think I can understand both sides of the debate about the morality of hunting and killing animals for food and sport. I would like to consider that debate here today.
A man by the name of Jerry Neal wrote an article for the op-ed section of the Denver Post in which he took up the standard arguments in favor of hunting. I think most of you probably know those arguments. If not, here is a brief summary. I was a student of wildlife science for two years in college and I was taught, properly I believe, that the carrying capacity of a range for any animal species is determined by its ability to sustain life during winter conditions. Given the fact that food is less abundant in the dead of winter it necessarily follows that only that number of animals that can eat the scarce supply of food available in winter will survive. Those that do not survive will usually fall prey to predators or starvation followed by predators. Death by starvation or predation is difficult to watch as it involves what appears to be a fair amount of pain and suffering on the part of the victim. Hunting allows for a more animane (my word for "humane" since animals are not humans) way to kill the excess supply of critters.
Since animals usually give birth in the spring the total number of animals roaming the summer range will be higher than the total number of animals that will be sustained by the winter range. Game managers are entrusted with the chore of calculating how many animals can be sustained on a winter range, how many animals actually exist on the summer range, and a good number of total animals to kill before the winter does the job for them. Once that number is established hunters are called in, or allowed in, to kill what is hopefully the proper number of animals. This behavior of hunting and killing is seen as more kind for the animals when compared to the alternative form of death described earlier. It also ensures that animals are not wasted as humans are able to harvest the meat and eat it throughout the year. I have used this argument in the past to defend hunting and killing and I believe it is true.
Bob Davidson wrote a letter to the editor of the newspaper to criticize the position taken by Jerry. He wastes no time showing his philosophical position on hunting when he writes, "I found Jerry Neal's article on the benefits of hunting to be incomplete, unbalanced and self-serving. Neal's position that hunting is ethical and humane disregards both concepts. Instead, he tries to justify a hunter's well-placed shot at a defenseless animal as being better than the animal being attacked and consumed by wolves. Apparently he does not understand that wolves attacking and consuming animals is one of nature's ways of controlling animal populations." I think we can understand Bob's position on the matter so I will not elaborate on it. What caught my attention in Bob's letter was the last clause. He wrote, "wolves attacking and consuming animals is one of nature's ways of controlling animal populations."
I wonder if Bob believes in the religion of evolution? Everyone either believes in the religion of evolution or he does not. Those who believe in evolution, which make up the majority of the citizens of the Socialist Democracy of Amerika, can have no logical complaint with hunting. Man, just like every other creature on the face of the earth that has evolved, has the right to survive. According to one of the tenets of evolution the world runs on the principle of the survival of the fittest. Right now mankind is the fittest. Indeed, right now mankind has the ability to cause the extinction of hundreds of competing species. Frankly I do not understand why evolutionists don't advocate for the worldwide extinction of species that could possibly compete with mankind for world-wide supremacy at some point in the future. I have watched the "Planet of the Apes" movie series and I would start with the primates. That is our moral right as the most evolved species in the world, at least according to the doctrines of evolution. To claim that a species which has evolved to the highest point in the chain does not have the right to behave like the species at the highest point in the chain is sheer lunacy. Men can kill anything they want to kill. They can kill whatever they decide to kill for whatever reason that pleases them. When it comes to men killing other things, there are no rules and everything is, by definition, moral behavior if evolution is true.
On the other hand, I wonder if Bob believes in creation by the God of the Bible? If he does he must certainly be aware that God took the time to inform Noah and his progeny (that would be us) that every animal walking the face of the earth has been given to mankind for food. We can kill and hunt anything we want to kill and hunt. God also informed Noah that a righteous man will not kill something just for the sake of killing it, that killing an animal must be for a specific purpose, but that does not negate the fact that killing animals is just fine in the eyes of God, indeed He often commands it.
Notwithstanding my own evolution of thought on killing animals, it seems clear to me that nobody has a just argument or a moral reason to prohibit it. The fact that I no longer have the stomach for it may mean that I am more or less morally sensitive, I really don't know. I might be good not to want to kill something or I might just be a silly wimp who is detached from the real world. I do know that I am not about to give up eating meat and animals have to die for me to do so. I am just glad that there is someone else willing to do the killing. Maybe the anti-hunters should adopt my position. Live and let live and let the hunters do what they like to do.