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Hunting Is Ethical. Definition Argument: Defining Ethical - With A Free Essay Review

Danielle McQueary; Ms. Brandi Davis; English 102 M 5:00; 12 March 2012

In early America, hunting was the only means of putting meat on the table. It was not questioned, or even given a second thought; it was just a way of life. Today, however, most people rely on the nice man in the white apron to supply them with the meats that they so desire. You know, the guy behind the swinging door in the back of the grocery store.

With the convenience of getting their foods already cleaned, dressed, and prepackaged, it seems that some Americans have forgotten where their ancestors started out in this world. They would say that strapping on insulated boots, putting on camo, and hunting for our own food, means we are partaking in an unethical practice. I choose to believe the contrary. Hunting is an ethical practice because it helps control the population of invasive species, prevents over population of native animals, and deepens the public appreciation for wildlife and their habitats.

Look to the southern states in our nation. For years now, they have been at war with gruesome creatures called wild boar. This animal is not native to the Americas. They were first brought here by early Spanish explorer Hernando DeSoto in the 1500's (Jacobs). Since then, they have reproduce very rapidly. The Southwest Florida Water management District states that, “They prey on native wildlife, compete with native species for food, and transmit diseases to other wildlife, livestock and humans (Feral Hogs).” Boars also destroy crops meant for human food, and pose a real threat to personal safety because of their aggressive nature. To make matters worse, there are very few predecessor of wild hogs to naturally control their numbers. Humans have the ability to do just that through hunting and trapping. When talking about hunting wild pig, many picture dead carcasses left lying where they fall. The opposite is usually true, government agencies, and many individuals, donated the animals remains to be processed to feed the needy (Feral Hogs). This fact shows that hunters are thinking of all sides of the problem at hand. It is considered by many, an obligation to do what we can to control the number of an animal that are destroying our lands and posing a threat to our loved ones health; and currently the only known process to do this is through human intervention.

Another rational aspect that should be brought to light is that the density of native species can be controlled with regulated hunting. For example, in the early 20th century it was a rare occasion to see a whitetail deer in the US. In order to increase the population, laws were passed in the 20s and 30s to severely restrict hunting, particularly of does. These actions worked, but to the extreme.

Each doe that gives birth usually has twins each season. Then in an average of just two years, those fawns are then able to reproduce as well (Jones). Because of this fast rate of change, the amount of whitetail deer have reached a point where it exceeds the carrying capacities of their natural habitats. This means that, in many areas, the ecosystem can not keep the deer that resided there in good physical condition, resulting in diseased, starving deer. Many other things are directly affected as well. The number of vehicle incidents involving deer increases; animal diversity within forest can dwindle due to the low food supplies and lack of protective cover from overeating of the undergrowth by deer; cases of humans infected with diseases like Lyme Disease shoot up; and seedling trees planted to regenerate disappearing woodlands are wiped out by deer foraging for food.

According to KY Department Fish and Wildlife Officer Wayne Wilson, “The negatives of population of a specific species can be positively affected by regulated hunting zones and seasons.” The zones and regulations of each hunting season are determined by the amount of animals that are present the previous year. If there is an excess of a particular type of animal, then the regulation will allow hunters to take more of those animals. In return, if biologist notice a deficit of that animal the following year, they will decrease the allowable limit for the following season or seasons. In desperate times, hunting seasons can be closed all together. This allows the animal population to 'catch up' to the carrying capacity of the habitat. There are many people within agencies, such as the Department of Fish and Wildlife, to closely monitor these situations to get the targeted outcome. A lot more than many choose to believe is reviewed than just the wanted revenue from hunting before decisions are made about the hunting limits each season.

When hunting is allowed, biologist take samples from random animals that are taken to test for diseases, cures, and affected. Through this research, they can learn about particular diseases and how they are transmitted, as well as if they pose a threat to humans. In particular, “biologist take the brains and brain stems form deer taken in quota hunts to test for various problems” (Wilson). If someone from your family were infected with Lyme Disease, the research that is done by these biologist would tell medical professionals what symptoms to look for to diagnose them and what medicines best fight it.

As if the previous statements were not enough to prove that it is ethical, hunting also plays a large part in conservation of the wilderness. Each year many people broaden their respect and understanding of the wilderness through hunting. This respect results in an increased awareness of how important protecting our wildlife and forest are. In turn, many who participate in regulated hunting are contributors to conservation organizations. In fact, “Hunting organizations contribute millions of dollars and countless hours of labor to various conservation causes each year” (Hunting). Also, the sale of items used for hunting receives a federal excise tax. This money, which in 2009, was some $165 million, is distributed to state agencies where it is used to support wildlife management areas and purchase habitats (Hunting). Hunting is just another tool to get people into the outdoors. The more time they spend there, the harder they will fight for it's preservation.

My determination is that hunting is an ethical practice in every sense. It could be said that it is ethical because it is humans responsibility to help regulate the number of invasive species that we unknowingly promoted in the past, our obligation to control the growth of native species to improve the health of their habitats, and our duty to bring the importance of preserving the outdoors into the fore front. Hunting is a valuable tool to accomplish these task.

Works Cited

“Feral Hogs-Frequently Asked Questions.” Southwest Florida Water

Management District, n.d. Web. 02 March 2012.

“Hunting.” US Fish and Wildlife Service, N.p., 22 March 2010. Web. 02 March 2012

Jacobs, Kathy. “History of Wild Pigs.” N.p., 10 March 2011. Web.

02 March 2012.

Jones, Stephen, David deCalesta, and Shelby Chunko. “Whitetails are Changing our Woodlands.” American Forest. Nov-Dec 1993: n. pag. Findarticles. Web. 02 March 2012.

“United States Population Density, 1850.” Florida Center for Instructional Tech., 5 Jan 2009. Web. 02 March 2012

Wilson, Wayne. Personal interview. 09 March 2012.



You do a pretty good job of making the positive case for hunting. The argument of the essay as a whole is a bit one-sided, but you articulate a strong thesis, and the positive support of that thesis is presented with clarity. The essay is one-sided in that much of your essay focuses only on the importance of hunting for achieving certain desirable results (such as the prevention of traffic accidents or Lyme disease or other negative consequences of uncontrolled populations of certain animals). That allows you to make the argument that hunting is necessary from a certain viewpoint (although that argument is largely implicit in your essay). It also allows you argue that hunting is ethical from a consequentialist point of view, without needing to discuss the morality of the act of killing itself. I don't really see a problem with your making a consequentialist argument, but since this is an essay that, to judge from the complete title, is intended as an exercise in "defining 'ethical'," and since you don't really undertake any definition of ethical action anywhere in the essay, it might be a good idea to reflect on the consequentialist (or utilitarian) character of your ethical argument. You might also bear in mind that the fact that society benefits in some ways from hunting will be a fact accepted by some opponents of your position prior even to their beginning the debate about whether killing animals is ethical.

Now your argument is about hunting in general, or at least apparently so (hunting is ethical). That's a difficult argument to make solely on the basis of examples, since no number of examples would be enough to prove the point; to refute it, I would only need one example of gratuitous hunting that serves no beneficial end. Between the straw-man you initially target who has no good reason for opposing hunting, and does so only out of ignorance (this straw-man tactic is the weakest part of your essay for me) and the hard-line idealist who thinks killing animals is wrong in principle, there are a host of possible opponents who would agree with much of what you say and still think there are examples of gratuitous hunting (e.g., hunting for sport or pleasure) and unregulated, environmentally destructive hunting that is unethical. Obviously to say "some hunting is ethical" is a weaker position than the one you've staked out here, but for that reason it would be a less one-sided and more easily argued one.

Finally, if you want to maintain the stronger position, however, and argue that hunting as such is ethical, then you might also need a principled defense, as opposed to just a utilitarian one, perhaps arguing that it is justified by nature, or you might make a comparative defense (you might argue, for instance, that it is more ethical than farming, which has been criticized for maltreatment of animals and being detrimental to the environment).

Best, EJ.

P.S. I agree that humans are sometimes the equivalent of feral hogs, but since you didn't meant to suggest that, put the citation outside the quoted text, thus: "... humans" (Feral Hogs).
Submitted by: danielle

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