Johnny Bobo, a student of Erin Ripple at Federal Hocking High School in Guysville, OH, read and responded to the YES! Magazine article, "What's the Harm in Hunting," by Alyssa Johnson. He is our high school winner for the Winter 2012 writing competition.
Writing Prompt: "Is Hunting Moral?"
Hunting the Ohio Way
Is hunting moral? Apparently this is a controversial topic that is widely debated among many groups of people. However, until our teacher asked us to write a response to this prompt I never knew there was a debate over the morality of hunting. In southeastern Ohio, hunting is just another activity during certain times of the year. Some people hunt and others do not. So why is the morality of hunting strongly debated in other parts of the country?
The main argument against hunting is that people believe it is immoral to kill animals just because we can. These people believe that animals deserve our respect and that killing them is a violation of their personal rights. However, if these people are truly against violence towards animals, why do they only protest hunting? In the article What’s the Harm in Hunting? Alyssa Johnson states that, “No one, regardless of their food choices, is completely innocent of the harm caused by our current food system. Vegan, organic, or not—pesticide and fertilizer runoff damage habitat.” The people that protest hunting believe they are not responsible for any deaths of animals, but they are also involved in the killing of animals— just indirectly. These groups of people have the right to protest hunting, but they need to get some more solid reasons.
I am not all for hunting. I’ve tried to go hunting before and it never interested me. For some people though, it is an amazing experience. Not all people who enjoy hunting are blood thirsty, crazy rednecks like some of the people opposed to hunting believe. Most people who legally hunt are just like everyone else. They may hunt for fun, but nothing they kill goes to waste. People who hunt for some of their meat are no different from people who go to the supermarket to buy their meat. Hunters are just taking out the middle man. They are killing and preparing their own meat instead of having someone else do it for them.
Hunters, though, are the only ones being targeted. People opposed to hunting believe it is unfair for us to walk out into the woods and kill animals because the animals have no way to defend themselves. Although, when you think about it, which is worse: hunting an animal that lived a full life in the wild, or slaughtering an animal that spent its entire life living a farm? It is my opinion that as long the hunting is done legally it is as humane, or, in some cases, more humane, than getting your meat from a farm or slaughterhouse.
Hunting is not just a way to obtain meat. Hunting can be used to remove an invasive species from the area, control the population of an animal with few natural predators, and protect livestock. In our area of Ohio we are practically overrun with white-tailed deer. If it weren’t for hunting, the white-tailed deer population would sky-rocket, which, in turn, would lead to more deer-related car accidents, the starvation of many deer due to a lack of food, and the possible loss of crops due to the deer needing to find alternate sources of food. However, the hunting of deer is not a free-for-all. Before each deer season, the population in the area is determined and bag limits are set based on the deer population. Hunting can also be used to control the populations of predators if there is an abundance of them or a shortage of their prey. Without hunting, many animals would starve due to a lack of food. So, ask yourself which is more humane and moral, hunting animals or letting them starve to death?
If someone asks me if hunting is moral I will tell them it is. I may have this opinion because of where I live or the way I was raised, but as long as hunting is done legally, I do not see a problem with it. If a person wants to hunt for their meat, let them. People who go the store to buy their meat are doing the same thing; they just didn’t kill it themselves.