Hunters’ arguments and rationalizations for their sport are so repetitive and predictable that, to save valuable time and precious mental energy, it might help to have your responses printed out ahead of time like flash cards, and kept at the ready in your back pocket. Here, then, are the Top 10 Retorts to Hunter Fallacies you’re most likely to hear the next time you debate a sportsman. (I would apologize to David Letterman, but this isn’t meant to be a joke.)
10) Hunting is sustainable.”
In today’s world of 7 billion people? Never mind, that’s a joke if I’ve ever heard one.
Do we really want to encourage 7 billion hungry humans to go out and kill wildlife for food as if wild animal flesh is an unlimited resource? The only way hunting could be sustainable for humans these days is if we drastically reduced our population and killed off all the natural predators…Overhunting has proven time and again to be the direct cause of extinctions, from the passenger pigeon to the Eastern and the Miriams Elk. Now wolves in the Rockies and Great Lakes are being hunted and trapped to oblivion—for the second time.
9) Animals kill other animals, so we can too.
That’s an example of what’s known as the naturalistic fallacy—the notion that any behavior that can be found in nature is morally justifiable. But wolves and other natural predators need to hunt to survive, humans don’t—for them it’s nothing more than a thrill kill. Human beings have moved beyond countless other behaviors such as cannibalism or infanticide, so why can’t some people tear themselves away from hunting?
8) Humans are carnivores, look at our canine teeth. Human teeth are designed primarily for chewing plant-based foods, like our primate cousins do. Humans’ “fangs” are teensy compared to those of gorillas, who are strict vegetarians and only show them to appear fierce. Also, our intestinal tract is long to allow for the slow digestion of high-fiber foods, while true carnivores have short intestines as needed to process meat and dispose of the resulting toxic wastes quickly.
7) Wild game meat is health food.
All animal flesh is rife with cholesterol throughout, and the protein in animal flesh is acidic, causing bone calcium losses as it is metabolized. According to the American Dietetic Association, a diet high in animal products has been linked to obesity, diabetes, colon and other cancers, osteoporosis, kidney stones, gallstones, diverticular disease, hypertension and coronary artery disease. New studies have found that another culprit in causing heart disease may be a little-studied chemical that is burped out by bacteria in the intestines after people eat meat.
6) Hunting is needed to control animal populations.
You’d really have to have no understanding of or faith in Mother Nature to make such a claim—she was doing a fine job of taking care of her own before Man came along and appointed himself “manager” and “game” keeper. No niche goes unfilled for long before some natural predator finds it and fixes a “problem”…if we allow them to. Besides, hunting animals like deer makes them breed more, resulting in more deer, not fewer.
5) If we don’t kill deer they’ll become a traffic hazard.
Two words: Slow Down.
More animals are hit by cars during hunting season than any other time of year, usually when fleeing from bloodthirsty sportsmen with guns.
4) Hunting teaches respect for wildlife and an appreciation for nature.
Ha! That’s like a serial killer claiming his crimes foster a respect for women. Tracking down and shooting something does not equal respect. Try using a camera or binoculars if you really want to respect them.
3) Hunting is a “manly” sport.
First of all, hunting isn’t even a sport—Sport is generally recognized as an activity based in physical athleticism or physical dexterity. Sports are usually governed by rules to ensure fair competition. A sport is played by two equally matched, or at least equally willing, sides. According to SportAccord, the second criteria determining if something is a sport: it be in no way harmful to any living creature. And anyway, real men respect animals (see above).
2) Hunting licenses pay for wildlife refuges.
In truth, hunting licenses pay for hunter playgrounds, not true wildlife refuges. Take a look at how many “refuges” have been opened up to hunting; or just try to close an area to hunting for the sake of wildlife and hear the nimrods wail. If hunters hadn’t hijacked all the refuges, more bird watchers, hikers and others who truly appreciate nature would gladly pay for a pass to frequent those places. Furthermore, non-consumptive wildlife watchers contribute far more to local economies than do hunters.
1) Hunting keeps kids out of trouble.
Sticking a gun in a child’s hand and telling him or her to shoot Bambi is likely to leave lasting psychological scars, whether it’s PTSD or a heart calloused for killing.
Bonus fallacy) God put Animals here for us to use.
Don’t flatter yourself.