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Is Hunting An Animal For Food Ehtical

1159 words - 5 pages

There was a time when hunting an animal for food was necessary for survival, but meat is now processed and packaged for our convenience. I have never hunted an animal, although I have gone fishing and in some respects, I could ask if fishing is as ethical as hunting an animal for food. I remember how it felt to cast my line out, reeling it in slowly hoping to get a bite. When I did get a bite, the fight between the fish and me was thrilling. In retrospect, the same feeling is similar, a hunter has after he stalked and killed a deer or elk. However, does the feeling of excitement when you have caught and killed animal right? Do we rationalize killing an animal for food to mask the excitement that comes from the kill? I would say yes to that, because I really did not need that fish for food even though I did eat it I still enjoyed the catching of it. Yet, there are those who do hunt for food, in remote areas it would be easier to hunt game than to drive 20 or 30 miles into the local town for hamburger. Perhaps for them there is a justification to hunt. As Peter Singer writes, “Eskimos living in an environment where they must kill animals for food or starve might be justified in claiming that their interest in surviving overrides that of the animals they kill.”(Singer) Nevertheless, that still does not answer the question is it still ethical to hunt and kill an animal for food?
However, there are many who would say that hunting an animal for food is justified because it helps to keep the herds by culling and protects them from over population that could lead to starvation, disease, or predation. Culling is a naturalistic fallacy based on a false premise that we are saving the animal from a terrible long drawn out death, which is not the case. Hunters kill a healthy, strong animal that would normally have many years of life while predators kill those that are weak or old. As for disease and starvation, you could argue that keeping the herds small would give them a better chance of survival owing to the fact they would be stronger due to not overgrazing and would be able to fight off diseases. This too, is a naturalistic fallacy because a small herd is just as likely to face starvation and disease as a larger herd.
A utilitarian would argue that by killing a deer or elk would bring harm to the animal, but the benefit to the hunter who wants food would outweigh the harm done to the animal. When you think of the utilitarian idea that each person has equal value and that harm is allowed if the benefit does the most good for the most people sounds like a way you can prove killing for food. For many that justification is not good enough because to them the animal has as many rights as a human and their desires or feelings to life are as important as ours are. As Tom Regan states “A universe in which you satisfy your desire for water, food and warmth is, other things being equal, better than a universe in which these desires are frustrated. Moreover,...

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