To Hunt or Not To Hunt
I had an interesting exchange with a friend recently concerning hunting. He'd been out and killed a deer, a doe to be exact. I'm an anti hunting advocate and I told him this, and he seemed to be somewhat ruffled by my statement. He asked me if I'd enjoyed a hamburger lately and reminded me that the cow from which the burger came was once alive. I wondered what provoked this kind of reaction to me not being a fan of hunting. I wasn't arbitrary or defensive in my remark. Yet what I said hit a nerve. Hmmm...
In considering my response to my friend's reaction to what I told him about my stance on hunting, I followed my usual routine of presenting my views by acknowledging his while I stated my own. Yes, I have enjoyed a hamburger lately. There is admittedly something of a dicotomy there, but I see a big difference in eating meat that comes from an animal which was raised on a farm for the express purpose of one day ending up in a grocery store. To me, this is an entirely different concept than going out in the woods with a firearm and shooting a wild animal that cannot defend itself.
I live in the South; Georgia to be exact. Down here hunting is a way of life for a lot of people. My dad was a hunter and so were both of my grandfathers, my uncles, and several cousins as well. When I was a kid I sometimes went along with my dad on hunting trips to South Georgia. I never did any hunting myself but these trips gave us a chance to do something together. I knew my dad enjoyed hunting and I didn't begrudge him this. At the time I hadn't really explored my feelings on hunting either. I always knew it wasn't something for me but that didn't mean I planned to chastise others for doing it.
I don't take inflexible stances on a lot of things because I believe in the rights of the individual on most subjects. I include hunting in this. Yes, here in the South there are a lot of deer; so many in fact that their numbers do need to be controlled in order to provide a safe environment for them as well as for other animals. My feelings on this control are that it is necessary but I don't see hunting as a means to do it. I feel that we should leave this to the wildlife conservationists within the state government to handle. But these are my feelings. I do respect those of others.
As I stated before, I am not a vegetarian. I eat meat along with most of the rest of the population. Man, by nature, is a carnivore. The consumption of meat is necessary for obtaining certain proteins that the body needs and it is a scientific fact that eating meat is what gave our species the edge in developing our large brains way back along the evolutionary trail. This helped us to become the top predator and the dominant animal on this planet. Until the 20th Century people had to hunt in order to provide food for themselves and their families. If we'd lived a hundred years ago or so, I'd probably have a different attitude on the matter.
I just don't see hunting as a necessary element in today's world. I'm against blood sports because I can't find any sport in it. Hunting is not a contest and the odds are invariably stacked against whatever is being hunted. Deer can't shoot back, can they? And who would go hunting if they could? Hunting is a one sided activity in which man has the upper hand. I also think it's a very cruel thing to do.
But these are my views. I am entitled to have them. Just like those who advocate and enjoy hunting are entitled to exercise their rights on the matter. I don't behave like PETA and create a scene over the matter. I think PETA is a bunch of radicals who have no standards when it comes to pushing their own agenda. Rather, I simply abstain from hunting because it's not something I believe in. Simple as that.
Like I told my friend, I'm not exactly putting down hunting. I'm just not for it.