Against trophy hunting but a meat-eater = hypocrite?

After a number of interesting conversations I've had recently with people on the topic of trophy hunting, it has made me question whether those that are against this sport but partake in another form of murder (meat eating) are in fact hypocrites.

Now let me get this straight: I appreciate that the opponents to trophy hunting have a valid point if (and only if) the sport is undertaken at such a level that it will cause a decline in the wildlife species that are being hunted.  On the grounds of conservation, I too agree that trophy hunting is not sustainable nor advisable if there are too many animals hunted out of the population that reproduction cannot replace.

However, much scientific research (e.g. here, here, here, here, and here) has focused on the sustainability of trophy hunting and concluded time and again that it can in fact benefit wildlife conservation, rather than hinder it.  This is because huge tracts of land are conserved to create habitat for the highly-valuable hunted game.  By doing so, this also creates habitat for many other species right from insects up to birds and predators.  Trophy hunting also ensures that there are clear economic incentives produced by wildlife species, which ensure that people value these animals and therefore protect them.

From www.jeffbahertrophyhunting.com
"Protect them?" you say, "but surely they kill them?!".  To the uninitiated, this may be the case.  However, a livestock farmer, for example, does not take all his cattle to slaughter at once because he will have no more stock for the next year and will therefore have to spend a lot of money building up his herd again.  The same is true for safari outfitters: why kill off all the herd, when you can instead manage it sustainably and actually grow the number of animals so that you can get more hunters and make even more money?

But what about the ethical problems with trophy hunting?  How can a human take pleasure in killing a "poor, innocent, wild animal"?  Let me ask you this:  is it for nutrition or for pleasure that you eat a beef burger?  Is it for the protein content or the satisfaction that you consume a chicken kiev?  Pound-for-pound, there are many protein-dense legume- and nut-based alternatives to meat that have the added benefit of reduced cholesterol and trans fats, and with an increase in vitamins and minerals.  So, are you really eating that pork chop because you need it or are you eating it because you enjoy it?

Going by this argument, how can one frown upon trophy hunters who partake in this sport for the enjoyment of the hunt, whilst concurrently be chowing down on a factory-farmed egg omelette?  Does this not appear to be hypocritical?

Your next argument may be "but how can anyone enjoy killing something?" and to this I will reply: how can you condone second-hand murder by someone else of one animal and happily consume the carcass, but not condone the murder of another animal?
"But these animals have been bred for food", you may say.  That is true, but what if we were to breed wild animals for the sole purpose of hunting?  (This is also known as canned hunting.)  Oh but you opponents to trophy hunting seem even more against this idea, because it becomes far less natural and the animal has no chance to escape.  Let me ask you this: does the chicken or cow have any chance to escape?  Do we provide them with a fair fight?  Or do we mass-produce these living, sentient beings and pretend that they're just worthless, emotionless commodities with no value except that which resembles a burnt carcass on a plate?

"But I buy free-range, fairtrade, grass-fed....".  Great!  So the animal lived a "natural, free" life before it was murdered for the sole reason of a few seconds of pleasure on your taste buds.  Is it really natural and free though?  Did it really live naturally, like the bison or bighorn sheep  of America(cousins of the animals you eat)?  Do we use these eco-friendly labels as stamps of ethical approval to mask the true horror of the fact that we have enslaved these species and taken most of their natural freedoms away just so that we can enjoy a tasty lamb pie for dinner?  "Oh it is approved by the RSPCA, that gets me off the ethically-dubious hook and makes me feel better for consuming a dead animal.  But I still don't agree with trophy hunting".

Why?

If any of you meat-eating disapprovers of trophy hunting can give me one valid, scientifically-backed argument as to why you agree with one of these things but not the other, I will eat my Fairtrade, free-range, grass-fed, vegan-friendly hat.

But for now, I just cannot see how you condemn one murder as an act of cruel, unnecessary, unfair, bloodthirsty savagery, and yet gladly accept another form of murder that can be equally (or more) cruel, unnecessary, unfair and bloodthirsty.

Comments

  1. Agreed. Anyone that has a strong negative reaction to trophy hunting (and I hope most people do) should take a minute (or longer) to think about their own (diet) decisions!

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  2. I also agree. They're hypocrites totally if they are against murder of certain animals yet condone it by eating meat as that is murder. I can never get my head around vets eating meat either! Goes against all ethics the way I view it.

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    Replies
    1. Completely separate issues by the very nature of both activities. One involves killing for food, the other killing for sport. Sorry but you cannot compare them both with any degree of seriousness!

      Tell me are all animals that kill for food murderers?

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  3. Wow! So much WRONG with this article, I'm not sure where to begin.

    First: The type of hunting that you describe; i.e the one that can sometimes benefits the environment is called CULLING, and is nothing like trophy hunting! Trophy hunting is just that! Hunters go for the trophy, animal which is more often than not, the biggest, most powerful, genetically perfect, male, because it brings the hunter more prowess!

    This is a crime against nature! By taking those strong genetics out of the gene pool and allowing inferior genes to be passed on instead, you are effectively forcing the propagation of a weaker species!

    Secondly: The reason why culling is ever necessary, is usually because of an imbalance in the food chain (see deer culling in Scotland), created due to the loss (almost overwhelmingly) of an apex predator, more often than not as a result of human activity, including; yep...TROPHY HUNTING!

    Finally: You just have to accept, that in the world we live in, meat is a nutritional necessity! We have neither the infrastructure nor the support to get 6 billion people on a safe vegan diet! If you live in an industrialised nation, have a decent amount of money and no health issues or deficiencies, then by all means live a vegan life style! But if like the vast majority of the planet, you are poor, and need to rely on a combination of plants and animals to survive, then you are probably not going to be going vegan anytime soon.

    What we should be focusing on are ways to make the lives and eventual deaths of ALL the animals we rear to eat (which is a necessity for some people), as painless and humane as possible, i.e the very things you chastise; free range, grass fed, fair trade!

    Comparing those things to the rearing of animals for no other reason than so that a bunch of inadequate, fat ass rednecks with over powered firearms can blast them away from the back of their toyota pick up, and mount their heads on a wall, is borderline Trollworthy!

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    Replies
    1. Hi, thanks for your response. Actually many conservationists get trophy hunters to cull the surplus animals for them because it is cheaper and easier for the hunters to do it - and of course they can get money from the hunters, which then obviously goes straight back into conservation.

      Trophy hunters do indeed take the trophies - the oldest males who have the biggest horns/antlers/manes etc. and they are big because they are old, which means that they are past their prime breeding stage and have already seared many offspring.

      Culling is indeed necessary in times where apex predators have been removed, which, as you rightly say, is one of the reasons why we need to cull deer in Scotland. However, trophy hunting is only legally permitted when done sustainably and when this does not affect the conservation status of a species. The whole point of this article was to distinguish between legal trophy hunting - which has to be sustainable - and illegal poaching. As for the lack of predators in the UK, this was due to widespread extermination campaigns (not trophy hunting) in the last few centuries.

      NB there are 7.2 billion people in the world today and we can easily turn the world vegan. But that is again not my point; my point is that if you disagree with trophy hunting and yet eat meat, chances are you live in a developed country where you can easily obtain vegan food.

      Many recent studies have shown that free-range, grass-fed animals are actually worse for the environment than industrial farming btw because they take up far more space (space that could have been reserved for wildlife) and are inefficient - the reason why we created industrial farming is because it is efficient, i.e. provides most calorific output for smallest use of space and energy.

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