Hunting is Murder on Animals
Part XVI -- Laying Down Our Guns III
Steve in studio

Now let's talk about those other weapons: the ones we spend 800 billion dollars a year on while one out of three people cannot read, and one out of four people are starving to death. The weapons that have enough megatonage to kill every living person on earth twelve times over.

Can we be proud of the fact that we are first or second in military power when our rank for infant mortality is fourteenth?

Or can we take pride in the fact that we spend half a million dollars a day to operate a single aircraft carrier when 40,000 children die of starvation?

How did we get it all so backwards? What was it in our childhood that killing was more important than helping?

I have one clue: in the state of Minnesota a thirteen year-old child can buy a trapping license for five dollars...
Steve in studio, holding up a leg-hold trap

...which entitles him to set leg-hold traps throughout the state -- including most "wildlife refuges!"
Pictures of animals commonly trapped

There is no legal limit to the number of racoons, badgers, opposums, foxes, minks, muskrats, and beavers that the child may subject to the torture of the trap. Even though beavers are listed as endangered species by the Fish and Wildlife Service!

Of course there's no guarentee that only these particular animals will step into the traps. But there's no penalty for accidentally trapping other animals: including dogs, cats, and children.

But there are laws forbidding the helping of animals!
Steve in studio, springing the leg-hold trap with a pen

  • It is illegal to free an animal from a trap you did not set.
  • It is illegal to take an animal to a vet if the animal has escaped from a trap (by chewing off its own leg, or by being legally released from a trap.)
  • And it is illegal to purposely spring a trap to prevent animal suffering in the first place.
Steve in studio

Many states now have hunter harassment laws which make it illegal to try to save our wildlife. Doesn't this all sound backwards to you? You can legally torture and kill animals to your heart's content (as long as the state makes money on the deal): but try to save or protect animals from pain and death -- and you may wind up in jail (if a hunter doesn't "accidentally" shoot you first!)

Rachel Carson, who first alerted us to the dangers of pesticides in her book Silent Spring, had this to say about hunting:

Until we have the courage to recognize cruelty for what it is -- whether its victim is human or animal -- we cannot expect things to be much better in this world. We cannot have peace among men whose hearts delight in killing any living creature. By every act that glorifies or even tolerates such moronic delight in killing, we set back the progress of humanity.

Hunting is not a "manly art." It doesn't take a man to kill something; any animal can do that. What it takes a man to do is to feel empathy and show mercy. To feel gratitude for being alive and allow others to live their lives without interference or trying to control them. To be so strong in his manhood that he can afford to be gentle. This comes naturally to women in general, which is why most of them feel instinctively that hunting is immoral. Men have to overcome their cultural indoctrination to reach into their true feelings.

Dr. Karl Menninger said that he stopped hunting after...

Watching a few animals die after heroic efforts to escape my long-distance bludgening. I decided the fun I was having making animals gasp and quiver wasn't worth the suffering it was causing them.

I gave up fishing 16 years ago after yanking a row of teeth out of a fish's mouth trying to extract a hook. And then beating him in the head -- trying to put him (unsuccessfully) out of his misery as a fishing magazine had suggested.

Gray Owl gave up trapping after he became familiar with the animals, and he said:

To kill such creatures seemed monstrous. I would do no more of it... Kindness to animals is the hallmark of human advancement.

Gandhi likewise said that a nation can be judged by the way it treats its animals, and that spiritual growth requires that we stop killing animals.

Steve in studio

A healthy society does not inflict violence on the powerless. There can be no justification for a system that holds the lives of sentient beings in contempt, or values the thrill of killing over the right to live.

Dr. Henry Weber said it best:

Hunting has many defenders, but no defense.

Contents   Prev   Next: Conclusion
This site is concerned with: ethics, compassion, empathy, Jehovah's Witnesses, the Watchtower, poetry, philosophy, atheism, and animal rights.