Here is a comment by John Rance (TGA Director) on the TGA’s positional statement on the canned lion issues under debate.
After all the words written on this subject, I still think there’s something missing, maybe because the discourse is focussed on the CBL issue and not on the broader topic. You’re the first person I know about who verbalized the Animal Rightist threat correctly and alerted society to it. Until you did that, hunters were focussed on making hunting kinder or more acceptable to society. In doing so, they’ve attempted to appease the AR’s in the hope that the problem will go away.
In this regard, I’m reminded of Chamberlain, prime minister of Great Britain, where he thought by sacrificing democracies in Europe he could appease Hitler and latterly, John Vorster who was led to believe by Kaunda that by sacrificing Rhodesia he could save apartheid in South Africa..! Maybe not good or appropriate examples, but they conjure up the image, especially for you as a Rhodesian..!!
And humans, themselves, historically and even today in “earthier” societies and cultures, are killing each other with alacrity. It’s only the practical application of “ethical egoism”, where people act in their own self-interest (if I kill you, you’ll kill me) and teachings of the philosophers and religions which makes it unethical for humans to kill humans.
What no-one has hammered home is that the hunting (and animal killing) instinct is hard-wired into man, just like childbirth is to women. I mean, who on earth would contemplate going through the utter trauma (and danger) of childbirth when the world is over-populated and no more people are necessary to perpetuate the species..? Stripped of all the claptrap, it’s more “unethical” to make a (human) life through childbirth than it is to take an animal life in hunting. This is particularly so in societies which cannot fend for themselves, like, for example, Somalia where children are condemned to a life of misery, compared with the taking of an animal life sustainably without negatively affecting the conservation of biodiversity.
Ultimately, to hunt we kill. No matter how kindly one tries to make killing, the fact is something dies. In an attempt to soften or hide that truth, hunters and their associations have attempted to create a mystique about hunting, using terminology like “ethics”, “fair chase”, etc. This may work on the fence-sitter animal welfarists who don’t care too much as long it’s out-of-sight-out-of-mind and not “cruel” to human sensibilities. But as you’ve pointed out repeatedly, it doesn’t work on AR’s. As much as hunters might try to make killing for hunting kinder, the AR’s will present it as morally unacceptable using modern-day propaganda techniques.
The only way is to educate and sensitize the general public, like you’ve been doing with the elephant example and not to defend hunting, but to promote it.
Hunters should shift away from the moralistic posturing of trying to defend the killing aspect of hunting, to rather expend their efforts in:
- Proving logically that it’s not unethical or immoral to kill animals (no matter how they die);
- Proving that it’s necessary to kill animals for the higher moral imperative of conservation of the natural world (as you do with the elephant debate);
- Promoting, rather than defending, the role of hunting in wildlife conservation by giving value to animals;
- Trashing the anthropomorphic views of AR’s and converting the general public away from this.
There are many ways of doing this, starting with kids. Every boy is a natural born killer. Their base instinct has got little to do with “hunting” or the outdoors or all the other stuff which follows. Get them hunting and killing at an early age and you have a convert for life. But not only a convert, a person who will promote and defend hunting and influence hundreds if not thousands of others who have not had the privilege of doing the same. So why aren’t CHASA, PHASA, WRSA, SA Hunters et al doing this big time, instead of faction fighting amongst themselves..?
My cynical view is that, anyway, the moralist posturing is simply a commercial tactic to defend a certain definition of hunting, in the hope that if other forms of hunting or killing are trashed, it will allow the perceived superior form to exist. It has little to do with ethics. And once all the perceived inferior forms are stopped, the AR’s will come after them. Everyone learns, eventually, that it doesn’t pay to feed the crocodile in the hope that it doesn’t eat you..!