Location: Indianapolis, Indiana, United States

I'm just trying to develop an online body of work (even if the work is throwaway nonsense) to advance my writing career.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Be Very, Very Quiet

With all due respect to family members and friends who engage in some type of hunting, I find the practice creepy. To be sure, I find it less creepy when the hunter makes efficient use of prey, most notably for food, though other uses also spring to mind. But unless you're a member of the Kalahari San or some other small hunting and gathering society that employs no currency and/or hours from any grocery, I'm not entirely convinced of the necessity of hunting. In other words, I fail to understand acting on the impulse to kill unless one's subsistence relies on it. Let me clarify that I don't outright condemn said impulse unequivocally, only that its rationale eludes me.

This comes from someone embarrassingly incapable of killing much of anything. The only visible creatures I terminate without qualification are mosquitoes, cockroaches, and flies; anything else will be spared barring extenuating circumstances. Kill a spider? Forget it! I've even developed a bit of a superstition about this, so a spider gets put outside. Maybe I could make an exception for a brown recluse or some other dangerous arachnid, but only maybe. I do believe I could kill most anything--even a human being--that represented a direct mortal threat, but beyond that I can't fathom taking a life.

Still, I don't eschew meat. A dedicated hunter might argue there is more honor in the exhaustive labor required for transforming a live animal into a meal ready to serve than there is in stopping by KFC on the way home. Well, maybe. On the other hand, millions of domestic animals are bred for the sole purpose of human consumption. Thus, my conscious is not terribly bruised simply because I'm largely unwilling to take a life even as I voice no objections to others doing my killing for me.

Some varieties of hunting assail my sensibilities more than others. For instance, I once watched footage of men in large four wheel drive vehicles aided by packs of hound dogs successfully trap a mountain lion in a tree before blasting the harrassed creature onto the ground. Sick. Where's the sport and the challenge and the risk? How can a person feel good about him or herself after doing something like this?

Similarly, a consultant contracted by my former employer once boasted of traveling to Argentina to kill doves. He further explained that the doves were garden pests who sometimes decimated the farmers' crops and their vast flocks needed thinning. So, in his eyes, he was doing the world a favor. Sorry, but I thought his claim was bogus. While I have no objection to a farmer taking shots at doves that threaten his livelihood, I can't fathom anyone beaming with pride after having snuffed out the lives of animals about a hundredth his size. I figured the guy just liked to kill. And I have a problem with that.

I don't want most types of hunting outlawed. It's not difficult to see the cultural importance of it. But I remain troubled by the rationalizations some individuals employ to defend certain types of senseless killing, especially where they involve rare and/or helpless creatures.


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