Like other forms of casual or “thrill” violence, hunting leads to a dangerous desensitization to the suffering of others. A 2006 poll showed seventy-eight percent of Americans supported legal hunting. Research in psychology and criminology shows that people who commit violent acts against animals rarely stop there, as many move on to target their fellow humans. A study conducted by Northeastern University and the Massachusetts SPCA found that people who abuse animals are five times more likely to commit violent crimes against humans. The majority of inmates who are scheduled to be executed for murder at California’s San Quentin State Prison “practiced” their crimes on animals, according to the warden.
Hunting in no way is a sport! Sports involve competition between two consenting individuals or teams and usually a referee. Hunters shoot animals with rifles, shotguns, and bows and arrows-weapons that no animal has any chance of outrunning or fighting. I personally believe that people that hunt for the thrill of the hunt and call it a sport haven’t the guts to be bullies themselves. I myself would not think of getting up in the morning and walking outside to find a smaller and weaker individual than myself to hurt to please my ego or for the trill of the event. What a selfish and cowardly act that would be.
So why do individuals hunt and in their own minds believe that hunting is purposeful, productive, nonviolent and a natural human endeavor? Here, let me express some of their reasoning. They write and say that it has nothing to do with violence, for they love animals. They also claim that they support conservation of wild places and laws that protect wildlife populations. Many say that hunting is in my blood and claim they hunt because our ancestors were hunters. They believe that hunting is freedom, a tie to our ancestors, peace and contentment. That It brings forth happiness and joy for it feels good to know we can still survive on our own in Nature the way our ancestors did. Many honestly believe that it keeps wildlife from overpopulating.
The Natural balance within nature itself is much better in controlling overpopulation within animal species than the hunter can. A prime example of this is that when the wolf was allowed to populate and survive in our national parks the balance of nature improved drastically not only among the animals themselves but as well as the health of the waterways and forests. Hunting has contributed to the extinction of animal species all over the world, including the Tasmanian tiger, the Great Auk, the hippopotamus, the Great White Shark, the African Lion, the Asian and African Elephant, the Black Rhino just to name a few of the animal species that are becoming extinct because of trophy hunting. The sick and weakest animals are the most likely to be killed by natural predators, leaving the strongest animals to survive and pass their genes on. Hunters, however, disrupt this natural balance because they prefer to kill the largest, strongest animals.
If an individual has the desire to walk freely in a wooded area as his ancestors once did, why not do it with a camera and leave the gun at home. Wildlife photography takes much skill and does not kill. The hunter would not be satisfied in most cases without the kill. Most hunters will tell you that the walk in the woods and the tracking of the prey is an important part of the thrill of the hunt yet it is not complete without the kill. The violent individual who gets this thrill out of the kill shows little empathy for life. The target of the hunter is in many cases injured and suffers and in most cases is dead. Anyway you cut it, this is violence. The Link between animal violence which includes hunting or thrill killing is a direct step towards human violence.
Texas, hunters can pay upwards of $4000 as fees for hunting a barasingha. Barasingha Deer Hunt Pricing, Trophy Barasingha Deer – $5900 -Bronze Medal Barasingha – $3500 – Barasingha Doe – $875. Many areas in America allow canned hunting, which involes the “pursuit” and killing of any big game animal kept in or released from captivity to be shot in an artificial or bogus hunting situations where a kill is virtually guaranteed. This form of hunting is referred to as trophy hunting. For most hunts the prize is the head, skin, horns or tusks of the animal. It’s often not that challenging, and surely one doesn’t have to do it. It is gratuitous violence. There is no reason to engage in it other than the hunter finds it to be a form of recreation or fun.
If fathers and mothers as well as politicians support the thrill killing of animals, hunting, what are we teaching our children. Of seven school shootings that took place across the country between 1997 and 2001, all involved boys who had previously committed acts of animal cruelty. Researchers have found that between 71% and 83% of women entering domestic violence shelters reported that their partners also abused or killed the family pet. And another study found that in families under supervision for physical abuse of their children, pet abuse was concurrent in 88% of the families. Children who witness animal abuse are at a greater risk of becoming abusers themselves. Stopping animal abuse in children can help curb violent tendencies before they escalate to include violence against people. Experts agree that early prevention and treatment of animal cruelty is the key to stopping the cycle of violence, because as aggressive children get older, they are less responsive to therapy.
Kindness and compassion towards all living things is a mark of a civilized society. “Only when we have become nonviolent towards all life will we have learned to live well with others” so writes César Chávez. This violent form of “entertainment” rips families apart and leaves countless animals orphaned or badly injured when hunters miss their targets. Quick kills are rare, and many animals endure prolonged, painful deaths when they’re hurt but not killed by hunters. Lack of empathy shown towards animals leads to a lack of empathy among humans.
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