Where I’m from, the ethics of killing animals is rarely ever discussed, especially in the backwoods of the deep South. I grew up in southern Louisiana, where imbecilic rednecks are as commonplace as Baptist churches. It’s undeniable to say that hunting culture is extremely popular here. But what is unpopular are my opinions on this matter as they are surely anomalous among my fellow southerners.
It is unequivocally obvious to me that murdering animals for the sheer fun of it, or for “sport” as it’s often characterized as is grossly immoral and overtly reprehensible. I’m not against hunting animals for food as a means of procuring nourishment as this is simply a natural part of being a sentient biological omnivore. Our evolutionary lineage of hunter gatherers is further proof of this.
However, when your goal to kill another animal is not to provide yourself or your family with essential nutrients, but rather to do it because you simply enjoy killing animals, then the neurological wiring in your brain is entangled with conduits of sociopathy that bring with it the baggage of unnecessary suffering and death for numerous animals.
Is there even a scintilla of sympathy for these animals that such “outdoorsmen” or “manly-men” joyously murder? No. The suffering and death brought about by the hunters’ desire to kill for the fun of it is not a concern for such a man. How can it be? One needs only to enter into the home of a proud hunter and gaze upon the numerous decapitated deer heads ostentatiously displayed on their living room walls to see their moral confusion firsthand.
So, why then is it unethical to kill animals for sport? Well, it is an immoral act because animals such as deer, squirrels, birds, and the like all have complex nervous systems which allow them to experience pain. Due to this fact, we are ethically entangled with these creatures, regardless of how burdened you may believe this moral obligation to be. Any sentient being, regardless of how insignificant or unintelligent you perceive it to be, should not be killed merely because you find it fun to kill it.
If you’re going to argue against my point by saying that it doesn’t matter if people kill deer for sport because it is simply Darwinism at work or survival of the fittest, then your premise makes no sense as you’re strawmanning my argument. I’m not arguing that hunting to survive is immoral, but rather that hunting for the sake of pleasure is.
Furthermore, even if the animal were to die instantly by a headshot, this still does not exculpate you from your wrongdoing as you robbed the life of a conscious being solely due to the mirth it provided you. If you believe that this alone is sufficient justification for killing an animal, then your bloodlust may very well be pathological.
If you can indeed somehow conjure up a collection of sentences with which you believe makes a strong moral case for why it is ethical to hunt and kill animals for sport because they are “lesser” animals, then you surely have your work cut out for you. For instance, how can you be morally for the killing of animals due to the pleasure it gives you, while simultaneously being morally opposed toward the niche group of people who enjoy having sex with them for the pleasure it gives them?
I honestly don’t understand how society ethically accepts and legally allows people to genocide animals because it makes certain people feel warm and giddy inside, while zoophilia is looked upon as one of the most disgusting and disturbing acts imaginable.
Personally, I find both the murdering of sentient animals, as well as the raping of them to be similarly reprehensible and unsettling. The fact that I have to actually write that sentence out knowing that many of my fellow Louisianans down here in the “sportsman’s paradise” will likely disagree with the first half of it is completely mind blowing and ethically embarrassing to me.
The spurious musings of such people will most certainly contain fallacy after fallacy after fallacy, but I digress. If the suffering of other conscious agents means nothing to you, then this article will also mean nothing to you. However, if you have even the dimmest concern for the wellbeing of other lifeforms, then hopefully my opinions on this topic have resonated with you. If you’re the latter of the two, then I encourage you to spend a moment or two thinking about this topic.
Thomas is the founder and CEO of PsychTimes.com. He deeply enjoys writing about psychology, mental health, well-being, and ethics. Besides writing, he’s also deeply interested in the many different aspects of digital marketing, specifically search engine optimization. It is due to his love of both psychology and digital marketing, as well as his deep desire to help people who are suffering from mental illness which has inspired him to create this very site.