Okay, so maybe it once made sense 100,000 years ago to hunt and kill something edible in order to survive. But now with a grocery store at the corner of nearly every neighborhood, hunting is no longer necessary. And if it’s really just about getting outside to enjoy nature, and spending some quality time male bonding time with a family member or buddies, there are many other ways to enjoy the great outdoors without killing the other creatures who are also trying to enjoy it (and their lives)…
Even though less than 5% of the U.S. population hunts, these people hunt and kill over 100 million animals every year. Most of the animals hunted include waterfowl and other birds, squirrels, raccoons, rabbits, crows, coyotes, deer, turkeys, wolves, and elk.
And hunters cause many animals to suffer from fatal injuries and suffer long, painful deaths due to hunting-related injuries. Hunting not only breaks up families and life-long mates, it disrupts hibernation and migration patterns. It also compromises natural habitats and ecosystems by throwing off the natural balance between predator and prey animals.
Hunting is allowed inside many national forests, wildlife refuges and public parks and lands, whether most people realize this or not. And there is no way to track the volume of illegal hunting and poaching that occurs throughout the world as hunters track and kill animals for profit in one way or another.
Some hunters just want to acquire a “trophy” or to discover who can kill the most animals. American trophy hunters will travel to foreign countries in order to kill an animal and import its body parts — its skin / pelt, head, tusks or other body parts. Unfortunately, we have little or no regulations preventing hunters from butchering endangered animals and then exporting them to the hunter’s country of origin. Many African countries now ban trophy hunting. And some countries — such as the Netherlands and France — have introduced and/or implemented bans on trophy hunting imports.
One form of trophy hunting — canned hunting — involves a hunter paying a large sum of money for a guaranteed kill. And the hunters then often have an opportunity to shoot an animal at close range. These animals are often tame exotic ones including antelope, deer, cattle, swine, goats and sheep, bears, zebras and big cats; they do not know to run from humans and will often walk right up to their killer in a tame and trusting manner before meeting their fate. Canned hunters obtain these animals from zoos, circuses, private breeders, animal dealers and even petting zoos.
Nearly 10% of the population fish for sport and recreation (or at least apply for fishing licenses) in the U.S. Recreational fishing has led to people over-fishing to where many rivers and streams are now subject to catch-and-release only regulations.
And with billions of pounds of fish and shellfish harvested from the ocean every year to meet the demand, commercial fishing has led to huge fish population declines and an untold number of deaths of marine life; commercial fishing practices kill billions of fish and other marine life such as turtles, dolphins, sharks and seabirds.
Entire populations of large fish such as swordfish and marlin have declined by over 90 percent over the past four decades. Meanwhile, others such as tuna, mackerel and bonito, have fallen by almost 75 percent. And according to the World Wildlife Fund, the current global fishing fleet is two to three times larger than what the oceans can support in a sustainable way:
- 53% of the world’s fisheries are fully exploited, and 32% are over-exploited, depleted, or recovering from depletion.
- Fishing has fully exploited or over-exploited most of the top ten marine fisheries; these account for about 30% of all capture fisheries production.
- Several important commercial fish populations have declined to the point where their survival is threatened.
- Unless the current situation improves, stocks of all species currently fished for food are predicted to collapse by 2048.
Perhaps there are better ways to get out to enjoy the great outdoors without killing animals and sea life?
Perhaps there are plant-based foods available that are much healthier for human consumption too…
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Sources for this Article
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services
Scripps Institute of Oceanography, https://scripps.ucsd.edu/news/californias-fish-populations-are-declining
World Wildlife Fund
Earth Island Journal, http://www.earthisland.org/journal/index.php/eij/article/hunting_is_a_setback_to_wildlife_conservation/
Last Chance for Animals, http://www.lcanimal.org
In Defense of Animals, http://www.idausa.org