If you take pleasure in killing any animal other than for food, you’re sick. It’s that simple.
We all know that humans are a violent species. The real mystery is why we allow people to engage in behavior that in any other context would be considered inappropriate, criminal or even borderline psychopathic.
Are these people bloodthirsty? I can’t say I know many personally but, judging from their presence on Facebook, many clearly take an unhealthy pleasure in watching their living targets suffer and die. The cavalier way they dispatch living creatures and the glibness with which they joke about it is disturbing, especially since we know that these same people are armed and living among us.
But sadism alone doesn’t explain their behavior. Many of these shooters have another life as well; they are also dutiful parents and responsible citizens. Many undoubtedly enjoy the challenge of “outsmarting” their quarry, even if they use enough high-tech advantages, such as electronic calling devices and sophisticated weaponry, to cancel all possibility of a “fair chase.”
But if they do not intend to eat their victims (or utilize the pelts, in most cases), why kill them? Why not settle for a camera shot?
I’ve spent enough time on their websites to think I know at least one reason. Through all the self-congratulatory photos, defiant rhetoric about hunting rights and general bashing of “libtards” runs a similar narrative: Their victims are labeled undesirable – varmints and pests – and the shooters are simply doing the world a favor by getting rid of them.
Predators, especially, are held in disdain for engaging in a variety of real and imagined behaviors deemed objectionable: consuming game animals that rightfully belong to human hunters, attacking livestock and pets, killing for fun (yes, the irony is lost on human hunters), menacing little children – you get the idea. The fact that these views are illogical and inconsistent with a modern scientific understanding of the importance of predators matters little.
Maybe this anti-predator fervor is what drives them, or maybe it’s just a convenient excuse for their gratuitous killing. But what ought we to do in response? Should “wildlife cleansing” continue to be permitted by state wildlife departments?