Hunting might have been a necessity in prehistoric times, but those days are long gone. As more people learn about the dangers of hunting to not just animals, but also to our environment, fewer people take up the practice.
We Don’t Need Hunting to Manage Our Ecosystems
Regardless of what anyone claims, nature doesn’t need to be managed or regulated by anyone. Without human interference, Mother Nature and the animal kingdom would flourish, according to the ideals of nature, not of us. Despite this, unsupportable claims are thrown around left, right and center in a bid to justify these cruel and unnecessary practices. The most obvious being that hunters help maintain an ecosystem.
The main problem with this argument is that hunters do not cull the weaker animals from the herd, rather they strive to kill the animal they would like to hang over their fireplace. Therefore, they are not replicating what nature does. Hunters usually go after the largest, most robust animals and in turn remove a healthy, breeding animal that is needed to keep the gene pool strong. By going after superior specimens, hunters actually drive natural selection in reverse.
Another rationale that hunting advocates use to support their hobby is that hunting is a necessary means of population and disease control, and they are doing everybody, the animal included, a big favor. This claim couldn’t be further from the truth. Hunters cannot manage nature better than she can manage herself. Hunters do not seek out the animals most likely to die from starvation; conversely they do quite the opposite. Pro hunting groups would like us to believe that hunting helps to maintain healthy animal populations and that lower population levels prevents disease transmission. But hunters don’t target sick animals. Furthermore, the natural order ensures that when there are not enough predators to control the prey nature adjusts, purposely producing diseases that will leave ‘enough’ of any given species.
Combine that with the facts that animals follow certain inborn rules that cause them to become too plentiful – yes, the universal balance actually allows for creatures to reproduce to the point of overpopulation — and that Mother Nature corrects these problems as she sees fit, and the need for hunting as conservation control is diminished.
Natural carnivores are the real ecosystem managers. Regardless of the claims that hunting manages and benefits our ecosystems, it is natural predators such as wolves, bears and mountain lions, that are really to thank for keeping our ecosystems in check. The reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone National Park saw a boost in biodiversity, causing incredible ripple effects throughout the ecosystem allowing natural habitat and stream recovery along with flourishing of beaver, bird and plant species.
Compassion for the Natural World is the New Order
No amount of hunting propaganda can wash over the fact that the popularity of hunting is on the decline. Today’s modern families do not embrace hunting as a pleasurable pastime. Despite claims that hunting is a heritage activity that plays a vital role in economic, cultural and ecological wealth, interest in hunting has almost halved in the past 20 years. Young people have so much to choose from when it comes to entertainment these days that killing animals doesn’t have much appeal. Appreciation and intrigue for the natural world in the form of wildlife watching is in and hunting is out.
Photo Credit: Judd McCullum (sugarcreekphoto)