A big hurrah for Tommy Knowles the executive director of the Wildlife Defence League because he spells out succinctly the reason why trophy or sport hunting is so outdated and unsuited to the modern age. It is also quite simply: cruel, unnecessary and inhumane.
The Wildlife Defence League (WDL) has started a campaign to stop the hunting of what they describe as ‘big cats’ which in this instance means mountain lions (pumas), bobcats and lynxes in British Columbia, Canada (BC).
WDL successfully campaigned to stop the hunting of grizzly bears in BC in 2017.
“Trophy hunting of wild cats is an outdated practice,” said Knowles.
He believes that 90% of the population is against the hunting of these cats for the ‘hide, heads and paws’, as they were for hunting bears.
Like me, Knowles dismisses the rather feeble argument which hunters rely on to justify their activities that they are killing for meat and that hunting cats is therefore no different to hunting deer.
The hunting of cougars is unethical and inhumane in part because the hunters use dogs wearing GPS collars to track cougars and chase them up trees where they are shot. It’s utterly brutal and unjustifiable.
Female cougars with kittens are sometimes separated from their offspring and shot which is illegal, incidentally.
Hunters argue that they are doing a service in reducing conflict between cat and livestock and people.
As to population size these wild cat species self-regulate their numbers. Lynx numbers are dependent on the availability of hare. Male cougars disperse into new home ranges.
“Hunting as a management tool is unnecessary.”
The counter argument from people like Jesse Zeman of BC Wildlife Federation is that there will be more prey animals wandering into residential areas. He says that banning hunting cougars will endanger their prey animals.
They say decisions should be based on science not ‘populist policies’. They argue that when you apply science a ban on hunting these wild cat species cannot be justified.
The number of hunters in British Columbia has risen from 86,000 in 2005 to 112,000 today. This surely means more cats are going to be shot for fun.
Comment: I get the counterarguments but the hunters and their supporters have always ignored the ethical issues. The causation of pain and suffering in the pursuit of their entertainment cannot be justified. But for hunting rights under the law, it would be a violation of British Columbia’s animal welfare law because hunting causes unnecessary suffering. Therefore it is cruel in an absolute sense. The activity is defended by the law supported by the hunting lobby. The ethical and moral issues are important and carry weight. You can’t just apply cold science like a robot. The law is also outdated in my considered opinion. It is time for a complete shift in opinion on hunting for pleasure.
The answer is for humans to stop growing their population size and stabilise it and to ban hunting altogether.
Source: vancouversun.com and my thoughts.