Hunting was the way of life thousands of years ago, long before man had learned to grow their own food. The only way for prehistoric man to survive as to hunt their food down, just like the animals that caught and killed their prey to get sustenance. We have come a long way since then, learning how to grow our own crops and raising farms with animals for meat. Yet, hunting remains at large in the world; while some people hunt for food, others do so for sport. In recent times, a lot of contention has risen over the practice of hunting, with many groups calling for the banning of this practice. However, the issue is not so black and white. In this article, we will discuss both the positive and negative effects of hunting.
Positive effects of hunting:
Let us begin with the positive effects.
Hunting provides food for some sections of the society. While most of the world population depends on farm grown meat and crops, certain populations still depend on hunting for a large part of their sustenance. The Australian aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders, for instance, hunt flying foxes as a means of their sustenance. Besides, this also provide them with valuable economic benefits; since flying foxes are a rare commodity, and have considerable ethnic and exotic value attached to then thanks to their association with a minority group, there is considerable demand for flying fox meat among tourists. Expatriate aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders also look for the meat since it has spiritual connotations in their culture. This makes hunting a valuable source of income for these populations.
Controls animal population
Hunting is often undertaken in order to control the growing population of certain animals. In some parts of the United States, residents are given permission to hunt down deer, while in some parts of Australia, it is legal to hunt kangaroos. It is to be kept in mind, however, that indiscriminate killing is prohibited, and there are strict laws in place to regulate the sex of the hunted animal and the number of animals each person can kill. Such regulated hunting can keep the animal population in check. There are lower incidences of loss in property caused when they invade residential areas; besides, population control also ensures that the remaining members of the species live a healthy life with enough to eat and enough space to spread out.
Maintains ecological balance
Surprisingly enough, hunting maintains balance in the ecosystem. When there is overpopulation of a certain species in a certain area, it disrupts the finely tuned ecological balance. Other animals are negatively affected as there is significant shortage of food due to overcrowding. If the unchecked growth continues and the animal is a predator, this leads to significant damage to the populations of other animals that it considers to be its prey. The prey population begins to diminish rapidly, disrupting the ecological balance. What’s more, this also means that the predators themselves die out due to lack of food. If the law allows hunting as a measure to check population growth, it will certainly be a good way of ensuring that the ecological balance is maintained. Besides, park permits and licenses that have to be taken out in order to hunt cost money, which is then used by the authorities for the betterment of the environment.
Negative effects of hunting:
All said and done, there are some very obvious negative implications of hunting.
Killing is unethical
First of all, there is the obvious ethical issue. Humane societies are very vocal against hunting of any kind, citing as reason that animals feel the same pain and horror that a human would when faced by a predator. The pain that an animal feels while being stabbed or shot is the same as what a human would feel. Therefore, there is no logic to killing innocent animals for the purpose of population control, especially since many animals use their natural methods of dividing territory.
Leads to extinction
Despite there being many laws in place to regulate hunting, illegal trafficking and poaching of animals happen to be a very real thing even today. A number of species have been rendered extinct due to indiscriminate hunting for either sport or food, and many more are teetering on the verge of extinction for the very same reasons. Environmentalists argue that without the banning of hunting, many species will be going the way of the dodo.
Hunting is definitely one of the most contentious topics of today. It is not a black and white question that can be easily answered. One thing, however, is for sure, neither group- those that oppose and those that support hunting, have anything to say in support of hunting for sport. The bottom line, clearly, is this: if you do kill, kill for the greater good.