Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Hunting and Morality

Why this post? Because today I was upset by a post on a forum I moderate (not by the poster). Why was I upset? Because of the issues direct or implied in this letter/message to a forum member (Edited to add the link to the post mentioned and to correct spelling. Also note that the actual source is in question.).
I am a single parent of a 12 year old who has taken an interest in hunting after watching several hunting related TV shows. There are no hunters in my family and we are not gun owners. I was extremely reluctant to allow this activity but a Mom has to support her child's wishes if she is to ever bond with them into adulthood. I have always thought killing animals was cruel and unnecessary. However, the TV shows speak of the fairness and good nature of hunters that I would like to have seen.

I found your website by searching for a hunt for a complete beginner. I then researched a number of leads including other sites. I found website you referred to on your website, Paco Kelly's Leverguns.com. Initially I thought I had found a place where gentleman spoke of guns and hunting responsibly. I almost gave in to my child's wishes.

Then I came upon this topic For All Hunters of Domestic Felines. The title struck my as peculiar. How do you hunt Domestic anything, let alone cats? After looking at the conversation, I am appalled! My concerns of hunters having a killing mindset and little or no reverence for animals has been confirmed. I find it disgusting that the participants feel it is appropriate to kill an animal just because it is homeless or unfortunate. How much damage could a few stray animals wreak? Society has created the animal control units to address this type of situation. Advocating the killing on site of animals for no reason, even before the animal is seen doing anything objective is not acceptable in today's society and I feel is wrong and unnecessary. I would not be surprised if it is illegal too!

I would have put this on the website in question, but I refuse to join as a "member" in order to get into the conversation. You seem to have a legitimate family oriented business, so I wanted you to know that you are referring people to a group of blood thirsty individuals that do nothing for your businesses image.

I guess a thank you is in order. My fears have been confirmed and my children WILL NOT be participating in hunting or guns with a group of outrageous animal killers with no conscience!
Not unexpectedly a reasoned approach as stated by myself and others was disregarded and we were lumped in with "outrageous animal killers with no conscience" (wherever else she might have found them). However, I noticed that there were very few such in that topic which is why it will remain up and unlocked. In other words, I thought that the joy killer(s) (there may not have even been one) were far outweighed by the voices of reasoned response. So, it seems to me that this lady was another who made an unreasoned, i.e. illogical, response to the topic. Either she didn't read all the posts or she allowed her personal prejudices to overcome reason. As I pointed out in the topic, the subject matter invariably excites and polarizes those involved in the discussion so why should we expect differently of somebody with no actual knowledge of hunting, biology, wildlife management, or shooting. Of course she would depend on her uninformed prejudices to draw a more comfortable/politically-correct conclusion.

While I'm disappointed that this particular 12 year-old's single mom is unable to raise her son as I wish he was raised, I feel no particular responsibility for her inability to deal with reality.

What concerns me more is that this young man has had and will have a particularly skewed and emotion based world view that doesn't allow for other points of view or support logical thinking.

In my experience many/most such folks who have an unreasoning fear (to use her word) of guns and abhorrence of hunting live lives of innumerable incongruities.

For example, many oppose hunting because of the killing but they ignore the many ways in which their own lifestyles kill wild animals. Whether it is their windmill power generation or gas powered car, their use of leather & wool or synthetics, even their consumption of vegetables and "renewable" resources such as cotton, all these things result in wild animal deaths and/or loss of habitat. Those losses to animal populations are far worse than the number of animals killed by legitimate/licensed hunters. But their inconsistencies extend beyond hunting to their purchase of goods from countries like the People's Republic of China when the PRC is currently polluting at a rate far greater than the US.

As to the subject of housecats, even the State of California has been moved to produce a handout on the subject:
Listen! What’s that rustling in the bushes? It’s not wildlife, it’s a housecat!
Untamed domestic, or “feral,” housecats are commonly found on city streets, and are being seen more and more frequently in our state parks.
Where do they come from and why are there
so many?

Pet owners faced with unwanted cats may abandon them outdoors, sometimes in parks.
Well-meaning people then feed these cats, sometimes following a plan where the cats are trapped, neutered, possibly vaccinated, and re-released in an outdoors location. Problems inherent in this approach include:
• Cats will continue to be dumped where people think they will be fed.
• Catching all cats before they reproduce is impossible, so the number of cats increases.
• A large number of cats in one area, and cat food, attracts predators and other animals and encourages the spread of disease.
• People may stop putting out food, leaving the cats to try to survive on their own.
What is the problem with cats in parks?
Cats catch and kill small mammals, birds,reptiles and amphibians—it is their habit as
predators—and by doing so they compete with native predators. Studies have found
that the typical housecat allowed to roam outdoors brings home more than 50 small
mammals, birds, and lizards per year. This number would be even higher for feral cats
living in our state parks. Additionally, feral cats also pose a public health risk, from bites and scratches to rabies and other diseases that can be passed to both
wildlife and humans. Feral cats live difficult, often painful lives, exposed to a host of dangers including bad weather, accidental injury, intentional harm, predation by dogs and wildlife, injury from other cats, and disease.
What is park policy on feral cats?
Housecats do not belong in our state parks. To willfully abandon any animal is prohibited by state law, and the feeding of feral cats within state parks is specifically prohibited by state regulations. Whenever possible, cats are
humanely trapped by park staff or animal control agencies and removed to local animal
shelters, where they often must be euthanized.
What can you do?
Visitors should report feral cats and feeding stations to park staff when cats are seen in undeveloped areas of the park. Please do not feed cats, or any wildlife, in
state parks.
Clearly feral and released housecats ARE a problem. Indeed, even Cornell University has produced something on the subject.

So what about hunting, generally speaking? Well, hunting has fed mankind for thousands of years. Are we to look back on our ancestors as horrible people? Hunting has protected crops for thousands of years. Are we to look on farmers as horrible people?

I'm going to have to continue this later...

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