A few weeks ago, I wrote a post in which I explained why sports fishing is unethical. Sports fishing is something that some people do for fun. Today I want to discuss another hobby that includes killing: hunting. Unfortunately for the animals, there are still some people which hunt. But I would like to believe that it’s a dying hobby. Here’s why hunting is unethical and why it should be illegal too.
In The Netherlands, about two million animals are killed by hunters every year. 2 million! Those 2 million animals are killed by a small group of hunters. The numbers tell us that about 28.000 people hunt in the Netherlands. If we would ban hunting, we would save 2 million lives every year, in The Netherlands alone. Hunting is also a driver of biodiversity loss worldwide. All that for a hobby.
Most hunters are men and I believe that most hunters hunt because they think it affirms their masculinity. I just can’t believe that they honestly take pleasure out of taking a life. But when you ask hunters why they hunt, they will usually come up with other reasons. The most common heard argument is that of pest control (which I’ll discuss later). Or they say that it’s the best way to eat meat (something else I would like to discuss later). I think that’s straight up bull-shit.
Hunters identify as a hunter. They see it as part of their identity. The majority of hunters these days are men. And I think they enjoy hunting as a hobby because it affirms their masculinity. At least, they think so. Masculinity has nothing to do with killing or bringing food to the table. But if you follow traditional gender roles, you do think so. And so, when someone says hunting is unethical, they threaten your identity. I think that’s the reason why hunters are always to aggressive to criticism.
But in the end, I consider hunting a hobby. If you live in The Netherlands, or any other place where you can grow food, you do not have to eat dead animals to survive. Therefore, you do not have to kill. And so, there’s no reason to hunt. Hunting is a hobby. And that’s completely insane. Killing living beings, who have feelings and can experience pain, as a hobby. In my opinion, hunting is a hobby that fuels mostly men that need to affirm their masculinity in a ridiculous way. Or they kill because they sincerely enjoy it, but that can’t be true.
A better life?
I’ve explained plenty of times why killing is unethical if there’s no necessity. So now, let’s get to the other arguments. Some people who hunt say that hunting is the best way to eat meat. The animals have a good life, since they’re free. And then, at one moment, they’re killed in a blink of an eye. This argument has multiple flaws. Let’s agree that if you would need to eat meat, hunting is the best (by saying this people usually mean the most ethical) way to do it. But no, this is not true. The most ethical way to eat, is a plant-based diet. Once again, this argument assumes we need to eat meat. We don’t. And so, the most ethical thing to do is to go vegan.
But then I’d like to add something else. The story about an animal living in peace and then it being killed within a blink of an eye is a fairy-tale. Hunting does not work like that. Very often it happens that animals are shot, but not killed. This leads them to flee in panic and pain, and then they’ll eventually die a slow death. It is very hard to kill an animal within one shot. And hunters are humans, we make mistakes all the time. That’s a very important part of why hunting is unethical.
And besides that, hunting does not only include shooting animals. Traps are also a part of hunting. Animals are lured into cages by (sometimes live) bait and are then trapped. They either starve or are eventually killed by the hunters. Some traps are extremely painful, because they trap a specific limp of the animal (like their paw).
Using other animals
But the story of hunting gets even more cruel. That’s because hunters often use other animals to hunt for them. These animals are usually dogs. They teach dogs to bite the animals. This leads to these dogs biting the animals live, causing them to suffer and die very slowly. I have seen footage of goose being grabbed by such dogs and I can tell you: this is not nice to see.
Pest control on cropland
Then the next non-argument: pest control. Hunters say they need to kill animals to keep the eco-system in balance. There are many flaws to this argument. The first thing is: most hunting happens cropland. And to be specific: monoculture-cropland. Entire fields filled with only one crop, like potatoes. There’s no eco-system in place to balance things out and so you get pests. For instance, certain birds who eat lettuce of the land.
But the pests are not the problem here. We look at the wrong element. Yes, it’s shitty for the farmers that the birds eat their crops. But the farmers themselves have created this problem, because they farm a monoculture. If you have a biodynamic farm with multiple elements, you would not have these pests, since the system is in balance. Want to see the most amazing example of such a farm? Watch The Biggest Little Farm on Netflix and see for yourself.
Pest control on non-cropland
The argument against using hunting as pest control on cropland goes for all other places too. Sometimes there’s a plague of one species in a specific area. But again: the problem is never the pest. The problem usually is that we have very little nature left on this planet, where a natural eco-system can develop. How come that we have so little nature? Read more here. And if we have areas where nature can thrive, it’s always enclosed. There’s a limit to the area and so the pests can never resolve itself. We need to let nature thrive, so that species are in balance and have natural predators. We need more nature to do so, and all nature should be connected somehow.
And also, now that I’m writing this post, it’s 2022. Even if we’d maintain the monoculture croplands and the lack of enough nature and refuse to change the system, we still do not need to hunt. There are modern techniques available to control pests on cropland and elsewhere. Think of things like sound systems or light systems. We humans always think of ourselves as smart. Why don’t we use that knowledge to stop the unnecessary killing?
Balance in eco-system
In my ideal world hunting would be illegal and considered highly unethical. But also, in my ideal world humans would not take up so much land, leaving way more room for nature to thrive. This way the eco-system can balance itself and intervention would not even be necessary anymore. To do so, we need more nature, and all nature should be connected, so that animals can travel long distances. We need to learn how to live in harmony with the natural world.
Not hunting is the bare minimum
So, that’s why hunting is unethical and also simply unnecessary. But not hunting is the bare minimum we can do. We need to do something actively against this injustice if we want to make a difference. I know of two quite effective ways to do so. One is online and one is offline. The online way is to join Animal Rights in the Netherlands. They collectively send legal objections to municipalities and provinces about upcoming hunting events. If you want to hunt in the Netherlands you have to get a permit to do so. This is usually an almost-automatic process. Nobody at the municipalities and provinces really cares. But if you send a legal objection and oppose the permits, civil servants are forced to take a look at the law. And usually, the permit they grant is illegal, leading the hunting to permit to be cancelled.
Another quite effective way is also with Animal Rights. At Animal Rights they have a very active group of activists which visit the places where hunters are about to hunt (as the information is public). Once there, they try to talk to the hunters, but they also try to scare the animals away by making loud noises. I think this may be one of the most effective ways of activism, you can literally save hundreds of animals this way. But I have to be honest, I only do the online part (not at Animal Rights, but at BiteBack). I guess I’m a bit too scared to be confronted with hunters haha. But maybe one day I’ll join the offline activists, who knows!
So, that’s why hunting is unethical! Do you agree with me?